2021 (May): The most-expensive cars sold at public auction in 2021 are a 1972 Matra MS670, a 1955 Jaguar D-Type, and a 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster.
The list of the ten most-expensive cars sold at public auction thus far in 2021 is led by a Le-Mans-winning 1972 Matra MS670 and a bright red 1955 Jaguar D-Type. The third and fourth most-expensive cars sold thus far in 2021 were two Shelby 427 Cobra Roadsters that belonged to Carroll Shelby. The fifth and sixth highest auction results thus far in 2021 were for 1937 Bugatti Type 57 cars with coachwork by Corsa. A 2020 McLaren Speedtail is the newest car on the top-ten list. Remarkably, only one Ferrari is among the ten most-expensive cars sold thus far in 2021.
List of the Top Ten Most-Expensive Cars Sold at Auction in 2021
The 10 highest results achieved for cars sold at public auction thus far in 2021 were:
|Year||Car||Price ($)||Auction House||Auction|
|1||1972||Matra MS 670||6,921,446||Artcurial||Paris|
|2||1955||Jaguar D-Type||6,000,000||RM Sotheby’s||Arizona|
|3||1965||Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster||5,940,000||Mecum||Kissimmee|
|4||1966||Shelby 427 Cobra Super Snake||5,500,000||Barrett-Jackson||Scottsdale|
|5||1937||Bugatti Type 57 S by Corsica||5,678,842||Bonhams||London|
|6||1937||Bugatti Type 57 SC Tourer by Corsica||4,735,000||RM Sotheby’s||Arizona|
|7||1961||Aston Martin DB4 GT||3,777,280||Gooding||London|
|8||1967||Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Alloy||3,586,000||Gooding||Online (May)|
|9||2020||McLaren Speedtail||3,277,500||RM Sotheby’s||Arizona|
|10||1971||Lamborghini Miura P400 SV||2,918,800||RM Sotheby’s||Paris|
Note: Include the auction premium. May include post-hammer deals and charity lots.
Most-Expensive Cars of 2021 Sold at Public Auction
The most-expensive cars sold at public auction in 2021, achieving at least $3 million, were:
1972 Matra MS670
The Matra MS 670, chassis 001, was driven to victory in the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours race by Henri Pescarolo and Graham Hill ahead of a second Matra. Matra, and Pescarolo, would win the race in 1973 and 1974 too.
The car was kept in the Matra Museum but following an “unfavorable ruling” in a court case, 18 years after the company has closed, was offered for sale. It was presented in the configuration used in the 1973 race.
1955 Jaguar D-Type
The top result at the RM Sotheby’s Arizona classic car auction in 2021, and the most-expensive car sold during the Scottsdale 2021 auction series, was $6,000,000 paid for the 1955 Jaguar D-Type, XKD 518.
It is one of only two (possibly three) D-Types delivered in a dramatic red livery. The first private owner was British racing driver Peter Blond, who purchased the car from motorsport icon Bernie Ecclestone. Blond raced XKD 518 until 1957, with highlights including a 5th Overall at the Aintree 100, a top 10 finish in the Goodwood Trophy, and a win at the Snetterton National Race. After Blond sold the Jaguar in 1957, XKD 518 had several prominent owners including famed racer Ms. Jean Bloxham and Led Zeppelin band manager Peter Grant.
1965 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster
A 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster sold for a remarkable $5,940,000, as the top result at the Mecum Kissimmee 2021 collector car auction. The 427 Cobra was Carroll Shelby’s own Cobra Roadster and remained in his possession from new until sold by his estate in 2016. It has since been restored to its original, factory-specification condition.
The Shelby is one of only five 427 Cobras originally finished in charcoal gray but that is really of no significance — it is the long Carroll Shelby ownership record that drove the price. A regular Cobra 427 Roadster in the same sale fetched $1,375,000.
1966 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster Super Snake
The top result at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2021 collector car auction, which was postponed to March, was $5,500,000 paid for the only remaining 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake, CSX 3015. The Cobra was one of only 23 total 427 competition roadsters built. A year later it was transformed for racing legend Carroll Shelby into the Super Snake and reclassified as 427 Cobra Semi-Competition (S.C.).
The result at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2021 was exactly the same as what the car sold for at Scottsdale 2007 (!) but more than the $5,115,000 paid for the Shelby in a post-hammer deal at the 2015 Scottsdale auction.
1937 Bugatti Type 57S by Corsica
A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S, which had been off the road and out of sight for the past 50 years, sold for £4,047,000 ($5,678,842), as the top result at the Bonhams Legend of the Road Sale 2021 in London. This 57S was built on a special lightweight chassis previously used on one of three Bugatti works 1936 Type 57G streamliner ‘tank’ sports cars which contested Grand Prix in 1936 and set high-speed records.
The Bugatti was presented in an exceptionally original condition with largely intact paintwork and original coachwork. However, it was an unfinished restoration project and although assembled, considerable work will be required to bring the Bugatti back to the road. It still achieved a remarkable million dollars more than the four-seater Tourer sold in Arizona in January.
1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica
The second highest result at the RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2021 sale was $4,735,000 for a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica. The rare car is one of just over 40 Type 57S chassis produced, of which only 16 were fitted with open coachwork. Corsa fitted coachwork to only eight of which only two were the four-seater tourer bodies.
Adding the available “C” specification Roots-type supercharger early in the car’s life further raised the power output to 200 hp, enabling a top speed of 120-mph and making the 57SC the fastest French production car of the period.
The five most-expensive cars sold at public auction in 2020 were all Bugattis and it appears the classic brand may perform well in 2021 too.
1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT
A 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT sold for $3,777,280 as the top result at the Gooding Geared Online European Sporting & Historic Collection classic car auction based in London, UK. It is one of only 75 DB4 GTs originally built, of which only 30 were specified in left-hand drive.
The DB4 GT at Gooding retained its matching-numbers engine per factory records and benefited from a no-expense-spared restoration by marque specialist RS Williams Ltd. in 2020. The quality of the restoration probably explained most of the price difference to the $1,632,860 paid for a DB4 GT only a few hours earlier at the Artcurial Parisienne sale in Paris, however, an uncompleted restoration-project 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT sold for $2,771,365 at Bonhams in London only two weeks later.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Alloy
The top result in the Gooding Geared Online May 2021 sale was $3,586,000 paid for a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Alloy — remarkably the most-expensive Ferrari sold thus far in 2021.
This 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 alloy four-cam, chassis 10025, was the 9th example built (of only 16) and was delivered new to Switzerland. During the early 1970s, well-known Ferrari dealer and customizer Tom Meade acquired the 275 GTB/4 and upgraded it, fitting an external fuel filler and competition-style Borrani wire wheels. Later exported to the U.S., it was eventually sold to respected collector and vintage racer Pat Hart of Seattle, Washington. The alloy-bodied Ferrari is presented in a dark red livery with light beige upholstery and retained its matching numbers engine.
2020 McLaren Speedtail
The 2020 McLaren Speedtail achieved $3,277,500 at the RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale, as the most-expensive modern hypercar sold thus far in 2021 at auction. This Speedtail was the 36th of only 106 produced. It is fitted with over $170,000 in options, of which almost a third was spent on the bespoke shade of MSO Heritage Atlantic Blue, further enriched by a set of Bespoke Exterior Painted Pinstripes which are color-matched to the lightweight alloy wheels.
The Mclaren Speedtail is the fastest McLaren road car ever built with a top speed of 250 mph. It was only sold to preselect customers and this will be the first example offered in a public sale. It has only 30 miles on the clock.
Million-Dollar-Plus Cars Sold at Public Auctions in 2021
Thus far in 2021, at least* 41 cars were sold at public auctions for over a million dollars. (*Definitions vary, results include auction premium, charity lots, and post-hammer deals announced in first published results.)
- January — 17: 7 at Kissimmee (Mecum), 10 at Scottsdale / Arizona (Bonhams 1, Gooding 1, RM Sotheby’s 8)
- February — 13: 7 at Paris (Artcurial 5, RM Sotheby’s 2), 6 at London (Gooding 4, Bonhams 2)
- March — 6: 1 at Glendale (Mecum), 5 at Scottsdale (5 Barrett-Jackson, including 2 charity lots)
- May — 5: 5 at Gooding (Geared Online)
In the battle of the auction houses:
- 10 – RM Sotheby’s
- 10 – Gooding & Co
- 8 – Mecum
- 3 – Bonhams
- 5 – 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: Kissimmee (Mecum), Scottsdale Arizona (Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s, Russo and Steele, Worldwide)
- February: Paris (Artcurial, RM Sotheby’s), London (Gooding, Bonhams), Online-Only: RM Sotheby’s Open Roads
- March: Paris (Bonhams), Glendale (Mecum), Scottsdale (Barrett-Jackson), Online-Only: RM Sotheby’s Open Roads
- April: Houston (Mecum), Los Angeles (Bonhams), Monaco (Bonhams), RM Sotheby’s Open Roads
- May: Online-Only: Gooding Geared Online
The next major classic car auctions include:
- May: Amelia Island — postponed from March (Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s), Indianapolis (Mecum), Goodwood Members (Bonhams), London (Bonhams)
- June: Tulsa (Mecum), Geneva (Bonhams), Las Vegas (Barrett-Jackson), Milan (RM Sotheby’s), Liechtenstein (RM Sotheby’s), Online-only: Gooding Geared Online UK
- July: Goodwood Festival of Speed (Bonhams), Harrisburg (Mecum)
- August: Monterey (Bonhams, Gooding, Mecum, RM Sotheby’s)
- September: Dallas (Mecum), Houston (Barrett-Jackson), Goodwood Revival (Bonhams), Auburn (RM Sotheby’s)
- October: Las Vegas (Mecum), Chicago (Mecum), Hershey (RM Sotheby’s)
- November: London (Bonhams)
- December: Kansas City (Mecum), London (Bonhams)