E3 Spark Plugs Says “Betcha Didn’t Get One of THESE for Christmas!???

1954 Mercedes W 196 - $24 million

We should all be so lucky as to drive a gorgeous classic car around town now and then. Alas – no such luck for many of us. But one can dream. And plan. And make that move. If one of your New Years’ wishes is to finally fix up that old jalopy in your granddad’s garage or to buy that dream ride you’ve been eying for decades, E3 Spark Plugs offers a little visual inspiration. Behold the world’s three most expensive classic cars:

  • 1954 Mercedes W 196 – $24 million: Considered the “holy grail of racing cars,” the Mercedes-Benz W196 debuted at the 1954 French Grand Prix at Reims. Throughout the 1954 and 1955 Formula One seasons, the car racked up nine wins in 12 races, helmed by racing legends Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. Mechanically, it’s known for its revolutionary fuel injection and desmodromic valve system developed by Mercedes engineers working on the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter engine during World War II. The valve system utilized positive control without resorting to springs.
  • 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – $16.6 million: Built specifically for racing, the Ferrari 250 GTO had a bit of a rough start. It initially was developed by chief engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, who installed the 3.0 L V12 engine of a 250 Testa Rossa into the chassis of a 250 GT SWB, and designer Sergio Scaglietti, who created the body. But in a fiery dispute with founder and former racer Enzo Ferrari, Bizzarrini was fired, along with nearly all Ferrari engineers on staff at the time. Further development then went to Scaglietti and engineer Mauro Forghieri. A grand total of 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs would be produced over the next few years, and its engine established Ferrari as the racing champion of the world. In the United States, they commanded an $18,000 purchase price (big money in those days) and buyers had to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari himself, as well as his North American dealer Luigi Chinetti.
  • 1931 Type 41 Bugatti Royale – $8.7 million: Boasting 21 feet in overall length and a 170-inch wheel base, and built with the finest woods, metals and leathers of the day, the Bugatti eschewed automakers’ focus on performance in favor of a focus solely on luxury. In fact, founder Ettore Bugatti, borne of a long line of artists, sculptors and designers, initially planned to build just 25 Royales and sell them to European royalty. But these were the days of the Great Depression, and not even the elite were making such extravagant purchases. As a result, only six were made and just three sold. Today, the Bugatti Royale remains one of the world’s largest and rarest.

Rounding out the top 10 list of the world’s priciest rides are the 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM priced at $6.5 million; the 1932 Alfa Romeo Tipo B at $5.6 million; the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe at $4.4 million; the 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 at $4.07 million; the 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster at $3.63 million; the 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Spider Corsa at $2.53 million; and the 1956 Ferrari 860 Monza at $2.5 million.

Do you drive a prized classic car? E3 Spark Plugs wants to see it. Post your pics on our Facebook fan page.