The Most Expensive Car In Ralph Lauren's Collection

Fashion designer Ralph Lauren has one of the world's greatest car collections. It isn't the largest, nor is it packed full of contemporary, carbon-clad hypercars. It also lacks the prominent race cars some collectors lust after, but that doesn't make it any less special.

Instead, Lauren's collection is one that demonstrates excellent taste, but also comprises cars that have appreciated considerably since their purchase. It's a collection that has been purchased thoughtfully, with many cars added long before their prices sky-rocketed off the back of more recent demand. It isn't easy to determine which of the cars is the most valuable. Partly because he has owned them for so long, but also because some are so incredibly rare, and with such storied histories, that sticking a price in their windshield is almost impossible.

That said, there are two that stand out from the crowd. They are the one-of-four 1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic and the one-of-36 Ferrari 250 GTOs.

We'll come to the better-known Ferrari later, but for now we think the Bugatti deserves its story to be told.

Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic

Just four examples of the Atlantic were built by French automaker Bugatti between 1936 and 1938. The first, pictured above, was sold to Victor Rothschild and is now owned by collector Peter Mullin and exhibited at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California. The second car was built for Jean Bugatti, son of company founder Ettore, painted black and known as La Voiture Noire. This Atlantic disappeared in 1938 and hasn't been seen since, although it is rumored that Jean moved the car to a safe region of France after the German army invaded Alsace. Tantalizingly, the car could still be hidden in a barn to this day — and if ever discovered, Bugatti says, it could be worth over €100 million ($104 million).

The third was "completely destroyed," Bugatti says, when it was hit by a train in 1955, but was later rebuilt and shown at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The fourth and final Bugatti Atlantic was first sold to a British customer called R.B. Pope, who then sold it to JCB chairman and renowned car collector Anthony Bamford, before it was acquired by Lauren in 1988, according to Exclusive Car Registry. But, while Jean Bugatti's Type 57 SC Atlantic could well be worth over $100 million (if it is ever found), and the example now owned by Mullin sold in 2010 for a rumored $40 million (via TopGear), it's hard to say what Lauren's might sell for.

Ferrari 250 GTO

Purchased by Lauren for $300,000 in the 1980s (via the Financial Times), Ferrari 250 GTO chassis number 3987GT is likely the most valuable car in the fashion designer's collection. Built in 1962, the car achieved six race wins and three further podium finishes in period, according to the database.

The GTO has not raced under Lauren's ownership, but instead appeared at the Fine Arts Museum, in Boston, in 2005 and was shown with several of his cars at an exhibition called L'Art de l'Automobile at The Louvre, Paris, in 2011.

Between 1968 and 1971 the Ferrari was owned by movie producer and director Stephen Mitchell, who described it as "the love of my life" during an interview with Serge Dermanian, who used to look after Lauren's car collection.

Valuing a 250 GTO is difficult, with prices varying significantly depending on the car's history and racing achievements. For example, in 2018 two GTOs changed hands within weeks of each other. The first, which won the 1964 Tour de France, was reportedly bought in June 2018 for $70 million (via Autocar). This earned it the title of the world's most expensive car, which it held until Mercedes sold a 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe for a record-breaking $142.5 million in 2022. The second GTO to sell in 2018, this time a model upgraded in period to the rarer series II specification, sold at auction just two months later for $48.4 million (via RM Sotheby's) — $20 million short of the Tour de France winner.

Other highlights from Ralph Lauren's collection

Aside from the Ferrari and Bugatti, there's plenty more to get excited about behind the doors of Lauren's secretive garage, a renovated former car dealership in Westchester County, New York. Photos from a 2017 fashion show hosted in the garage show a Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Aston Martin DB5 Volante, Ferrari 250 LM, Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and a Ferrari 275 GTB Spyder, among others (via GQ). He also owns a never-raced Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa and a one-of-16 Jaguar XKSS, a model famously owned by Steve McQueen, whose was worth an estimated $30 million in 2014.

Alongside these sits a one-of-five McLaren F1 LM, built to celebrate McLaren's outright victory at the 1995 24 hours of Le Mans and worth nearly $20 million — a conservative estimate, given a regular F1 converted to LM specification sold for $19.8 million in 2019 (via RM Sotheby's).

Lauren also owns a 1929 Birkin Blower Bentley, which, although not a successful racer, is now worth a fortune, and a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing from 1955. A similar Gullwing sold at auction in January 2022 for $6.8 million