February 2018 Auction Highlights

February means Retromobile, which has become one of the most important sale weekends of the year with the quality of cars on offer rivaling the annual Monterey weekend. First up from Paris is RM Sotheby’s. The only sub-$100,000 car we featured was the AGS Panhard that brought $39,452. The top sale was this 2017 Bugatti Chiron for $4,072,358. If people are willing to pay that much, maybe Bugatti should charge more to start with?

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The OSCA we featured approached the million dollar mark, bringing $970,994. The Bizzarrini brought $260,667, the big Mercedes $197,262, and the one-off Magnate Barchetta $109,198. Click here for complete results.

The next sale here was Bonhams. We featured quite a few cars with another Bugatti, the Type 57 Torpedo sharing top sale honors with this big 1904 Fiat Type 24/32 Rear-Entrance Tonneau at $873,567 each.

Photo – Bonhams

We featured six Minervas from this sale and they all sold. From most to least expensive we have: the 1907 Open-Drive Limousine for $744,906, the 1910 Type S for $205,736, the 1912 Model CC for $156,075, the 1938 Limousine for $99,320, the Model Z for $87,969, and the Type AK (the only one not to blow away its reserve) for $78,037.

Two cars didn’t sell: the Imperia and Tojeiro. The other sedans we featured sold, with the Turcat-Mery bringing the least: $29,796. At the other end of the spectrum was the Hispano-Suiza which sold for $411,472. The De Dion sold for $227,019 and the Renault Limousine $194,385.

The other three cars we featured sold and their results are: FN Tourer for $35,471, Zedel for $53,917, and Pipe Cabriolet for $39,728. Complete results can be found here.

Artcurial held the third Retromobile sale in Paris and we featured even more cars from this sale than we did from Bonhams, so let’s get to it. Remarkably, yet another Bugatti was the top sale at this auction – Bugatti ruled the weekend. In this case, it was this 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante for $3,556,420.

Photo – Artcurial

Some of the big-dollar feature cars we had from this sale included the two Hispano-Suizas, with the J12 Sedan bringing $788,508 and the K6 Sedan $350,448. The other Vanvooren-bodied car we featured was the 1912 Panhard which sold for $365,050 (the wild Voisin brought the same amount).

The Sbarro GT1 supercar sold for $116,816 and the rare Monica Sedan $131,418. The Alfa Romeo 6C 2500, the Gordini, the Rene Bonnet Aerodjet, and the Simca Barquette all failed to sell. The other two race cars both sold: Chenard et Walcker Tank ($94,913) and Riffard Tank ($70,090).

Now on to all of the weird ones. These were all from the same collection:

Click here for everything else.

A quick 12 hour flight from Paris is Los Angeles, where Mecum held their sale in February. The top seller was this 2006 Ford GT for $327,500.

Photo – Mecum

Less than half of the feature cars we had from this sale sold, with the Dodge Spectator and the Corvair Wagon both having been withdrawn from the sale (the third wagon, the Bel Air, sold for $13,200 and looks like it will be appearing at Motostalgia’s Amelia Island sale in a few weeks). The Olds 442 also failed to sell. But the Facel Vega was a star, bringing $214,500 – one of the largest amounts of the sale. Click here for the rest of the results.

And finally, the first of back-to-back sales from Silverstone Auctions. This was the “Race Retro” half and the top sale was $254,566 paid for this 1990 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 Group A race car.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

The Fairthorpe Electron we featured brought $31,428. Click here for more results.

Railton Woody

1935 Railton Straight Eight Estate

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | Ascot, U.K. | March 3, 2018

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Railton is an old British car maker, but not as old as you might think. Noel Macklin, who also founded Invicta, founded Railton in 1933 after selling his former company. The company was named for Reid Railton who was famous for his land speed record attempts (and for founding the Arab marque). Reid Railton had little input on these cars but was paid a little for each sold. Also, there are various Railton Specials out there that Reid built for his record attempts but those aren’t related to this company.

The first Railtons were built on modified Hudson Terraplane chassis. Then they moved on to other Hudson running gear and, ultimately, in 1939, Macklin sold the entire company to Hudson which phased it out later that year (though a few were built after the war).

This car uses a 4.2-liter Hudson straight-eight engine making 113 horsepower. It was a pretty strong car in its day: American power and European style and size. This particular example left the factory as a tourer, but during restoration in 2005 that body was found to be beyond saving and this period-style Woody Estate was built instead. It certainly looks like it could’ve come off the assembly line like this and it’s very attractive. And with that big Hudson motor it’s even more exciting. It should bring between $55,000-$63,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this sale’s lineup.

Kurtis KK4000

1952 Kurtis KK4000

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Now we’re talkin’. Here is an Indy car from the early 1950s, back when these cars ran on dirt more often than pavement. It predates other Kurtis cars, namely their Indy Roadsters. Frank Kurtis built some of the most dominant race cars of this era and, especially in the early 1950s, they won just about everything.

The KK4000 was new for 1951 but race cars then tended to be fielded for years, even after they ceased to be competitive (a different KK4000 was raced until 1975). The 4000 series was a development of the earlier 3000 series and featured a lighter construction, thus making it faster. It’s powered by a 4.4-liter Offenhauser straight-four – probably the most legendary race car engine of all time.

Only 12 examples of the KK4000 were built and they rarely change hands. The race history of this chassis includes:

  • 1952 Indy 500 – DNQ (with Allan Heath)
  • 1953 Indy 500 – ?
  • 1954 Indy 500 – 21st, DNF (with Pat O’Connor)
  • 1955 Indy 500 – 30th, DNF (with Ed Elisian)
  • 1956 Indy 500 – DNQ (with John Kay)

It was entered in the ’53 500 but I can’t find who drove this chassis that race and if it even qualified. Bonhams doesn’t seem to know either. This car raced up through 1959 before it was retired and sold to a collector. It has been restored to 1955 race spec. This is a very rare, very historically important race car (this was the car Elisian was driving when he pulled over and tried to help Bill Vukovich after his fatal crash). It should sell for between $275,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

1910 Lion-Peugeot

1910 Lion-Peugeot V2Y2

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2018

Photo – Gooding & Company

Lion-Peugeot was part of the Peugeot empire, but it was different from the Peugeot marque we all know. Basically, Armand Peugeot built the big cars and Robert, his cousin, built the smaller, less-powerful cars. These were called Lion-Peugeots.

For 1910, Lion-Peugeot offered three legacy models and two new ones. The new, for 1910-only models, were the V2C2 and this, the sport version of that car, dubbed V2Y2. It’s powered by a 1.7-liter two-cylinder engine that makes 16 horsepower. So “sport” is relative.

They built 515 examples of this car but only 300 of them were chain-driven (the rest had shaft drive). This car, which was delivered new to Mexico (where it would remain until the 1990s when it came to the U.S.), is the only chain-drive example of the V2Y2 known to exist. This is an exquisitely restored, very rare, very sporty looking automobile from an obscure arm of an automotive giant. It should bring between $140,000-$180,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Daimler DS420 Landaulette

1985 Daimler DS420 Landaulette

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 7, 2018

Photo – Brightwells

The Daimler DS420 was a very large luxury car built by the British Daimler company (not the German one). It was available for an eternity: 1968 through 1992. It was a Daimler original, offered alongside rebadged Jaguars for its entire production run, even though it was based on the Jaguar 420G.

Featuring a 141 inch wheelbase and powered by a 4.2-liter Jaguar straight-six that made 245 horsepower, the DS420 was used by the ruling families of both the U.K. and Sweden. It just looks like a car that would meander out of the grounds of some British palace somewhere, doesn’t it? More recently, the cars have been very popular on the British Wedding Car circuit.

In 24 years, they built 4,141 limousines and sold 903 of these as a bare chassis. Only two were factory Landaulettes – this is not one of them as neither factory car exists today. Quite a few were converted to Landaulette form for the wedding car business, which this car was likely a part of. The car shows well enough but the engine looks complicated and the interior looks like a relatively nice British car from the 80s. The Landaulette conversion doesn’t really help or hurt the value, with this bringing an estimate of $14,000-$16,000. Click here for more from Brightwells.

The 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Models

The 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Models

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2018


1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 964 was the generation of Porsche 911 cars produced between 1989 and 1994. These were air-cooled cars and were offered as coupes, cabriolets, and targas. A Turbo went on sale in 1990 but Porsche had something more exclusive in mind with the Carrera RS series of cars that first went on sale in Europe in 1992.

For 1993, Porsche introduced the Carrera RS 3.8, which was a Europe-only model. It was a lightweight, rear-wheel drive road car powered by a 3.8-liter flat-six making 300 horsepower. It also sported the body and styling from the 911 Turbo. Sold through 1994, only 55 examples of this car were built.

This is the second-to-last car built and it has been in the U.S. on a “Show and Display” license since 2015. It’s a super rare 911 road car that will demand big money when it goes under the hammer next month. Click here for more info.


1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

So what’s the difference between this car and the car above? Well, that second “R” in the name, for starters. That is an “R” as in racing. If you look closely you’ll be able to see that there is a full roll cage in there and only one seat. It might be painted like a road-going 911, but it is a full-on race car.

Porsche is amazing because this, like many of their customer race cars, are built on the same 911 assembly line as the road cars. It wears the same Turbo-look body as the road car and has the same 3.8-liter flat-six, but in racing guise it’s good for as much as 375 horsepower. Zero to 60 came in 3.7 seconds and it topped out at 181 mph.

Porsche built 55 of these as well, enough for FIA homologation. This one was delivered new to Japan and was never competitively raced, just used at private facilities by its well-heeled owners. It’s another big money car. Click here for more info.


1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS America

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Porsche built their RS models and sold them in Europe, mainly, but not in the U.S. Well, America has quite a taste for high-performance cars and they wanted in, so to make them happy, Porsche built this: the Carrera RS America.

Built for 1993 and 1994 only, the RS America features a lack of features most 911s would’ve originally had. Things like: power steering, cruise control, powered mirrors, air conditioning, sunroof, and even a radio (though you could heap some of them back on as options). The engine is a 3.6-liter flat-six making 250 horsepower. Top speed was 157 mph.

Equipped with the big “whale tail” spoiler, this Carrera RS America is #34 of 701 built. It’s a 1,600 mile car and it is street legal in the U.S. (unlike the two cars above). While this may be the least expensive of the three cars shown here, it is by no means “cheap.” Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Arnolt-Bristol

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Stanley Arnolt was a Chicagoan who decided in the 1950s that he wanted to import some cars from Europe. The first was called the Arnolt-MG and it was an Italian-bodied car based on an MG. After this followed brief flings with Aston Martin and Bentley before he arrived at Bristol Cars in England.

The body for the Arnolt-Bristol was designed by Bertone and the chassis and engine were supplied by Bristol. The cars were then shipped to Indiana for any final finishing needed before being sold. The engine is a 2.0-liter straight-six making 130 horsepower. Three models were offered: the stripper Competition, the mid-range Bolide racer with a folding windscreen and the better-appointed Deluxe road car.

This race car was kept by Arnolt and raced by the factory at the 1955 12 Hours of Sebring where it finished 29th (4th in class) with 49-year-old racing legend René Dreyfus (and co-driver Robert Grier) behind the wheel. It was sold to a privateer in 1963 who kept the car active in the racing scene in Canada. It’s since been restored and looks very nice. Only 142 of these were built and only 85 are known to exist. These are really cool American-European hybrid race cars and their prices has been pretty strong for years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Facel Vega FV4

1958 Facel Vega FV4 Typhoon

Offered by Mecum | Los Angeles, California | February 16-17, 2018

Photo – Mecum

Among the muscle cars, station wagons, and pickup trucks offered at Mecum’s Los Angeles sale is this European beauty. Facel Vega’s first cars were the two-door Coupes of the “FV” line. There were three different models, the 1954-1955 FV, the 1956-1958 FVS, and the 1958-1961 HK500.

This is an FVS, more specifically an FV4 (the FVS was split between FV3, FV3B, and FV4 models). Most FV4s were powered by a 5.8-liter Chrysler V-8. This FV4 is powered by the 6.3-liter Chrysler “Typhoon” V-8 that makes 360 horsepower. This was the same engine from the mighty Chrysler 300B. This is also the engine that powered most of the later HK500s.

Only 36 FVS cars were built with this huge engine – and there were 85 FV4s built in total (1958 was the only year for the FV4). These are highly sought-after cars and this one has had a body-off cosmetic restoration. The interior is brilliant and you could eat off of the engine, it’s that clean. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Sold $214,500.

Noble M12 GTO-3

2003 Noble M12 GTO-3

Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | February 17, 2018

Photo – Coys

I have a soft spot for the Noble M12. The U.S. distributor (or one of them) was located not far from where I grew up and I saw them a lot when I was younger. This is the GTO-3 – the mid-range model, introduced in 2002, two years after the original 2.5 version.

The “3” signifies that it is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter Ford V-6 making 352 horsepower. It could hit 60 mph in under four seconds and topped out at 170 mph. It was a decent power bump over the 2.5-liter model and it had enough performance improvement to justify the increased cost.

It is thought that only 116 examples of this model were produced (there was also an even more hardcore GTO-3R). The M12 has been molded into other cars after Noble stopped producing them, but this is an actual Noble from 2003. It is expected to sell for between $45,000-$53,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Duesenberg J-254

1930 Duesenberg Model J Imperial Cabriolet by Hibbard & Darrin

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is a wonderful Model J Duesenberg. The profile view of this car screams “stately, high-quality automobile.” Introduced in 1929, the Model J was the crowning achievement of American motorcars up to that time (and for decades afterward).

It’s powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight engine that puts out 265 horsepower. Every Model J’s body was custom built, and this car was bodied by Parisian coachbuilders Hibbard & Darrin. It’s a big, opulently-appointed car with an over-sized trunk out back to carry the luggage of the original owners: William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies. They carted this car all over the world with them on their travels.

This car has known ownership history more or less going back to when it was new. It’s been owned by famed members of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club and was restored by a master Model J restorer. It was freshened after 2003 and hasn’t really been shown since. It’s a well-known Model J that has one of the most-famous first owners imaginable. You can find out more here and see more from RM here.