10 Most Expensive Cars Ever Sold At Auction

What do you get when you mix ultra-rare exotic vehicles with wealthy people? The top 10 most expensive cars ever sold at auction!

10 Most Expensive Cars Ever Sold At Auction
...not quite the most expensive car ever sold at auction, but it's close!

Every couple of years it seems a new auction pricing record is broken, and with the way the car market is going, especially for ultra-rare, highly collectible vehicles - that likely won’t be stopping any time soon.

It probably goes without saying, but the vehicles sold on this list are worth far more now than were at the time (2013 - 2018); so expect some true fireworks if they ever come back up for auction!

I recently watched a video where experts at VINWiki appraised 15 cars in the Ralph Lauren collection, and let me tell you, it’s wild.

By their estimates Ralph had at least 5 vehicles worth over $30m, with 2 (a Ferrari 250 GTO) & the infamous Bugatti 57SC Atlantic over $100,000,000!

Absolutely mind blowing to think Ralph Lauren is sitting on a $500m+ car collection.

But, I’m digressing.

This list is the top 10 most expensive cars ever sold at auction. So until Mr. Lauren decides to sell, he nor his vehicles are on this list as a seller. He could theoretically have been a anonymous private buyer, though!

Just don’t be surprised if records are broken this Summer and that once again, Ferrari dominates the board.

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Top 10 Most Expensive Cars Ever Sold At Auction


1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti

1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti

Sold Price: $22,005,000
Chassis Number: 4
Year Sold: 2015
Auction House: RM Sotheby's

This particular Ferrari was an official race car for the Ferrari Scuderia racing team of 1956 and 1957. Stirling Moss raced this particular example to victory in the Nassau Trophy race, and there was a podium finish (top 3) in the famous Italian race the Mille Miglia (thousand mile).

If you know anything about official Ferrari Scuderia race cars, you'd know they don't make a lot of them. For this particular model there were only 4 made, and this was chassis number 4. We might as well say 3 made, though, because there are only 3 left in existence, the 4th one was destroyed racing.

So, there you have it. $22m buys you a 1950's Ferrari Scuderia official race car that won actual races, and now amounts to 33.3% of the entire models in existence!

And to think, this is the "cheapest" car on the list.

You can find more details on this vehicle here.


1956 Aston Martin DBR1

1956 Aston Martin DBR1

Sold Price: $22,550,000
Chassis Number: 1
Year Sold: 2017
Auction House: RM Sotheby's

Before James Bond made the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 a household name and one of the most desirable cars on Earth, there was this; an Aston Martin racing team 1956 DBR1, and as you can see, no less amazing looking than the famous silver spy car.

So what's the deal with this one?

This is the exact car that won the 1959 Nürburgring 1000km piloted by none other than the legendary Stirling Moss (see above with Ferrari). Word on the street is that there was an intense phone bidding war that helped to ratchet this price up to new heights, $22,550,000 dollars to be exact (without buyers premium, of course).

So who bought it? Well, in true auction house fashion they officially said "a private collector".

Ralph, it was you wasn't it?


1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti

1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti

Sold Price: $26,400,000
Chassis Number: 06701 (it's #1 of 3)
Year Sold: 2014
Auction House: RM Sotheby's

The Ferrari 250 GTO is iconic, setting race wins in its prime and auction pricing records today, but after the 250 GTO stopped racing, the 275 GTB/C was brought in to step up Ferrari's game.

See, because this v12 Italian monster now had to beat the equally powerful Ford GT40 & the Shelby Cobra Daytona!

Well, at least it tried to, anyway.

If you've ever watched the film Ford vs. Ferrari based on the 1956 battle at Le Mans between, you guessed it, Ford and Ferrari, you'd know this was basically an "arms race" between racing companies.

Ferrari basically had no choice. Bigger and better at any cost, so the 275 GTB/C was born.

What makes this beautiful car even more rare is that there were literally only 3 ever produced. I'm not sure how many are still in existence, but the odds aren't great all 3 are in this condition.

Now, here's the truly weird part.

This car, chassis #1, never actually raced!

It's not typical at all to see a homologated race car of this era with no competition experience. However, because of the condition and documentation, and lets face it; complete rarity of the vehicle, it sold for a staggering $26m anyway!

I could see Ralph buying this, just saying. The dude loves his 1950's-era Ferrari's.


1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S  N.A.R.T. Spider

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S N.A.R.T. Spider

Sold Price: $27,500,000
Chassis Number: 107019 (1 of 10)
Year Sold: 2013
Auction House: RM Sotheby's

I'm not even sure I could do the biography of this car justice, because, see, this car didn't just sell because it was a Ferrari, or even one of the most desirable Ferrari's. It was the combination of what it was and who owned it for the bulk of its life.

In a true rags-to-riches story, the original owner of the Ferrari, Eddie Smith (and his son Eddie Smith Jr.) were well-known racing buffs and Eddie Sr., a very successful business owner.

This is a summary of the backstory.

The N.A.R.T. Spider is not only famous for its rarity and beauty but also for its movie provenance.

The Spider was featured in the Steve McQueen film "The Thomas Crown Affair," and McQueen loved the car so much that he bought his own example shortly thereafter.

The Spider was also the first chassis that had been raced by Denise McCluggage and Pinkie Rollo very successfully at Sebring.

Eddie Smith was an ardent supporter of the Ferrari Club of America and attended many of its events. The Smith family's values of hard work, commitment to excellence, and love of their community have been passed down through three generations.


1956 Ferrari 290 MM

1956 Ferrari 290 MM

Sold Price: $28,050,000
Chassis Number: 0628 (1 of 10)
Year Sold: 2015
Auction House: RM Sotheby's

Chassis 0628 is a 1956 Scuderia Ferrari Works car that was built with a four-cylinder 860 Monza engine and the Tipo 520 chassis. The car's first race was the Mille Miglia with Peter Collins and famous motorsport photographer Louis Klemantaski as his co-pilot. Klemantaski's photographs of the car at all stages of the race helped to humanize the event and showcase the masses that came out to cheer on the racers and beautiful cars. Ferrari claimed the top five places, with Collins and Klemantaski finishing second.

The car went on to compete in the 2nd International ADAC 1000 KM at the Nürburgring with Alfonso de Portago and Jacques Gendebien driving. They failed to finish after an accident that damaged the nose of the car. At the Targa Florio, Gendebien and Hans Herrmann finished fourth overall. The car went on to further success at both the Coppa d'Oro Delle Dolomiti, driven by Gendebien and Jacques Washer, and the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo hill climb with Umberto Maglioli behind the wheel. At both events, 0628 crossed the line finishing second overall as well as first in class at the Coppa d'Oro Dolomiti. For its final race of 1956, 0628 was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti at the Swedish Grand Prix, but they failed to finish due to engine problems.

Chassis 0628 is a significant piece of motorsport history, having competed in some of the most important races of its time. The car's success at the Mille Miglia and other events helped cement Ferrari's reputation as a dominant force in motorsport. The car's significance is further highlighted by the fact that it was driven by some of the most legendary drivers of its time, including Peter Collins, Alfonso de Portago, Jacques Gendebien, and Juan Manuel Fangio.


1954 Mercedes-Benz W196

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196

Sold Price: $29,600,000
Chassis Number: 00006/54
Year Sold: 2013
Auction House: Bonhams

The (now 2nd) most expensive German car ever sold at auction was a Mercedes-Benz W196R that helped legendary F1 driver Juan Manuel Fangio achieve his second Formula 1 championship in 1954.

The car was sold by Bonhams at its Goodwood sale for $29.65 million (19,601,500 British pounds, including premiums). The sum more than doubles the previous record for a German automobile sold at auction.

The Mercedes-Benz W196Rchassis number 00006/54 was driven by Fangio himself to two grand prix race wins, and it is the only W196 in private hands. There is good reason for the staggering amount the car achieved.

The previous record for a German automobile sold at auction was $11.77 million that a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster sold for at Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach 2012 sale.


1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti

1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti

Sold Price: $36,000,000
Chassis Number: 0674 (1 of 4)
Year Sold: 2016
Auction House: Artcurial Motorcars

The most expensive car ever sold at auction is a 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, with a price tag of £25 million (about $36 million). Only four of this model were ever made, making it one of the rarest Ferraris in existence.

Auction house Artcurial Motorcars sold the vehicle during its annual Retromobile sale in Paris and compared it to the value of Picasso's paintings or Rodin sculptures.

Ferrari's workshop equipped the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti with a 4.1-litre V12 engine, providing it with a massive 400 horsepower and enabling it to reach a top speed of 190 miles per hour, which was unheard of at the time.

The fact that it was driven by some of the world's best drivers, including British Formula 1 champions Mike Hawthorne and Stirling Moss, increased its price.

The sale of the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti highlights the increasing value of rare and significant automobiles.

The combination of rarity, historic racing pedigree, and celebrity drivers resulted in the car becoming the most expensive ever sold at auction (up to 2016, anyway), exceeding previous records set by other rare and significant vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz W196R and the 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa Prototype.


1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Sold Price: $48,405,000
Chassis Number: 3413 (1 of 36)
Year Sold: 2018
Auction House: Bonhams

During a recent auction at Bonhams in California, a stunning 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta set a new global auction record with the bidding hitting $38.1m.

This price exceeds the previous record holder, a Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 racer from 1954, which sold for $29.7m last year. Only 39 of the 250 GTO Berlinetta were ever built, with 35 of them having the 1962-63 bodywork.

Due to various modifications made for different racing seasons, the number of near-original cars has reduced.

Bonhams describes this particular example as "the 17th of the 3-liter true 250 GTOs."


1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Sold Price: $48,405,000
Chassis Number: 3413 (1 of 36)
Year Sold: 2018
Auction House: RM Sotheby's

The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is widely considered as the world's most important and legendary motor car. It is the third out of 36 GTOs built and is considered by marque experts as one of the most authentic and original examples of all GTO models. Scaglietti upgraded this car, along with three others, with Series II GTO/64, which features more aggressive and successful coachwork.

Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi drove the car to victory in the 1962 Italian GT Championship. The car also played a crucial role in Ferrari's win in the 1964 International Championship for GT Manufacturers with its class win in the 1964 Targa Florio. Throughout the 1962 to 1965 seasons, it achieved over 15 class and overall wins.

Notably, the car won 1st in class at the 1963 Targa Florio, driven by Gianni Bulgari and Maurizio Grana, and 1st in class at the 1964 Targa Florio, driven by Corrado Ferlaino and Luigi Taramazzo.


1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

Sold Price: $143,000,000
Chassis Number: 1 of 2
Year Sold: 2022
Auction House: RM Sotheby's

The Mercedes-Benz Museum in cooperation with RM Sotheby's recently held an auction where the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was sold to a private buyer. This vehicle was part of the non-public vehicle collection belonging to Mercedes-Benz Classic, which comprises more than 1100 automobiles from the invention of the automobile in 1886 until today. The buyer has agreed that the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe will remain accessible for public display on special occasions.

The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is a unique design with innovative technology that has become one of the world's most significant automotive icons. Its distinctive "gullwing" doors and outstanding performance delivered by its thoroughbred racing technology have secured its position in sports car mythology and a very special place in the hearts of Mercedes fans around the world. The sale of the vehicle is part of an initiative connecting the past with the future of engineering and decarbonization technology.

Mercedes-Benz Heritage Head, Marcus Breitschwerdt, expressed pride that the historical collection could contribute to this initiative. He also stated that the second original 300 SLR Coupe will remain in company ownership and continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.