6 Most Expensive Auctioned Cars 2017
European cars keep driving into investors pocketbooks. How much are they spending? We find out below.
Published on 16 August 2017
Investors continue to pump money into classic cars, making them one of the top two luxury investment asset classes over the past year in terms of price growth. As with previous years, 2017 has seen some magnificent automobiles auctioned globally. Vehicles seem to come out of the woodwork at these events, attracting crowds of savvy investors, while making onlookers drool. Here we take a look at the six most expensive auctioned cars investors have purchased this year, and preview what’s ahead at RM Sotheby’s Monterey car auction in California on August 18th & 19th.
Darin Schnabel ©2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Just as Bugatti’s Chiron is one of the most expensive new cars you can purchase, this 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet by Vanvooren tops our most expensive auctioned cars list. Recently sold at RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island, this highly coveted vehicle fetched an eye-watering US$7.7 million. This gorgeous drop top is extremely rare. Only four cabriolets were fitted with coachwork from Vanvooren, who themselves were well known in the automotive industry for their work with Rolls-Royce and Bentley during the 1920s and 1930s in France. This was not the most expensive Bugatti ever sold – that distinction goes to a 1932 Type 55 Roadster which sold for US$10.4 million last year – but it’s up there with the best of them.
For those of you who thought an old Jaguar couldn’t cost that much. Think again! The E-Type is in a realm of its own. Even Enzo Ferrari said that it was the most beautiful car in the world. Purchased for US$7.37 million at Bonhams Scottsdale, this 1963 Lightweight Competition version achieved the highest price ever for an E-Type. Although, it was unfortunately below the US$7.5 – 8.5 million it was expected to fetch. This Jag is one of only 12 ever made and having won the 1963 Australian GT Championship, oozes with pedigree.
Pawel Litwinski ©2013 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Harking back memories of Indiana Jones films, this Mercedes Benz 540 K Special Roadster has coachwork by Sindelfingen Werke and is one of only 25 produced in this guise. In fact, it’s possible it was the last of the 419 Mercedes Benz 540 K’s that were built from 1936 to 1939. This one found itself in the Soviet Union after World War II, however it was driven by then owner, Alf Johansson, to his native Sweden in the 1960s. Since its return west, it has been in several collections and is a previous winner of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Purchased for US$6.6 million at RM Sotheby’s Arizona, this is one of the highest prices ever paid for a 540 K Special Roadster – only surpassed by last year’s US$9.9 million acquisition of a 1937 model.
No list today would be complete without a Ferrari. Still revving its engine and turning heads wherever it goes, is this 1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione. Even though the car never finished a major race, the Works team Ferrari is winning classic car enthusiasts over everywhere. Uprated in power over the normal car, this is one of only three with these specifications. Owning an early V12 Ferrari race car is a dream of many collectors and understandably why the car fetched US$6.38 million at Bonhams Scottsdale.
Mathieu Heurtault ©Gooding & Company
Easily the newest vehicle on our list, this 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion is about as exotic as anything you are likely to ever see on the street. Produced because Porsche needed a street legal version of their Le Mans racer to be able to compete in the 24-hour endurance race, of which they would go on to win. This one of 20 road-going versions is extremely fast even 19 years on. The lucky new owner paid US$5.66 million for this 537-horsepower, mid-engine monster at the Gooding Amelia Island auction in March of this year. A 1997 GT1 Evolution, which is the race car converted to be road legal, sold at auction for US$3.13 million (€2.77 million) in Monaco last December. Looking as modern today as it did 19 years ago, the GT1 is a classic with the likes of other road-going Le Mans racers from the 1990’s such as the Mercedes CLK GTR, and will continue to be a popular investment choice for many years to come.
Porsche lovers will be delighted to hear that this 1928 Mercedes Benz Typ S 26/120/180 Supercharged Sports Tourer (longest name for a car in history) was designed by none other than Ferdinand Porsche. At the time, he was still at Mercedes and chief engineer of the project. It’s interesting to note as well that the car is supercharged, an ingenious way of using witchcraft to increase the performance. The Roots supercharger boosts power from 120-horsepower to 180-horsepower (where the car’s name comes from) for a few seconds. Just plant your foot on the accelerator and the car will go from comfortable cruiser to all out racer. Sound familiar to other cars engineered by Mr. Porsche?
Coachwork was completed by Erdmann & Rossi, who were prominent in Germany not only with Mercedes, but also Maybach as well as being the official representative there for Rolls-Royce and Bentley. The car from the marque whose brand value rose 16% last year, is one of only 174 produced and sold for US$4.81 million at Bonhams Scottsdale.
Monterey 2017: august 18th & 19th
After cars dropped to the number two spot on Knight Frank’s Investment Index (KFII) over the past 12 months, will the Monterey auction help them overtake fine wines to reclaim the pole position?
RM Sotheby’s Monterey – one of the most prestigious auctions in the automotive world – is upon us. This year is set to have a grand showing by Aston Martin and Ferrari. The five cars expected to achieve the highest prices are listed below, with Aston Martin leading the pack by more than twice as much as the second-placed Ferrari. If the Aston sells for more than its US$20 million minimum, then we could see cars back at the top of the KFII. Stay tuned for more updates!
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