10 Crazy Celebrity Cars—and the Unbelievable Prices They Fetched at Auctions
When the world’s rich and famous decide to sell their cars, the simple fact that the vehicle was owned by a celebrity can ramp up the sales price dramatically. Case in point: these 10 outrageous vehicles.
John Lennon’s Psychedelic Rolls-Royce Phantom V
When John Lennon bought his Rolls-Royce Phantom V in 1964, it was painted in a sleek, glossy black. By 1967, however, it was symbolic of an entire era. Covered in vivid colours, psychedelic swirls and zodiac signs, Lennon’s modified Phantom V became a sign of his enormous wealth and the Summer of Love. It’s no wonder it has inspired legends and replicas—including the photo above. Lennon’s trippy Phantom V sold at Sotheby’s for $2.3 million in 1985. Adjusted for inflation, that would be over $5.9 million USD today.
While you may not have quite the same levels of colour as Lennon’s Rolls, you can protect your car’s paint using a clay bar.
Steve McQueen’s Porsche 917
It’s hard to think of anyone more deserving of the “celebrity racer” title than Steve McQueen. Having built his career on thrilling car chases and a commanding screen presence, it’s no surprise that McQueen’s love for speed bled over into his personal life as well. The actor and car aficionado released Le Mans, his love letter to racing, back in 1970. And with that, he placed this 1970 Porsche 917 into the Celebrity Car Hall of Fame. When this Porsche went to auction in 2017, it sold for a jaw dropping $14 million—even more shocking when you consider that it never actually raced.
Paul Newman’s 2002 Corvette
Paul Newman famously drifted into racing via his film Winning. While filming the 1969 classic, producers were shocked to find that their star was actually turning in race-worthy times. After Winning wrapped, Newman began racing competitively, a passion he continued to pursue right up until the end of his life. He often raced Riley & Scott Cars designs, and his 2002 Corvette modified by that team fetched $275,000 at auction. That’s significantly more than a comparable vehicle would go for, and a tribute to the allure of celebrity cars.
James Coburn’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Cal-Spyder
Back to the opposite end of the spectrum, we have James Coburn’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT. Coburn was a massive star in the ’60s and ’70s, with a high profile in films such as The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. He came by his love of cars naturally, as his father owned a garage, and his Hollywood paycheques allowed him to branch out into the world of celebrity cars. When he purchased his Ferrari 250 FT SWB Spyder California in 1964, it was one of only 56 built. This car went to auction in 2008, and when the gavel dropped, the final price of $10.9 million set a record for the highest price paid at auction for a car.
Check out these other vintage cars you’ll wish you could still drive today.
David Hasselhoff’s 1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
From the silver screen to prime time, we take a look at one of the most enduring symbols of 1980s television: the Knight Industries Two Thousand. A Pontiac Firebird modified with artificial intelligence and James Bond-esque gadgets, KITT co-stared with David Hasselhoff in NBC’s Knight Rider. Hasselhoff was given one of the KITT cars in 2012, which he later donated to an auction, where it brought in $150,000 for charity.
As any Knight Rider fan can tell you, car thieves always regretted tangling with KITT. If you own any of these 10 cars, it’s way more likely to get stolen.
Clark Gable’s 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
The leading man in more than 60 films, Clark Gable had a love of performance rivalled only by his love of automobiles. He purchased his Mercedes-Benz new in 1955, and it has an air of sophistication that sets it apart from other celebrity cars. Gable’s Gullwing sold in a 2015 auction for a cool $1.85 million. It’s no wonder that this car and its owner are all-time classics.
We count down the best car chases from classic movies.
Andy Warhol’s 1955 Ferrari 857 Sport
In a list dominated by movie stars and musicians, the iconic pop artist Andy Warhol might be an unexpected addition. A mainstay in gossip columns and massively influential in everything from fashion to visual art, Warhol managed to bring a bit of glamour to celebrity cars, just as his famous screen printings did to Campbell’s soup cans. His 1955 Ferrari 857 Sport would eventually sell at auction for $6.3 million.
Batman’s 1955 Lincoln Futura Batmobile
OK, we know Batman doesn’t own any celebrity cars—they actually belong to Bruce Wayne! Legendary car designer George Barris converted six Lincoln Futuras into the iconic 1960s Batmobile for the television show. With its unmistakable silhouette, one of the original Batmobiles sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $4.6 million.
Fred Astaire’s 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Scaglietti Spyder
Fred Astaire drove a Ferrari 750 Monza Scaglietti Spyder in On the Beach, and with 260 horsepower, this vehicle may be one of the few cars able to keep up with Hollywood’s premiere dance man. Less than 40 of these cars were produced, and the model Astaire drove won almost two dozen races in its 1950s hey-day. In 2011, it brought in a show-stopping $2.5 million at auction.
Elvis’s 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman
The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll was not known for subtlety. So it’s a bit of a surprise that his appearance on this list is with the relatively sedate Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman. This vehicle was in regular use by Elvis and his entourage, and while a fine car, it was worlds away from some of his splashier possessions. But thanks to its association with Elvis, when it eventually did go to auction, the Pullman raked in a sky-high $750,000.
If you really had your hopes up for a more outrageous vehicle, we’ve got the solution! They’re not all celebrity cars, but here are 15 of the craziest cars ever built.