The 12 biggest auction sales of 2018
While we’ve noted that muscle cars and their American predecessors are cooling off overall in the collector market, it seems like the big-ticket cars at auction are holding their own. That was especially true during Monterey Car Week, which contributed three of the top five sales this year.
Compared to last year’s top 10, which was dominated by Ferrari, this year’s list (also dominated by Ferrari) contains two American cars. Make way, Maranello.
12. 1958 Porsche 550A
Sold for $5.17M
A factory-backed Porsche mid-engine race car with a class win at a Nürburgring endurance race is guaranteed to garner plenty of interest. Add to that its stunning performance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it took second in class and fifth overall—the best performance ever for a 550 in that race—and further success later in its career in Canada under new ownership, it’s no wonder this stripped-down speedster was a big draw.
11. 1955 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spider
Sold for $5.17M
This Coppa d’Oro-winning drop-top became the most expensive road-going Maserati ever sold when it crossed the block at Pebble Beach earlier this year. And it looks damn sweet.
10. 1985 Porsche 959 Paris Dakar
Sold for $5.95M
Hagerty auction expert Andrew Newton described this as “the most surprising result from RM’s Porsche auction.” Why? Despite the car’s gorgeous and instantly recognizable Rothman’s livery, this 959 is not turbocharged and it doesn’t have any wins to its name. Still, it is a Porsche Works race car and it was driven at Goodwood by the legendary Jacky Ickx, so it has a unique provenance.
9. 1932–43 Alfa Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix
Sold for $5.83M
This well-documented car not only has numerous wins under its belt and the race photos to prove it, it was also a part of the Scuderia Ferrari stable. This car’s crowning achievement was its first-place finish at the inaugural Donington Grand Prix.
Sold for $6.6M
It’s no surprise to find a V-12 Ferrari GT with racing history on this list, it’s the most common brand here. However, we were expecting more of them to be red. Its 3.0-liter engine produces 260 horsepower and propelled many of the road/race GTs to racing success. Its nickname, Tour de France, was bestowed by fans because of it its racing prowess.
Sold for $8.09M
The personal car of Battista Pininfarina, this one-of-one custom was displayed at auto shows across Europe to highlight the design firm’s work. Out of the public eye for 25 years, it was in need of some mechanical attention yet still looks stunning. No doubt it’ll keep the new owner very happy.
6. 1966 Ford GT40 Mk II
Sold for $9.8M
Third-place finisher at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Ford FE-powered GT40 from Holman & Moody finished behind the matching pair of GT40s from Shelby American to complete the podium sweep over Ferrari in what has become the most famous Le Mans to date. If that third-place finish with America drivers Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson wasn’t enough, it was also raced by A.J. Foyt, Mark Donohue, and Ken Miles.
Sold for $12.8M
One of just three MP209 Super Lightweight Zagatos built, this stunning green coupe represents the pinnacle of British GT horsepower and Italian design of the era. Its successful racing career ended after its repair and restoration to concours condition in 1991, but perhaps its new owner could do us the honor of a few celebratory powershifts at Monterey or Goodwood.
4. 1963 Aston Martin DP215
Sold for $21.5M
While it looks like the Aston GT cars that came before, under the skin this is a completely different animal. Built in just two months to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it nearly reached 200 mph on the famed Mulsanne Straight, eclipsing 300 kph. The Aston DP215 is not the most expensive Aston or the most expensive British car at auction, but it’s close. That goes to this DBR1 at $22.55M.
3. 1935 Duesenberg SSJ
Sold for $22M
There was a lot of buzz for this factory hot rod leading up to its Monterey Car Week auction. Still, auction expert Andrew Newton thought its record price (making it the most expensive American car and most expensive pre-War car ever sold at auction) was one of the biggest surprises of the week. Newton noted that it did have the right recipe for such a monumental sale: “There were two of these made, so this was sort of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
2. 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti
Sold for $22.005M
One of three surviving examples of its kind and bringing with it a fantastic racing pedigree with drivers such as Stirling Moss, this multiple race winner and Ferrari testbed was restored to its 1957 specification by Ferrari Classiche in 2015.
Sold for $48.4M
Following the record-breaking $70M private sale reported on a separate Ferrari 250 GT, many were wondering if the Sothebys auction had the makings for another record in Monterey this time around. Its nearly $50M price made it the most expensive car ever sold at auction, but proved that not all 250 GTOs are the same. Andrew Newton explained, “The GTO is a Series I car but has less desirable later bodywork. That arguably made it worth less, but the rebody was done in period so the knock to value wasn’t as large as it could have been.”