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Car prices range quite widely in the world market. While most of us are confortable in our moderately priced hatchback or sedans, the exotic car market tends to be slightly more lucrative. Familiar brands like Bugatti, Ferrari, and Lamborghini immediately come to mind when we think of astronomically priced vehicles, with some old models costing more money than god could earn. A recently compiled list has put together the most expensive in the world, showing how an investment in one of these vehicles can truly pay off.

With so many luxury vehicles on the market, it’s interesting to note that the most lucrative sale occurred this year. The car in question was a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype, which sold for $16.4 million. While it was certainly a one of a kind model, the price paid for this vehicle verges on the immoral. Second on the list is another Ferrari Testa Rossa, albeit an older model from 1957. This beauty sold for less than the previous Ferrari but still broke records with its $12.4 million dollar price tag. The third, a 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB California, and forth, a 1931 Bugatti Type 41, both sold for around $10 million, with the fifth, a 1957 Aston Martin DBR2 selling for slightly less.

While most of us have been affected by the recession and could not dream of purchasing such a vehicle, there are a select few that have maintained their considerable wealth. Emmanuel Sauz has complied a list of the top 0.1% wealthy individuals in America, showing that there has been an increase from the average $1.2 million in 1985 to $3.9 million in 2008. This market is dependent on such ‘lucky’ individuals, ultimately relying on them to keep it moving.

It is not surprising to see that both charts are ultimately comparable, showing ever more clearly a widening of social gaps. The surge in wealth can be directly linked with the boom of the stock market and the creation of the Internet. However, this trend, rather than behaving proportionately to the losses following the 2008 recession, has acted much differently for the 0.1% of the population.

Who knew that cars could potentially act as a litmus test for our economic woes. It will be interesting to see how the development of the global economic system will effected the luxury market in the next few years and if the ever greater rise in their cost will continue on.