What are the Most Expensive Classic and Vintage Cars?

July 11th, 2022 by

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Nearly every passionate collector dreams of adding the most expensive classic cars to their collection. But to get your hands on one, you would have to pay a hefty price or wait for several decades and cross your fingers, hoping your current car would be declared a rare classic. And finding the most valuable classic cars is not easy, even for seasoned enthusiasts.

Hopefully, this article will shed light on some of the options available and why they go for such astronomical prices.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Ferrari’s 250 GTO is one of the most desirable classic cars for a good reason. The model has broken multiple world record prices at auctions and is currently the most sought-after car among passionate Ferrari collectors. Launched when the company was a little over a decade old, the 250 GTO was the embodiment of Ferrari’s genius in building world-beating racing cars.

The car packs a powerful V12 engine that can move from 0-100Km/hr in 2.9 seconds. Aiding the impressive performance is a simple but timeless aerodynamic design. The 250 GTO’s interior is hardly admirable by today’s standards, but the outer beauty and engine performance outshine many performance cars by modern standards.

Only 36 cars were made during the model’s production run between 1962 and 1964, making it extremely rare and precious.

1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

By many accounts, the strong association with racing is why vintage Ferraris are among the most expensive classic cars. A 1957 Ferrari 250 TR is not an exception to the rule, having been designed for the Scuderia Ferrari racing team. Sharing components from predecessors like 500TR and other 250 models, it became one of the most successful race cars on the track, highlighted by its iconic radical design.

In 2014, an unrestored Testa Rossa almost crossed the $40 million mark in a private sale. Racing legends Phil Hills, Mike Hawthorn, and Peter Collins probably have their DNA implanted somewhere in the car, which has not been changed since the racing years. It is believed the car still had the stock engine and bodywork from its glory racing days in the 1950s and 60s.

It is extremely rare for these cars to come up for sale, and they’re bound to fetch a hefty price tag any time it happens.

1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti

The 1957 Ferrari Sport Scaglietti is one of the rarest Ferraris in existence. Only four of these cars were ever built, and their racing pedigree includes a lap record at the 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours and a win at the 1958 Cuban Grand Prix. What makes it even more interesting is that two racing legends had been behind the wheel on both occasions, with Mike Hawthorn taking the driver’s seat in 1957 and Stirling Moss taking the honors the following year.

The car is equipped with a 4-liter V12 engine, churns out 390 hp at 7400 RPM, and can hit a top speed of 190 miles per hour. The car was the last Ferrari produced for the Millie Miglia, a 1000-mile motorsport endurance race in Italy. Indeed, it was one of the reasons that led to the cancellation of the championship event.

Despite reaching astronomical speeds in multiple high-stakes races, the car’s racing days were short-lived because a change in World Championship regulations rendered it ineligible. 

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196

Nicknamed the Silver Arrow, the Mercedes-Benz W196 ruled the race tracks between 1954 and 1955. Conforming to the newly introduced 2.5-liter Formula 1 regulation, the car’s engineers went for a peculiar straight-eight engine that could reach an impressive 290 bhp at 8500 RPM. The chassis was a carry-over from the previous 300 SL models, which were exceptionally lightweight and rigid.

The new championship regulations had no restrictions on fuel composition. Former racing car legend Hans Herrmann once remarked that the fuel combination used on the car would have eaten away a bare steel tank overnight. The W196 had some of the fastest laps in the era. It delivered nine victories and held pole position in eight of the 12 Grand Prix races it entered.

1956 Ferrari 290 MM

The 290 MM was produced as a racing car for the Millie Miglia, explaining why it has the MM acronym. It featured a 3.5-liter Jano V12 engine that could output 320 hp at 7200 RPM, reaching a top speed of 170 miles per hour. In 1956, the same year it was launched, the car took first and fourth positions in the Millie Miglia and won the Swedish Grand Prix.

Of the four units produced by Ferrari, only three survive, which explains why they are one of the most expensive classic cars. In 2018, a 290 MM sold for an astonishing $22 million, the ninth highest price ever paid for a car in that period. Among racing legends who have gone behind the wheels of the Ferrari 290 MM include greats like Peter Collins, Juan Manuel Fangio, Eugenio Castellotti, Phil Hill, Wolfgang von Trips, Olivier Gendebien, and Stirling Moss.

Your Key to the Best Classic & Vintage Cars & Trucks

It is hard to find vintage race cars that have been fully restored or maintained in their original condition. And when you chance upon one, it is likely among the most expensive classic cars in the world. If you are looking for any of these rare finds, LaFontaine Classic Cars would be happy to help. We will let you in on the best sourcing strategies as we help you find your dream classic cars. Contact us today and explore our unique inventory.

Posted in Classic Cars