January 15, 2024

The World’s Most Expensive Cars

Whether it’s a classic Mercedes-Benz racer or a brand-new Rolls Royce, the most expensive cars in the world remain the property of the mega-rich.
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Got a few spare million in the pocket? Stuck for ideas for your next extravagant purchase? It may be time to dip your toes in the extreme end of the luxury and classic car market.

We’re talking the most expensive cars in the world here – a club that only billionaires and multi-millionaires can access, a place most of us can only dream of inhabiting.

The cars you’re about to see are incredibly expensive. Many go way beyond supercar status and some like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe are so ultra-rare that only a couple of examples exist today.

With that in mind, we’ve put together an eye-opening list of the most expensive cars in the world, both to buy new or those already sold at auction. And, if your lifetime’s ambition is to own one of these four-wheeled wonders, you’d better start saving now.

5 of the Most Expensive Cars in the World to Buy

If you’re lucky enough to have incredibly deep pockets, you may be tempted to grow your portfolio of expensive toys and acquire a high-end car. Maybe a hypercar with jaw-dropping performance has caught your eye, or a luxury model designed to your exact specifications? Either way, these cars cost more than your average Chelsea mansion, and many are one-offs or limited to just a handful of models. And, if you do decide to venture on a lavish spending spree, you’re also going to need supercar insurance or prestige car insurance to protect your investment.

What is certain is that you won’t fail to be noticed if you’re cruising along in any of the cars listed below. Similarly, it may also be the case that the owners of these remarkable vehicles prefer to stash them away in their private garages to protect them from the public while their value keeps rising.

1. Rolls-Royce Boat Tail – £25 million (estimated)

As brand-new cars go, the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail stands alone in terms of its staggering price tag. It costs more than double the price of the nearest rival in this list, and it’s the only luxury model in a field dominated by cars designed for mind-boggling speed and precision handling.

The Boat Tail model harks back to the glory days of bespoke Rolls-Royce coachbuilding. Inspired by luxury yachts from yesteryear, its body design includes a removable roof canopy, an interior ‘hosting suite’ to welcome guests, a boat-like rear deck with parasol, an outdoor seating area, and even a champagne fridge. Underneath the bonnet is a smooth V-12 engine loosely based on the Rolls-Royce Phantom that purrs along like a contented kitten.

The Boat Tail is ultra rare – just three known models have been commissioned and custom-built. Royle-Royce hasn’t revealed the asking price, but estimates range from £22-25 million, making it the world’s most expensive car by some distance.

2. Bugatti La Voiture Noire – £11.4 million

You can pick up a Bugatti Chiron for around £2.5 million, but the La Voiture Noire is a completely different beast and in a class of its own.

The La Voiture is a genuine one-off inspired by the fabled 1940 Type 57 Atlantic. The original Art Deco-style car was once owned by Bugatti’s son, Jean, and disappeared on a train journey in France, never to be seen again. Designer Ralph Lauren is thought to own one of two surviving Type 57 Atlantic’s and is rumoured to have rejected a $100 million offer.

While the La Voiture Noire uses the same 8.0-litre quad-turbo W-16 powerplant as the Chiron with a whopping 1,500 bhp, but its body is 450mm longer and it’s tuned like a grand tourer. Whether anyone else has the finances to commission another La Voiture Noire from Bugatti remains to be seen.

3. Pagani Huayra Roadster BC – £3.7 million

There are more expensive models we could have highlighted before the Pagani, but like the La Voiture Noire, they’re all Bugatti’s (Centodieci £9m, Divo £4.8m, and Bolide £4m) so we thought we’d move on.

The standard Pagani Huayra cost a mere pittance at £800,000 when it was first launched over a decade ago. However, the Roadster BC comes with a load of upgrades including a removable roof and state-of-the-art bodywork. It also boasts a new and more powerful version of the Huayra’s 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 that knocked out almost 800hp. While not in Bugatti’s league, it’s worth remembering the Huayra Roadster BC is rear-wheel drive and has a carbon composite shell, so it weighs just 1,250kg which is similar to a VW Golf.

Pagani are only making 40 examples of the Huayra Roadster BC, meaning their value is likely to rocket in years to come.

4. Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro – £3.5 million

It seems the F1-inspired Aston Martin Valkyrie wasn’t extreme enough for some car enthusiasts, so the British manufacturer brought out the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro version.

It’s essentially a carbon-fibre body wrapped around a brutal, naturally aspirated V12 engine developed by Cosworth. With 1,000bhp available under your right foot and a top speed of 225mph, it offers extreme performance and a breathtaking track ride.

How did Aston Martin turn the Valkyrie into the AMR Pro monster? By ripping out the standard hybrid system and Perspex windows and adding more carbon in the suspension system. A longer wheelbase and racing spoilers also produce double the downforce of the standard Valkyrie. There will be 75 examples of the Aston Martin Valkyrie made, but only a handful of those will be AMR Pro models.

5. Lamborghini Sian Roadster – £3.2 million

Lamborghini must have decided the Aventador and Huracan were becoming too common. So, it was back to the drawing board and the Sian Roadster was conceived.

The Sian Roadster is the only hybrid car on the list of most expensive cars to buy. Its clever combination of naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 engine and electric motors produces a mammoth 819bhp. It also uses a ‘supercapacitor’ to add acceleration while changing gear and boost performance to an eye-watering level, with 0-62mph arriving in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 217mph.

Demand for the Sian Roadster was so high that 19 examples were sold out before the hypercar had even been revealed to the public.

5 of Most Expensive Cars in the World Sold at Auction

It’s hard to imagine a more expensive car than the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail. At around £25 million it’s the most expensive new car money can buy. However, the classic car auction market operates at a completely different level. It’s where rarity, exclusivity, and provenance take centre stage. And when it comes to the price tag, the sky’s the limit.

Owning a classic car has never been easier, and it’s relatively simple to find classic car insurance for your prized motoring possession. But let’s be clear – the examples below are in a different league to most classic cars. If you thought a lottery win would help your cause, you’ll need a rethink. The most expensive cars in the world sold at auction are reserved for the super-rich and a handful of global personalities with wealth in the billions.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given their rich motoring history, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari dominate our top five places. So, strap yourself in, and prepare to be shocked by this selection of the most expensive cars in the world sold at auction.

1. Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe – €135 million (£114.4 million)

The drop-dead gorgeous 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe claimed the title as the most expensive car in history when is sold for a mind-boggling €135 million in 2022. Previously owned by Mercedes-Benz, it was sold at auction by RM Sotheby’s to an anonymous buyer.

The new mystery owner more than doubled the previous highest price that had been paid for a car at auction, namely the Ferrari 250 GTO listed below. Just two Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes were ever made, both designed as road-going versions of the W 196 R grand prix racing car with its 3.0-litre straight-six engine that could top 180mph.

Interestingly, the money raised from the sale has been used to set up a global Mercedes-Benz Fund and to provide environmental science scholarships for young people.

2. Ferrari 250 GTO – $70 million (£52.3 million)

Perhaps the most iconic Ferrari of them all – the coveted 250 GTO that was once the most expensive car ever sold until the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe blew it out of the water. This particular model of Ferrari fetched more than £52 million in a private sale from German racing driver, Christian Glaesel, to US car parts supremo, David MacNeil.

What makes this Ferrari 250 GTO so special is that it won the 1964 Tour de France and secured fourth place in the prestigious 1963 Le Mans 24 hour. According to legend, it was never involved in a crash either which probably explains its incredible value.

Such is the mystique of the Ferrari 250 GTO that it occupies second and third place in the list of the most expensive cars sold at auction to date, the other model fetching $38.1 million (£30.7 million).

3. Ferrari 335 Scaglietti – $35.7 million (£28.8 million)

Back in 2016, this 1957 Ferrari 335 Scaglietti broke the record for the most expensive racing car sold at auction. What made it such a sought-after item is its right motor racing history – it was driven by Peter Collins and Maurice Trintignant in the 1957 Sebring 12 Hour Race and the Mille Miglia with the legendary Wolfgang von Trips behind the wheel.

Car enthusiasts are willing to break the bank to own such an ironic piece of motor racing folklore, and the private collector who sold it certainly made a handsome profit.

4. Mercedes-Benz W196 – $29.6 million (£23.9 million)

Few cars ever produced have as much provenance as the incredible Mercedes-Benz W196 grand prix racing car. It was driven by none other than five-time Formula 1 champion, Juan Manuel Fangio when the Argentinian took the chequered flag to win the German and Swizz Grand Prix in 1954.

When it was bought at auction in 2013 for almost $30 million it was the most expensive car ever sold. And, if it ever returns to auction, experts predict it will usurp the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe and reclaim its crown.

5. Aston Martin DBR 1 – $22.5 million (£17.7 million)

The DBR 1 is perhaps the most iconic model ever produced by Aston Martin. Only five of these models were ever made, yet they made an important mark in automotive history, winning the 1959 Nürburgring 1000km and the Le Mans 24hr. Some of the greatest racing drivers ever including Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, and Carroll Shelby steered the DBR 1 to victory, adding to its considerable provenance.

As a World Sportscar Championship racer, the DBR is the most expensive British-built car ever sold at auction, fetching a whopping $22,555,000 when it went under the hammer in Monterey in 2017. Other classic cars like the Ferrari 290 MM ($28 million), the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S NART Spider ($27.5 million), and the Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale ($26.4 million) may have sold for more than the DBR 1, but we believe the Aston Martin is thoroughly deserving of a place on our list.

Looking for Classic Car or Supercar Insurance?

Are you the proud owner of a vintage Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, or Aston Martin? Perhaps you drive a modern-day supercar with incredible performance? Either way, you’ll need to insure your vehicle and protect your investment. Keith Michaels has 30 years’ experience of providing competitive classic car, supercar, and hypercar insurance. Contact us today.