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

1958 Porsche 550A side race track
1958 Porsche 550A Bonhams

Sold for $5.17M

Lot 44 (Bonhams Scottsdale)

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

1955 Maserati A6GCS/53 3/4 front view
1955 Maserati A6GCS/53 Gooding and Company

Sold for $5.17M

Lot 135 (Gooding & Company Pebble Beach)

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

1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar Rally Car 3/4 front dirt
1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar Rally Car RM Sotheby's

Sold for $5.95M

Lot 196 (RM Sothebys Porsche Anniversary)

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

Alfa Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix 3/4 front race track
Alfa Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Bonhams

Sold for $5.83M

Lot 352 (Bonhams Goodwood)

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.

8. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta

1958 Ferrari 250 GT 3/4 gray front
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Gooding and Company

Sold for $6.6M

Lot 53 (Gooding & Company Pebble Beach)

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.

7. 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale

1965 Ferrari	275 GTB 3/4 front teal
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Gooding and Company

Sold for $8.09M

Lot 134 (Gooding & Company Scottsdale)

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

1966 Ford GT40 gold 3/4 front moody
1966 Ford GT40 MkII RM Sotheby's

Sold for $9.8M

Lot 124 (RM Sotheby’s Monterey)

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.

5. 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

1961 Aston Martin DB4GT 3/4 race track front
1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Bonhams

Sold for $12.8M

Lot 335 (Bonhams Goodwood)

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

1963 Aston Martin DP215 3/4 front green trees
1963 Aston Martin DP215 RM Sotheby's

Sold for $21.5M

Lot 141 (RM Sotheby’s Monterey)

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

1935 Duesenberg SSJ side profile auction block
1935 Duesenberg SSJ Brandan Gillogly

Sold for $22M

Lot 35 (Gooding & Company Monterey)

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

1956 Ferrari 290 MM 3/4 driving
1956 Ferrari 290 MM RM Sotheby's

Sold for $22.005M

Lot 241 (RM Sothebys Petersen Automotive Museum)

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.

1. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO 3/4 front red
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO RM Sotheby's

Sold for $48.4M

Lot 247 (RM Sothebys Monterey)

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.”

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