The 9 most expensive British cars sold at auction in 2017

Americans have a vastly disproportionate love of British cars compared to their overall popularity. Then again, most British cars have a lot more charisma than your average vehicle. Whether it’s a lust-worthy design, superb dynamics, excessive opulence, or the frustrating charm of constant maintenance. cars from the United Kingdom have a special place in our hearts.

While the overall market for British cars was nearly flat in 2017, there were nonetheless some huge auction results, including the highest price ever paid for a British car at a public sale. And so without further ado, we bring you the most expensive British cars of 2017.

9. 2015 McLaren P1, Gooding & Co Amelia Island

2015 McLaren P1
2015 McLaren P1
Gooding & Company, copyright Mark Hardymon

Sold price (including premium): $2,392,500

Hagerty Price Guide: $2,050,000–$2,450,000

Lot 026

The closest thing yet to a successor to the McLaren F1, the P1 never really saw depreciation. And sales like this drove an uptick in the second half of the year for #1 condition values. The fact that proceeds from this particular sale went to charity may have encouraged higher bids, but it’s more likely that the nearly-new 1,100 miles on the odometer were the biggest factor in this result.

8. 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible, RM Sotheby’s New York ICONS

1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible
1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible
RM Sotheby’s

Sold price (including premium): $2,700,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $990,000–$2,450,000

Lot 130

RM Sotheby’s New York sale made big headlines, with three of the cars on this list coming from that auction. This DB5 came to the block with an impeccable concours pedigree and an established lineage of careful owners.

7. 1930 Bentley 6½ Litre Speed Six, RM Sotheby’s Monterey

1930 Bentley 6½ Litre Speed Six
1930 Bentley 6½ Litre Speed Six
RM Sotheby’s

Sold price (including premium): $3,410,000

Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

Lot 133

It seems that every pre-war Bentley has its own story woven from a combination of coachbuilt bodywork and customer-specific requests. But more than the attractive Bealey body, what’s notable about this Speed Six is distance it’s traveled on the road. Montreal to Winnipeg, two trips from Portland, Oregon to Pebble Beach, and even up to Victoria, British Columbia. An excellent example that good care does not mean hiding a car away in a garage for all eternity.

6. 1952 Jaguar C-Type, RM Sotheby’s New York Icons

1952 Jaguar C-Type
1952 Jaguar C-Type
RM Sotheby’s

Sold price (including premium): $5,285,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $3,000,000–$6,500,000

Lot 131

One of only 53 cars built, this first C-Type to arrive in the United States was driven to several victories by Phil Hill. Rarity, racing results, and a documented history combined in this big sale, albeit at a price less than half that of an even more rare lightweight works car that sold in 2015.

5. 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype, RM Sotheby’s Monterey

1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype
1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype (RM Sotheby's)

Sold price (including premium): $6,765,000

Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

Lot 147

As the top spot on this list shows, a first of the breed with significant history attached to it can drive prices through the roof. In this case the prototype racing version of the DB4, with a Le Mans appearance as part of the appeal. You can’t get another version of this car.

4. 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight, Bonham’s Scottsdale

1963 Jaguar XKE Series I Lightweight
1963 Jaguar XKE Series I Lightweight (Bonhams)

Sold price (including premium): $7,370,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $4,400,000–$11,500,000

Lot 24

Take the company’s most iconic model, revise it with a special body and drivetrain made for racing and you get one of the most expensive Jaguars money can buy. Values for higher-condition examples have nearly doubled since 2016, and the next spot on this list shows how much demand climbed for this car in 2017 alone.

3. 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight, Bonham’s Quail Lodge

1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight
1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight (Bonhams)

Sold price (including premium): $8,000,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $4,400,000–$11,500,000

Lot 52

Arguably a more desirable example of the E-Type Lightweight than the one sold at Scottsdale, although with only 12 built at the time they’re all highly sought after.

2. 1995 McLaren F1, Bonham’s Quail Lodge

Bonhams just sold the first McLaren F1 imported into the U.S. for $15.62 million

Sold price (including premium): $15,620,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $10,500,000–$15,200,000

Lot 73

With low miles and fully federalized for the United States, this is a benchmark for collectible McLaren F1s (although this 161-mile car found in Japan may have sold privately for more). The pinnacle of 1990s supercars, the F1 historic status is cemented by eight-figure prices like this.

1. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, RM Sotheby’s Monterey

1956 Aston Martin DBR1
1956 Aston Martin DBR1 (RM Sotheby's)

Sold price (including premium): $22,550,000

Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

Lot 148

Remember when we mentioned the value of being the first. This is the example. It’s the most expensive British car ever sold at auction, the highest auction result in 2017, and the seventh-most expensive public sale ever. This is the first of Aston Martin’s most important racing car ever, winner of the 1959 Nurburgring 1000 KM and sibling to the 1959 Le Mans winner. The price, no doubt, reflects the fact that nobody knows when it will go up for sale again.