In the 1880s, automobile racing began not long after the invention of the gasoline-fueled internal-combustion engine. Just as famous as the people who have won races are the cars and the companies that created these successful vehicles. So, what happens after the vehicles are retired?
Throughout the years, collectors alike have paid hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to collect original race cars – especially those that hold records or have impacted racing history.
5 Famous Race Cars
- Mercedes-Benz W196 – $22.5 million
This rare race car was driven by the Formula 1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio. It was the five-time World Champion, and it clinched second title in the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix. The “motorsport equivalent of a great work of art,” was auctioned at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for $22.53 million in 2013.
- Porsche 917 – $14 million
Steve McQueen’s 1970 Gulf-liveried 917K was used as the test car for Le Mans before becoming the star car of his legendary racing movie Le Mans. It was the first Porsche to win Le Mans outright and is now the most expensive Porsche. Gooding & Company sold the car for $14 million during Monterey Car Week in 2017.
- 1979 Porsche 935 – $4.8 million
Driven by Paul Newman, Rolf Stommelen, and Dick Barbor, it was the overall winner of the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours. It also won second place overall at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans. The most successful endurance racing car of its era sold for $4.84 million at Pebble Beach in 2016.
- 1952 Hudson Hornet – $1.3 million
In the early NASCAR days, Hudson Hornets were the dominant car if you wanted to win. It was 1951 car of the year, and it is the first-generation of the most notable NASCAR vehicle in racing. The 1952 Hudson Hornet was owned and driven by NASCAR legend Herb Thomas, making it the most expensive Hudson Hornet to date. In August 2018, the vehicle was sold for $1.265 million at the Hostetler’s Hudson Auto Museum Auction.
- 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – $48.4 million
This particular vehicle was the third vehicle ever built by Ferrari. It was driven by the reigning Formula 1 world champion Phil Hill. The Ferrari 250 GTO was also in the hands of Gianni Bulgari for two years after. This Ferrari sold for a record-breaking $48.4 million at the Monterey Auction in August 2018, exceeding its minimum price estimate.
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