There are people (read: really rich) who are willing to pay ridiculous prices for cars, especially rare cars sold at auctions. In a heated auction environment, participants will often bid up the price way past what the car is worth. So, when looking at these cars, realize that it may have been the excitement of the moment that caused these outrageously expensive prices!
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Price Sold at Auction: $6.2 million
This car is so rare that when this one was sold in 1991 for $6.2 big ones, it was the last time this model was available on any market.
1931 Bugatti Royale Berline de Voyager
Price Sold at Auction: $6.5 million
This Bugatti Royale was sold in Reno, NV in 1986. Look at those wheels! The Bugatti is a luxury car that was intended for royalty. Only six were ever produced, and because of the unfortunate timing (just as the Great Depression took hold), only three were sold. If only Ettore Bugatti could have been around to see what his cars would fetch eighty years later!
1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe
Price Sold at Auction: $7.25 million
The Shelby was built for racing, winning the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Italian, German, and French Grand Prix, and setting 23 land speed records in 1965. Like the Bugatti, only six were built, which explains the incredibly high auction price.
Rolls-Royce 10 hp Two-Seater
Price Sold at Auction: $7.25 million
The Rolls Royce 10 was the first car to be made by the combined team of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce. Despite the name, the car actually had a power output of 12 hp, and could go up to 39 mph. Only sixteen were produced, and only four survive. You’re looking at one of them!
1929 Mercedes-Benz 38/250 SSK
Price Sold at Auction: $7.4 million
“SSK” stood for “Super Sport Kurz,” with “kurz” being German for “short.” Too bad, as it would have been much cuter to call it “Super Sport Short.” There were only thirty-three of these cars built, with many being crashed and then used for parts. Only four or five of the originals remain, making them one of the most valuable cars in existence.
1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Price Sold at Auction: $8.2 million
One of the largest cars of the time, the Mercedes Benz 540K series was notable for being one of the official cars used to transport the Nazi regime. The “540K Special” was a high-end version of the car, produced in limited quantities (only 32 were ever built).
The infamous Nazi Hermann Göring ordered a custom-built blue 540Ks with his family crest displayed on both doors, nicknamed the “Blue Goose.” When U.S. troops invaded, they took possession of the car, and it was used as a U.S. command vehicle until the end of the war, when it was auctioned off by the U.S. Treasury department. It was purchased by a private collector, who reunited the Blue Goose with the veterans who liberated her in 2002.
1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa
Price Sold at Auction: $9.2 million
This car, sold in 2007, is the last of a long line of Ferraris that had the engine in the front. They now all have their compartments in the back. The Testa Rossa dominated racing championships in the 1950s and 1960s, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans several times.
1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe
Price Sold at Auction: $9.7 million
Another of the Bugatti Royale cars, this one was unsold and eventually hidden at the Bugatti home to avoid being taken by the Nazis in World War II. The car is fifteen feet long and comes with a 12.7 liter engine. That powerplant was originally designed for airplanes!
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
Price Sold at Auction: $10.9 million
Oscar winner James Coburn once owned this convertible car, which was sold to the highest bidder in 2008.
1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
Price Sold at Auction: $12.2 million
This is the most expensive car ever sold at auction, with the transaction taking place on May 17, 2009. Question: if you had just dropped $12 million on a car, would you want all those people standing so close to it?