Top 100 auc­tion prices

Dozens of new en­tries, but a fa­mil­iar theme: the pranc­ing horses of Maranello are still set­ting the pace…

Octane - - CONTENTS - Words Chris bietzk

It’s been a record-break­ing year. Here’s the proof

SO HERE IT IS, our ir­reg­u­larly pub­lished reg­is­ter of the top 100 auc­tion prices ever.

For rea­sons we can no longer re­mem­ber, we did not per­form this ex­er­cise last year, and what a mis­take that was. Like dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, record auc­tion prices can pile up in a hurry, and the process of up­dat­ing the list – which in­cludes up-to-the-minute pre­lim­i­nary num­bers from the RM Sotheby’s sale in New York on 10 De­cem­ber – was, like do­ing a big pile of dishes, ar­du­ous.

Near-enough half of the en­tries here (49, to be pre­cise) are new, but for all the turnover the list has a fa­mil­iar look: fully two-thirds of the 100 spots are oc­cu­pied by Fer­raris, and the only non-Fer­rari in the top ten is the ex-Juan Fan­gio 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196. That old warhorse is now the se­cond-most ex­pen­sive car sold at auc­tion, hav­ing been shoved from its perch by 250 GTO chas­sis 3851GT, pic­tured right, which was sold by Bon­hams in Au­gust 2014 for $38,115,000.

Though the mar­ket is gen­er­ally less gen­er­ous to­wards pre-war cars to­day than in times past, their pres­ence is still felt here. The Kell­ner-bod­ied 1931 Bu­gatti Type 41 Royale, the world’s most ex­pen­sive car in 1987, is hang­ing tough at num­ber 31, and were we to ad­just for in­fla­tion it would be fur­ther up the rank­ings still.

It will come as no sur­prise to learn that rapidly ap­pre­ci­at­ing mod­ern clas­sics are now bang­ing at the door of the ‘100 Club’, too – most no­tably the McLaren F1 – but those who scan the fol­low­ing pages and find them­selves puz­zling at the pres­ence of a 2005 Fer­rari Enzo (num­ber 79) should know that this par­tic­u­lar ex­am­ple be­longed (very briefly) to Pope John Paul II. No club closes its door to the Pope.

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