ENZO FERRARI
Jens Meyer  /  AP
Ferrari's Enzo Ferrari once again topped Forbes.com's list of expensive vehicles. The base price for the vehicle is $652,000.
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updated 2/26/2004 3:23:36 PM ET 2004-02-26T20:23:36

Ferrari's Enzo Ferrari flagship is back for another year as the most expensive car sold in America — but it looks like it won't threepeat next year.

Because this list honors only vehicles that are currently on sale in the U.S., we had to pass on giving the crown to Volkswagen's forthcoming Bugatti Veyron 16.4 coupe, which will go on sale later this year for what could be as much as $1.1 million. The 987-horsepower Veyron has a mission like that of McLaren's old F1, which could go 240 mph and went out of production in May 1998: to be beyond any other sports car out there.

Ferrari's Enzo can go 217 mph, but it will have company in the automotive stratosphere with the new Veyron and another McLaren. DaimlerChrysler's new performance flagship, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren coupe, will go on sale this summer at an estimated price of $450,000. (The first SLR McLaren ever built sold for considerably more, however, when it went for $2.1 million at a charity auction last year in the U.S.)

The SLR McLaren will join the $350,000 Maybach 62 at the upper end of Daimler's roster. While Porsche, Maybach and BMW (with its Rolls-Royce Phantom) are on our list, fellow German automaker Volkswagen, a once-populist company that now owns Lamborghini, Bentley, Audi and France's legendary Bugatti, has become one of the biggest names in the luxury auto business.

The cars on this list are not for the masses, but we sought to honor only mass-production automakers, even if $200,000 automobiles aren't exactly mass produced. Still, this is why you won't see vehicles like the $200,000-plus Gibbs Aquada boat-car on this list.

All of the base prices we quote on the list are for 2004 models. We allowed only one entry per vehicle nameplate, i.e. the Bentley Arnage RL is on the list, but not the Arnage R or T; ditto for the different-names-same-deal Maybach 62 and 57.

Maybach, Porsche and other Germans are crowding Ferrari's space on top of the pile of blue-blood automakers. Volkswagen's Bugatti and Mercedes are about to force the bottom-two vehicles, both Ferraris, off of our list. Pretty soon, the most expensive vehicle in America will not be Italian, but French, supervised by Germans.

© 2012 Forbes.com

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