Petrolheads shelled out more than £26 million at the RM Auctions event in Monaco, with ten cars fetching in excess of £800,000 each. But it was the stunning 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Spider, dubbed the 'prettiest ever made', which stole the show after a bidding frenzy broke out among wealthy investors.
The auction house was hoping the car would fetch around £2.4 million but, as with many classic Ferraris, this proved to be a conservative estimate. Jaws dropped around the hall when the hammer eventually went down at £4 million - making it the star lot.
One of just two ever built, the 55-year-old car has been described as 'one of the prettiest ever Ferraris' boasting a 'design without fault'. The 1950s racer was originally fitted with a 2.5-litre engine but underwent a full restoration in 1982 and now has a 3-litre V12 engine which develops 320bhp.
It was first owned by an American racing driver but had been in the same hands for the past 30-years before it went under the hammer in Monaco. A further five classic Ferraris fetched in excess of £800,000.
Two models - a 1966 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spyder and 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder 'Tuboscocca' - sold for £2million each. Max Girardo, managing director, RM Europe, said: 'Monaco 2012 has been a fantastic success. 'This sale rates as one of Europe's highest grossing collector car sales of all time and most certainly the highest grossing collector car auction in Europe this year.'
Peter Haynes, from the saleroom, said: 'The car is incredibly rare because only two were made of this model. It was always going to make good money but did much better than the estimate. 'It really ticked all the boxes and because it has been in single ownership for the last 30 years no one has had the chance to buy it.
‘It also is a 'matching numbers' car and that adds to its desirability. And it comes from the great era of racing Ferraris. It was bought new by the Ferrari dealer John van Neumann and was raced by Richie Ginther. It was restored in the 1980s and the market has demonstrated that if you get the right car its value will only go in one direction.'