We’ve all heard that used-car prices are getting a little lofty. But they reached ludicrous heights this weekend when a Gooding & Co. auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., unloaded a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Alloy Gullwing for a cool $4.2 million.
Tack on those pesky out-of-door fees, and you get a final record price of $4.62 million — a happy number for the auction house, which initially expected it to sell between $2.5 million and $3 million.
The big to-do about this particular Mercedes model was its aluminum alloy body. Of a total 1,400 gullwings, 29 were made with the lighter materials and other upgrades, taking about 200 pounds off the car and optimizing it for racing purposes.
For comparison’s sake, that $4.6 million also could have bought five 1965 Ford (NYSE:F) GT350 R Mustangs, one of which brought in $875,000 in 2008.
Of course, the 300SL’s final bid was a mere pittance compared to the all-time record: A 1957 Ferarri 250 Testa Rossa — also auctioned off by Gooding — fetched $16.4 million in August 2011.
American cars rarely grab numbers that high, though General Motors (NYSE:GM) has put out a few auction hits. On Jan. 21, 2006, a 1950 GM Futurliner went for an adjusted price of $4.7 million, and a 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special sold for $3.3 million that same day.
– Kyle Woodley, InvestorPlace.com Assistant Editor