A car is considered to be one of the “Great Cars” by virtue of its rarity, beauty, and performance and/or its history, of either competition or ownership. For example a Ford owned by Franklin Delano Roosevelt would be worth far more than the same car owned by someone not in the public eye.
Rarity: Most of the World’s Great Cars were made in very small numbers and usually were very expensive new, hence the small number of cars sold.
Beauty: Of the aforementioned rare cars, some were clothed with bodies of exceptional beauty, with coaches by Saoutchik, Figoni et Falaschi or some of the better English coach builders, such as Barker, Hooper and Gurney Nutting.
Performance: Cars are a joy to behold but in many cases also a pleasure to drive. A car such as an 8C Alfa or a Gran Prix Bugatti appeal to nearly all of the senses – sight, sound, smell, etc.
Competition History: A Ferrari that won Le Mans is more valuable that the identical car that was not supported by the works and was sold to an individual owner – the same for any car built especially for competition.
Ownership History: A car belonging to a king of England or the President of the United States iw worth considerably more than the same car sold to a non-entity. In recent times, the DB5 of James Bond fame achieved 10 times the value of an ordinary DB5, and the Steve McQueen 911 Porsche received a huge sum compared to a normal 911.
As a caveat to all the cars we have mentioned, a huge amount of importance is attached to cars having their original coachwork and matching numbers, i.e. engine number and chassis number. By matching numbers we mean the original fitted to the car when new. In some cases, like Ferrari, it is the exact same number. Other manufacturers have a different set of numbers; for those we mean having numbers that are the same as on the original build sheet.