One Percenters: The Top 5 Collector Car Auction Sales

Cataloging the “top auction cars sold” is a fool’s errand. It’s difficult to account for the vagaries of the market and money in general, making what sold for record money 10 years ago look like a relative bargain now. Taste also factors in. A few years back, Barrett-Jackson sold the Truppi-Kling 1970 Chevelle LS6 Convertible for $1.2 million, certainly a record for an LS6 at that point. At the depths of the economic downturn just two years later, that same car sold for $264,000, which was probably what it was worth in the first place. Nevertheless, there are cars that have sold in their respective eras that set the benchmark for sales at auction. These five represent the zenith of collector car prices: 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa:
One Percenters: The Top 5 Collector Car Auction Sales
Auctioneer: Gooding and Company Event: Pebble Beach 2011 Sale Price: $16,390,000 (including premium) Gooding and Company isn’t a household name like Barrett-Jackson, but David Gooding cut his teeth at Christie’s when that company was deep into the automotive auction game, and then spent a good number of years running the show at RM Auctions. He split off on his own, and runs just three exclusive auctions a year at Amelia Island and Scottsdale, as well as the signature auction at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance,. The Ferrari in question sold for $16.4 million in 2011. It’s sort of hard to understand just how significant that really is, but this should give you some perspective: It sold for about $4 million more than the car that previously held the record for about two years, or just half a million shy of enough money to purchase the James Bond 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that sold in October of 2010. 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa:
One Percenters: The Top 5 Collector Car Auction Sales
Auctioneer: RM Auctions Event: Maranello, Italy Sale Price: $12,402,500 This Testa Rossa saw its best finish at the Buenos Aires 1000km in 1958, finishing in fourth place. The car ended up in the United States, sold by Luigi Chinetti’s Chinetti Motors in Greenwich, Connecticut to the American Alan Connell, who painted the car in the colors it wears today. The Scaglietti-designed Testa Rossa sold at RM Auctions’ event in Maranello under the eyes of every formidable collector in the world. The Ferrari Leggenda e Passione auction was held in conjunction with auction powerhouse Sotheby’s, and it took place in Maranello at the Ferrari factory. 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster:
One Percenters: The Top 5 Collector Car Auction Sales
Auctioneer: Gooding and Company Event: Pebble Beach 2012 Sale Price: $11,770,000 (including premium) Months prior to this past year’s Pebble Beach Auction, Gooding expected that this particular Mercedes-Benz would set records, and it did, not only for a Mercedes-Benz, but for any German car. The 540K Special Roadster was purchased new by the aristocratic Von Kriegner family in 1936. The car was shipped to Switzerland to avoid Allied bombing in World War II, and eventually it moved to the United States, ironically to the same town in Connecticut that sold the 1957 Testa Rossa above. Collectors had urged Baroness Von Kriegner to sell the car for decades, but she kept it until her death in 1989. The next owner sent the car to Classic Car Services to be restored by Chris Charlton in Oxford, Maine, who also restored the Pebble Beach-winning Duesenberg Model J owned by New Hampshire International Speedway owner Bob Bahre. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Competizione Spider:
One Percenters: The Top 5 Collector Car Auction Sales
Auctioneer: Gooding and Company Event: Pebble Beach 2012 Sale Price: $11,275,000 (including premium) It’s amazing to think that Gooding and Company managed to sell $23 million by rolling just two vehicles across the block this past August. It indicates that as the economy improves, records will continue to be set and broken, especially as cars that have been off the market for decades begin to see the light of day again. The all-aluminum, long-wheelbase Spider underwent a full restoration by David Carte, and was part of a four-vehicle collection of Ferraris consigned to Gooding by the estate of Sherman Wolf. Wolf made his fortune developing two-way radios and pagers in New England, and later co-developed Great Woods Center (now the Comcast Center) and the Harbor Lights Pavillion (now Bank of America Pavillion) in greater Boston. A lifelong automotive enthusiast, he ran this particular Ferrari in the inaugural Colorado Grand . 1968 Ford GT40:
One Percenters: The Top 5 Collector Car Auction Sales
Auctioneer: RM Auctions Event: Monterey 2012 Sale Price: $11,000,000 Just a few miles from the famed Pebble Beach golf course in downtown Monterey, RM Auctions collects some of the most amazing vehicles in the world. Last August, the world waited with bated breath as RM rolled not just a 1968 GT40, but the 1968 GT40 across the block. Chassis number P/1074 featured one of the greatest racing histories of any car ever auctioned, with a debut win in ’67 at Spa, at the hands of Jacky Ickx and Dr. Dick Thompson. It went on to be piloted by David Hobbs, Brian Redman, Mike Hailwood and Paul Hawkins. If that wasn’t enough, it was the camera car for Steve McQueen’s film Le Mans. The GT40 hit the auction block just months ahead of the 50th anniversary of the GT40 program, and a reignited interest in that era in motorsport thanks to Ron Howard’s upcoming film. One interesting side note to this story: The one household name in classic car auctions is Barrett-Jackson, but interestingly, Barrett-Jackson has never sold a car that came in the top 35 auction cars sold. The highest it managed was $5.5 million for a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake in 2007. Mecum, Kruse, Bonhams and even Christie’s managed to sell cars that bested that figure, all the way back to Christie’s 2000 sale of a Ferrari 330 P3.

Be part of something big