2020 may have been a year of serious financial decline, but rich people remained rich, and they all kept buying big fancy cars at auction. Out of the 10 most expensive cars that hit the auction block last year, Bugatti and Alfa Romeo dominated the list.
If you want to explore the full list, I’ll send you over to Hagerty, where Andrew Newton compiled all those beautiful cars alongside descriptions about what makes them so great and how the auction went.
I’m more fascinated by the fact that the more expensive half of the list is absolutely dominated by prewar Bugattis. Seriously. All of the top five most expensive cars were Bugattis from before 1939. Hagerty tells us that the last time so many prewar cars were in the top 10 most expensive sold for the year was 2011.
Let’s run you through what we’ve got.
- 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports: $12,666,600
- 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante: $10,433,965
- 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport: $7,100,000
- 1928 Bugatti Type 35C: $5,224,483
- 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport by Figoni: $5,051,054
We’re talking about some seriously gorgeous machines here, cars that have made history. The 1928 Type 35C, for example, was entered in the Targa Florio and is still wearing the coat of paint that it came out of the shop with. The madly expensive 1934 Type 59 was literally driven by a king—and no, I’m not talking about Rene Dreyfus, the legendary Grand Prix driver that took it to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. I’m talking about King Leopold III of Belgium, who was one of the car’s five owners after the Bugatti retired from competition. With their pedigree, it’s no wonder these cars were worth such a considerable sum.
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The only other marque to come close to rivaling Bugatti’s auction dominance was Alfa Romeo, which sold three cars from the B.A.T. (Berlinetta Aerodynamica Tecnica) series. They all sold as a set at R.M. Sotheby’s “A Contemporary Art Evening” auction because these cars are seriously gorgeous. They were only announced two weeks before the auction took place and went up against pieces of art from legendary artists like Andy Warhol—and still took home $4,946,666 a piece.
Oh, to be disgustingly rich and able to buy disgustingly expensive cars.