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Investing in one fine ride

By Dian Vujovich

Investors love their rides. While today’s new convertibles have lost their appeal as sales of these sun snazzy topless rides have dropped precipitously, the super-wealthy are spending big at auctions for vintage autos with and without tops.


If you happen to have owned a rare 1954 Mercedes Benz Formula One racer, too bad you let that baby go because it’s worth millions: A Mercedes Benz W196R just sold at auction for $26.45 million. Add $3 million for the buyer’s premium and the lucky buyer of that dandy has the distinctive honor of purchasing the most expensive car ever sold at auction.


Of course, that honor will no doubt change sometime in the future as mega-millionaires grow in numbers but today its price stands as a sign of the times—the very very good times. And, of the willingness for a select few car enthusiasts to blow millions on exotic cars.


According to CNBC, this little baby is a single-seat racer, had a documented history with few changes ever being made to it, hence the hefty price tag.


“It’s highly original,” said Jonathan Klinger of Hagerty, the collectible-car insurance firm. He said that for a buyer “you’re really looking at a club of one. It’s not like another one will come down the road for sale.”


While it’s a who-knows-who as far as the name of the buyer goes, Klinger said there were bidders from four continents indicating that the newly minted million- and billionaires around the globe do love their toys.


Even though the market for new luxury cars has rebounded nicely this year with Mercedes Benz and BMWs selling well, unless you’ve purchased a rare and limited edition of anything new, don’t expect it to grow in value anytime soon. Old, in fabulous condition and rare is where the money is.


In April, for instance, Barett-Jackson held it’s 11th Annual Palm Beach Auction of rare, high-end collectible vehicles that generated over $21 million in gross sales.


When it comes to making money in these exotics, it’s hard to get a handle on the kinds of returns one can expect. Some reports say buyers can see profits exceeding even those of the highest stock market returns. But,  unlike a share of something, there are plenty of ongoing expensive care costs that are a must if an investor wants to see their cherry vehicle turn any profits for them. Like car hotels and marble garage floors to store these babies in.


Nonetheless, if you are a collector of the fancy and or rare vehicles, here’s a look at some of the average current values of a few well-know brands, according to Robert Frank’s CNBC story, “Priciest Car Ever Sold at Auction for $29 Million:


-1961 Jaguar E-Type Coupe: $52,248


-1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe (with fuel injection):  $77,734


-1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Nart Spider: $8,555,500


-1962 Ferrari 250 GTO: $32,227,500


-1957 Ferrari 250 TR: $13,218,000


-1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertibles: $123,297


-1966 Ford Mustang GT Convertibles: $51,670


Oh, and that old Edsel Corsair Hardtop Coupe you’ve still got in storage that  you figured one day would be worth a fortune? Well, it’s only worth $10,911. Sorry.

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