We count down the most expensive cars of all time, and ask why they became so valuable.

 

While regular cars depreciate…

Some cars accrue value because of their rarity; others because of their colourful pasts. Some are just all-round masterworks while others have one special thing that makes them stand out. However they acquired their price-tags and desirability, we’re fascinated by expensive, collectable cars. As such, we’ve compiled a list of some of the world’s priciest and most sought-after vehicles. Start your motors, ladies and gentlemen: it’s going to be quite a ride!

 

1936 Mercedes 540k Special Roadster

Our first luxuriously costly automobile is a 1936 Mercedes 540K Special Roadster. Only ten of these gorgeous, classical machines were ever made, but the one we’re talking about is valuable because of more than its rarity. This particular car was once owned by the insanely colourful Baroness Gisela Josephine Von Krieger. Born in 1913, she was a member of the old Prussian aristocracy, but she might as well have been a character in an F. Scott Fitzgerald book. By all accounts she was coquettish, refined and a welcome fixture of London’s high society (to such an extent that she even got to attend the coronation of King George). She lived in expensive hotels, had a taste for fine jewels and was prone to bouts of almost romantic melancholy. Her roadster still carries a hint of her mystique in the eyes of many collectors and it was sold at auction in 2012 for $11,770,000 (approximately £7,770,387).

 

275/GTB-4 NART Spyder

The next car on our list also belonged to someone remarkable, but for very different reasons. Eddie Smith had only $15 dollars to his name when he left the orphanage he’d grown up in and set out for North Carolina. Fifteen years later, he was able to found a mail-order clothing business. After just one more decade, he was so rich he could afford to casually buy Ferraris as a hobby. One of the vehicles he acquired was the 275/GTB-4 NART Spyder. As with Mercedes’ Special Roadster, only ten of vehicles were ever made. The one Eddie Smith owned was sold in 2013 for $27,500,000 (about £18,126,151). Eddies’ rags-to-riches story seems to have imbued the car with additional value and collectability!

 

Ferrari 375 Plus

One vehicle that’s even rarer than either the NART Spyder or the Mercedes’ Special Roadster is the Ferrari 375 Plus racing car. Only four of these super fast beauties ever existed. Colloquially known as the ‘fearsome four-nine’ due its 4.9 litre engine capacity, the 375 Plus had a top speed of 175mph - which is pretty impressive considering its heyday was in the 1950s. One 375 Plus was recently sold for £10,000,000. Astonishingly, however, this car’s worth wasn’t always recognised. The 375 Plus in question was once left in a wooded area for a full 20 years. It was neglected to such an extent that a tree had grown through its engine bay. Mercifully, however, the vehicle was rescued in time to be restored to its former glory.

 

1939 Horch 853A Special Roadster

However, it’s not just recognisable brand-names like Ferrari and Mercedes that collectors salivate over. You may not have heard of August Horch or the company he founded, but in 2012, a 1939 Horch 853A Special Roadster was sold at auction for $5,170,000 (approximately £3,406,223). The value of Horch vehicles to collectors is partially due to their impeccable quality and partly due to Horch himself. In 1896, the 28 year old engineer was captivated by his first sight of a Mercedes Benz automobile. He immediately wrote to the company, offering them his services and was accepted. What’s incredible about August Horch is that he wasn’t content to rest on his laurels. After working with Mercedes a while, he felt driven to accomplish more. He secured private funding and set up his own company that operated on the cutting edge of automotive technology. His steely determination and commitment to highly advanced vehicles makes him iconic to some collectors and adds value to any car that bears his name.

 

LeFerrari

But what if you wanted to own an incredibly collectable car yourself? Most collectors will never part with their beloved one-of-a-kind vehicles. However, there is a chance that Ferrari will decide to send you one of its limited-edition ‘LeFerrari’ vehicles. The manufacturer has only made 499 of these incredible machines and you can’t simply buy one: the manufacturer has to offer you one. All you have to do is do something incredibly noteworthy to attract the manufacturer’s attention and somehow scrape together the $1,130,000 each LeFerrari costs. Admittedly, that does seem quite difficult, but it’d probably be easier than convincing a private collector to part with any of the other vehicles on this list!

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