Cobra Killer?

1969 De Tomaso Mangusta

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | June 1-3, 2012

That it is called a “Mangusta” – which is Italian for mongoose, renown killer of cobras – is, perhaps, a bit optimistic. This car was certainly not going to take on the Shelby Cobra in any competitive way, shape or form (apparently Alejandro De Tomaso and Caroll Shelby were friends, so it wasn’t named out of spite. Perhaps just arrogance or a friendly rivalry?). But none of this is to say it isn’t great, because it is.

The common traits of Italian supercars include (but are not limited to): an engine mounted in the middle or rear of the car and some sort of ridiculous styling feature. It must also be hideously expensive. This car marks two and a half of those boxes. The engine, in this case the American-only 5.0-liter Ford V8 making a somewhat sad 220 horsepower, is mounted behind the driver (Europeans got a 306 horsepower 5.7-liter Ford V8). And the over-the-top styling feature? How about twin doors to access the engine that fold upward – gullwing-style.

With regard to expense, the car was very expensive to build – almost prohibitively so. Only 401 were made before it was replaced by the less costly Pantera. Of those 401, only about 250 still exist. This is a 36,000-mile car with power windows, air conditioning and four-wheel disc brakes. These are definitely cool – cooler than a Pantera anyway. And it can be yours for $75,000-$100,000. For the complete lot description click here and for the complete lot list, click here.

Update: Sold $75,900.

Parisienne Victoria Combination

c.1900 Parisienne Victoria Combination

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 3, 2012

The Victoria Combination was the most popular model produced by Société Parisienne E. Couturier et Cie of Paris. What began as a bicycle manufacturing company turned to motorized vehicles in 1899 and produced them through 1903. Engines from De Dion-Bouton and Aster were available. The car you see here sports a 2.75 horsepower De Dion.

These were relatively popular in the early days of motoring with about 400 being made. At the time, it would have cost about $600 to purchase one (3,000 francs). And this car is 112 years old – there are only about ten people left on Earth who were alive when this was built! The fact that any car has survived that long should make it near-priceless. It’s an antique – but one you can use as this one appears to be in great shape. Plus, how many other front-wheel drive cars can you think of made prior to, say, a Cord L-29? Not many, I’m guessing.

The pre-sale estimate for this rare and interesting early car is $50,000-$70,000. You don’t exactly see these everyday. To read the complete lot description, click here. And for more from Bonhams in Connecticut, click here.

Update: Sold $56,160.

1915 Crane-Simplex

1915 Crane-Simplex Model 5 Sport Berline by Brewster

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 3, 2012

Tell me that isn’t a beautiful car. Quite a number of cars of this vintage have upright grilles that lead the cowl straight back to the firewall and passenger compartment. It’s like somebody fitted two rectangles together and called it a day. But look at the flow of the front of this car – how the cowl sweeps right into the windshield. It’s one of my favorite early automotive design touches. The roof rack completes the picture of this car, full of a wealthy family, their belongings strapped to the roof, travelling on to some Gilded Age vacation home on the New England coast.

Crane-Simplex is one of those marques that went through quite a few different names and owners over the years. A brief history: The Smith & Mabley Manufacturing Company began building the S&M Simplex in 1904. Two years later the company was broke and it was absorbed by the Simplex Automobile Company, the badging was shortened to “Simplex.” In 1915, the Crane Motor Car Company purchased Simplex and Crane-Simplex was born. In 1920, Mercer (and the ill-fated Hare’s Motors corporation) acquired Crane-Simplex for two years before Henry Crane (who founded the Crane Motor Car Company) bought it back after Hare’s Motors went bust. He tried to revive the company but it was gone from the marketplace by 1924.

The car featured here has a six-cylinder engine displacing 9.24-liters and it is from the first year of production. The body is by Brewster and, because the engine puts out significant power, it’s big. Crane-Simplex cars were for the very wealthy – John D. Rockefeller had one. They were well built and expensive. The one seen here sold for $13,800 in 1915. Only 121 Crane-Simplex cars were made in total.

The car is presented as “original” while having been “worked over” (which I take to mean “restored as needed”) so it can be driven long distances. Original or not, this would be one hell of a car to drive on a classic car tour. It’s one of the most exclusive pre-war American automobiles. It is exceptional.

The pre-sale estimate is $100,000-$140,000, and after looking at it, this sounds remarkably fair. To read the complete lot description, click here. And for more from Bonhams in Connecticut, click here.

Update: Not sold.

Mercury Marauder Convertible

2002 Mercury Marauder Concept Convertible

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | June 1-3, 2012

The Mercury Marauder (a hot-rod nameplate that traces its roots back to the early 1960s) was re-introduced in 2003 based on the Ford Panther platform – basically a re-worked Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis. By re-worked, I mean it had a 4.6-liter DOHC V8 making 302 horsepower. By contrast, the standard Grand Marquis had a 239 horsepower 4.6-liter SOHC V8. Only 11,052 Marauders were produced between 2003 and 2004. It is a car I continue to lust after.

So what’s better than a big, black sleeper sedan? Not much, but I really dig this 2002 Marauder Concept Convertible built by Roush. The engine was supercharged to 335 horsepower, the roof was cut off and two doors removed. What an idea! Too bad Ford didn’t take the bait and build a run of them.

This is, presumably, one-of-one and had a build cost approaching half a million dollars. I don’t know what it will bring at auction, but it won’t be half a million dollars. A tenth of that would should be considered “well sold.” The car has 155 miles on it and is listed as “fully roadworthy” – which I’m sure it is. I’m also sure it would be a hoot to drive. It is also noted that this car is sold on bill of sale only. So it’s up to the buyer to get it registered.

To read the complete lot description and for more pictures, click here. For more from Auctions America’s Auburn Spring sale, click here.

Update: Sold $51,700.

Silverstone Spring Sale Results

Silverstone Auctions’ recent Spring Sale featured two ex-Ayrton Senna race cars. The Formula One car failed to sell, but the 1982 Ralt RT3 Formula Three car sold for $177,000.

The top sale was a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring that brought $320,000.

Our two feature cars, the Ford RS200 and the Turner Mk II both failed to sell. Another interesting sale was this 1992 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton. These were real hot rod sedans of the early 1990s. It’s a 114,000-mile car and sold for $15,500.

For complete results, click here.

Bonhams’ 2012 Aston Martin Sale

Bonhams’ almost exclusively Aston Martin sale (there were a few Lagondas), held on May 19, 2012, was a huge success. The sell rate was very high and some cars brought a lot of money – and by a lot of money I mean some cars sold for up to five times the amount of the high-end of their estimate. Such as our featured 1971 DBS Estate. The upper end of the estimate was $110,000. It sold for $533,000. Wow.

The top sale of the auction was a 1991 DB4GT Zagato. While not one of the original 1960s DB4GT Zagatos, this was one of a handful of DB4s that were upgraded by the factory in the late-80s/early-90s. It sold for $1,896,720. But look at it. If there was a “perfect shape,” this is about as close as I’ve seen.

The second highest-sale was a 1962 DB4 Vantage Convertible with single-family ownership from new. It sold for $967,000.

Other interesting sales included a pair of sedans. First was a 1963 Lagonda Rapide – one of only 55 produced. It brought $90,800. The second was a Series I Aston Martin Lagonda from 1975. It is one of only seven made and it sold for $533,000.

And our other feature car, the 1952 DB2 Drophead Coupe, sold for $427,000. For complete results, click here.

Moretti 2500 SS

1962 Moretti 2500 SS Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 3, 2012

Moretti is one of those Italian auto companies with a somewhat hazy history of manufacture (yes, there are others, all to various extents: Abarth, Siata, Cisitalia and various other Etceterini). They began as a motorcycle constructor and then turned to microcars. They are also well known for building specially-bodied Fiats. But they did also build cars of their own – but they were mostly Fiat-based. The line between what is a Moretti and what is a Moretti-bodied Fiat can be a little confusing.

In this case, Moretti took a Fiat 2300 and reworked the straight-six engine to 2.5-liters and 170 horsepower. They also strapped this stunning body, designed in-house, to the chassis. It’s thought that only about 20 of these were built.

The car was recently serviced to the tune of about $18,000. Another interesting tidbit – this car was formerly owned by J. Geils of “Freeze-Frame” fame. The pre-sale estimate is between $65,000-$75,000. For the complete catalog description, click here. For more from Bonhams in Connecticut, click here.

Update: Did not sell.

Ford Model N

1906 Ford Model N

Offered by RM Auctions | Nysted, Denmark | August 12, 2012

The Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 and the Model N was introduced in 1906, making it one of the first handful of models built by the company. It features a 15 horsepower straight-four engine mounted at the front, driving the rear wheels to speeds up to 40 mph. It was Ford’s entry level offering until the introduction of the Model T in 1908. This was also Ford’s final right-hand drive automobile built in America.

The Model N retailed for $500, about $150 less than its competition – a curved-dash Oldsmobile. Listed equipment consisted of twin side oil lamps and a horn. A leather top was a $50 option. The 10 gallon fuel tank was good for a 200 mile range on rough, early roads.

There were upgraded versions of the Model N called the Model R and Model S ($600 and $700, respectively). With 7,000 Model Ns built over a three year span, the model was quite successful – although it was dwarfed immensely by its successor, the Model T. The car seen here is listed as a Model N (the catalog description has yet to be written) but it seems to have a few of the Model S extras on it, including full running boards and the mother-in-law seat behind the front bench. The Model S was rarer than a Model N (only 3,750 Model Ss were built) and the Model R was the rarest of the bunch with only 2,500 sold.

These are very rare, very early Fords and they don’t sell often – especially ones that are coming straight out of a museum as is the case here. Look for it to bring somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000. The Aalholm Automobile Collection in Denmark is being liquidated at this sale and there is an immense amount of fascinating early cars coming up for sale. We’re going to feature as many as possible, but will likely fall short of what we want to feature. But we’re sure going to try.

For the complete catalog description, click here and to see more of the cars from this sale, click here.

Update: Sold $37,000.

Avelate Corvette

2002 Chevrolet Corvette Avelate

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | June 1-3, 2012

I guess it’s been more than a month, but a while ago we featured an aftermarket Corvette re-body from AAT. Well, this is another aftermarket re-body, but this time it’s from a company called Avelate Automotive.

The styling is tasteful, I think, and not school-boy garish – as the words “aftermarket re-body” generally lead me to think. Some people might ask “why? What’s the purpose of modifying the styling?” That’s a fair question – especially if it’s done by some random individual. The Avelate was penned by two men: one an automotive designer and the other a customiser.

There are Corvette touches on the redesign – among them a split rear window, reminiscent of the 1963 Coupe. This is one of 11 with the split window. A convertible and speedster were also offered. Only 27 were built in total at a cost of about $100,000 each. It has an 5.7-liter V8 (LS1) under the hood and, mechanically, it’s identical to a 2002 Corvette.

Estimated to sell for between $60,000-$75,000, this shows that there is a market for these late model “coachbuilt Corvettes.” With time, I dare to predict, these will become more and more collectible. Think of the limited edition aftermarket muscle cars of the 1960s. They’re now worth a pretty penny. You might think that, because it’s a 10-year-old Corvette, it will never be worth anything. But back in the late 60s a Yenko was just another car you could abuse at the drag strip. You never know what the future holds.

For the complete catalog description, click here. And for more from Auctions America on their home turf in Auburn, Indiana, click here.

Update: Not sold.

Update II: Not sold at Auctions America’s 2012 Auburn Fall Sale.

DAF YA 126

1957 DAF YA 126

Offered by H&H Auctions | Buxton, U.K. | May 24, 2012

DAF, the Dutch truck manufacturer, is primarily known among car-types as the company that built small family cars in the 1960s – like the Daffodil. They were also the first company to sell a car with a Continuously Variable Transmission – that soul-sucking device used to improve fuel mileage.

Well, they built trucks first and continue to do so as a subsidiary of PACCAR, the Washington-state-based heavy-duty truck conglomerate. They have also been building military vehicles such as this for the Dutch military for many years.

This is a YA 126 – which isn’t as much as a model name as it is the first few digits of the chassis number. It is a popular truck among militaria collectors – there is a DAF YA 126 club in the Netherlands. In some ways it’s similar to the American “deuce and a half.” This truck is powered by a 4.6-liter straight-six that is described on H&H’s website as “meaty.” It has permanent four-wheel drive and is a canvas-topped troop carrier – with room in the back for six of your friends.

So if you’re in the market for cheap, fun way to, I don’t know… say, roll up to a paintball match in style – then this is your truck. It’s estimated to sell for between $6,400-$8,000. For the complete catalog description click here. For the rest of the H&H lineup at Pavilion Gardens, click here.

Update: Sold $4,900.