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The 9 Most Expensive Cars Ever Sold At Auction

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If you ever invent a time machine, you should go back to 1960 and buy a Ferrari 250 GTO. Scratch that. Buy ten.

In 1960 you could have bought a Ferrari GTO fresh from the factory for $6,000. After adjusting for inflation, that’s the same as spending around $62,000 in today’s dollars. In 1985, a businessman named Jim Jaeger bought his GTO for $500,000. That’s the same as around $1.4 million today.

In November 2023, Jim sold his Ferrari GTO for…

$51.7 million

And while that’s an insanely high purchase price, it is NOT enough to be the most expensive car ever sold at auction. Below is the current list of extremely pricey car auctions. Jim Jaeger’s $52 million GTO ranks second. The #1 most expensive car sold for nearly 3x Jim’s second-place price.

The 9 Most Expensive Cars Ever Sold At Auction

#9: 1967 Ferrari 275 GT-4 NART Spyder – $27.5 million

Only one of 10 examples made, this NART Spyder also only had one owner: A collector named Eddie Smith. Smith had offers for his car by the likes of Ralph Lauren and Steve McQueen, but held onto it until July 2013, when it was purchased at auction for $27.5 million by fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll. At the time it was the most expensive car auction ever. Unfortunately for Lawrence, his record was broken just one month later by the #7 car on this list.

#8: 1956 Ferrari 290 MM – $28 million

Sold at auction in December 2015 for $28 million, this 1956 Ferrari 290 MM was originally built for Formula One racing legend Juan Manuel Fangio. It is one of only four made. Under Fangio, this car finished fourth at the Mille Miglia that year. Most impressively for a car that was routinely raced, this specimen never crashed.

#7: 1954 Mercedes Benz W196R Silver Arrow – $29.6 million

This “Silver Arrow” won a groundbreaking 12 Grand Prix races and was one of only 14 examples made by Mercedes, with only 10 of them remaining today. Six of those 10 are owned by the carmaker in Germany and three of them are located in museums, which makes this the only one left. The car was driven by famous racer, Juan Manuel Fangio in Le Mans. The Silver Arrow was sold by Bonham’s in August 2013.

#6: 1967 Ferrari 412P Berlinetta – $30.2 million

Sold at auction in August 2023 during Monterey Car Week.

#5: 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti – $35.7 million

Sold at auction in France in February 2016 for $35.7 million, this Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti competed in the very first Mille Miglia rally and set a record at Le Mans.

Jacques Demarthon/Getty Images

#4: 1962 Ferrari 250 coupe – $38.115 million

This Ferrari set the record for most expensive car ever sold at auction in Monterey in 2014. This model was produced from 1962 to 1964, with only 39 examples having been made. Ralph Lauren also happens to own one of these bad boys and so does Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason. This particular model was designed to compete at the 3-liter FIA GT World Championship series in 1962, but was fatally crashed by a driver in another race beforehand. This 250 coupe was sold at the Concours d’Elegance luxury car festival.

#3: 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – $48.4 million

As you may notice, the Ferrari 250 GTO occupies three of the top 10 most expensive car auction results. And as you may notice, the 250 GTO occupies spots #4, 3 and 2 on this list. This specific GTO auction occurred in August 2014. The car, which had been owned by the same family for 49 years, won the 1963 FIA World GT Championship.

#2: 1960 Ferrari 250 GTO – $51.7 million

As mentioned at the top of the article, this specific Ferrari 250 GTO was purchased by an Ohio-based collector named Jim Jaeger for $500,000 in 1985. He offered his car up for auction in November 2023. When the gavel struck, a thus-far-unnamed buyer offered a winning bid of $51.7 million.

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

#1: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe – $142 million

That is not a typo. In May 2022 a top-secret RM Sotheby’s auction was held in Stuttgart, Germany. An elite group of invite-only collectors, with the deepest possible pockets, gathered to bid on a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, one of only TWO examples ever built. When the gavel slammed, a private and still-unnamed buyer paid $142 million for this car:

(Photo by Michael Cole/Corbis via Getty Images)





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