A historic Jaguar that won the famed Le Mans race in the 1950s exceeded the US$20 million (NZ$27m) mark at auction, setting a record for the most ever paid for a British car, according to auctioneers.
The first Shelby Cobra from 1962 also was one of the most eye-catching cars to sell at auction, coming in at US$13.7 million (NZ$18.7m), said the auction house, RM Sotheby’s. That made the most expensive American car ever to be sold at auction.
When the gavel came down, a 1955 Jaguar D-Type that won the 1956 Le Mans race in France sold for $21.78 million (NZ$29.9m). While it was the most ever paid for a British car at auction, it still was under RM Sotheby’s estimates that it could go for as much as US$25m. RM Sotheby’s says it was only the fourth British car to sell for more than US$10m at auction.
The other car commanding the most attention was the first Cobra racer ever produced by the late Carroll Shelby, the CSX 2000. The Cobra went on to show that Americans could compete with Europeans when it came to creating the fastest cars.
But when the car was created, Shelby was operating his new company on such a shoestring that he famously had the car repainted in different colours for every car magazine shoot so that it would look he had more of them than he actually did.
RM Sotheby’s says the results show that auction prices will be strong this year.
Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM Sotheby’s West Coast division, said in a statement: “These outstanding prices achieved at our flagship sale are a reassuring sign that the market remains healthy and vibrant.”
One of the top auction experts, McKeel Hagerty, says the auction market is healthy, but could have trouble setting records this year at the high end. Despite an overall strong economy, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and the US elections are causing a little nervousness among those who can afford to the most expensive cars. And auction houses have been having trouble encouraging some owners to make this the year that they put some of their best cars up for sale.
As a result, there aren’t enough top-quality cars ready to be snapped up by eager buyers, he says