8 Most Expensive Classic Cars Ever Sold

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“Classic car” doesn’t have a strict definition, but most people consider a few key factors to decide if a car is classic. How old is the vehicle? Does it have unique features representing a particular era, and is it collectible?

However you define them, classic cars are usually old and expensive.

Some experts say the idea of a “classic car” started with the Baby Boomer generation. Baby Boomers were born (roughly) between 1946 and 1964. That was a few decades after automobiles became the norm in America, so the Baby Boomer generation was the first to have access to a catalog of old vehicles.

Today, the classic car market is worth billions — and it’s getting bigger. The market is currently worth about $36 billion and it’s set to reach $43 billion in a few years.

Where’s all that money coming from? Mostly rich collectors. With enough money, you can buy some of the world’s priciest classic cars.

And wow, these cars are really pricey. From stylish Aston Martins to sleek Ferraris, these are the most expensive classic cars ever sold!

8. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti

Sale Value: $22 million
Year Sold: 2018
Car Seller: RM Sotheby’s
Car Fact: Just four of these cars were produced
1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti
photo source: rmsothebys.com

Kicking off our list is the ultra-rare 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti. Only four were made, and just three exist today. The classic vehicle was driven by an array of iconic drivers and won the Nassau Trophy and Memorial race with Stirling Moss at the wheel.

According to RM Sotheby’s, “[this car is] Supremely eligible for the world’s greatest classic car events.” The amazing Ferrari sold at auction for over $20 million in 2018, making it one of the world’s most expensive classic cars.

Did you know?

This classic race car secured top finishes at the 1000 KM of Buenos Aires and the Mille Miglia, two high-profile events of the 20th century.

7. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1

Sale Value: $22.5 million
Year Sold: 2017
Car Seller: RM Sotheby’s
Car Fact: Roy Salvadori drove this classic car
1956 Aston Martin DBR1
photo source: rmsothebys.com

Coming in at number seven is the rare 1956 Aston Martin DBR1. Aston Martin made just five of these unique classic cars, and experts call it the most important model in the company’s history. This particular DBR1 was driven by famous racers like Roy Salvadori, who drove in nearly 50 championship Formula One grand prix races.

The car also won the 1959 Nürburgring 1000 KM, an endurance race held in Germany.

In 2017, RM Sotheby’s sold this rare Aston Martin at auction. According to the auction house, the car was the result of a complicated design process with several setbacks and the ultimate goal of racing Le Mans. The car ended up selling for a jaw-dropping $22.5 million, making it the seventh most expensive classic car ever sold.

Did you know?

This car was maintained over the decades by Aston Martin specialists.

6. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider

Sale Value: $27.5 million
Year Sold: 2013
Car Seller: RM Sotheby’s
Car Fact: Ferrari made just 10 of these cars
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spider
photo source: autoweek.com

In 2013, Monterey Car Week launched with the traditional string of auctions. The annual car event was pretty unremarkable at first. Sales rates were average, but one car really stood out. The 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S Nart Spider sold for $27.5 million, making it the sixth most expensive classic car ever sold.

So what’s the story of this pricey car? It starts with Eddie Smith. At 18, Eddie left his orphanage in North Carolina with just $15 to his name. The young man found a job as a movie theater usher where he made $9 per week. The year was 1937, and Eddie kept working until he opened his own business over a decade later. The new company sold women’s apparel through the mail — and it was a success. Eddie started collecting Ferraris with his newfound wealth, including this rare model from the North American Racing Team (NART).

Did you know?

It’s not clear how much Eddie paid for this car, but reports say it was somewhere around $14,000. The car eventually made its way to auction after Eddie passed away in 2007. According to his family, the funds from Eddie’s rare Ferrari will be donated to charity.

5. Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz

Sale Value: $29.7 million
Year Sold: 2013
Car Seller: Bonhams
Car Fact: This was one of the most advanced cars of its time
Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz
photo source: motorauthority.com

Many people consider Juan Manuel Fangio to be the greatest race car driver of all time — and it’s not hard to see why. The Formula One icon was World Champion five times over a seven-season career.

Fangio also set 23 speed records at various Grand Prix events and grabbed over 30 podium finishes.

In 2013, Bonhams auction house sold Fangio’s Mercedes-Benz from 1954. Fangio drove the car to victory at the German Grand Prix, further cementing his status as one of the best competitors in the world. The car earned a whopping $29.7 million, making it the fifth most expensive classic car ever sold.

Did you know?

Fangio also drove this car when he won the Swiss Grand Prix. The race car driver was born in 1911 and it didn’t take long for him to get into cars. At 11, Fangio began working as a mechanic, a job he’d keep for decades. At 38, Fangio was establishing himself as a powerhouse racer in Europe. By 39, the famous driver won his first major race at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix.

4. 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti

Sale Value: $35.7 million
Year Sold: 2016
Car Seller: Artcurial Motorcars
Car Fact: This car sold to an anonymous buyer
1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti
photo source: motor1.com

In 1957, this Ferrari finished sixth at the Sebring 12 Hours, an annual car race held in Florida. The car retired soon after Sebring and was sold to Robert N. Dusek of Pennsylvania in 1960. Dusek kept the Ferrari for a decade, then the car eventually made its way to an Artcurial Motorcars auction in 2016.

Bidding started at just over $22 million and it didn’t take long to reach the final sale price of $35.7 million. The car was sold to an anonymous buyer.

Did you know?

Sir Stirling Moss drove this car in 1958 when he won the Cuba Grand Prix. Moss was one of the most celebrated race car drivers of the 20th century, winning dozens of high-profile competitions.

3. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta

Sale Value: $38.1 million
Year Sold: 2014
Car Seller: Bonhams
Car Fact: This car sold at an auction in California
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
photo source: bonhams.com

Coming in at number three is Ferrari’s 250 GTO Berlinetta. The vintage car was sold in 2014 by Bonhams auction house and temporarily held the title of “most valuable car sold at auction.”

Bonhams says bidders from all over the world joined the auction before the final price landed at just under $40 million.

According to people present at the auction, “the audience erupted in applause when the fall of the gavel confirmed the final price.”

Did you know?

This wasn’t the only classic car Bonhams sold in 2014. The auction house offered several other Ferraris, which earned over $60 million in total sales.

2. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Sale Value: $48.4 million
Year Sold: 2018
Car Seller: RM Sotheby’s
Car Fact: Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi drove this car in 1962
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
photo source: barnebys.com

Ferrari made just 36 GTOs in 1962. The ultra-rare classic car was at the forefront of the industry, with famous drivers like Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi behind the wheel. Ferrari says the model was a “Key contributor to Ferrari’s victory in the 1964 International Championship for GT Manufacturers,” with 15 wins overall from ‘62 to ‘65.

In 2018, Sotheby’s auction house sold one of these rare cars for a jaw-dropping $48.4 million — making it the world’s second most expensive classic car.

Did you know?

Sotheby’s sold the third GTO ever made. The auction house says the vehicle was one of just four upgraded by Scaglietti, an Italian car company.

1. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

Sale Value: $143 million
Year Sold: 2022
Car Seller: RM Sotheby’s
Car Fact: Only two cars of this kind were built
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
photo source: barnebys.com

A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR is the most expensive classic car ever sold.

Mercedes-Benz only made two 300 SLRs in 1955. The company kept both at its private facility in Stuttgart, Germany for decades until one was sold at auction in 2022. The rare vehicle shocked classic car fans by selling for a whopping $143 million! All that cash will go towards a Mercedes-Benz fund supporting environmental science and carbon reduction efforts.

Did you know?

This expensive classic car is sometimes called the “Uhlenhaut Coupé.” The name honors Rudolf Uhlenhaut, an engineer who helped make race cars in the 1930s.


Head of Content at Rarest.org


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