The top 10 most expensive cars auctioned by Bonhams 2022
A Porsche out in front, chased by a Ferrari and a BMW, with Bugatti, Lamborghini and Mercedes not far behind – this was the order the top marques crossed the line in after 12 months of collector car sales at auction house Bonhams.
Records were set and estimates smashed, but it also has to be said that some once-in-a-lifetime cars did not sell this year. A works Aston DB3 racer, Jaguar E-type Lightweight, McLaren P1 GTR, Lamborghini Reventon and ex-Michael Schumacher Benetton F1 car from 1993 were all among star cars that didn’t quite cut the mustard in 2022. The vendor of the incredibly rare and sought-after E-type Lightweight refused to budge despite a top bid of six million dollars... the guide price was $7-8m.
A highlight for us here at Goodwood was the sale, for £911,000, of at what first sight appeared a motley collection of race car bits. What was so special about the disassembled parts? Collectively they made up the first car ever to wear the Kiwi emblem of up-and-coming driver and team owner Bruce McLaren.
In different forms this car, officially the 1964 Cooper-Zerex-Oldsmobile, had been raced by Briggs Cunningham and Roger Penske, but it is the connection with Bruce McLaren that makes it such an important piece of motorsport history – a valuable piece too as shown when it sold for nearly a million in the Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale in September. We look forward to seeing the car all in one piece.
You might think someone would be barking mad to take on such a project, but that epithet has to be reserved for another Bonhams sale at Goodwood, by the name of Goodwoof and with nothing at all to do with cars. In aid of the Dogs’ Trust, it was the first sale of bespoke designer kennels and it really got tails wagging.
The top-priced canine home was the Doge’s House by Linley which sold for £6,000. Foster and Partners’ Dome Home made £4,600 and a contemporary canine vision from Jony Ive and Marc Newson went for £3,800. It all went to show that it’s not just cars that make the big money at Goodwood.
Here’s Bonhams top ten most valuable sales from around the world in 2022:
10. 1996 Bugatti EB110 GT
Sold for £1.57m
With the Countach already under their belt, Lamborghini’s dynamic duo of engineer Paolo Stanzani and designer Marcello Gandini turned their attention to an ambitious project spearheaded by Italian businessman Romano Artioli to resurrect the moribund Bugatti marque with a sensational new supercar. And everything about the EB110 was, and remains, sensational: from the wedge body and gullwing doors, to the four-wheel drive and short-stroke V12 with five valves per cylinder, four turbochargers and 568PS (424kW), for a top speed of 212mph. Only 125 were ever made, most the GT version like this 10,000km example which sold in Paris for €1,817,000, several hundred thousand above its top estimate and setting a new auction world record for the model.
9. 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S
Sold for £1.63m
If the F40 was a hit from the late 1980s, then two decades earlier the undoubted supercar star – indeed, the mother of all supercars according to some – was the Miura from Ferrari’s nemesis in Sant’Agata. Vibrant in Verde Miura lime green over a black interior, this nut-and-bolt restored P400 S lived up to its reputation as among the best Miuras in the US by selling for US$1,957,500 at the Quail auction.
8. 1929 Bugatti Type 35B
Sold for £1.73m
Bugatti made only around 45 Type 35Bs, the iconic grand prix Bugatti, and most of them today are in museums or private collections and not for sale. So it was no surprise that someone jumped when this one came up at the Bonhams Monaco sale. The car, which had been with the same private owner for 47 years, was snapped up for a cool two million euros. With known history, matching numbers and great originality, it ticked all the 35B boxes.
7. 1991 Ferrari F40
Sold for £1.75m
For many, the F40 is the ultimate supercar. Not just the first production car to have a claimed top speed of over 200mph and the last Ferrari to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari, but an absolute blast – both to look at and from behind the wheel. This one has been driven a bit too, its two owners putting 20,500km under its wheels. Rosso Corsa red and left-drive like all 1315 F40s made, it sold in Gstaad, Switzerland, for CHF1,955,000.
6. 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT
Sold for £1.74m
There were earlier Ferrari road cars, but Maranello’s roadgoing GT hierarchy really started with the 250 Europa. As a marriage of elegant and understated Pininfarina design with superlative engineering in the form of the Colombo V12 engine, it wrote the blueprint for all Ferrari GTs that followed. Another star of the Quail sale in the US where it sold for US$2,095,000, this is the very last example made, with chassis upgrades of the later cars that include coils instead of leaf springs. The 1956 Brussels Motor Show car, it’s been certified by Ferrari to have original chassis, engine, body, suspension and brakes.
5. 1957 BMW 507
Sold for £1.81m
Any 507 is a far rarer car than its nemesis, the Merc 300SL, and of the 254 built only 34 of them were Series I cars like this white example with factory hardtop. It was restored in 2009 but retains its original interior and correct Rudge wheels, factors that helped it to a third in class at the Pebble Beach concours in 2013. The 507 achieved just over €2m at Bonhams Zoute sale in Belgium.
4. 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante
Sold for $2m-plus
The Type 57 was already hailed as a mechanical tour de force when, two years after it was unveiled, the overhead camshaft straight-eight engine was endowed with a Roots-type supercharger, boosting power to around 160PS (119kW). This is just one of three Jean Bugatti-designed T57C Atalantes with factory supercharged engine and aluminium bodywork, a spec that guarantees performance just as breathtaking as its looks. Owned by the same person for 60 years and said to be stunningly original, it sold for an undisclosed amount over US$2m at Bonhams’ Quail auction in California.
3. 1957 BMW 507
Sold for £1.93m
It was a good year for the BMW 507, BMW’s beautiful, exclusive and expensive 1950s reply to the Mercedes 300SL. This blue Series II roadster with hardtop was one of two that Bonhams sold this year, achieving US$2.3m at the Audrain auction in Newport, Rhode Island. The car had been bought as a “spare” 507 (in case the owner’s other 507 didn’t start…) but was largely left locked away in a Philadelphia shed – for 43 years. It emerged, under its own power, for the first time in May 2022.
2. 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
Sold for £2.2m
It cost a million pounds new eight years ago – well it would have, had you been one of the 499 Ferrari loyalists granted the right to buy one – and this example doubled that. Not a bad investment then. It’s been driven just 930km and is described as being “as new”. Well, not quite as it left the factory: in 2016 it was repainted in fetching Giallo Modena, while the black interior was re-trimmed with grey and yellow stripes. The car was sold in Paris for €2,558,750 – a record for a Euro-spec LaFerrari.
1. 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder
Sold for £3.47m
Porsche’s first bespoke racecar, the 550 Spyder was known as a giant-killer on racetracks in the 1950s and it well lived up to its reputation at Bonhams Amelia Island sale, making US$4,185,000, or the equivalent of about £3.47m at current exchange rates. The minuscule four-wheeled jewel, with a 1,500cc four-cam engine delivering around 135PS (100kW), raced in period at the Nurburgring and was with the same owner for the past 50 years.
All prices include premium and are converted to £ at exchange rate on 29 November 2022.