Top Collector Cars Sold at Auction in 2018

© Rod HatfieldStrong Auction Sales
Sales at key collector auctions worldwide remained strong in 2018, with total sales coming in at $1.32 billion — yes, that’s billions with a “b” — an increase from $1.28 billion in 2017. “That growth came from a broad base in the middle of the market, rather than for big seven- and eight-figure consignments,” said Jonathan Klinger, vice president of public relations at Hagerty, publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide and the world’s largest insurer of collector vehicles. “Sell-through rates for $1 million-plus vehicles was 60 percent and for $10 million-plus vehicles just 45 percent, the lowest since 2013 for both categories. Looking ahead to 2019, it seems reasonable to expect current trends to continue with the middle of the market being the most active,” noted Klinger.

© Rod HatfieldTop 20 Sellers
Every August in California during the Monterey Motoring Week preceding the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, collector car auctions are a major attraction for well-(w)heeled automotive enthusiasts. This year total sales from all Monterey auctions exceeded $365 million dollars, from auction houses including Gooding & Company, RM Sotheby’s, Mecum Auctions and Bonhams, with 12 of the top 20 auction sales for the entire year occurring that week. A sale price of $4.45 million was needed to crack the top 20 highest priced cars sold at auction in 2018. Let’s take a look at those top 20 best-sellers.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience20. 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder
Sale Price: $4,455,000
Auction: Gooding & Company, Pebble Beach 2018
This Porsche 550 Spyder was originally raced in 1955–56 by privateer racer Eldon C. Beagle with the original bill of sale, delivery letter from Jon von Neumann and photos of the car racing to document the history. The car is powered by a 1498cc double-overhead cam type 547 flat 4-cylinder engine with twin Weber 40 DCM 1 carburetors mated with a 4-speed manual transaxle. The engine and transmission numbers match the Porsche Kardex — the recordkeeping system used in the 1950s. The car has been part of the same collection for the past 20 years.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience19. 2007 Porsche RS Spyder
Sale Price: $4,510,000
Auction: Gooding & Company, Pebble Beach 2018
The Porsche RS Spyder was one of the most successful prototype race cars in Porsche history, and this RS Spyder was the last of six built for the 2007 race season. It was originally sold to CET Solaroli Motorsports of Jacksonville, Florida, and has seen limited track time in historic racing events. The car is presented in bare carbon fiber bodywork, and this was the first time a Porsche RS Spyder was offered at public auction. The Porsche RS Spyder is powered by 3.4-liter 90-degree V8 engine producing 503 horsepower at 10300 rpm, combined with a 6-speed Electropneumatic Semiautomatic Sequential Gearbox.

© Rod Hatfield17. 1956 Maserati A6G / 2000 Zagato Berlinetta (tie)
Sale Price: $4,515,000
Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Monterey 2018
This competition Maserati A6G / 2000 Zagato Berlinetta was originally a factory race car and was loaned to privateer racer “Gigi” Taramazzo to race in the 1956 Mille Miglia. The 11th of 20 Berlinettas with bodywork by Zagato, unique details include the grille with Trident badge set in an oval ring within a circular ring, no vents in the hood, no flared wheel arches and windshield wipers that park in opposite directions. The car retains its original engine and gearbox and the history has been extensively documented by Maserati historian Adolfo Orsi Jr.

© Rod Hatfield17. 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR (tie)
Sale Price: $4,515,000
Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Monterey 2018
The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR was the Mercedes-Benz entry for the FIA GT Championship to compete against the Porsche 911 GT1 and the BMW-powered McLaren F1. This car was number 9 of 25 built and is in original condition, including paint and drivetrain, and has been driven less than 1,500 km since new. The CLK GTR is powered by a 6.9-liter V12 engine producing 630-horsepower.

© Rod Hatfield16. 1957 Porsche 550A Spyder
Sale Price: $4,900,000
Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Monterey 2018
The Porsche 550A Spyder was based on the mid-engine RS 550 Spyder, Porsche’s first purpose-built race car. It was further developed with a full tube spaceframe, rear support crossmembers and a new low-pivot rear suspension. The 1.5-liter 4-cam flat 4-cylinder engine produces 135 horsepower at 7200 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque, combined with a close-ratio 4-speed transaxle and a claimed top speed of nearly 150 mph. The sleek body is hand-formed from aluminum alloy and is similar in appearance to the 550, but the 550A is distinguished by louvered access panels behind the doors.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience15. 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II
Sale Price: $5,005,000
Auction: Gooding & Company, Pebble Beach 2018
This rare Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II was raced by Scuderia Ferrari in 1955 and won first in class at the 1955 Grand Prix of Venezuela. It is now restored in its GP of Venezuela livery and was offered for sale after 58 years of ownership by Rear Admiral Robert Phillips. Competition history also includes class wins at Sebring and Caracas, and was raced during the period by Munaron, Schell, Castellotti and Rubirosa. This Ferrari 500 Mondial is powered by a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine producing 174 horsepower, combined with a 5-speed manual transaxle and a limited-slip differential.

© Bonhams14. 1993 McLaren-Cosworth Ford MP4/8A
Sale Price: $5,009,296
Auction: Bonhams, Monaco
The late Formula One superstar and three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna drove this 1993 McLaren-Cosworth Ford MP4/8A to his sixth and last Monaco Grand Prix win. The V8 Cosworth-Ford HB engine serial 510 and McLaren gearbox serial are the same that were fitted when Senna drove chassis MP4/8-6 at Monaco in 1993 — his last season with McLaren. The previous owner acquired the car directly from McLaren International founder Ron Dennis in 2006, at a time when no McLaren MP4 cars were privately owned.

© Bonhams13. 1957 BMW 507
Sale Price: $5,012,432
Auction: Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018
Bought for the late John Surtees CBE — multiple World Champion motorcycle rider and racing driver — by Count Domenico Agusta, this BMW 407 was a gift to Surtees in appreciation of winning the Motorcycle World Championship in 1956. This BMW 507 is one of only 252 ever built and was offered for sale by the family of John Surtees CBE, who owned the car since new. After taking delivery of the car, BMW modified the engine to improve performance, added underbelly aerodynamic improvements for increased top speed and added Dunlop four-wheel disc brakes as part of its disc brake development program.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience11. 1955 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spider (tie)
Sale Price: $5,170,000
Auction: Gooding & Company, Pebble Beach 2018
One of only three Spiders with coachwork by Frua built on the Maserati A6GCS/53 chassis, this 1955 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spider is a beautiful sports car from the 1950s and winner of the Prestigious Coppa d’Oro at the 2010 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Powered by a 2.0-liter twin-plug inline 6-cylinder engine with three Weber carburetors producing 170 horsepower at 7300 rpm, combined with a 4-speed manual gearbox, this Maserati Spider features front independent coil-spring suspension with Houdaille shock absorbers and a live rear axle with Houdaille shocks.

© Bonhams / P. Litwinski11. 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder (tie)
Sale Price: $5,170,000
Auction: Bonhams Scottsdale, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa 2018
Originally a Porsche works team car, this 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder finished second in class and fifth overall at the 1958 Le Mans 24 Hours and first in class at 1000 Km Nurburgring. The 550A features a full spaceframe that reduced the chassis weight by 95 pounds compared to the 550, and another 65 pounds was trimmed from the aluminum body, resulting in a total weight of just 1,170 pounds. At the same time chassis rigidity increased and the suspension — with a new low pivot swing axle at the rear and more solid mounting points — worked more efficiently. This car was the second to last of only 40 550A Spyders produced and includes the upgraded 135-horsepower engine and 5-speed gearbox with a lower first gear for quicker starts.

Robin Adams ©2018 Courtesy RM Sotheby’s10. 1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar
Sale Price: $5,945,000
Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Porsche 70th Anniversary Sale
After famed Porsche driver Jacky Ickx fielded a team of three cars based on the 911 SC RS for the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally, Porsche debuted three purpose-built 959 cars for the 1985 event with a new chassis and Group B bodywork. This car, chassis 010015, was one of the 1985 Paris-Dakar entries — car #186 driven by 1984 winners Rene Metge and Dominique Lemoyne. Metge also won in 1981 and went on to win again in 1986, but the car was sidelined in 1985 with a ruptured oil line after winning two stages. This car did not race again after 1985 in Group B but attended the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2004–2006 where it was driven by Jacky Ickx and his daughter Vanina.

© Bonhams9. 1932-34 Alfa Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Monoposto
Sale Price: $6,067,210
Auction: Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018
A significant car in Grand Prix racing history, this Alfa Romeo Tip B Grand Prix Monoposto was purchased directly from Scuderia Ferrari in Modena, Italy by British motor racing driver Richard Shuttleworth for the 1935 racing season. In October 1935 Shuttleworth won the inaugural Donington Grand Prix beating two ex-works Type 59 Bugattis, and in November 1935 he set the Brooklands Mountain Circuit lap record that stood as the 2.0–3.0-liter lap record for all time up to its closure in 1939.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience8. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta
Sale Price: $6,600,000
Auction: Gooding & Company, Pebble Beach 2018
With coachwork by Scaglietti, this 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France was owned for 58 years by noted Ferrari collector Fred Peters. The fifth of 36 single-louvre examples built, this 250 GT TdF raced in the 1958 Targa Florio and the Trieste-Opicina Hillclimb. Powered by a 3.0-liter V12 engine with three Weber carburetors producing 260 horsepower combined with a 4-speed manual gearbox, this 250 GT TdF features independent front suspension and a live rear axle.

© Courtesy of Gooding and Company. Photo by Mathieu Heurtault7. 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale
Sale Price: $8,085,000
Auction: Gooding & Company, Scottsdale Fashion Square 2018
Built by Carrozzeria Pininfarina for the personal use of Battista Pininfarina, this Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale features unique coachwork details and a 6-carburetor engine producing 265 horsepower. Featured at the Frankfurt, Paris, Torino and Brussels Motor Shows, this one-of-a-kind Ferrari has been part of a major private collection for the last 25 years and rarely seen.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience6. 1966 Ford GT 40 Mk II
Sale Price: $9,795,000
Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Monterey 2018
Henry Ford II took aim at Enzo Ferrari with the Ford GT40 and the goal of winning the Le Man 24 Hours, and in 1966 Ford GT40s finished 1-2-3 with this car placing third overall, driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson. The fourth of eight Ford GT40 Mark II examples built, this car was part of the Holman-Moody/FoMoCo team for 1966–67 but first raced in the Daytona 24-Hour Continental in February 1966 with an experimental 2-speed automatic transaxle and was painted Kandy Gold for the 1966 Sebring 12 Hours where it was driven to a 12th place finish by Ronnie Bucknum and A.J. Foyt. After Sebring the car was fitted with a standard manual transaxle and further tuned by Holman-Moody before Le Mans. The car today retains its iconic Kandy Gold livery with matte Day-Glo pink highlights that were added the day before the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1966.

© Bonhams5. 1961 Aston Martin ‘MP209’ DB4GT Zagato Grand Touring Two-Seat Coupe
Sale Price: $13,315,899
Auction: Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018
After ownership by a single family for the last 47 years, this Aston Martin ‘MP209’ DB4GT Zagato, known by its road registration number of “2 VEV” was essentially a development prototype that was factory prepared and raced by the Essex Racing Stable in 1961–62. This Aston Martin ‘MP209’ DB4GT Zagato was driven twice by Formula One World Champion and Indy 500 winner Jim Clark; it delivers 310 horsepower and 285 lb-ft of torque — more power and torque than a Ferrari 250 GTO..

© Rod Hatfield4. 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype
Sale Price: $21,455,000
Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Monterey 2018
After Aston Martin racing shut its doors at the end of 1960, the focus turned to road cars, but the dealers begged for a return to racing and the first Design Project began with DP212 and DP215 followed as the factory entry for the 1963 Le Mans Prototype Class. Aston Martin Design Project 215 was the last Aston Martin race car built by the factory; it was ordered by John Wyer, designed by Ted Cutting, employed an engine from Tadek Marek, and was driven by Phil Hill. Lucien Bianchi co-drove with Phil Hill at Le Mans, where the DP215 was clocked on the Mulsanne Straight at 198.6 mph.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience3. 1935 Duesenberg SSJ
Sale Price: $22,000,000
Auction: Gooding & Company, Pebble Beach 2018
The star of the 2018 Gooding & Company Auction at Pebble Beach — the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — was the 1935 Duesenberg SSJ, the most valuable pre-war car ever sold at auction. One of only two Duesenberg SSJ models ever built with a special short-wheelbase chassis and a supercharged twin-carbureted engine, this SSJ was originally delivered to Hollywood legend Gary Cooper. In unrestored condition, the car retains the original chassis, engine and bodywork and has been owned by the Briggs Cunningham Collection and the Miles Collier Collection since 1949.

Remi Dargegen ©2018 Courtesy RM Sotheby’s2. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti
Sale Price: $22,005,000
Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Petersen Automotive Museum
The Ferrari 290 MM at the Petersen Automotive Museum auction in December became one of the top 10 most valuable cars ever sold at auction when it sold for more than $22 million. Campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari for the 1956 and 1957 seasons, Ferrari 290 MM chassis no. 0628 was driven by factory team drivers that included Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Peter Collins, Wolfgang von Trips, Olivier Gendebien and Eugenio Castellotti. The final of four examples built and one of only three that survive today, this Ferrari 290 MM is Ferrari Classiche certified with numbers matching engine, gearbox and original bodywork.

© Rod Hatfield1. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti
Sale Price: $48,405,000
Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Monterey 2018
The most valuable car ever sold at public auction is this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO chassis no. 3413 GT, sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 for more than $48 million. The third of only 36 Ferrari GTOs ever built, this is one of only four upgraded to Series II specifications during the period by Scaglietti. Driven onto the auction block by five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell, chassis no. 3413 GT has been owned for the past 20 years by businessman, Ferrari enthusiast and vintage car racer Dr. Gregory Whitten.

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