There is something inherently alluring about rare cars, even for those who may not consider themselves to be a car person. Maybe it is their beauty? Or perhaps the unique and classic styles? Maybe its even the eye-popping price tags? Or the story behind it?
The rarest cars in the world each have a story. These unique cars add to the incredible history of the automotive industry and fuel the dreams of car lovers everywhere. These super rare cars aren’t just hard to find; some are among the most expensive cars in the world!
Rare cars can be invaluable to collectors around the world. Whether they are rare because only a few models were built, their age, or because they have a unique design, cars that are hard to come by can fetch a pretty penny when sold at auction or through private channels. And there seem to be no lengths that serious collectors will not go to in order to get their hands on an extremely rare car.
Collecting cars may not be as popular as an investment property, but it sure is a lot more satisfying. Most collectors aren't in it for the money, it's for the love and passion of unique classic, vintage vehicles. For collectors of these sought after cars, money really is no object.
Here are some of the world’s rarest cars. Us mere mortals will most likely never get to drive them, but luckily some are in museums where we can admire them and daydream.
25 2013 Lamborghini Veneno
The Lamborghini Veneno is a limited-edition supercar that is based on the Lamborghini Aventador. It was built to commemorate the company’s 50th anniversary and had an asking price of $4.5 million.
The Veneno is one of the rarest cars in the world. One car is in the Lamborghini Museum in Europe, the rest is in the hands of private collectors. For those who'd be interested in getting a Veneno, there was one up for sale in 2017... with an asking price of $9.5 million - getting your hands on a special edition Lambo straight from the factory seems to be a great investment opportunity.
24 Aston Martin Bulldog
The Aston Martin Bulldog looks like the first generation Lotus Esprit and a DeLorean has been crossbred. In reality, this odd-looking car was a one-off vehicle produced by Aston Martin back in 1979. They initially planned for a limited run of 25 cars, however, only one Bulldog was actually built.
Adding to the strangeness of the project, it was given the code name DP K9 01 after a character in the science fiction TV show Doctor Who. Aston Martin auctioned off the Bulldog in 1980 to a US collector. It resurfaced in 2011 and was purchased for $1.3 million by an Englishman. It is now painted British Racing Green.
23 2005 Maybach Exelero
The 2005 Maybach Exelero cost $8 million from the factory and there is only one in the world today. This extraordinarily rare, expensive car was originally a one-of-a-kind supercar for Fulda, a German tire company. In 2005, it became available for public purchase.
It weighs 5863 lbs., but its 700 hp V12 twin turbo engine launches it from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 218 mph. Back in 2011, rapper Birdman purchased the vehicle, but couldn’t pay for it up front, so it remains the property of the European automaker with no confirmation of a new buyer.
22 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Considered by many collectors to be the holy grail of classic cars, the 250 GTO was one of Ferrari’s most successful race cars. It’s also pretty rare; only 39 were built, and it didn't take long before they became a hot commodity for collectors.
Forbes reported that a 250 GTO was sold for $38 million at auction in 2014, making it the most valuable in the world at the time. The Ferrari 250 GTO Registry has the names of all the owners, and there are a couple of familiar names amongst the people on that list; Ralph Lauren, who bought his GTO for $650,000 back in 1985, and Nick Mason, Pink Floyd's drummer.
21 Ferrari F40 LM
If a regular F40 is too common in your social circle, there's the LM edition. Based on the legendary Ferrari F40, the LM stripped away the excess weight and added power. According to Sotheby’s, only 19 of these beauties were built, making it one of the rarest cars in the world.
According to GTSpirit, a 1994 Ferrari F40 LM was expected to sell for between $2 million and $2.5 million in 2015. However, the final price was a whopping $3.3 million. Most of these rare beauties were hidden away in private collections, and that's where they remain to this day.
20 2009 Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita
The Koenigsegg CCXR is the “most environmentally friendly” version of the CCX, powered by the same 4.8-liter twin-supercharged V8 engine but running on E85 and E100 ethanol fuel. In 2009 Forbes chose the CCXR as one of the ten most beautiful cars in history.
The CCXR Trevita is an even more limited version of the CCXR, featuring Koenigsegg's Proprietary Diamond Weave finish - a new and unique method used to manufacture carbon fiber. Only two of these cars were made out of the planned three, because of the cost to produce them. One is owned by Floyd Mayweather.
19 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The 69 Camaro ZL1 is one of the most sought-after US muscle cars ever built. So what makes this bundle of power so attractive? Well, the car features an all-aluminum engine. And with only 69 cars made, a ZL1 sold today would most likely fetch more than the nearly $500,000 one sold for at auction in 2012 - with some experts believing the price could be closer to a million for a pristine example.
Some of these Camaros have been butchered and destroyed, but those that do remain are safe in the hands of collectors and car enthusiasts all around the United States.
18 1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sports Tourer
Ferdinand Porsche was the chief engineer during the development of the 1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sports Tourer. Recently an example of the Sports Tourer came up for sale in a Gooding & Company auction in Pebble Beach with a lot estimate of between $5 million and $6 million.
Only 150 of these classic cars produced, and out of those, there was only a handful that survived to see the 21st century. All known examples are currently in private hands, and it can be years until another one comes up for sale.
17 1960 Porsche Abarth 356B Carrera GTL
The 1960 Porsche Abarth 356B Carrera GTL is so rare that even most Porsche enthusiasts might not know about it unless they're really into the 356 history.
Porsche collaborated with the Italian car manufacturer Abarth, who is usually known for creating powerful Fiats. Even the experts don't know much about it, but it's believed only about 20 were ever made… and at the time they sold for an estimated $6,500. There's no established value for the car today. One of the 20 Abarth 365s made belongs to the Collier Collection and is on display for the public to take a look at it.
16 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
The 33 Stradale has a top speed of 160 mph and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
It's difficult to estimate the value of this Italian beauty because they almost never come up for sale. But seeing as only 18 were ever made, the price would be much higher than past estimates of $3 million.
According to the Alfa Romeo Hall of Legends, this iconic car’s launch price was 10 million Italian lira, which made it one of the most expensive cars on the market. There's a chance to admire it at Alfa Romeo's museum in Arese.
15 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
Zagato is one of the world’s best-known coachbuilders. Since 1919, the company has created some of the most beautiful and memorable cars, and that includes the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato.
Just 19 cars were produced, and one example sold for the astonishing amount of $14.3 million. Curators at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta liked the design of the Aston so much they included it in an exhibition that featured 18 cars to celebrate what could be called the golden age of automotive design, from the early 1930s through the early 1960s.
14 1951 Pegaso Z-102
Back in 1951, the Pegaso was the fastest production car in the world, with a top speed of 120 miles per hour. Built by the Spanish carmaker Pegaso, the car was a direct competitor to Ferrari in terms of performance and style and is still considered to be one of the most beautiful cars ever created. Cars that go on sale these days are valued at around $1 million.
Those who want to take a closer look at a Pegaso, and don't mind taking a trip to Spain, should pay a visit to the "Collecio D'automobils Salvador Claret" in Barcelona.
13 Porsche 916
Everyone knows about the Porsche 911, many also know the Porsche 914, but the 916... not so much. In the cult of Porsche, the 916 is the rarest of the models and one of the rarest cars in the world today. Only 11 of the 916 models were built in 1972 - all of them prototypes.
Among the 11 cars made, only one was shipped to the United States - it is now housed at the Automobile Atlanta Museum in Marietta, Georgia. The Porsche 916 was doomed by its price, and it was eventually decided that the 916 model would be too expensive to attract buyers and the project was scrapped after the prototypes were made.
12 1967 and 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T Hemi Convertible
The convertible Dodge Coronet was manufactured in 1967 and again in 1970. And it makes it onto this list for being extremely rare as only two cars were built in each model year. That means that there are only two 1967 and two 1970 Dodge Coronet convertibles.
While the Dodge Coronet is not the prettiest convertible ever built, and there is nothing particularly innovative about the car, the fact that it is so rare has boosted its price the few times one of the four models in existence has made it to auction. For collectors, the fact that this car is so rare is enough to make them shell out big bucks for it.
11 Aston Martin DBR1
There was never any doubt that the Aston Martin DBR1 reigns supreme among the 1950s sports racers, and consequently among the very, very few epitomic examples of the sports car genre.
Only five of these stunning green machines were ever built, and they won at Le Mans and at the Nürburgring. It is also the most expensive British car to be sold at auction. The price is estimated to be $22.5 million, so it's probably cheaper to go see one at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in England.
10 Icona Vulcano Titanium
The Icona Vulcano Titanium is the world’s first titanium car. It was made by the Icona Group, an Italian design house that states, “where creativity, experience, and passion can craft dreams into reality.”
Its engine is a mid-front-mounted supercharged V8 that is optimized at 680 hp, though it can be tuned to over 1,000 hp “should the owner demand it.” The engine was calibrated for both homologated road and race use, and the car is able to reach 0-62 mph in 2.8 seconds. The body was hammered by hand over the course of 1,000 hours, justifying the $3.8 million price tag of the one-off supercar... except no one wanted to buy it.
9 1905 Rolls-Royce 15 HP
The Rolls-Royce 15 HP is not only the second oldest surviving Rolls-Royce in the world, but it is also one of the rarest cars ever made by Rolls Royce. Perhaps most impressive of all is the fact that the last 1905 Rolls Royce 15 HP in existence is still running. It has gone on display at Glasgow's Riverside Museum for those who want a closer look.
The vintage Rolls-Royce is equipped with a 3-speed manual gearbox and a 3.1-liter engine producing, surprise surprise, 15 hp - as its name indicates. It is capable of going up to 39 mph. This power and top speed was a huge feature in the early 20th century.
8 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 GM Concept Car
There's a reason we don't see the 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 very often. While the Oldsmobile F-88 series, on the whole, is not especially rare, the 1954 year of F-88s, is a different story. Only four were built and left the factory in that year and only one still exists.
So what’s the story behind it? The F-88 was a pet project of famous US auto designer, Harley Earl. The last surviving F-88 went up for sale at the 2005 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale and sold for $3.3 million, it is now in the hands of a private collector.
7 1957 Jaguar XKSS
Only 16 were made, and twelve are still believed to be in existence. In addition to being one of the most sought after Jags in the world, it was also beloved by actor Steve McQueen, who bought one in 'British Racing Green' for US$5,000 back in the 1950s. As of 2014, the estimated value of the McQueen-owned Jaguar was $30 million. It is currently on display in Los Angeles, California at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
Another XKSS, along with a D-type and C-type, formed the pinnacle of the James Hull collection, a collection of 450 British cars sold for an estimated £100 million. Other XKSS include XKSS 722 at the Louwman Museum in The Hague.
6 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe
The 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe was only built on request and just six of these gothic-looking beasts were ever actually made. Apparently, Ettore Bugatti planned to sell them to royalty for $30,000, but the Great Depression, which had already been going on for two years at this point, put a bit of a dampener on that idea.
Its 12.7L engine is still one of the largest ever created for a car, but our favorite aspect of the Royale is the resemblance to the Addams Family car. Most of the remaining examples are displayed in museums or in private collections around the world.
5 1996 Ferrari F50 GT
The 1996 Ferrari F50 GT was originally meant for racing against the likes of Porsche and Mercedes in the BPR Global GT Series. Unfortunately, the F50 project was quickly canceled as its rivals upped their game, making the Ferrari F50 inferior in terms of racing performance and design.
Only 3 of these rare sports cars were ever made: one prototype and two to be sold. Even though it never made it to the race track, the 1996 Ferrari F50 GT has made it into the hearts of enthusiasts and rare car collectors. All three cars are owned by car enthusiasts, and car 001 is rumored to produce 950+ hp now.
4 1954 Packard Panther-Daytona Roadster
Only four of this two-seater roadsters ever rolled off the assembly line. Originally named “The Grey Wolf II”, Packard thought it best to go with the alternative name “Panther” to commemorate the Packard racer of 1903-04.
The design of the concept car is no ordinary body style; its one-piece molding is made completely out of fiberglass. Its engine is an inline-8 paired with an automatic 2-speed transmission. The roadster has 212 hp and a top speed of 131 mph. At the 2013 Barrett-Jackson auction, the concept car went for a respectable $825,000 to a private buyer.
3 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible
This is the very rare, but surprisingly average, ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible. There is nothing overly luxurious nor notable about this muscle car. But, while the ‘Cuda may not appear to be remarkable, it is highly sought after by wealthy car enthusiasts who are willing to hand over hefty amounts to own one of the 11 Plymouth’s from 1971.
As there were just under a dozen built in 1971, it is very seldom that we see this car being sold, but in January 2013, the rare Plymouth sold for $1,320,000 at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. Then, just one year later at the Mecum Auctions, the ‘Cuda sold for $3.2 million to a private collector.
2 1948-1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport
The Talbot Lago Grand Sport was a famous post-war car remembered not only for its luxury and speed, but also its rarity within the automotive world with only 12 ever manufactured. The car is equipped with a 190 hp 4.5-liter 6 cylinder engine and, at the time, it was considered one of the most powerful cars in the world. It also went down in history as the racecar that Louis Rosier drove when he won the Le Mans 24 Hour Race in 1950.
The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum has one on display, other cars are owned by collectors.
1 1948-1950 Aston Martin 2-liter Sports DB1
The Aston Martin DB1 is one of the rarest luxury sports cars in the world, it was also the first car of the DB series - named after Sir David Brown, who purchased Aston Martin in 1947.
The Aston Martin 2-liter Sports had an inline four engine with 90 horsepower and a top speed of 93 mph. The car was only manufactured for two years, from 1948 to 1950 and 15 DB1s were built. One car was entered into the 1948 Spa 24-hour race, which it won. Afterward, it spent decades in car museums in Belgium and the Netherlands before returning to the UK where it has been sympathetically restored by its new owner.
Sources: Classic Car, Classic And Sportscar & Carlassic