Duesenberg J-287

1930 Duesenberg Model J Sport Berline by Murphy

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16-17, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

To be a Duesenberg customer during the age of the Model J, you had to be wealthy. A bare chassis, engine, and firewall would run you about $9,500 at the dawn of the Great Depression. Then you had to go have a body built by one of the world’s leading coachbuilders. And they didn’t come cheap, either.

But to purchase seven such cars requires a certain kind of wealth that only someone like, oh say the son of the founder of Pacific Gas & Electric could possess. Enter George Whittell Jr. He had $50 million in the stock market and liquidated all of it just weeks before it crashed. So yeah, he could afford the seven Dueseys.

Powered by a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight, this car wears “Sport Berline” coachwork by Murphy. I would agree with their marketing lingo that the car is indeed sportier than the average sedan from 1930. It was previously owned by J.B. Nethercutt and Bill Harrah. It’ll be one of many special cars to cross the block in Monterey later this year. Check out more here and see more from Gooding’s sale here.

Williams FW14B

1992 Williams-Renault FW14B

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | July 5, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Williams was a star in F1 in the early 1990s. Part of that had to do with the fact that Adrian Newey was designing their cars. The Williams FW14 was for 1991 season and was updated to FW14B-spec for 1992. And it was a beast.

Team drivers Riccardo Patrese and Nigel Mansell managed to win the constructors championship while utilizing the six “B” chassis built for the season. This was the first car designed by Newey and it rocked. It’s probably the best car Williams has ever fielded.

Power is from a 3.5-liter V10 capable of 760 horsepower – at 14,500 rpm! Usually publicly-owned F1 cars have replacement engines, but this one is the real deal, carrying the motor Mansell used to win the opening round of the championship. The competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1992 South African Grand Prix – 1st (with Nigel Mansell)
  • 1992 Mexican Grand Prix – 1st (with Mansell)
  • 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix – 1st (with Mansell)
  • 1992 Spanish Grand Prix – 1st (with Mansell)
  • 1992 San Marino Grand Prix – 1st (with Mansell)
  • 1992 Monaco Grand Prix – 2nd (with Mansell)
  • 1992 Canadian Grand Prix – 23rd, DNF (with Mansell)
  • 1992 British Grand Prix – 2nd (with Riccardo Patrese)
  • 1992 German Grand Prix – 8th (with Patrese)
  • 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix – 13th, DNF (with Patrese)
  • 1992 Belgian Grand Prix – 3rd (with Patrese)
  • 1992 Italian Grand Prix – 5th (with Patrese)
  • 1992 Portuguese Grand Prix – 19th, DNF (with Patrese)

The car was then mostly destroyed in an airborne accident at Estoril when Patrese hit Gerhard Berger wheel-to-wheel at speed. Mansell went on to be World Champion later that year.

It’s obviously since been restored. Championship-winning F1 cars don’t trade hands publicly often, and Bonhams is mum on a reserve. Check back in a few weeks to see if it sold – and for how much. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

De Tamble Roadster

1911 De Tamble Model G Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The De Tamble Motor Company got its start in Indianapolis in 1908 when Edward De Tamble began building cars. They moved to Anderson, Indiana the following year and the company went through many rounds of managerial and ownership changes in its short life. By 1913 the company was bankrupt and the president, Charles H. Walters, was in jail.

The 1911 model year offered five models, including a two-cylinder roadster, which was the company’s initial offering. The sporty Model G Runabout (yes, De Tamble did have a little competition history in their blood) was only sold in this year and is powered by a 36 horsepower inline-four. It cost $1,000 when new, the second cheapest car the company sold after the twin.

Only about 2,000 De Tamble automobiles were built in six years of production, and this is the first one I can recall coming up for sale in the last nine or so years. And it’s in Portugal of all places. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Mitsuoka Himiko

2016 Mitsuoka Roadster

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 10, 2019

Photo – Brightwells

We’re breaking one of our own rules on this one: never feature a car that is still in production. But because Mitsuoka is such a low-volume automobile manufacturer that is practically unknown in the west, I thought we’d feature this rare sighting of one of their cars.

The Himiko (which is what it is known as in Japan) went on sale in 2010 and is sold in the U.K. as the Mitsuoka Roadster. It carries classic-style looks and I can kind of see some Morgan up front, some BMW Z4 in the sides, and some Plymouth Prowler around the cabin. Power is actually from a 160 horsepower, 2.0-liter Mazda inline-four.

These are hand-built fiberglass cars based on Mazda Miata mechanicals. So they should be relatively reliable and will get you looks everywhere you go. This one has covered less than 10,000 miles and should bring between $30,000-$35,000. Click here for more from Brightwells.

Figoni et Falaschi Narval

1947 Delahaye 135MS Narval Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo – Mecum

If this car were to be built today, it would ride about four inches lower. At least. That upside-down bathtub styling just looks right at home sucking on the ground. But the roads were different in 1947. Especially in France. And who am I to nitpick a Figoni et Falaschi design?

The Delahaye 135MS is powered by a 3.6-liter inline-six probably making about 145 horsepower. These cars were produced both before and after the war, technically from about 1938 through the end of Delahaye production in 1954.

The “Narval” name, if you haven’t figured it out, alludes to the car’s somewhat narwhal-like appearance. Only seven such Delahayes were bodied like this, and this one has been in the same hands for the last 50 years. It’s a million dollar car, no doubt. You can see more about it here and more from Mecum’s Monterey sale here.

Maudslay 17

1908 Maudslay 17HP Open Tourer

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 10, 2019

Photo – Brightwells

Cyril Charles Maudslay founded his company to build marine engines. But when they didn’t sell, his cousin Reginald joined him and together they turned out the first Maudslay road car in 1902. Reginald soon jumped ship to form Standard.

Sources vary when Maudslay introduced their 17HP model, with texts stating 1910, though this car is listed as a 1908. Either way, the cars were rated at 17 horsepower and powered by a 3.3-liter inline-four.

After WWI, Maudslay focused entirely on commercial vehicles and remained independent until they merged with AEC and Crossley in 1948. This pre-World War I example should bring between $44,000-$57,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Sado 550

1983 Sado 550

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alcacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is the first car we’ve ever featured that was built by a Portuguese company. Specifically, the Sado 550 was built by Entreposto Comercial SA, a company that specialized in trailers and campers.

Only about 500 were built between 1982 and 1984. They are powered by a 527cc two-cylinder engine from Daihatsu that makes 28 horsepower. The engine is mounted up front and appears to drive the rear wheels through a four-speed transmission.

Not many of these remain, although they can still occasionally be spotted in Portugal. This one is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM’s sale.

Gordini Type 15S

1952 Gordini Type 15S

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | June 30, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Amedee Gordini began building single-seaters just after World War II and that evolved into a sports car business that was eventually absorbed by Renault in 1968. It’s now used as a sport trim much like Alpine.

This car began life as a Type 11 single-seater built around 1946. In that form, the car was raced by Jean-Pierre Wimille, Juan-Manual Fangio, Prince Bira, and more. For the 1952 racing season, they recycled this chassis, fitting it with Type 15S components, open two-seat bodywork, and a 1.5-liter inline-four engine. It’s competition history in two-door form includes:

  • 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans – 44th, DNF (with Roger Loyer and Clarence de Rinen)
  • 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans – 47th, DNF (with Loyer and Andre Guelfi)

It then had a career in British sports car circles and traded hands in the 1970s. It wasn’t restored until 2005. Only two four-cylinder open Gordinis are left, and this is the only one likely to ever change hands as the other is squirreled away in the Schlumpf collection. It should sell for between $790,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

1910 Stanley Runabout

1910 Stanley Model 60 Runabout

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | June 19, 2019

Photo – H&H Classics

By 1910, the Stanley brothers were in their third calendar decade of automotive design. Their model range for the year consisted of the Model 60, Model U, Model 72, and Model 61. The cars had various wheelbases, except for the 60 and 61, which shared a 104″ chassis.

Power for the Model 60 came in the form of a 10 horsepower, two-cylinder steam engine. Two body styles were offered, with this being an example of the $850-when-new Runabout.

This car was actually raced in the U.S. in the 1920s and was restored prior to a 2006 sale. It hasn’t run in about a year, so it will require a little freshening before use. Still, that shouldn’t stop someone from paying $60,000-$75,000 for it at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Wright Special

1953 Wright Special

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo – Mecum

One-off racing specials were commonplace in the U.S. in the 1950s. Enterprising individuals would take some off the shelf components, drive down the street to the local fiberglass fabricator, and get their self-designed body produced.

Then they’d tear up the tracks in SCCA events for a couple of years. Surely, countless examples of these pieces of mechanical creativity have been lost to time. But a good number remain, including this one, which was originally constructed by George Kopecky using a pre-war Maserati chassis and an aluminum body.

The history thereafter is a little hazy. The catalog description says that the body was bought by Johnny Wright in 1954 and that an upgraded frame was also built. It’s powered by a 5.4-liter V8 from a 1957 Corvette and was clocked at 143 mph in 1957. It’s an interesting build and very of-the-era. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum here.