Bugatti Type 101C

1954 Bugatti Type 101C Coupe by Antem

Offered by Bonhams | Chantilly, France | September 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Post-war Bugattis are essentially impossible to come by. The company Ettore founded built its final pre-war car, the Type 57, in 1940. The Molsheim factory was destroyed during the war and Bugatti no longer controlled it. Ettore died in 1947 and his son Roland attempted the bring the company back in 1949 supposedly building a handful of Type 57s.

In 1951, the revived Bugatti announced that they would be building a new Type 101 (or 101C in supercharged form) which was based on the pre-war Type 57 chassis. The engine (in this case) is a supercharged 3.3-liter straight-eight making 190 horsepower. Only seven would end up being built, including the prototype (two more Type 57s would later be converted to 101 spec).

The hoarders Schlumpf had three Type 101s, including the prototype, and they remain in that collection. One more is in a museum. The remaining three are in private hands. Bugatti only built one more prototype after the 101 (the 252). And that was it. So that means this is one of about 10 post-war Bugattis ever built.

It is the only Type 101 bodied by Antem and has a very racy two-door coupe body. The final 101 wasn’t fitted with a body until 1965. This car entered the Harrah collection in 1964 and would later be owned by Nicolas Cage and John O’Quinn. It was sold in 2009 to its current Belgian owner. It’s the only one like it and this has to be the easiest way to acquire a post-war Bugatti (before the whole 1990s supercar revival thing). It should sell for between $1,700,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Duesenberg J-147

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 5, 2015

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

It’s amazing the history that can be found when you have the right car. It’s sort of like a royal bloodline – you can trace it all the way back. And this car has known ownership history from new.

This Model J (powered by the 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower) is not wearing its original clothes. When it was new, it had a LeBaron Sweep Panel Phaeton body on it. The body you see here was originally on J-121, which was owned by one of Chicago’s Wrigleys.

Murphy was the most prolific of Duesenberg coachbuilders and this was their most popular two-door body style. Since its original owner (who owned a radio station in Chicago), this car has spent time at the Blackhawk Collection, the Imperial Palace Collection, and the collection of Dean Kruse. It’s been restored since 2007 and is immaculate. It should sell for between $1,500,000-$1,750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,402,500.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017, $1,430,000.

Hidden Treasure

I was recently invited into an old garage that the new owner has been cleaning up for some time. The story is a couple of guys bought it in the late 1950s and began just piling old cars (sometimes in pieces) in a two-level garage near Cincinnati. It was one of many properties they had. When the owner of this place passed, a car guy from a new generation bought it and everything in it. He’s been clearing it out, selling some stuff but keeping the interesting bits.

The former owner once worked at a Packard dealership and when it closed he ended up with the leftover stock. One of the most interesting finds in the basement of the garage were these NOS Packard bits:


The boxes might look worn, but this stuff was never used.

There were shelves and shelves of parts including even more Packard parts that may have been 60+ years old but had never been used:


This was one of a few shelves of newly organized parts

There was actually an entire pre-war Lincoln chassis hanging from the ceiling and a bunch of Lincoln parts in the basement:


That’s a big Lincoln chassis… strapped to the ceiling. There’s some nice Pierce-Arrow fenders and doors up there too.


Pictured: pre-war Lincoln. Some assembly required.

There was an old box in the basement full of papers and some digging returned cool finds:


Checks going back to the late 1920s. This one is from 1932.


A small advertisement on the back of an order sheet for radiator repairs in the 1930s.


This thick leather-bound book featured some Pontiac sales literature that appeared to be from around 1940.

What’s fascinating about this sort of place is that they are becoming harder and harder to find. It’s not often you unearth a treasure trove of old car stuff. And even though this one has been cleaned and straightened, it’s still really interesting.

And check this out, hanging on the wall is the body (body number attached) from a Maxwell. The Selden tag is still affixed, dating it to pre-1911.


It doesn’t look like much, but that’s a piece of history.

The new owner is a lucky guy and for those of us that share the interest in the history of the automobile, it’s an interesting place. I was lucky enough to be invited in and I thank him for his hospitality. This just goes to show you never know what is hiding in that nondescript building down the street and that there is hidden treasure all around you. I’m going to try and seek out more. And hopefully someday, someone will rescue that Lincoln chassis and the rest of the parts and get it back on the road.

1912 Packard Touring

1912 Packard Model 30 Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 15-16, 2015

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

What I like most about this car is that I can imagine it being 1912 (well, as best I can) and being the rich guy who is being chauffeured around in this giant thing. The looks such a giant touring car must’ve gotten back in the day must have been awesome. The Model 30 was an expensive ride in 1912, costing around $4,200 in Seven-Passenger Touring form. It was the cheapest body style you could get on this, Packard’s big four for 1912.

The engine is a 7.1-liter straight-four making 30 horsepower. This car has a nice Victoria top to shade wealthy passengers while the chauffeur bakes up front. White tires on white rims accented by body color paint really make this thing pop visually. We love white tires.

Of the 1,250 Model 30s built in 1912 (which was the final year for the model introduced in 1907), it is thought that there are only about 10 left, with this being, perhaps, the best. Actually it is the best as the interior is remarkably original. It was formerly in the Harrah Collection and should bring between $325,000-$375,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Gooding’s auction lineup.

Update: Sold $280,000.

Fiat Eden Roc

1956 Fiat Eden Roc by Pinin Farina

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 15-16, 2015

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Fiat 600 Multipla isn’t one of the sexiest cars ever built – far from it. But it did have a solid layout and drivetrain – enough to move nearly a quarter of a million of them off dealer lots between 1956 and 1969. The Fiat 500 and 600 were the basis for quite a variety of “beach cars” built for wealthy people who didn’t need something practical for everyday driving, but for a way to get from the front door to the ocean.

So when Fiat president Gianni Agnelli wanted a car for just that purpose, Pinin Farina took a 600 Multipla, widened it a little, and crafted this really pretty open-air little transporter. It is powered by a 962cc straight-four (mounted at the rear) making 50 horsepower. It features an early-Econoline setup with the driver essentially riding the windshield, but it’s quite pretty. It has a very Cary Grant-in-1950s-Italy sort of feel about it, doesn’t it?

Agnelli’s Eden Roc premiered at the 1956 Paris Motor Show and it caught the eye of an American oil man who commissioned another example (this one). It’s had two owners (both of the same family) since new and was restored sometime post-2008. Both examples still exist but this is likely the only one that will ever be available. No pre-sale estimate is available as there is no sale history for this model. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $660,000.


1906 Pungs-Finch Limited Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 14-15, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

This is a car you’ve likely never heard of. W.A. Pungs and his son-in-law, E.B. Finch, joined forces in late 1904 to create an automobile company. Finch was the engineer and Pungs was the money. They built a couple hundred cars through 1910 when, um, “familial issues” caused the two to part ways.

In 1906, they built a car called the Limited. It was available as a two-passenger Roadster or a seven-passenger Touring. This is an example of the seven-passenger Touring and it is likely the only example ever built. Henry Ford said it was the finest car he had ever seen.

This car is wonderfully engineered. It features shaft drive and hemispherical combustion chambers. The engine is an absolutely massive 10.6-liter straight-four making 50 horsepower. That’s right, each cylinder displaces almost as much as the engines in the two cars in my garage combined.

The Pungs-Finch – which really isn’t a great name for an automobile, let’s be honest – Limited Touring likely never progressed beyond this, the prototype stage. It was found and rescued in the 1950s and was once owned by Henry Austin Clark, Jr. The restoration is somewhat new, as is the body (it is a faithful recreation of the original, as the original was lost). At any rate, it’s the only Pungs-Finch in existence and, as much as I don’t want to sounds like a teenager, this car is epic. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $852,500.

An American Fiat

1912 American Fiat Model 56 7-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 14, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

A lot of European firms opened an American arm in the early days of the automobile: De Dion-Bouton, Austin, Berliet, Napier, and perhaps most famously, Rolls-Royce, among others. Fiat did, too, and unlike Rolls-Royce (but like the others mentioned above), these cars are often referred to as American Fiats with “American” in the brand name, and not simply specified in the model name (like a Rolls-Royce “Springfield” Ghost).

Anyway, American Fiat was around from 1910 through 1918, when it was cheaper to open another factory than to pay import taxes. The Type 56 was built between 1912 and 1916, the largest car offered in any of those years. It is powered by an 8.6-liter straight-six making an estimated 50 horsepower.

The body is a Seven-Passenger Touring, which was just one of two body styles offered in 1912 (the range would proliferate with time). They were big cars and they weren’t cheap. It’s thought that this car cost in the neighborhood of $4,500 when new. The man who restored this car acquired it in 1952 and it was in his family until 2013. While I don’t know how many were built, not many of these survive. It’s pretty awesome, actually, and should bring between $175,000-$225,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: $130,000.

The First Post-War Aston Martin

1948 Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 14, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

A few weeks ago we featured the last Aston Martin sold prior to the outbreak of WWII. Well here is the bookend to that car: the first Aston Martin built after the war ended. It is the first car built in the David Brown era – and in fact, the 2-Litre Sports (as it was originally called) would become the DB1. Only 15 examples of the DB1 were built (the 2-Litre Sports included).

Designed by Claude Hill, the 2-Litre Sports features a – you guessed it – 2.0-liter straight-four engine making 90 horsepower. Because they wanted to race this car to get Aston’s name back on the minds of the motoring public, the body was a rush job. It is cycle-fendered while the successive DB1s were all fully-fendered roadsters.

That race they were in such a hurry to enter was the 1948 24 Hours of Spa. And they won it with drivers St. John “Jock” Horsfall and Leslie Johnson. Then David Brown wanted to show the car at the ’48 London Motor Show so they re-bodied it slightly (to what you see here). They didn’t sell it (so David Brown gave it to his son) but they ended up taking orders for more cars (the 14 DB1s). This car put Aston Martin on a path to success that is still going strong.

This car, one of one, is one of the most important Aston Martins in existence. It should sell for between $600,000-$900,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $781,000.

July 2015 Auction Highlights, Pt. II

There were a bunch of sales in July (and there’s a bunch more in August). It seems like auction houses are really packing the calendar this year. First up in this rundown is RM Sotheby’s Motor City sale. The top sale was this previously featured Duesenberg for $852,500. Both of our new feature cars sold, with the beautiful LaSalle bringing $77,000 and the Ford Explorer Concept $14,300. A car we would’ve loved to have gone home in was this 1932 Packard Eight Phaeton, which sold for $140,250. Click here for complete results.

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Now we’ll jump to England for Silverstone Auctions’ Silverstone Classic, which they actually broke down into two sales – one for competition cars, and one for everything else. We’ll break it down that way too. First up, the competition cars where this 1959 Cooper Monaco took top sale honors at $342,225.

Photo - Silverstone Auctions

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

All three of our featured F1 cars sold, with the 1983 Osella-Alfa Romeo bringing $126,360. The ’86 Osella sold for $70,200. And the engine-less Toleman TG185 went for $48,266.

We weren’t able to feature anything from the road car portion of this sale, but the high seller was a 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo LE for $249,210. Click here for complete results.

Photo - Silverstone Auctions

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

H&H Classics held a sale at Pavilion Gardens near the end of July. We weren’t able to feature anything from this sale either, but the big seller was this 1966 Jaguar E-Type Series I 4.2 Coupe for $107,530. Click here to see more results, including a host of more affordable cars.

Photo - H&H Classics

Photo – H&H Classics

And finally, we bump into August with Mecum’s sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This is one of those sales where cars are sold at prices mere humans can afford. It’s great. The top sale, however, was this 1968 Shelby GT500KR Convertible for $190,000. Check out full results here.

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Giannini Sport Prototype

1968 Giannini Sport 1300 Prototype

Offered by Coys | Nurburgring, Germany | August 8, 2015

Photo - Coys

Photo – Coys

Attilio and Domenico Giannini were brothers who founded a garage in Rome in 1920. They began as part of the Itala service network and entered their first race car, an Itala, in the 1927 Mille Miglia. They later turned their attention to tuning tiny Fiats – and they were very successful (even though the original business closed in the 1960s and the brothers split, each opening their own company). Domenico’s new company is still around, wrenching on Fiats.

This car, a one-off, was built by Giannini before the original company closed its doors. It features a 1.3-liter flat-four. It’s likely the only Giannini product powered by a Boxer engine that still exists. It was a race car, and the aluminium body is very reminiscent of a Lotus 23.

This car has been in a private collection for nearly 40 years and this is the first time it has ever been offered for sale on the open market. It is expected to bring between $110,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Coys’ lineup.

Update: Not sold.