As experienced classic car transporters, Ontime Automotive know that some vehicles are more than just cars – they can evoke feelings of nostalgia, happy memories, even a kind of love in their own right, from passers-by right through to those of us who are lucky enough to own a piece of motoring history.
Classic car transport is all about making sure these automotive time capsules reach their destination safe and sound, without adding unnecessary miles to the clock – and with these kinds of valuations, it’s easy to see why that is so important.
5. 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Dating back to 1937, the German-built 540K Special Roadster was owned by an Englishman, who sensibly kept it hidden throughout the war.
Over the years so far it has changed hands several times, including a stint belonging to Bernie Ecclestone of Formula 1 fame, until eventually it earned the title of fifth-most expensive classic car of all time.
The price tag that achieved this? $8.2 million – about £5.4 million at current exchange rates – which also makes it one of only five cars our research found to sell for over $8 million.
4. 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM
Onwards and upwards, and it’s no surprise that the 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM sold for a hefty price tag, when you consider that only one was made.
That is because the ‘LM’ in the name stands for Le Mans – this vehicle, driven in 1962 by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien, won the 24-hour endurance challenge, and eventually sold at Sotheby’s for a massive $9.3 million.
3. 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner
The present-day Bugatti Veyron can reach upwards of 250 mph, and that kind of ‘reach for the stars’ mentality has been a hallmark of the brand for almost a century.
In the case of the 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner, the 12.7l engine (yes, twelve point seven litres) was the biggest ever put into a car for the open market – and still is, as it happens.
Bricked up to keep it safe in wartime, it was eventually busted out and sold in 1987 for $9.8 million – again, it’s worth repeating, that’s nearly $10 million at 1987 prices, and might well see this car rank even higher if it were to sell today.
2. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
We’re into the all-time biggest hitters now, and while the Bugatti fell just short of eight figures, this Ferrari did not, selling in 2008 for $10.9 million.
Formerly owned by James Coburn (and famously featured in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), the record-breaking figure was paid by radio presenter Chris Evans, and for about a year it stood as the all-time most expensive classic car.
1. 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
Of course it had to be another Ferrari that broke the record – one of 22 ever built, and just the fourth to roll off of the production line.
Rumoured (by Ferrari themselves) to have one of the best driver’s-eye views of any vehicle in the world, this particular one has been restored over the years, but lovingly so – even reuniting it with its original engine.
With that kind of attention to detail, it’s little wonder this sold in 2009 at auction for a breathtaking $12.1 million, and with the economic cycle seen since, that benchmark could prove hard to beat for some time.