Take a Loan - 10 Most Expensive Classic Cars
For most of us, our cars are simply a means of transportation between home, work, and school. For some individuals, however, cars are not this utilitarian—instead; they are a means of self-expression. To these people, price often does not make a difference when it comes to the purchase of a new vehicle. In fact, buying a car that costs $1,000,000 or more is not unheard of. Individuals who are interested in the obtainment of a particularly special vehicle may want to consider the purchase of one of the cars described below, many of which are considered to be the most famous of all time.
10: 1962 Ferrari 250 LM
Vehicles produced: 62
Auction price: $6.9 million
Prior to the 1960s, Ferraris’ where identified by their front-engine layouts, which traditionally had been proven successful at international races around the world. In 1962, however, Ferrari engineers made a bold move and repositioned the engine of the 250 LM in the center of the vehicle body. Unease about this dramatic move limited production of the vehicle, with manufacturers eventually building only 32 250 LMs. The low production number of this car was paramount to its high selling price, yielding a final bid of $6.9 million at auction in 2008.
9: 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe
Vehicles produced: 6
Auction price: $7.25 million
Like the Ferrari 250 LM, the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe was designed specifically for auto-racing. While Shelby and Ferrari had been battling in European auto races for years, it was not until the production of the Cobra Coupe that the United States-run car manufacturing company was able to beat the iconic Italians racing team. In 2009, the fourth Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe was sold at auction, with a final bid of $7.25 million. To this day, that is the highest sale price of an American automobile at a public auction of all time.
8: 1904 Rolls-Royce 10 HP
Vehicles produced: 17
Auction price: $7.3 million
Built in 1904, the Rolls-Royce 10 HP is one of the oldest cars of all time. Featuring 10 horse power, a 1.8 twin-cylinder engine, wooden spoke wheel, and brass headlights, it is the epitome of a classic car. While this car received some updates in the 1930s, it was restored to its original specifications by a car-enthusiast in the 1950s. It is currently the oldest-known Rolls-Royce in existence, and despite its age, yielded a staggering sale price of $7.3 million at auction.
7: 1929 Mercedes-Benz 38/250 SSK
Vehicles produced: 30-35
Auction price: $7.4 million
Historically, Mercedes-Benz has produced cars that are long and lean. Designer Ferdinand Porsche instituted a dramatic change in design, however, with the development of the 38/250 SSK, which was surprisingly short and compact. In fact, the car was so unique that it earned a special nickname—Super Sport Kurz, or short, in German—which eventually made its way into the formal identification name of the vehicle. The most recently auctioned 38/250 SSK was sold in 2004, and after nearly 75 years of ownership still featured nearly all of its original parts. It is no surprise that this classic vehicle fetched $7.4 million at auction!
6: 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante
Vehicles produced: 11
Auction price: $7.9 million
Like many of the other vehicles described previously, the Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante was originally designed for racing. With dramatic fenders, riveted body panels, and a unique roof, the Atalante definitely stood out from the competition. In addition to its unique exterior, the Atalante also featured a 3.3 liter eight-cylinder engine, which could produce as much as 170 horsepower. Limited production and a unique styling to each Type 57SC Atalante produced resulted in a 2008 auction price of nearly $8 million.
5: 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Vehicles produced: 26
Auction price: $8.2 million
Originally designed for Europe’s political and financial leaders, the 540K Special Roadster is definitely one of a kind. This vehicle is 17-feet long, and features dramatic fenders, large headlights, and a rear-mounted spare tire. While not designed for racing, the 540K Special Roadster features a powerful engine—it’s 5.4 liter eight-cylinder motor produces an estimated 180 horsepower. Bernie Ecclestone, currently Formula 1 Chief Executive, sold his 540K Special Roadster at auction for over $8.2 million.
4: 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM
Vehicles produced: 1
Auction price: $9.3 million
Another racing car, the 330 TRI/LM was designed as an endurance vehicle. Unsurprisingly, this car did not fail to live up to expectations—in fact, the 330 TRI/LM won the 1962 Le Mans, a 24-hour endurance race that is considered by many to be one of the most difficult in auto racing. The 330 TRI/LM was one of the last front-engine racing vehicles designed by Ferrari. It’s unique design and powerful, 4-liter V-12 engine contribute to its reputation as one of the most classic racing cars in history.
3: 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner
Vehicles produced: 6
Auction price: $9.8 million
Originating in France, the Bugatti Corporation has a reputation for producing some of the most expensive, luxurious, and fastest vehicles on the planet. With its 12.7 liter straight-eight engine, the Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner is no exception. In addition to its large engine, the Type 41 Royale Kellner featured a 15-foot wheelbase and an auction price tag of almost $10 million. Today, the Bugatti Corporation has been taken over by the Volkswagen Group, who continue to manufacture vehicles under the Bugatti name.
2: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
Vehicles produced: 50
Auction price: $10.9 million
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder is considered by many car buffs to be the embodiment of the classic sports car. With its long hood, drop top, two seats, and 3.0 liter V-12 engine, it is no surprise that this car is desired by many individuals around the world. In addition to its impressive features, its appearance in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off makes it one of the most recognizable vehicles currently in existence. Up until 2009, it held the record for the highest-yielding sale price for a vehicle at auction.
1: 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa
Vehicles produced: 22
Auction price: $12.1 million
Like many of the other vehicles described previously, the Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa was originally designed as a racing vehicle. In addition to winning The 24 Hours of Le Mans, a famous European endurance race, the 250 Testa Rosa also achieved success in three-straight World Sports Car Championship for Constructors events. The 250 Testa Rosa featured a 3-liter V-12 engine with 300 horsepower and a staggeringly-beautiful exterior. Sold in 2009, the Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa currently holds the record-high for vehicles sold at auction.
For more information about classic cars, please consult the following web pages:
- Barrett-Jackson: The website of the world’s greatest collector vehicle auctions.
- RM Auctions: A collector car auction company offering the finest collectible cars.
- Leake Auction Company: The website of Leake Auction Company who is known for conducting several car auctions each year.
- Classic Car Classifieds: Look through the classic car classifieds to find your classic dream car.
- Ferrari: All Models: The official website of Ferrari, featuring information on some of the companies most famous classic models.
- Bugatti: A timeline of the history of Bugatti vehicles.
- Classic Bugatti: Information on the Type 35 and Type 37 classic Bugatti cars.
- Classic Bugatti makes 3.4 Million Euros: An article about a rare 1937 Bugatti that sold at auction for more than $3 million dollars.
- Mercedes-Benz: Classic Center: The official website of Mercedes-Benz with information on classic cars.
- Forney Museum of Transportation: The website of the museum offers information on antique cars, buggies, motorcycles and more.