A number of factors influence the insane prices that certain cars get sold at. This can include the car’s rarity, driving history, desirability, and originality. However, sometimes, a car simply has to be owned by a famous celebrity for it to command a high value.
Here are the top 7 celebrity cars sold at auctions for unbelievable prices.
1. Steve McQueen’s 1970 Porsche 917K
Price: $14 million
Auction: Gooding & Company
Back in the 70s, Steve McQueen was one of Hollywood’s most popular and highest-paid celebrities. He was also an avid race car driver and performed most of his racing stunts himself in the movies. In his film, Le Mans, he drove the 1970 Porsche 917K, the iconic sportscars that finally ended the dominance of Ferrari and Ford in competitive racing.
Before McQueen, the car had also been driven by the legendary race car driver, Jo Siffert. Unsurprisingly, given this fact as well as its own rarity and prestigious racing history, it set the record as the most expensive Porsche sold at an auction.
Price: $11 million
Auction: : RM Sotheby’s
In a career spanning over 4 decades, the academy award-winning actor James Coburn made appearances in over 70 films and 100 television series. He was also an avid collector of fast cars, including a rare Ferrari 1961 250 GT Spyder California SWB.
The 250 GT Spyder is already a highly coveted car for rich collectors, and when one was put up at a 2008 auction that had been owned by one of Hollywood’s biggest icon of cool, it was expected that the car would get sold at an exorbitant price. At $11 million, it set the world record for the time.
Price: $5.5 million
Back in the 50s and the 60s, Carroll Shelby was a famous American car driver whose achievements include co-winning the grueling Le Mans 24-hour race. After retirement, he worked with Ford on a number of different race car projects, including the famous AC Cobra.
However, not entirely satisfied with the car’s performance, he designed two models fitted with the massive 427 engine and further attached to it two superchargers. At 800 hp, this was a monstrous car for the time, able to accelerate from 0 to 60 in just under 3 seconds.
One, unfortunately, got destroyed in an accident, leaving Shelby’s own Super Snake as the sole original. Its history, coupled with the extreme rarity, enabled it to become the most expensive American-made car sold at an auction.
Price: $4.6 million
Auction: RM Sotheby’s
Arguably, Goldfinger remains among the most iconic of British spy films. As with any other James Bond film, it too featured a gadget car in the shape of the Aston Martin DB5. Among the gadgets it featured included a rear bulletproof shield, hidden machine guns, a passenger ejector seat, oil slick sprayer, caltrop spreader, and a radar receiver.
There were two of them used in the movie, but one of them stolen and was never seen again. This, of course, drove the value of the surviving car up further. When the car was put up for auction in 2014, it was quickly sold over to a car collector and a long-time bond fan for a price of £2.9 million ($4.6 million).
Price: $2.3 million
Auction: RM Sotheby’s
The brand, Rolls Royce, has always been synonymous with luxury. For nearly a century, Rolls Royce has been the vehicle of choice for Royals and dignitaries alike. With only 517 made, the Phantom V was one of the more exclusive of Rolls Royce’s line-ups.
The British singer, John Lennon, eventually got hold of one and decided to make extensive changes to it. This included installing a new backseat that could change into a double bed, a ‘floating’ vinyl record player, a cassette tape deck and speakers on the front wheels of the car.
However, the most defining change was the exterior paint job – a psychedelic design of various colors that made it look like a “gypsy wagon – but more sixties.” To help cover an issue with the IRS, Lennon eventually donated the car to the Smithsonian Institute in 1977.
However, just 8 years later, the museum would put the car up for auction. Its rarity, past ownership, as well as its uniqueness, fetched it a high price of $2.4 million ($5.75 million in today’s money), a new record for the time.
Price: $2 million
Clark Gable, known in his time as the ‘King of Hollywood,’ is easily among the most recognizable actors of the 30s and 40s. In a career that lasted 37 years, he made his starring appearance in such movies as Gone with the Wind, It Happened One Night, Saratoga, Boom Town, and the Misfits.
He actor also had a deep interest in fast cars and owned many expensive cars over the years. Among them was the 300Sl Gullwing, a car that at the time that was just as iconic as the actor himself. In 2015, the ‘Sportscar of the century’ was sold at an auction in California for a price of $2 million – not a bad deal for one of the all-time best cars driven by one of the all-time best Hollywood actors.
Price: $1.3 million
Auction: RM Sotheby’s
Not many today may know of Phil Berg, but back in the 30s, he was a top-shot talent agent who represented such stars as Clark Cable, Judy Garland, and Joan Crawford. He owned a Duesenberg Model J, at the time among the most powerful and luxurious cars in the world.
It became involved in a race bet with Marx brother’s supercharged Mercedes and history followed. In a race held over the Mojave Desert, which was attended by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, the American car dusted its German counterpart and won Phil a bet worth $25,000 ($1.3 million today). Coincidently, at an auction held in 2012, it was sold off at a similar price.
If you had the money, which celebrity car would you want to buy? Do tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this article with others if you found it a worthwhile read.