Gooding & Company 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider auction
  • Image Credit: Mike Maez / Gooding

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars Sold at Auction in 2015

Think the price tags on exotic supercars are getting ridiculous? That's nothing compared to what classics are fetching on the auction block these days. 2015 saw no fewer than ten automobiles sell for eight figures each. The lion's share, as is usually the case, wore the Prancing Horse emblem of Ferrari, which claimed the top five slots. But there were a few British sports cars in there as well, including one not nearly as old as you might expect – plus a highly sought-after German racer. RM Sotheby's and Gooding & Company handled most of the high-priced machinery, leaving the likes of Bonhams, Barrett-Jackson , and Mecum struggling to keep up, but Parisian auction house Artcurial handled one of the top earners. Scroll through the records to look back on the year that was at the top of the collector car auction scene.
1956 Ferrari 290 MM
  • Image Credit: Tim Scott / RM Sotheby's

1956 Ferrari 290 MM – $28 million

By a huge margin, this year's top place was taken by a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM. Chassis number 0626 was one of just four made, and was specially built for the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio to race at the Mille Miglia. It sold at RM Sotheby's event in New York for a massive $28 million, a figure topped in the record books only by another Ferrari (the 250 GTO that Bonhams sold last year for $38 million) and another of Fangio's racers (the Mercedes W196, also by Bonhams in 2013, for $29.6 million). That makes this not only the most expensive car sold this year, but the third most expensive of all time.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California
  • Image Credit: Artcurial

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California – $18.6 million

While most of the top earners on this or any other list are typically polished to perfection, one of this year's top lots was an unrestored barn find, complete with the patina of decades of storage. It sat together with 58 other classics in a barn in the French countryside as part of the long-forgotten Baillon Collection consigned to Artcurial. The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider sold in Paris this past February for a remarkable $18.5 million, setting a new record for this highly desirable model.
1964 Ferrari 250 LM
  • Image Credit: Patrick Ernzen / RM Sotheby's

1964 Ferrari 250 LM – $17.6 million

RM never fails to line up the most desirable metal at its Monterey auction each summer, but this year it went over and above with the Pinnacle Collection. The unsurpassed array of exotic and classic machinery included more Ferraris than we could shake an aluminum-alloy stick at – including an Enzo originally gifted to the Pope – but the top earner was a 250 LM from 1964. The mid-engined evolution of the legendary 250 GTO, the LM was ahead of its time, and whenever one changes hands, it always does so for big bucks. This example brought in a stellar $17.6 million, topping RM Sotheby's roster at Pebble Beach this year that also included three more on this list still ahead.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California
  • Image Credit: Mathieu Heurtault / Gooding

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California – $16.8 million

Want to play Ferris Bueller for the day? You'd better start saving, because examples of the rare Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider like the one Broderick drove in the cult classic are trading at higher prices every year. In addition to the Baillon barnfind example in the #2 slot, Gooding & Company sold this cherry of a specimen – complete with the highly coveted covered headlights – at Pebble Beach this past summer for a whopping $16.83 million. Believe it or not, that didn't even exceed expectations, but pretty much smack in the middle of the $16-18m estimate range. The same event also saw two more of the entries on this list sell for eight figures as well.
1962 Ferrari 250 GT Speciale by Bertone
  • Image Credit: Brian Henniker / Gooding

1962 Ferrari 250 GT Speciale by Bertone – $16.5 million

Nuccio Bertone got to work on a lot of extraordinary machinery over the course of his career, but few Ferraris. And this one wasn't just made by Bertone – it was made for Bertone. The 1962 250 GT SWB Berlinetta was modified by the renowned designer and coachbuilder with a shark nose inspired by the Scuderia's grand prix racer, and sold for $16.5 million at the same Gooding & Company auction at Pebble Beach as the California Spider in the previous slide and the Porsche to follow.
1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato
  • Image Credit: Patrick Ernzen / RM Sotheby's

1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato – $14.3 million

If there's one British classic that could steal the thunder away from Ferrari, surely it's the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. The first in a long line of collaborative efforts between Aston and Zagato, the DB4 GT saw only 19 splendidly curvaceous examples made. This was the 14th of them, and it sold under the gavel of – you guessed it – RM Sotheby's in New York for an impressive $14.3 million. In the process, it set a new record for British classics sold at auction.
1998 McLaren F1 LM
  • Image Credit: Darin Schnabel / RM Sotheby's

1998 McLaren F1 LM-Specification – $13.7 million

The most modern vehicle on our list is this singular specimen of the McLaren F1, the one model that could challenge the Ferrari 250 GTO at the top of the market in the coming years. This particular example, part of the aforementioned Pinnacle Collection, was converted by the factory after its construction to near-race-ready LM specification, making it an even rarer prospect than others. That (and the cult status associated with McLaren's original supercar) saw this one sell for $13.75 million in Monterey this past August, topping every other British car ever sold at auction... until that DB4 came along and snagged the record.
1956 Ferrari 250 GT TdF
  • Image Credit: Patrick Ernzen / RM Sotheby's

1956 Ferrari 250 GT TdF – $13.2 million

Long before Ferrari revived the Tour de France name with the new F12 TdF, gentleman racers like the Marquis Alfonso de Portago were racing through the French countryside, up its hills, and around its circuits in one of the most grueling races ever devised. This 250 GT TdF was one of just 14 made and was extensively raced, and sold for a princely $13.2 million at Pebble Beach to claim the eighth spot on the list of top earners this year.
1953 Jaguar C-Type
  • Image Credit: Patrick Ernzen / RM Sotheby's

1953 Jaguar C-Type – $13.2 million

Jaguar made only three C-Types in 1953, and one of them went up for auction under the auspices of RM Sotheby's at the same Monterey sale as the Pinnacle Collection and the preceding Ferrari 250 TdF. There it sold for a record-breaking $13.2 million, raising the bar as the most expensive Jaguar ever sold at auction and contributing to the jaw-dropping $172.7 million in sales generated at the one spectacular event.
1982 Porsche 956
  • Image Credit: Mathieu Heurtault / Gooding

1982 Porsche 956 – $10.1 million

Few stages in the modern history of racing can arouse the kind of enthusiasm that the Group C era can, and one of its finest examples went up for sale as part of Gooding & Company's auction at Pebble Beach this year. This Porsche 956 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in 1983, achieving the eighth victory at the legendary race for the German marque out of the seventeen it's since taken to date. With that kind of clout – and its delicious Rothmans livery – the third of ten 956s ever made sold for over $10 million to round out our list as we look forward to what records next year may bring.
  • Image Credit: AOL On

The List #0041: Attend A Major Car Auction

Jessi and Patrick travel to Scottsdale, Arizona to attend the world's biggest classic car auction.
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