Bonhams VMCC Banbury Run Sale, Oxford

Bonhams sold a bunch of motorcycles and cars at their June 16 sale in Oxford, England. The top sale was a tie between a 1936 Alvis Speed Twenty-Five Tourer (below) and a 1950 Healey Silverstone – at about $100,000 each.

The Healey Silverstone (above) was among a collection of barn-find condition Healey-related automobiles that went across the block. Three other Healeys begin our “other interesting sales” bit of the program: first, this 1948 Healey Duncan that sold for $16,500.

Then there was this 1947 Healey Duncan Drone Roadster, likely the only in existence and ripe for restoration. It brought $43,000.

And, the final Healey, a 1952 Alvis-Healey Sports Convertible, which looks kind of like a period Jensen 541, sold for $61,000.

Interesting motorcycle sales include a 1909 Moto-Rêve 2.5hp V-Twin. Moto-Rêve isn’t a marque you see everyday and this example sold for about $12,500.

Another rare motorcycle is this 1902 Kerry 308cc. It is the earliest surviving (of about six) Kerrys. On display in a motorcycle museum since 1956, it was sold in 2006 and freshened to running condition. It sold here for $25,000.

Our feature car, the 1992 Maserati 222 SE sold for a paltry $4,500 – or about as cheap as you’re likely to find anything wearing a trident. And now for something completely different: a 1983 Bentley Mulsanne Turbo… Estate. That’s right, a Bentley station wagon. It was a 30,000 mile car that had spent its life on the Channel Islands before heading to the mainland in 2003 when it was sent to coachbuilder Coway Ltd and turned into the wagon – in striking maroon and yellow colors – you see here. You aren’t likely to find another. It sold for $31,500.

For complete results, click here.

Reventón Roadster

2009 Lamborghini Reventón Roadster

For sale at Lamborghini Porrentruy | Porrentruy, Switzerland

A few weeks ago we showcased a very rare (as in one of 20 built) Lamborghini Reventón. I was kind of critical of it, referring to it more or less as a Murciélago 1.5 – a styling exercise that served as a kind of mid-way model between the Murciélago and the Aventador, but with an astronomical price tag.

Well this car is even rarer – one of 15. Lamborghini denied the car’s existence when it was first built, more or less building them and shipping them to their most elite clientele – Ralph Lauren has one. Well now one has come up for public sale for you to get your hands on, if you’re feeling it.

Specifications mirror the “base” Reventón, which pretty much mirror the Murciélago. That is, it has a 6.5-liter V12 pumping out 631 horsepower. It will do 205 mph. The Aventador will do 217. I know, you’re probably thinking, “if you hate this car so much” (which I don’t) “then why are you featuring it?”

Solid question, but my main reason is: when is the next time you think you’ll see one for sale? Chances are, not any time soon (although this dealership has a coupe on the lot as well). The original Reventón was supposed to cost $2 million when new. This probably cost along similar lines, but now you can get it for a next-to-nothing $1,749,114 (it’s a more even amount in Swiss Francs). For more information, click here.

Alfa 8C 2300

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spyder

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | June 29, 2012

The Alfa Romeo 8C was introduced in 1931. The first two years of production consisted of the 2300 model – the engine being a 2.3-liter straight-8 with a Roots supercharger good for more than 165 horsepower. This car was from the second year of production and was used as the third of Alfa Romeo’s three works entries for the 1932 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The car was piloted by the winners of the 1931 race – Henry “Tim” Birkin and Lord Earl Howe (they won in 1931 in a different 8C 2300). They placed 12th in this car in 1932 – a DNF due to a blown head gasket. After repair, it was run at the 1932 RAC Tourist Trophy race at Ards, Ulster, placing 4th (with Howe driving). Afterward, the car went back to Alfa Romeo and was sold to driver Giuseppe Campari, who sent the car to Carrozzeria Touring so they could turn it into a road-friendly Drophead Coupe.

It was then sold to Italo Balbo – a rising star in Mussolini’s fascist regime. He was to become the Marshal of the Italian Air Force and Governor of Libya before his plane was shot down in 1940 and he was killed. Before he died (actually in 1935) he sold the car. It passed through numerous owners until it was acquired by its current owner in 1996, who had the body re-configured back to a more appropriate Le Mans-style body.

The 8C is the big dog among pre-war Alfa Romeos – comparable to a “Blower” Bentley. And like the Bentley, they aren’t common and they aren’t cheap. This one, albeit with its impressive, known history, is estimated to sell for between $3,900,000-$6,200,000. For more information – including a mini-biography of Italo Balbo – click here. For the rest of the Bonhams auction lineup, click here.

Update: Sold $4,217,674.

Lotus Etna

1984 Lotus Etna V8 Berlinetta Concept

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | June 29, 2012

There are a few Lotus concept cars/styling models on offer at Bonhams’ Goodwood sale. I chose to feature this one because it of its somewhat sad 1980s-vision-of-the-future styling – which is both a plus and a minus. It’s only a minus because it looks so dated. But that’s part of what makes it cool. The instrument panel looks like it was taken from KITT from Night Rider or something. The exterior was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and is very 80s.

It is based on a Lotus Esprit and you can tell. There is a lot of Esprit in there – maybe because both were designed by Giugiaro. It has a 4.0-liter V8 putting out 335 horsepower. It was also to have futuristic things such as traction control, anti-lock brakes, self-leveling suspension and active noise cancelling. The concept car was a hit on the show circuit in 1984.

But then General Motors trundled along in 1986 and bought up Lotus. The Etna was sent to storage. Fortunately, it was sold to the public in 2001 and the then-owner got the car into running condition. So here is your chance to buy a fully-functional road-going, one-of-a-kind Lotus. The price? $140,000-$200,000. For more information, click here. To check out some of the other Lotus concepts, click here.

Update: Not sold.

Unrestored 1907 Daimler

1907 Daimler Type TP 45 10.6-Litre Four-Seat Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | June 29, 2012

The Daimler name is one of the more storied in automotive history – and one of the more confusing. H.J. Lawson founded the Daimler Motor Company Ltd in Coventry, England. The name Daimler, of course, belonged to Gottlieb Daimler of Germany, builder of the first four-wheeled automobile, who had set up his own company bearing his name in 1890 in Germany. Lawson licensed the name – and the patents – of his German elder.

Gottlieb’s company would become Daimler-Benz in 1926, DaimlerChrysler in 1998 and Daimler AG, as it is currently known, in 2008. With the exception of those very early cars (up through 1908), everything badged as a “Daimler” was built by the English company founded by H.J. Lawson. As you can see, this car falls into the period where both companies were building cars using the same name.

This one was built in England and spent its early years as transport for the noble Craven family. After the original owner’s death, it was used little, being set up on blocks between the 1920s and 1980s and was acquired by its current owner in 1983. Ownership history is known and undisputed and there was even a log of every trip this car took when it was with its original owner – or should I say, chauffeur.

The engine is monstrous – a 10.6-liter four-cylinder that could propel the car to 80 mph – in 1907! And it’s in original condition – it has never been restored. I would rate this car as “above fantastic,” as if such an inane rating means anything. The dark red leather interior shows no cracking and looks far better than the leather in the last 10-year-old Acura I rode in. The paint still reflects light at 105 years old and the little brass and wood pieces here and there make this car look like it just drove out of a time warp. The only thing not original are the wire wheels, which were added during the First World War – making them far more period correct than anyone who will ever drive this car again.

This Brass Era automobile/80 mph horseless carriage – is an incredible machine. The more I look at it, the more I fall in love with it. Unfortunately I will not be able to pony up the $390,000-$620,000 required to take it home. Cheers to whoever does. For more information, click here and for more on Bonhams in Goodwood, click here.

Update: Sold $564,395.

HRG 1500

1951 HRG 1500 Sports

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | June 29, 2012

HRG was founded in 1936 by Major Edward Halford, Guy Robins, and Henry Ronald Godfrey (the H, the R, and the G coming from the first letters of their last names). They introduced the 1500 model in 1939. The 1.5-liter four makes 58 horsepower and is good for 85 mph “under favourable conditions,” which, I think, is an understated, British way of saying “when going downhill.”

The 1500 model was produced unchanged until the company closed its doors in 1956 – hence the very pre-war design you see here on a car from the early-1950s. The 1500 was far and away the most popular HRG, with 111 built. Only 241 HRGs were built in total, so they are quite rare – especially one this nice.

British Racing Green is an excellent color for this car and will not hurt when it comes to the final price, which is expected to be between $70,000-$85,000. For more information, click here. And for more from Bonhams in Goodwood, click here.

Update: Sold $57,710.

Salmon Brothers Collection Highlights

Mecum Auctions recently sold off the Salmon Brothers Collection in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The top sale was the second of three 1934 Cadillac Fleetwood V12 All-Weather Phaetons built. A big, stately, American convertible, it sold for an even $200,000.

Interesting sales included this rare (less than 1,500 built) 1954 Willys Aero Deluxe Coupe for $11,500.

Our feature cars, the 1951 Henry J and the 1993 Ford SVT Lightning, came in at the lower-end of things, selling for $16,000 and $8,500 respectively. This 1956 Chevrolet Del Ray Sedan was the only Del Ray in a sale that included many Bel Airs. The Del Ray was an upscale trim line on the 210. It sold for $36,500.

And finally, this rare 1948 International KB Woody Wagon is an interesting alternative to the plethora of Ford & Chrysler woodies that you see so often. It could’ve been yours for $57,500.

For complete results, click here.

2012 Ault Park Concours d’Elegance

The 2012 Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, held in one of Cincinnati’s most beautiful parks in one of Cincinnati’s most uppity neighborhoods, was held two weekends ago. The show was full of some of the finest cars from around the mid-west. This year’s featured marque was “A Century of American Power.” Classic Car Weekly was in attendance and here are some of our favorites.

Our pick for best in show was this 1929 Stutz Model M Lancefield Supercharged Coupe.  It came out of the Mitchell Collection in Texas and is the only surviving example of the five originally built. The low roof-line and gives this car a truly sporting presence.

One of the other awesome rides was this 1910 Oldsmobile Autocrat Prototype Race Car built for the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup. Old race cars like this are fascinating – they’re as big as trucks and the driver and riding mechanic were just hanging on, completely exposed to the elements in tiny little seats with absolutely no protection whatsoever. Also, don’t forget about the 7.7-liter four-cylinder hanging out front.

Oh, and check out these exhaust, which look like something of a battle tank:

I really enjoyed this 1911 Lozier Briafcliff, as it was gigantic. A gentlemen hanging around it all day tried to convince me that it was worth $40 million. I nodded and smiled but politely declined to tell him he was insane.

This 1968 Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder is one of three 5300 Spyders built. It has a 327 Corvette engine making 350 horsepower and a stunning interior.

One of the most mind-blowing aspects of this show, was that, on either side of the Stutz mentioned above, there was an SJ Duesenberg. Not a bad day when there are multiple SJ Duesenbergs vying for your attention. This one is a 1929 Bohman & Schwartz Disappearing Top Roadster. 320 horsepower and 140 mph in 1929 must have been incredible.

Another exotic was this 1969 Lamborghini Miura S, one of 338 built. Only when standing next to one of these do you realize how impossibly low they sit to the ground. What a wonderful machine.

MG was a featured marque this year. Two cars that really stood out included this brilliant blue 1934 NA Evans-Wilkinson Special, one of three built.

There other super-cool MG was this crazy 1985 Metro 6R4 Group B Rally Car from the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. It was built by Williams F1 for the rally circuit and, yes, crazy is the correct word.

Some other interesting, newer cars include this 1991 BMW Z1, a car you don’t see often, especially in America.

This track-day special (although it was listed as “street-legal”) 2009 Ariel Atom 3 drew a crowd, as you could look around it and see just about every part on/in/within it.

American classics (and muscle cars) were prevalent, with muscle cars being part of the featured “American Power” motif. Easily the most interesting among them was this 1964 Studebaker Commander Super Lark – the only production steel-bodied R-3 package car with the 5.0-liter supercharged V8, which was built for Studebaker by the Granatelli Brothers. It was the fastest compact car in the U.S. when it was built, turning sub-13 second 1/4 miles in excess of 110 mph.

Other fantastic American (or semi-American) classics include this 1957 Dual-Ghia D-500 Convertible. Dual-Ghias are simply beautiful cars and this one in red was no exception.

And finally, this 1964 Buick Riviera looked amazing in Coral Mist, my new favorite automotive color. It has the 425 cubic inch Super Wildcat V8, making 360 horsepower.

And what would any good car show rundown be without a trip through the parking lot, a car show in itself. Some of the more impressive cars I saw included a 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible. It looked mean, and made me wonder why GM hadn’t built these before.

This Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster was pretty classic and it looked fun, as it drove past me with four people packed in and on it, having a good time.

This Lamborghini Diablo SV got the attention of the high-school student within me – and plenty of others.

And finally, from the environmentally responsible crowd, this Fisker Karma gathered a lot of interest from onlookers saying things like “What is that?” and “I’ve never seen one of these.” While this car might look like some kind of extended coupe, it is actually a very long car in person – much bigger than you’d think.

Lotus Eleven

1956 Lotus Eleven Le Mans

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | June 29, 2012

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams’ Goodwood sale includes the Glasius Lotus Collection, featuring quite a few rare, storied Lotuses (Loti?) including race cars, road cars, and concepts. This 1956 Eleven is a wonderfully restored example that has an important competitive background.

The Lotus Eleven was introduced by Colin Chapman in 1956. It featured this slippery body designed by Frank Costin, brother of Cosworth co-founder Mike Costin. (Frank Costin would go on to co-found Marcos before building a few cars that bore his last name in its entirety).

The ‘Le Mans’ spec car had the option of a 1.1-liter (FWA) or 1.5-liter (FWB) Coventry-Climax straight-four. This one has the 1.1-liter and the standard tubular space frame, for a weight around 1,100 pounds – making it capable of over 130mph. This car does not have the headrest that was fitted to some of the later models (the Eleven was produced up to 1958). About 270 were built, inclusive of all versions.

Proper sporting cars should have a competition history – as this one does. It was a factory Lotus team car that competed in the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans with drivers Cliff Allison and Keith Hall. A retirement – when Allison hit a dog on the Mulsanne Straight – placed the car 26th in the standings. After the race, the car ended up in the hands of an American and passed through an unknown number of owners before it was finally restored to the as-or-better-than-new condition it is in today.

This Eleven – with Lotus factory racing history – is being offered in this glorious condition for the first time. It is estimated to sell for between $210,000-$270,000. For more information click here. And for more from Bonhams in Goodwood, click here.

Update: Sold $239,464.

Itala Grand Prix Car

1908 Itala Grand Prix Car

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | June 29, 2012

The Itala marque was founded in 1904 and is fairly well-known among enthusiasts and collectors for its racing prowess prior to 1910. The company existed until bought out by Fiat in the mid-1930s. That’s 30 years of history but it’s so rare to see one come up for public sale. And yet here is one – but not just any Itala. This car, known as “Floretta” is a somewhat famous model with known, detailed history.

Itala racing cars won the Coppa Florio in 1905, the Targa Florio in 1906 and the Peking-to-Paris race in 1907. 1908 was the first year for a fixed “formula” for the Grands Prix of Europe. Itala built three four-cylinder cars for the 1908 season, utilizing drivers Alessandro Cagno, Henri Fournier and Giovanni Piacenza. It was thought until very recently that this car was the one driven by Cagno. New evidence (such as wheelbase and weight comparisons) suggest that this may have been the one driven by Piacenza, as it had a longer wheelbase and thus, more weight, than either of the other team cars.

In 1909, the car was in possession of a Mr. R. Wil-de-Gose who lapped the Brooklands circuit at 93mph. The next year he returned and eventually bumped the speed up to 101mph, faster than the Mercedes race cars it competed against in 1908. Shortly after this, the original racing body was replaced with the four-seat touring body you see here. After World War I, the car was parked in a garage in England until discovered in 1927. The car was brought back to life and has changed hands only a few times since. I highly recommend going to Bonhams site here and reading the entire description, which includes snippets of stories by people who have driven this monstrous machine. It’s very interesting.

The engine is a massive 12-liters in capacity. It has four-cylinders with cylinders cast in two blocks. It makes about 100 horsepower and is good for cruising comfortably at speeds over 80 mph. The last Itala I can find that sold at auction went for less than $100,000. The estimate on this one is slightly more at $2,300,000-$3,900,000. It’s an amazing machine and an amazing opportunity. For more info click here and for more on Bonhams in Goodwood, click here.

Update: Sold $2,724,748.