13 Most Expensive Cars Sold at Auction

1995 Mclaren F1

Courtesy of bonhams.com

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1995 Mclaren F1
Courtesy of bonhams.com


Innovative, powerful, luxurious, and often imitated, the most expensive cars in the world are one part engineering masterpiece and one part work of art. The world's most well-heeled collectors bring their checkbooks to elite auctions hoping to drive home (hopefully not literally) with a Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin or Alfa Romeo that won races, was owned by royalty, or that can't be found anywhere else.

1966 Volvo P1800
Courtesy of wikimedia.org

1966 VOLVO P1800

Price: $77,000
If a modest, five-figure price tag seems a bit out of place in a discussion about cars that stoked multi-million-dollar bidding wars, remember that the Volvo P1800 is more than just the car that Roger Moore made famous in the classic '60s TV show "The Saint." It's also the same model that holds the world record for most miles ever traveled by a private, single-owner car. A Volvo P1800 entered the history books when it tallied more than 3 million miles on the odometer — and it also happens to be one of the world's most accessible vintage collector cars. The auction record is $77,000, but the average condition, average value standard is less than $15,000.

1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 2-Door Coupe
Courtesy of barrett-jackson.com


Price: $3.85 million
At a Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2014, a collector plunked down nearly $4 million for a Corvette — but it wasn't just any Corvette. It was one of only 20 1967 L88s ever built. The eight-cylinder four-speed is, of course, bright red inside and out.

1966 Ford GT40 MK II
Courtesy of rmsothebys.com

1966 FORD GT40 MK II

Price: $9.8 million
By the time this 1966 Ford GT40 MK II fetched nearly $10 million at a 2018 Sotheby's auction in Monterey, Calif., it had already chalked up an impressive resume. It was a Holman-Moody/FoMoCo team car from 1966 to1967, it was raced and tested by some of the most legendary drivers ever to get behind the wheel, and it came in third overall at the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Shelby Cobra CSX 2000
Courtesy of rmsothebys.com


Price: $13.75 million
Few automotive designers had a bigger impact on the history of cars than Carol Shelby. During Monterey Car Week in 2016, the Shelby that started it all was the center of a bidding war that ended in a $13.75 million gavel slam. It was the original Cobra CSX 2000, which Shelby himself kept for 54 years — never changing the original interior — before it went on the block.

1970 Porsche 917K

1970 PORSCHE 917K

Price: $14 million
In the world of performance automobiles, few names ring out louder than Porsche. The granddaddy of them all is the 1970 917K, which drew a winning bid of a little more than $14 million when it was auctioned off in 2017. The seller did get a little help from the big screen — the car earned Hollywood legend status when Steve McQueen drove it in "Le Mans."

1995 Mclaren F1
Courtesy of bonhams.com


Price: $15.62 million
The McLaren name is the stuff racing legend in Europe and the U.S., and McLarens are known for fetching big bucks at auction. Comedic actor Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) sold his for $12 million in 2015. But that's child's play compared to the F1 that Bonhams sold in 2017. The very first McLaren F1 ever imported into the U.S. was auctioned ahead of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and reached an epic $14.2 million, which ballooned all the way up to $15.62 million once fees were tallied. Interestingly, the car was made U.S. street legal before being imported and later refitted to European specifications. The parts needed to make the car U.S.-legal were kept, however, and included in the sale.

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider By Touring
Courtesy of rmsothebys.com


Price: $19.8 million
When Sotheby's Monterey auctioned a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider in 2016, it called the car "The Italian equivalent of the Bugatti Atlantic; the ultimate Italian sports car of its generation." Only 12 Touring Spiders have ever been built, and this one earned a restoration award from the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype
Courtesy of rmsothebys.com


Price: $21.46 million
Once clocked at 198.6 mph, the Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype raced in Le Mans in 1963. In fact, it was designed specifically to compete in the world-famous race, and it will go down in history as the last competition Aston Martin ever built by David Brown.

1955 Jaguar D-Type
Courtesy of rmsothebys.com


Price: $21.78 million
A predecessor of the sleek E-Type road car, the Jaguar D-Type was built for only three years between 1954-57. Of them all, only one that ever won Le Mans remains intact. The fact that it's had only two owners since its racing heyday in the 1950s helped it command nearly $22 million at auction.

1935 Duesenberg SSJ
Courtesy of Gooding & Co.


Price: $22 million
Out of the long and storied history of U.S. automobile culture, only one American car can be the most expensive of them all. That title goes to the 1935 Duesenberg SSJ, which went for $22 million at a 2018 Gooding & Co. auction. The previous record was the not-even-close $13.75 million paid for the original Shelby Cobra CSX 2000 in 2016.

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R
Courtesy of Bonhams


Price: $30 million
In 2013, a car that was part of a team that won nine of 12 world championships between 1954-55 broke a different kind of record. The car was a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R and the record it broke was that of most expensive car ever sold at a public auction. It took the title when a collector paid nearly double the previous record, which was held by a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
Courtesy of bonhams.com


Price: $38.12 million
In 2014, all known auto auction records, including the one set the year before by Mercedes, were broken when a collector wrote a check for more than $38 million for one of the most desirable cars ever built — the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta. Although the Bonhams auction was packed with some of the finest automobiles on Earth that day, the sweet Italian racing machine was the star of the show from the very beginning.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
Courtesy of rmsothebys.com


Price: $48.4 million
The 2014 record set by the Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta lasted for four years, but all empires must fall. In 2018, the king of the auto auction hill was dethroned — by a different 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta. This one sold for more than $48 million, smashing all previous records by miles and proving that a rare, mint condition Ferrari built in 1962 is truly a collector's dream.