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2013's Highest-Priced Auction Cars

BOSTON (MainStreet) -- Forget the Dow Industrials' 26.5% gain last year. Collectible-car prices rose more than 40% -- and rare Ferraris saw their value shoot up more than twice as much as the Dow.

"There's a global realization that the automobile as a collectible is very exciting and rewarding," says David Gooding of Gooding & Co., a California auction house that sold $192.6 million worth of collector cars last year.

Experts say collector-car auctions have shifted into high gear since shortly after 2008's global financial collapse, when bank deposits began paying terrible interest and seemed anything but low risk.

"Even if you're satisfied with your bank account's security, it's not earning much money for you," says James Knight of auction house Bonhams, which last year sold one car for nearly $30 million -- believed to be an all-time industry high.

Market tracker Historic Auto Group estimates that prices gained 46.8% worldwide, with rare Ferraris rising 62.1% on average -- the steepest percentage gains for the Ferrari brand and the industry as a whole in about a quarter-century.

Gooding, whose firm auctioned off one of 2013's costliest Ferraris, said the Italian-made cars "are sought after by everyone [in the collecting world]. Globally, Ferrari is a brand that has huge strength."

Even the famous "Ferris Bueller Ferrari," one of three replica 1963 Ferrari California Spyders used in filming the 1986 Matthew Broderick comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off, sold at auction for $235,000 last summer. (Filmmakers used replicas of the costly Spyder because Bueller's buddy Cameron famously destroys the car near the movie's end.)

Read on to check out the five cars that garnered 2013's highest auction prices, according to interviews with industry experts.

Rankings exclude private, non-auction sales (which are typically confidential), while all dollar figures are rounded off to the nearest $100,000. Winning bids from overseas auctions reflect exchange rates prevalent at the time a vehicle went under the gavel.

2013's fifth-costliest auction car: 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louver Berlinetta
Price:
$9.5 million

"Cars like this certainly made the Ferrari a legend," says Gooding, whose firm auctioned off the 14-Louver Berlinetta last August in California. "It has everything that makes a Ferrari exciting. It looks great, it sounds great, it's fun to drive and it's a rarity."

The car attracted the highest auction price ever for its vehicle type, of which only nine were built and eight survive.

Designed for both racing and "regular" driving, the 14-Louver Berlinetta placed fourth in Italy's 1957 Coppa Inter-Europa race and ninth in the 1957 Mille Miglia competition there.

The vehicle, which recently underwent a two-year restoration, features a 240-horsepower V-12 engine, four-wheel finned-alloy drum brakes and three Weber 36 DCL/3 carburetors.