When a supply-chain crisis strangled the auto industry during the pandemic, the ongoing car shortage was the talk of the sector. With critical microchips in short supply, people were waiting weeks or even months to drive off in their pre-ordered Subarus or Mazdas — and they were paying top dollar for the privilege.
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Not to downplay the crisis, but there’s scarcity and then there’s rarity. When it comes to the latter, even the most deep-pocketed collectors can wait years or even decades for the chance to bid tens of millions of dollars on the world’s most unique and hard-to-find cars.
Here’s a look at the rarest and most expensive vehicles on Earth. Some are vintage classics built before the Depression. Others are hypercars with less than a decade’s worth of street under their tires. All, however, are one of a kind or close to it — and as expensive as they are rare.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spider
- Estimated value or price: $17.16 million
If this car looks familiar, it might be because it’s similar to the one featured in the 1980s hit movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” reports CNBC. And it’s a gem, as evidenced by the sale of one in 2016 at an auction for $17.16 million.
“Only [about] 55 of these were ever made, making this particular model one of the most sought-after Ferraris on the market,” said automotive engineer Shayrgo Barazi.
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2009 Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita
- Estimated value or price: $4.8 million
Just when you thought the CCXR couldn’t get any cooler, along comes the limited-edition Trevita.
“The CCXR Trevita uses white carbon fibers designed to shine like a million diamonds when light hits the car,” said auto journalist Ryan McElroy.
The fiber was made specifically for this car, of which only two were built in 2009, according to Koenigsegg.This car is so hot that even Floyd Mayweather had to have one. The boxer posed next to the car in an Instagram post with the caption: “My 4.8 Million dollar car. $4,800,000.00 Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita supercar.”
2013 Lamborghini Veneno
- Estimated value or price: $11.1 million
Want to buy your dream car? Does it happen to be this Lamborghini? If so, you better start saving.
Named after a fighting bull from the 1900s, the Veneno was produced in honor of Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary. In 2016, MotorTrend reported that one went on sale for $11.1 million, more than double the original $4.5 million price tag when it was new.
“The Veneno is a serious piece of kit,” said McElroy.
According to the Lamborghini website, the Veneno has a carbon-fiber, lightweight design and is “consistently focused on optimum aerodynamics and cornering stability.” When the car made an appearance at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013, multiple sites noted that the Veneno has 750 horsepower and a top speed of 220 mph.
W Motors Lykan Hypersport
- Estimated value or price: $3.4 million
If you’ve seen “Furious 7,” you might recall watching this car smash through skyscrapers, reports Road & Track. Deemed the “first Arab supercar” by W Motors, the Lykan Hypersport costs $3.4 million, reports CNN. It can go from 0 to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 240 mph.
“Your $3.4 million will also buy you a leather interior stitched with gold thread, a 3D infotainment system that can generate [holographs] and LED headlamps encrusted with diamonds,” said McElroy. “It’s also limited to only seven models.”
2017 Pagani Huayra BC
- Estimated value or price: $2.5 million
This auto is an engineering tour de force, said McElroy. And only 20 units were made, according to AutoGuide.com.
“The carbon fiber used on the bodywork is a unique formula that’s 50 percent lighter than regular carbon fiber. And, it can hit 0 to [approximately] 60 mph in 2.8 seconds,” he said.
1954 Oldsmobile F-88
- Estimated value or price: $3.24 million
Let’s just say that this is not your father’s Oldsmobile — unless he’s a serious collector. Those looking for rare cars for sale should definitely check out the Oldsmobile F-88.
The 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car fetched $3.24 million at auction in 2005. According to a 2005 CNN Money article, this gem has a 324-cubic-inch Oldsmobile Rocket V-8 engine and gets up to 250 horsepower.
1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner Coupe
- Estimated value or price: $9.8 million
Only three of the six Bugatti Type 41 Royales ever produced were sold, reports CarBuzz. However, because the unbodied chassis cost $30,000 when it was first made during the Great Depression, it’s no surprise that sales were low.
In 1987, AP reported that one sold for $9.8 million, which at the time was the highest price ever paid for a car.
“Apart from the fact that very few units of it were built, the 12.7-liter, straight-eight engine made it that much more rare and special,” said Jordan Perch, an automotive enthusiast who writes for StreetArticles.
1964 Ford GT40
- Estimated value or price: $7 million
An American classic, the prototype for the 1964 Ford GT40 sold for $7 million in 2014, reported Motor1.
“Among other things, what makes it special is the fact that it was built in an attempt to challenge Ferrari on the race track,” said Perch.
2016 Icona Vulcano Titanium
- Estimated value or price: $2.78 million
The Icona Vulcano Titanium is a one-off supercar with a body built from titanium and carbon fiber.
“The body was hammered by hand over the course of 1,000 hours,” said Dmitriy Shibarshin of West Coast Shipping, which specializes in the care and shipping of rare, classic and expensive cars.
The supercar went on sale for $2.78 million, reported MotorAuthority.
“I imagine someone, somewhere is willing [to pay] over that price just to own a titanium car,” said Shibarshin.
2013 Pagani Zonda Revolucion
- Estimated value or price: $2.8 million
This track car garnered attention when it dropped nearly a decade ago.
“It was the swan song to the already-outrageous Zonda,” said Shibarshin. “Weighing just under 2,400 pounds, this track monster produces 800 horsepower.”
In 2013, Digital Trends reported that Pagani planned to build only five of these cars. That same year, Edmunds reported that it had a sale price of $2.8 million.
1951 Pegaso Z-102
- Estimated value or price: $1 million
Back in 1951, the Pegaso was the fastest production car in the world, with a top speed of 120 miles per hour, reported Sports Car Digest in 2009.
“Built by the Spanish carmaker Pegaso, the car was a direct competitor to Ferrari in terms of performance and style and is still considered to be one of the most beautiful cars ever created,” said Shibarshin, noting that today’s models are valued at around $1 million.
1994 Ferrari F40 LM
- Estimated value or price: $3.3 million
Based on the legendary Ferrari F40, the Le Mans (LM) edition took away the extra weight and added the power, said Shibarshin. According to Sotheby’s, only 19 of these beauties were built, making it one of the rarest cars in the world.Today, Shibarshin estimates that the F40 LM sells for over $2 million. In 2015, one example sold a Sotheby’s auction for $3.3 million.
1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
- Estimated value or price: $39.8 million
The 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa is one of just 34 models ever built, said Shibarshin. Along with racing around the world and gathering numerous wins, the car was known for its impeccable styling.
Today, the Testa Rossa is worth tens of millions. In fact, an unrestored 250 Testa Rossa traded hands in 2014 for nearly $40 million, according to AutoBlog.
1970 Porsche 917K
- Estimated value or price: $10 to $20 million
This is the car that put Porsche on the Le Mans pedestal in 1970 and 1971, so it has an impressive racing pedigree for collectors, said Shibarshin.
“Now, they are valued anywhere from $10 to $20 million, depending on the models, race wins and current condition,” he said.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
- Estimated value or price: $38 million
Considered by many collectors to be the holy grail of classic cars, the 250 GTO was one of Ferrari’s most successful race cars, said Shibarshin. It’s also pretty rare — only 39 were built, reports Forbes.
In 2014, Autoblog reported that a 250 GTO sold for $38 million at auction, making it the most valuable in the world at the time.
1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
- Estimated value or price: $14.3 million
Zagato is among the world’s best-known coachbuilders. Since 1919, the company has created some of the most beautiful and memorable cars, said Shibarshin. And that includes the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato.
“Just 19 cars were [produced], and one example … sold for $14.3 million,” he said.
Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
- Estimated value or price: $10 million
This Italian beauty is tough to value because one almost never comes up for sale, said Barazi — only 18 were made.
In 2020, the world’s only blue version — which had long been missing — reappeared, according to TopSpeed, which valued the mythical blue 33 at $10 million.
The 33 Stradale has a top speed of 160 mph and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
1960 Porsche Abarth 356B Carrera GTL
- Estimated value or price: N/A
Here’s a Porsche that even most Porsche enthusiasts might not know about, according to Barazi.
“Porsche collaborated with the Italian car manufacturer Abarth to build the Carrera GTL,” he said. “Only about 20 were made… and at the time sold for [an estimated] $6,500.”
However, a value isn’t well established, said Barazi.
1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
- Estimated value or price: $6.8 million
The Mercedes 300SL Gullwing is one of the most iconic cars ever produced and was an immediate hit when it was released, said Barazi.
“The 300SL was the most technologically advanced vehicle to hit the market in the 50s,” he claimed. And if you really want rare, try the aluminum alloy version, one of which sold for $6.8 million in 2020, according to the Robb Report.
1957 Jaguar XKSS
- Estimated value or price: $18 million
Even if you’re not a car enthusiast, you’ll likely recognize the Jaguar brand. You might even remember that a few appeared in James Bond films. But this particular model was popularized by Steve McQueen, whose Jaguar XKSS is estimated to be worth $30 million, according to car blog Jalopnik.
“It’s based on the Jaguar D-Type race car and came about as a result of Jaguar pulling out of competitive motorsports at the time,” said Barazi. Jaguar converted the D-Types to street-legal versions.
In 2017, Wired estimated an especially rare version to be worth $18 million.
1998 McLaren F1 LM
- Estimated value or price: $13.75 million
In 2015, this car was auctioned off for nearly $14 million, reports Business Insider, making it a coveted vehicle indeed.
“The LM was built to commemorate McLaren’s ’95 victory at Le Mans with the F1 GTR,” said Barazi. “In fact, McLaren also captured the third, fourth, fifth and 13th positions during the race and decided to build five limited-edition F1 LMs for each GTR that had a finishing position.”
2008 Maybach Exelero
- Estimated value or price: $7.8 million
If you’re a Jay-Z fan, you might recognize the Maybach Exelero from the “Lost One” music video, reports Complex magazine.
“The Exelero combines the first-class experience you’d expect from a limo with the performance characteristics of a high-end sports car,” said Barazi.
In 2008, Autoblog reported that one was selling for just shy of $8 million.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
- Estimated value or price: $1.09 million
Here’s one of the most sought-after American muscle cars ever built, according to Barazi.
What makes this bundle of power so attractive? First, the car features an all-aluminum engine. Also, only 69 models were ever made.
In 2020, Hagerty reported that one pristine example fetched north of $1 million at auction.
1956 Aston Martin DBR1
- Estimated value or price: $22.5 million
This sleek roadster isn’t just green — it’s the color of money. Called the most important Aston Martin ever made by Bloomberg, the 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 holds the distinction of being the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.
Aston Martin rolled out only five of these purpose-built sports cars, according to the Telegraph. Featuring a tube-frame chassis and a five-speed transaxle, the DBR1 won a victory at Nürburgring in 1959.
1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sports Tourer
- Estimated value or price: $5.4 million
Ferdinand Porsche was the chief engineer when the 1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sports Tourer came into being. Of the 150 of these classic cars produced, only a handful survived to see the 21st century, making it one of the rarer cars on this list.
According to Classic.com, one sold in 2021 for $5.4 million.
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Andrew Lisa and April Maguire contributed to the reporting for this article.
Photo Disclaimer: Please note that some specific models mentioned in the article might not be pictured.