$12.4m Ferrari leads a record-breaking year for classic cars

This has been a record-breaking year for classic cars, proving that the collectors' market has remained resilient throughout the recession.

Bonhams enjoyed a record sales total of £3.7m at its Important Collectors' Motor Cars & Fine Automobilia at Olympia, earlier this month (December 7).

Ninety-five percent of its lots sold by value, with a vintage 1906 Rolls-Royce Light 20hp Tourer proving itself as the star car, bringing an incredible £441,500.

The 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa ($12.4m)

Across the pond, we've reported on no less than four world records racked-up by Canada's RM Auctions, throughout 2009.

Dominating these, of course, was the breathtaking sale of the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, for a staggering $12.4m last May.

With the sale, RM managed to smash its own world record for the highest price achieved at auction.

Another world record at RM in 2009 was the sale of a historic 1952 Jaguar C-Type. Selling for $2,530,000, it established a new record for a C-Type.

The 1952 Jaguar C-Type ($2.5m)

Next-up was the 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Team Car 'VMF 64'. Boasting Le Mans and Mille Miglia provenance - and the Chairman of Aston Martin as a past owner - it set a new auction world record for an Aston Martin DB2, achieving $910,745 in London, last October.

Elsewhere, an award-winning 1932 Ford Model 18 Deluxe Three-Window Coupe doubled its original estimate, selling for a record price for a Ford Model 18 of $165,000 at RM's Amelia Island sale.

Finally, don't forget the impact that celebrity provenance can have on a car, particularly when the automobile in question has been overhauled by the design and aviation mastermind Howard Hughes, when his creative and competitive genius was at its peak.

Easily the most significant Hughes automobile - he made it more dynamic, reduced the original weight by thousands of pounds and modified it to easily cruise at over 100 mph - it brought a remarkable $1m in Tulsa.

The 599 GTB Fiorano, painted by Lu Hao
The Fiorano has been designed by Chinese artist Lu Hao ($1.77m)

Even this was beaten by a one-of-a-kind Ferrari Fiorano 599 GTB. Painted in Ge Liln porcelain-inspired Oriental swirls by the leading Chinese artist Lu Hao, it sold for $1.77m at an auction in Beijing.

"The market for 'quality' motor cars - exceptional, rare examples with important provenance and documentation - remains stable, with outstanding cars continuing to attract great prices at auction," he told the UK's Independent newspaper.

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