It may come as a surprise to learn that of the 10 most expensive cars sold at auction in 2020, only one was sold before the pandemic. That’s as much a measure of how long we’ve been in the pandemic as it is how much people are still willing to spend.
What’s more interesting is the fact that the five most expensive cars sold at auction were all made by the same manufacturer, namely Bugatti, and all were built before 1939. According to Hagerty, the last time so many prewar cars were in the top 10 was in 2011.
Three of those Bugattis (a 1928 Type 35C, a 1937 Type 57S Atalante, and a 1935 Type 59 Sports) all sold at the same auction. Number 10 on the list, a 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Speciale, was also sold at the same Gooding & Company “Passion of a Lifetime” auction held in September.
Also Read: Subaru Of America Brought This 216k Mile 1990 Legacy For Its Private Collection
All told, the top 10 sold for a total of more than $61 million, though only one sold for tens of millions. Also of note, there was only one Ferrari on the list, and it wasn’t even that old.
So here are the 10 most expensive cars sold at auction in 2020.
10. 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Speciale: £3,207,000 ($4,257,007)Gooding & Company/Mathieu Heurtault
9. 2001 Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive: $4,290,000RM Sotheby’s/Remi Dargegen
8. 1953 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5: $4,946,666RM Sotheby’s/Darin Schnabel
7. 1954 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 7: $4,946,666RM Sotheby’s/Darin Schnabel
6. 1955 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 9d: $4,946,666RM Sotheby’s/Darin Schnabel
5. 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport by Figoni: €4,600,000 ($5,051,054)Bonhams
4. 1928 Bugatti Type 35C: £3,935,000 ($5,224,483)Gooding & Company/Mathieu Heurtault
3. 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport: $7,100,000Bonhams
2. 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante: £7,855,000 ($10,433,965)Gooding & Company/Mathieu Heurtault
1. 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports: £9,535,000 ($12,666,600)Gooding & Company/Mathieu Heurtault
Why was the Type 59 Sports worthy of being not just the most expensive car sold in 2020, but the most expensive Bugatti ever sold at auction?
Well, the Type 59 Sports was considered to be the ultimate Bugatti Grand Prix car. This particular example, which was once owned by King Leopold III of Belgium, was raced at the Monaco Grand Prix and won the Belgian Grand Prix with Rene Dreyfus. Afterwards, it received revisions to its chassis, bodywork, and drivetrain and went into sports car racing where it also had success.