This 86-Year-Old Bugatti Was the Most Expensive Car Sold in 2020
This prewar grand prix race car fetched over $12.5 million.
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.
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: