In the world of rare and collectible cars, one person’s trash can literally be another’s treasure. For example, a 1956 Ferrari 250 was found abandoned on the side of a California highway in 1997. After being retrieved and restored to show quality, that Ferrari is literally worth millions. Here are some of the rarest cars in the world, and the big price tags they’ve fetched at auctions worldwide.
Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
On record as fetching the most money of any car ever sold at auction, the 1957 Ferrari 250 went for over 16 million dollars ($16,390,000 to be exact) in August of 2011. With a sleek, bullet-like profile and bright red paint job, the Ferrari 250 is famous for having won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1958, 1960, and 1961. It’s also one of the rarest cars in the world: only two factory models were ever built, and only 19 custom models are still around.
Steve McQueen’s 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Coupe
Driven by Steve McQueen himself in the classic racing film Le Mans, the GT40 had its roof removed to make room for a camera during filming. Its roof was restored before the auction, and the McQueen GT40 sold for a whopping $11,000,000 — the most money ever paid for an American car at an auction.
1938 Horch 853A Special Roadster
The uniquely shaped Horch is one of the rarest collectible cars in the world — only five of them were ever built, and there are currently only three known to be left. In 2012, one such Horch fetched a cool 5.2 million dollars at auction. The Horch featured a unique art-deco design and sleek silver coloration.
1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’
Another rare vehicle, with only nine existing in the world, the Berlinetta was made famous in the 1968 film “The Love Bug” and sold for $6.7 million from RM Auctions. The Ferrari 250 was created after a series of tragic accidents at Le Mans led to new regulations regarding race car construction.
Mercedes-Benz 770 F-Cabriolet
This car is most famous for being the preferred parade limousine of Adolph Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi officials during World War II, mostly due to its popularity in Germany as a state vehicle. While many are on display in war museums, one particular vehicle sold at auction in 1973 for a record-breaking $153,000, with the understanding the car had been used by Hitler. Unfortunately, that turned out not to be the case.
Duesenberg Model J Victoria
E.L. Cord, the owner and founder of Duesenberg Inc, set out to make the fastest and most expensive car in the world. The first Model J prototype was created in 1927, with a luxury interior and a “straight-eight” racing engine that made it the fastest American auto on the market at the time. At one time, a Duesenberg owned by Hollywood starlet Greta Garbo went for a record-breaking $90,000 (over half a million in modern dollars).
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