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Top 10 Most Expensive American Cars Ever Sold at Auction

Nothing stirs the blood more than the sight, sound, and smell and of a classic car. In the vast sea of automobiles from days gone by, American classics hold a special place in our gearhead hearts.
Top 10 most expensive american cars sold at auction as of May 2016 46 photos
1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight Racing Car1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight Racing Car1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight Racing Car1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight Racing Car1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight Racing Car1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Whittell Coupe1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Whittell Coupe1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Whittell Coupe1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Whittell Coupe1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe1964 Ford GT40 Prototype1964 Ford GT40 Prototype1964 Ford GT40 Prototype1964 Ford GT40 Prototype1964 Ford GT40 Prototype1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake1966 Batmobile1966 Batmobile1966 Batmobile1966 Batmobile1966 Batmobile1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe by Walker-LaGrande1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe by Walker-LaGrande1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe by Walker-LaGrande1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe by Walker-LaGrande1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe by Walker-LaGrandeGM Futurliner #11 (March of Tools)GM Futurliner #11 (March of Tools)GM Futurliner #11 (March of Tools)GM Futurliner #11 (March of Tools)1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster Mormon Meteor1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster Mormon Meteor1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster Mormon Meteor1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster Mormon Meteor1967 Chevrolet Corvette L881967 Chevrolet Corvette L881967 Chevrolet Corvette L881967 Chevrolet Corvette L881967 Chevrolet Corvette L88
The Hagerty Insurance Agency, which is specialized in classic car insurance, tells that the awe-inspiring Chevrolet Corvette is the most popular collectible in the U. S. of A. The Mustang and Camaro have to settle for second and third place, respectively.

With the advent of the 2017 Ford GT, which is a classic in the making, the American automotive industry has turned 360 degrees. You see, pricing a car from $450,000 or thereabout is something new for the Ford Motor Company. Considering that 6,506 people want to buy the damn thing, I have this feeling in my gut that General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will emulate the formula sooner or later.

Be that as it may, the mind-boggling price of the 2017 Ford GT pales in comparison to the most expensive American cars ever sold at auction. Without further ado, let’s find out how much are these cars worth.

1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight Racing Car ($11 million)


1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight Racing Car
Sold by RM Sotheby’s for a staggering $11,000,000 in 2012, this racecar has a lot going for it. Other than the retro Gulf livery and the 440 horsepower 289 cu.in. (4.7-liter) V8 mounted bang in the middle, this magnificent Ford GT40 won on its first public outing.

At Spa 1967, this baby was known as the Mirage M.10003. After its first win, chassis P/1074 was converted to a GT40 in time for Daytona 1968. Unfortunately, it did not finish the race. But then came the Monza 1,000 Kilometers on April 25, 1968, a grueling race where this baby obliterated every other car on the grid.

The camera car for the 1971 movie Le Mans also holds the title of the first car to win a race under the powder blue and marigold Gulf livery. When all is said and done, this one of three lightweight Ford GT40s is a bona fide collectible, make no mistake about that.

1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Whittell Coupe ($10.34 million)


1931 Duesenberg Model J Long\-Wheelbase Whittell Coupe
Every year, car collectors flock to Pebble Beach because this is the place where the Concours d’Elegance takes place. The American equivalent of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este is where Gooding & Company sold a cool Duesy for $10,340,000.

Being the most expensive Duesy ever sold at auction renders the Model J Long-Wheelbase Whittell Coupe the pinnacle of the long-gone luxury brand. After E. L. Cord bought the company in 1928, the Model J became a status symbol in the U.S. and Europe alike.

Dubbed “the most elegant American automobile” ever made, the Model J Long-Wheelbase Whittell Coupe sports a one-off coachwork and a thumping great inline-8 that produces 265 horsepower. Al Capone also owned a Model J, although the famous gangster didn’t drive it as often as his bulletproof Caddy.

1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe ($7.68 million)


1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe
Before Carroll Shelby was assigned to the Ford GT40 project, the iconic designer and racing driver wanted to beat Enzo Ferrari at Le Mans with a car of his own. Because the Shelby Cobra is an open-cockpit design, it suffered greatly on the Mulsanne Straight.

Peter Brock was asked to create a more aerodynamic body shell as a result of this top speed-related drawback. Thus, the Shelby Daytona Coupe was born. Whereas the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO could hold speeds of 186 miles per hour (300 km/h) on the 3-mile (4.8 kilometers) long Mulsanne Straight, the streamlined Shelby Daytona Cobra upped the ante to 198 miles per hour (318 km/h).

Chassis CSX2601 here is the fourth of six cars ever built and it was sold for $7,685,000 by Mecum Auctions in 2009. It won three of eight racing events it entered, winning the World Manufacturers Championship in the GT III Class for Shelby American in 1965.

1964 Ford GT40 Prototype ($7 million)


1964 Ford GT40 Prototype
Two years ago, one of the first Ford GT40s ever built crossed the block for $7,000,000. Mecum Auctions is the outfit that dropped the hammer and this is the machine in question: chassis GT/104.

Even though chassis GT/104 had to retire from the 1964 edition of Le Mans, this loud and proud bruiser crossed the finish line third in the 1965 Daytona Continental 2,000 Kilometers. Bob Bondurant, one of the drivers of the said Ford GT40 racecar, once owned the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe we talked about a little while ago.

The fourth GT40 produced and the first to boast a light chassis is powered by a Cobra-specification 289 cubic inch V8. The grunt and reliability of the small-block engine and the slippery body shell were crucial in achieving that third place finish. One year after the 1965 Daytona, a 7-liter V8-powered Ford GT40 works racer would win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, racking up 3,009 miles (4,843 kilometers) at an average speed of 130.98 mph (210.79 km/h).

1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake ($5.5 million)


1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the most Cobra to rule them all. As a brief reminder, the Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake is a rarefied breed that happens to be obscenely powerful. Bill Cosby had one.

On side two of his seventh album, Bill tells us the story of his 427 Super Snake. The title of the stand-up comedy album, 200 M.P.H., refers to the top speed of the car. Due to the unnerving nature of the 427 Super Snake, Bill returned the car to Shelby American after only driving it once. The next owner, Tony Maxey, drove the car off of a cliff, then succumbed from his injuries a few days later.

Carroll Shelby was a little braver than Bill and Tony, though. Therein lies the importance of chassis CSX 3015. More to the point, Carroll used to drive this untamable beast on a daily basis. Due to its historical significance, this particular example of the 427 Super Snake was sold by Barrett-Jackson for $5,500,000 in 2007.

1966 Batmobile ($4.62 million)


1966 Batmobile
In the wonderful world of DC Comics, Batman is at the top of the food chain. Sorry, Superman, wearing underwear over pants isn’t the most superhero thing to do. Although Clark Kent can fly and stuff, Bruce Wayne has money and lots of toys at its disposal.

One of those toys is, of course, the Batmobile. The one you’re looking at is the original from the 1966 Batman television series. Sold in 2013 for $4,620,000 by Barrett-Jackson, the dark knight’s means of transportation started life as the Lincoln Futura concept.

Word has it the concept car was bought from Ford for $1 by auto customizer George Barris. As fate would have it, Barris was approached by William Dozier, the producer of the TV series, to build a theme car. 15 days and $15,000 later, the Lincoln Futura morphed into the Batmobile. Rick Champagne, the head honcho of a logistics company, is the current owner of the car. As incredible as this may sound, he keeps the Batmobile in his living room.

1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe by Walker-LaGrande ($4.51 million)


1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe by Walker\-LaGrande
Sold for $4,510,000 in 2013 by RM Sotheby’s, this automobile is regarded as the most beautiful convertible coupe body shell bolted on a Duesenberg chassis. Of the three units produced, chassis 2563/J-530 is the only one motivated by a supercharged engine.

The blower adds 60 horsepower to the standard output of the 420 cubic inch (6.9-liter) powerplant, bringing the total to 320 HP. Throughout the years, this Duesy was owned by gentlemen such as Raymond Lutgert, Axel Wars, and General William Lyon. The latter served as the major general in the United States Air Force.

Two years after the Indiana-based company produced the Model SJ Convertible Coupe by Walker-LaGrande, Duesenberg had to close up shop. All good stories must come to an end, don’t they?

1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster Mormon Meteor ($4.45 million)


1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster Mormon Meteor
Don’t know about you, but this Duesy oozes Dieselpunk charm from every pore. Had he been more of an extrovert, the Great Gatsby would’ve driven this record-breaking Duesenberg Mormon Meteor instead of a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. Speaking of which, the 2013 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio is not entirely accurate.

In the movie, the title character of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus drives a 1929 Duesenberg Model J. Considering that Myrtle Wilson was hit and killed in 1922, a Model J is out of the question. That said, what makes the Mormon Meteor so special other than the bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful styling and the ridiculous name?

The car sold by Gooding & Company for $4,455,000 in 2004 set two records in the 1930s. Before it was converted to road-going specification in 1938, this Duesy was motivated by an aircraft engine. The blunderbuss under the hood helped the Mormon Meteor set a one-hour speed record (153.97 mph) and a 24-hour speed record (135.57 mph) at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Yup, if The Fast and The Furious were set in the '30s, Dominic Toretto would have driven this Duesy instead of his father’s 1970 Dodge Charger R/T.

GM Futurliner - March of Tools ($4.32 million)


GM Futurliner #11 \(March of Tools\)
Dear reader, please put your hands together for the most expensive bus there’s ever been. This is GM Futurliner number 11 of 12, a 30,000-pound (13,608 kilograms) behemoth that stands 11 feet 6 inches tall (3.5 meters). At 20 feet 8 inches (10 meters) long and 7 feet 10 inches (2.4 meters) wide, the Futurliner is genuinely gigantic.

The eleventh example of the breed is dubbed March of Tools and it was sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2015 for $4,320,000. Proceeds from the sale went to the peeps at Armed Forces Foundation, a charity whose sole mission is to assist military members and their families.

Care to guess what’s under the hood of this giant bus? Don’t hold your breath for a thumping great supercharged V8. In fact, the GM Futurliner is animated by a military-spec GMC straight-six matched to a 4-speed automatic. The Art Deco styling and high-mounted driving position are the centerpieces of this blast from the past.

1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 ($3.85 million)


1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88
The last car on the list is a Corvette, but not just any Corvette. The L88 was produced in 20 examples for the 1967 model year, making it one of the hottest proposals for car collectors. And yes, the L88 designation comes from the engine, a big-block V8 with tons of power.

More to the point, the L88 427 cubic inch (7-liter) V8 develops 560 horsepower. All that get-up-and-go is sent to the rear axle via a 4-speed transmission. With great power comes great responsibility, the reason why stopping prowess comes courtesy of heavy-duty brakes.

The biggest downside of the only red-on-red 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 ever produced is that it doesn’t have a radio. Then again, who needs a frigging radio when you have a thundering big-block V8 as the soundtrack to your journey into the sunset?

Editor’s note: The coming August, the 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 may step down to eleventh place if RM Sotheby’s will sell a breathtaking Ford GT40 (chassis P/1061) for the maximum estimate of $4,250,000.

 
 
 
 
 

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