The 10 most expensive cars sold at UK auctions so far in 2021

45478321 9787587 Classic cars in demand The average amount forked out on collecti m 151 1626428833768
45478321 9787587 Classic cars in demand The average amount forked out on collecti m 151 1626428833768

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The classic car market continues to go from strength-to-strength in the face of the pandemic and shrinking economies, according to a new report.

Analysis of UK auction sales shows an increase in collectible vehicles changing hands in the first half of 2021.

Collectors are so eager to secure the models they want that over a third (34.7 per cent) of buyers paid over a car’s top estimate, compared with 17.9 per cent in 2020.

As a result, this has helped to push average prices paid when the hammer drops to  some 17 per cent higher than a year ago.

We reveal the 10 most expensive cars sold at auction in the first six months of 2021.

Classic cars in demand: The average amount forked out on collectible vehicles sold at UK auctions in the first six months of 2021 was £45,648 - that's up from £38,984 last year, new figures show

Classic cars in demand: The average amount forked out on collectible vehicles sold at UK auctions in the first six months of 2021 was £45,648 – that’s up from £38,984 last year, new figures show

Hagerty’s Price Guide half-year report also revealed the number of motors selling for less than their low estimate had declined year-on-year to just 24.7 per cent (down from 39.5 per cent last year).  

The combination of an increase in collectors paying over the higher estimate for classic cars – and fewer winning lots with below-estimate bids – has seen the average prices paid for cars sold at auction rise by more than £6,500. 

The average amount forked out on auction-sold classics last was £38,984 – in the first six months of 2021, the average outlay is £45,648. 

Hagerty says a rise in average prices paid is ‘unexpected’, given that big-value auctions in the UK usually take place in the second half of the year. 

With this in mind, it predicts more increases for when the full-year review is published.

Other interesting trends identified by the analysis is a rise in the number of collectible models from the 1980s hitting the market, up from 14.6 per cent of all auction sales in 2020 to 16.4 per cent so far on 2021 – the biggest gain for any vehicle era in the six-month period.

Data for 2021 suggests there has been a rise in buyers paying over higher estimates for collectible models sold at auction - and a decline in the number of cars sold below-estimate

Data for 2021 suggests there has been a rise in buyers paying over higher estimates for collectible models sold at auction – and a decline in the number of cars sold below-estimate

There was also increased demand for cars listed as being in ‘fair’ condition – meaning they would have visible flaws, such as chipped paintwork, dents and non-original parts rather than being in pristine nick.

Some 81 per cent of models falling into the ‘fair’ bracket were sold in January to June 2021, despite all these vehicles needing some work to be restored to their absolute best.

In comparison, restoration cases had the lowest sale completion rates – only 39.3 per cent.

John Mayhead, editor of the Hagerty UK Price Guide, described the first half of 2021 as a ‘fascinating time in the classic and collector market’. 

He added: ‘The popularity of ‘fair’ cars is really notable: these are not perfect but are drivable and worth less than other examples. That these are so popular supports our view that the boom since the Covid lockdown has been generated by enthusiasts rather than investors. 

‘The number of cars selling over expected price is fascinating: this is a combination of more realistic pre-sale estimates and demand fuelling higher prices.’ 

10 most expensive cars sold at auction in 2021 so far

Hagerty has provided This is Money with a list of the 10 most expensive classic cars to go under the hammer in UK auctions in the opening six months of the year.

Gooding & Company dominates the list, with seven entries in total.

However, the top spot has gone to a staggeringly-expensive vintage machine sold by Bonhams in February.

Here’s the 10-to-1 countdown… 

10. 1968 Lamborghini Miura – £737,000

Sold by: Gooding & Company Geared online sale, June

This green - or Verde Miura - example of Lamborghini's first ever supercar has made it into the list of the 10 most expensive classics sold at UK auctions in the opening 6 months of 2021

This green – or Verde Miura – example of Lamborghini’s first ever supercar has made it into the list of the 10 most expensive classics sold at UK auctions in the opening 6 months of 2021

When one of the rare examples of the ‘world’s first supercar’ goes under the hammer, expect collectors to pay big money for them.

This car – one of 338 Lamborghini Miuras ever produced – has been ‘handsomely restored’ to its factory best, including blemish-free Verde Miura green paintwork.

9. 1990 Porsche 962C – £759,000

Sold by: Gooding & Company Geared online sale, June

This is one of just seven 962C factory Porsche prototype race cars made. It competed just twice - retiring in both races - but will be a stunning addition to anyone's competition vehicle collection

This is one of just seven 962C factory Porsche prototype race cars made. It competed just twice – retiring in both races – but will be a stunning addition to anyone’s competition vehicle collection

The priciest race car sale in the UK so far this year is this stunning 1990 Porsche 962C prototype competition vehicle.

It is one of the last examples of the racer to be built by the German’s factory outfit (which built just seven examples) and is described as being in ‘benchmark quality’ – a pretty big statement for a surviving racer.

It contested two races during the 1990 World Sports Prototype Championship – one in Canada, the other in Mexico – but retired from both events.

8. 2006 Porsche Carrera GT – £771,500

Sold by: Collecting Cars, May

With just over 4,000 miles on the clock, this stunning yellow Porsche supercar was rightfully in high demand

With just over 4,000 miles on the clock, this stunning yellow Porsche supercar was rightfully in high demand

A mere 4,043 miles. That’s what was on the clock of this stunning 2006 Porsche Carrera GT supercar when it was sold by online auction site Collecting Cars earlier this year.

It is one of the last examples built and boasts a unique factory specification – as well as a race-bred 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine, producing up to 604bhp. 

A German delivery car (meaning left-hand-drive), this Carrera GT was imported to the UK and re-registered in February 2021.

7. 1963 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible – £836,000

Sold by: Gooding & Company European Sporting & Historic Collection sale, February

Only 123 convertible DB5s were ever created. Given the model is already steeped in heritage, a drop-top version in this condition was surely worth the six-figure fee the winning bidder paid

Only 123 convertible DB5s were ever created. Given the model is already steeped in heritage, a drop-top version in this condition was surely worth the six-figure fee the winning bidder paid

This DB5 sold by Gooding & Company in February is one of only 123 convertibles produced by the factory, making it one of the most exclusive of all road-going Aston Martins. 

First delivered to a customer in Scotland in 1963, the sale in the second month of 2021 is the first time this remarkable car was offered for public sale. 

Restored by Aston Martin specialist Post Vintage and boasting an attractive factory specification, this DB5 convertible was described by the auction house as ‘one of the most desirable David Brown-era Aston Martins’.

6. 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL – £935,000

Sold by: Gooding & Company European Sporting & Historic Collection sale, February

This stunning yellow Mercedes-Benz 300SL has sold for a figure just shy of £1million

This stunning yellow Mercedes-Benz 300SL has sold for a figure just shy of £1million

This beautifully restored and preserved 300SL certainly stands out with its pale yellow paint and tan interior.

Retained by a number of esteemed car collectors and displayed at the most exclusive luxury motor events – namely Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este – it is a well-known example of Mercedes’ stunning sixties drop top.

5. 1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4 – £1,870,000

Sold by: Gooding & Company European Sporting & Historic Collection sale, February

This rare Ferrari 275GTB/4, finished in black paint with a green leather interior, unsurprisingly sold for a tidy sum

This rare Ferrari 275GTB/4, finished in black paint with a green leather interior, unsurprisingly sold for a tidy sum

You’ll not come across a 275 GTB/4 in 2021 that will sell for less than seven figures. It’s considered by enthusiasts the most alluring Ferrari of its time. 

This particular car – chassis 09389 – is finished in a rare combination of striking black paint with a green interior. 

4. 1960 Aston Martin DB4GT – £1,975,000

Sold by: Bonhams, New Bond Street sale, February 2021

This is Money reported on the sale of this car earlier this year, describing it as the 'assemble-it-yourself' classic Aston Martin DB4GT

 This is Money reported on the sale of this car earlier this year, describing it as the ‘assemble-it-yourself’ classic Aston Martin DB4GT

The Aston Martin DB4GT is a key model in the British brand’s heritage and is widely considered by many collectors as the finest post-war road car the Bond-favourite firm produced.

The ultimate Gran Turismo of its time, the DB4GT was designed to take on the Ferrari 250 GT SWB and eclipsed rivals with a top speed in excess of 150mph and a 0-to-60mph time of just 6.1 seconds. 

But this one is a long way from being able to do that. It was sold as a part-finished restoration job that was started some 37 years ago – and the buyer paid over the £1.9million higher estimate.

Chassis number ‘0113/R’ did retain its original engine and gearbox along with most of the missing parts, including the reupholstered leather seats. You can read more about it here.

3. 1969 Ford GT40 – £2,508,000

Sold by: Gooding & Company Geared online sale, June

This is the final Ford GT40 from the original production run, so it's no surprising it sold for a small fortune

This is the final Ford GT40 from the original production run, so it’s no surprising it sold for a small fortune

This particular Ford GT40 MKIII is well known as it is the last version of the original to be numbered and built.

It was sold with a full documentation of its factory records and cuttings of its appearance in a number of automotive magazines, including Octane.

It sold for a fee just over £2.5million in June. 

2. 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT – £2,750,000

Sold by: Gooding & Company European Sporting & Historic Collection sale, February

Fully restored, this left-hand-drive Aston Martin DB4 GT won't need much money spending on it

Fully restored, this left-hand-drive Aston Martin DB4 GT won’t need much money spending on it

The second most expensive classic sold at auction so far this year is one of just 75 DB4 GTs built – and one that’s in better working order than the car mentioned at number 4 in this list.

It is one of just 30 left-hand drive versions that was delivered new to Switzerland in 1961.

It has had a show-quality restoration and comes with a well-documented history, matching engine and chassis numbers and an engine upgraded to 4.7-litre in displacement.

1. 1937 Bugatti Type 57 – £4,047,000

Sold by: Bonhams, New Bond Street sale, February

A one-of-42 vintage Bugatti that's been in hiding for 51 years topped the UK sales charts in the first half of 2021, achieving a fee of more than £4million

A one-of-42 vintage Bugatti that’s been in hiding for 51 years topped the UK sales charts in the first half of 2021, achieving a fee of more than £4million

Described by Bonhams as ‘one of the world’s most valuable and desirable pre-war motor cars’ and a ‘rediscovered treasure’, this 1937 Bugatti Type 57S had been off the road for the past 51 years with little knowledge of its whereabouts.

It went under the hammer at the London sale in February for the first time in its life.

Only some 42 of these Bugatti Type 57S cars were produced in their limited run at the Molsheim factory. It is powered by a 3.3-litre, twin-overhead-camshaft, straight-8-cylinder engine. And it makes a hell of a tune. 

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