) -- The most expensive cars that sold at auction in 2012 didn't have four-wheel drive, but did carry seven- and eight-figure price tags.
"There's a growing acceptance of [high-end] cars being seen as very valuable rather than just being seen as being used," says David Brynan of California auction house
Gooding & Co.
which auctioned off 2012's two costliest cars. "A lot of collectors place cars in same realm as art and antiques these days."
Gooding and other high-end auctioneers reported record sales for high-end car auctions last year despite the world's widespread economic woes.
In fact, experts say today's shaky financial markets are prompting more and more ultra-wealthy people to invest in high-end cars.
"Rich people see collector cars as a good way to store money," Brynan says. "Someone who's willing to part with $10 million to buy something might want a physical asset that they can see, not just a stock certificate."
Max Girardo of Canada's
adds that today's paltry interest rates help the market as well.
"If you're wealthy and you love cars, you might as well have one in the garage that you can enjoy and that will probably appreciate," he says. "You're not really going to get any return if you keep your money in a bank."
Here's a look at the highest-priced cars that sold in 2012 at auctions run by Gooding, RM and other top houses. Listings exclude vehicles sold in private sales, which aren't disclosed to the public.