The most expensive cars sold at public auction in 2021 were a 1995 McLaren F1, a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competition, and a 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato.
The list of the ten most expensive cars sold at public auction in 2021 is led by a 1995 McLaren F1 sports car — the first car in three years to sell for more than $20 million. Most of the other top cars are racing cars and include a Le Mans winner (1972 Matra MS670) and a Lewis Hamilton Formula 1 Grand Prix race winner (2010 McLaren MP4-25A). Six of the ten most expensive cars sold at auction in 2021 were traded at the Monterey Car Week auctions including four of the five Ferraris in the top ten. Although RM Sotheby’s sold six of the ten most expensive cars in 2021, Gooding sold both the most and second most expensive cars this year.
List of the Top Ten Most Expensive Cars Sold at Auction in 2021
The 10 highest results achieved for cars sold at public auction in 2021 were:
|Lot||Year||Car||Price ($)||Auction House||Auction|
|1||1995||McLaren F1||20,465,000||Gooding||Pebble Beach|
|2||1959||Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione||10,840,000||Gooding||Pebble Beach|
|3||1962||Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato||9,520,000||RM Sotheby’s||Monterey|
|4||1962||Ferrari 268 SP||7,705,000||RM Sotheby’s||Monterey|
|5||1966||Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione||7,705,000||RM Sotheby’s||Monterey|
|6||1955||Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione||6,961,633||RM Sotheby’s||Paul Ricard|
|7||1972||Matra MS 670||6,921,446||Artcurial||Paris|
|8||2010||McLaren MP4-25A F1 Racer||6,741,384||RM Sotheby’s||Silverstone|
|9||1955||Jaguar D-Type||6,000,000||RM Sotheby’s||Arizona|
|10||1958||Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’||6,000,000||RM Sotheby’s||Monterey|
Note: Include the auction premium. May include post-hammer deals and charity lots.
Most Expensive Cars of 2021 Sold at Public Auction
The ten most expensive cars sold at public auction thus far in 2021 were:
1995 McLaren F1
A 1995 McLaren F1 with only 390 km (242 miles) on the clock increased the marque record to $20,465,000 as the top result in the Gooding Pebble Beach 2021 classic car auction and the top results of all Monterey Car Week sales in 2021. The McLaren became the 13th most expensive car ever sold at public auction and only the 13th car to achieve over $20 million. The presale estimate was “in excess of $15 million”.
This McLaren F1 was the 25th of 68 road-going cars built with a further 38 race track versions. It was the only F1 delivered in Creighton Brown and was preserved in a time capsule state by its original Japanese owner with its later period in the USA not adding any further mileage to the odometer.
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione
A rare 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione in Italian flag livery sold for $10,840,000 as the second most expensive car sold at Gooding Pebble Beach 2021 and of all the Monterey Car Week 2021 sales. It is only the second car to have achieved over $10 million in 2021.
Between 1957 and 1962, Ferrari built just 106 California Spiders: 50 examples of the original long-wheelbase (LWB) model, and 56 of the later short-wheelbase (SWB) variant. Of the 50 LWB California Spiders built, only about 10 were prepared new from the factory with competition features.
This Competizione version with its distinct Italian flag livery was one of very few originally delivered in Europe and accounted for most of the LWB California Spider in-period racing experience in Europe.
1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato
The top result in the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2021 sale for the rare 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato that sold for $9,520,000 — somewhat below estimate and reportedly only after the reserve was lower but still a reasonable result. One of only 19 DB4GT Zagatos built and with only six left-hand-drive examples, the Aston was ordered new with numerous unique features specified by its original owner.
This DB4GT Zagato boasts an impressive race history as it was successfully raced by Roy Salvadori at the May 1962 BRSCC Brands Hatch event, finishing first in class and second overall. It then went on to attend car club events, race many seasons at Silverstone and Donnington.
1962 Ferrari 268 SP
The 1962 Ferrari 268 SP by Fantuzzi sold for $7,705,000 as the joint second most expensive car in the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2021 sale. It was the third of only six examples produced and one of just two originally equipped with a rare Ferrari V-8. The car was integral to the evolution of the Ferrari P-car series and testing at the Le Mans trials in 1962 as a Scuderia Ferrari Works entry. It was entered by NART at the Bahamas Speed Weeks from late-1962 through 1963 and driven to the 1964 SCCA Class D Modified Championship.
This example boasts associations with legendary drivers such as Lorenzo Bandini, Harry Heuer, Olivier Gendebien, Ricardo Rodriguez, and has had only two private owners since 1969, including 27 years in the Mas du Clos Collection of Pierre Bardinon.
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione
The 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione by Scaglietti sold for $7,705,000 as the joint second most expensive car in the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2021 sale. It was the 11th of 12 examples built featuring a 250 LM-type dry-sump, Tipo 213 competition engine, thin-gauge aluminum alloy coachwork, and use of lightweight components. It is a three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans entrant and class winner of the 1967 24 Hour of Le Mans, 1969 1000 KM Spa-Francorchamps, and 1969 500 KM of Imola.
This Ferrari Classiche Red Book certified example is presently fitted with a six-carburetor high-performance engine and is optimally prepared for rallies and racing; however, the correct original components are included and can be readily prepared for concours display as it was at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2018.
1955 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione
The 1955 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione sold for €6,192,500 ($6,961,633) as the most expensive car sold at the RM Sotheby’s Guikas Collection 2021 sale held at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France. It was also the most expensive car sold at a public auction in Europe in 2021.
Displayed at the 1955 Turin Motor Show, chassis 0385 GT was clothed in special one-off bodywork by Pinin Farina, similar to the 375 MM Berlinettas of the period and what clearly became a prototype for the first series of Ferrari 250 GT LWB ‘Tour de France’ GT cars.
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.
2010 McLaren Mercedes MP4-25A Formula 1 Race Car
A 2010 McLaren Mercedes MP4-25A Formula 1 single-seater race car sold for £4,836,000 ($6,741,384) at the special single-lot RM Sotheby’s Silverstone auction during the annual British Grand Prix weekend in mid-July 2021. The auction took place while the McLaren circled the Silverstone track at race speed.
The McLaren MP4 was the first time ever that a Formula 1 car driven by Lewis Hamilton was offered for sale in a public auction. Lewis Hamilton drove this Mercedes-Benz-powered McLaren to victory in the Turkish Grand Prix in 2010. The result set a new record for a McLaren Formula 1 racing car.
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.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta “Tour de France”
The 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’ by Scaglietti that sold for $6,000,000 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2021 was the 52nd of 72 examples built. It has several unique features as specified by its original owner, French industrialist Jacques Peron. Peron raced the car to fourth overall in the Tour de France series in 1958 before selling it to Rene Cotton, who continued to race the Ferrari for a few more years.
This 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’ was owned for four decades (until 2014) and frequently driven by David and Mary Love in historic races and tours. The restored Ferrari debuted at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, completing the Tour d’Elegance and being judged 3rd in Class.
Million-Dollar-Plus Cars Sold at Public Auctions in 2021
Thus far in 2021, at least* 200 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 — 24: 5 at Gooding (Geared Online), 12 at Amelia Island (4 Bonhams, 8 RM Sotheby’s), 7 Indianapolis (Mecum).
- June — 17: 4 at Milan (RM Sotheby’s), 3 at Geared Online UK (Gooding), 2 at Bonmont (Bonhams), 3 at Las Vegas (Barrett-Jackson), 4 at Liechtenstein (RM Sotheby’s), 1 at RM Sotheby’s Open Roads Europe (online).
- July — 6: 3 at Goodwood (Bonhams), 1 at Silverstone (RM Sotheby’s), 1 at The Market (Bonhams online), 1 at Monaco (Artcurial)
- August — 87: 87 during Monterey Car Week (44 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey, 24 at Gooding Pebble Beach, 12 at Mecum Monterey, 7 at Bonhams Quail Lodge)
- September 15: 3 at Houston (Barrett-Jackson), 1 at Goodwood Revival (Bonhams), 3 at Auburn, 8 at St Moritz (RM Sotheby’s)
- October 4: 1 at Newport (Bonhams), 1 at Hershy (RM Sotheby’s), 2 at Zoute (Bonhams)
- November 10: 3 at London (RM Sotheby’s), 7 at Paul Ricard-Guikas (RM Sotheby’s)
In the battle of the auction houses:
- 92 – RM Sotheby’s
- 37 – Gooding & Co
- 27 – Mecum
- 24 – Bonhams
- 6 – Artcurial
- 11 – Barrett-Jackson
- 0 – Silverstone
- 3 – 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, Amelia Island (Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s), London (Bonhams), Indianapolis (Mecum).
- June: Tulsa (Mecum), Milan (RM Sotheby’s), Geared Online UK (Gooding), Geneva (Bonhams), Las Vegas (Barrett-Jackson), Liechtenstein (RM Sotheby’s), Open Roads Europe Online (RM Sotheby’s).
- July: Goodwood Festival of Speed (Bonhams), Silverstone (RM Sotheby’s), The Market (Bonhams Online), Monaco (Artcurial)
- August: Monterey Car Week (RM Sotheby’s Monterey, Gooding Pebble Beach, Mecum Monterey, Bonhams Quail Lodge)
- September: Dallas (Mecum), Houston (Barrett-Jackson), Goodwood Revival (Bonhams), Auburn (RM Sotheby’s, Worldwide), St Moritz (RM Sotheby’s)
- October: Audrain Concours (Bonhams), Hershey (RM Sotheby’s), Mecum (Las Vegas), Zoute (Bonhams), Chattagnooga (Mecum), Chicago (Mecum)
- November: London (Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s), Guikas Collection at Paul Ricard (RM Sotheby’s),
- Kansas City (Mecum), London (Bonhams)
The next major classic car auctions include:
- January 2022: Kissimmee (Mecum), Scottsdale / Arizona (Barret-Jackson, Bonhams, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s)
- February 2022: Paris (Artcurial, Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s)