Top-five most expensive cars ever sold at auction

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

A Maserati 450S Prototype, driven famously by motorsport legend Sir Sterling Moss, is heading into auction next month and is expected to fetch up £4.5 million when it goes under the hammer in Monaco.

The 1956 Maserati is steeped in history and was notably crashed with Moss at the wheel whilst contesting the iconic Mille Miglia in Italy. However, while £4.5 million may sound like plenty of money to be spent on a car, the most expensive car sold at auction went for four-times that amount in 2013.

Here is a run-down of the top-five most expensive cars to ever go under the hammer around the world:

5. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder - $10,900,000 (£6,559,947)

Ferrari 250 California Spyder

This particular Ferrari was bought by BBC Radio 2 Breakfast presenter Chris Evans in 2008; however, the California Spyder’s previous history was slightly more glamorous when under the ownership of The Great Escape star James Coburn.

Coburn bought his Ferrari in black, but a certain red California Spyder found fame and an unfortunate end at the climax of 80s film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Thankfully it was a replica and not worth anything close to what Evans bought his for.

4. 1957 250 Ferrari Testa Rossa - $12,200,000   (£7,342,326)

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

Just 22 of these ‘pontoon-fender’ Testa Rossas were produced, with this particular model successfully raced by privateer owners between 1958 and 1963. It was fully restored and the original black and red racing livery was brought back in the process.

The 250 Testa Rossa is well thought of as one of the most alluring and iconic Ferraris, whilst also being one of the most competitive, winning 10 of 19 international races entered in its history.

3. 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa Prototype - $16,390,000 (£9,863,993)

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype

Now, for a car that burned to a crisp twice whilst racing at Le Mans, you would think £10 million would be a steep figure for such a vehicle.

But, with an illustrious eight-year racing history behind it at the hands of some of the world’s best drivers, this Ferrari Testa Rossa was never going to go cheap. Plus, in its fully restored state, I think you’ll agree it’s simply gorgeous.

2. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider - $27,500,000 (£16,549,307)

Ferrari 275 NART Spider

That’s right, another Ferrari; however, with only 10 of these beautiful cars ever created, it’s fairly obvious that when one when to auction it would raise the roof with bids. One of the 10 popped up in the Steve McQueen film The Thomas Crown Affair and was given an estimate at the annual RM Auction in Monterey, California of between $14 and $17 million.

Despite this, Tommy Hilfiger superemo Lawrence Stoll was more than happy to ramp up the price to just short of $28 million.

1. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R ‘Silver Arrow’ - $29,601,500 (£17,801,128)

Mercedes-Benz W196R Silver Arrow

Another car that was put through its paces by Moss, the W196R was sold for a world-record sum at last summer’s Goodwood Festival of Speed through Bonham’s auction house.

The W196R was driven to two consecutive Formula One world titles by legendary racers Juan Manuel Fangio and Moss in the mid 50s, with the car winning nine of 12 races over 18 months between both the Argentine and the Brit.