The 10 highest auction sales in 2019

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The 2019 collector car auction scene will be remembered more for its disappointments than for its highlights—Monterey free fall, the Type 64 confusion, plus other stumbles far and wide—but there were still plenty of impressive sales. Here are this year’s top 10 cars, from #10 through #1.

10. 2002 Ferrari F2002 Race Car

2002 Ferrari F2002
RM Sotheby's

Sold for $6,643,750

RM Sotheby’s; Abu Dhabi; 30 November 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

The headliner from RM Sotheby’s November Abu Dhabi auction didn’t disappoint. The car’s tremendous pedigree—three F1 victories by Michael Schumacher during his World Driver’s Championship-winning 2002 season—as well as an excellent presentation tied to the Formula 1 race, all pushed it to a top-10 finish. Right car in the right venue.

9. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT PF Cabriolet (closed headlight)

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet Gooding & Company

Sold for $6,800,000

Gooding & Company; Monterey, California; 17 August 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: $8.5M in #1 condition, $7.7M in #2, $7M in #3, $6.5M in #4.

Ferrari’s PF Cab is a stunning touring car—rare, refined, and beautiful. This example was desirably equipped with side vents, bumperettes, and covered headlights and had good (royal) ownership history. Even so, it sold slightly below its $7M low estimate. Classic Ferrari prices have been readjusting over the past year, but this car’s appeal should endure.

8. 2017 Pagani Zonda Aether

2017 Pagani Zonda Aether
RM Sotheby's

Sold for $6,812,500

RM Sotheby’s; Abu Dhabi; 30 November 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

Paganis are nearly impossible to buy. The wait list is long for a new one, and when they sell to second owners they do so privately. Only seven have been offered at auction in the past three years, and only one of those (this one) was a Zonda. This example was a rare roadster version from the one-off 760 Series that was also equipped with an uprated “760”-spec motor. It flew past its $4.5M low estimate, emphasizing buyers’ willingness to pay a premium when a rare opportunity arises.

7. 1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Coupe

1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta
1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Gooding & Company

Sold for $7,595,000

Gooding & Company; Scottsdale, Arizona; 19 January 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: $10.8M in #1 condition, $10M in #2, $9.4M in #3, $8.4M in #4.

One of two 250 GT SWBs on the list, this example has a very well-documented history, carries a Ferrari Classiche Red Book, and is a late-production “Lusso” model. The car landed high within Gooding’s $6M–$8M presale estimate, so it was a strong sale by that measure, but it fell far short of Hagerty Price Guide values, showing that the SWB market has faded substantially the past five years.

6. 1965 Ford GT40 Prototype Roadster

1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype
1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype RM Sotheby's

Sold for $7,650,000

RM Sotheby’s; Monterey, California; 16 August 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: $8.5M in #1 condition, $7M in #2, $5.6M in #3, #4.7M in #4.

This GT40 is well known, having recently been displayed at the 2017 Quail Motorsports Gathering and the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car sold in Monterey for $6.93M in 2014, showing that the blue oval might have racked up another Ford v Ferrari win when compared to how some of the Maranello models performed relative to their previous recent sale prices.

5. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Coupe

1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta RM Sotheby's

Sold for $8,145,000

RM Sotheby’s; Monterey, California; 17 August 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: $10.8M in #1 condition, $10M in #2, $9.4M in #3, $8.4M in #4.

Ferrari 250 GT SWBs are one of the marque’s most revered models, but prices have suffered this year. Hagerty Price Guide values for the model fell 22 percent in 2019. This beautifully restored and Ferrari Classiche-certified example confirms recent trends, as this sale was a full $1.2M below its $9.3M high bid three years earlier at Gooding & Company’s 2016 Pebble Beach sale.

4. 2014 Lamborghini Veneno Roadster

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2014 Lamborghini Veneno Roadster Bonhams

Sold for $8,337,182

Bonhams; Cheserex, Switzerland; 29 September 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

Bonhams conducted one of the stranger auctions of the year in Switzerland, where 25 cars owned by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue—vice president and son of Equatorial Guinea’s president—were liquidated. The cars, seized as part of a money laundering investigation, were mostly low-production, low-mile modern hypercars, including this Lamborghini Veneno roadster. One of only seven examples built, it soared past its $5.5M high estimate to become the most expensive Lamborghini ever publicly sold. It will likely be a while before we see another Veneno hit the market.

3. 1958 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spider (closed headlight)

1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti
1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti Gooding & Company

Sold for $9,905,000

Gooding & Company; Pebble Beach, California; 16 August 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: $15.3M in #1 condition, $13.6M in #2, $12.4M in #3, $11M in #4.

Enzo-era Ferraris had a bad year, falling 6 percent, according to our Ferrari Index—the largest annual drop for these cars in 10 years. Cal Spiders weren’t immune to the trend but fared slightly better with only a 2-percent slide. This example was a lovely long-wheelbase, steel-bodied model with covered headlights that bested its $8.8M sale price from 2014 with a $9.905M result—high enough to place it third for the year. The sale amount was slightly below what it would have sold for when last offered in 2016 (when it earned a $9.4M high bid), showing the general trend for the model over the last few years, but it will likely seem like a bargain five years from now.

2. 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta

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1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta Artcurial

Sold for $18,563,605

Artcurial; Paris, France; 8 February 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

The 8C is Alfa Romeo’s crown jewel, one of the most exclusive and revered models of the company’s long history and a connoisseur’s favorite. These models rarely come to market and command immense prices when they do, so this 8C’s $18.6M sale price was not a surprise and was close to Artcurial’s presale low estimate of $19M. In addition to owning a seriously significant car, the new owner now has a ticket to virtually any event in the world.

1. 1994 McLaren F1 LM Coupe

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1994 McLaren F1 LM-Specification RM Sotheby's

Sold for $19,805,000

RM Sotheby’s; Monterey, California; 16 August 2019

Hagerty Price Guide: $17.5M in #1 condition, $16M in #2, $15M in #3, $13.5M in #4.  

The McLaren F1 is one of the highest-regarded cars of any era, known for flawless execution of an uncompromising vision. That reputation made it the most expensive car sold at auction in 2019 at just under $20M, and that price tag also made it the 14th-most expensive car ever publicly sold, as well as the most expensive post-1960s car ever. This example was one of two street cars converted to LM spec by the factory, making it a rarer version of an already rare model. For 2019, the Big Mac reigns supreme.

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