2017’s Top Cars, from a $22-Million Aston Martin to a Brand-New Bugatti

Launch Slideshow

With a total of fourteen auctions, including sales in New York City and the Ferrari Factory in Maranello, 2017 was a record-setting year for RM Sotheby’s. In a double-digit increase over 2016, more than 2,800 lots were sold for a total of $526 million. Leading the pack was the legendary Aston Martin DBR1 chassis no. 1, which at $22,550,000 became the most valuable British car ever sold. A number of records were set in the Ferrari world as well, with F2001 becoming the most valuable modern F1 car ever sold, and the LaFerrari Aperta becoming not only the most valuable 21st century automobile, but also the most valuable new car ever sold. Click ahead to discover 20 cars that made history in 2017.

View RM Sotheby’s 2018 auctions

2017’s Top Cars, from a $22-Million Aston Martin to a Brand-New Bugatti

  • Tim Scott ©2017 Courtesy of RM
    1956 Aston Martin DBR1.
    Sold for $22,550,000 at Monterey.
    The legendary 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, chassis no. 1 (DBR1/1), not only smashed the record for the marque at auction, it also became the most valuable British automobile ever sold at auction. As a result, it was the most valuable car sold by any auction house in 2017. 

  • Courtesy of the Klemantaski Coll
    1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione.
    Sold for $17,990,000 at New York.
    Following an exhilarating competition between multiple bidders in the room and on the telephones lasting nearly ten minutes, the open-headlight California Spider, exceeded its pre-sale estimate and became the most valuable Ferrari sold at auction in 2017. 

  • Ferrari Performance Collection.
    Sold for $16,500,000 at Monterey.
    Reaffirming RM Sotheby’s market position as the pre-eminent auction house in the sale of single-owner collections, this group of thirteen beautifully maintained iconic road-going examples was offered entirely without reserve and exceeded pre-sale estimates.   

  • 2017 LaFerrari Aperta.
    Sold for €8.300.000 at Ferrari.
    Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione, a single-marque sale held in partnership with the legendary marque, was held during Ferrari’s 70th Anniversary celebrations. The result was the sale of a one-of-a-kind LaFerrari Aperta that set a world record for a 21st century automobile. Proceeds were generously donated to Save the Children for an international program focused on education. 

  • Darin Schnabel ©2017 Courtesy o
    1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti.
    Sold for €7.855.000 at Ferrari.
    Following closely behind the LaFerrari was the numbers-matching 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti, which was one of the most desirable examples of the ultimate open Ferrari of its era.  

  • Darin Schnabel ©2016 Courtesy o
    1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet.
    Sold for $7,700,000 at Amelia Island.
    Leading RM’s highest auction total in Amelia Island history, comfortably exceeding the combined tally of all competitor sales held that week, was a striking 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet that led nineteen motor cars that achieved million-dollar-plus results. 

  • Pawel Litwinski
    2001 Ferrari F2001.
    Sold for $7,504,000 at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    In the ultimate culmination of the partnership and one of the most highly publicized automotive auctions ever staged, RM Sotheby’s sold the Michael Schumacher Monaco Grand Prix-winning Ferrari F2001 for a record price at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction. Representing the first automobile ever offered in a Sotheby’s art auction, the result more than doubled the previous record for a modern-era Formula 1 car at auction.   

  • Tim Scott ©2017 Courtesy of RM
    1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype.
    Sold for $6,765,000 at Monterey.
    Part of the most significant group of Aston Martin competition cars to appear at auction, the 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype set a new record for a non–Zagato-bodied example after a contest between three bidders. 

  • Pawel Litwinski ©2013 Courtesy /Pawel Litwinski ©2013 Courtesy
    1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster by Sindelfingen.
    Sold For $6,600,000 at Arizona.
    The 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster kicked off the 2017 auction calendar with a strong result that was part of the highest overall sale total, sell-through rate, and number of cars sold above low estimate of all auction houses during Arizona Car Week 2017.   

  • Ryan Merrill ©2017 Courtesy of
    1952 Jaguar C-Type.
    Sold for $5,285,000 at New York.
    RM Sotheby’s returned to Sotheby’s Manhattan headquarters for its third New York sale, entitled ICONS, held during Sotheby’s inaugural A Life of Luxury week, offering the best of watches, jewels, wine, fashion and cars, including the 1952 Jaguar C-Type, XKC 007, the first example to win a race on U.S. soil, at the hands of Phil Hill, no less. 

  • 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3.
    Sold for €3.920.000 at Paris.
    A 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3, one of the most important and coveted of all pre-war grand prix cars, topped record-breaking sales at RM Sotheby’s best performance in Paris to date. 

  • Remi Dargegen ©2017 Courtesy of
    1950 Ferrari 166 MM/212 Export “Uovo” by Fontana.
    Sold for $4,500,000 at Monterey.
    The unmistakable highlight of all early Ferraris offered at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction, the dynamic, impressive and incredibly original 166 MM/212 Export Uovo sold for an outstanding amount after months of celebrated promotion globally. 

  • Fotohalle Unger ©2017 Courtesy
    1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’ Coupé by Figoni et Falaschi.
    Sold for €3.360.000 at Villa Erba.
    The Stunning 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’ Coupé by Figoni et Falaschi was the top-selling lot at RM Sotheby’s 2017 Villa Erba sale. The car is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive and beautiful of all time. 

  • Patrick Ernzen ©2017 Courtesy o
    2018 Bugatti Chiron.
    Sold for $3,772,500 at New York.
    All eyes were on the first ever Bugatti Chiron offered at auction over the course of the ICONS exhibition. Nearly impossible to acquire from new, it has a mind-blowing 1400 hp and was the first example ordered for the U.S. market. 

  • Darin Schnabel ©2017 Courtesy o
    1930 Bentley 6½-Litre Speed Six Sportsman’s Saloon.
    Sold for $3,410,000 at Monterey.
    One of the most beautiful, famous and important 1930 Bentley 6½-Litre Speed Six Sportsman’s Saloon in existence. 

  • Robin Adams ©2017 Courtesy of R
    2014 Pagani Huayra Tempesta Sold for $2,420,000 at Monterey.
    The first customer car delivered to North America, this 2014 Pagani Huayra Tempesta achieved a new record for the model at auction, continuing to propel the modern hypercar market in 2017. 

  • Tim Scott ©2017 Courtesy of RM
    1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8 Sold for €2.016.000 at Villa Erba.
    This RSR 3.8 attracted enormous pre-sale attention, as it was presented with only ten kilometers and in completely original, ‘as-delivered’ condition. This magnificent 964 Carrera RSR set a record for any 964 model 911 at auction. 

  • Darin Schnabel ©2017 Courtesy o
    1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Sold for $2,300,000 at Auburn Fall.
    The original 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ was the star of the Auburn autumn auction with its original body, engine and chassis, and it set the benchmark record for highest price for any automobile at Auctions America. 

  • Kazuhisa Masuda JRPA-0204
    1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta Alloy by Scaglietti Sold for €1.807.000 at Ferrari.
    The only road-going alloy Daytona in existence with matching numbers, this exceptional car was offered in complete ‘barn-find’ condition. Spirited bidding resulted in the car becoming the most valuable Daytona coupe ever sold at public auction. 

  • 1983 Ferrari 400i Sold for €345.000 at Ferrari.
    Although not the most expensive lot of the year, the 400i, offered directly from the collection of Keith Richards, attracted huge pre-sale attention. The Rolling Stones legend had owned the car from new, which made the highly desirable example achieve a world record for the model. 

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