Classic cars contain a pedigree of automotive excellence, defeating time with proven value and craftsmanship. When touchstone cars of the 20th century surface, the auctions summon auto enthusiasts willing to drop tens of millions of dollars to attain them. Here are five of some of the most expensive vintage vehicles ever auctioned.
1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe
Created with the sole purpose to surpass the seemingly invincible Italian Ferrari at the FIA World Sportscar Championship, the Shelby Cobra was born. Shelby succeeded in usurping the gold medal and became the first American car to outrace a Ferrari. The Cobra’s success was in no small part due to what lay under the cobalt blue and white-striped facade. A ferocious Ford V8 engine rocketed the Shelby to a max speed of 215 mph. The Shelby Cobra rode atop Goodyear Stock Car Special tires, though cheaper Goodyear tires from Discount Tire would have also sufficed. Sold for $7.25 million, the Shelby Cobra is one of the most expensive American cars ever sold.
1904 Rolls-Royce 10 HP
This historical classic, or should we say antique, car was the very first Rolls-Royce vehicle. The 10 HP was the outcome of a sales agreement that fatefully merged Charles Rolls and Henry Royce and birthed the famed brand. Deriving its power via a twin cylinder 1995 cc engine and three-speed transmission, the original Rolls-Royce awarded the wealthiest citizens of the time to drive at a rip-roaring top speed of 39 mph. Over a century after its release, the 1904 Rolls-Royce 10 HP sold for $7.3 million.
1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
The current record holder for highest price ever paid for a car at an auction belongs to the exquisitely designed 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. Anonymously bought for a whopping $43.7 million, the 1936 automotive masterpiece is one of three models (not counting the prototype) ever built, according to NYDailyNews.com. Fashion mogul, Ralph Lauren, is the lucky owner of one the rare vehicles. The 1936 Bugatti remains the envy of auto collectors across the world.
1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
The impeccable Testa Rossa (aka “Red Head”) is known for winning Le Mans thrice from 1958 to 1961. A sum of $16.4 million was paid to California auctioneer Goodings & Co. for Ferrari’s marvel of automobile engineering, according to Business.Time.com. Equipped with a 3.0-litre V-12 engine, the Testa Rossa race car has 300-hp and a four-speed manual transmission. The car was sold at Pebble Beach in 2011, making it the third-most expensive car ever sold at auction.
1968 Ford GT40
Actor and automotive aficionado, Steve McQueen, used to own this 1968 Ford GT40. The orange-striped powder-blue racer was used as the primary camera car in 1971′s “Le Mans” that featured race footage from 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France from the previous year, according to NYDailyNews.com. Sold for $11 million in 2012, the 1968 Ford GT40 holds the record for most expensive American car ever sold at auction.