Cars are rarely an appreciating asset, but every so often, a classic will fetch a gargantuan price at auction and capture the attention of the world, prompting classic car owners to wonder, is it time to sell my car? A lot of things can drive up the price of classic cars, like their rarity or overall condition, but nothing more so than Hollywood, it seems. Hollywood has transformed classic cars of all calibers into bona fide movie stars, adding several 0’s to the end of their dollar value.
1994 Toyota Supra
No movie franchise is more intertwined with automotive culture than Fast & Furious. Throughout its nine-film run, countless hot rods have had the chance to grace the silver screen, thus gaining followings that can rival the films themselves. One such car is the iconic, bright orange 1994 Toyota Supra driven primarily by Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor. It made news this year when it fetched $550,000 at auction in June. The Toyota Supra is already a fan favorite, being well-suited for simple modifications that bump its power output significantly, but this particular Supra holds a special spot in the hearts of many, putting a premium on its price tag that’s got a lot more driving it than the vehicle’s impressive engine.
1968 Dodge Charger
Another of the most recognizable cars from the Fast & Furious franchise is the 1968 Dodge Charger driven by Dom Toretto. For “Furious 7”, a heavily modified 1968 Dodge Charger was created and became known as Maximus the Ultra Charger. The one-of-a-kind vehicle is said to have taken over 16,000 hours to create and has a distinctive all-metal body painted with a clear coat. It’s powered by a 9.4 liter V8 with a pair of turbochargers for a ballpark 2,250 hp. In 2019, Maximus the Ultra Charger was sent off to the Riyadh Auction, but fans need not worry; it’s slated to return for the 10th installment of the Fast & Furious franchise.
1995 McLaren F1
Purchased by celebrities such as Jay Leno, George Harrison, and Elon Musk, the 1995 McLaren F1 is definitely a Hollywood favorite. It’s also incredibly expensive – in August of 2021, one sold at Gooding & Co.’s Pebble Beach auction for a dizzying $20,465,000. Celebrity endorsements certainly don’t hurt the McLaren’s astronomical value, but this car has the chops to back its reputation up. No expense was spared in its creation, which involved materials such as gold and Kevlar. The manufacturer’s flagship vehicle was designed by Formula One’s Gordon Murray, who ensured the vehicle was up to snuff on the racetrack. In 1993, it broke the record for the world’s fastest car, reaching a speed of 231 mph, and remains the fastest naturally aspirated vehicle to date.
1964 Aston Martin DB5
The Aston Martin DB5 is a high-valued luxury vehicle in and of itself, but throw in a movie role, and it skyrockets to stardom. The 1964 Aston Martin DB5, originally making its Hollywood debut as the vehicle driven by James Bond in Goldfinger, became synonymous with the franchise. One such vehicle, made for promotional purposes for the release of “Thunderball” sold for $6,385,000 at auction in 2019. It was one of two vehicles that was built to be a perfect match for the vehicle driven by James Bond in Goldfinger, complete with functional smoke dispensers and .30 caliber machine guns stowed away in both fenders. The buyer is unknown, but it’s safe to assume it was probably a spy.
2004 Maybach 57
Calling a 2004 model year a classic is probably a stretch, but the 2004 Maybach 57 featured in the music video “Otis” definitely has cultural significance. In the opening shots of the video, JAY-Z and Kanye West menacingly approach a pristine 2004 Maybach 57, holding a torch and a saw. What transpires for the rest of the Spike Jonez-directed video is the pair of them driving around in a deconstructed and oddly-modified Maybach. Its doors were removed and mounted as wings on the rear, the exhaust spews fire, and the body is covered in sheet metal. The 2004 Maybach 57 is an exception to the rule of this list, in the sense that rubbing elbows with celebrities wasn’t enough to make it more valuable. In 2012, it sold for a less-than-expected $60,000 at auction (the retail for a typical Maybach 57 is $300,000). Although, the drop in value likely had less to do with the video itself and more to do with its destructive deconstruction.
1981 DeLorean DMC-12
The DeLorean DMC-12 was well on its way to obscurity due to underwhelming sales during its disastrous three-year run. Just when it seemed there was no hope for the DeLorean, Hollywood swooped in and took the pretty-but-sluggish vehicle under its wing and made it a star. There were a total of six DeLoreans used in the filming of Back to the Future, three of which are still intact. One of them sold at auction in 2011 for $541,000. It was used during the filming of the third installment of the series and was modified into a dune buggy of sorts for scenes where it’s racing through a desert. It’s got several Volkswagen parts, including the suspension and engine, meaning it probably runs a lot better than factory DeLoreans.
1964 Rolls-Royce Phantom V
Rolls-Royces and British celebrities go together like tea and crumpets. John Lennon became one of many famous Brits to join the Rolls-Royce-owning club with his purchase of a 1964 Rolls-Royce Phantom V. The luxury limousine is already decorated with ridiculously upscale features, like a cocktail cabinet and reading lamps, but John Lennon customized his to new levels of extravagance. He installed a floating record player (so the needle won’t jump while the car is driving) and a back seat that folds down to a double bed. The most iconic – and most John Lennon – modification is the psychedelic paint job, which was supposedly John Lennon’s way of giving the middle finger to British pompousness. The groovy Rolls-Royce was purchased by Jim Pattison for $2,229,000.
1970 Porsche 917K
The 24 Hours of Le Mans isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Participating drivers are tasked with covering as much distance as possible, driving for 24 hours straight. The race was depicted in 1971 in the film Le Mans with America’s favorite bad boy, Steve McQueen, starring as the leading role. The real star, arguably, was the 1970 Porsche 917K Steve McQueen drove in the movie. It actually competed in the titular race in 1970, although it crashed before completing it. The vehicle has been restored to its original condition and is currently for sale. It’s expected to sell somewhere in the range of $16,000,000 to $18,500,000.
The Hollywood Effect
If you’re looking for ways to boost the value of your classic car, you may want to consider hiring an agent and investing in some headshots. If that’s not in the cards, you could always schedule regular maintenance, clean it often, and try to keep the number on the odometer low.