2020 (Full Year): The five most-expensive cars sold at public auction in 2020 were all classic Bugattis, including the new marque record holder.
The list of the ten most-expensive cars sold at public auction in 2020 is led by five classic Bugattis. A new marque record was set when a 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports sold for $12,681,550 while a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante was only the third car Bugatti to have sold for more than $10 million. The list further includes a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster with factory coachwork, a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 that was a factory-entry at Le Mans, and a 1928 Bugatti Type 35C. The most-expensive car-related lot in 2020 was three 1950s Alfa Romeo concept cars sold as a single lot for $15 million. The only Ferrari amongst the top ten most expensive cars in 2020 is the 2001 Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive, which is the most valuable car ever sold in an online-only auction.
Top-Ten Lists for: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 & all time.
List of the Top Ten Most-Expensive Cars Sold at Auction in 2020
The 10 highest results achieved for cars sold at public auction in 2020 were:
|Lot||Year||Car||Price ($)||Auction House||Auction|
|*||1950s||Three Alfa Romeo Concept Cars (B.A.T. 5, 7, and 9)||14,840,000||RM Sotheby’s||New York|
|1||1934||Bugatti Type 59 Sports||12,681,550||Gooding||London|
|2||1937||Bugatti Type 57S Atalante||10,447,150||Gooding||London|
|3||1932||Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster||7,100,000||Bonhams||Amelia Island|
|4||1928||Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix||5,233,550||Gooding||London|
|5||1931||Bugatti Type 55 Two-Seat Supersport by Figoni||5,061,380||Bonhams||Paris|
|6||2001||Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive||4,290,000||RM Sotheby’s||Shift/Monterey|
|7||1971||Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Speciale||4,265,310||Gooding||London|
|8||1955||Aston Martin DB3S||4,004,360||Gooding||London|
|9||1965||Shelby GT350 Prototype||3,850,000||Mecum||Indianapolis|
|10||1968||Ford Mustang GT “Bullit”||3,740,000||Mecum||Kissimmee|
Note: Include the auction premium. May include post-hammer deals and charity lots. *Single lot of three vehicles.
Ten Most-Expensive Cars of 2020 Sold at Public Auction
The ten most-expensive cars sold at public auction in 2020 were:
1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports
A new Bugatti marque record was set when the King Leopold 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports (Estimate: In Excess of £10,000,000) sold for $12,681,550 (£9,535,000) as the most valuable car in the Gooding London 2020 auction. It was only the second Bugatti ever to have sold for over $10 million (nominal) at public auction.
The 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports was originally part of the Bugatti works Grand Prix team and achieved an outright win at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa as well as a 3rd Place finish at the Monaco Grand Prix. It was subsequently developed by the factory for sports car events. This Bugatti has been driven by some of the most famous and accomplished names of the era starring Robert Benoist, Louis Chiron René Dreyfus, Piero Taruffi, Achille Varzi, and Jean-Pierre Wimille.
It was sold to King Leopold of Belgium in 1937 and is an original unrestored car.
1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante
The rare and extremely desirable, 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante sold for $10,447,150 at the Gooding London 2020 sale, as only the third Bugatti to ever have achieved more than $10 million at auction. It set a new model record for any Type 57 version.
This well-documented 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante was delivered new to famed British racing driver and Bugatti enthusiast Earl Howe. It is one of only 17 fitted with Jean Bugatti’s sensational Atalante coachwork.
1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster
The top result at the Bonhams Amelia Island 2020 classic car auction was $7,100,000 paid for a magnificent 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster with factory bodywork designed by Jean Bugatti. Bugatti produced only 38 Type 55 Super Sport chassis – only 11 of the 14 fitted with the Jean Bugatti roadster bodywork survived.
This Type 55’s first owner was Victor Rothchild, the later 3rd Baron Rothschild. It was sold at Amelia Island from the Estate of Dean S. Edmonds Jr. He bought this Bugatti for £440,000 in 1985 – at the time the most-expensive car ever sold in Britain. Under his ownership, the Bugatti was restored and won First in Class at Pebble Beach in 1993.
1928 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix
The 1928 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix sold for $5,233,550 at the Gooding London 2020 classic car auction to set a new model record for any Type 35 version. Chassis 4871, was originally built as a factory works car for the 1928 Targa Florio.
It was driven by its first private owner, Jannine Jennky to an overall win at the inaugural Coupe de Bourgogne, and later, this Type 35C raced in Grand Prix events throughout Europe. This Bugatti has been carefully preserved in unrestored condition, with just four owners since 1932.
1932 Bugatti Type 55
The highest result at the Bonhams Paris 2020 classic car auction was €4,600,000 ($5,070,000) paid for a 1932 Bugatti Type 55, chassis 55221. This was also the most-expensive car sold at any of the Paris Rétromobile 2020 auctions.
This Bugatti Type 55 was originally a works racing car campaigned at the 1932 24 Hours of Le Mans with Louis Chiron and Count Guy Bouriat-Quintart as co-drivers.
The subsequent owner had the unique two-seat Figoni body fitted. The Bugatti retained this bodywork and was sold from over six decades of single-family ownership.
2001 Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive
The top result at the RM Sotheby’s Shift / Monterey 2020 online-only classic car auction, and the most expensive car by far sold at all the Monterey Car Week 2020 (replacement) auctions, was a 2001 Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive that achieved a mid estimate $4,290,000. This also set a new world record for the most-expensive car ever sold in an online-only auction.
The 2001 Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive was the second of only 12 built by Prodrive for Care Racing Development. The Ferrari was campaigned by BMS Scuderia Italia and amassed 14 victories in its division, as well as racing its way to a class victory at the 24 Hours of Spa in 2003, and more importantly, overall winner of the 2004 24 Hours of Spa, and the 2004 FIA GT Championship. The car retains its 2004 Spa winning engine.
1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Speciale
The Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Speciale set a new model record when it sold for $4,265,310 at the Gooding London 2020 sale. This was nearly double previous prices paid for a Miura.
The Miura was one of only 150 P400 SV versions built. It was made to special order for the devoted customer and French industrialist Jacques Dembiermont with specific mechanical requirements for his engine – the experimental dry sump lubrication and a ZF limited-slip differential.
1955 Aston Martin DB3S
The rare 1955 Aston Martin DB3S/102 sold for $4,004,630 at the Gooding Passion of a Lifetime London 2020 sale. It was ordered new by the Kangaroo Stable, an Australian racing team led by David McKay and Tony Gaze. As the team’s lead car, chassis 102 raced around the world at various competitions up until 1960.
More notably, this DBS3 set a new Australian Land Speed Record in 1957, averaging 143.19 mph.
1965 Shelby GTR350R Competition Model “Flying Mustang”
The 1965 Shelby GTR350R Competition Model, chassis 5R002, “Flying Mustang”, became the most-expensive Mustang ever when it sold for $3,850,000 at the Mecum Indianapolis 2020 collector car auction. It was the second time in 2020 that the “most-expensive Mustang ever” title was claimed by a car sold at a Mecum auction — a rare feat for a race car to outsell the Steve McQueen magic.
This car was the first of 36 competition GT350R built. This 1965 Shelby GTR350R Competition Model was piloted by the legendary Ken Miles at Green Valley Raceway on February 14, 1965. This marked the first time any Shelby Mustang was entered into a sanctioned competitive event. It was the first Shelby Mustang to race and win. It is also considered the most winningest Mustang of all time.
1968 Ford Mustang GT “Bullitt”
The 1968 Ford Mustang GT “Bullitt” set a new model record when it sold for $3,740,000 at the Mecum Kissimmee 2020 collector car auction. This result, around $3.7 million higher than Hagerty lists for a similar car in concourse condition, is all due to this car being driven by Steve McQueen in the 1968 movie “Bullitt”.
After the production of the movie, the Mustang was sold on without premium. It was in the possession of the Kieran family since 1974. The Mustang was used as a daily driver but was garaged since 1980. The Mustang has around 65,000 miles on the clock and, although running, is in a rusty condition.
Most-Expensive Cars Lot Sold at Auction in 2020
The most-expensive car lot in 2020 was the three Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica (B.A.T.) Concept Cars — 1953 BAT5, 1954 BAT7, and 1955 BAT9 — that sold as a single lot for $14,840,000 by RM Sotheby’s at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York.
These three design spectacular design studies were on fairly modest Alfa Romeo road car chassis and were never shown together in period. The consignor purchased the cars individually and the first time ever they were seen together was at Pebble Beach 1989.
Million-Dollar-Plus Cars Sold at Public Auctions in 2020
Thus far in 2020, at least* 105 cars were sold at public auctions for over a million dollars. (*Definitions vary, results include auction premium and charity lots.)
- January 2020 – 24: 4 at Kissimmee (Mecum), 20 at Scottsdale / Arizona (1 at Bonhams, 5 at Barrett-Jackson, 8 at Gooding, 6 at RM Sotheby’s).
- February – 14: 14 at Paris Rétromobile (6 at Artcurial, 4 at Bonhams, 4 at RM Sotheby’s)
- March – 15: 14 at Amelia Island (4 at Bonhams, 3 at Gooding, 7 at RM Sotheby’s), 1 at Glendale (Mecum)
- May – 2: 2 at RM Sotheby’s Driving into Summer (online-only)
- June – 1: 1 at RM Sotheby’s The European (online-only)
- July 5: 2 at Indianapolis (Mecum), 1 at RM Sotheby’s Open Roads European Summer Online), 2 at Artcurial Monaco.
- August 14: 14 at Monterey Week replacement auctions (7 at RM Sotheby’s Shift / Monterey, 5 at Gooding Geared Online, 2 at Bonhams Quail Sale)
- September 9: 8 at Gooding London, 1 at Bonhams Bonmont
- October 20: 3 at Bonhams (Zoute), 1 at Bonhams (Goodwood SpeedWeek), 8 at RM Sotheby’s (Elkhart Collection), 1 at Barrett-Jackson (Scottsdale Fall), 3 at RM Sotheby’s (New York), 1 at London (Bonhams), 3 Gooding (Geared Online)
- December 1: 1 at RM Sotheby’s (Online-Only Ferrari Millennium)
In the battle of the auction houses:
- 40 – RM Sotheby’s
- 27 – Gooding & Co
- 17 – Bonhams
- 7 – Mecum
- 8 – Artcurial
- 6 – Barrett-Jackson
- 0 – Silverstone
- 0 – Worldwide Auctioneers
- 0 – Russo and Steele
The list takes the published results of the following auctions into consideration:
- January 2020: Kissimmee (Mecum), Scottsdale Arizona (Barrett-Jackson, Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s, Russo and Steele, Silver, Worldwide)
- February: Paris Rétromobile (Artcurial, Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s)
- March: Amelia Island (Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s), Glendale (Mecum), Goodwood Members’ Meeting (Bonhams – canceled), Palm Beach (RM Sotheby’s – online only).
- April: Houston (Mecum – postponed to December), London (Gooding – postponed), Palm Beach (Barrett-Jackson – postponed)
- May: Monaco – canceled (Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s), Aston Martin Works – canceled (Bonhams), Greenwich (Bonhams – canceled), Auburn Spring (RM Sotheby’s – canceled), Driving into Summer (RM Sotheby’s online-only)
- June: RM Sotheby’s European (online-only), Davenport (Mecum), Northwest (Barrett-Jackson – canceled)
- July: Indianapolis (Mecum), Goodwood Festival of Speed (Bonhams – canceled), Denver (Mecum — canceled), Harrisburg (Mecum — canceled), RM Sotheby’s Online-Only Open Roads Europe & North America, Artucirial Monaco.
- August: Schloss Dyck (Bonhams – canceled), Monterey Week replacement auctions: Gooding Geared Online (Pebble Beach), Bonhams Quail (Lodge), RM Sotheby’s Shift / Monterey Online, Kissimmee (Mecum)
- September: London (Gooding), Brussels (Bonhams), Bonmont (Bonhams), Auburn Fall (RM Sotheby’s, Worldwide).
- October: De Zoute (Bonhams), Simeone Museum (Bonhams), New York (Bonhams), Goodwood Speedweek (Bonhams), Dallas (Mecum), Elkhart / Indiana (RM Sotheby’s), Scottsdale Fall (Barrett-Jackson), New York (Sotheby’s), London (Bonhams), Gooding (Geared Online), Indianapolis (Mecum), London (RM Sotheby’s)
- November: Las Vegas (Mecum), Kansas City (Mecum), RM Sotheby’s (Open Roads Fall Online)
- December: Houston (Mecum), RM Sotheby’s (Online Ferrari Millennium), London (Bonhams).
The next major classic car auctions include:
- January 2021: Kissimmee (Mecum), Scottsdale, Arizona (Barrett-Jackson – postponed to March, Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s)
- February 2021: Paris (Artcurial, Bonhams — postponed to March, RM Sotheby’s), London (Bonhams, Gooding)
- March 2021: Paris (Bonhams), Glendale (Mecum), Scottsdale (Barrett-Jackson), Amelia Island — postponed to May (Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s)
- May 2021: Amelia Island — postponed from March (Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s)