Stories that insurance salesman use to scare their children.
Over the years we’ve seen reports and pictures of rare and exotic cars being crashed and sometimes it’s comical, sometimes baffling, sometimes sad, and sometimes it’s horrific. These are the most expensive crashes that have evoked an emotional reaction from us in one way or another. Thankfully nobody was killed in any of these incidents or, as far as we know, seriously injured. However, there’s a lot of damaged pride, damaged metal, and in one case, a prison sentence.
This could be the most expensive low-speed road crash yet. There are very few places in the world this could happen, but outside Place du Casino in Monte Carlo, expensive cars are as common as Toyotas in a Toyota dealer car park. The hapless driver of a Bentley Azure managed to scrape down the side of a white S-Class Mercedes, which wouldn’t have been the end of the world except she then managed to hit a Ferrari F430. That wouldn’t have been the end of the world, except she also managed to hit an Aston Martin Rapide and a Porsche 911 leaving them needing new wings.
If that isn’t embarrassing enough, the woman and her two friends found themselves stuck between a throng of tourists and damaged cars, unable to exit the Bentley while people Instagrammed the hell out of the incident. Of course, media at the time made a big deal out of the driver being a female blond, but in reality, there’s plenty of men out there with that much more money than sense. This just happened to be a very public incident.
Somewhere around Tokyo, police reported that a Ferrari that tried to change lanes, bounced off the median barrier, then spun across the highway. Video footage shows the resulting damage includes the wreckage of several red Ferraris. Reports claim eight Ferraris were involved, plus a Lamborghini Diablo, two Mercedes, and some reports claim an R33 Skyline. In Japan, Ferraris rarely go for less than $100,000 so the $100,000,000 of damage could be dramatically underestimated. When it comes to Japan, crashing into groups of Ferrari's appears to be becoming a popular pastime.
This one is neither funny nor particularly spectacular, just the sad sight of one of 337 built Japanese icons turned to scrap after a 100 foot tall rotted and hollowed out old beech collapsed on it. Amazingly, the occupants are reported to have escaped with minor injuries.
This was the second time the British comedian stuffed his F1 off the road. We’re not going to criticize though because Atkinson is famed for daily driving the cars he loves and loves to drive hard. Neither time he crashed it was it written off, and the second time it cost his insurance company $1.4 million to put back together and its since been sold to a new owner.
Back in 2007, B-list actor and comedian Eddie Griffin took part in a charity race as part of the promotion for the movie Redline. Somehow, he managed to understeer a Ferrari Enzo into a concrete barrier. There were conspiracy theories that it was a publicity stunt, but that’s one hell of an expensive car to write off for a movie famously funded by subprime loans taken out by the director.
The Enzo was technically a write-off, but a Texan luxury car repair and salesman called Matt Groner bought it, rebuilt it, then sold it for a little less than a one that had never been crashed.
If you haven’t seen the video before, then you’re in for a rare treat. It opens with the person holding the video camera thinking the Bugatti Veyron he’s filming is a Lamborghini, but then the Veyron drives off the road and into the lake for no apparent reason. As an epilogue to this jaw-dropping video, the star of this viral hit is a Texan salvage yard owner that had just insured the Veyron for $2,200,000 and claimed he had been distracted by a pelican. He was later convicted of insurance fraud when it was proved he had deliberately driven into the water. Later still, he got himself in more stupid car related trouble.
At the 2010 Monterey Reunion, legendary race car driver Stirling Moss was left hopeless when his Porsche RS61’s gearbox seized during a warm-up lap at the Laguna Seca track and another racer ran into him. The car 80-year-old Moss had bought for $1,700,000 was undrivable after the hit but it was repaired later. It was well worth doing as it's such a rare car with a long history that it’s now worth around double what he paid for it.
Now we’re getting into the crazy expensive wrecks. Only three of these Mercedes SLS race cars were built in the 1950s. During a race at the Goodwood Member’s Meeting in 2015, this one hit the back of a 1950s Lister-Jaguar Knobbly race car as it moved in to pit from the track and demolished the respective end of each.
From 1956 to 1961, Ferrari only made 33 250 Testa Rossas in all its variants and the only Ferrari considered more valuable to collectors is the 250 GTO. This Testa Rossa was driven by owner David Love when it lost its brakes before Laguna Sega’s Corkscrew, bounced through the gravel trap, and hit the tire wall that brought it to a stop. Although it’s heartbreaking to see, at that kind of value it did get repaired and the car was doing exactly what it was designed to do. Well, right up until the brakes failed, anyway.
According to the reports, this 250 GTO is owned by American investor and millionaire Christopher Cox and it was hit from behind by another car in 2012, braking Cox's wife’s arm in the process. This was reported at the time as the most expensive car crash in history, which we suspect is true. At this level of collectors cars, they are so rare that if they are rebuilt properly, and they are, then the money lost in a crash is only in the repair bill. However, it’s impossible to call a price as it’s unlikely the repair cost will ever be known.
While there are no photos available of the crash, the 250 GTO went into the Ferrari Classiche department in Maranello and was restored to the condition it was delivered to its first owner in. The reason we suspect this is likely the most expensive car crash in history is that two years at Ferrari’s hourly rate for restoring the most collectible cars in the world is probably quite a bit more than Hank’s Auto Repair down the street would charge us.
As for value, at the time 250 GTO models were swapping hands for around $30,000,000 but since then they’ve broken all kinds of records. One went in 2018 at auction for $48,000,000 and another reportedly traded hands for a staggering $70,000,000.