Million Dollar Classics: A Look at the World’s Priciest Cars

World's Priciest Cars

The average asking price of a brand-new car is about $30,000, according to the NADA, a far cry from the millions of dollars often asked for the best classic cars. Often regarded as works of art by their owners, avid collectors and enthusiasts, these vehicles often bring hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars at various auction houses.

Before taking a look at some of the world’s most expensive vehicles, it’s a good idea to see what makes these classic cars million-dollar classics.

Anatomy of a Million-Dollar Classic

Classic cars represent a booming business with no slowdown in sight. The Hagerty Collector Car Index shows that average values for the most sought-after post-war classics rose from $944,000 in 2010 to over $1.4 million as of April 2013.

Age alone isn’t what makes a classic car worth so much money. There are plenty of other attributes that come together to make a classic desirable enough to command the big bucks at classic car auctions. Rarity is one such attribute – the fewer examples of a vehicle built during its time, the more likely it will command a high asking price. Other attributes include its overall desirability among collectors and whether it maintains most or all of its original parts and paint finish.

In addition to plenty of pampering and TLC, these high-dollar classics also need the necessary insurance to cover their value. In addition to State Farm classic car insurance, there’s also coverage from companies that directly specialize in classic cars, including Hagerty and Lloyd’s of London. These companies offer unique policy features that fully cover the value of these almost-priceless vehicles in the event of a total loss.

The World’s Most Expensive Classic Cars

Ferraris are well known for selling for astounding prices at auction, but the 1967 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider by Scaglietti is one the most expensive to date. With a breath-taking price tag of $27.5 million, it tops all other entries on this list. In fact, its auction price is the most paid for any Italian vehicle in the U.S., according to Bloomberg.

This particular N.A.R.T. Spider has been with just one owner since it was purchased new. RM Auctions notes that it’s also one of just ten examples ever made. With 300 horsepower from its 3.2-liter DOHC twelve-cylinder engine and a wishbone independent suspension, this stunning open-top exotic vividly represents fine Italian motoring.

Elsewhere in the world, the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 broke records for the most expensive classic car ever sold at auction. Driven by five-time racing champion Juan Manuel Fangio, this purebred racer crossed the block at Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale for a stunning $29,650,095. The W196R’s significance lies not just with its overall history as a Formula 1 racer, but that it was the first open-wheeled post-war Mercedes-Benz to win an F1 Grand Prix race.

Creative Commons image by Dave Hamster

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