These are the most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Last year was absolutely huge for record-breaking classics, including the most valuable car ever sold at auction.

That – plot spoiler – was a Ferrari, but it wasn’t all about Prancing Horses of the Swinging Sixties. Indeed, the top 12 sales of 2018 weren’t short on diversity…

1958 Porsche 550A – £4.03 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

We kick off with a very appropriate sale for 2018. In Porsche’s 70th-anniversary year, this 1958 550A made a cool $5.17 million (£4.03 million) at the Bonhams Scottsdale sale.

It was a factory-backed car in period and, unsurprisingly, has quite a provenance and race history. How does second-in-class (fifth overall) at Le Mans and a class win in the Nürburgring 1,000km in 1958 sound? Few cars are as important to the genesis of Porsche as the 550.

1955 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spider – £4.03 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Last year was big for Maseratis, as we crown the new most expensive car to wear the trident ever sold at auction.

This one-of-three Frua-bodied 1955 A6GCS/53 Spider is a former concours winner and deserving record-holder, achieving the same $5.17 million (£4.03 million) at Pebble Beach as the Porsche. Interestingly, that was a few hundred thousand dollars short of the estimate.

1932 Alfa Romeo Tipo B Grand Prix Monoposto – £4.5 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

This Alfa Romeo Tipo B earns its place thanks, principally, to its significance as the winner of the inaugural Donington Grand Prix in 1935, plus its status as the first successful central single-seat Grand Prix car.

It’s also a veteran of Scuderia Ferrari’s formative years – that is, as a team rather than a manufacturer. What price for this unique piece of racing history? Try $5.83 million (£4.5 million) for size.

1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar – £4.6million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Perhaps the biggest surprise of this list is this comparatively modern legend: a 1985 Porsche 959 Dakar. It sold at RM Sotheby’s Porsche anniversary sale for $5.95 million (£4.6 million).

Resplendent in its Rothmans livery, this unique rally-fettled supercar campaigned at the 1985 Paris-Dakar, is an Amelia Island concours winner and has seen action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed with Jacky Ickx at the wheel.

Interestingly, unlike the road-going 959, it does without turbochargers. Perhaps natural aspiration is more reliable when charging through hot desert sands? It’s one of just seven developmental examples built, of which four remain in Porsche’s care.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Berlinetta – £5.2 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

The Tour de France name was recently applied to the fastest, most extreme version of the Ferrari F12, but its origins date back to the 1950s. The 250 GT TdF Berlinetta comes from an era when road-going GTs also competed in endurance events. The car seen here raced in both the 1958 Targa Florio and Trieste-Opicina hillclimb.

With coachwork by Scaglietti and a V12 beneath its long, voluptuous bonnet, this TdF pushed bidders up and up and it sold for $6.6 million (£5.2 million) at Pebble Beach last year. It was previously owned by a renowned Ferrari collector for 52 years.

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale – £6.4 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Now, this is something a bit, um… ‘speciale’: the only 275 GTB built by Pininfarina and the personal car of company boss Battista Pininfarina. The Ferrari has numerous bespoke design details and was displayed at many motor shows in-period, including Frankfurt, Paris and Turin.

Its V12 engine has the desirable six-carb specification but hasn’t been started in many years. As such, vendor Gooding and Company advised it ‘will require mechanical attention prior to road use’. The car sold for $8.09 million (£6.4 million) at Scottsdale in January.

1966 Ford GT40 Mk II – £7.7 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

This is one of the three 1966 Le Mans GT40s that cemented this Ferrari-beating blue-collar legend into history. As racing provenance goes, it doesn’t get much better than that – which is why this third-placed GT40 sold for $9.8 million (£7.7 million) at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale.

Since that famous finish at Le Mans in 1966, it’s been wheeled out at numerous historic motorsport events, including appearances at Goodwood (both for the Festival of Speed and Revival), and indeed Monterey. It received the people’s choice award at 2003’s Pebble Beach concours.

1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato 2 VEV – £10.08 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

One of the most famous Aston Martin racing cars ever made is a coach-built victim of a prang at Goodwood. With F1 legend Jim Clark at the wheel, driving his – and the car’s – second Goodwood TT, it spun into the path of John Surtees’ Ferrari 250 GTO at Madgwick. The result was two bent super-GTs and one of the most famous crashes in Goodwood history.

Fitting, then, that this one-of-three super lightweight Zagato was up for grabs at the 2018 Festival of Speed. It eventually crossed the block for £10.08 million. Prior to the sale, the car had been in the same family for 47 years. In 1993, a previous keeper was involved in another prang in ‘2 VEV’ on the Isle of Man. Since then, after a painstaking restoration, the car has led a somewhat more static concours-winning existence.

1963 Aston Martin DP215 – £16.9 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

A Le Mans racer that reached 198.6mph on the Mulsanne Straight in 1963, this aero-enhanced Aston Martin sold for $21.5 million (£16.9 million) at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale. That makes it almost the most valuable British car sold at auction – beaten only by a $22.5 million (£17.7 million) Aston Martin DBR 1 in 2017.

DP215 is a true one-off and the final racing Aston of the David Brown era. It was restored with help with designer Ted Cutting, who was originally tasked with building the car in just two months – with a budget of £1,500. Sadly, although DP215 led Le Mans for two hours, it would retire with gearbox problems.

1935 Duesenberg SSJ – £17.3 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

This high-class hot rod became the most expensive American car ever sold at auction when it appeared at Pebble Beach. Dripping with raffish, jazz-age glamour, it’s one of only two SSJs built, combining a short-wheelbase chassis with a 400hp supercharged in-line 8-cylinder engine.  

Duesenberg had factories in Minnesota, New Jersey and Indiana, and rivalled Cadillac, Rolls-Royce and Bugatti in its day. Production lasted from 1913 until shortly before World War II.

This particular car was delivered new to Hollywood actor Gary Cooper, then later owned by racing driver Briggs Cunningham.

1956 Ferrari 290 MM – £17.3 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

Racing pedigree always boosts the values of classic cars – and this $22.005 million (£17.3 million) 290 MM has a suitably star-studded competition CV. It was a Scuderia Ferrari works car for the 1956 and 1957 seasons, driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, Peter Collins and Stirling Moss.

One of just three surviving 290 MMs, the car retains its original Scaglietti bodywork. It was restored by Ferrari’s in-house Classiche department in 2015, including a respray in 1957 ‘12 Hours of Sebring’ livery.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – £38.1 million

Most expensive cars sold at auction in 2018

In first place on our list, somewhat predictably, is a Ferrari 250 GTO. This 1962 example enters the record books as the most expensive car ever sold at auction – with a hammer price of $48.4 million (£38.1 million) at Monterey in August.

The 250 GTO is the third of 36 examples built and won its class in the 1963 and 1964 Targa Florio. It still has its original engine, gearbox and rear axle, while factory Series II bodywork was added in period by Scaglietti. Will its record be beaten in 2019? If so, only another 250 GTO seems likely to top it…

Read more:

2019 Maserati Levante UK First Drive Review

2019 Maserati Levante V6 review: Italian style and a supercar soundtrack

The Maserati Levante gets a host of updates for 2019, including a new entry-level V6 petrol engine built by Ferrari. We drive it on UK roads

McGrath Maserati

‘Important’ Maserati collection celebrates the golden age of grand tourers


Maserati is perhaps the ultimate underdog. An unfair assessment of a company that’s produced such distinctive and desirable cars for over 100 years? Well, any luxury or sporting marque from Italy that isn’t Ferrari has to be considered something of an underdog, doesn’t it?

For many, that’s always worked in Maserati’s favour. Ferrari is, well, Ferrari. Maserati trades on its own merits. Such as the distinctive marque-defining sporting GTs in its post-grand prix era, which fortified the brand for generations to come.

Cars like those in this six-car cohort of ‘60s and ‘70s examples, in fact. These comprise ‘An Important Maserati Collection’, according to RM Sotheby’s. They’ll be heading to auction in London in September. Until then, they litter the quaint yet capable workshops of Bill McGrath Maserati – the UK’s most prolific Maserati preparer, restorer and service. Current custodian Stephen Dowling has been loyal to the business for a number of years.

Andy Heywood, long-time McGrath Maserati employee and now company owner knows these cars very well. Indeed, for his 30 years in various roles around McGrath, he knows all Maseratis very well. Just the man for the job of taking us on a tour of this handsome cross-section of Maserati’s golden age of Grand Touring. 

1964 Maserati 5000 GT by Allamano

“It’s the jewel in the crown”

We start with what is arguably the star of the collection. This 1964 5000 GT by Allemano is a wondrous slice of Italian-built Americana, resplendent in red with a muscular yet subtle stance. In period, it was the most expensive car in the world. “It was like the McLaren P1 or Bugatti Chiron today. It was that kind of high-end thing,” says Andy.

This car was once in the ownership of Joe Walsh of The Eagles and allegedly inspired the lyric, “My Maserati does one eighty-five, I lost my licence, now I don’t drive” in his song Life’s been good.

Over the course of 34 cars, eight different coachbuilders were used to body them. Oddly, Allemano did the most, at 20 cars. “Allemano is a really obscure one… This is actually the most common one. Bizarre, because some of the coachbuilders were much more well-known and yet Allemano got the job to do more of those than anyone else,” Andy explain. Alhough he’s dealt with most of the 5000s that remain in circulation, Andy isn’t aware of any others that currently reside in the UK.

Owner Stephen Dowling took his nervous first drive of his 5000 – complete with McGrath engine rebuild – at the Goodwood Motor Circuit, only to have his nerves replaced by complete ease and the desire to stretch the old Maser’s legs. A smattering of European trips ensued – no garage queens or place-holders for hedge funds here.

“From a very nervous start, he’s been everywhere in it. He’s been all over Europe. He’s done more miles in one of those than I’m sure anyone has done, ever… He’s a user, you know. He’s not just a collector. He’s always been into using the cars.

1974 Maserati Quattroporte by Frua

“Stately but still sexy”

Contrasting the delicate curves and blushing red paint of the 5000 comes the 1974 Quattroporte, as bodied by Frua. This car is just one of two examples of the Frua-bodied car built. The story goes that Frua built this car in a bid to win the contract to body the second-generation Quattroporte, as it did the series one. It was a speculative build displayed at a motor show and while it didn’t win Maserati’s favour, one customer was insistent that he had to have one – the Aga Khan, or the closest thing to Iranian royalty.

“While they had it on a stand at a show the Aga Khan came along and said “Oh, I really like that. I’ll buy it.” They said, “Well, you can’t buy that. It’s a prototype, it’s got a second-hand engine. It’s a demo, really – but we’ll build you one.” So they used a new chassis and running gear from Maserati. The other one was subsequently then sorted and sold to the king of Spain, so it must have been alright.”

In its life, this the only ‘series’ Frua Quattroporte has shared garage space with the prototype that inspired it twice, with the cars holding high esteem among a seemingly closely-knit community of collectors. Based on a later Indy, it uses the 4.9-litre ‘Indy’ V8 engine: sufficient muscle to hustle what is a svelte yet stately beast. “The best resolved of all the Indys,” says Andy.

“What Maserati tried to build as the Series 2 Quattroporte, which Frua wanted their car to be, was based on the Citroen SM running gear. Nowhere near as classy as that [the Frua]. It’s a big car, kind of stately but still sexy at the same time” Andy mused. It’s certainly a highlight of the collection for us and being a one-of-two car, should stoke collectors’ interest sufficiently come September’s auction.

1970 Maserati Ghibli SS by Ghia

“Why would I buy an E-type when I can buy that?”

This, for Stephen, was the genesis moment. The car that gave him the bug. His first Maserati, as bought in Australia. “The original fascination was the red one” says Andy. “He hadn’t really been interested in old cars before that. Someone told him to go out and buy an E-Type. He went out to look at one at a dealership in Brisbane and saw the red Ghibli. He said, “why would I buy an E-Type when I can buy that?” – and from that moment he was hooked.”

This car had a difficult life prior to being bought and shipped to England. Import laws made it very difficult to have a left-hand-drive car brought in to Australia and, as such, the car suffered a slightly haphazard conversion. It landed on McGrath’s doorstep with both that and some questionable engine work to put right. From then on, the shop had a loyal customer.

Andy continues: “When that car had been imported it was an Italian-delivered car originally. It had been converted to right-hand drive from left. It was a bit compromised. He had an engine rebuild that didn’t work out by some guy in Australia. He turned up here one day, just walked in off the street and said “My name’s Steve, I’m from Brisbane. I’ve got a Ghibli out there with engine problems. How much to rebuild the engine?” and that was how our relationship started 14 years ago.”

You wouldn’t know this Ghibli’s troubled past from looking at it. This, as well as the other five cars, are presented in absolutely pristine condition, and rightly so. Giving someone the bug for a marque is the honour of very few cars. This red Ghibli has that honour. “It holds a very special place in his [Stephen’s] heart.”

1970 Maserati Ghibli SS Spyder by Ghia

“Made for the Cote D’Azure”

The white Ghibli SS Spyder is perhaps the most intriguing of the three in this collection. As an SS Spyder it’s already rare, but in right-hand-drive configuration, it’s one of just four cars made. For its rarity, this car also earned itself a concours-standard restoration with period-correct Connolly leather hides used in the cabin and a pristine Bianco repaint – a five-year undertaking that’s just finishing now.

The car had been restored previously around 30 years ago, albeit not to the standards customers ask of today. “When it came back before we began restoring it in 2013, it needed work but it was still good enough for the Maserati Club stand at the NEC Classic Car Show.”

“We’d restored that car for a previous owner who then sold it to Steve 15 years ago. He used that out there [Australia] for a number of years. We’ve been restoring it for five years – we’re just finishing it really. This is the concours-standard car – a brilliant challenge to relish taking the car to new levels. The one we’re probably most proud of.

“When it came back before we restored it in 2013, it needed work, but it was still good enough for the Maserati Club stand at the NEC Classic Car Show.” says Andy. Nothing less than perfection, then.

The car was originally delivered to the UK to its first owner, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. A first owner befitting, we think, of a right-hooker Spyder’s best talents – the unassuming yet impressive cruiser. Andy agrees: “You look at that car and you just imagine driving down the Cote D’Azur. It’s what these cars are made for.”

1971 Maserati Ghibli SS Coupe by Ghia

“The one they saved”

You could certainly claim that some of these cars have, to an extent, been saved by the owner – none more so than ‘Kermit’ the Verde Gemma Ghibli SS. Acquired in 2007, the car was, by all accounts, in something of a sorry state. A rare right-hand-drive SS, today this wouldn’t be enough to deter a prospective buyer, because it’d be well worth the investment. But at the time these cars hadn’t hit their stride in the classic market.

“This car was the biggest challenge” muses Andy. “Anyone else would have thrown this away… In anyone else’s hands at the time this car could well have been lost, but Stephen liked to set us a challenge.”

Looking at the way the pristine hue emboldens Giugiaro’s subtle humps and dips in the hand-rolled bodywork, we couldn’t possibly imagine a time when it had flirtations with the scrapheap. The cabin is a stunning ‘70s brown – proper GT spec.

Andy tells us there are concessions to modern comfort and usage. A larger alloy radiator means this temperamental classic is just a touch better-prepared for day-to-day usage. “This was more about what Steve actually wanted. The day he collected it after the restoration, he took it straight to Austria. He called me up saying, “I’ve just been chasing a Gran Turismo – that car’s amazing!” I said, “It’s still running in, Steve!” He said, “I don’t care!” It’s had work since to keep it in tip-top shape…”

1972 Maserati Bora 4.7

“The more subtle ‘70s supercar”

The Bora has this reputation as the ‘70s supercar that boyhood posters forgot. It’s very pretty, with the devil hiding in the details – a design philosophy not necessarily befitting the era that belonged to the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari Daytona. Still, stainless steel sheeting on the roof makes an impression in person, as does the neat yet muscular hindquarters and purposeful snout.

There’s evidence to suggest this is the first of what you might call user-friendly supercars. “The engine you can actually get out in five hours. Try that in a Miura… It’s that weird combination. Outrageous-looking yet it has space for luggage, and the cabin is comfy.” It even features pedals that move toward you with a steering column that goes up and down.” (The seat doesn’t move back and forward). Eat your heart out, Ford GT and LaFerrari…

While masters of the wedge since the introduction of Giugiaro’s Ghibli in the late ‘60s, Maserati never embraced the full supercar experience you associate with that design ethos. The Bora, while wearing that shape, was a classic Maserati at its core, like the Ghibli or the 5000 GT – a grand tourer.

“You’re not into fifth until past 130. It’s not a supercar as much as it is a super GT – a classic Maserati at its core. Still built with the Maserati DNA. Don’t make it like a go-kart, make it so you can cross continents.”

The golden age of Maserati

McGrath Maserati

We asked whether our assessment that these cars represented a golden age for Maserati was fair. Andy’s response was fairly conclusive: “Definitely. Our era goes from about the mid-50s to about 2012, but that classic era from the mid-‘50s to the mid-‘80s has to be it”. What was Andy’s pick of the six? “It has to be the 5000 GT. It’s just the business, isn’t it?”

These cars then, are the perfect cross-section of everything we know and love about Maserati. Their legacy lives within the prongs of the trident. They’re why we forgave it for the anonymous (and ironically now quite desirable) boxes of the 1980s and 90s, only to rejoice at the return of the pretty grand tourer, only to forgive again that said car was the 3200 GT…

Today, Maserati is where it should be – selling to a bigger customer base than ever before, as well as building on its heritage. These classics give us a better appreciation of just what a proper Maserati should be — “An Important Maserati Collection” indeed. May they find loving homes with RM Sotheby’s in September.

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1958 Maserati Eldorado

Race on a Sundae: 60 years of the Maserati ‘Eldorado’

1958 Maserati EldoradoWhat’s the greatest motorsport livery of all time? The subject is guaranteed to stir some lively debate, with the likes of Martini Racing, Marlboro McLaren, John Player Special and Gulf Racing just four examples from a very, very long list of candidates.

But while each one is evocative, few can rival the Eldorado ice cream Maserati Tipo 420/M/58. It changed motorsport forever, and today it’s celebrating its 60th anniversary.

1958 Maserati Eldorado

In 1958, the ‘Eldorado’ Maserati became the first single-seat racing car in Europe to be sponsored by a brand not linked to the world of motorsport. Significantly, it was also the first time a car was painted in the colours of the partner company, rather than the traditional colour assigned to each country by the FIA.

A big deal for motorsport fans who watched on from the side of the track, but an even bigger deal for race teams, who could call upon a whole host of new financial backers.

Maserati was commissioned to build the car by Gino Zanetti, owner of the Eldorado ice cream company. He turned to the House of the Trident to create a single-seat car to compete in the Trofeo dei due Mondi at Monza, where top American and European drivers were lined up to race.

Not one to miss an opportunity to promote his brand, Zanetti had the Maserati finished in a cream livery, rather than the traditional Italian racing red. The company logo of the smiling cowboy looked out over the nose and on the fin, while the company name was emblazoned on the sides of the car.

Other text included ‘Italia’, to denote the nationality of the sponsor and the manufacturer, along with the name of the driver: none other than Stirling Moss.

Engineer Giulio Alfieri created the ‘Eldorado’ in a matter of months. The 4,190cc V8 engine developed 410hp at 8,000rpm, which was enough to propel this 758kg sundae driver to a top speed of over 217mph.

The ‘Eldorado’ Maserati took to the Monza track for the ‘Monzanapolis’ on 29 June 1958, competing in three heats to decide the final points total. Moss finished fourth and fifth, before a steering fault ended his hopes of a strong finish in the third race.

Given that the steering gave way at 160mph, it’s quite miraculous that Moss walked away relatively unscathed, while the ‘Eldorado’ only suffered limited damage.

1958 Maserati Eldorado

Following the race, the car was modified by the Gentilini bodywork shop, which removed the rear fin and reduced the hood scoop before the car entered the Indy 500 in 1959.

This time it was finished in Italian racing red, but still emblazoned with the ice cream company’s name, but the inexperience of the driver meant that the car failed to qualify. Maserati claims that it would have been a different story with a professional driver behind the wheel.

Today, the ‘Eldorado’ proudly wears its original livery and is part of the Panini Collection, housed in Modena. You know what they say: race on a Sundae, sell on a Monday…

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Maserati Levante S

2018 Maserati Levante S first drive: the Ferrari-powered SUV is here

We drive the Ferrari-engined Maserati Levante S on UK roads

Maserati Levante S

Maserati Levante S: the ‘Ferrari SUV’ comes to the UK

Maserati Levante S

Right now, this is probably the closest you can get to driving a Ferrari SUV. It’s called the Maserati Levante S and it’s packing a Ferrari-built 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine.

If you’re still coming to terms with the idea of a Maserati SUV with a diesel engine, the 430hp petrol version might bring some light relief, but it’s unlikely to change your opinion of the styling.

At launch, Maserati claimed the Levante would only be offered to UK buyers with the 275hp turbodiesel unit, so this represents a u-turn of cabinet minister proportions.

We suspect the threat of anti-diesel legislation and the continued growth of the SUV segment is behind Maserati’s decision, as the Levante squares up to a new Porsche Cayenne, waiting in the wings.

The Levante S isn’t cheap: at £70,755, the petrol version is £14,505 more expensive than the Levante diesel and around £4,000 dearer than a Range Rover Sport HSE Dynamic.

For their £70k, Levante buyers will be treated to the Ferrari-built 3.0-litre V6 engine, which produces 430hp, enough for a 164mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds.

Air suspension is fitted as standard, along with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, four driving modes, all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. Maserati claims this delivers “GT on-road dynamics and surprising off-road capabilities.”

Two trim levels will be available: GranLusso and GranSport. The entry-level GranLusso boasts metallic-finish front skid plates, body-coloured side skirts, black-painted callipers, 19-inch alloy wheels and a choice of leather for the interior.

The GranSport features piano black grille, skid plates and roof rails, red brake callipers, 20-inch alloy wheels, powered leather seats, gearshift paddles and stainless steel sports pedals.

The Maserati Levante S is available now.

NEXT> 2016 Maserati Levante review

Joe Macari

Seeing red: the UK’s most amazing Ferrari showroom

Joe MacariWho doesn’t love a Ferrari? This most iconic of automotive brands has a peerless track-record on the race circuit and a hard-won reputation on the road. They’re among the most desirable and expensive of classic cars, so it’s a rare treat to see so many Ferraris in one place. Join us for a guided tour of Joe Macari, the south London showroom that specialises in exotic Italian cars.

Ferrari TestarossaJoe Macari

Nothing says ‘1980s’ quite like a Ferrari Testarossa. The star of Miami Vice hits 60mph in 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 180mph. Its signature side strakes feed air to a mid-mounted 4.9-litre flat-12 with red-painted cam covers (hence the Testarossa name, meaning ‘red head’ in Italian).

This left-hand-drive Testarossa has 24,500 miles on the clock and is priced at £114,950. The car in the background is an earlier – and more collectible – ‘Monospecchio’ example with a single wing mirror on the driver’s side. With 28,000 miles, it’s for sale at £149,950.

Ferrari DaytonaJoe Macari

The follow-up to the beautiful 275 GTB was called 365 GTB/4, but its ‘Daytona’ nickname – adopted after Ferrari’s 1-2-3 finish in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona race – soon stuck. A front-engined V12 grand tourer with four seats and a top speed of 174mph, the Daytona is one of Ferrari’s greatest road cars.

You’ll need to dig deep for this fabulous, Rosso Bordeaux example, which has covered just 42,638 miles since 1972. Priced at £599,950, it was one of three Daytonas in the Joe Macari showroom at the time of our visit. The most expensive, a Ferrari Classiche-certified car, was advertised at £794,950.

Ferrari 430 ScuderiaJoe Macari

The literal translation of ‘Scuderia’ is ‘stable of horses’, and this special Ferrari has plenty of them – 510 at 8,500rpm, to be exact. The hardcore, track-focused version of the F430 is also 100kg lighter and boasts a ‘Superfast 2’ semi-automatic gearbox, offering paddle-shift changes in just 60 milliseconds.

Did we mention the go-faster stripes? All Scuderias had them, but this car is the only one supplied from new with matching gold stripes and wheels. Other factory extras include Alcantara-trimmed racing seats and three-point harness belts. With a criminally-low 3,200 miles, this ‘Scud’ is priced at £189,950.

Ferrari 365 GT4 BBJoe Macari

Just as the 365 GTB/4 was the ‘Daytona’, its successor, the 365 GT4 BB, soon became known as the ‘Boxer’. The name sprung from the car’s flat-12 engine, which, unlike the Daytona, was now mounted in the middle – Ferrari finally applying F1 science to its flagship road car. Launched in 1973, the 365 morphed into the more powerful 512 BB in 1976.

This wonderful Bianco white car – priced at £399,950 – is one of three 365 GT4 BBs Joe Macari had in stock. An impressive line-up considering that just 387 of these early Boxers were made.

Ferrari 360 Challenge StradaleJoe Macari

The 360 Challenge Stradale is effectively the forerunner to the 430 Scuderia: a lightweight special with more power, sharper handling and – inevitably – a higher price tag. Inspired by the 360 Modena Challenge racer, it produced 425hp at a heady 8,500rpm. It was also 3.5 seconds quicker around Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit than the standard car.

Finished in trad-Ferrari Rosso Corsa with a ‘Tricolore’ stripe, this 12,650-mile Stradale could hardly look more Italian. At £169,950, it’s a useful £20,000 cheaper than the Scud, too. You could spend the difference on track days and tyres.

Ferrari 330 GT VignaleJoe Macari

Now for something a bit different. This one-off 330 GT shooting brake was built by legendary Italian coachbuilder, Alfredo Vignale. And before you ask, this was in 1967 – long before his name appeared on tarted-up Ford Fiestas and Mondeos. The car was the dream of Coco Chinetti, son of the American Ferrari importer, and became the star of the 50th Turin Motor Show.

Joe Macari describes the 300hp V12 Vignale as ‘a highly usable and utilitarian Ferrari’, although we can’t imagine anyone using this unique collector’s piece for the tip run. With 13,000 miles on the clock, it’s yours for £694,950.

Bugatti EB 110 SSJoe Macari

In 1991, long before the Veyron, a reincarnated Bugatti launched the EB 110 – a 560hp quad-turbo V12 supercar with a carbon fibre chassis. The 612hp SS (Supersport) version followed in 1992, boasting 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 216mph.

This EB 110 SS is one of a handful of cars built by Germany’s Dauer Sportwagen after Bugatti filed for bankruptcy in 1995. Finished in black with a ‘lipstick red’ interior and just 1,050 miles on the clock, this 90s poster car is barely run-in. The price? A wallet-wilting £894,950.

Lamborghini LM002Joe Macari

The LM002 laughs in the face of crossover SUVs. If the Nissan Qashqai is a posturing baboon, the ‘Rambo Lambo’ is King Kong. Powered by the mighty V12 from the Lamborghini Countach, it was originally designed for military use. Just 301 were made, and rally versions boasted up to 600hp.

Tucked menacingly in the corner of Joe Macari’s showroom, this Lambo isn’t for sale. However, the two LM002s we found in the classifieds at the time of writing were both priced north of £200k. This, or a new Huracan?

Mercedes-Benz 190SLJoe Macari

If you prefer to simply turn heads, rather than terrify small children, the Mercedes-Benz 190SL is more your style. And what style. Few cars of any vintage can match the original SL’s delicate, chrome-embellished beauty. Who cares that its 1.9-litre, four-cylinder engine makes just 105hp?

In the classic colour combination of silver with a red interior, this left-hand-drive SL has covered 5,500 miles since restoration. Priced at £149,950, it looks decent value compared to the £1million-plus you’ll pay for a 300SL Gullwing.

Chevrolet Bel AirJoe Macari

Nothing encapsulates the naive optimism of 1950s America quite like its cars. Chevrolet described the Bel Air as: “Sweet, Smooth, and Sassy! Going places in a glamorous new way” – and the US public clearly agreed, snapping up 702,220 examples in 1957. Compared to mainstream British cars of the time, such as the Austin A40, the Chevy was on another planet.

A price tag of £119,950 might seem steep for a classic built in such large numbers, but this is a relatively rare Bel Air convertible, and one of a small number of cars with ‘Rochester Ramjet’ fuel injection. If anything can make America great again, this is it.

Koenigsegg CCXR EditionJoe Macari

Jeremy Clarkson still can’t spell its name, but Swedish-born Koenigsegg has been quietly battling the supercar establishment since 2002. That said, with an 1,018hp twin-supercharged V8, we suspect this CCXR Edition is anything but quiet.

Wearing naked carbon fibre bodywork, a removable targa roof and a lofty rear wing, the CCXR isn’t shy about its 250mph performance. A 0-62mph time of 2.9 seconds isn’t too shabby either. The £824,950 price reflects the car’s rarity – just six ‘Edition’ models were made.

Lamborghini DiabloJoe Macari

A more old-school supercar comes in the shape of this Lamborghini Diablo. The long-awaited successor to the Countach arrived in 1990 and followed the same basic formula: a mid-mounted V12, two seats, scissor doors and styling that stops traffic. With 485hp, the ‘Devil’ hits 62mph in 4.5 seconds. Later VT versions, with four-wheel-drive, were even quicker.

You’ll need £149,950 for this 1993, 6,115-mile Diablo, which looks fantastic in black with a black leather interior. We’d be tempted to replace those aftermarket OZ Racing alloys, though.

Maserati Vignale SpyderJoe Macari

An Italian exotic that makes even most Ferraris look plain, this convertible Maserati 3500 GT is the second car in our round-up bodied by Vignale. Power came from a 3.5-litre inline six, driving through a four-speed manual gearbox and optional limited-slip differential.

Of the 244 Spyders built, nine were pre-production cars – as seen here. Key differences include a lower, narrower body, smaller rear lights and fewer gauges on the dashboard. This immaculate 39,000-mile car is offered at £874,950.

Fiat 500 LJoe Macari

We finish with something quintessentially Italian, but rather less expensive. The original 1957-1975 Fiat Cinquecento is an iconic ‘car of the people’ to rival the Mini and Volkswagen Beetle. Indeed, its legacy lives on the current, retro-styled 500, and the copycat models in Fiat’s range.

Beautifully restored, this 1969 500 L spent much of its life in Italy. Its air-cooled, two-cylinder engine is no match for the adjacent Diablo’s V12, but we’d wager both cars would be equally quick (slow?) through London traffic. Bellissimo!

Maserati Levante UK reveal

Maserati Levante debuts in UK with Sophie Ellis-Bexter and Alex James

Maserati Levante UK revealMaserati threw a celeb-packed launch party to mark the arrival of its new Levante SUV in the UK last night, revealing the ambition for its new Porsche Cayenne rival by its takeover of the Royal Horticultural Halls.

Sophie Ellis-Bexter, Alex James, ‘Little Mix’ Leigh-Anne Pinnock and actress Olivia Grant all turned out to the event hosted by Lisa Snowdon; music was provided by star daughter duo Amber Le Bon and Becky Tong.

2016 Maserati Levante review

Maserati turned the music down for a few minutes so its European general manager Giulio Pastore could say: “The launch of the Levante tonight marks a truly significant moment for Maserati in the UK.

“With strong demand for luxury SUVs, we are now able to appeal to an even wider audience.”

Maserati also revealed the long-awaited pricing for the new 5-metre-long luxury SUV: the Levante Diesel will cost £54,335 in regular guise, for £60,285 in either Luxury or Sport form.

There will also be a fancy Levante Zenga Edition, featuring Zenga Mulberry Silk trim; this will cost £61,185.

Ordering starts in June with Maserati predicting the first UK cars will arrive in the autumn. They’ll quickly begin to swell Maserati sales too: in its first full year, 2017, the firm expects the Levante to double its UK volume, to over 3,000 vehicles.

Least reliable car brands

The 5 least reliable car brands

Least reliable car brandsThink modern cars don’t go wrong? Think again. Claims data from third-party warranty provider Warrantywise reveals big discrepancies between the brands when it comes to reliability and typical repair costs. We count down the 20 least reliable carmakers – is your car on the list?

Least reliable car brands5. Chrysler

Dependability score: 64

Like Chevrolet, Chrysler is an American carmaker that tried and failed to make its mark in the UK. It will mainly be remembered for the brash 300C – and those black Voyager MPVs that ferried around the candidates on The Apprentice.

Least reliable car brands5. Chrysler

Average repair cost: £464

If you need evidence of where Chrysler went wrong, look no further than the Ypsilon supermini. It’s basically a Fiat 500 with all that car’s retro character and charm removed. There was no compelling reason to buy one, and few did.

Least reliable car brands4. Alfa Romeo

Dependability score: 60

Good old Alfa Romeo: always languishing near the bottom of car reliability charts. Journalists are already hailing the new Giulia saloon – seen here in Ferrari-baiting QV spec – as the best Alfa in years. But will it do better than a dependability score of 60?

Least reliable car brands4. Alfa Romeo

Average repair cost: £590

Alfa Romeos used to be notorious for rust, which certainly won’t be a problem in the carbon fibre-bodied 4C sports car. These days, electrical issues are more likely to cause headaches – and contribute to the £590 average repair cost.

Least reliable car brands3. Porsche

Dependability score: 57

Porsches generally feel bulletproof, so it’s a shock to see the brand near the bottom of the Warrantywise list. If we were being kind, we suspect many Porsches are driven quite hard. Nonetheless, a dependability score of 57 simply isn’t good enough.

Least reliable car brands3. Porsche

Average repair cost: £842

At £842, average Porsche repair costs are predictably high. With new ‘downsized’ engines, such as the four-cylinder units in the 718 Boxster and Cayman, let’s hope future costs will be downsized, too.

Least reliable car brands2. Jaguar

Dependability score: 54

Hype about Jaguar’s new F-Pace SUV has reached fever pitch. However, a woeful dependability score of 54 does rather take the shine off those five-star reviews. It’s also considerably worse than Jaguar’s sister-brand, Land Rover.

Least reliable car brands2. Jaguar

Average repair cost: £794

Repair costs for Jaguars are high, too – at more than any of its German rivals. Let’s just gaze upon this lovely S1 E-Type (still the most beautiful car ever made) and pretend none of this is happening, shall we?

Least reliable car brands1. Maserati

Dependability score: 41

So here we are: the least reliable brand of all is… Maserati. The marque is keeping the old cliches about temperamental Italian supercars alive, with a shocking dependability score of 41. That’s 13 points below second-placed Jaguar.

Least reliable car brands1. Maserati

Average repair cost: £1,430

Maserati repair costs aren’t quite in the £2k-plus Ferrari league, but nor are they exactly affordable. Owners can typically expect to fork out £1,430 to fix a car that’s outside warranty. No wonder old Maseratis are so cheap to buy.

Maserati Levante 2016

2016 Maserati Levante review: can Maserati really make an SUV?

Maserati Levante 2016The Maserati Levante is the first SUV from the famous Italian brand and thus, by its nature, a controversial one. Fans of sports cars swooned when Porsche said it would make an SUV yet the smash-hit success of the Cayenne has led every premium brand worth its salt to follow: now Jaguar’s made one, Lamborghini’s planning one and Maserati’s launching one.

The Levante is a large SUV, more than 5 metres long, so it competes with the Cayenne rather than the Porsche Macan. The five-seat model uses the same architecture as its turnaround Quattroporte and Ghibli, including the same engines: V6 turbo, either petrol or diesel.

Maserati Levante 2016

Prices will start at around £53,000 – £55,000 when ordering starts in the UK this summer. First deliveries will be in the autumn and Maserati reckons it will double its British volume, to around 3,000 units a year. The Levante is a big deal for the revered, revived and growing Italian premium brand.

Will this be the car that does a Cayenne for Maserati, giving it the financial strength to grow and launch beautiful new models such as the Alfieri concept? Is it a compelling new sports SUV that drives well enough and looks good enough to sway the naysayers? To Italy, to find out.

It does look good (but you probably won’t believe me)

Maserati Levante 2016

First thing, the styling. Social media’s first reaction hasn’t been convincing and we weren’t convinced when we saw it poorly lit in blocky white at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Cue the usual modern car excuse: you need to see it in the metal.

The Levante is a big car, with striking proportions – a long bonnet, a cab-back look. With its sleek roofline and bold rear haunches, it has attitude. It makes a Cayenne look a bit top-heavy and snub-nose. The grille looks enormous in images (it is enormous, intentionally), but proportionally works in the metal. Besides, modern Maserati likes big grilles.

The designer told us the front was created to make an impact, the sides to carry it off and the rear to be beautiful and elegant. The rear is the bit I kept coming back to. Its curvaceous tail and super-pumped haunches look terrific (hang the rear three-quarter visibility!) and, trident badge sitting proudly above, will sell the Levante in showrooms alone.

It’s roomy in the back and has a big boot

Maserati Levante 2016

The Ghibli is not a roomy car. Not compared to rivals the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The Levante, which is derived from the same flexible architecture, could thus have stumbled here. It doesn’t, thanks to 5,003mm of length, 1,968mm of width and a 3,004mm wheelbase.

It’s still not particularly space efficient, not like a Jaguar F-Pace, but the sheer size liberates just enough room in the back for adults, plus a boot that’s as double-take big as the Ghibli is small. 580 litres is commodious and the beautifully finished trunk is long and wide, if not the deepest. Details like the delightful Alcantara parcel shelf compensate (and all have an electric tailgate).

Maserati Levante 2016

Front seats are firm and supportive, more like sports saloon than SUV seats (a theme, this…) and the two outer seats in the rear are semi-bolstered, which is a nice touch. You even get a decent view out around the front seats, and the same ‘stay-clean’ door openings as a Land Rover (and Jaguar F-Pace).

Cabin fit and finish is impressive and the luxury feel is everywhere

Maserati Levante 2016

Another potential hurdle for Maserati: quality. Porsche is a formidable rival. What must have been an immense effort has delivered a Levante up to standard.

You sit SUV-high in step-up interior but still feel like you’re sitting low, and Maserati cowled dials, steering wheel and pistol-grip gearshifter are further saloon cues. It has lots of depth, acres of beautiful leather (in the test cars at least) and a clear, contemporary modernity no other current Maserati matches.

There’s ergonomic attention to detail and, most significantly, the step-up material quality. It’s hard to find jarring low-rent plastics, impossible to find old Fiat hand-me-down switchgear. Maserati has stepped up its game here and it’s evident throughout.

Surprise: the diesel sounds good. No surprise: the Ferrari-built petrol sounds sublime

Maserati Levante 2016

The 275hp 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel is built by an Italian company called VM. In the Ghibli, it’s OK: in the Levante, it’s very good. It’s smooth, more than fast enough (0-62mph in 6.9 seconds) and responsive. It also sounds like a throbby V8, thanks to two Maserati Active Sound actuators on the exhaust tailpipes.

Ferrari co-developed and builds the Levante 3.0-litre petrol V6, offered in 350hp and 430hp guise. The 430hp version sounds sublime. It growls, wails, the exhausts bark and yowl at high revs, indecently and brilliantly loudly. It’s very Italian and very wonderful.

Don’t get caught at low revs in the diesel: it’s a single turbo and the 2,200kg kerbweight shows when it’s not spooling fast enough. The petrol is much better here: it’s parallel twin turbo so there’s less inertia to overcome at low revs: peak torque of 427lb-ft is from 1,750rpm, rather than 2,000rpm in the diesel. Clearly, every little helps.

It handles far better than you’d ever believe a 2.2-tonne SUV could

Maserati Levante 2016

Maserati hasn’t kept the weight down but it has kept the centre of gravity down, lower than any rival SUV, in fact. It has a 50:50 weight distribution, rear-biased four-wheel drive system, limited-slip differential, torque vectoring and on-demand Q4 AWD.

Roll is minimised and it’s both not so nose-heavy in corners and well balanced as you press on. Almost uniquely for a new-launch car, it also has hydraulic power steering, which is positive, well-weighted and nuanced enough to wish it didn’t use so much fuel.

The sportiness and fluidity of the big Levante is a surprise. It genuinely handles engagingly, confidently, accurately, with driver-pleasing dynamism and none of the soggy wallow you’d fear from an SUV. It certainly has much more integrity than we were expecting, this Maserati.

It can off-road

Maserati Levante 2016

Early in Levante development, Maserati sought advice from the SUV experts in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group – Jeep. There are worse 4×4 gurus to pick the brains of.

It then went and did its own thing, with its own technology. The combination has created an SUV able off-road, so long as it’s not too extreme: pretty much anything any Levante owner will ask of it, the Maserati SUV copes.

Traction is good, grip is good, the various systems and adjustable ride height are smart and the electronics are discreet, helpful, well-developed systems that show the finesse and expertise of presumably having Jeep’s watchful eye via a plane from Toledo, Ohio if they wanted it.

It has air springs and Skyhook dampers – as standard

Maserati Levante 2016

Key to it driving so well is the expensive standardisation of air springs and Skyhook active dampers. We didn’t want it to drive like a traditional SUV, the chief engineer told me: so we had to have them.

Air springs means a cushioned, absorbent ride at speed (despite the 20-inch wheels of the test car); Skyhook means it’s tied down and free from the float less sports-focused air-sprung cars exhibit. Air springs also means adjustable ride height, Skyhook means at-a-press suspension stiffening without the harshness that comes with it.

The system gives a special, premium feel to how the Levante rolls along, and the configurability, from two levels of sport to a full-travel off-road mode, may require a confusing combination of pressing buttons and toggling levers, but delivers in practice.

It has a fancy new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay

Existing Maserati infotainment systems are clunky and past-era. Not ideal when premium rivals are pushing ahead and buyers are increasingly buying cars based on smartphone-like gadgetry. Enter an all-new infotainment system that’s night and day better.

It looks classier, with crisper graphics and a nicer capacitive touchscreen; even better, it incorporates Apple CarPlay, which will be an instant win for anyone who’s ever tried it. Simply plug in your iPhone and you’re away.

It has fancier mapping, prettier logic and is backed up by a more comprehensive colour screen in between the analogue dials The work’s been worth it here, Maserati.

It’s a luxurious car to drive and be driven in

Maserati Levante 2016

The Levante has an appealing roll-along feel that’s luxurious, refined and together. Its body control is well bred, the ride is generally quiet and the engines, while usually audible (intentionally – it’s part of the sporty character), make a rich and premium range of noises.

It’s a car that has appeal and makes you feel good about yourself, while also proving adept on the road and, in the same way that SUVs from Porsche and Jaguar are genuine Porsches and Jaguars, justifies Maserati’s tagline that it’s the Maserati of SUVs.

Maserati Levante review: first verdict

Maserati Levante 2016

The Maserati Levante surprised us. It is a convincing luxury SUV with a sporty character and impressive driving manners. The interior is roomy enough, quality and tactility is high and Maserati has brought key areas such as infotainment and build quality up to scratch.

You may not be sure of the looks, but reserve judgement until you see the big Levante in the metal. A potentially well-priced large SUV that brings something new to the market, it shows that Maserati can make an SUV – an impressively rich and appealing one at that.


  • Good to drive; fun and comfortable
  • Charismatic engines
  • Unexpected quality and practicality


  • Styling and concept are proving divisive
  • Roomy enough but not hugely space-efficient
  • Premium diesel thirst; good, no more

Maserati Levante: need to know

  • It’s a 5-metre long large premium SUV that competes with the Porsche Cayenne
  • Prices start from £53,000-£55,000
  • A 275hp V6 diesel engine is the only officially confirmed engine in the UK but the CEO says a 430hp Ferrari-built model “will be sold in right-hand drive”
  • Ordering opens in the summer and deliveries begin in the autumn
  • There are models that do 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds, reach 164mph, average 39.2mpg and emit 189g/km CO2

2016 Maserati Levante: specifications

Maserati Levante 2016

Model tested: 3.0 V6 diesel

Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel

Price: From £53,000 – £55,000 (est)

Power: 275hp

Torque: 442lb-ft

0-62mph: 6.9secs

Top speed: 143mph

Fuel economy: 39.2mpg

CO2 emissions: 189g/km

Length/width/height: 5,003/1,968/1,679mm

Boot space: 580 litres

Kerb weight: 2,205kg