When talking about the world’s most expensive cars, it’s easy to think the numbers run out when the meter hits about £4 million. However, that’s when the real money is just getting started in the classic car market.
The $4.8 million required for a Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita wouldn’t even get you into to the top 100 most expensive cars ever sold. If you think a Lottery win will help, you may still need to recalibrate, because the top classics now change hands for the sort of sums usually reserved for old masters.
So, here’s the top 13 most expensive cars on the planet based on the price paid when the cars changed hands. Oh, and if you’re wondering why we’ve quoted the prices in dollars, it’s because most of the cars featured were sold in the USA. The converted figure in pounds sterling is correct at the time of writing.
Now, take a deep breath and hang on to your wallet.
1. Ferrari 250 GTO - $70,000,000 (£52,300,000)
The new king is here, except it's the same model as the last. Another Ferrari 250 GTO has claimed the crown as the most expensive car ever sold, fetching £52 million in a private sale from German racing driver Christian Glaesel to US car parts mogul David MacNeil.
The car has an illustrious motorsport history, winning the 1964 Tour de France and finishing fourth in the 1963 Le Mans 24-Hour, among various other appearances. It's also never been crashed, which experts say is the key to its immense value.
2. Ferrari 250 GTO - $38,115,000 (£30,750,300)
It will come as little surprise to many of you the most expensive car ever sold at auction to date is a Ferrari 250 GTO, although this example is merely second in the overall rankings. No other car in the world has earned such a reputation and mystique, much of that built on previous record-smashing auction results. More importantly, the car itself is one of the finest of its era, thanks to its powerful 3.0-litre V12, superbly balanced chassis and immaculate race pedigree. Only 39 were made and this one was raced by Jo Schlesser.
3. Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti - $35,700,000 (£28,801,940)
This 1957 Ferrari was another record breaker when it sold at the start of 2016 to become the most expensive racing car ever sold at auction. Previously owned for 40 years by a private collector, it caused huge interest, because it had been raced by Peter Collins and Maurice Trintignant in the 1957 Sebring 12 Hours. After that, it competed in the Mille Miglia with Wolfgang von Trips at the wheel. Provenance like that in this market leads to such a high price being paid.
4. Mercedes-Benz W196 - $29,600,000 (£23,880,600)
This amazing Mercedes grand prix car is the only appearance from the three-pointed star in our top 12, but what a car to make it. Raced by Juan Manuel Fangio, it won the German and Swiss Grands Prix in 1954. It was the most expensive car ever sold at auction at the time of the sale in 2013.
5. Ferrari 290 MM - $28,050,000 (£22,630,100)
More Ferrari racing history makes it into the upper end of our top 12. This one was built for the 1956 Mille Miglia and was also driven by the great Juan Manuel Fangio - his name always adds considerable prestige and value to any car he competed in. Only four 290s were made, and this one enjoyed further racing success after the Mille Miglia, too.
6. Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S NART Spider - $27,500,000 (£22,186,365)
The North American Racing Team (NART) campaigned Ferrari cars in the USA for to raise awareness of the brand during the 1950s and 1960s. However, it also ordered special road cars from the factory, and this Spider is one of only 10 that were made. Adding to its appeal is a spell of ownership by actor Steve McQueen, who used it in the film ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’.