Famous car auctions like Barrett-Jackson, RM Sotheby’s and Mecum had their fair share of iconic vehicles sold on their auction floors. Classic Ferrari racecars are always high ticket items that draw a crowd, and records have been set and reset countless times in the last few decades.
The auctions aren’t just for luxury high-end vehicles. The famous auctions have also included everyday vehicles that make it to the auction floor as well. According to Hagerty, auction houses are not exclusive to just high-end luxury cars.
The first step is finding an auction house that will be a good fit for the vehicle that is being sold. Be prepared to be denied by a few auctions, as sometimes they are very selective on the cars they will be offering at that particular auction.
Next, the reserve price must be negotiated, or in some cases, the car will be sent across the floor with a no-reserve, which means the car could potentially be sold for just a buck. In addition, the auction house reserves the right to negotiate their selling commission, because, at the end of the day, they only make money if the vehicle is sold.
Here are 10 of the cheapest auction cars ever and 15 if the most expensive ones ever sold at auction.
24 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – $48.4 million/RM Sotheby's 2018
Last year, a record was broken at RM Sotheby's auction in 2018, when this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold for $44 million in just twelve minutes. According to Forbes, the final price tag was $48.4 million with all the buyer fees included.
While $48 million may seem like a steep price tag, it was actually a great investment considering a GTO from the following year was sold for $70 million last year to the CEO of Weathertech floor mats.
23 Yellow Submarine - $2,200/Barrett-Jackson 2013
This one of a kind yellow submarine was a rare visual when it made its way across the auction floor. According to Barrett Jackson’s official website, the motorized yellow submarine was custom built to honor to the Beatles famous song “Yellow Submarine.”
The submarine was sold back in 2013 at the Scottsdale auction for just $2,200, not including the additional buyers’ fees. The sub was powered by a one-cylinder engine, paired with a manual transmission, along with a stereo that plays just one song.
22 1957 Ferrari 335S - $35.6 million/Artcurial Auction 2016
A few years back in 2016, it marked history for the most expensive car ever sold at auction in the Euro currency. According to Hemmings, the 1957 Ferrari 335S was sold at Artcurial’s auction for €32,075,200 which is the equivalence of $35.6 million.
Sadly, this was same Ferrari that caused the cancellation of the Mille Miglia, and all other races that were held on the public roads of Italy after a fatal accident took the life of the driver and injured another 20 fans.
21 1979 Triumph TR7 Convertible - $3,850/Mecum Monterey 2018
Up next on the list is one of the cleanest Triumphs that still exists. According to Mecum’s official website, 1979 was the inaugural year for the Triumph TR7 convertible. The pictures included in the listing showed how immaculate the Triumph was, as both under the hood and the tan interior were flawless.
The listing also stated that the car included the original wheels and the owner’s manual. The car was sold with a winning bid of $3,850 at Mecum’s Monterey auction in 2018.
20 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta - $38.1 Million/Bonhams 2014
Back in 2014, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO made its way across the auction floor with hopes of breaking a new world record. According to Auto Blog, the Ferrari was sold back in 2014 for $38,115,00 at Bonhams famous auction, making it the most expensive car sold at auction at that time.
This racecar is one of just 39 that were ever built, and the car was bravely listed with no reserve. Another example was sold back in 2013 for $52 million via private sale.
19 1991 Ford Thunderbird - $3,300/Mecum Monterey 2018
The next car on the list is a bit of celebrity. The Ford Thunderbird was once proudly owned by NASCAR legend, Jeff Gordon. According to Mecum, the listing stated that the car would include the original order form and the original title proving that it was Jeff Gordon’s car, in addition to the glovebox that was signed by Gordon himself.
The car is boosted by an M90 Supercharger and is fully loaded with a leather interior, sunroof, and upgraded sports suspension. The car was purchased with the winning bid of $3,300 not including the buyer fee at the Monterey Mecum auction in 2018.
18 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner Coupe - $20.3 Million/ Royal Albert Hall 1987
The 1931 Bugatti would be considered one of the most expensive cars sold at auction if inflation was taken into account, that is. According to Luxury Insider, the Bugatti was sold for almost $10 million, all the way back in 1987, with inflation factored in, the car would cost roughly $20.3 million today.
This Bugatti, in particular, is extremely rare, as there were supposed to be 25 in total to be built, but only six of them were ever finished.
17 1998 GMC Suburban SLT - $1,925/Mecum Monterey 2018
Up next is a perfect example of a common car being sold at an auction. This 1998 GMC Suburban SLT made its way across the Mecum auction floor in Monterey in 2018. According to Mecum’s official website, the Suburban seemed to be bone stock.
The tan interior was pretty beat up from the photos, the odometer was just shy of 154,000 miles, and the engine was dirty. The Suburban was sold with a winning bid of $1,925 not including buyer fees.
16 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider - $21.1 Million/ RM Sotheby's 2016
This 1939 Alfa Romeo graced the RM Sotheby’s auction a few years back, and according to their official website, it was the first “Immortal 2.9” to make be sold at auction this century.
The car was sold back in 2016 for $19,800, which did not include the buyer additional fees. This car is considered to be as rare as the Bugatti Atlantic, one of which is owned by Ralph Lauren. This is one of only eleven Lungo Spiders that were ever produced.
15 1929 Mercedes- Benz SSK Replica - $6,600/ Mecum Monterey 2016
This 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK is actually a replica that was made from a kit. According to Mecum’s official website, the replica made its way across the auction floor back in 2016 in Monterey with no reserve and was sold for $6,600.
The listing was pretty vague on the details, besides the fact that it had a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that was paired with a three-speed transmission, but it did mention that there was “heavy chrome throughout,” as if that's the selling point.
14 1962 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale - $26.4 Million/RM Sotheby's Monterey 2014
This is one of just three Ferrari GTB/C Speciale that was built to compete in the famous “24 hours of Le Mans” race. According to Hemmings, the Ferrari was sold for a whopping $26.4 million in 2014 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction.
Luckily, the price included all the fees the buyer was responsible for. The car was hand-built and came with extensive paperwork about the car’s history. This car, in particular, was built to compete, but never officially raced.
13 1984 BMW 528e - $1,000/ Mecum Monterey 2017
This clean 1984 BMW 528e made its way across the auction floor back in 2017 at Mecum’s auction held in Monterey. According to their official website, the BMW had no reserve and was sold with a winning bid of just $1,000, not including the buyer additional fees.
Under the hood of this rider is a 2.7-liter paired with a manual transmission. The listing stated that the car was meticulously maintained and included a hand-written log book for all the maintenance.
12 1955 Jaguar D-Type XKD 501 - $23.2 Million/ RM Sotheby's Monterey 2016
The Jaguar D-Type is a popular car among enthusiast for a lot of reasons. The D-Type was responsible for taking first place in the “24 Hour of Le Mans” three years in a row in 1955, 1956 and 1957.
According to Auto Blog, this Type-D was victorious back in 1956. The car was sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction back in 2016 where the winning bid was $19.8 million. They also dished out extra money for the fees included.
11 1985 BMW 535i - $2,000/Mecum Monterey 2017
Up next on the list is another vintage BMW that was sold for a bargain at Mecum’s famous auction that is held in Monterey. According to their official website, the 5 Series made its way across the auction floor back in 2017 with no reserve and was won with the winning bid of $2,000, not including the extra fees.
The listing also included that the car had a rebuilt automatic transmission, and newer brakes, whatever that’s supposed to mean.
10 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 - $22.6 Million/RM Sotheby's Monterey 2017
The "/1" indicates that it was the first of only five that were built. According to The Drive, the car was raced by legends like Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori, and Carroll Shelby, and was the only Aston Martin to ever win the “24 of Hour of Le Mans.”
The car had been meticulously maintained by Aston Martin expert R.S. Williams. The DBR1/1 was sold in 2017 for $22,550,000 which included all of the buyer additional fees.
9 1977 Cadillac El Dorado - $3,300/ Russo & Steele 2017
This 1977 Cadillac El Dorado was clearly cared for, being almost four decades ago and looking this good. According to Russo and Steele’s official website, the Cadillac was sold for just $3,300. The robin egg blue El Dorado was in mint condition and had just over 65,000 on the odometer when it crossed the auction floor back at Monterey in 2017.
The white leather interior appeared to be in great condition, and under the hood, it looked just as clean.
8 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S NART Spyder $25 Million/RM Sotheby's Monterey 2013
The next car on the list comes with a great story. According to Car and Driver, this Ferrari was once owned by Eddie Money who was an orphan turned millionaire after starting his “National Wholesale” business back in the 1950s.
The original plan was to manufacturer 25 of the NART Spyders, but only 10 were finished after a lack of demand. The Ferrari was purchased with a winning bid of $25 million back in 2013 at RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, all of which was donated to charity.
7 1981 Porsche 928 - $5,500/ Barrett-Jackson 2016
One bidder got lucky after scoring this 1981 Porsche 928 for just $5,500 at the famous car auction, Barrett Jackson, back in 2016. According to their official website, the Porsche included the original owner’s manual and the tools that were included with the purchase of the car.
The listing also stated that the AC blows cold air, and all the power options work. The car was locally owned, as it was purchased at Scottsdale Porsche, and then sold at Barrett Jackson’s Scottsdale auction.
6 1956 Ferrari 290 MM - $22 Million/RM Sotheby's Peterson Automobile Museum 2018
This Ferrari was sold at RM Sotheby’s very first auction held at the Peterson Automotive Museum in LA last year. According to Motor Trend, this Ferrari, in particular, was driven by racing legends including Peter Collins, Sir Stirling Moss, and Phil Hill, and even included the original powertrain and body that the car had been retired with.
The car was eventually sold and imported to the US to a private owner. The Ferrari was sold to the winner with a bid of $22,000,005 which didn’t include the buyer fees.
5 1927 Ford Model T - $4,400/Mecum Monterey 2018
Up next is a vehicle that is almost 100 years old. According to Mecum’s official website, the Model T was from 1927 and hasn’t been modernized in any way shape or form. The body had been completely constructed from wood. The Model T was powered by a four-cylinder engine paired with a two-speed transmission.
The interior features the absolute minimum, which only consisted of the bench seat, pedals and steering wheel. The Model-T was purchased with a winning bid of $4,400, which did not include the buyer fees at Mecum’s Monterey auction in 2018.
4 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 - $29.1 Million/Bonhams 2013
This 1954 Mercedes Benz made its way across the floor at Bonham’s auction back in 2013. According to the Reuters website, the Benz was purchased with a final price of $19.6 million pounds which is equivalent to $29.6 million US, including all the additional fees.
According to Business Trader, the car was in a bidding war among 11 different bidders, with the winning bid being made via telephone, by an anonymous bidder. The car was responsible for a number of different Grand Prix wins and was retired after winning the Swiss Grand Prix in 1954.
3 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype - $21.4 Million/RM Sotheby's Monterey 2018
This 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype, like many others on this list, was built to be raced in the “24 of Hours of Le Mans.” Just sold last year at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction, it was purchased for $21,455,000 which included all of the buyer fees.
According to their official website, the Aston Martin had been restored with the help of the original designer of the car, Ted Cutting. The car was equipped with the original engine that was once clocked at 198.6 mph at the Mulsanne Straight.
2 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB California Spyder - $17.16 Million/ Gooding & Company Amelia Island 2016
If this 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB California Spyder looks familiar to you, it’s because it is the same car that was featured in the iconic film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The only difference is that the car in the film was a replica, and this was the real deal.
According to Auto Blog, the Ferrari was sold at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction back in 2016. The Ferrari was sold for $17.16 million and was the first time that this particular model with the covered headlights had been up for the sale to the public.
1 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus Sports-racing Two-set spider Competizione - $18.3 million/ Bonhams Goodwood Festival Of Speed 2014
Up next on the list is yet another Ferrari, this one being a 1954 375 Plus. According to Hemmings, this prancing horse was sold for €10,753,450 which is equivalent to $18.3 million back in 2014 at Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed.
This Ferrari was the first of just five that were built, and came with a bunch of additional parts including the original body panels. Unfortunately, the car was responsible for just one win back in 1954, at Silverstone.
Sources: Barrett-Jackson, Mecum, RMsothebys Autoblog, Hagerty