The most-expensive cars sold thus far in 2017 at auction were a Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet, Jaguar E-Type, Mercedes Benz 540K, Ferrari 340 America and a 1928 Mercedes Benz Typ S.
A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet by Vanvooren achieved $7,700,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2017 sale as the most-expensive car sold thus far in 2017 at public auction. It is closely followed by a 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition sold for $7,370,000 at Bonhams Scottsdale – the most-expensive E-Type ever. An elegant 1939 Mercedes Benz 540 K Spezial Roadster achieved $6,600,000 at RM Sotheby’s Arizona, while the fourth most-expensive car in 2017 also set a new model record: $6,380,000 for a 1952 Ferrari America Spider Competizione.
After the Scottsdale and Arizona sales in January 2017, the Paris Retromobile Week sales in February 2017, and the Amelia Island sales in Florida in March 2017, the list of the ten most-expensive cars of the year include 2 Bugattis, 2 Ferraris, 2 Mercedes Benz cars, a Jaguar, Porsche, a Dino and an Alfa Romeo with the latter two having very strong Ferrari links too.
Lists of the Top Ten Most-Expensive Cars in 2017 (January to April)
The 10 highest results achieved for cars sold at public auction thus far in 2017 were:
|Lot||Year||Car||Price ($)||Auction House||Auction|
|1||1937||Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet by Vanvooren||7,700,000||RM Sotheby’s||Amelia Island|
|2||1963||Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition||7,370,000||Bonhams||Scottsdale|
|3||1939||Mercedes Benz 540 K Special Roadster||6,600,000||RM Sotheby’s||Arizona|
|4||1952||Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione||6,380,000||Bonhams||Scottsdale|
|5||1998||Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion||5,665,000||Gooding||Amelia Island|
|6||1928||Mercedes Benz Typ S 26/120/180 Supercharged Sports Tourer||4,812,500||Bonhams||Scottsdale|
|7||1965||Dino Berlinetta Speciale par Pininfarina||4,653,824||Artcurial||Paris|
|8||1934||Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3||4,186,560||RM Sotheby’s||Paris|
|9||1969||Ferrari 365 GTS||3,602,500||RM Sotheby’s||Arizona|
|10||1925||Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix||3,300,000||Gooding||Scottsdale|
|(11)||1948||Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa par Scaglietti||3,138,024||Artcurial||Paris|
An eleventh car was added as the Dino is a design study without a working engine.
The Ten Most-Expensive Cars of 2017 (January to April)
1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet by Vanvooren
A stylish 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet by Vanvooren sold for $7,700,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2017 sale as the top result at the Florida week classic car auctions.
Only four of the 42 Bugatti Type 57S chassis were ever fitted with cabriolet bodywork by the coachbuilder Vanvooren. The car sold at Amelia Island 2017 is a highly original, unrestored example with its original chassis, engine, gearbox and bodywork.
For more on this car see: 2017 Gooding Amelia Island 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet Announcement
1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition
A new record was set for an E-Type when a 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition sold for $7,370,000 at the Bonhams Scottsdale 2017 auction. Only 12 of the Lightweight Competition E-Types were ever made making these cars rarer than the Ferrari 250 GTOs that it raced against, often successfully.
This 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition was campaigned successfully by Bob Jane in Australia but covered only 4,000 miles since new. They buyer became only the fourth owner.
For more on this car also see: 2017 Bonhams Scottsdale Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition Announcement.
1939 Mercedes Benz 540 K Special Roadster
The 1939 Mercedes Benz 540 K Special Roadster with coachwork by Sindelfingen was the top result for RM Sotheby’s 2017 Arizona sale achieving $6,600,000. RM Sotheby’s had similar success with the large 1930s Mercedes Benz roadster last year: a 1937 Mercedes Benz 540 K Special Roadster set the Scottsdale/Arizona week record at $9,900,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2016 sale and ended the year as tenth most-expensive car in 2017.
This 1937 Mercedes Benz 540 K Special Roadster was one of the last of 419 chassis produced in the 540 series. Only around 25 were fitted with Special Roadster bodywork. The car disappeared from Germany into the Soviet Union after the Second World War but was returned to the west in the 1960s.
It was the third time in six years that this Mercedes was sold at public auction. In 2011, it sold for $4.6 million and in 2013 for $7.5 million.
1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione
The most-expensive Ferrari thus far in 2017 is the 1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione that sold for $6,380,000 at the Bonhams Scottsdale 2017 auction. The car set a new record for the model, of which only 22 were made and only three as Competizione cars.
The 1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione was a Scuderia Ferrari entry into the 1952 Mille Miglia, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Targa Florio but retired in all of these races. The car was driven by amongst others Piero Taruffi, Maurice Trintignant, and Giovanni Bracco.
For more on this car also see 2017 Bonhams Scottsdale Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione Announcement.
1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion
A 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion sold for $5,665,000 at the Gooding Amelia Island 2017 classic car auction – setting a new world record for the model and a Porsche 911 in any variant. Porsche built only 20 of these cars that are in effect a street-legal version of the Le Mans-winning 911 GT1 racing car. This Porsche 911 GT1 is finished in its original Artic Silver Metallic livery and has less than 5,000 miles from new.
For more on this car also see 2017 Gooding Amelia Island Porsche Supercar Announcement.
1928 Mercedes Benz Typ S 26/120/180 Supercharged Sports Tourer
A 1928 Mercedes Benz Typ S 26/120/180 Supercharged Sports Tourer sold for $4,812,500 at the Bonhams Scottsdale 2017 sale. These large Mercedes Benz cars have been described as the Car for Kings and was popular with royalty and the very rich. However, the Great Depression ensured that only 174 were made.
The large supercharged Mercedes Benz was designed by Ferdinand Porsche, who at the time was still employed by Mercedes.
The 1928 Mercedes Benz Typ S 26/120/180 Supercharged Sports Tourer sold at Scottsdale was originally delivered to the USA. It still has its original Erdmann & Rossi body and original engine.
1965 Dino Berlinetta Speciale by Pininfarina
The top result at the Paris Retromobile classic car auction week in February 2017 was €4,390,400 ($4,653,824) paid for a 1965 Dino Berlinetta Speciale by Pininfarina at the Artcurial auction. This unique prototype was designed for Ferrari by Pininfarina and as the first ever mid-engined Ferrari GT strongly influenced the Ferraris that followed.
The1965 Dino Berlinetta Speciale has been on static display in the Automobile du Mans Museum since 1967. It is fitted with an engine without internal moving parts so it will not be seen on any roads soon.
1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3
The highest result at the RM Sotheby’s Paris 2017 classic car sale was €3,920,000 ($4,186,560) for a 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipe B P3. This important pre-War Grand Prix racing car was the sixth of only seven second-series wide-body cars made by Alfa Romeo.
After the Alfa Romeo team declared bankruptcy, Ferrari took over the cars with this P3 racing as a Scuderia Ferrari car in the 1934 and 1935 seasons. Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi, and Pierre Louis-Dreyfus are some of the drivers who raced the car although it is not known exactly which of the Alfa Romeos were driven at any specific Grand Prix race in the period.
See Alfa Romeo Tipo B Announcement for more on this car.
1969 Ferrari 365 GTS
The 1969 Ferrari 365 GTS that sold for $3,602,500 – a new model world record at auction – at the RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2017 classic car sale is an exceptionally rare car. Only 20 of these spiders were ever built.
The previous six owners of this 1969 Fereari 365 GTS had driven it for only 10,235 kilometer. The car is a matching-numbers example and has its original coachwork and Borrani wheels.
1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix
A new model world record was also set for the 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix that achieved $3,300,000 at the Gooding & Co Scottsdale 2017 sale. The Bugatti finished in French racing blue retained its original engine, chassis and bodywork despite being raced in period.
The Bugatti originally belonged to American Standard Oil heir Wallis C. Bird and the purchaser will be only the fourth owner of this lovely car.
A 1928 Bugatti Type 52 Bebe – a half-size scale model of the Type 35 with electric engine made for children by Bugatti – sold in the same auction for $88,000. Probably a record too and proof that rich children get the best toys.
1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa
Artcurial’s second highest result at the Paris 2017 auction was €2,960,000 ($3,138,024) for a 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa.
The 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa is an important car from Ferrari’s early history as a carmaker. This car was one of the first Ferraris produced for a private client, who extensively raced it in period to good results but no memorable victories.
Million-Dollar Cars at Public Auctions in 2017
Thus far in 2017, around* 84 cars have been sold at public auctions for over a million dollars. (*Definitions vary, results include auction premium.)
- January 2017: 36 – 1 at Kissimmee (Mecum) and 35 at Scottsdale, Arizona (Barrett-Jackson 2, Bonhams 7, Gooding 9, RM Sotheby’s 15, Worldwide Auctioneers 2)
- February 2017: 16 – 16 at Paris Retromobile (Artcurial 7, RM Sotheby’s 6, Bonhams 3)
- March 2017: 31 – 31 at Amelia Island (RM Sotheby’s 19, Gooding 9, Bonhams 1, Hollywood Wheels 1, Motostalgia 1)
- April 2017: 1 – 1 at Fort Lauderdale (Auctions America 1)
The list takes the published results of the following auctions into consideration:
- January 2017: Kissimmee (Mecum) and Scottsdale, Arizona (Barrett Jackson, Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s, Worldwide Auctioneers)
- February 2017: Paris (Artcurial, Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s)
- March 2017: Amelia Island (Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s), Goodwood Members (Bonhams)
- April 2017: Fort Lauderdale (Auctions America)
Next Major Classic Car Auctions
- May 2017: Aston Martin Works (Bonhams), Spa (Bonhams), Villa Erba (RM Sotheby’s)
- June 2017: Greenwich (Bonhams), Goodwood Festival of Speed (Bonhams), Santa Monica (RM Sotheby’s)
- July 2017: Motor City (RM Sotheby’s)
- August 2017: Monterey Week (Bonhams at Quail Lodge, Gooding at Pebble Beach, RM Sotheby’s at Monterey, Mecum at Monterey)
- September: Goodwood Revival (Bonhams), Chantilly (Bonhams)
- October 2017: Zoute (Bonhams), Hershey (RM Sotheby’s)
- November 2017: London to Brighton (Bonhams)
- December 2017: Bond Street (Bonhams)