So, what makes super-expensive cars sold at auction different to other expensive car sales sold from a swanky, modern car showroom?
Cars sold at auction fall into two distinct categories
One, is cars that have been repossessed, or are being sold by the government, or have possibly been damaged. That’s a whole different kettle of fish, and one we won’t be talking about here.
The other category of cars that are sold at auction are beautiful, rare, high-end collector’s cars. Often considered ‘vintage’ or ‘classic’ cars. Classic cars are a popular investment channel, but it’s often about passion for the rare, crafted, nostalgic desire for a classic piece of design and engineering yesteryear, more than a pure financial investment.
Yes, classic cars hold their value very well as investments, but its so often about the passion and collectability for an enthusiast that pushes that price up into the millions for a rare, well-preserved masterpiece of a vehicle.
So, if these beautiful classic cars are so very amazing, why are they not still being made? Great question.
Modern cars handle the modern road, lifestyle and technology requirements better. Modern engines are generally sealed units with central, electronic ‘brain’ control.
Classic cars? Well, where do we start? They have stunning, flowing lines and elegant shapes. Designers of yesteryear were not as technically advanced. They created shapes using hand and eye, shapes that reflected the trends and moods of the time, and that simply pleased them!
Production? Today, is a 24/7 process that is focused on meeting targets and reducing costs. Then? It was a far more manual process, performed by craftsmen and artisans.
An older, classic vehicle is a delicately balanced system, that needs to be in tune to create harmony between it’s hundreds of moving parts. The driver needs to understand the vehicle somewhat to drive it well and preserve and get the best out of its moving parts.
Classic cars sold at auction that fetch the highest prices have been lovingly created, restored and maintained with care and craftmanship.
For classic car collectors, there are many aspects that make an ‘old’ car so very valuable.
- Rare and scarce – they are no longer in production, so supply and sales opportunities are very limited. Exclusive.
- Nostalgia – these beautiful old cars have a story to tell. They might have been racers. Or in iconic movies. Or have belonged to interesting people in history. Or been the first of their kind.
- Universal and timeless – the mechanics and aesthetics!
- Restored or maintained to perfection
- They are beautiful specimens of the ‘Golden Age’ of classic vehicles, from around the 1930’s to the 1960’s
For a classic car owner, the journey IS the destination!
So, without further ado, lets take a look at five of the world’s top-selling beauties that have recently sold at auction, shall we?
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
- $48 400 000
- RM Sotheby’s
This was the curtain finale of the Ferrari 250 GTO, which was the first Ferrari with a 5 speed gearbox. It was also the last great Ferrari model that was front-engine, before evolving to mid-engine. There were only 36 GTO’s ever built. So, that’s pretty damn collectible! What’s more, every one of the 36 chassis are still in existence and accounted for.
Then, there is the plain old beauty of the vehicle. It is the last example of the actual designers Giotto Bizzarrini and Ferrari designing vehicles themselves, with timeless proportions and a unique silhouette.
Take a look!
1935 Duesenberg SSJ
- $22 000 000
- Pebble Beach
This weighty, solid piece of classic Americana was once owned by the swoon-worthy actor Gary Cooper, who regularly played the role of stoic hero-cowboy in his movies. Duesenberg only ever built two of these, the other one went to Clark Gable, another American actor of yesteryear who was regularly referred to as the “King of Hollywood.”
1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype
This streamlined beauty was made to compete at Le Mans, and is a significant, one-off vehicle that is part of Aston Martin’s illustrious history. The legendary lines and mechanical precision have been painstakingly restored over several decades, in consultation with the vehicle’s original designer. The transmission is new, but taken from the original designs, and the engine is original. This amazing car was the last Aston Martin designed for racing.
1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato ‘2VEV’
- $13 315 899
- Bonhams, Goodwood
A broodingly handsome rake, this Aston Martib has quite some history! One of the most easily recognised Aston Martins in the world, this particular one is of thoroughbred racing history, having been ‘almost’ completely written off three times! It was raced by Jim Clark (he won the F1 world championship twice) as well as another F1 world champion, Denny Hulme.
1966 Ford GT40 MK ll
- $9 795 000
- RM Sotheby’s, Monterey
Like a sleek panther with barely contained power, this car looks like it is about to leap out at you at any moment! In 1966, Bruce McLaren drove this vehicle in order to try and win the 24 hour Le Mans race, to show that Ferrari could not dominate racing.
As you contemplate these exquisite vehicles lines, their shiny, perfect paintwork and their impeccable credentials in history, you might want to sneak off to an auction house near you! Go on, I dare you!