6 of the most expensive cars auctioned off this year
RM Sotheby’s raked in US$30.4 million (S$42.251 million) in sales during its annual Arizona Car Week in January.
2018 Pagani Huayra Roadster serial no. 42
(Sold for US$2.37 million)
Seeing a Pagani in the wild is a lot like witnessing an eclipse of any variety. It happens so rarely that you’ll remember the day you saw it, and have ample photographic and video documentation to act as exhibits to your story. Horacio Pagani unveiled his first-ever hypercar under the Pagani badge in 1999. He christened it Zonda. The Huayra, named after the Quechua wind god Huayra-tata, is his second and was unveiled in 2011. Six years later, Pagani showcased the open-top roadster version. The carmaker has announced plans to move towards electrification for its future automobiles, so the Huayra Roadster might just be the final and ultimate expression of a pure internal combustion engine pushed to the limits. Only 100 units were made, all of which have been sold.
1967 Ferrari 330 GTS
(Sold for US$1.71 million)
Only 99 open-top units were ever produced, making this 330 GTS quite possibly one of the hardest Ferraribadged classics to procure. When you factor in the mint condition of the model that went under the hammer, it’s no surprise that the 330 GTS was the second-most expensive car to be auctioned off at RM Sotheby’s Arizona event. One of the car’s previous owners loved it so much, he sent the vehicle to European Collectables and Chris Dugan to be restored, no expenses spared. The exercise cost him over a whopping US$400,000.
1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV
(Sold for US$1.39 million)
When it comes to supercars, the Lamborghini Miura is perhaps the most important. It was the first supercar from the Italian brand, and is widely considered to be the first supercar in the world. When it launched at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, the car made an extraordinary impact – not so much for its driving performance, which was unsurprisingly nothing short of excellent, but for its radical design. The Miura’s soft curves were a significant aesthetic shift from other high-performance cars of that era, which tended to be long, angular and boxy. It was put up for auction by a private collector who had it for nearly four decades. Interestingly, this Miura was originally painted green and sold to one Mr. Stel of Udine, Italy. However, he never took delivery of the car and an American named Dennis Christianssen bought it instead. He requested that it be repainted red and for a beige interior to be installed. It has remained in that condition to this day.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
(Sold for US$1.27 million)
The creation of the 300 SL Gullwing was more happenstance than a calculated business move. Max Hoffman, a New York-based importer of some repute and 2003 nominee for the Automotive Hall of Fame, suggested to Mercedes-Benz that a gullwing model would do well in the US market. After all, the original 300 SL was only meant to be a placeholder; a race car that allowed the German automaker to compete in the 1952 racing season while it went to work to build a proper car for the 1954 Grand Prix. The 300 SL exceeded all expectations, earning the second and fourth spot at Mille Miglia, scoring a one-two punch at Le Mans by securing the top two podium spots, and sweeping the Bern Sports Car Prize. We suppose driving a winning race car on the road was the perfect marketing message.
1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton
(Sold for US$1.105 million)
It’s impossible to discuss automotive history without mentioning this stunning Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton. The first true 16-cylinder engine to be built from scratch, it was such an important project to the American automaker that it engineered a disinformation campaign, which included cover stories and unrelated blueprints indicating that the project was Cadillac’s contribution to a new bus project. This Cadillac was also the first-ever engine to be “styled” – the wiring was hidden and the engine compartment was dressed up with aluminium, porcelain and valve covers that featured the company’s emblem. Only 85 were ever built for this particular V-16 chassis, of which 17 have survived to this day. This particular model in Sotheby’s catalogue was offered by American trucking executive John D. Groendyke, himself a car collector of particular renown.
2008 Bugatti Veyron 16.4
(Sold for US$1.105 million)
Speed fiends will be familiar with the Bugatti Veyron, which still holds the record for the fastest car in the world despite being discontinued in 2015. Only 450 Veyrons were produced over 11 years and the original 16.4 engine configuration is especially prized by supercar aficionados and purists. While the Bugatti Veyron may not have a storied legacy like the other older automobiles that have gone under the hammer at a RM Sotheby’s auction, its limited production means that its legacy will only continue to grow with time.