FAM Cabriolet Prototype

1952 FAM Cabriolet Prototype

Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | August 16, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

Giuseppe Benelli, he of later motorcycle fame, joined forced with Giuseppe Beretta, he of gun fame, to move into automobile territory to help rebuild their respective companies. Benelli was actually in the firearm business at that point in time, and both men’s companies suffered after WWII.

Benelli designed the chassis, and the two men teamed up with Viscount Guglielmo Castelbarco Albani to form BBC. Benelli’s design featured a 21-horsepower, 750cc V-twin mounted ahead of the front wheels. It was air-cooled and drove the front wheels. The perfect economy car for a struggling post-war Italian economy. It could hit 63 mph, and that car still exists today in the Beretta museum.

Beretta bailed on the project shortly after it was built to return his focus on guns. Benelli soldiered on and built two more cars under the name FAM (Factory Auto Motoveicoli). The prototype, this car, debuted at the 1952 Turin Motor Show. Both cars still exist – sort of. One is a bare chassis with an engine. It’s in pretty sad shape; one of the wheels is plywood.

The other has no engine but has the body, as shown above. Both are offered here together as part of Bonhams Bicester motorcycle sale. The pre-sale estimate is $10,000-$18,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Vignale Wonderful Coupe

1958 Fiat 1200 Wonderful Coupe by Vignale

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | August 14-15, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Well get to this car’s name in a second, but first: the 1950s were kind of a weird time, as it turns out. American car companies wanted their cars to look Italian, and Italian car companies, apparently, wanted their cars to look American. Look at this car’s styling. It’s like they bolted a Fiat front clip onto a Packard Hawk.

The Fiat 1200 was built in sedan and convertible form between 1957 and 1961. Power is from a 1.2-liter inline-four that made 54 horsepower. This car was styled by Michelotti, and, sure enough, it says “Wonderful” on the fenders. Kind of amusing. The coolest part is that it’s a targa. The roof panel pops off, like so:

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It’s thought that as few as three of these were made. You can read more about this restored example here, and see more from RM Sotheby’s here.

Ferrari 365 GT 2+2

1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | August 14-15, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 365 GT 2+2 (of no relation to the 365 GT4 2+2, which was the first of the “400” line of cars) was Ferrari’s followup to the successful 330 GT 2+2. Introduced in 1967, the 365 GT 2+2 would also be relatively successful, with Ferrari building 809 examples through 1971. In Ferrari-speak, this means they were churning them out.

Styling was by Pininfarina, and the car has a faint pretty strong 500 Superfast look to it. Power is from a Colombo V12 – the 4.4-liter engine put out 320 horsepower. They did build 14 drop-top versions, the 365 California. But they cost 10 times as much as one of these.

That’s right, this car is one of the least expensive entry points into classic Ferrari ownership (and by classic, I mean before everything got all boxy). The estimate on this car is $150,000-$180,000. Not bad for a 60s-era Ferrari. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Edwards America Convertible

1954 Edwards America Convertible

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | August 14-15, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Sterling Edwards’ eponymous car company managed to produce just six-ish cars during its short run. But they were pretty. The America was available as a coupe and convertible. Two coupes were made, three convertibles were completed, and the sixth body was stolen and likely scrapped.

This is car number one. It was constructed using the frame from a Henry J and an Oldsmobile Rocket V8 engine. The body is fiberglass, and other parts were sourced from existing cars of the era, including Studebaker headlight rings and Mercury taillights.

When new, this car was said to cost $4,995. Not cheap in the day – almost two grand more than a Corvette. This example received a mechanical restoration in 2003 and was purchased by the consignor in 2013. It can now be yours, as it’s selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

500K Offener Tourenwagen

1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Offener Tourenwagen

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | August 14, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

We’ve featured five examples of the 500K – one of the finest automobiles to ever have been produced by Mercedes-Benz. Four of them were cabriolets, and there was one Sports Roadster. What they all have in common is that they are sporty drop-tops. They may have had back seats, but the focus was on making them look like convertible coupes.

Not this car. While it may have two doors, it also has a long convertible top so that rear-seat passengers still had an open view to the outside world. This was the autobahn cruiser for someone who regularly took his friends out to show off. Imagine taking three of your friends and blasting down the highway with the top down in one of these. Incredible.

Power is from a 160 horsepower, supercharged 5.0-liter inline-eight (100 horsepower without the supercharger engaged). Bonhams’ catalog description refers to this as a Cabriolet A and an Offener Tourenwagen, and it is most definitely the latter. It also claims that only 16 such cars were built on the 500K chassis, but the number 28 is reported elsewhere.

The takeaway is that it’s rare. It’s also one of the best 500Ks, apart from the Autobahnkuriers. This one should bring between $2,000,000-$2,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Grid-Porsche

1983 Grid-Porsche S2

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | August 14, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

Grid Motor Racing of Leamington, England, went Group C racing with this Porsche-powered prototype in the early 1980s. Grid stood for Giuseppe Rise and Ian Dawson, the two men behind the project, and they built two sports racing prototypes, with this being the second.

This car is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.2-liter Porsche flat-six good for 500 horsepower, and the body is made of glass-reinforced plastic. It’s hung over a monocoque featuring aluminum honeycomb panels. Though listed as a 1983, the car made its racing debut in 1984, and it’s competition history includes:

  • 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans – 53rd, DNF (with Dudley Wood, John Cooper, and Barry Robinson)

It was dead last at Le Mans, having covered just 10 laps. Fortunately, that’s enough to grant you access to nearly any historic event you want to participate in. And it did have more successful outings later that season.

The current owner bought it in 2012 and listed it on Bring a Trailer late last year where it was bid to $200,000. Seemed like a good price, but they seem to think that can get $275,000-$325,000 at Bonhams. It will be interesting to see what the result ends up being. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Durango 95

1969 Adams Brothers M-505 Probe 16

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | August 14, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

So this is an iconic car from a time gone by. Dennis and Peter Adams were two brothers who both happened to have worked at Marcos. They branched out on their own in the late 1960s as Adams Brothers. And they built a few cars (and they all had terrible names: see above and the auction catalog).

One example of their first car, the Probe 15, was built, and three examples of the followup car, the Probe 16, were built. The first example of the 16 was destroyed long ago, and this is the second. The third and final car was featured in the film A Clockwork Orange, where it was performed as the “Durango 95.”

The car is an exercise in extreme styling. It sits just 34″ tall from the ground to the roof and rides on 10″ front and 13″ rear wheels. Those are like go-kart wheels. The glass canopy slides to allow access to the right-hand-drive cabin like a 70s-era kit car.

Power is from a rear-mounted 1.9-liter inline-four good for 100 horsepower. It’s got disc brakes and an independent suspension all around. This car has spent time on display at the Petersen as the Durango 95. It’s now offered with an estimate of $150,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

VLF Force 1

2015 VLF Force 1

Offered by Gooding & Company | Online | August 3-7, 2020

Photo – Gooding & Company

Yes, this is a Dodge Viper. Buuut, it’s Dodge Viper with Henrik Fisker-penned bodywork produced by VLF Automotive, a company originally founded by Bob Lutz to stuff V8s into formerly-electric Fisker Karmas.

VLF said, “Hey, we’re gonna build 50 of these things at $286,500 a pop.” Well, we all know how start-up supercar companies go. This car is the first of just five completed. It shares the Viper’s 8.4-liter V10, but it’s been cranked up to 745 horsepower. It’s said to hit 60 mph in three seconds and top out at 218 mph.

The design isn’t bad, but it looses some of that Viper meanness in an attempt to beautify it. Actually, it kind of looks like a Viper that is halfway finished eating a Jaguar F-Type. This car is expected to bring between $275,000-$325,000. Good luck finding another one. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Statesman DeVille

1979 Statesman DeVille Sedan

Offered by Shannons | Online | August 19-26, 2020

Photo – Shannons (obviously)

Statesman was actually a standalone brand offered by General Motors in Australia. They were available from 1971 through 1984 and were sold through Holden dealerships. Statesmans (Statesmen?) were big cars that were better appointed than their Holden counterparts.

This is an HZ Statesman, which is the fourth generation. It was introduced in 1977 and was replaced in 1980. Two models were offered during this generation: DeVille and the Caprice. The car is powered by a 5.0-liter V8.

Equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes, a crushed velour interior, and a Radial Tuned Suspension. Statesmans are rarely seen outside of Australia, making this a great chance to grab one and export it. This car is expected to bring between $13,000-$17,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Mason Tourist King

1920 Mason Tourist King

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angles, California | August 14, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

It’s rare when an American car from this era exists, while at the same time, practically zero information about it exists. The Mason Tourist King was produced in Newark, New Jersey, sometime between 1918 and 1920.

The car was produced as a prototype to show the U.S. government that it would make a great staff car. Features included to prove this point included a funky passenger seat that was attached to the door. This allowed for a flat sleeping area in the car.

Power is from a 55-horsepower, 4.6-liter Continental inline-six. Unfortunately, the car was produced right at the end of WWI, and no one was interested. It was saved long ago and was restored between 2010 and 2017 at a cost of over $500,000. It’s an interesting car and one that likely belongs in a museum (unfortunately). You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.