The most-expensive cars sold in 2018 at public auction were a Ferrari 250 GTO, a Ferrari 290 MM, a Duesenberg SSJ and two Aston Martins: the DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype and a DB4GT Zagato.
The top price paid for a car at public auction in 2018 was $48,405,000 for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that became the most-expensive car ever sold at auction. The second most-valuable car in 2018 was a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM that achieved $22,000,500 as the last car sold at a major auction in 2018. The third most-expensive car in 2018 was a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ that more than doubled the marque record and at $22,000,000 is both the most-expensive American car ever sold at auction, as well as the most-expensive pre-war car ever. The 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype achieved $21,455,000 to narrowly missed out on the marque record. A 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato sold for $13,315,899 in the UK as the highest result achieved at an auction outside the USA. Half of the top ten most-expensive cars in 2018 were produced in Italy including four Ferraris. Almost all ten most-expensive cars in 2018 came with in-period racing history.
Top-Ten Lists for: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 & all time.
Lists of the Top Ten Most-Expensive Cars in 2018 (January to December)
The 10 highest results achieved for cars sold at public auction in 2018 were:
|Year||Car||Price ($)||Auction House||Auction|
|1||1962||Ferrari 250 GTO||48,405,000||RM Sotheby’s||Monterey|
|2||1956||Ferrari 290 MM||22,000,500||RM Sotheby’s||Los Angeles|
|3||1935||Duesenberg SSJ||22,000,000||Gooding||Pebble Beach|
|4||1963||Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype||21,455,000||RM Sotheby’s||Monterey|
|5||1961||Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato ‘2VEV’||13,315,899||Bonhams||Goodwood|
|6||1966||Ford GT40 Mk II||9,795,000||RM Sotheby’s||Monterey|
|7||1965||Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale||8,085,000||Gooding||Scottsdale|
|8||1958||Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta||6,600,000||Gooding||Pebble Beach|
|9||1932||Alfa Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Monoposto||6,067,210||Bonhams||Goodwood|
|10||1985||Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar||5,945,000||RM Sotheby’s||Atlanta|
The Ten Most-Expensive Cars of 2018 (Full Year)
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – Most-Expensive Car in the World
A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis 3413, sold for $48,405,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 sale to become the most-expensive car in the world. This result increased the world record price paid for a car at auction by $10 million from the previous record $38,115,000 set by a 1962-3 Ferrari 250 GTO at the Bonhams Quail Lodge 2014 sale. It obviously also set the new Ferrari marque record and is the most-expensive Italian-built car ever.
This Ferrari 250 GTO was driven by privateer Lualdi-Gabardi to six overall victories and a further five class wins to take the Italian championship in 1962. It also finished first in class at Targa Florio twice in succession (1963&4). It is in a very original condition and was sold with its original engine and a correct specification spare engine for daily use or vintage racing.
Also see The Most-Expensive Car Ever: 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for more on this car.
1956 Ferrari 290 MM
A 1956 Ferrari 290 MM, chassis 0628, sold for $22,000,500 at the first RM Sotheby’s auction at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. It is one of only four cars built and one of three survivors. It was the last car sold in 2018 at a major car auction.
The 290 MM was campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari for the 1956 and 1957 seasons and driven by amongst others team drivers including Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Peter Collins, Wolfgang von Trips, Olivier Gendebien, Eugenio Castellotti. The Ferrari finished second in its debut race – the Mille Miglia – driven by Peter Collins and Louis Klemantaski. Under private ownership, Stirling Moss drove it to victory in the 1957 Bahamas Memorial Race and the Nassau Trophy Race.
1935 Duesenberg SSJ – Most-Expensive American Car Ever
A 1935 Duesenberg SSJ more than doubled the marque record and became the most-expensive American car ever when it sold for $22,000,000 at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2018 auction. It also set a new record for the most-expensive pre-war car ever sold at public auction. It is only the fourth American car to have sold for over $10 million at public auction.
Only two Duesenberg SSJ cars were ever built with the record-setting car originally delivered to Gary Cooper (and the second one to Clark Gable). The Gary Cooper Duesenberg was later owned by Briggs Cunningham and has been in the Miles Collier Collection for the past three decades.
1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype
The 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype, chassis DP215, sold for $21,455,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 auction. This was the third highest price ever paid for a British car at auction but just over a million below the Aston Martin marque record.
DP215 was the works entry for the 1963 Le Mans Prototype Class and the final racing car built by Aston Martin in the period. It was the first car to break the 300 km/h barrier at Le Mans with Phil Hill behind the steering wheel. It lapped the Le Mans circuit 6 seconds faster than the Ferrari 330 LMB and a full 12 seconds faster than the Ferrari 250 GTO. However, this all came to nothing when the gearbox failed after two hours.
1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato ‘2 VEV’
Before the annual Monterey week in August, the most-expensive car in 2018 was the 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, chassis 0183/R, registration number 2 VEV, that sold for $13,315,899 at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale. The result was the highest price ever paid for a British-made car at a public auction held in the UK (or anywhere outside the USA).
The 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato ‘2 VEV’ is one of only 19 cars produced and one of only four built to lightweight specification for racing purposes. John Ogier’s Essex Racing Stable raced two DB4GT Zagatos that became known by their registration plate numbers 1 VEV and 2 VEV. Both cars participated in, and retired from, the 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours race.
See 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato ‘2 VEV’ Announcement for more on this car that had been raced by amongst others Lex Davison and Jim Clark, who crashed it into John Surtees Ferrari 250 GTO.
Ford GT40 Mk II
A 1966 Ford GT 40 Mk II, chassis P/1016, narrowly missed out to become only the second Ford ever to sell for over $10 million when it achieved $9,795,000 at the the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 sale. The marque record was set by a 1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight that sold for $11 million at the RM Auctions Monterey 2012 sale.
The 1966 Ford GT40 finished the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours race in third overall driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson (behind two Shelby American GT40s. It was the fourth of eight Mark II examples built and was the Holman-Moody / FoMoCo team car for 1966 to 1967.
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale
A new record for a steel-bodied 275 GTB was set when the 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale, chassis 06437, sold for $8,085,000 as the top result at the Gooding Scottsdale 2018 sale. It was also the highest price paid for any car at the 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona, classic car auction series.
This 275 was built by Carrozzeria Pininfarina for the personal use of Battista Pininfarina. Although the car largely resembles the standard 275, it differs in almost all details from the regular cars. The most noticeable differences include a rear diffusor and the lack of a driver’s-side vent window. Pinin Farina apparently disliked vent windows as distracting from the purity of the design. The more luxurious interior is also unique to the car.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta
The 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta, chassis 0905 GT, sold for $6,600,000 as the second highest result at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2018 sale.
This Tour de France Berlinetta was the fifth of 36 single-louver examples built. It is presented in its original stunning dark grey metallic livery. The car had a limited in-period racing history including a DNF at the Targa Glorio and a third in class at the Trieste-Opicina Hillclimb in 1958. It had a single owner since 1966.
1932 Alfa-Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Monoposto
The second highest results at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale 2018 was $6,067,210 paid for an ex-Scuderia Ferrari 1932-4 Alfa-Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Monoposto.
Richard-Shuttleworth famously won the 1935 Donington Grand Prix – the first full-distance grand prix race in this 1932 Alfa-Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Monoposto. An accident in the Alfa in South Africa ended Shuttleworth’s car racing career and he subsequently spent more effort on aviation.
1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar
A 1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar sold for $5,945,000 as the top result at the RM Sotheby’s Porsche Atlanta single-marque sale. This was the first time ever that a 959 Paris-Dakar was offered for sale at public auction and it promptly tripled the model record for a 959 sold at auction.
This 959 was one of only three built to contest the 1985 Paris-Dakar Rally as Works entries. It was raced by three-times race winner Rene Metge but like the other two failed to complete the race. (Porsche 959s finished the 1986 raced first and second but Porsche retained those cars).
Million-Dollar Cars at Public Auctions in 2018
Thus far in 2018 (9 December), at least* 189 cars were sold at public auctions for over a million dollars. (*Definitions vary, results include auction premium.)
- January 2018: 35 – 2 at Kissimmee (Mecum), 33 at Scottsdale, Arizona (12 Gooding, 9 RM Sotheby’s, 7 Bonhams, 5 Barrett-Jackson)
- February 2018: 12 – 12 at Paris Rétromobile (7 Artcurial, 5 RM Sotheby’s)
- March 2018: 22 – 22 at Amelia Island (14 Gooding, 7 RM Sotheby’s, 1 Bonhams)
- April 2018: 2 – 2 at Fort Lauderdale (2 RM Sotheby’s)
- May 2018: 10 – 9 at Monaco (6 RM Sotheby’s, 3 Bonhams), 1 at Indianapolis (1 Mecum)
- June 2018: 2 – 1 at Aston Martin (Bonhams), 1 at Greenwich (Bonhams)
- July 2018: 9 – 3 at Le Mans (Artcurial), 6 at Goodwood Festival of Speed (Bonhams)
- August 2018: 70 – 1 at Hudson Museum (Worldwide), 69 at Monterey Week (25 at Gooding Pebble Beach; 22 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey; 10 at Bonhams Quail Lodge; 10 at Mecum Monterey, 1 at Russo and Steele; and 1 at Worldwide)
- September: 7 – 3 at London (RM Sotheby’s), 3 at Goodwood Revival (Bonhams) and 1 at Las Vegas (Barrett-Jackson).
- October 9: 2 at Zoute (Bonhams), 1 at Dallas (Mecum), 6 at Atlanta (RM Sotheby’s / Porsche).
- November 2: 1 at Las Vegas (Mecum), 1 at Paris (Artcurial)
- December 7: 1 at London (Bonhams), 6 at Los Angeles (RM Sotheby’s)
In the battle of the classic car auction houses:
68 – RM Sotheby’s
51 – Gooding & Co
35 – Bonhams
11 – Artcurial
15 – Mecum
6 – Barrett-Jackson
2 – Worldwide Auctioneers
1 – Russo and Steele
The list takes the published results of the following auctions into consideration:
- January 2018: Kissimmee (Mecum), Scottsdale Arizona (Barrett-Jackson, Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s, Russo and Steele, Silver Auctions, Worldwide Auctioneers)
- February 2018: Paris Rétromobile Week (Artcurial, Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s)
- March 2018: Amelia Island (Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s, )Goodwood Members (Bonhams)
- April 2018: Fort Lauderdale (RM Sotheby’s), Paris (Artcurial)
- May 2018: Auburn Spring (RM Sotheby’s), Monaco (Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s), Indianapolis (Mecum)
- June 2018: Aston Martin (Bonhams), Greenwich (Bonhams), Den Hartogh (Bonhams)
- July 2018: Le Mans Classics (Artcurial) & Goodwood Festival of Speed (Bonhams)
- August 2018: Hudson Museum (Worldwide), Monterey Week: Monterey (RM Sotheby’s, Mecum), Quail Lodge (Bonhams), Pebble Beach (Gooding), Mecum, Russo and Steele & Worldwide, and Auburn Fall (RM Sotheby’s).
- September 2018: London (RM Sotheby’s), Beaulieu (Bonhams), Goodwood Revival (Bonhams), Las Vegas (Barrett-Jackson).
- October 2018: Zoute (Bonhams), Simeone (Bonhams), Dallas (Mecum), Hershey’s (RM Sotheby’s), Atlanta (RM Sotheby’s Porsche), Padua (Bonhams)
- November 2018: London to Brighton Run (Bonhams), Las Vegas (Mecum), Paris (Artcurial)
- December 2018: London (Bonhams), Los Angeles (RM Sotheby’s Peterson Museum)
The next major classic car auctions include:
- January 2019: Kissimmee (Mecum), Scottsdale / Arizona.
- January 2019: Paris Rétromobile Week