1. Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Nicknamed the "supercar", it was recognized as the most beautiful and technically outstanding for the pre-war period, and therefore never fell in price. It was first introduced in 1936 at the Paris Motor Show and featured a 5.4-liter 8-cylinder 115 hp engine with a plug-in Roots compressor capable of reaching 180 hp with a running supercharger.
With a weight of 2000 kg, the maximum speed was 160-185 km/h, automatically making the model one of the fastest among the competitors of its time.
The Sindelfingen factory studio created several standard bodies for this car, the most spectacular of which was the Special Roadster. He received a recessed grille, a V-shaped windshield, an elongated tail with a cover for a spare wheel, and an additional folding seat. On special orders, a unique model was made in 26 copies, including for the personal collection of Goebbels and Goering.
The first buyers of the beautiful Special Roadster cost 28 thousand Reichsmarks, in the USA it was sold for $12,000, which even exceeded the cost of the popular Cadillac V16 in those years. At modern auctions, the car also shows price records, ranging from 2 to 10 million dollars, depending on the body.
So, in 2007, his copy was put up for sale by the long-term head of Formula 1 Bernie Ecclestone, the boss of Formula 1, having earned 8.252 million dollars for it.
2. Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider
There is a joke that if Batman lived in the forties, he would drive this particular car. One of the rarest and most expensive models in the world was released in 1939 in the amount of 32 copies, of which only 12 received a long base. In 1934, a defeat at Le Mans by German government-sponsored Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union forced Alfa Romeo to switch from Grand Prix racing models to Mille Miglia-compliant road racing variants.
Thus was born the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900, which received a 220-horsepower 8-cylinder in-line engine with two compressors and independent front and rear suspensions. Racing variants were designed only 6 copies, three of which took all the first prizes at the Mille Miglia in 1936.
This success spurred the development of a road version that became one of the sexiest, sportiest, and most advanced cars of an era. Smooth wing contours, hydraulic brakes, a 180-horsepower 2.9-liter 8-cylinder engine, a 4-speed gearbox aroused interest among connoisseurs who bought up all 12 long-wheelbase models.
One of the copies, which retained the original appearance, was sold at auction in 2016 for almost 20 million dollars.
3. Ferrari 250 GTO 1962
One of the most expensive, iconic, and rare cars in the world was sold at an American auction for a record $52 million. The model of the Gran Turismo class was produced for only 2 years and was released in the amount of 36 copies. Giotto Bizzarrini, an automotive engineer who spent many hours in a wind tunnel to create the perfect model, played a key role in the development of a magnificent car in its execution. A 300-horsepower 3.0-liter V12 engine was chosen as the power unit, with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds and speeds up to 280 km/h.
In the period 1962 ―1964. This car won back-to-back races, including the 12 Hours of Sebring and the World Constructors' Championship. Despite the status of "serial", it was almost impossible to move on the roads, since it could only be controlled at high speeds during the maximum pressing of the body to the track by the airflow.
The car that just rolled off the assembly line was valued at $18,000, while each potential buyer was personally approved by Enzo Ferrari himself or, for sales in the United States, his confidant Luigi Chinetti. The model has been repeatedly recognized by authoritative publications as the best car of the 60s, as well as the best Ferrari ever. We should pay tribute to the collectors who have kept all the issued copies. Among the owners of the iconic car are drug lords, movie stars, show business bosses, and eminent billionaire entrepreneurs.
So in 2018, a Microsoft employee sold his car at Sotheby's for $48.4 million.
4. Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner Coupe
The luxury model, which engineers consider the pinnacle of technical achievements of the 1920s and 1930s, was produced in the amount of 6 copies, and all of them have survived unchanged to this day. With a weight of 3.1 tons and a length of 6.4 meters, the car could reach an impressive speed of 160 km/h, which was due to the aircraft's 8-cylinder engine.
At the 1931 London Motor Show, Ettore Bugatti decided to draw the attention of the English aristocracy to his creation, for which he ordered a new 2-door closed body, unique in its performance, from the Kellner studio in Paris.
Although the model interested the sophisticated public, the price of 6500 pounds seemed too high for its purchase. Thus, the coupe remained in the possession of the Bugatti family for many years, who in wartime even walled it up together with other valuable cars in wall niches so that the Nazis would not get them. The Kellner Coupe was first sold by Bugatti's daughter to US race car driver and collector Briggs Cunningham for just $600 and two General Electric refrigerators. When his private museum was closed in 1986, the model was sent to a Christie's auction, where it went to a Swedish businessman for $9.7 million.
In 1990, due to financial difficulties, the entrepreneur resold the Bugatti for $15.7 million to the Japanese corporation Meitec, which, in turn, put it up for auction in 2011 for £10 million. The last owner of the unique car was Bonhams & Brooks.
5. Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car
With this sports car, Henry Ford pursued the ambitious goal of winning the international 24 Hours of Le Mans race. An additional incentive was a long-term confrontation with Enzo Ferrari, who intended to sell his production to Ford. After initial negotiations, as well as Henry Ford's inspection of the competitor's factory assets, Ferrari ended the negotiations without explanation. In anger, Ford decided to bypass the opponent at all costs, including leaving behind during the prestigious race.
The developed car was equipped with a 4.7-liter 440-horsepower engine, which was placed in an ultra-light and durable carbon body. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h the car gained in a record 5 seconds, and the maximum speed was limited to 200 miles/h. The model became the first sports car specially created for the JWA / Gulf racing team, during the period 1966-1969, it became the winner in the Daytona race and conquered the same Le Mans four times. Whereas, Ferrari ran out of luck, and they no longer won this competition.
In 1970, the American collector David Brown, who bought the legendary car, provided it for the filming of the film company Solar Production for the film Le Mans by actor and director Steve McQueen. For the 5-month filming process, it was necessary to cut the roof of the car, which affected the rigidity of the body and aerodynamic properties.
In addition, the car has taken part in historical rallies more than once, including the anniversary race of all GT40s. In technical terms, the car served as an ideal model for many future models of the Ford plant, including the development of the Ford Focus. No less unique was the design of the model, ahead of its time by at least half a century. Subsequently, the manufacturer embodied the retro design in the 2005 Ford GT, in which inexperienced motorists will not see fundamental differences from the iconic relative.
In 2012, at an American auction, the Ford GT40 Gulf went to an anonymous buyer for $11 million.
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