What is The Most Expensive Car in the World? Top 7 Ever Sold

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Given that the only thing keeping most of us out of high-end supercars and luxury cars is the price of admission, it’s tempting to look at the telephone numbers being asked for expensive car brands such as McLarens, Lamborghinis Bentleys, Ferraris, Bugattis, Paganis and the rest of the upper-echelon players, and conclude they’re the most expensive cars in the world.

You’d be wrong, however. In fact, way beyond the asking price of the most coveted production hypercars are the ones-offs and prototypes of new cars which sometimes make it on to the open market and into the headlines for the prices they attract.

Even then, you’re not tapping the richest vein of automotive indulgence, because over and above even those rarities sit older classic and race cars which, frankly, put the sticker-price of the average production hypercar firmly in the shade. Older classics also win the coolest car race for many, too. A rare, famous ex-race car may not be the best car in the world, but it takes some beating at the golf club.

So what is the most expensive car in the world? It’s difficult to say because auction results (where a good percentage of these unicorn cars change hands) often don’t include the price at the fall of the hammer. The same goes for private sales where the price is often never divulged in deference to a perceived requirement to avoid such vulgarity. True, some new-money buyers might be proud of how much they paid for a particular car, but the old money (which is where the real classic-car action is) isn’t so keen on shouting from the rooftops. It’s also a fact that around the world expensive car collectors don’t always crave headlines for their spending power.

But what we can give you is a guide to the cars that will empty a bank vault the fastest. Interestingly, reports of the world-record price for a car surfaced recently with the sale of a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe. Fundamentally a 1950s W196 Grand Prix racer with a coupe body, the car was one of two originally built to compete in sports car racing (hence the covered body). The three-litre six-cylinder engine was enough to give the car a 300km/h top speed and the rumoured price was a staggering A$200 million at today’s exchange rate. That would make the Benz the most expensive car ever sold. We think.

Again, there will be those who don’t agree, but probably the most expensive production car ever built was also announced recently in the form of the Rolls Royce Boat Tail. Okay, so you have to get your head around a car of which just three have been built as a production model, but that’s what Rolls Royce is calling it, anyway. And it’s a current model, so hey…

The Boat Tail came about when three gentlemen of high net worth (to use a marketing phrase) decided they wanted something different and approached Rolls Royce for a special run of cars just for them. The Boat Tail was the result, and it’s a big car with the rear section consisting of twin hinged rear compartments devoted to food and drink. The Rolls Royce Dawn-based Boat Tail in its most recent incarnation is said to have cost $40 million Australian dollars. If nothing else, this proves that if you have the money, and it’s the right car, cost doesn’t really matter.

But what about some of the other established makes out there? What have been their high-water marks in terms of purchase price? Not too surprisingly, many of them have been for classic cars. The most expensive of Maranello’s steeds, for instance, is believed to have been the sale of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO which sold for about $69 million. Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason, has one which is often raced. Perhaps not any more after that 2018 auction result of somebody else’s GTO.

The most expensive Lamborghini of all time, appears to have been the 2014 Veneno Roadster which was built to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. With a 6.5-litre V12 engine and 500kW of power, the $6.4 million tag seems like a snip. Perhaps earlier Lamborghinis like the Miura (which became the benchmark for every supercar that followed it) may have sold for more over the years, but nobody’s saying. Take it as read, however, that the prices of Miuras have reached the $2 million US mark already.

The Bugatti La Voiture Noire price tag also puts it firmly on this list. At $26.4 million, this one of one is basically a prototype that was first shown in 2019. Based on the Chiron with its 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged V16 engine, the La Voiture Noire was designed as a tribute to the Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantique of the 1930s. Unlike a lot of prototypes, the Noire was actually sold to a private buyer, although rumours suggest that when it was shown it was still unfinished with a pair of electric motors to enable it to move on and off the show stand. Either way, as one of one, it’s the rarest car in the world.

Maybach’s Exelero of 2004 is another car vying for top pricing honours in the prototype category. Originally commissioned by Goodyear as a test-bed for the brand’s latest high-performance tyres, the Exelero was eventually built in limited numbers to satisfy very exclusive customers, including rapper Birdman. The purchase price when new was an alleged $11.3 million, but not even the actual production numbers are known for sure, making the twin-turbo, 5.9-litre hypercar a true enigma.

Swedish Koenigsegg is a brand that has consistently thrown up wildly expensive hypercars, but the CCXR-based Trevita takes the cake in the pricing war. The 1000-plus horsepower, carbon-fibre Trevita was a two-off deal, and was priced at $3.7 million when launched in 2017. Boxer Floyd Mayweather was the celebrity owner of one of the two made, and reports exist of a Trevita changing hands more recently at $6.8 million. (Mayweather is a major car nut, also owning a NASCAR team in the US.)

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