The 20 most expensive cars at auction for 2023

Rising mortgage and rent costs and more expensive food and electricity bills have meant many of us have been tightening our belts over the past year. But none of these concerns of the proletariat or reports of softening classic vehicle prices have stopped the world’s super-rich car enthusiasts from splashing out huge sums of money on collector cars at auctions in 2023. Join us as we count down the 20 the highest auction results of the last 12 months.

20. 1995 Ferrari F50 – $5,065,000

RM Sotheby’s – Amelia Island, March

Can you imagine owning an F50 for 27 years and only managing to put 834 miles (1,342 km) on it in that time? Sounds like a crime to us, but one man’s loss is another man’s gain. Despite the low mileage, the interior was reworked as part of a $79,000 pre-sale refresh in 2022.

Related: Time has been kind to the F50, can we now call it one of the best Ferraris of all time?

19. 2010 Pagani Zonda R – $5,340,000

RM Sotheby’s – Amelia Island, March

Twenty-five years ago, Pagani barely delivered its first car, but now the brand’s back catalog of carbon creations is among the most valuable cars on the planet. To be fair, this Pagani is a bit more special than most, as it is one of only 10 R Revolución Specification Zondas ever built.

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18. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT TdF – $5,365,598

Bonhams – The Zoute Sale, October

This 250 Tour de France – a model named in recognition of Ferrari’s success in the then famous motor race – was originally red, but its second owner chose to repaint it in Oro Chiaro (light gold) just a few months after it left the factory. and this is the color the restorers chose in 2016.

17. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 – $5,395,000

RM Sotheby’s – Monterey, August

Two details in this 275’s family tree stand out, the first being that its original owner was movie star Steve McQueen, and the other that it was turned into a spider after an accident in the early 1980s. Fortunately, it has since been restored to its McQueen-era coupe configuration by the masters at Ferrari Classiche.

16. 1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Tourer – $5,395,000

RM Sotheby’s – Monterey, August

Bugatti’s Type 57 SC is probably best known as a coupe with a strikingly modern-looking (for the time) teardrop-shaped body, but there were also convertibles, including this one with a body by British coachbuilder Corsica. The “C” in “SC” stands for a supercharger or a supercharger that boosts power to 200 hp. (203 hp) and gives a top speed of 120 miles per hour (193 km/h).

15. 2002 Ferrari Enzo – $5,998,805

Monaco Car Auctions – L’Astarossa, June

With only 399 examples sold, the Enzo is a special car, but this one is particularly notable as it is the number 1 car owned by two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso. The Enzo cost $659,000 when new, and even accounting for inflation, this car’s selling price of nearly $6 million means Alonso made a serious profit on it.

14. 1951 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta – $6,338,737

Artcurial – Rétromobile, February

Owned by the same collector for 48 years, this bargain Barchetta qualified third at Le Mans in 1951 before a broken starter put it out of the race following a pit stop. Other major appearances in its history include the 1953 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1954 Daytona Speed ​​Week.

13. 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider – $6,379,285

RM Sotheby’s – Le Mans, June

This 121 LM Spider raced at Le Mans in 1955 and 68 years later is back on the track for a less dangerous mission, namely to find a new owner at the RM Sotheby’s sale. One of four surviving examples, it also competed in the Mille Miglia when new and has just received a full Ferrari Classiche restoration.

12. 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica – $6,605,000

RM Sotheby’s – Monterey, August

A proven race winner, this glamorous coupe is one of only seven cars produced with covered headlights, and the only one to wear the invisible Nero Tropicale IVI paint. Superamericas were designed specifically for the power-hungry US market, and this one was built with a powerful 400 hp. (406 hp) Lampredi V12.

11. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta – $7,316,598

RM Sotheby’s – Villa Erba, May

Not being able to find your car’s service book when you’re trying to sell it is a pain, but just imagine not being able to find the Ferrari Classiche documentation on your 250 GT. Fortunately, a digital version still came with this 250, which had a 1960s cameo in the original Herbie movie, and the lack of the Red Book didn’t stop it from making big bucks.

10. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta – $9,465,000
    The 20 most expensive cars at auction for 2023

Gooding & Company – Pebble Beach Auctions, August

Yes, another 250 GT SWB because the model is a regular at big-ticket classic car auctions and the same cars tend to turn up over the years. But not exactly this 250 GT. An unrestored gem that has had just four owners since new was offered for public sale for the first time in 2023.

9. 2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR Roadster – $10,235,000

RM Sotheby’s – Las Vegas, November

Arguably even more outrageous than the current AMG One, the CLK GTR Roadster was a road-going but roofless version of Mercedes’ endurance racing car from the late 1990s, and incredibly rare – it’s the third of just six cars. It has also only driven 106 miles (170 km) after being on static display for the past five years.

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8. 2022 Bugatti Chiron Contoured – $10,878,388

RM Sotheby’s – Paris, February

Bugatti abandoned plans to produce a series Profilée Chiron, leaving this pre-production car as the only completed example. The idea was to take advantage of the powertrain and chassis upgrades that come with the Chiron Pur Sport, but without the heavy spoilers.

Related: Bugatti Chiron Profilée is the most expensive new car ever sold at auction

7. 1972 Ferrari 312 PB – $13,377,890

RM Sotheby’s – Villa Erba, May

This particular 312 played a key role in Ferrari’s successful foray into the World Sportscar Championship in 1972, securing victories at the 1000 km at Buenos Aires in 1972 and the 1000 km at the Nürburgring, second place at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1972 and third place in that year’s Monza 1000km.

6. 1957 Jaguar XKSS – $13,205,000

RM Sotheby’s – Monterey, August

Essentially a Jaguar D-Type Le Mans street racer, the XKSS was supposed to have a small production run of 25 units, but a devastating factory fire destroyed nine examples, meaning survivors are incredibly rare. This unrestored car is said to be one of the most original and best preserved.

5. 1964 Ferrari 250 LM – $17,520,065

Artcurial – Paris, July

The car that replaced the legendary 250 GTO, and even rarer – it’s one of only 32 cars built. It’s not the example that won Ferrari’s last Le Mans win for almost 60 years in 1965, but we’ll still make room for it in our garage.

4. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider – $18,045,000
    The 20 most expensive cars at auction for 2023

Gooding & Company – Amelia Island, March

One of only 37 SWB Californias equipped with the coveted hooded headlights, this 250 was the only one painted in Azzurro Metallizzato and was built for the 1962 New York International Auto Show. It was later crashed and purchased by the last owner in early 1970s for only $2400…

3. 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 – $18,815,000

RM Sotheby’s – Las Vegas, November

The first of the modern Silver Arrows F1 cars to be sold outside the Benz empire, this 2013 car was driven by Lewis Hamilton in 14 of the 19 races that year and took first place in Hungary. It is also the last of the V8 cars for the Grand Prix – F1 switched to a V6 with hybrid drive in 2014.

2. 1967 Ferrari 412P Berlinetta – $30,255,000

Bonhams – Quail Auction, August

The history file of this lovely Fantuzzi-bodied 412P shows it came third in the Spa 1000 KM in 1967, raced at Le Mans that year and scored emphatic victories at the Nuremburg 200 km and the Swedish Grand Prix.

1. 1962 Ferrari 330 LM/250 GTO – $51,705,000

RM Sotheby’s, November

There has been much debate online by enthusiasts as to whether this car is considered a true GTO, as it comes from the factory with a larger 4.0 liter V12 and is built around a different chassis, hence the 330 LM part of the name. But there was no doubt that this was a truly special car and the most expensive auto purchase at auction in 2023.

Image credits: RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Gooding & Co, Monaco Car Auctions, Artcurial

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