This 86-Year-Old Bugatti Was the Most Expensive Car Sold in 2020

This prewar grand prix race car fetched over $12.5 million.

Copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Photo by Mathieu Heurtault.

In a year that’s seen Santa Monica-based auto auction house Gooding & Company sell more than $125 million worth of coveted retro rides, an 86-year-old Bugatti is officially the most expensive sold in 2020. 

A 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports fetched $12,681,550 at Gooding & Co.’s September  “Passion of  Lifetime” event in the UK, just under $1 million shy of its $13.5 million pre-sale estimate. Upon debut in late 1922, the French-built prewar grand prix car achieved impressive results in European Grand Prix races, including a third-place podium at Monaco and a win at Spa in Belgium. 

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After its track days, this particular car was painted black and sold to King Leopold III of Belgium before changing hands through four collectors who’ve maintained a “time-warp” condition. Power comes from a a supercharged 3.3-liter straight-eight that’s fed fuel by twin carburetors and mated to a four-speed manual. Other eye-catching features include piano-wire wheels and a gloriously vintage single-seat roadster layout. 

Prewar Bugattis proved a cash cow for Gooding & Co., with two other models racking up the other eight-figure yields of the year. A Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and two Ferraris brought big bucks as well—see all the top 10 most expensive lots auctioned by Gooding & Co. in 2020 below:  

1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports – $12,681,550

Copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Photo by Mathieu Heurtault.

1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante – $10,447,150

1928 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix – $5,233,550

1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Speciale – $4,265,310

Copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company.
Photo by Mathieu Heurtault.

1955 Aston Martin DB3S – $3,998,005

1995 Ferrari F50 – $3,222,500

1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose – $3,080,000

Image copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Photo by Mike Maez.

1932 Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual Cowl Phaeton – $2,425,000

1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Torpédo Phaeton – $2,205,000

1948 Tucker 48 – $2,040,000 

 

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