Our Top Five... World Record classic car sales of 2010, so far

Research by the National Automobile Dealers Association (or NADA) has found that classic cars are likely to either hold or gain value as investments.

According to NADA, collector cars worth over $125,000 appreciated at an incredible average of 47% over four years.

The viability of classic cars as investments goes someway to explaining the continuing strength and busyness of the cars markets in these times of economic uncertainty.

Here, we've compiled five of our favourites from the numerous World Record-selling automobiles which have passed over the auction block since January 1 2010.

Better still, the #1 car on our list brought its last owner a growth in value of 17.32% per annum over the last 39 years...

#5 1971 BMW M1 ($264,000)

Cars by the German manufacturer BMW never fail to turn heads, and the M1 (1978-81) was no exception. That said, it was no ordinary BMW...

When BMW and Lamborghini collide... The 1979 M1 (pictured right)

In the late '70s, the German carmakers entered into an agreement with Lamborghini to build a production car. The result was the only mid-engined BMW to be mass produced.

It employed a twin-cam M88/1 3.5 L 6-cylinder petrol engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection - versions of which would be used in BMWs until 1986.

The street version boasting six separate throttle butterflies, four valves per cylinder which produced 273hp and gave a top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph). Turbocharged racing versions were capable of producing around 850 hp (634 kW).

A 1979 concours condition model helped spearhead Bonhams first ever collectors cars sale in Dubai, earlier this year. Consigned to the sale from BMW, the automobile sold for $264,000 (over its estimate of $165,000-215,000)

#4 1970 Monteverdi 450SS Hai Berlinetta ($552,583)

In the early-1970s, the Monteverdi was the supercar many little boys and men dreamt of - yet it wasn't built in Italy, the UK or Germany, but instead Switzerland. The Monteverdi's rise to fame was swift upon its first appearance in 1967.

Assembled in Binningen, a suburb of Basel, most of its heyday models consisted of two seat and four seat variations, powered by a reliable yet mighty Chrysler 7.2 engine. The automobile's body was designed by an Englishman, Trevor Fiore, and made by Fissore in Italy before assembly in Binningen.

The World Record Monteverdi 450SS Hai Berlinetta

Its seven litre (6974ccm) "Hemi" Chrysler V8 (named after its hemispherical combustion chambers) delivered 450hp (SAE) and heady speeds in excess of 280kph. Also unique was the driver's entry into the vehicle: via the cockpit after unclasping a stout box-like cover.

Rare and extremely alluring, this example - a former star at the Geneva Motorshow, ex-Pebble Beach concours d'élégance - sold for a World Record €398,000 at Bonhams' third annual Rétromobile auction in Paris, last January.

#3 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina ($3,887,520)

Not only is this elegant automobile one of only six examples bodied by Pininfarina, this model, chassis number 3309SA was the last-ever to be built.

Among enthusiasts, the 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina is regarded as more powerful and luxurious than the SWB California Spyder.

Recently, the car underwent an extensive and pricey restoration, and won an award at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Without a double, it sale in April of this year was one of the major collectibles events of the year.

The 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina
The 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina

It set a new World Record for a Superamerica in RM's Monaco auction at €2,800,000 ($3,799,600), well above its €2,450,000 high estimate.

#2 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza ($6,710,000)

Rather than include two Ferraris in our list, here's another star car from Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August of this year - nothing less than the most expensive Alfa Romeo ever sold at auction.

The 1933 Monza was a modified addition to Alfa Romeo's landmark 8C series, introduced in 1931 with an engine by Vittorio Jano (best known for his significant contribution to Ferrari, especially the Lancia and the Dino).

The 8C engine would be used until 1939. When this 1933 model was built, Scuderia Ferrari had become the "semi-official" racing department of Alfa Romeo - Alfa could no longer enter race cars built by its own factories due to its poor economic situation.

The most expensive Alfa Romeo in the world, the 8C 2300 Monza 

In this 1933 racing model, the existing supercharged duel overhead cam straight-8 was enlarged to 2.6 litres (hence "8C 2600"). It can accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 7 seconds with a top speed of 135 mph (217 km/h).

#1 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic (undisclosed, up to $30m)

On May 5 of this year, auction house Gooding & Company announced that it had sold the "unparalleled" 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic for an undisclosed value up to $30m.

We can, however, be certain the car was previously sold for $59,000 back in 1971. Today, the Type 57S/SC remains one of the best-known automobiles by one of history's finest carmakers. The "S" stood for "surbaissé" - or "lowered" - while the "SC" stood for "Supercharged".

Along with its incredible engineering - including a lower axle, which was no mean feat - the Type 57S/SC's exceptional rarity is a large factor behind its value, with only four examples ever built. The model sold at Gooding & Co was the first ever to leave the factory.

It's true value remains a secret: the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic

Chassis #57374 also boasted remarkable provenance, being formerly part of the world-renowned Williamson Bugatti Collection, and having won 'Best in Show' at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Whether the car again remains in the same collection for four decades - as it had prior to the May auction - the  1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is today the most expensive car in the world.


Join our readers in 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today 

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock