There comes a point when the lifestyles of the rich and famous become almost unrecognizable to us normal folk. Houses begin to look like castles, meals begin to look like feasts, and even cars begin to look a little too… alien.
The 10 rarest and most expensive cars ever sold may look like they’re from another planet, but these unique vehicles are anything but extraterrestrial. The bank accounts of those who paid for them, however, must have truly been out of this world…
1. Aston Martin DBR1: Built in 1956, the DBR1 is arguably Aston Martin’s most valuable and sought-after vehicle to date. The prestigious automobile company only produced five editions of the DBR1, with the DBR1/1 selling for $22.5 million in 2017, a record for a British-made car.
But perhaps the biggest reason for the DBR1/1’s record-breaking price tag is its racing pedigree. Not only does the DBR1/1 hold claim to Aston Martin’s single victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (’59), but it’s also one of only three vehicles to win both the World Sportscar Championship and Le Mans in the same year.
2. Icona Vulcano Titanium: If a twenty-million-dollar piece of racing history isn’t your thing, how about a sports car made entirely of titanium? Icona’s Vulcano Titanium is a work of art in and of itself, with each vehicle requiring over 10,000 man hours to complete.
Considering that titanium is incredibly difficult to work with, it’s no surprise this top-of-the-line vehicle is one of the most expensive on the market. But for a cool $2.78 million, you can make all of your slightly less-wealthy friends jealous with a sports car that looks like it was designed by Iron Man himself.
3. Hélica de Leyat: Yes, that’s right: this is a car. Invented in 1921, the Hélica – also called “the plane without wings” – is a revolutionary vehicle created by French automobile designer Marcel Leyat. Like the aircrafts of the day, this unique machine was powered by a front-mounted propeller and was steered from the rear.
Unfortunately for Leyat, the popularity of the Hélica never really took off, and he sold just 30 vehicles between 1919 and 1925. While all known models of the Hélica are currently held by private collectors, the estimated value of the vehicle at auction is $20 million.
4. Ferrari 250 GTO: Another luxury GT built with a need for speed, the Ferrari 250 GTO was one of the most dominant sports racing cars of the 1960s. Though Ferrari racers were initially hesitant to drive the 250 GTO, the vehicle went on to pick up three World Sportscar Championships between 1962 and 1964 as well as two Tour de France cups in 1963 and 1964.
This pedigree, combined with the vehicle’s complete embodiment of the Ferrari brand, has made the 250 GTO the most valuable car in the world. Originally sold for $18,000 upon its introduction in 1962, a June 2018 auction saw a 1964 250 GTO sell for an all-time auction record of $70 million.
5. 1904 Rolls-Royce 15 hp: Born from an agreement made on December 23, 1904, between Charles Royce and Henry Rolls, the 15 hp was one of four cars produced by what would later become the Rolls-Royce company. The vehicle was sold exclusively by Rolls’ motor dealership – C.S. Rolls & Co. – for £500.
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Because each cylinder of the 15 hp’s engine had to be cast separately due to the incompatibility of some of Rolls’ and Royce’s designs, only six vehicles were produced. Only one car – registered SD 661 – is known to have survived, and its value currently sits at $35 million.
6. Porsche 917 K: A vehicle that looks more like a spaceship than anything else, the 917 K singlehandedly put Porsche on the racing map. After years of coming up short, this sleek sports car placed first overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in ’71 and ’72, paving the way for Porsche’s record 19 outright wins in the race.
This Porsche 917 K in particular fetched a hefty price at auction, but not for the reason you might think. The 1971 film Le Mans showed this vehicle being driven by legendary actor Steve McQueen. In 2017, the car sold for an impressive $14 million, a record price for a Porsche.
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7. Bugatti Type 41: Also known as the Royale, the Type 41 was marketed as the most luxurious car ever, with Ettore Bugatti planning to produce only 25 units from 1927 to 1933. Unfortunately, luxury cars weren’t very popular during the Great Depression, and Bugatti only sold three of the seven made.
The original cars still exist today, though one was destroyed by Ettore Bugatti himself after he wrecked it in an accident in 1931. The Kellner Coupe make of the Type 41 sold for $9.8 million in 1987, which would be equal to just around $21 million today.
8. Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa: The dominance of the 250 Testa Rossa cannot be understated, as this Ferrari brought home ten world championships in a matter of three years: the 24 Hours of Le Mans in ’58, ’60, and ’61; the 12 Hours of Sebring in ’58, ’59, and ’61; the Targa Florio in ’58; the 1000 Km Buenos Aires in ’58 and ’60; and the Pescara 4 Hours in ’61.
Because of its racing success, historical influence, and low production number (only 33 were made), the 250 Testa Rossa is considered one of the most valuable vintage Ferraris ever made, second only to the 250 GTO. In 2014, a 250 TR sold privately for $38.9 million.
9. Maybach Exelero: A true one-of-a-kind vehicle, the Exelero was designed as a one-off by Fulda – a German subsidiary of Goodyear – to test the range of their Carat Exelero tires. The car was designed to reach speeds in excess of 217 mph so that the physical limits of the tires could be tested.
In 2011, British motoring magazine Top Gear reported the Exelero had been sold to rapper/producer Bryan Williams – known as “Birdman” – for $8 million. Known for his extensive collection of luxury vehicles, it comes as no surprise the music icon snatched up this unique ride.
10. Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato: The 1960 Zagato was designed to be an upgrade over the original DB4 GT, having been lightened and improved by Ercole Spada at the Zagato factory in Italy. The factory had initially planned to produce 25 cars, but low demand caused production to cease at the 20th unit.
While not as successful as Aston Martin’s DBR1, the Zagato was still a threat on the racetrack, defeating a Jaguar E Type in a 1961 British Grand Prix Support race for its first and only win. In 1962, a DB4 GT Zagato sold in New York for $14.3 million, equal to around $14.7 million today.