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£10m Ferrari 250 TR sets auction record

  1. A rare 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa has set a new world record as the most expensive car ever sold at auction. The price? $16,390,000, or 10,017,000 of our finest British pounds.

    Sold by auctioneer Gooding & Company at the annual Pebble Beach auto week in California, the 1957 TR eclipses another 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa that sold for £7.6 million a couple of years back in Maranello.

    It’s the first 250 Testa Rossa ever built and features a 3.0-litre V12 producing 300bhp. As for the condition, it’s had multiple awards lavished on its restoration. So good, then.

    Elsewhere in the sunshine state, RM Auction’s annual Monterey sale also proved a winner, with a 1937 Mercedes 540K roadster selling for $9,680,000 (5.9m), making it the most expensive Benz sold at auction.

    You’ll remember this auction, because it also featured Steve McQueen’s old Porsche 911. How much? Click through to find out as we round up RM’s stars of Monterey…

  2. 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster by Sindelfingen
    Sold for £5.9m ($9.68m)

    A supercharged, 5.4-litre straight-eight sits underneath those rather stunning pre-war curves, and is one of just 25 models with the ‘long tail’ coachwork, a lot like the one Bernie sold a few years back in London.

    This particular 540K was bought new by owners of a prestigious clothing store in Buenos Aires on 5 January, 1937, later moving on to Argentina, exported to the States, and onto a long stint in Australia. Its restoration was later started in Germany and completed in the US.

  3. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione
    Sold for £3.2m ($5.28m)

    This alloy-bodied slice of heaven sports a 3.0-litre V12 with 290bhp and is the fourth car of just 42 competition Berlinettas built. Not one to be stuffed in a garage, this very car was driven “on the ragged edge” just four days after delivery to finish third overall in the 1,000kms of Montlhéry in 1960, leaving Astons and Porsches in its wake.

    Between 2007 and 2008 it was restored by the Ferrari Classiche Department with present owner Skip Barber noting, “I got kind of tired waiting for this car, but all was forgiven when it arrived.” Quite.

  4. 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster by Sindelfingen
    Sold for £2.8m ($4,62m)

    Many people consider the 540K to be one of Mercedes Benz’s high points, which is fine. We’d also consider the Black Series range as another, but that’s just us…

    This particular 540K was first registered to the Horn brothers, owners of an exclusive boutique in Berlin, before being cast into hibernation as war swept across Europe.

    Its post-war history is unclear, but it somehow ended up in the Soviet Union at a Soviet general’s house in 1967. Yes, somehow. It eventually headed off to Sweden and was later sold to Thomas W Barrett III in ‘77.

  5. 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster by Sindelfingen
    Sold for £2.3m ($3.76m)

    Yes, another pre-war Mercedes Benz. The 500 sported a 5.0-litre supercharged straight-eight engine, a four-speed manual box and hydraulic brakes. Its standard 100bhp output was boosted to 160bhp at 3,400rpm when the supercharger woke up.

    It has been in the care of the Lyon Family Collection and was personally inspected by two experts from Mercedes-Benz Classic in Germany. Their conclusion is as German as the Benz: “It has a correct 500 K replacement motor of the same series”.

  6. 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Berlinetta by Vignale
    Sold for £2.2m ($3.68m)

    Auction houses across the globe, there are other car manufacturers around, ok? This, yet another Ferrari, is the 280bhp, 4.1-litre V12-engined Mexico, third of just three Mexico Berlinettas built and constructed for the sole purpose of contesting the 1952 Carrera Panamericana.

    It had the capability of hitting 60mph in six seconds and a top speed of 174mph, and Top Gear would be mighty interested in discovering how many of those original horses still remained shackled to the V12.

    This Mexico was totalled in the 1952 race by Alberto Ascari - who passed nine cars - after he hit some loose stones, lost control and collided with a rocky ledge. The car was subsequently repaired, driven by Caroll Shelby and later won numerous awards for its condition.

  7. 1970 Porsche 911S Le Mans movie car, ex Steve McQueen
    Sold for £842,000 ($1.37m)

    Captain cool’s old Porsche, which played a starring role in the iconic motorsport movie Le Mans, featured alongside his epic personal collection of motors that included a Porsche 356 Speedster, a Jaguar XK-SS, a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta and ‘a host of Von Dutch customised utility vehicles’. Bit of a wheels man, was Steve.

    Barring a repaint, some new shocks, reupholstered front seats and a new windscreen, the car is totally original. It hasn’t rusted, has never been wrecked, wears original Fuchs alloys and comes with that 2.2-litre, 200bhp flat-six engine. Classic.

  8. 1958 BMW 507 Roadster
    Sold for £658,000 ($1.07m)

    Formerly owned by Bond girl Ursula Andress and just one of 253 built, this 507 is a rather delectable piece of Bavarian heritage. It’s also got a bit of mystique around it too; legend has it Elvis Presley offered Andress one of his Cadillacs. She declined, saying she’d rather have the Beemer instead…

    It wears a 3.2-litre all-alloy V8 mated to a four-speed manual box, producing 155bhp that’s sent to the rear wheels that sit on a live rear axle. Yikes.

    But it is a landmark in automotive design and is the original heir to the current BMW Z4. Just look at it.

  9. 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing coupe
    Sold for £514,000 ($836,000)

    It’s got a 3.0-litre straight six with 215bhp. It’s black with a red interior. And it’s got gullwing doors. We don’t need to tell you that this car, with its racing pedigree and excitable doors, is a classic gem. We also don’t need to tell you that if you ever find yourself with enough money to purchase one, you should. Immediately.

    Fun fact: This one had remained in original ownership from 1957 right through to 2007, during which time it was red with a green plaid interior. Good call on the respray, we say.

  10. 1973 Lamborghini Espada Coupe
    Sold for £34,000 ($55,000)

    There were other, more expensive and more historic cars that sold at the annual RM Monterey auction. But this one piqued our interest simply because it is a rare Lamborghini.

    In fact, it is a Brown Lamborghini With A Beige Interior!

    Just one of 1,225 Espadas produced, penned by the legendary Marcello Gandini, this Brown Lamborghini With A Beige Interior boasts a 4.0-litre V12 producing 350bhp and, in the 70s at least, a top speed of 155mph. It was, in fact, the world’s fastest four-seat production car when new.

    It’s not new anymore though. And it’s still brown. And beige.

    Gallery: the history of Lamborghini V12s

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