The value of a celebrity-driven car

February 10, 2011 12:00 AM

When a 1929 Duesenberg car went up for auction recently, sellers thought a buyer would spend maybe just under one million. Instead, it sold for nearly a quarter-million more - a staggering $1.2 million, reports the New York Times.

Despite being in good condition, it's a bit head scratching that a car of its kind would sell for so much. So what gives?

Perhaps it's the fact the Elvis Presley drove the vehicle during his role in the 1966 "Spinout." The car had a fairly lame purpose in the movie, too. Presley drove it to tow race cars. Thrilling. It is fairly cool-looking for such an old car, but the novelty factor plus Elvis doesn't really equate to $1.2 million.

"It had an extensive and interesting history. Without that provenance, however, such a car might have brought 15 to 20 percent less," said Shelby Myers, a value specialist for RM Auctions.

Spikes in value due to celebrity involvement isn't without precedent, however. A Ferrari Lusso owned by Steve McQueen sold in 2007 for $2.3 million, estimated to go for $1 million.

It all depends upon the celebrity documentation, says Myers. If there's proof that the star owned or was riding in the vehicle, the value increases significantly.

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