Image: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, photographed by Lothar Spurzem
If you love cars, then chances are you have a soft spot for a classic. Whether it’s a quirky little Mini or a beautiful Jaguar E-type, classic cars are some of the most desirable vehicles on the planet. So it’s no surprise to see some sell at eye-wateringly astronomical prices. We’ve took a look at some of the biggest classic car sales across the planet and come up with a list of the most expensive classic cars ever sold, both here in the UK and across the world.
Thinking of getting your own classic car? Did you know you can get classic car finance? If you’ve found the vintage motor of your dreams and would love to spread the cost into manageable monthly payments, then Creditplus can help. Read on to find out how. But first, here are the most expensive classic cars ever sold at auction.
Image: Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR auf der IAA 2009 photographed by LSDSL
Based on Juan Manuel Fangio’s GP world championship winning car, just two of this beautiful 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut were ever made. With top speeds up to 180mph, this car was built for racetracks of the fifties where safety was only a cursory consideration. Owned by the car company that built it, the model that went on auction had less than 4,000 miles on the clock.
Sold at a very exclusive auction in Stuttgart 2022, details of the bidders have been kept under wraps. But we do know that the car sold for an eye-watering $142,000,000 dollars, almost £115,000,000 in pounds.
Image: Rear view of 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Arnaud 25
It’s little surprise that Ferrari dominates the list of most expensive cars at auction. The marque’s dedication to style and speed makes them desirable to almost everyone, even those who wouldn’t class themselves as petrolheads.
The most expensive Ferrari ever sold is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. Finished in that iconic Ferrari red, the car was designed to attack the racing scene of the sixties. With a V12 engine and a top speed of 280 km/h, it was almost frighteningly quick at the time. That combination of racing pedigree and stunning looks meant it sold for a staggering $48,045,000 at auction in 2018.
The most expensive British car ever sold is a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1. The first of five prototypes, this car was auctioned by RM Sotheby’s for a whopping $22,555,000. After a change to the rules of racing in the fifties, sportscars no longer had to be road legal to compete. That led to a race for the fastest cars possible. Ted Cutting, chief designer at Aston Martin, came up with the DBR1.
The third version of the car would go on to enter 18 races, including 4 Le Mans, where it would win first prize in 1959. But it was the first of the five prototypes that would go on to sell for a huge sum at auction.
Image: Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Baujahr 1936, photographed by Ramgeis in Pebble Beach, California August 2004
The record for the most expensive classic car sold in the UK is a stunning vintage Bugatti. With the iconic front headlights, long front body opening up into the two seat cabin, and the huge spare wheel on the side, it’s a thing of absolute beauty.
Described as one of the most desirable pre-war cars, the car sold for £4,047,000 at auction in February 2021.
Image: Karl Kling driving a W196 at the Nürburgring, photographed by Lothar Spurzem
The car that the most expensive classic ever sold was based on, Juan Manuel Fangio’s own racing car is a lot more affordable in many ways. Also driven by Stirling Moss, the car was entered into two F1 world championships, winning both. The car would be the first of the ‘silver arrows’ that made Mercedes-Benz’s name in the sport.
Now we did say affordable, but that’s only in comparison to the most expensive car ever sold. And sure, there’s a bit more wear and tear on this one thanks to its racing exploits. But if you want to buy this, it will set you back $29,600,000, which is what it sold for back in July 2013.
To finish off this list, we thought we’d go with one of the most striking classic cars we’ve ever seen. Before the E-Type, there was the Jaguar D-Type. Yet another spots racing car, what makes this car stand out is the dorsal fin on its back. Whether a design quirk or something based on science, it certainly helped the car on its way to motorsport icon status, with D-types winning 3 Le Mans 24 Hour races in 1955, 1956 and 1957. It seems if you want to spend a fortune on a classic car, then you need to find one that raced at Le Mans in the fifties! This one will set you back $21,780,000.
If this list has inspired you to get your first classic car, then why not see if Creditplus can find a classic car finance package to make your vintage dreams come true? Working with a range of specialist lenders, apply online today and see if Creditplus can help get you behind the wheel of a classic car.
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