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Most Expensive Classic Cars

The price of classic cars has continued to soar despite the pandemic – with car enthusiasts and investors giving the market a significant boost that has continued throughout 2021. Market analysts say a staggering number of classic cars are selling for a higher price than expected.

Ferrari 250 GTO

© Simlinger /

Bonhams sold the most expensive classic car of the year: a 1937 Bugatti Type 57 went for a massive £4.047 million at the auction house’s New Bond Street sale in February. One of only 42 produced, it had been off the road for the past 50 years, so despite its age, it is in extremely good condition.

The black paintwork is largely intact, while its original coachwork and cream leather interior are in good condition too. The auctioneer described the model as being one of the most important pre-war Bugattis.

While this is an incredibly high price for a classic car, other vehicles in the past have sold for even higher prices. Read on to find out the asking price of the most expensive classic cars in history.

1. Ferrari 250 GTO: £52.3 million
The Ferrari 250 GTO has claimed the title of most expensive car ever sold, selling for £52.3 million in a private sale in 2018. Owned by the famous German racing driver, Christian Glaesel, he sold his car to American buyer David MacNeil. Only 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs were ever made. This car won the 1964 Tour de France and finished fourth in the 1963 Le Mans 24-Hour. It has never been involved in an accident, which experts say adds to its immense value. Taking inflation into account, the price tag in today’s terms would be £54.4 million.

2. Ferrari 250 GTO: £30.7 million
It should come as no surprise that the second most expensive car sold at auction is also a Ferrari 250 GTO, sold in 2014 for a then-world record price of £30.7 million. This fabulous set of wheels was once owned by the Formula One racing driver Jo Schlesser, who tragically lost his life on the track in 1968. At the time of the sale, it smashed all earlier auction records and remained the most expensive classic car in the world until it was overtaken by its stablemate in 2018. In today’s terms, taking inflation into account, the price equates to £35.1 million.

3. Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti: £28.8 million
Another Ferrari! This time, a 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti, which sold for £28.8 million in 2016 at auction. It had been privately owned by a collector for 40 years before being put up for sale. Raced by Maurice Trintignant and Peter Collins in the 1957 Sebring 12 Hours, it also took part in the Mille Miglia, driven by Wolfgang von Trips. This led to the high price, which would be £32 million today, taking inflation into account.

4. Mercedes-Benz W196: £23.8 million
In 2013, an amazing Mercedes Grand Prix car, the Mercedes-Benz W196, sold for £23.8 million at auction. It is the only non-Ferrari car in the top five most expensive classic cars ever sold. Juan Manuel Fangio won the Swiss and German Grands Prix in 1954 in this motor. When it was sold in 2013, it was the most expensive car ever sold at auction at the time. Taking inflation into account, the price would be £27.8 million today.

5. Ferrari 290 MM: £22.6 million
Another Ferrari motor racing car takes the number five top spot. This 1956 model was another sports car built for the racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio for the Mille Miglia open-road endurance race. His name alone adds extra prestige to any classic car. Only four 290s were ever made and after the Mille Miglia, this one enjoyed further racing success. The price tag of £22.6 million in 2018 would be the equivalent of £23.5 million in today’s money.

Best-selling brands

Ferrari appears most frequently in the list of the most expensive classic cars ever sold, mainly due to the motor racing link and the scarcity of some models, when only a handful were built.

Sold at auction for £17.5 million in 2016, the most expensive Jaguar was the Jaguar D-Type. The equivalent price tag today, after inflation, would be £19.5 million. The Jaguar D-Type won at Le Mans three times between 1955 and 1957. It had been in a private collection before the sale and had still been used for occasional race outings.

In these uncertain times, classic cars are more than holding their own in investment terms. This is why owners of vintage cars who need money urgently are able to apply for a logbook loan secured on their vehicle.

Logbook Loans 247 can provide cash immediately to a successful applicant. Call us, or apply online, for a logbook loan. If successful, we will hold onto your logbook and register an interest in the vehicle on the HPI database until the loan is repaid in full, but you can carry on driving your car in the interim period.