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Revealed: the cost of The Cars That Changed the World

One of the biggest talking points of the 2015 London Classic Car Show is the Cars That Changed the World exhibit, a collection of 13 inspirational models picked by Top Gear presenter James May. The show is on from 9-11 January at the ExCel centre.

The cars span more than 120 years of motoring, ranging from the first true car, the 1886 Benz Motorwagen to the 2009 Bruno Mars Rover. While it isn’t possible to buy them all, some are classics that have been offered recently at auction.  

Using’s in-depth auction sales database of more than 5,000 cars sold at auction in 2014, we reveal that you could create your own collection of some of these motoring icons for £458,200.

The Benz Motorwagen is hailed as the first real car. While finding one at auction is virtually impossible, you could settle for a slightly less historically important model - a 1901 Benz Ideal 4 ½ hp was sold at Bonhams’ Mercedes-Benz Museum Auction last year for just under £375,000.

In comparison, Ford’s Model T, the first production-line car, can be snapped up fairly cheaply. A 1927 saloon sold for £11,200 in the UK last year and a desirable bustle-back 1924 roadster went for £3,775 at a Bonhams USA sale.

Another car for the people is the Volkswagen Beetle, though the earliest examples have become less attainable by ordinary enthusiasts in recent years. An immaculate, restored 1955 Beetle Cabriolet achieved more than £50,000 in 2014, and the average auction price for late 1950s saloons over the past two years is more than £10,000.

Values of the best examples of the original Mk1 Mini have been strong throughout 2014, averaging just over £16,000. The highest price – £85,500 - was paid for an original 1964 Cooper 1275 S with period competition history, but mainstream 1960s models sold for an average of £12,000.

The Ford Mustang - the fastest selling car in history – is as popular as ever today, with an overall average sale price average exceeding £56,000 in 2014. That does include the stellar performing GT350 Paxton Prototype, which went for £520,000 in RM’s Monterey sale. Without that and other GT350s, the average dips slightly to just over £50,000. 

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By Claire Evans

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