When it comes to car auctions, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California really is top dog. And if you thought there was a recession in the US, you’d never know it at the Pebble Beach car show and auction.

The show has been held every year since 1950 on the Pebble Beach golf course and you have to be invited by the organisers to show your car. The ‘best’ cars have spots reserved for them on the 18th fairway of the golf course and, unsurprisingly, the show attracts its fair share of celebrities, such as talk show host and car fanatic Jay Leno. This year saw 220 cars from 15 countries on display and raised $600,000 for charity. Jay Leno auctioned his own Fiat 500 Prima Edizione, which fetched an amazing $385,000 for charity, amazing as it had previously been valued at ‘only’ $25,000-$35,000.

Other celebs present included Steve Carrell, George Lucas, Adrien Brody and Jay Kay from UK band Jamiroquai, who sold his 1955 Maserati for $1.6M (A$1.53M). Last year the world record auction price was set at the Pebble Beach auction with the sale of a 1957 Ferrari Testarossa, which changed hands for $16.4M (A$15.89M). This year a 1968 Ford GT40 sold for $11M and a rare pre war 1936 Mercedes Benz 540 K Special Roadster sold for $11.77M. Rare cars like these always have a story behind them, and neither of these cars disappoint.

The GT40 was used by Steve McQueen as a camera car in the filming of Le Mans, and had the roof removed to fit the camera gear. He needed a fast car as he wanted to film the race sequences at the real speeds. The Mercedes belonged to a Prussian baroness who had owned the car for over 50 years, buying it originally in Germany and shipping it to the US when she emigrated. The car then sat in storage for over 30 years before finally being bought after a lengthy legal battle over the baroness’s will.

At this rarified level, most of the buyers probably don’t need auction loans, but auctions can be a great place to get your next car, as long as you do your homework.

Aussie Car Loans can organise loans for car purchases of all types and have access to a range of options for car auction loans. For some general advice on buying a car, visit our car buying tips page.