A Mercedes 540 K Special Roadster was the most expensive car sold at auction in 2012. Six Ferraris were amongst the top ten classic and vintage cars.
In 2012, a 1936 Mercedes 540 K Spezial Roadster sold for $11.8 million as the most expensive car sold at auction. It was also the highest price ever paid for a Mercedes. Six of the most expensive classic cars sold at auction in 2012 were Ferraris, including three Ferrari California Spider models. Five of the top ten cars were sold b RM Auctions, three by Gooding, and two by Bonhams. The oldest car in the list was a Rolls Royce of 1912, the newest a 1968 Ford GT40 – the only non-European car. A 1929 Bentley achieved the highest price ever for a British car.
Ten Most Expensive Cars Sold at Auction in 2012
The ten most expensive classic and vintage cars sold at auction in 2012 were according to Classic Car Tax:
|Rank||Auction Price||Make & model||Year||Auction House||Auction Venue||Country|
|1||$11,770,000||Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster||1936||Gooding & Co||Pebble Beach||USA|
|2||$11,275,000||Ferrari 250GT California Spider LWB||1960||Gooding & Co||Pebble Beach||USA|
|3||$11,000,000||Ford GT40 Lightweight||1968||RM Auctions||Monterey||USA|
|4||$8,580,000||Ferrari 250GT California Spider SWB||1962||RM Auctions||Monterey||USA|
|5||$8,250,000||Ferrari 410S||1955||RM Auctions||Monterey||USA|
|6||$7,867,000||Bentley „Birkin Blower“||1929||Bonhams||Chichester||GB|
|7||$7,343,000||Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost||1912||Bonhams||Chichester||GB|
|8||$6,710,000||Ferrari 250GT Tour de France||1956||RM Auctions||Monterey||USA|
|9||$6,600,000||Ferrari 250GT California Spider LWB||1957||Gooding & Co||Pebble Beach||USA|
|10||$6,527,000||Ferrari 625 TRC||1957||RM Auctions||Monte Carlo||MC|
1936 Mercedes Benz 540K Special Racer – Most Expensive Mercedes Ever
A 1936 Mercedes Benz 540K Special Racer was the most expensive classic car sold at auction in 2012. The hammer at Gooding & Co’s auction in Pebble Beach came down at $11,770,000 for the highest price ever paid for a Mercedes Benz, as well as the highest price ever paid for a pre-Second World War car.
The 540k Spezial Roadster sold by Gooding is in an exceptionally good restored condition considered “faithfully presented in original, as-delivered appearance”. The car had only three owners (or caretakers in classic-car speak) in the past 76 years.
(The record for the most-expensive Mercedes Benz Ever had since been taken when a 1954 Mercedes Benz W196R Formula 1 car sold for near $30 million in 2013, as the most-expensive car ever sold at public auction. However, this 1936 540K Special racer remains the most-expensive Mercedes Benz road car.)
1960 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider LWB
The second most expensive car sold at auction in 2012 was a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider LWB also by Gooding & Co at Pebble Beach. The Ferrari fetched $11,275,00 and was the most expensive of the six Ferraris and three Ferrari Californias on the top-ten list for 2012. This car was one of only nine alloy-bodied long-wheel-base Ferrari California Spiders.
Last years most expensive car, and the most expensive car ever sold at auction was a 1957 Ferrari 250 TR selling for $16,390,000.
1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight
The 1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight is the newest car on the top ten-list and the only non-European model. It was sold for $11,000,00 by RM Auctions in Monterey.
This 1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight won its debut race at Spa driven by Jacky Ickx and Dick Thompson. It was later used as a camera car for the Steve McQueen “Le Mans“ movie.
1962 Ferrari 250GT California Spider SWB
A 1962 Ferrari 250GT California Spider SWB was the second most-expensive Ferrari sold at auction in 2012. It achieved $8,580,000 at RM Auctions in Monterey, California.
The 1962 Ferrari 250GT California Spider SWB is one of only 37 produced with covered headlights. It is a former Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance class winner.
1955 Ferrari 410S
A 1955 Ferrari 410 S Berlinetta with one-off coachwork by Carrozzeria Scaglietti was the oldest Ferrari on the list and sold for $8,250,00 by RM Auctions in Monterey, California.
The Ferrari is unique and was specially built for Ferrari SEFAC board member Michel Paul Cavallier. It won the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2009.
1929 Bentley „Birkin Blower“
The 1929 Bentley „Birkin Blower“ became the most expensive British car ever sold at auction when Bonhams achieved $7,867,000 (£5,040,000) for the car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed sale.
The single-seater racer originally belonged to Sir Henry Tim Birkin and held the Brooklands Outer Circuit record at 137 mph.
1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost „The Corgi“
The 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost „The Corgi“ with coachwork by Barker is the oldest car on the top-ten list and the only pre-First World War model. It was sold for $7,343,000 (£4,705,500) by Bonhams – the highest price ever paid for a Rolls Royce and second highest for a British-made car ever at public auction.
The nickname – The Corgi – was only establish half a century after production when Corgi based its Silver Ghost toy car on this model.
1956 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France
The 1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’ with coachwork by by Carrozzeria Scaglietti sold for $6,710,00 by RM Auctions in Monterey.
The car featured in the movie “The Love Bug”.
Tour de France refers to the GT races the Ferrari won in France, not to the more famous cycling race.
1957 Ferrari 250GT California Spider LWB
The 1957 Ferrari 250GT California Spider LWB was the “cheapest” of the three Ferrari Californias on the top-ten list in 2012.
It was sold for $6,600,000 by Gooding & Co at Pebble Beach.
This Ferrari was a pre-production prototype and the only of its kind in existence.
1957 Ferrari 625 TRC
The 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC was sold by RM Auctions in Monaco for $ 6,527,00 (€ 5,040,00) as the cheapest of the six Ferraris on the top ten list of most expensive cars sold at auction in 2012.
It is one of only two factory built 625 TRCs.
Auctions in the Californian coastal towns of Pebble Beach and Monterey have seen the highest prices for classic and vintage cars in recent years with RM Auctions and Gooding & Co the two top auction houses for classic cars. In Europe, Bonhams is the leading auction house for classic cars in Britain.
See also: Top Ten Most Expensive Classic Cars Sold at Auction in 2011, which included the most expensive car ever, and the Concourse d’Elegance at Villa d’Este in Italy, where one of the top European classic car auctions are held biannually.