6: 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante

The badge on an extremely rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante is seen at Phoenix Green garage in Hartley Wintney, in Hampshire, England.
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
The badge on an extremely rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante is seen at Phoenix Green garage in Hartley Wintney, in Hampshire, England.
Car: 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante
Number produced: 11
Price at auction: $7.9 million
Bugatti's incredible automobiles saw a lot of success in racing, but it made some amazing road-going cars as well. One of the most sought-after examples is the Type 57SC Atalante, a highly unusual car with a swooping roof and fenders and riveted body panels. Fewer than a dozen were made, and no two were built exactly alike.
The SC was the ultimate iteration of the Type 57 line. It had a supercharged 3.3-liter straight-eight cylinder engine putting out 170horsepower. Also, the SC had an upgraded chassis compared to other Type 57s for better handling and balance. Some have even described it as the world's first supercar [source: Supercars.net].
At the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2008, one example of the 57SC went for close to $8 million at auction.

5: 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster

A Mercedes-Benz logo casts a shadow
AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili
A Mercedes-Benz logo casts a shadow
Car: 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Number produced: 26
Price at auction: $8.2 million
Karl Benz invented the gasoline-powered automobile, and since then, Mercedes-Benz has always been known as a company at the pinnacle of engineering. This has been true throughout its long history, and it has led the company to produce some truly stunning cars.
The 540K Special Roadster was no exception. The 17-foot-long (5.2-meter), two-seat convertible features classic pre-war styling including swooping fenders, big headlights and a tire mounted on the trunk. It was massive and it was exclusive -- just 26 Special Roadsters were built, intended only for Europe's political and financial elite. The 540K featured a 5.4-liter straight-eight cylinder engine with 180 horsepower, thanks to its Roots-type supercharger -- hence the K, which stands for "Kompressor" [source: RM Auctions].
This car was owned by an Englishman who bought it in 1937, then managed to squirrel it away during the war. Driving such an ostentatious German car probably wouldn't have gone over too well with the neighbors, right? The car went through several owners, the last one being Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, until it was sold at auction for $8.2 million.

4: 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM

This 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI is part of a collection of dream cars and memorabilia to be sold at the legendary home of Ferrari in Maranello, Italy.
AP Photo/Luca Bruno
This 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI is part of a collection of dream cars and memorabilia to be sold at the legendary home of Ferrari in Maranello, Italy.
Car: 1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM
Number produced: 1
Price at auction: $9.3 million
The last two letters in this Ferrari's name are LM, which stand for Le Mans, as in The 24 hours of Le Mans. The day-long race is the world's oldest endurance race and one of the most difficult in motorsports. It's also a race to which Ferrari is no stranger.
The final and ultimate evolution of the Testa Rossa line, the 330 TRI/LM won the 1962 Le Mans race while being driven by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien. It features a 4-liter V-12 with nearly 400 horsepower, and it's the last front-engine racing car built by Ferrari as well as the last front-engine car to win at Le Mans. Many consider it to be the greatest and final example of the golden age of front-engine racing [source: RM Auction].
Chassis number 0808 went for $9.3 million at a Sotheby's auction.

3: 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner

The sign of the traditional Italian company Bugatti is seen on an old timer in the museum in Munich, Germany.
AP Photo/Camay Sungu
The sign of the traditional Italian company Bugatti is seen on an old timer in the museum in Munich, Germany.
Car: 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Kellner
Number produced: 6
Price at auction: $9.8 million
During the first half of the 20th Century, a French company named Bugatti made some of the most exclusive, expensive, luxury-laden and fastest automobiles on the planet. Designed by the eccentric Italian engineer Ettore Bugatti, their cars featured light bodies, huge engines and exotic styling. Like a lot of European car companies, however, they weren't able to survive World War II.
Bugattis were often exercises in automotive insanity, and the 1931 Type 41 Royale Kellner was no exception. The car featured a massive 12.7-liter straight-eight engine, one which remains the largest engine ever put in a privately-sold automobile. The rest of it was big, too -- the wheelbase was more than 15 feet (4.6 meters) in length, and its price tag was far beyond the buyers of the Great Depression era when it was built [source: Forbes].
Only six were constructed, and this one was hidden behind a false wall to save it from the raging war in Europe. In 1987 it was sold at auction for nearly $10 million.
Today, the Volkswagen Group has revived the Bugatti marque and built the record-breaking Veyron, a car capable of speeds of more than 250 miles per hour (402.3 kilometers per hour). The insanity lives on.

2: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder

The Ferrari prancing horse logo
AP Photo/Marco Vasini
The Ferrari prancing horse logo
Car: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
Number produced: About 50
Price at auction: $10.9 million
One of several Ferraris to make it onto this list (the Italians are good at what they do), this was the car featured in the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" -- the one that Ferris and his friend Cameron completely destroyed after taking a joyride into downtown Chicago.
To call the Spyder gorgeous is an incredible understatement. It's the classic embodiment of the sports car -- long hood, two seats and a drop top. The SWB California Spyder was a variant on the popular Ferrari 250 designed for the American market. It featured a 3.0-liter SOHC V-12 with 280 horsepower and a four-speed manual transmission [source: Motor Trend].
Actor James Coburn owned this particular Spyder for more than 20 years. At an RM Auction in 2008, British TV and radio presenter Chris Evans bought it for $10.9 million. It was a record auction sale that stood only until the next (and final) car on our list broke it the following year.

1: 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

The Ferrari logo
AP Photo/Jens Meyer
The Ferrari logo
Car: 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
Number produced: 22
Price at auction: $12.1 million
Most people are probably more familiar with the 1980s Ferrari Testarossa, prominently featured in the TV series Miami Vice. But there was another "red head" (so named because of the red valve covers on the engine) that came first, and it was far more rare and exotic. The 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was a GT race car that ran in many prominent contests of speed, including The 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The '57 Testa Rossa had a 3-liter, 300-horsepower, V-12 engine with an 8,000 rpm redline -- pretty impressive for a car from the 1950s -- and a stunning body. In 1958, the Testa Rossas won four of the six races to win Ferrari's third consecutive World Sports Car Championship for Constructors. Racing legend Phil Hill was behind the wheel of one of them in that championship year. Only 22 were ever built -- so it's a rare find, indeed. In Ferrari's own words: "Not only is the performance breathtaking, but the view over the bonnet when driving is simply one of the best in the world [source: Gizmag]."
This particular car, the fourth one built, has been restored several times and reunited with its original engine. When it went to auction in 2009, the Testa Rossa fetched a record-shattering $12.1 million. Who says we're in a recession?
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