Convertibles tend to be the more expensive sibling to most marque’s offspring – due to an extra requirement of structural rigidity to avoid skuttleshake. However, these five convertibles took the world by storm after finding owners willing to pay huge amounts of money at auction or in the showroom in order to obtain the ownership documents.
While some of us are more at home behind the wheel of an MGB Roadster, Triumph TR7 or Mazda MX-5 – we can but dream about ownership of a $15 million Ferrari. Got a colossal amount of money to spend? Here’s a taster of what you could purchase.
1. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California ($15,180,000)
One of only 37 covered-headlight examples, this particular specimen set a new record for Ferrari 250s back in 2014. Compared to the other Ferrari vehicles manufactured that year, this car is one of a handful that came with an accompanying hard top. Powered by a 240bhp V12 paired with a four-speed manual gearbox and revolutionary four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes – there may be faster cars out there for this insane amount of money, but in terms of desirability nothing else comes close.
2. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder ($929,000)
Propelled forward with a 4.6-litre V8 engine pumping out 608bhp, very little keeps up with the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder. It might pay homage to the beasts from Porsche’s illustrious past, but what the 918 Spyder really does is redefine the childlike excitement of supercar possibilities. The most impressive aspect is the environmental responsibility Porsche has pushed forward with this tarmac-devouring road rocket.
It may rev to 9000rpm like a demented beast but the stop/start technology and 154bhp electric motor for normal driving adds a touch that will leave beatniks hugging the 918 Spyder as though it has helped save the earth. With all that new, and rather expensive, technology hiding away with perfect weight balance, the asking price – we feel – is therefore justified.
3. 1936 Merecedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster ($11,770,000)
Formerly the property of one Baroness Gisela von Krieger with coachwork by Sindelfingen, this particular Mercedes-Benz went for $11,770,000 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Having undergone a complete restoration after arriving in New York with the Baroness in 1959 and languishing for decades in storage, where Krieger returned to Switzerland before her death in 1989, the 540K Special Roadster was rescued from obscurity in 1992.
With only ten examples believed to have survived the ravages of Father Time, this is thought to be the finest example of its kind. Throw in a bit of history – the Baroness used this Mercedes to escape the Nazis – and you’ve got a one-of-a-kind Mercedes well worth the cost.
4. 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster ($8,250,000)
It’s hardly a surprise to find this 1928 Mercedes 680S fetched a total of $8,250,000 at auction – holding the title of Best of Show during the 2012 Pebble beach Concours d’Elegance. With bodywork designed by the world renowned Jacques Saoutchik and showcasing the elegant and exotic attributes of coachbuilding in the 1920s – such as the lizard skin seats and trimmed Purpleheart wood sourced from the French colonies in South America – the low-slung torpedo body captures the imagination and adventure so well embodied in Mercedes-Benz roadsters of the time. The fact that its in concours condition and mops the floor with modern cars in terms of looks, acceleration and road presence no doubt appealed to anyone with that kind of money to burn.
5. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S Nart Spider ($27,700,000)
In a complete rags to riches story, Eddie Smith left the orphanage he grew up in with only $15 dollars in his pocket. Fast-forward fifteen years upon the start of his national Wholesale business – a mail older service specialising in woman’s apparel – and Eddie was earning so much he started collecting Ferraris. The jewel in the crown of Smith’s collection was a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider – devised by the Le Mans racing team (NART standing for North American Racing Team). A production run of 25 was originally planned, but lack of demand saw the project cancelled after only ten examples. Steve McQueen managed to destroy his and even asked for ownership of Eddie’s. Naturally, he kept it. Ralph Lauren even flew in just to get a shot.
However, after Eddie died in 2007, the family felt the car was being kept prisoner in a hangar and put it up for auction at RM’s Pebble Beach auction. Starting at $10 million and rolling on to a final bid of over $27 million, the proceeds went to charity.