Prices for some of the world’s rarest automotive creations have gone off the scale in recent years; they’re clearly great investments, so it’s not surprising that the world’s wealthiest people are bidding.
Rare Ferraris attract the most attention, and account for nine out of the top 10 priciest models to go under the hammer. But for a bit of variety, we cast the net a bit wider as we reveal five of the most expensive cars sold in the world ever.
Ferrari 250 GTO
Fewer than 40 GTOs were ever produced, which only adds to the appeal. So whenever one changes hands it’s surely guaranteed to become one of the world’s most expensive cars. This particular example was the 19th, and seems to have been valued so highly because it had such an impressive record over its 40 years of racing.
In fact, strong competition history always adds a few zeroes to Ferrari sale prices at auction. Closely behind the 250 GTO was a gorgeous 335 Scaglietti, sold in Paris in February 2016 for $35,711,359 (£24.7million), which had an equally strong heritage. And a host of other competition Ferraris from the 1950s and 1960s rounds out the definitive top 10.
This car puts Mercedes’ current Formula One superiority into perspective. It started 12 grands prix back in the 1950s and won nine, and dominated the other three. This was the first fuel-injected F1 racer, and only 14 were ever built. Amazingly, 10 still exist, although Mercedes owns six of them, and the other three are in museums.
This partly explains the price, but so does the car’s authenticity. Not only was the W196 raced by Fangio – widely regarded as the greatest F1 driver ever – but it was still covered in oil, grime and dead bugs from the last time it was driven.
Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato
The car had been the only example delivered new to Australia in 1962, and with its 314bhp 3.7-litre six-cylinder engine it enjoyed considerable racing success. It remained Down Under until 1993, when it returned to the UK, and after a few more years on the classic racing circuit, it underwent a painstaking restoration.
The attention to detail lavished on the car, combined with its impeccable racing pedigree and sheer exclusivity, means the price is only likely to rise. And if any more Aston MartinDB4GT Zagatos come on to the market, you can expect investors to push prices closer to the $20million mark.
McLaren F1 LM
This was chassis number 73, and the previous owner had sent it back to the McLaren factory to be converted to LM specification. That meant an upgrade to take power up to the 691bhp of the F1 GTRs that raced at Le Mans, as well as an increase in downforce.
Yet this car was different from factory-supplied F1 LMs, as it retained the creature comforts of the regular model (pictured) – which could explain the inflated price.
Unlike the example in our picture, the auction model was a lightweight Gulf/Mirage race car, finished in competition livery. But the main reason for the $11million (around £7million) final price, once again, was the car’s history.
Not only did this GT40 have racing heritage, it had been used as a camera car in the legendary 1971 movie, Le Mans. As with some other stars of the auction rooms in recent years, the Steve McQueen effect boosted the price significantly.