Jaguar XKSS

The 13 most expensive cars to buy at Monterey Car Week

The 13 most expensive cars to buy at Monterey Car Week

While the rest of us fret about the price of a litre (or a kW), the high-rollers of the collector-car world are packing their Louis Vuitton trunks and heading for the Monterey Peninsula in California and the annual auction fest. It’s the ultimate automotive shopping trip. So which rare four-wheeled gem would you go for? 

To help you decide we’ve had a look to see what’s on offer this August. Across the three of the largest sales – Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s and Gooding & Co – there are hundreds of cars up for grabs. To keep it manageable, we will look only at cars with a five in their guide price. That’s as in five million or more. Each. Dollars, but then there’s not much between a dollar and a pound these days. Here they all are then, starting with the “cheapest” first…










Photography by Corey Escobar courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Photography by Corey Escobar courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

13. 1955 Jaguar D-type

$4.5-5.5m, RM Sotheby’s

Delivered new to its first owner in the US, this BRG over black D-type comes with a touch of Hollywood about it. Actor owners include Tim Considine in the early ‘60s (My Three Sons, and Perry Mason), and then in 1999 it was bought and apparently regularly used by Nicolas Cage, the Oscar winner known for movies including Gone in 60 Seconds. It’s said Cage parked the D-type in the billiard room of his Bel Air home. 

In between all the glamour, the D had a 20-year spell in the UK when it was raced by British racing legends Richard Attwood and David Piper, who with Gary Pearson won the 1997 Nürburgring Historic.

One of the 54 production models of the three-times Le Mans winner, it began life as a short-nose 3.4-litre in cream but over the years saw plenty of updates, including body changes and a fresh 3.8 XK motor. It is being offered with its original front and rear body sections. 

12. 1960 Porsche RS60

$5.5-6.5m, Gooding & Co

Looking just as it did in the early 1960s with its distinctive blue body accent, this all-original RS60 is one of 17 cars Porsche made as the ultimate evolution of the 718-series Spyder. In effect it was a roomier and better handling long-wheelbase version of the works RSKs. Most important, it kept the lightweight all-alloy body and four-cam 1,587cc air-cooled engine, a combo that proved effective enough for works RS60s to win in the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Targa Florio. 

Privateer RS60s like the car here were equally effective. This one has a distinguished record in early 1960s racing in the US at circuits like Elkhart Lake, Meadowdale and Milwaukee. Over four race seasons, it competed in 17 races, finished in the top three places all but once, and took home 12 class wins. To see it today unmodified and original right down to the same engine it left the factory with 63 years ago is a delight. 










Photography by Tim Scott courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Photography by Tim Scott courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

11. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4

$5-7m, RM Sotheby’s

Cool car, coolest owner: this was Steve McQueen’s Ferrari. Story is the King of Cool was in another Ferrari – a rare 275 GTS/4 NART Spider – stationary at a red light in Malibu when someone crashed into the back of him. Rather than wait for repairs, McQueen went out and bought another 275 – the GTB/4 berlinetta you see here. There are pictures of the actor with this car commuting to set for Bullitt

A subsequent owner crashed the car and during repairs had the body converted to become a NART Spider. It’s now back to correct berlinetta form thanks to its next owner, the ex-Porsche factory driver and 1983 Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan. The restoration to originality was completed by Ferrari Classiche – which has subsequently certified the car – and stayed true to McQueen’s Chianti Red livery.










Image courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Image courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

10. 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer

$5.5-7m, RM Sotheby’s 

Impeccable style, 120mph performance and hand-crafted luxury all came together in the T57SC to make it the pinnacle of prewar motoring. The first owner of this car, Maurice Fox-Pitt Lubbock, loved the car to bits but had no option to sell it – he’d just been appointed vice-chairman of rival Rolls-Royce…

The Bugatti chassis was originally supplied to the British agent for a coachbuilt Corsica four-seat open tourer body to be fitted, making this one of just two such cars. When the Bug later went to the US the body was replaced by two-seat sports coachwork, but since then the original body has been tracked down and refitted, and the car returned to its original spec in a restoration that came with bills for an eye-watering $700,000.










Photography by Robin Adams courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Photography by Robin Adams courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

9. 1956 Porsche 550A Le Mans Werks

$5.5-7.5m, RM Sotheby’s

Here’s a Porsche you may not have seen before. It’s a streamlined version of the 550A designed by Erwin Komenda and built by Porsche as a prototype racer for the 1956 Le Mans, at which it won its class and came fifth overall. The car, featuring Porsche’s first lightweight spaceframe, was a follow-up to the 1953 550RS with improvements that made it not just more aerodynamic but also faster, lighter, stiffer, more responsive and better-stopping. At its debut race, the Targa Florio, the 1.5-litre giant-killer beat much larger-engined rivals from Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes… by 15 minutes.

Four such cars were made in period and this is the sole survivor. So, an unrepeatable opportunity for your own piece of Porsche racing royalty. If you don’t buy it Porsche surely will,m to put in its collection.










Photography by Jacopo Pieretti courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Photography by Jacopo Pieretti courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

8. 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica

$5.75-6.75m, RM Sotheby’s

Don’t be fooled by the elegant coupe looks and luxury trimmings: with the Lampredi-designed 4.9-litre V12 developing 400PS (294kW) in the nose, the Superamerica was credited with a 165mph top speed, extraordinary at the time. There have been a few Superamericas but this is the pick of the bunch, one of just 12 Series III cars. Series III cars came with wider track and that V12, more or less taken straight out of Ferrari’s Le Mans winner, along with updated gearbox and the largest brake drums of any Ferrari. Updated Pinin Farina looks – pick the Series III by its covered lights, bonnet scoop and wing vents – meant it looked the part, too. 

This black 410 Superamerica, the fourth made, emerged from restoration in 2020 and immediately won its class at the 2020 Amelia Island Concours, and since then has been winning more awards, including a maximum 100 points score to take best of show at this year’s Cavallino Modena.










Photography by Alex Penfold courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Photography by Alex Penfold courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

7. 2001 Ferrari 550 Maranello Prodrive

$8-9.5m, RM Sotheby’s 

Tens of thousands of British fans at Le Mans in 2004 had a special reason to cheer on this Ferrari: Colin McRae was behind the wheel. It was the only time the Scottish World Rally Champion raced at Le Mans. As you might expect, he rose to the challenge and with co-drivers Darren Turner and Rickard Rydell brought the 550 Maranello home ninth overall and third in the GTS class. They even got fastest lap. 

This is one hard-working competition Ferrari. With five Le Mans starts, it is said to be the most-raced 12-cylinder Ferrari chassis ever at La Sarthe. Successful, too. In a five-year race career between 2002 and 2006 it entered 34 events, won five races, took 14 podium finishes and scored 10 pole positions. And all the while it was used as the daily driver by the boss of the French racing outfit that commissioned it, Frédéric Dor of Care Racing Development

6. 1933 Bugatti Type 55 roadster

$8-10m, Gooding & Co 

Famously described as a “grand prix car wearing an evening gown”, the T55 was aimed at Bugatti’s most demanding clientele. Just 38 were made and of those 14 were the Jean Bugatti-designed roadster, a car that today ranks among the most attractive, influential and recognisable automotive designs of all time.

This T55 roadster was delivered new to a customer in Algiers where it was the talk of the town – at least until the end of WWII. Someone from the liberating forces thought it a good idea to use its supercharged double-overhead cam straight-eight engine in a speedboat – filling the space in the Bug’s bonnet with (whisper it) a diesel engine. 

It took a later owner, the American fashion designer Ralph Lauren, and the world-class ministrations of Britain’s Crosthwaite & Gardiner to reunite it with its original engine and make it look as you see it here today: totally stunning. No wonder this 110mph supercar of its day was the Bugatti chosen to sit alongside the Veyron at that modern-day supercar’s unveiling at the Geneva show in 2007.

5. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

$9-11m, Gooding & Co

Four owners, 33,000 miles, never raced or rallied…could be the archetypal sports car ad. But this, for many, is the sports GT, the sublime Ferrari 250 SWB (short wheelbase). And that is what it makes it so special: that in 60 years it has had so few owners, all of whom have cherished it, used it, never bent it, always kept it original – and most important never had it restored. It even still lives in northern Italy where it has always lived. This car is about its irreplaceable patina, from the touch-ups on the Grigio Metallizzato paint to the creases in the beige leather.

Any 250 GT SWB is as at home on a motor circuit as it is cruising along the Corniche, but this example, from late in the run of 165 berlinettas made, comes with the updates that made it more user-friendly and refined. Perfect then for the high-speed touring its 240PS (177kW) 3.0-litre V12 made it so good at. 










Photography by Sevian Daupi courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Photography by Sevian Daupi courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

4. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider

$9.5-11.5m, RM Sotheby’s

Ferrari already offered the 250 GT platform with a cabriolet body but Americans wanted something more: a harder-edged convertible you could use all week, drive to the track at weekends, race (and likely as not, win), and then drive home again. Ferrari was happy to oblige. The Cali Spider was born, combining V12 power, the 250 Tour de France berlinetta’s chassis and beautiful new body curves courtesy of Scaglietti.

The result was far more than just a pretty face for rich Americans. Early cars took on Sebring (a class win) and Le Mans (fifth overall in 1959). But things got really hot in 1960 when the Cali Spider appeared with 200mm out of the wheelbase. This SWB version, like the car in the sale, also got a wider track, Koni adjustable dampers and four-wheel disc brakes. While it impressed on track – this car was third in class and 19th overall at the 1962 Targa Florio – it completely bowled over its roll call of famous jet-set owners, and still does. Just 56 were built and this is the second. 










Photography by Zach Brehl courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Photography by Zach Brehl courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

3. 1957 Jaguar XKSS

$12-14m, RM Sotheby’s

The ultimate Jaguar road car? For most fans that would be the XKSS, a thinly disguised, but oh-so-sexy street-legal version of the D-type of which just 16 were made in period to use up redundant racing chassis. The XKSS got doors, a windscreen, and an attempt at a hood, but essentially it remained a D-type – the car that just a year earlier had had its third successive win at Le Mans. It was a crazy idea but it was lapped up by well-heeled enthusiasts across the pond at whom Jaguar had unashamedly aimed it. 

This car, formerly owned in the UK by Anthony Bamford and expertly fettled in the past by Chris Keith-Lucas of CKL, originally went to California where, unlike some of the 16, it was cherished from the start. Today it’s one of the most original and best-preserved XKSSs, truly the Coventry cat’s crème de la crème.










Photography by Patrick Ernzen courtesy of RM Sotheby’s










Photography by Patrick Ernzen courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

2. 1964 Ferrari 250 LM

$18-20m, RM Sotheby’s

Ferrari first put its V12 engine behind the driver in the 250 P in 1963, winning that year’s Le Mans with it. The same year it showed off a GT-class version of the car, called LM (for Le Mans) which got a to-die-for closed body courtesy of Scaglietti and came with an assurance from the factory that it would build the 100 of them needed for homologation. In the event only 32 were ever made but this didn’t hold the 250 LM back, winning Le Mans (as a prototype) in 1965 – and cementing the LM’s place in history as one of the very greatest Ferraris. 

And be assured there’s not much not to like about this one. The 22nd of the 32 built, it chalked up four race wins in 1965, was piloted by drivers including Mike Hailwood, Innes Ireland, and Mike Parkes, competed in the ’68 Le Mans, and is said to be rare in never suffering a serious crash. It comes with all the Ferrari-approved provenance anyone would want. 

A bonus may be its expected price – according to RM Sotheby’s, that’s a “fraction” of what you’d have to pay for the other two cars (the 250 GTO and 250 Testa Rossa) in this triumvirate of Ferrari’s ‘60s sports-racing greats.










Images courtesy of Bonhams

1. 1967 Ferrari 412P

$40m, Bonhams 

And so to what promises to be the daddy of all the cars for auction during Monterey Car Week 2023, the Ferrari 412P. Look at it: competition cars were never more voluptuous, encouraging some to maintain this is the most beautiful competition car of all time. But for such a spectacular car, there’s an equally spectacular price: Bonhams has given it a pre-sale guide of $40m – or around £30m. The auction house says it is the most important sports-racing Ferrari to come to the market in five years. 

Goodwood Road & Racing has already taken a close look at this exquisite Ferrari, but to recap, here is a machine that competed in the World Sportscar Championship during the heyday of Ferrari’s dominance. Run by British Ferrari importer Maranello Concessionaires, its debut was in the Spa 1,000km in 1967 where in the hands of Richard Attwood and Lucien Bianchi it came home third overall, helping secure that year’s championship title for Ferrari. 

Other events included Le Mans in 1967 and other drivers Piers Courage and Jo Siffert. It was later campaigned in Europe and South Africa by David Piper who modified it with an open-cockpit GRP body. Thankfully the original hand-formed aluminium panels were safely stored and after a nine-year restoration are now back where they should be and the car is exactly as it looked when it first raced in 1967. 

Race it, drive it on road (it’s street-legal!), or just sit back and look at it. However the next owner enjoys it, it will surely be forty million bucks worth of sheer Prancing Horse pleasure. 

Get an online quote now
Get an online quote in minutes or call us
Monday to Friday from 09:00 - 19:00
Saturday from 09:00 - 14:00
Sunday from 10:00 - 14:00
or Arrange a call back.

Get an Online Quote Now

Arrange a Call Back