The 25 Most Expensive Cars from the Year’s Biggest Collector-Car Auction Weekend

Each year in late January, car collectors flock to the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area to take a break from winter and to bid on all manner of automobiles. By vehicle volume, these Arizona auctions are typically the largest of any given calendar year. The 2017 edition saw seven auction companies sell an astonishing 2900 cars (of 3486 offered) over the course of seven days. A total of $ 259.8 million changed hands—the second-richest week of car auctions ever in Arizona, according to the market experts from Hagerty Insurance. That calculates to an average of $ 89,601 per vehicle, which is down significantly from last year’s $ 115,729-per-car average, but that was thrown off by a $ 9.9 million Mercedes-Benz 540K that topped last year’s Arizona sellers.--Television darling Barrett-Jackson moved the most metal by a long shot, but only two of its 1703 cars—many of which were heavily customized—made this list of the 25 priciest cars from the week. Bonhams notched the highest average sale price, at $ 422,494 for the 86 cars it sold; three of those cars make up the top four on our list. RM Sotheby’s sold more seven-figure cars—15—than any auction house. Gooding & Company sold the oldest seven-figure car, a $ 3.3 million 1925 Bugatti, as well as a mid-engine AMC prototype that came up $ 110,000 short of the million dollars that we predicted it would command. Russo and Steele sold the second-highest number of cars—579—but none cracked the $ 500,000 mark. Silver Auctions sold 220 cars, but nothing hammered for more than $ 75,000, and its average sale price was by far the lowest, at $ 15,078. In its first Arizona extravaganza appearance, Worldwide Auctioneers sold only 64 cars, the fewest of the bunch, but an abundance of those were six-figure sports cars.--Be amazed: Ferraris comprise less than half this list of the top 25, and they’re all pretty special.The first Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle—commonly called CERV I—was constructed by Corvette patron Zora Arkus-Duntov in the late 1950s as a first step on the long road to a mid-engined production sports car. This single-seat, open-wheel test mule explored the use of ultralight materials, rubber-bladder fuel cells, supercharging, and turbocharging during testing at Pikes Peak, Riverside Raceway, and General Motors’ Milford Proving Grounds, where it topped 200 mph. --In 1972, GM loaned the car to the Briggs Cunningham Automotive Museum in Costa Mesa, California, relinquishing control of CERV’s destiny. Following decades in private hands, this priceless heirloom brought $ 1,320,000 at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The best news is that GM was the top bidder, so CERV will rejoin the fold before the long-awaited mid-engine Corvette arrives. —Don ShermanSaying a car looks like a fighter jet is a cliché, but when it comes to the Reventón, it’s true in the most literal sense. The Reventón’s styling takes its inspiration from the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, one bad-ass stealth tactical aircraft. The limited-run Lamborghini did it proper justice with sharp, angular lines that come together for one of the most striking supercar designs ever. --Only 20 were built, and 11 made it to the United States. This Reventón is number three, and its odometer didn’t even hit four digits during its time in Saint Louis and Vancouver. Its 6.5-liter V-12 makes 650 horsepower, and Lamborghini claims it’ll do zero to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds with a 205-mph top speed. At the final price of $ 1,320,000, the buyer actually swiped a deal in this auction; these cars originally sold for $ 1,500,000. —Tony MarkovichIn storage since the early 1980s, Tucker chassis number 1044 is relatively new to the world of high-profile collector auctions. Number 44 of only 50 production models built, it was originally purchased, along with the infamous “Tin Goose” Tucker prototype, at the government-ordered Tucker Corporation asset sale in 1950. Since then, it has moved through fewer than half a dozen owners before being shuttered away in the early 1980s in southeastern Ohio. Rescued just recently by a persistent Tucker aficionado and expert, number 44 has traveled less than 8000 miles since new. After receiving service to the powertrain, braking, and cooling systems and the correction of several incorrect trim additions, the car is said to run excellently. Although the nonoriginal dark-brown paint is beginning to wear, the car is rust free. --Those surprised by the $ 1,347,000 hammer price of this Tucker are reminded of the sentiment that has steered the investment attitudes of the fine-art world for centuries: Originals—they’re not making any more. —Andrew WendlerAlthough the most sought-after Ferrari 250s are the GTOs and other racing variants, a GT still gets auction paddles jumping. According to Bonhams, Ferrari made more than 900 GTs in total, making it the most successful Prancing Horse of the age, but only 202 of those were the Series II Cabriolet. This example is the 46th made and pairs Azzurro Chiaro paint with tan leather interior. It has participated in numerous road rallies and has undergone at least one major restoration. It comes equipped with its factory hardtop and retains its original 240-hp 3.0-liter V-12 engine. —Tony MarkovichIts gullwing doors are among the most iconic design elements in automotive history, but they’re only a small part of why the 300SL is a legend. Spawned from the Le Mans–winning W194 race cars, it carried on its legacy by becoming the fastest production car in the world when it was released in the mid-1950s. We called it “sensational” in our April 1956 review. Only 1400 of the distinctive coupes were built, and this one stands out from the small crowd as one of few that have not been restored. Other Gullwings might be nicer, but original parts and single-family ownership breed desire. The plaid seating is just an extra perk in the package. —Tony MarkovichBarrett-Jackson sold 1703 of the 1711 vehicles it offered over seven days of Scottsdale sales this year. This Aston Martin brought the most money of them all. Every mid-1960s Aston is achingly desirable, but this one is extra special because of its uncommon left-hand-drive steering layout that catered to its first owner, who lived in France. This beauty is powered by its original 4.0-liter inline-six engine and also wears its factory black-on-black color scheme, which helps set it apart from the images of James Bond’s silver DB5 that are etched into so many car nuts’ psyches. The sale included the owner’s manual, tool kit, and jack, as well as a hammer for the knockoff chrome wire wheels. —Rusty BlackwellAutomakers often use birthdays and anniversaries as milestones to drop limited-edition vehicles, and the 2011 Ferrari SA Aperta did just that when it launched in 2010. It was the 80th birthday of Ferrari’s favorite design firm, Pininfarina, and as a wink, only 80 copies of the 599-based SA Aperta were built. SA signifies Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina, and Aperta means “open” in Italian. This example is loaded with features, including the $ 50,000 carbon-fiber roof panel, and has only 2498 miles. According to Gooding, the Grigio Titanio and Nero color combination is quite possibly the only one in the world. The car is only six years old, but it sold for more than three times original list price. —Tony MarkovichPowered by a Vittorio Jano–designed  aluminum-block, twin-cam supercharged inline-six, the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 was a significant sports car and a racing overachiever in its time. The running chassis built by Alfa Romeo were often finished with elegant bodies designed by Italian carrozzerie such as Touring and Zagato. This example, with body by Figoni, is one of a few—you can count them on the fingers of one hand—designed and built by the French coachworks. Its history is well documented, and it was freshly restored in 2015, but it has not been shown at any major concours since. Expect to see it at top-flight events in the coming year. The price paid appears to set an auction record for a 6C 1750 in road trim, but this year’s auctions (see the 10th-ranked sale) would suggest a racing provenance is worth another million bucks, at least. —Kevin A. WilsonClaimed to be the second-to-last Ferrari 275GTB produced before Maranello began production of the updated quad-cam 275GTB/4, this 1966 275GTB was sold new in Bologna, Italy. Less than six months into its life, the Pininfarina-designed GTB’s Italian, um, charm showed through on two different occasions, resulting in the car being sent back to Ferrari’s service department. Bonhams notes that it is believed the car’s original 280-hp 3.3-liter V-12 engine and five-speed manual transmission were replaced during these visits; however, there’s no paperwork to back up this claim. Nevertheless, the car’s current powertrain is deemed correct and maintains matching numbers.--After being shipped to Canada in the 1970s, the car later made its way to the United States, where it swapped hands a smattering of times before eventually finding a home in Switzerland in 2009. In recent months, it was painted and upholstered in its original silver-over-black scheme. —Greg FinkCorvette fans rarely agree on anything except that the 1967 Sting Rays powered by 427-cubic-inch L88 V-8s are the most desirable. Only 20 of the factory-engineered racers were built to compete in venues ranging from SCCA Nationals to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They earned class wins at Daytona and Sebring, and Bob Bondurant was clocked exceeding 170 mph piloting one on the Mulsanne straight.- -The heart of the L88 is an iron-block, aluminum-head big-block V-8 with a 12.5:1 compression ratio, a single Holley four-barrel carburetor, and a special cold-air-induction hood. Chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov acknowledged that the 430-hp rating was imaginary, claiming that removing the mufflers unleashed 640 horsepower.--Only 10 L88 roadsters were built, and the car shown here is the only one that left the factory wearing Silver Pearl paint. Richard Reitman of Watertown, Massachusetts, purchased this Corvette from a Boston dealer in the spring of 1967. His invoice listed heavy-duty brake, suspension, and transmission equipment plus a transistor ignition and side exhaust. Reitman paid about $ 1000 less than the $ 6004.70 sticker total, adding a factory off-road exhaust system after delivery.--Although it was never exposed to serious competition, this Corvette’s engine block was replaced at some point, and it underwent a comprehensive restoration in 2012. The hammer fell at $ 1.98 million at Worldwide Auctioneers’ sale in Scottsdale. Ignoring inflation, that’s an appreciation of 39,500 percent. —Don ShermanThe Bugatti Veyron, even among its many special editions, hasn’t truly appreciated in value. Like this 2013 example, they trade at list price or close to it, depending on the original buyer’s exchange rate. The Super Sport’s 8.0-liter W-16 used bigger quad turbos, two more fuel pumps, and NACA ducts to achieve a reliable 1200 horsepower. While Bugatti set a production-car record of 268 mph, it limited roadgoing Super Sports to 257, or 4 mph higher than a regular Veyron’s top speed. It also built 48 in total, 18 more than it had originally said it would in 2010. Just eight Super Sport models were sold in the U.S., and Bugatti put on most of this car’s 400 miles during normal factory testing. Even so, it’s been serviced at least three times. With such flat prices, why not daily-drive any Veyron? Ah, that’s right—a set of tires costs $ 30,000 to $ 40,000. —Clifford AtiyehIt’s not too hard to find a classic Ferrari repainted in its original color; however, it’s not every day you come across a half-century-old Ferrari wearing its original coat of paint. This 1966 275GTB is just such a car, its yellow paint believed to be the very same coat it left the factory wearing. With a claimed 21,000 miles on its original powertrain, this GTB further adds to its provenance by being fitted at birth with six Weber carburetors atop its 3.3-liter V-12—twice the number of carbs that lesser 275GTBs came equipped with. All that extra Venturi effect brought an extra 25 horsepower to the 12-pot engine, bringing the total up to 305 ponies.--With power channeled through a five-speed manual transmission, this 1966 GTB benefits from a number of items featured on the later quad-cam GTB/4, including a torque tube in place of an open driveshaft and a longer front-end design that increased downforce. As 275GTBs go, it’s hard to imagine finding a more original and better-equipped example than this. —Greg FinkCar and Driver’s love affair with mid-engine Porsches goes back much farther than the 12 straight 10Best Cars awards that we’ve bestowed on the Boxster. We were thrilled with the way the 904—a homologated racing car—performed for our September 1964 issue. Originally sold by Florida’s Brumos Porsche dealership, this particular 904 was raced briefly and with moderate success in 1964 and 1965, but it wasn’t registered for road use until April 1969, when its odometer displayed about 1900 miles. Although the car is “remarkably original” according to its sellers, its odometer was reset at some point; still, Bonhams estimates that it has traveled only about 7750 miles under its own power. Also, it wears dark-blue paint that was applied in the mid-1960s over its factory Hellelfenbein (ivory) covering. The original 180-hp 2.0-liter flat-four was separated from the car in the mid-1960s, but the two were reunited in 1992 and have been together ever since. Porsche built only 120 904s, which—along with its sporting heritage—is a big part of why this car cost 2.3 million bones. —Rusty BlackwellWhen this numbers-matching car rolled out of Maranello, it was swathed in Verde Medio paint. Unlike the hardtop 330GTC, which tended to look best in more subdued hues, the Spider’s Pininfarina-penned softtop bodywork rewarded bold color choices. Naturally, somewhere along the line, an unimaginative owner decided to paint this one in basic black.--After WeatherTech CEO David MacNeil took ownership, he sent this GTS in for a meticulous restoration that included another color change, this time to Grigio Notte. MacNeil is not a man to shy away from personalizing his classic Ferraris to suit his needs, and we’ll admit that the color works well with the black roof and upholstery. Still, we can’t help wishing the sea-verdant original shade was back on a car that undoubtedly wore it wonderfully. The car’s new owner obviously doesn’t mind, as he or she shelled out $ 2,475,000 for a shot at owning one of the 99 cars built. —Davey G. JohnsonFew single-owner Enzos have hit the auction block recently, so seeing this one, showing only 3620 miles and featuring complete service history as well as the original manuals and tool kit, is an occasion. One of just 400 Enzos built, this example was sold to fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger during a period when Hilfiger’s company was a sponsor of Scuderia Ferrari and he personally designed the Formula 1 team uniforms. As long as we’re dropping names, we might as well remind you that the Enzo—a vehicle deemed so special that it shares both the given and surname of the company’s founder—packs a 651-hp mid-mounted V-12, a six-speed paddle-shifted F1 transmission, electronically controlled dampers and anti-roll bars, and carbon-ceramic brake discs, a collection of hardware that allows the car to perform at a level that prompts the driver to call on his or her maker by name. The hammer price just shy of $ 2.7 million seems to fall right in line with the current market. —Andrew WendlerTouted by Bonhams as “one of the definitive sporting cars of all time,” this Alfa Romeo was designed and executed by legendary automotive engineer Vittorio Jano, and the coachwork was done by Zagato. After Enzo Ferrari convinced Jano to leave Fiat and come to Alfa, Jano oversaw production of the 6C 1750, which was derived from the Tipo 6C 1500, itself a descendent of the 1925 championship–winning P2 Grand Prix car that Jano had also created. This 6C’s powertrain is given away by its name. It has a supercharged 1752-cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with a single dual-throat carburetor and a four-speed manual transmission. The 1750 combined 85 horsepower with a low and light chassis to dance its way to 1-2-3 results in the Mille Miglia and top finishes at the  Targa Florio, the Tourist Trophy, and the Spa 24 Hours.--This particular car has fully documented ownership; one collector held on to the car for more than 40 years. The bodywork and mechanical components are original, and it has been serviced by some of the industry’s best. This was easily one of the most special cars in all of Arizona last week. —Tony MarkovichA striking blue-over-red color combination and a long, sleek body help this ’65 Ferrari stand out. The gorgeous red leather interior was installed during a 2005 restoration; originally, the car had blue cloth upholstery. The exterior was this same Azzurro blue when the first owner, Ross Cortese—the developer of the cutting-edge (for the time) Leisure World retirement community near Los Angeles—purchased it after it was in coachbuilder Pininfarina’s production facility for nine months once Ferrari provided the chassis. In the mid-1970s, the car was owned by the founder of the New Orleans Saints, oil heir John Mecom, Jr. More recently, Hollywood executive and producer John Calley—whose credits include films such as The Exorcist, The Birdcage, Closer, and The Da Vinci Code—owned the car. We’d feel rich and famous just being in control of the car’s 400-hp 5.0-liter V-12. —Rusty BlackwellWhile the first examples of Ferrari’s America and Superamerica cars featured Aurelio Lampredi’s V-12, the 400 Superamerica carried the Gioacchino Colombo–designed twelve-cylinder engine, a powerplant that ultimately served until 1989. Engine aside, everything here is about the Pininfarina Aerodinamico styling. While the nose presaged the 275GTS and the 330GT 2+2, which arrived three years later, the tail was its own thing entirely. It’s a curvaceous fastback design featuring taillights housed in an almost delicate rear bumper.--Just 17 of the short-wheelbase coupes were built, offering 340 horsepower from their 4.0-liter engines. In 2003, this Aerodinamico went in for restoration, during which its original Grigio Fumo paint made way for the lovely Blu Sera it wears today. Unlike the photogenic 250GTO and F40, one of these Superamericas requires more of an observer’s time to fully appreciate its aesthetics. Somebody at RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale auction decided it was worth $ 3,080,000 to while away as many hours with one as they pleased. —Davey G. JohnsonTwo arguments work against the Ferrari F50, including this ultra-rare black example. When we tested one in 1997, the F50 failed to blow away the 1988 F40 by any measure. Then there’s the styling, which Ferrari itself admits has no “raw beauty.” But while we’ve seen ugly Ferraris and we’ve driven slow Ferraris, the F50 is neither. Built to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, the F50 applied Ferrari’s Formula 1 experience to the road. A 513-hp 4.7-liter V-8 bolted directly to a carbon-fiber monocoque was also the load-bearing support for the six-speed manual transmission and the pushrod suspension, a setup derived from the F1 race cars. Out of 349 cars built between 1995 and 1997, 55 were originally imported to the U.S., and this 2083-mile F50 is currently the only black one here (two more are overseas). Without ABS or any power assists, the bare-bones F50 did include a pair of driver’s shoes, luggage, and both a canvas top and a fixed hardtop. And even if it’s not red, the F50 is perfect to our eyes. —Clifford AtiyehThe Type 35 is the iconic Bugatti, powered by an overhead-cam inline-eight and built for racing but also often used by owners on the road, and this one just set a record price for Gooding. It has a well-documented provenance, having been purchased from Bugatti’s Paris agency on the Champs-Elysées by Wallis Clinton Bird, an heir to the Standard Oil fortune, who was honeymooning in the city. He raced it once, in 1937, but had it outfitted with headlights and fenders for road use. After he died in a crash of the airplane he was piloting in 1940, his wife abandoned their Long Island home and moved to Europe, never to return. She died in 1960,  and the estate and the remarkable car collection were sold (an event that was documented in Car and Driver’s  August 1962 issue). This Type 35 was purchased at that sale by Henry Austin Clark, Jr., for $ 1750, at a time when new cars typically cost $ 2500 to $ 3000. Clark, founder of the Long Island Automotive Museum, owned the Bugatti for most of two decades before closing his museum in 1981 and selling it to the man who consigned it to Gooding for this auction. The buyer, then, becomes only the fourth owner in 92 years. —Kevin A. WilsonYou’d be forgiven for mistaking this 1969 Ferrari 365GTS for the earlier 330GTS. Besides minor badge detailing and the relocation of the prior car’s fender-mounted engine vents to the top of the hood, little changed visually between the two cars. The big story for the 365, though, wasn’t on the outside of its Pininfarina body but under the car’s long hood. There, a 4.4-liter V-12 engine pushing to the ground an impressive 320 horsepower in place of the prior model’s 300-hp 4.0-liter unit.--One of 20 such cars produced, this 365GTS has provenance stemming from its six-owner history. Although the car no longer wears its original blue paint and gray upholstery, Ferrari itself has confirmed that this GTS still contains its original powertrain, as well as factory-correct brakes, suspension componentry, and Borrani wheels. —Greg FinkThe fastest production car on the road when it was created under the leadership of Mercedes-Benz chief engineer Ferdinand Porsche, the legendary Typ S was propelled by a 6.8-liter inline-six with an “on demand” Roots-type supercharger that kicked in only when the driver applied full throttle, boosting its output from 120 to 180 horsepower. This example was originally delivered to an American in New York in 1929. Restored in 1996, it claimed a first-in-class award at Pebble Beach that year and then returned to Europe for 20 years. Now it’s back, but it sure didn’t come cheap. —Kevin A. WilsonFerrari’s big Lampredi engine was used in Ferrari Grand Prix cars as well as its luxurious America models. But when we think of Americas and Superamericas, we generally don’t envision competition-oriented open cars, making the 340 America Spider Competizione sort of a bridge between Lampredi applications.--One of three built, this car had its first outing in the 1952 Mille Miglia, where a hard landing junked the transmission while it was leading the race. Two weeks later, it DNF’d in the Swiss Prix de Berne, and it went on to add the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Targa Florio to an impressive record of events it failed to finish. After a stint as a privateer racer, the car was rebodied by Vignale as a coupe.--In 1999, Lord Bamford commissioned a replica of the car’s original shell. Since then, this Spider Competizione has appeared everywhere from the Mille Miglia Storica to the Monterey Historics. Due to its rarity, provenance, and eligibility for a wide variety of vintage racing and rally events, it sold for nearly $ 6.4 million. Which is the most winning thing it has ever done. —Davey G. JohnsonTopping the sales at RM Sotheby’s 2017 Arizona auction, this 540K is one of only about 25 of the Special Roadster versions built and one of fewer still ordered with one-off coachwork. It was ordered to the specifications of Rolf Horn, an art dealer in Berlin, as one of the last of these large, luxurious cars built before the outbreak of World War II made such things unavailable. After the war, it sat on blocks in Berlin until 1949 before finding its way to Russia. It sold in the mid-1960s to a Swede who worked as a translator in Moscow, who took it home with him later that decade before selling it to an American. It was in the Imperial Palace collection, then in the Lyon family’s collection in California. Restored in 2011–12, it won awards at Pebble Beach that year and then at Amelia Island, Pinehurst, and Boca Raton in 2014. —Kevin A. WilsonAt Bonhams on Thursday of Arizona auction week, this Jaguar topped the sales for this year while setting the record for the most money ever paid for an E-type at auction. As you might expect for a sale price nearly 50 times what your run-of-the-mill 100-point concours-condition ’63 XKE would fetch (Hagerty says that’s $ 163,000), this one was special. The tenth built among 12 aluminum-bodied lightweight competition specials, it was driven to the 1963 Australian GT championship by Bob Jane. It’s had only three owners over 54 years and shows only 4000 miles on its odometer. Experts say it’s as close to its original state as any lightweight E-type extant. It sold to a telephone bidder, so no one could see the buyer’s face when the hammer fell. Presumably he was relieved that he no longer had the burden of that 7 mill burning a hole in his pocket. —Kevin A. Wilson
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