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Four of the five most expensive cars ever sold are Ferraris. No, we are not talking about retail prices. We are talking about vintage car auctions, where the world record for the most expensive car has been shattered five times in the last eight years. The passion investment market for these engined marvels and cool collectibles has soared in the last decade, quintupling returns. Over 5,000 classic cars worth US$1.2 billion (RM5 billion) exchanged hands in the last 12 months. Part of this is nostalgia, part of it is the luxury they represent and part of it is mercenary – in most countries, classic cars are exempt from capital gains tax. So whether you’re looking for a grand drive, or a good investment, you may want to consider this. Particularly if it’s a Ferrari.
1. 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale
Sold: August 16, 2014
By: RM Auctions
Price: US$26.4 million (RM 115 million)
For 20 years, the world’s most expensive car was the Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe, sold by Christie’s in 1987 for US$9.8 million (RM42.7 million). The record was broken in 2008, when a Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider fetched US$10.9 million (RM47.5 million). Since then Ferrari have dominated the list of most expensive cars, including this example. Built for the 1965 racing season, only four of these models were ever made – a prototype and three production units. With design by Pininfarina and coachwork by Scaglietti, this 275 GTB/C Speciale was produced in a lightweight aluminium body with a 316bhp, V12 engine.
2. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4* NART Spider
Sold: August 17, 2013
By: RM Auctions
Price: US$27.5 million (RM119.7 million)
Most major classic car auctions are done by either the venerable Bonhams or newcomer RM Auctions. Founded in 1991 in Ontario, RM Auctions specialises solely in selling classic cars, alongside full restoration services. The Canadian company was responsible for selling this. Driven by Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, only 10 of these Ferrari 275s exist. Updated from the normal GTB/4 to have an open-top, Spider configuration, the car was only available from a single outlet – the American dealership of Luigi Chinetti – who personally requested the changes that make this car so special.
3. 1956 Ferrari 290MM
Sold: December 10, 2015
By: RM Sotheby’s
Price: US$28 million (RM122 million)
In January 2015, RM Auctions and Sotheby’s signed a strategic partnership that would see both houses collaborate on classic car auctions. It paid off. Just a few days ago, a 1956 Ferrari 290MM built for Formula One driving legend Juan Manuel Fangio was sold for a cool price. Only four of these models were made and despite it being a racing car with a long career, it has never crashed. Apart from Fangio, other revered drivers have also climbed behind the wheel of this iconic automobile, including Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips. At US$28 million, it is the most expensive car sold in 2015.
4. 1954 Mercedes W196
Sold: July 12, 2013
Price: US$29.6 million (RM128.8 million)
Breaking up the Ferrari domination is this, a car that was driven by five-time Formula One World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio. Debuting in the 1954 season, it won 9 out of the 12 races, capturing the world championship in the only two seasons in which it was entered. With pioneering desmodromic valves and a mechanical direct fuel injection adapted from World War II fighter jets, the legendary car is the only example available in private hands; all others being in the hands of Mercedes or in museums.
5. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Sold: August 14, 2014
Price: US$34.65 million (RM150.1 million)
And in pole position is this beauty. The Ferrari 250 GTO is the holy grail of the car auction world. Formula One competition rules stipulated that 100 models of the car had to be built, but Ferrari got away with 39. Routinely described as the greatest sports car of all time, GTOs rarely ever come up for sale. Unverifiable reports on secret, private auctions whisper that examples of 250 GTOs have exchanged hands for as high as US$52 million (RM226.2 million) before, but what can be verified is this sale – the highest price ever fetched for a car in public auction. This unit – chassis 3851GT – is particularly special, being part of Italian car buff Fabrizio Violati’s collection for almost 50 years.