A classic Ford Mustang or a vintage MG MGB will set you back around $1000 – that is, if you’re looking for a fixer-upper. However, there are certain classic automobiles that, because of their rarity and unique history, cost just a wee bit more – anywhere from $8 million to upwards of $40 million. The following classic cars may be among the world’s most expensive, but they are also objects of engineering art and unparalleled beauty well worth the investment.
1928 Mercedes Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster
Recently selling for $8,250,000 in Monterey, California, the 1928 Mercedes Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster may not be the most expensive classic car, but it is one of the oldest. While the make might be German, the Roadster’s chassis was designed by Carrosserie J. Saoutchik, a native Ukrainian known for his French flair for design. The French influence extended throughout the car, including an interior made with 760 new lizard skins, sourced from French colonies in Southeast Asia, and Purpleheart trim wood sourced from French colonies in South America. This turned out to be a winning combination as the 1928 Mercedes Benz 680S Torpedo won the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4* N.A.R.T.
You may recognize the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4* N.A.R.T. (North American Racing Team) Spider from the Steve McQueen movie, “The Thomas Crown Affair.” McQueen himself tried to get a hold of this particular vehicle after being rear-ended in his own Spider. Maybe if McQueen had had State Farm he would’ve had better luck replacing his favorite classic car. However, the coveted Spider was recently sold at auction for a whopping $27.5 million, the highest ever paid at a public sale in the United States and the highest price ever paid for a Ferrari anywhere in the world. Perhaps what is even more incredible about this purchase is that all proceeds have been donated to various charities.
1954 Mercedes Benz W196R Formula 1 Racer
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale. It also saw the 1954 Mercedes Benz W196R Formula 1 Racer driven by Juan Manuel Fangio to two Grand Prix victories sold at auction for a record-breaking $29,650,095. This transaction broke three world records including most valuable motorcar ever sold at auction, most valuable Formula 1 racing car ever sold and most valuable Mercedes Benz. As if all that weren’t enough of a pedigree, the W196R also has the distinction of being the first open-wheeled, “slipper”-bodied, post-war Mercedes Benz to win a Formula 1 race.
1936 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic
In the spring of 2010, the 1936 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic belonging to the estate of the late Dr. Peter D. Williamson was sold to an undisclosed buyer for somewhere between $30 and $40 million. Not a bad return on investment considering Dr. Williamson bought the car in 1971 for what was then an unprecedented $59,000. The car is also an award-winner, having taken the title of “Best in Show” at Pebble Beach in 2003. Currently on loan to the Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, the 1936 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic is one of only two completely original Atlantics in existence. The other is owned by none other than famed clothing designer, Ralph Lauren.