Culture / Auctions

The Priciest Cars Sold at Public Auction in 2017

2017 saw a number of auction sales that suggest classic cars are still a good investment

Jan 02, 2018 | By Andrea Sim

The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 fetched a price value of close to USD22.6 million | Image courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Several rare cars went up for sales in 2017 and the year saw the most classic cars ever sold at groundbreaking prices, such as the 1970 Porsche 917K and 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C, just to name a few.

Renowned auction house, RM Sotheby’s has recently reported a total sales figure of USD526 million achieved in 2017. The global sales figure has proven that classic cars are in demand and they still make a good investment.

Although, RM Sotheby’s never expected that a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 would fetch an eye-watering price of close to USD22.6 million during its Monterey auction, it did. That memorable event was well-remembered by auctioneers and those who were present to witness the Aston was the most expensive vehicle sold at public auction last year.

Image courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Only a few years ago, car collectors were getting their fingers burnt at auction as classic cars just weren’t fetching the kind of money they once did. Some observers even predicted that classic cars would never again be as good an investment.

However, the year-end consolidated results showed otherwise; the year saw a growth in percentage that were mainly driven by “the sale of 2,852 lots (vehicles and memorabilia) across 14 auction events, with 119 automobiles achieving prices in excess of USD1 million,” according to RM Sotheby’s.

“In all respects, 2017 represented a resounding success for RM Sotheby’s as we saw significant growth in our sales, market share, and continued positive momentum in the business despite challenging market conditions in which many major auction houses experienced declining sales.” – Kenneth Ahn, President, RM Sotheby’s

The Priciest Cars Sold at Public Auction in 2017

The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione | Image courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

A number of hot wheels continued to achieve exceptional prices that brought between USD14 million and USD18 million each.

These included the 1970 Porsche 917K (close to USD14.1 million), a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C (USD14.5 million), and a Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione (close to USD18 million).

A more modern 1995 McLaren F1 underwent the hammer at an impressive USD15.6 million at Bonhams Quail Lodge auction.

RM Sotheby’s Group Top 10 Sales of 2017

1. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 $22,550,000 Monterey
2. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione $17,990,000 New York
3. 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta $10,043,000 Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione
4. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider $9,504,550 Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione
5. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta $8,305,000 Monterey
6. 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet $7,700,000 Amelia Island
7. 2001 Ferrari F2001 $7,504,000 Sotheby’s Contemporary
8. 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype $6,765,000 Monterey
9. 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster $6,600,000 Arizona
10. 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider $5,720,000 Monterey


Among the ten most expensive auction cars this year, a 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta was sold for over USD10 million. Only the LaFerrari brought in more than expected, with the majority going for prices right in the middle of their auction estimate ranges.


Back to top