2020 (early August): The most-expensive cars sold at public auction thus far in 2020 are two classic Bugatti Type 55 roadsters and two very special Mustangs.
The list of the ten most-expensive cars sold at public auction thus far in 2020 is led by two classic Bugatti roadsters: a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster with factory coachwork and a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 that was a factory-entry at Le Mans. The third-most-expensive car in 2020 is the 1965 Shelby GTR350R “Flying Mustang” Competition Model followed by the 1968 Ford Mustang GT that was driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt. The fifth-most-expensive car in 2020 is a 1907 Renault Type AI 35/45 HP Vanderbilt Racer. The most-expensive Ferrari thus far sold at auction in 2020 is a 1995 Ferrari F50. The top-ten list includes a still-to-be-built 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray that sold for charity.
List of the Top Ten Most-Expensive Cars Sold at Auction in 2020
The 10 highest results achieved for cars sold at public auction thus far in 2020 were:
|Year||Car||Price ($)||Auction House||Auction|
|1||1932||Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster||7,100,000||Bonhams||Amelia Island|
|2||1931||Bugatti Type 55 Two-Seat Supersport by Figoni||5,061,380||Bonhams||Paris|
|3||1965||Shelby GT350 Prototype||3,850,000||Mecum||Indianapolis|
|4||1968||Ford Mustang GT “Bullit”||3,740,000||Mecum||Kissimmee|
|5||1907||Renault Type AI 35/45 HP Vanderbilt Racer||3,332,500||Bonhams||Amelia Island|
|7||1966||Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose||3,080,000||Gooding||Geared Online (Pebble Beach)|
|8||2020||Chevrolet Corvette Stingray VIN001||3,000,000||Barrett-Jackson||Scottsdale|
|9||2003||Ferrari Enzo||2,782,500||RM Sotheby’s||Amelia Island|
|10||1965||Ferrari 275 GTB/C6||2,753,080||Artcurial||Paris|
|11||2003||Ferrari Enzo||2,640,000||RM Sotheby’s||Online Driving into Summer|
|12||1932||Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual Cowl Phaeton||2,425,000||Gooding||Scottsdale|
Note: Include the auction premium. May include post-hammer deals and charity lots. Extra cars were added to the list of the ten most-expensive cars sold at public auction in 2020, as some were sold in online-only auctions and the charity lots are new, as yet unbuilt cars, but in fairness, some of the modern hypercars are practically new and undriven too.
Ten Most-Expensive Cars of 2020 Sold at Public Auction (August)
The ten most-expensive cars sold at public auction in 2020 were:
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.
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.
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.
A 1970 Porsche 917K used on the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans, similarly sold for a marque-record $14,080,000 – almost $4 million more than the second-most-expensive Porsche, the Le-Mans-winning 1982 Porsche 956. The Ford marque record of $11,000,000 is for a 1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight used as a camera car for the same McQueen Le Mans movie, although the Ford had some racing history too.
1907 Renault Type AI 35/45HP Vanderbilt Racer
The 1907 Renault Type AI 35/45HP Vanderbilt Racer with coachwork by Renault Frères was the leading car of a large number of pre-First Wolrd War automobiles on offer at the Bonhams Amelia Island 2020 classic car auction. It was bought by the Audrain Automobile Museum for what is certainly a Renault marque record of $3,332,500.
This Renault was commissioned by Willie K Vanderbilt for American racing and one of four survivors in the USA. It is in a highly original condition and at Pebble Beach 2016 won the Pre-War Racing class, The Phil Hill Trophy and the Revs institute award.
1995 Ferrari F50
A 1995 Ferrari F50 sold for $3,222,500 as the top result of the Gooding Scottsdale 2020 sale and the highest result of any auction during the Scottsdale 2020 week. It was only the fourth F50 to have sold for over $3 million at public auction.
This 1995 Ferrari F50 is one of the 55 (out of 349 total) produced to US specifications. It was originally owned by Benny Caiola and had only two previous owners. It was sols with 5,200 miles on the clock.
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose
Gooding set a new record when a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose sold for $3,080,000 in the Geared Online sale. This 275 became the most-expensive car ever sold in an online auction.
This Pininfarina-designed 275 GTB Long Nose was one of the last produced and combined the authentic mechanical specifications with seldom seen factory options, as it featured the exclusive torque tube driveshaft, high-performance six-carburetor intake, and an exceedingly rare competition-style external fuel filler cap. This 275 GTB’s distinctive appearance is further highlighted by its one-off color scheme of Bianco over beige leather.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray VIN 001
The world’s first mid-engine Corvette, the 2020 Chevrolet Stingray VIN 001, sold for $3 million as a charity lot in the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2020 collector car auction. Only one car sold for more during all the Scottsdale 2020 car auctions.
The actual 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray VIN001 is still to be built and, in contrast to the model shown at the sale, will be a black-on-black Corvette powered by an 8-cylinder, 6.2-liter LT2 engine producing 495 hp.
The entire hammer price of this sale will benefit Detroit Children’s Fund – a non-profit organization that makes targeted investments to grow the number of quality schools in Detroit.
2003 Ferrari Enzo
The most expensive car at the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2020 sale was a 2003 Ferrari Enzo that sold for $2,782,500. This US-specification Rosso Corsa over red is one of only 399 examples built.
In 2005, the car joined the renowned Lingenfelter Collection, where it has been carefully maintained and kept in climate-controlled storage. The Enzo has only 1,700 miles on the clock.
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/C6
A 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/C6 sold for $2,753,080 as the top result at the Artcurial Paris Rétromobile 2020 sale. The 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB, chassis #6785, was delivered new to full race spec with 6 carburetors and is considered one of the most-raced 275s in existence.
This Ferrari 275 GTB took part in over 40 international races between 1965 and 1968, including rally, track and hillclimb events. It featured on the cover of the Ferrari Yearbook in 1966, having won the GT class in the Monza 1000km that year. The car also competed in the European hillclimb championship with rounds at Mont Ventoux, Ollon-Villars and Cesana Sestriere, and the Rallye Solitude Lyon Charbonnière.
2003 Ferrari Enzo
A second 2003 Ferrari Enzo made it onto the top-ten list — at $2,640,000 it was not only the top result in the RM Sotheby’s Driving into Summer Sale but also at the time the highest price ever paid for a car in an online-only auction. The result was only moderately lower than RM Sotheby’s achieved on an Enzo at Amelia Island 2020.
The Ferrari Enzo had only two previous owners and had only 1,250 miles on the clock.
1932 Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual Cowl Phaeton
The 1932 Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual Cowl Phaeton, chassis 13016, that sold for $2,425,000 – half a million above upper estimate – was the most exciting of several 1930s cars on offer at Gooding Scottsdale 2020. It confirmed that even in a lackluster market, quality does sell.
The car is one of 120 J12 chassis ever produced and one of believed 10 open versions to have survived. Its rakish sports phaeton body is by Henry Binder of Paris. In 1954, chassis 13016 was purchased by famed collector Briggs Cunningham and remained in his collection for 35 years.
Million-Dollar-Plus Cars Sold at Public Auctions in 2020
Thus far in 2020, at least* 66 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 Artucirial Monaco.
- August 5: 5 at Monterey Week replacement auctions (5 at Gooding Geared Online)
In the battle of the auction houses:
- 21 – RM Sotheby’s
- 16 – Gooding & Co
- 9 – Bonhams
- 7 – Mecum
- 8 – Artcurial
- 5 – 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)
The next major classic car auctions include – several may be canceled or be postponed or trying online:
- August: Monterey Week — mostly canceled and replaced by online auctions: (Quail Lodge – Bonhams — a virtual but live auction, Mecum, RM Sotheby’s — Shift/Monterey online-only, Russo and Steele, Pacific Grove – Worldwide — canceled), Kissimmee (Mecum)
- September: Beaulieu (Bonhams), Brussels (Bonhams), Bonmont (Bonhams), Dallas (Mecum), Louisville (Mecum), Auburn Fall (RM Sotheby’s, Worldwide), Las Vegas (Barrett-Jackson)
- October: Chicago (Mecum), New York (Bonhams), De Zoute (Bonhams), London (Bonhams), Goodwood Speedweek (Bonhams), Palm Beach (Barrett-Jackson), Elkhart / Indiana (RM Sotheby’s), London (RM Sotheby’s)
- November: Las Vegas (Mecum)
- December: Houston (Mecum), London (Bonhams)