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Five cars for $5 million or more

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1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special RoadsterGooding and Company

The real Olympics are ending, but the Olympics/The World Series/The Superbowl/Insert your own hyperbole here of the classic car world gets under way next weekend in and around Monterey, Calif. At the five classic car auctions taking place there (Gooding & Company, RM Auctions, Russo and Steele, Bonhams and Mecum Auctions), $5 million cars will be as common as doping scandals (actually, even more common). Here are five ultra-rare and elite collectible cars that are expected to fetch $5 million or more:

  1. 1964 Ford GT40 prototype: Quite possibly one of the most valuable Fords on the planet, the GT40 prototype was the ancestor of a line of Ford race cars that consistently bested Ferrari on the international motorsports stage and inspired the Ford GT street supercar of 2005. It will be offered by Gooding & Company with a pre-sale estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000
  2.  1953 Jaguar C-Type: Almost a decade before its most iconic product, the XKE, debuted, Jaguar was winning important races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The C-Type was Jaguar’s first purpose-built race car, and those lucky enough to buy one (the Jaguar factory team got first dibs on the cars and the best drivers) were instantly competitive at the highest levels of motor racing. This gorgeous British Racing Green Jag is expected to sell for between $4,000,000 and $5,500,000 at Gooding & Company
  3. 1972 Porsche 917/10 Spyder: One of the most famous race cars of all time, this particular Porsche dominated the Can Am series and was piloted by two giants of the era, George Follmer and Mark Donohue. The turbocharged 12-cylinder engine made no less than 1150 hp, and virtually nothing could touch it on the track. Mecum will offer this one for sale, and when the hammer falls, it’s likely to be well north of $5 million.
  4.  1968 Ford GT40: This is the year of the GT40 at the Monterey auctions: The two arch-rival auction companies, Southern California-based Gooding and RM Auctions of Blenheim, Ontario, each have one for sale. RM’s offering had the unique history of being used as the camera car for the Steve McQueen film “Le Mans,” since it was one of the few cars that could go fast enough to keep up with the race cars in the film. RM didn’t supply a pre-sale estimate, simply the notation in the catalog, “available on request,” which is auction company speak for, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”
  5. 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster: Mercedes-Benz is a company with an illustrious history. To stand out among that crowd, a car must be truly special, and “Special” is clearly no idle modifier in the name of this car. Originally the property of a wealthy Prussian baroness, the car very well may break the world record of $16.4 million for the most expensive car sold at auction. Gooding & Company is offering it.

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