This synopsis of the 100 most expensive cars ever sold at auction includes detailed images of all the cars, prices and links to the catalog descriptions … a full snapshot of the marketplace for hyper-rare collectible cars.
All of these cars are not just rare but beautiful, and approach the intersection of art and automobiles. It’s little wonder that McKeel Hagerty, founder of the world’s largest classic car insurance company, recently referred to the Ferrari 335S Spider Scaglietti that sold for US$35.7 million in February 2016 as a “Mona Lisa Car”.
Now we’re presuming Hagerty’s “Mona Lisa” reference means a car that is extremely rare, exquisitely beautiful, has a fabled history and an impeccable provenance.
In most cases in this listing, all of those criteria are met, and like so many other high-priced collectibles, “storied objects.” Wherever possible, we have pointed out to the full story to the best told tale we can find.
Ferrari dominates the top 100
Ferrari dominates the list with 62 of the top 100 cars, and 41 of the 250 GT series cars on the list. That is, 41 percent of the world’s 100 most valuable cars are based on the Ferrari 250 GT platform.
Mercedes-Benz is the next most prominent marque with eight cars on the list ahead of Bugatti (7), Alfa Romeo (4), Ford (3), Jaguar (3), Bentley (2), Jaguar (2), Rolls-Royce (2) and Shelby (2). Aston Martin, Delahaye, Duesenberg, Porsche and Talbot-Lago each have one car in the top 100.
The single model with the most entries in the top 100 is the Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, with no less than 10 cars – a whopping 10 percent of automotive heaven.
Even the most recently produced car in the top 100 is a Ferrari, a 2005 Enzo, followed by two McLaren F1 cars. There will undoubtedly be more McLarens added to this list in the coming years as the McLaren F1’s star is rising rapidly and as one of automotive history’s landmark cars, it will appeal even more to new generations of collectors as it drives to perfection, and has all those modern conveniences which take the edge off bare bones performance motoring.