The work was won by a phone client of Charles Moffett, vice chairman of Sotheby’s Americas, who vied with at least two other highly determined telephone bidders.
The 1963 canvas was estimated at more than $60 million. It came up early during the auction of contemporary art.
More than 8 feet tall and 13 feet wide, the work consists of two canvases. One features five rows of three images repeating a mangled car; the second is a blank silvery surface.
Warhol’s previous auction record was set in 2007 at Christie’s when a single-panel car-crash painting, “Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)” sold for $71.7 million.
Another highlight of the auction is a group of seven paintings from the collection of hedge-fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen, whose SAC Capital Advisors LP pleaded guilty to securities fraud and agreed to pay $1.8 billion to settle insider-trading charges.
The first work of the Cohen trove, an abstract painting by Brice Marden, fetched $10.9 million, setting a record for the American artist.
The group could tally as much as $85 million. Cohen has been guaranteed an undisclosed minimum price on six works, regardless of the outcome.
The 61-lot sale continues.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at firstname.lastname@example.org