10 Most Expensive Cars Ever Sold at Monterey

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As reported last week, Gooding & Co. has consigned a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa prototype for their Pebble Beach sale in August. The car is a potential record-breaker for Monterey car week, with a similar TR sold for  $12,402,500 at RM’s 2009 sale in Maranello, Italy (SCM# 120485), and another bid to $10,700,000 and un-sold at RM’s Monterey sale last year (SCM# 165590).

For comparision, we’ve compiled a list of the ten most expensive cars ever sold at Monterey.


1. 1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante SCM# 117573

Gooding & Co.
Pebble Beach, CA
August 13, 2008
Lot# 27
Sold at $7,920,000
Chassis # 57511.

Converted to SC specs either by the factory or one of its early owners. Dry-sump supercharged 200-hp engine, lowered frame with rear axle passing through it. Known history, beautifully restored in 1974 with 100% of its original components. Thirty-five-year-old restoration has aged well, although some paint cracks are visible. Driver’s door slightly off, interior with excellent patina and complete Jaeger dash. Some pitting inside headlights. Engine bay detailed. A 120-mph car in 1937. From the Williamson Collection.

A “regular” Atalante is worth $1m, and rumor has it that $16m will be required to acquire the 57SC Atlantic—which is one of three built from new. Let’s agree that a 57S Atalante with the compressor at $8m is reasonable.

2. 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona SCM# 141984

Mecum Auctions
Monterey, CA
August 15, 2009
Lot# S104
Sold at $7,685,000
Chassis # CSX2601.

289-ci V8, 4×2-bbl, 4-sp. One of six Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes. Won FIA championship for Shelby American in 1965. Subsequently owned by Bob Bondurant and used in movie “Redline 7000.” Fully restored with a faultless exterior. AC pedals, Halon fire system, new lettering for switches. Loose lighting wire in driver’s door, some wear on driver’s seat edge and some minor paint blemishes by door. Brakes show some crystallized fluid near bleeders. Rock chips inside fenders. Driven onto the auction stage by Bondurant and authenticated by him and designer Peter Brock.

Last seen at Mecum’s Indianapolis sale in May ’09, where it failed to sell at $6.8m (SCM# 120528). The auctioneer invited a $7m opening bid to no avail, with bidding eventually starting at $4m, then jumping to $5m, and up from there in $250,000 increments. Reserve came off at gavel price of $7,250,000. Restored to perfection—some might say too perfect—but with the help of testimony of Bondurant and Brock, this Cobra took the honors as the highest-price American car ever auctioned.

3. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT 250 GT LWB California Competizione SCM# 165706

Gooding & Co.
Pebble Beach, CA
August 14, 2010
Lot# 46
Sold at $7,260,000
Chassis # 1603GT.

Matching-numbers example restored to original livery, with no expenses spared. Modern-looking silver metallic paint has one or two small chips at door edges. Windshield has minor sand pockmarks, rock chips behind front wheels on inner fender liners. Appropriately nicked wheel rims, rear brake rotors rusty. Seats look new. Alloy racing body, modern vinyl roundels and racing numbers on doors. One of the last 10 LWB Cal Spiders produced, with period race history at Sebring, Nassau, and Road America.

This car sold for about the same money as the championship-winning ’65 Cobra Daytona Coupe at Mecum’s Monterey ’09 sale ($7,685,000, SCM# 141984). There was little to complain about here, and its Cal Spider pedigree, road-worthiness, and racing provenance touched all the bases in terms of it being both a usable car and protected investment. You could drive to and participate in almost any concours or racing event in the world with this. The most expensive car of the Monterey weekend, and both well bought and sold.

4. 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza cabriolet SCM# 165774

Gooding & Co.
Pebble Beach, CA
August 14, 2010
Lot# 117
Sold at $6,710,000
Chassis # 2311218.

Entire car looks used and authentic. Excellent metal panel condition with plenty of patina. “Carrozzeria Brianza Milano” tag on body. Vestiges of old #28 on grille wire guard. Drop axle with adjustable friction dampers, dirt under fenders, lead wire weights on spokes. Modern vinyl number decals instead of paint look odd. Lots of earned stone chips and chipped rims.

One of this auction’s marquee vehicles with much that impressed and very little to complain about. Extensive competition history, both from back in the day as well as in modern vintage competitions and rallies. Much of its total history is known, and thus it it sold impressively within the pre-auction estimate range. Six to seven million dollars seems to be a the appropriate range for a premium race-pedigreed icon such as a Cobra Daytona coupe, a competition Cal Spyder, an SWB SEFAC, and this Alfa. It’s in good company.

SLIDESHOW-07-26e5. 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rossa SCM# 28836

RM Auctions
Monterey, CA
August 16, 2002
Lot# 143
Sold at $6,490,000

Chassis # 808. Factory racer that evolved from early TR design and power to the ultimate front-engine sports racer. Hill drove to victory in 1962 Le Mans. A monument to Ferrari’s determination and ability to marshal the best. Immaculate externally.

The most important, most highly promoted and highest-priced car of the entire weekend. Although $6.5 million is a lot of money, the auction company was hoping for nearly eight. So in some ways, this might be considered a bargain for a very important car.

6. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT 250 GT SWB SCM# 165780

Gooding & Co.
Pebble Beach, CA
August 14, 2010
Lot# 133
Sold at $6,105,000

Chassis # 2845GT. Paint faultless, as is bodywork—likely better than new or during period. No rock chips in front, plastic rear window lightly scratched, modern vinyl Scuderia SSS decals. New door handle gaskets, window seals, and felt. Fitted with electric supplemental cooling fan. Exhaust heat-baked from use, leaf springs dirty. On newer-looking unmarked Borrani wheels. New crinkle finish on dash. Authentic-looking under the hood, with new-looking carb tray, modern Fram oil filtration, modern Fiamm air horns, hose clamps, and radiator cap.

Undisputed history and excellent period-correct restoration put this 250 SWB in the $6m club. Welcome in just about any classic race or touring event in the world—likely with admiration. A stunning example of an important and valuable car, and well deserving of the high bid.

7. 1966 Ferrari 330 P3 10183

Christie’s
Pebble Beach, CA
August 19, 2000
Lot# 89
Sold at $5,616,000

Chassis # 844. A factory P3, significant early history, then to NART, rebodied in Can-Am configuration, in Florida for years, then restored to original configuration, a lovely car, magnificent history and presentation.

Heavily shopped for the past six months, finally found a home at the low end of the estimate. Rumored to be part of deal including a green GTO. A fair price, but the new owner will be hard pressed to get any more for it.

8. 1958 Ferrari 412S Sports SCM# 42835

RM Auctions
Monterey, CA
August 18, 2006
Lot# 465
Sold at $5,610,000

Chassis # 0744. Current Scaglietti-made aluminum body commissioned to compete with American V8s. Long list of well known owners. Well maintained older restoration, and loaded with documented history. Powered by the engine from the 335S that crashed at the 1957 Mille Miglia, killing 12. It was modifed and fitted in the 375 F1 chassis for the Race of Two Worlds. Driven by Phil Hill, it finished third.

This failed to sell at Sotheby’s 2005 auction at Maranello. The pre-sale buzz was that this would break the record set a few years back when the Ferrari 330 TR/LM sold for $6.5 mil. It fell short, but still brought adult money. What’s the correct price for a documented car with this provenance? On this day it was 5.6 million—and who’s to argue?

SLIDESHOW-07-26i9. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California SCM# 142063

Gooding & Co.
Pebble Beach, CA
August 16, 2009
Lot# 135
Sold at $5,115,000

Chassis # 3163GT. Originally delivered in Italy, then passed through the hands of many important U.S. collectors. Has been dark blue, red, yellow, and now silver with painstaking Paul Russell restoration. Multiple awards from Pebble and Cavalino, 2 FCA awards. Also has rare hard top. Hard to fault. Tricky silver paint is smooth and even, with one rock chip above right front wheel, plating excellent, interior on the money. Said to run strong and smoothly.

If you’ve been wondering about the atmosphere in the Penthouse lately, relax, this sale indicates it’s still 75 degrees and sunny. As always, there’s the best and the rest, and if you dismiss the $10m Cal Spyder sale last spring as an aberration, this SWB proves that all is well in the land of Milk and Honey. Right car, right price. Next question?

SLIDESHOW-07-26j10. 1960 Jaguar XKE Sports Racing Prototype SCM# 117631

Bonhams
Carmel, CA
August 14, 2008
Lot# 364
Sold at $4,957,000

Chassis # E2A. Very good panel fit for a race car, good older factory repaint with small chips and dings. Wonderfully worn original interior with deeply creased seats and worn wood steering wheel. 3.8-liter engine fitted, original style 3.0-liter engine sold with car.

Ex-Dan Gurney/Walt Hansgen/Jack Brabham/Bruce McLaren/Team Cunningham car. The link between the D-type and the E-type, and one of the most important Jaguars extant. One of the two stars of the sale, it was thought this could bring up to $7m. In the end, the almost $5m achieved was impressive enough. What is the price of history? For this piece, now we know.

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