Ahead of the London Classic and Sports Car show this weekend at Alexandra Palace, here’s our rundown of the most priceless motors in the world
Over the last 10 years, the upper end of the classic car market has outperformed most other comparable investments in art, wine, stamps, property and equities.
Unfortunately, you will have needed more than an Austin Mini or a Morris Minor to take full advantage of the extraordinary increase in the value of classic cars, which has gone up by as much as 456 per cent in 10 years according to the Historical Automobile Group index.
Much like the art market, auctions for the world’s top classic cars can attract wild speculation, with certain cars selling way above their estimated sale value. The variations of the Ferrari 250 have been particularly popular, with one Ferrari 250 GTO setting an auction record of $38,115,000 at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge sale last year.
The cars listed below haven’t set any auction records and most are unlikely to ever be sold publically but each represents a truly unique part of automotive history making them virtually priceless.
1955 Mercedes 300 SLR ‘722’
Racing legend Sir Stirling Moss famously drove this Mercedes, number 722, at the 1955 Mille Miglia, setting a record time of 10 hours and 7 minutes. This meant Moss averaged an incredible 98.53 mph over the 992-mile circuit. This was no ordinary race, the Mille Miglia was a long distance endurance race that took place on public roads in Italy with little in the way of safety features.
The race was banned in 1957 after two fatal crashes. This particular car has always been owned by Mercedes and will likely forever remain in their collection. A similar Mercedes W196 Grand Prix car sold for $29,600,000 at auction last year.
1928 Bugatti T35B 4914
This was the first car to win the Monaco Grand Prix after it was launched in 1929. Its driver was William Grover-Williams, who would later become a highly successful SOE agent in France during WWII alongside other racing drivers; this would tragically lead to his death at the hands of the Nazis in 1945.
The vast majority of vintage racing cars from this period have experienced hard lives being obsolete for many years so they’ve either been scrapped or had major components replaced.
T35B 4914 has been lovingly maintained, rather than extensively updated or restored and as such it is widely regarded as one of the most original Grand Prix cars from the 1920s. Underneath its current blue paint, the British Racing Green that Grover-Williams raced under can be found as a reminder of the most historic of all Monaco GP victories.