|The Batmobile at auction last month.|
Price: $1.2 million The King of Rock 'n' Roll drove this posh convertible during the 1966 musical comedy Spinout, in which Presley played a combination musician/race-car driver. (His character raced sports cars, but used the Duesenberg for everyday transportation.) One of just two 1929 Duesenberg Model J Phaetons ever produced with a dual cowl and a short wheelbase, the car sold at auction in 2011 for $1.2 million. Duesenbergs were the Rolls-Royces of their day, starting at what would be the equivalent of around $270,000 today. The brand was so exclusive that some experts believe the expression "a real doozy" originally referred to Duesenbergs. The Duesenberg used in Spinout features a 265-horsepower engine and an exterior custom built by one of the 1920s' best "coachwork" firms. RM spent months before the auction restoring the vehicle -- a good move, since Presley apparently dented the car's underside during filming. Actually, the musician is said to have apologized to the owner at the time, gotten the car fixed and offered to trade a new Cadillac and some cash for the Duesenberg.
Price: $1.4 million RM's Kelleher says bids for this sports car shot way past expectations at auction primarily because of McQueen's association with the vehicle. The actor not only drove the 200-horsepower car during Le Mans' opening scene, but owned it as part of his extensive auto collection. Kelleher says the Porsche also has "all of the right elements in its history -- it's a very desirable collectible car for its period and it's in beautiful condition." The seller also threw in all of the car's original paperwork, signed by McQueen himself before the actor's 1980 death.
Price: $4.6 million How many car owners can say their ride has an ejector seat, a smoke-screen maker and a half-dozen other secret-agent features? Probably just one -- the person who bought this 1964 Aston Martin DB5 at auction in 2010 for 2.9 million British pounds (a shade over $4.6 million at then-current exchange rates). The car is the only surviving one of two DB5s to appear in James Bond movies Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965). It's so unusual that the vehicle went on display at the 1964 New York World's Fair, while British model-maker Corgi's version of the car is said to have been 1965's top-selling toy. "The following for that car is just beyond anything I think we've ever seen," says RM's Kelleher, whose firm auctioned off the vehicle. The expert estimates a standard 1964 DB5 would have only sold for around $300,000 to $500,000 at the time. "The overwhelming majority of the price achieved for that car was because of the James Bond franchise," he says.
Price: $4.6 million Some 12,000 people packed a 3-acre tent in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month to watch Barrett-Jackson auction off this car from iconic television show Batman. Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson says the vehicle would have attracted an even higher price than the $4.6 million it sold for had the last two bidders not decided to flip a coin to decide who got the car. "One of the men said he'd brought $10 million, but who knows at what point one of them would have said: 'This is crazy!'" Jackson says. The auctioneer believes the vehicle attracted such a lofty price because the Batmobile "was one of the stars of the show. It did things -- it was an integral part of Batman and Robin catching criminals." After all, the vehicle has all sorts of superhero gadgets, from a built-in "batphone" to two rear-mounted parachutes.
Price: $7.25 million This car had a big year in 1965, first winning the FIA World Sportscar Championship and later appearing in cult-classic racing film Redline 7000. "I don't think the car sold for what it did because of the movie, but I do think they picked it for the film because it was seen as rare and valuable even then," says Mecum's Murtaugh, whose company auctioned off the Cobra Daytona Coupe in 2009. Legendary auto designer Carroll Shelby and his associates built just six of the cars in 1964-65, aiming to become the first American team to win a FIA crown. The model that Mecum sold in 2009 is the car that actually crossed the finish line at Reims, France, to lock up the championship -- on July 4, 1965, of all dates. The Cobra then appeared in Redline 7000, directed by Hollywood legend Howard Hawks and starring a very young James Caan. (The car is the blue vehicle in the ditch at the beginning of this clip.) Murtaugh says the Cobra attracted such a high price because "it has the whole package -- it's a Shelby, it's a championship car and it's one of only six ever produced. The Redline 7000 appearance was just a bonus."