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The 10 most expensive cars sold at auction in 2021

The pandemic has done very little to quell the demand for classic cars in the last couple of year, with auction sales continuing to hit record levels despite the global impact of Covid-19 on economies and wealth.

The emergence of new dedicated websites for a raft of collectible models, such as Collecting Cars and The Market, means petrol heads have increased opportunity to buy and sell vehicles of all generations and value, while data show that appetite remains high at the premium end of the market where motors sell for millions.

Here, we exclusively list the 10 cars that went under the hammer across the globe in 2021 and sold for the highest figures… 

10. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’

Price paid: $6million (£4.3million)

Sold at: RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, California, USA (14 August 2021) 

This is 52nd of just 72 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta TdFs produced in the fifties. The paint is an Alfa Romeo colour called Giulietta blue, which makes this particular car stand out

There were just 72 250 GT LWB Berlinetta Tour de France built in total, with chassis number 1031 GT the 52th to come off the production line.

Sold at RM Sotheby’s highlight event of the classic car calendar at Monterey Car Week in California, the stunning Ferrari went to the highest bidder for a fee of $6million – around £4.3million. 

This is a particularly unique example, being that it originally was – and still is – finished not in an official Ferrari paint colour but an Alfa Romeo palette called ‘Giulietta Blue’ and complemented by a red stripe and Havana brown leather interior. 

The unconventional paint choice was among a number of requests submitted by its first keeper, French industrialist and accomplished racing driver Jacques Peron, when ordering the Ferrari from the factory. 

The original owner ordered the Ferrari with a very specific specification that the factory failed to meet. Such was his anger that he quickly sold the motor the same year - and sent bosses a strongly worded letter expressing his disappointment

The original owner ordered the Ferrari with a very specific specification that the factory failed to meet. Such was his anger that he quickly sold the motor the same year – and sent bosses a strongly worded letter expressing his disappointment

He wanted the Italian stallion to race in the Tour de France event that year, with specific demands put to Maranello concerning the specification. Among the requests was for a 250 TR-specification engine, hinged engine cover to enable easy roadside repairs, transmission tunnel-mounted handbrake for standing starts on hill climbs and room for two spare wheels.

Yet Ferrari delivered the 250 GT without most of these requested features installed, much to Peron’s anger. In fact, soon after competing in the race – in which he finished a respectable fourth – he immediately sold the car, notifying bosses at the Italian marque via a strongly worded letter.

Having been through the ownership of a number of collectors, the car was bought in 1972 by married racing duo David and Mary Love and remained in the American family’s collection until David’s passing in 2014.

The last owner commissioned a full restoration, including a rebuild of the original 3.0-litre V12 engine and gearbox that produced 26bhp when new, and the car was presented at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in its back-to-factory best. Having only been driven ‘selectively’ since refurbished, the winning bid at last year’s auction was $6million. 

9. 1955 Jaguar D-Type Roadster

Price paid: $6million (£4.4million) 

Sold at: RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale, Scottsdale, USA (22 January 2021)

This 1955 example of the legendary D-Type Jaguar is one of just 71 examples produced. The D-Type famously won Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957

This 1955 example of the legendary D-Type Jaguar is one of just 71 examples produced. The D-Type famously won Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957

Widely recognised as one of Britain’s greatest endurance race cars of all time, a genuine Jaguar D-Type that goes under the hammer today is always going to demand a stellar sum. 

This model – chassis number XKD 518 – is no different, changing hands just over a year ago at RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale at the OTTO Car Club for a figure of $6million.

This car – one of only 71 made – was delivered on 29 December 1955 to Henlys of Manchester and, like the Ferrari 250 GT above, was painted in an unfamiliar colour for the brand – one of a couple of examples believed to have left the Coventry assembly line finished red. 

RM Sotheby’s says it was painted British Racing Green at some point in its lifetime but has since been returned to its factory scarlet tone.

This example - chassis XKD 518 - was owned by collectors in the UK until 1982 when it was shipped to the US. It sold at RM Sotheby's Arizona sale in January last year for $6million

This example – chassis XKD 518 – was owned by collectors in the UK until 1982 when it was shipped to the US. It sold at RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale in January last year for $6million

Racer Peter Blond became its first private owner in 1956, having purchased the car for £3,500 from F1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone, who had taken the car on after Henlys had – unfathomably – failed to find a buyer for it. 

Blond soon put it to good use in club racing, winning a number of competitions during the summer of 1956.

The car continued to compete on the UK scene in the hands of other racing owners until it was shipped across the Atlantic in 1982, where it has remained under various ownership since.  

When it went to the block in January 2021, it still had its original, numbers-matching, 3.4-litre dry-sump XK engine and triple Weber carburetors, breathing through passenger-side-mounted exhaust and mated to four-speed transmission that – when new – was claimed to put out 245 horsepower.

8. 2010 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 F1

Price paid: £4.7million 

Sold at: RM Sotheby’s British Grand Prix 2021 auction, Silverstone, UK (17 July 2021)

The first Lewis Hamilton Formula 1 race winning car to be made available at a public auction sold for a monumental £4.7million in July

The first Lewis Hamilton Formula 1 race winning car to be made available at a public auction sold for a monumental £4.7million in July

From iconic racers of the past to something a little more current. 

This McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 F1 machine was piloted by seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to victory at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park, making it the first winning car driven by the Briton to be offered at a public sale. 

What also makes this particular chassis extremely valuable in the eyes of collectors and F1 enthusiasts is the fact Hamilton drove it wheel-to-wheel in a battle with Michael Schumacher – the icon also with seven titles to his name.

This particular car is the first F1 machine driven to victory by the seven-time World Champion to be offered to bidders. Hamilton piloted the vehicle to first place in the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix (pictured)

This particular car is the first F1 machine driven to victory by the seven-time World Champion to be offered to bidders. Hamilton piloted the vehicle to first place in the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix (pictured)

En route to a second-place finish at the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton duelled with Schumacher from lap 15 and eventually passing the German some 11 laps after latching onto the German’s gearbox. Hamilton would go on to finish fourth that season, with Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel taking the driver’s championship.

The winning bid for the machine, placed during an exclusive event at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last year, was a massive £4.7million. 

It’s no show car or rolling chassis, either. McLaren Racing Heritage in 2019 set to work on making the machine track-ready, meaning the fortunate buyer could – in theory – take it on track today, if they dare to do so with such a high-value asset.

Produced four years before F1 entered the hybrid era, the engine is a naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre V8 with a seven-speed seamless gearbox that revved – when raced – to a monumental 18,000rpm. 

7. 1955 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione 

Price paid: €6.2million (£5.2million)

Sold at: RM Sotheby’s The Guikas Collection auction, Le Castellet, France (19 November 2021) 

This Ferrari is one of the most travelled classic cars of its era, having been owned by keepers across Europe, America and Japan

This Ferrari is one of the most travelled classic cars of its era, having been owned by keepers across Europe, America and Japan

It’s without question that Ferrari is usually the dominant brand in lists like this, with half of the entries in 2021 rundown being Maranello built beauties.

This one is a 1955 Ferrari 250 GT. Only six prototype examples were developed as part of Ferrari’s process of phasing out production of the legendary 250 MM, each with a 3.0-litre V12 engine producing an estimated 230bhp. This limited-run model would, in effect, serve as a forerunner to the revered 250 GT Berlinetta TdF that would dominate the racing scene for the best part of a decade.  

This particular car – chassis number 0385 GT – was originally silver and first owned by the president of the Automobile Club of Milan, a Mr Luigi Bertett, and had two further keepers in Italy before being shipped in January 1964 to a new owner in Athens, Greece. 

Originally silver, the 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione was painted Rosso Corsa red during its ownership in the UK in the 1990s. It was sold in November as part of a single collection of 75 desirable racing cars in the South of France

Originally silver, the 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione was painted Rosso Corsa red during its ownership in the UK in the 1990s. It was sold in November as part of a single collection of 75 desirable racing cars in the South of France

It unfortunately was involved in a road accident in 1965 and was put into storage, where it stayed for 10 years untouched before it was returned to Italy under the ownership of American Stephen Barney who commissioned a full restoration in Modena. 

Not long after the repairs were completed, Barney took the Ferrari back to North America. It returned to Europe in the 1980s and was added to a German collection alongside Ferrari 250 GTOs and other motoring treasures before being sold to an enthusiast in Japan.

Likely the most-travelled 250 GT Berlinetta Competitzione, it was shipped to the UK in the early 1990s – which is where the silver paint was changed to Rosso Corsa red and later a complete rebuild of its original engine took place – and then to France, where it ended up in the collection of Jean Guikas.

In November, it was offered alongside 74 other valuable racing cars from the Guikas estate at the Paul Ricard circuit in the South of France, where the winning bid was €6,192,500, making it the most expensive sale of the day.  

=5. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione

Price paid: $7.7million (£5.6million)

Sold at: RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, California, USA (13 August 2021)

This is a Ferrari competition car with plenty of provenance - and rarity. It is one of just 12 produced by the Maranello factory in the sixties

This is a Ferrari competition car with plenty of provenance – and rarity. It is one of just 12 produced by the Maranello factory in the sixties 

Another supremely rare Ferrari racing car to go under the hammer last year was this 1966 275 GTB, which is number 11 of 12 produced by the Maranello outfit. 

It went on to compete on three occasions at the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1967 to 1969 and was a class winner in its debut performance, as well as taking category victories at the 1969 1000KM of Spa-Francorchamps and 1969 500KM of Imola endurance races. 

By the end of its racing career, the 275 was in 1970 shipped to California and passed between four more American owners before being acquired in 1979 by collector John Wallace. 

Unfortunately, during his ownership, Wallace was forced to rebody the Ferrari after it had been subjected to a garage fire in Los Angeles in 1985, which saw the original wafer-thin aluminium bodywork melt away in many sections due to the extreme heat. However, importantly, the major mechanical components remained intact, including the chassis, transaxle and 3.3-litre V12 engine and five-speed manual transmission.

This car was unfortunately caught up in a storage fire in 1985, which destroyed much of the original bodywork. In 2015 it was upgraded to compete in classic racing events

This car was unfortunately caught up in a storage fire in 1985, which destroyed much of the original bodywork. In 2015 it was upgraded to compete in classic racing events 

In 1985 it was bought by another Ferrari enthusiast based in Switzerland before being bought by an Italian collector, who embarked on a full restoration that included the fabrication of a new thin-gauge aluminium body. 

In 1997, the Ferrari was shipped to Japan, then in 2006 to the UK and eventually returned to California in 2015, when it was treated to a comprehensive three-year restoration and rebuilt to be able to compete in vintage racing events, which saw the original engine and other components removed and put to one side as spares to make way for higher performance parts.

Following a number of competition entries and displays at concours events, the car went under the hammer in the summer during Monterey Car Week and attracted a winning bid of $7,705,000, which worked out at around £5.6million at the time of sale.  

=5. 1962 Ferrari 268 SP 

Price paid: $7.7million (£5.6million)

Sold at: RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, California, USA (13 August 2021)

Stunner: This 1962 Ferrari 268 SP is one of just six produced by the factory in the early sixties and made appearances at many iconic endurance races during its heyday

Stunner: This 1962 Ferrari 268 SP is one of just six produced by the factory in the early sixties and made appearances at many iconic endurance races during its heyday

Sold during the same auction as the Ferrari above, this 1962 268 SP also achieved the exact same winning bid amount of $7,705,000.

However, unlike the 275 GTB, the 268 SP has the heritage stamp of being campaigned by the factory racing team at its peak. 

Chassis number 0798 is one of just six examples of the 278 SP, which features a V8 engine and the shark-nosed bodywork designed by Fantuzzi, but is the only one that today remains in its original configuration. 

This car is the third to be completed in the sixties and can be identified from the first two examples by the cut-down windscreen, which was modified as to meet new FIA regulations introduced in 1962. 

Before last year's sale, it had been retained in just two collections for the 52 years. The winning bid at the RM Sotheby's US auction was a massive $7,705,000

Before last year’s sale, it had been retained in just two collections for the 52 years. The winning bid at the RM Sotheby’s US auction was a massive $7,705,000

While incredibly stunning, the 278 SP was far from a formidable machine when debuted. In fact, its best result came in the 12 Hours of Sebring race in the March of the year it was produced, crossing the finish line in 13th position. In order to make it more competitive, the engine displacement was increased from 2.4 to 2.6 litres to bump power to 265bhp ahead of an appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It was also modified with a rear-cockpit airfoil enclosure to improve aerodynamic performance for the French circuit’s 3.1-mile Mulsanne straight, though the car was forced to retire early in the race due to clutch issues. Later that year it also had the twin-nostril grille added ahead of appearances in America.

When retired from the circuit the car was bought in 1969 by famed French Ferrari collector Pierre Bardinon of Aubusson, France, who had a host of the manufacturer’s legendary machines and was also a good friend of Enzo Ferrari. He kept it until 1996, and it was retained by one owner from then until last year’s Monterey auction.   

4. 1972 Matra MS 670

Price paid: €6.9million (£6million)

Sold at: Artcurial Retromobile 2021 auction, Paris, France (5 February 2021)

Back in February 2021, this 1972 Matra MS 670 sold for almost €7million (over £6million). The French racing car was co-driven by British two-time F1 champion Graham Hill to victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance event, making it highly desirable

Back in February 2021, this 1972 Matra MS 670 sold for almost €7million (over £6million). The French racing car was co-driven by British two-time F1 champion Graham Hill to victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance event, making it highly desirable

The highlight of last year’s Artcurial Motorcars Parisienne sale was this 1972 Matra MS 670, which was purchased with a winning bid of €6,907,200 – that worked out at around £6.05million.

What made it so valuable is the fact it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race of the same year it was built, and in the hands of a pair of extremely renowned drivers.

The French racing car was piloted to victory by British two-time Formula One champion Graham Hill and Frenchman Henri Pescarolo, who won the Le Mans event four times in his 33 entries and also took the chequered flag at the 24 Hours of Daytona during his career.

Competing in the ‘Group 5 Prototype’ category, chassis number 001 is powered by a Matra MS73 3.0-litre V12 engine mated to a five-speed Porsche-derived manual transmission. 

The car was raced for just two years and has spent most of its life on display at the French manufacturer's museum

The car was raced for just two years and has spent most of its life on display at the French manufacturer’s museum

After taking victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe in ’72, the car returned to the factory to be prepared for the 1973 season and competed in four rounds of the ‘World Championship of Makes’ that year, taking victory in the final outing at the 1000km race at Zeltweg on 24 June with Pescarolo and compatriot Gérard Larrousse at the wheel.

After being decommissioned from racing, the car was returned to the specification and colours of the Le Mans victory of 1972 and entered into the Matra museum in Romorantin in 1976 and remained in displays until 2020. 

Artcurial said ahead of its sale: ‘With impeccable authenticity, today this machine has become a motor-racing legend. 

‘Above and beyond the sum of its parts, it is a symbol of man and the machine in competition and a romantic adventure taken along a path which has witnessed passion, sweat, tears and joy, a path that leads to the finest victories.’    

3. 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Coupe

Price paid: $9.6million (£6.9million)  

Sold at: RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, California, USA (12 August 2021)

Just 19 DB4 GT Zagatos were produced by Aston Martin, and one of them sold at a US auction last year for almost £7million

Just 19 DB4 GT Zagatos were produced by Aston Martin, and one of them sold at a US auction last year for almost £7million

The sixties saw a colossal on-track head-to-head between the Italian might of Ferrari and Britain’s powerhouse, Aston Martin. 

When Aston Martin took first and second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959, Ferrari made the decision to upgrade its aging 250 GT TdF with the SWB Berlinetta. Aston responded with the DB4GT, a competition version of their latest grand touring saloon, featuring a shortened wheelbase lightweight alloy bodywork, and a specially tuned high-compression 3.7-litre straight-six engine. 

The Zagato followed as the ‘ultimate’ DB4 GT with improved performance and looks, of which just 19 were built – and this is one of them. The Zagato versions stand apart with a slightly elongated nose and more pronounced grille at the front, while at the rear the taillights are blended into the fenders and the C-pillar reduced with a larger backlight.  

The first owner of this left-hand-drive example (number 18 or 19) was a Commander called James Murray, who was believed to have been a US Navy attaché who requested for it to have a unique ‘egg crate’ grille that he had designed himself.

The glorious sixties Aston Martin racing machine attracted a winning bid of $9.5m (approx £6.9m) in California last summer

The glorious sixties Aston Martin racing machine attracted a winning bid of $9.5m (approx £6.9m) in California last summer

This is also the only one of the 19 Zagatos to be fitted with chromed brass window frames, rather than the aluminium frames seen on other cars, and glass windows in the doors – different to the Perspex quarter-windows usually seen on this model. Chromed interior brass door handles were also specified by Commander Murray.

Incredibly, before being delivered to the commander in June 1962, the car was ‘tested’ by Aston Martin team driver Roy Salvadori at a race at Brands Hatch, finishing first in class and second overall behind—what else—a Ferrari 250 GTO.

The DB4 GT was shipped to Sweden under new ownership in 1964 and returned to the UK in 1972 where it was refinished by the first English owner in Aston Racing Green – a modification that was reversed between 1995 and 1997 during restoration under the keepership of its next driver before being transported back to the US in 1998.

While this specific car didn’t have a decorated racing heritage, RM Sotheby’s said it remains a ‘significant dual-purpose Aston Martin of its generation’ and ‘one of the greatest performance automobiles ever made’. It attracted a winning bid of $9,520,000 (approx £6.9million) in California last summer.

2. 1959 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spider

Price paid: $10.8million (£7.8million) 

Sold at: Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach 2021 auction, California, USA (14 August 2021) 

This is one of just 10 Competitzione-spec 250 GT Californias in the long-wheelbase layout and has been mostly retained it original condition

We’ve cast our eyes over a number of staggering Ferraris in this list, but none have been more sought-after than this 1959 250 GT Long Wheelbase California Competitzione offered at the Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auction last August.  

An open-top version of the 250 GT TdF Berlinetta, the California was developed for the growing North American market, with 106 examples produced by the Italian marque between 1957 and 1962 – and just 50 were this original long-wheelbase, which have gone on to be more desirable than their shorter counterparts.  

What makes this example – chassis 1,245 GT – is that it’s only one of 10 originally specced to competition standards, with covered headlights, velocity stacks and a cold-air box atop three Weber 36 DCL3 carburetors that improves the 3.0-litre V12 powerplant’s output to 253bhp.

Other ‘Competitzione’ features include a limited-slip differential, bigger long-range fuel tank and external fuel filler – all equipment it retains today, as well as its correct number stampings for the engine and gearbox. 

An open-top version of the 250 GT TdF Berlinetta, the California was developed specifically for the growing North American market in the late fifties and early sixties 

The history of this machine is incredibly well documented across an ownership cycle of 11 different keepers, beginning with Ottavio Randaccio, an amateur racer from Milan who used the Ferrari for national hill climb events – making this one of few California editions to compete in Europe.

The 250 GT remained in Italy for four decades, being shipped to the US in 1999 and last bought by an American keeper in 2004 ahead of last year’s sale. 

In the hands of the previous keeper, it was treated to a restoration project including a fresh coating for its original tricolour livery. 

Adding yet more heritage to this car is the fact it was one of only a few examples to have a hardtop, which was unrestored and contributed to the exclusivity and eventual winning bid of $10,840,000 – that’s just over £7.8million. 

1. 1995 McLaren F1

Price paid: $20.5million (£17.4million)

Sold at: Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach 2021 auction, California, USA (14 August 2021) 

Mighty McLaren: This 1995 example of the iconic F1 supercar became the most expensive motor from the 1990s - and the priciest modern-era vehicle - to sell at auction. It was also the priciest sum paid for a car at auction last year

Mighty McLaren: This 1995 example of the iconic F1 supercar became the most expensive motor from the 1990s – and the priciest modern-era vehicle – to sell at auction. It was also the priciest sum paid for a car at auction last year

The car received a rapturous applause from the sales room at Pebble Beach in California on Saturday 14 August when the hammer eventually dropped following a fraught bidding war between collectors

The car received a rapturous applause from the sales room at Pebble Beach in California on Saturday 14 August when the hammer eventually dropped following a fraught bidding war between collectors

By far the most expensive motor to sell at auction in 2021 was this wonderful McLaren F1, which was bought during Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach 2021 sale and set a new record to become the most expensive 1990s car to ever go under the hammer.

The 1995 version of the iconic British supercar – which had covered a mere 242 miles (390km) from new at the time of sale – secured a winning bid of $20,465,000 (£17.4million) at the California event, making it not only the priciest model from the 1990s to sell at auction and also the costliest modern-era vehicle to go to the block.

Described as an ‘Exceptional time capsule’ example of the McLaren F1 road car – of which just 64 road cars were made – and finished in a unique colour combination of Creighton Brown paint and a Light Tan and Brazilian Brown interior, it received a rapturous applause from the sales room at Pebble Beach in California when the hammer eventually dropped following a fraught bidding war between collectors.

The winning bid far exceeded the pre-sale estimate, which predicted a figure closer to $15million. ‘If there is a single car that best represents the past, present, and future of the automobile, it is the McLaren F1,’ says David Brynan, senior specialist at the auction house.

This example is now the most expensive motor from its decade, marginally outpricing a sister car – a 1994 F1 in LM Specification – which was sold by RM Sotheby’s also in Monterey for $19,805,000 in 2019. In terms of more expensive cars that have sold at auction, the next-youngest model is a whopping 28 years older than the McLaren – a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S NART Spider sold in 2013.

Despite having three owners from new, the car has covered a mere 242 miles (390km) in 26 years. That's an average annual mileage of nine miles for each year it has been in existence

Despite having three owners from new, the car has covered a mere 242 miles (390km) in 26 years. That’s an average annual mileage of nine miles for each year it has been in existence

The F1's BMW-developed V12 engine developed a then-staggering 627bhp. It had a claimed top speed of 231mph (372km/h), though with the removal of the rev-limiter could hit 242.96mph (391.01 km/h). In 1993, it obliterated the previous road-car top speed record and held the moniker for a staggering 12 years, when it was eventually dethroned by the Bugatti Veyron in 2005

The F1’s BMW-developed V12 engine developed a then-staggering 627bhp. It had a claimed top speed of 231mph (372km/h), though with the removal of the rev-limiter could hit 242.96mph (391.01 km/h). In 1993, it obliterated the previous road-car top speed record and held the moniker for a staggering 12 years, when it was eventually dethroned by the Bugatti Veyron in 2005

The driving force behind the F1’s astronomical sale price is undoubtedly the low mileage. With just 242 miles on the clock since 1995, it has averaged just 9.3 miles each year it has been in existence. That means the 6.1-litre V12 BMW-developed petrol engine – which produced 627bhp when new – has barely been run in.

It is chassis 029 and, according to factory records, was the 25th F1 built at McLaren’s workshop in Woking and the final example built in 1994, having been completed on 23 December and was delivered new in 1995 to a private Japanese collector who stored it in a static museum display for the next 17 years.

This was so the McLaren could be ‘admired for its technical and aesthetic achievements’, says Brynan. As a result, it was driven ‘sparingly’. In fact, most of the 242 miles it has accrued in total are believed to have been clocked during promotional filming at a test track near Tsukuba in Japan.

The F1 remained in the hands of its original owner until 2012, when it was sold to Shinji Takei of Tokyo. Just a year later, it was sold again to an American collector whose private garage philosophy is described as ‘the best of the best’. When it arrived in the US in April 2013, the odometer read 196 miles (316km) – meaning it has added just 46 miles in the following eight years.

The machine is particularly notable for its elegant metallic brown livery, which is a unique colour not shared with any other F1 and named after the commercial director for McLaren Cars, Creighton Brown. It was sold with its complementing matching four-piece luggage set, handbook folio, and tool roll were all trimmed in matching light tan leather. With F1s original costing around £540,000, this barely-used example has increased in value 38 times over.

> Read our full report on the 1995 McLaren F1 sale in August 

FIVE OTHER NOTABLE AUCTION SALES IN 2021

While these cars didn’t sell for prices substantial enough to break into the top 10 of most expensive to go under the hammer, classic car insurer and value tracker, Hagerty, says they are all worthy mentions for standout auction lots of 2021:

Wrecked exotic: 1960 Jaguar XK150 S Drophead

Price paid: £90,000

Sold at: Bonhams MPH Auction, Bicester, Oxfordshire, UK (22 May 2021)  

Would you have paid £90,000 for this? The classic Jaguar XK150 3.8 S Drophead Coupe sold at auction in May for nine times its lower estimate if £10,000 - though Bonhams says it could be worth £250,000 if fully restored

Would you have paid £90,000 for this? The classic Jaguar XK150 3.8 S Drophead Coupe sold at auction in May for nine times its lower estimate if £10,000 – though Bonhams says it could be worth £250,000 if fully restored

The Jaguar was crashed in 1996 when the car skidded off the road and into a tree in the rain in Hull, East Yorkshire. The extent of the shunt is still clearly visible today. Still, a winning bidder forked out £90k on the mangled motor

The Jaguar was crashed in 1996 when the car skidded off the road and into a tree in the rain in Hull, East Yorkshire. The extent of the shunt is still clearly visible today. Still, a winning bidder forked out £90k on the mangled motor 

A mangled and twisted vintage Jaguar that was crashed by its last owner in 1996 and never repaired sold at auction for a staggering £90,000 back in May of last year.

The ultra-rare 1960 XK150 S 3.8 Drophead Coupe has been off the road since it slammed into a tree in Hull some 25 years ago – but it didn’t stop one collector paying an astronomical fee for the banged-up motor, which was nine times the £10,000 pre-sale guide price for the car.

While that is undeniably a steep sum to pay for a vehicle is such a catastrophic state of disrepair, the selling auctioneer says it ‘looks worse than it is’ and – if fully restored – it could be worth up to £250,000.

The smashed-up Jag was sold at the Bonhams MPH Auction in Bicester, Oxfordshire, with the winning bid nine times higher than the pre-sale lower estimate of just £10,000.

> Read our full report on the wrecked 1960 Jaguar XK150 S Drophead 

Most expensive rally car of all time: 1988 Audi Sport Quattro 

Price paid: €2million (£1.8million)

Sold at: Artcurial Retromobile 2021 auction, Paris, France (5 February 2021)

This 1988 Audi Sport Quattro S1 was commissioned by the German manufacturer to compete in the Race of Champions, which took place two years after the end of the Group B rallying era in tribute to driver Henri Toivonen

This 1988 Audi Sport Quattro S1 was commissioned by the German manufacturer to compete in the Race of Champions, which took place two years after the end of the Group B rallying era in tribute to driver Henri Toivonen

The Audi is the last of the legendary Quattro rally cars to ever be produced and is in exceptional condition for a racing machine. It sold in February 2021 for almost £1.8million - a record highest fee paid for a rally car at auction

The Audi is the last of the legendary Quattro rally cars to ever be produced and is in exceptional condition for a racing machine. It sold in February 2021 for almost £1.8million – a record highest fee paid for a rally car at auction

This 1980s Audi has set a new record for a rally car going under the hammer in February.

The 1988 Audi Sport Quattro S1 rally icon sold for a staggering €2million – almost £1.8million – at the Artcurial Parisienne collectible car event, which was not only twice the sale figure predicted but also a world record fee paid for a rally car at auction.

The Audi was one of seven 1980s Group B racers from a single collection made available at the sale, which also included 1985 versions of the Peugeot 205 Turbo T16 and Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, which also sold for new record high amounts.

It was the final version of the Quattro rally car built, produced specially to take part in the Race of Champions event in 1988 – an event organised by rally driver Michèle Mouton, who herself took four victories in a Audi Quattro in 1981 and 1982. The race was arranged in tribute to the late Henri Toivonen, whose crash in 1986 at the Corsica rally brought an end to the Group B rally series over safety concerns. 

> Read the full story about this Group B rally cars sold at the Artcurial event a year ago  

One royal owner: 1981 Ford Escort 1.6 Ghia

Price paid: £52,640

Sold at: Reeman Dansie Auctioneers Royalty, Antiques & Fine Art Sale, Colchester, Essex, UK (29 June 2021)

A Ford Escort that was once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales, was sold at auction to a museum in South America for £52,640 last summer Pictured, the Princess during a visit to St Mary's school in Tetbury

A Ford Escort that was once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales, was sold at auction to a museum in South America for £52,640 last summer Pictured, the Princess during a visit to St Mary’s school in Tetbury

The Escort still carried its original registration WEV 297W. The car had been gifted by Prince Charles to Princess Diana as an engagement present

The Escort still carried its original registration WEV 297W. The car had been gifted by Prince Charles to Princess Diana as an engagement present

A Ford Escort that was once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales sold at auction in June to a museum in South America for a whopping £52,640.

Lady Diana Spencer was given the silver 1.6L Ghia saloon by the Prince of Wales as an engagement present in May 1981, two months before they were married in July 1981.

She often drove it to watch Charles play polo, and the bonnet features a silver frog – a copy of the original mascot which was given to the princess by her sister Sarah and which Diana kept when she sold the car.

The hammer price paid was more than ten times what the same model would be worth without a Royal connection, according to classic car valuations experts.

Hagerty, which tracks the values of older vehicles, said its guide suggests a Ford Escort Ghia of this age and mileage is currently worth just £4,700. 

> Read the full report on the Princess Diana Ford Escort sale 

Online achiever: 1989 Ferrari F40

Price paid: £1,000,500

Sold at: The Market, exclusively online (19 July 2021)

The record-breaking blue stallion: This 1989 Ferrari F40 sold for over £1million in July. It because the first car sold by a specialist online collectible auction platform to exceed a seven-figure sum

The record-breaking blue stallion: This 1989 Ferrari F40 sold for over £1million in July. It because the first car sold by a specialist online collectible auction platform to exceed a seven-figure sum

All 1,311 examples of the Ferrari F40 produced in Maranello between 1987 and 1992 came off the assembly line in Rosso Corsa Red
However, this is arguably the most famous - in the UK anyway - example in a different tone

All 1,311 examples of the Ferrari F40 produced in Maranello between 1987 and 1992 came off the assembly line in Rosso Corsa Red. However, this is arguably the most famous – in the UK anyway – example in a different tone

Ferrari F40s are super rare. But blue Ferrari F40s are like gold dust. That’s because – officially – all 1,311 to leave the Maranello factory between 1987 and 1992 were painted red.

However, this one-of-a-kind example is blue. And not just any shade of blue. It’s based on a Porsche colour, which is enough to make a Tifosi member scoff.

Despite lacking the originality usually demanded of such top cars, it made up for a lack of provenance with a famed online presence, generated by its owner Sam Moores, the Car Chat podcaster and photographer.

When the virtual hammer dropped at the end of online-only seller The Market’s seven-day sale last summer, the stand-out F40 achieved a sale price of £1,000,500. This made it the first seven-figure car to be sold on an online platform for collectible models in Europe.

> Read the This is Money report on its sale last year 

Modern classic you have to build yourself: 1982 Lamborghini Countach LP500S

Price paid: £257,600

Sold at: Historics Auctioneers Ascot sale, Berkshire, UK (25 September 2021)

Complete it yourself Countach: This 1982 Lamborghini was sold at auction in September for well over its estimated value, despite the fact it was almost entirely in bits

Complete it yourself Countach: This 1982 Lamborghini was sold at auction in September for well over its estimated value, despite the fact it was almost entirely in bits

The 1982 Lamborghini Countach 5000 S was bought by the vendor in 2000 and was driven up until 2008

The 1982 Lamborghini Countach 5000 S was bought by the vendor in 2000 and was driven up until 2008

It appeared to be a basket case, a supercar in component parts and in urgent need of saving. 

Yet this 1982 Lamborghini Countach LP 500S restoration case was sold by Historics in September for £257,600 – well over its top £180,000 estimate.

The LP500s (often called the 5000s) was the original Athena poster model. 

This one, stripped down and ready for a full restoration, was an ultra-rare right-hand drive example, one of just 37 made. 

Hagerty’s ‘Excellent’ value at the time was £334,000, not giving the new owner too much leeway for a full-cost restoration, but then again it’s rare for buyers in this part of the market, where money isn’t always a concern, to be presented with a blank canvas to restore to their own specification.

> Read our full pre-sale report on the car with all the images of its stripped-down condition 

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