2020: five most expensive cars sold at auction so far

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Top five auction 1 bugatti Top five auction 1 bugatti

A halftime report on the highest-achieving sales so far amidst a turbulent 2020

We don’t need to tell you that 2020 thus far has been turbulent, to say the least.

But while we had every reason to expect a far less active classic car market – our little industry is ticking along with confidence, even at the entry and mid-levels where activity and changes to buyer confidence are most felt amongst economic downturn.

Of course, the upper echelons of collecting will always be less affected by wider global economic shifts, yet top sales posted thus far in 2020 have paled in comparison to top-end sales achieved last year.

Bonhams have sold the two most expensive vehicles so far, with a pair of pre-war Bugattis fetching AU$10.3 million and AU$7.3 million respectively. The 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster (pictured at top) claims the top spot, sold at Bonham’s Amelia Island sale, and the 1932 Bugatti Type 55 (pictured below) selling at Bonham’s Paris Sale.


Appearing third on this list, is THE Bullitt Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the iconic 1968 Hollywood movie. The 1968 Ford Mustang GT sold for AU$5 million at Mecum’s Kissimmee collector car auction, setting a new Mustang record, though that could yet change when a Shelby GT350 driven by Ken Miles crosses the block later this year.


The number four spot is claimed by a pre-first world war vehicle, a 1907 Renault Type AI 35/45HP Vanderbilt Racer. Also sold at Bonham’s Amelia Island sale, for a Renault-marque record AU$4.8 million, the rare Renault is one of four survivors in the US and remains in highly original condition.


The number five slot is occupied by the most modern machine on our list today, and only just old enough for Club plates here in our home state of Victoria. The 1995 Ferrari F50 crossed the block at Gooding’s Scottsdale sale, fetching a handsome AU$4.6 million – just the fourth of its kind to break the US$3 million barrier at public auction.


Respite numerous marque and model records being achieved, these sales still fail to match the dizzying heights of last year’s highest achievers; where the two top auction results both landed around AU$27 million. When compared with 2019’s top ten auction results, the current top sale for 2020 would have landed eighth.

There’s still six months left in 2020, and anything could happen. Stay tuned for more auction results and news.


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