July's $16.39m sale of the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype at Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach auction was the highlight of a positive 2011 for classic car collectors.
It was the year's biggest sale and the second biggest of all time, behind last year's gargantuan $30m-estimated auction of a Bugatti Type 57sc Atlantic.
The Prototype auction was also a world record for a Ferrari.
The vehicle, which retains its original V12 engine, was the model for all future Testa Rossas, making it highly desirable among classic sports car collectors.
It made its racing debut at the Nürburgring 1000km in 1957.
"Being in the presence of the 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa Prototype is a visceral and breathtaking experience unlike anything I've ever known," commented David Gooding, president and founder of Gooding.
The previous world record for a Ferrari, $12.4m, was set by another 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa at RM Auctions in 2009.
The Prototype was not alone in performing well at auction this year.
The Historic Auto Group Index's HAGI Top 50, which tracks the value of leading classic car marques, rose by 13.94% in the 12 months to October 2011.
The low correlation between the stagnating stock market and the surging classic cars sector offers room for optimism.
Despite predictions of a continued economic downturn in 2012, we strongly expect the classic car market to continue to thrive.
As Chris Routledge, managing director of classic cars auctioneer COYS, comments: "The classic car market is one that is still buoyant and many people are looking at cars as an investment that is also fun."
Here's to a buoyant and fun 2012.