Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 7, 2019
The Velox Motor Co. Ltd. of Coventry began producing cars in 1902. They offered at least three models during their short history (they went out of business in 1904), ranging from 20 horsepower touring cars to this, the Miniature Velox.
It is powered by a single-cylinder engine rated at 3.5 horsepower. The car included some pretty bizarre features for 1903: a tubular frame, an inverted suspension, and a front-engine/rear-wheel-drive layout, and dual chain drive (one going from the engine to the mid-mounted gearbox, and one going from there to the live rear axle).
Though they were around for three years and offered multiple models, the company only produced 21 automobiles. Total. And this is the only one that survives. It is London-to-Brighton eligible and should sell for between $48,000-$60,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | August 29-September 1, 2019
To win the very first Indianapolis 500 is kind of a big deal. Ray Harroun will be remembered for as long as that race continues… and then for another century or so. But after that 1911 victory, he retired from racing. And most people who know who he is have no idea what became of him after that.
Well, let’s backtrack. In 1905, Mr. Harroun built his own racing car before he got a job as a riding mechanic. So he knew his way around the mechanical parts of a car. In 1917, he set up shop in Wayne, Michigan, to build automobiles. And unlike some people who just slapped their name on the front of cars for the promotional benefit, Harroun actually designed the cars that carried his name.
The Model A-1 was built in 1917 and 1918. It’s powered by a 43 horsepower inline-four. This example is a little rough, but it’s believed to be one of two such examples in existence (and one of only 326 built in 1918). All-original, it’ll need a little TLC (and tires, at least) to get going again. But once it’s up and running it will be a roaming part of history. Harroun Motors closed in 1922. This car is estimated to sell for between $15,000-$20,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16, 2019
We’re kind of saving the best for last for this year’s Monterey auctions. What we have here is an early Isotta Fraschini… with period Indianapolis 500 race history. Isotta was founded in 1900, and most of their surviving cars in private hands tend to be the big, beautiful ones from the late 1920s and early 1930s.
To see one this “early” – 13 years into their production – is pretty rare. The engine is a 135 horsepower, 7.2-liter inline-four. A monster. The Tipo IM was built specifically to compete at Indy at a time when many manufacturers were hoping for glory at the Brickyard for the promotional benefit that would surely follow. If only Indy still had that kind of manufacturer pull and aura of innovation. The racing history for this chassis includes:
1913 Indianapolis 500 – 17th, DNF (with Teddy Tetzlaff)
1914 Indianapolis 500 – 27th, DNF (with Ray Gilhooey)
Only six examples of the Tipo IM were built. This one DNF’d at Indy twice, first with a broken drive chain and again in 1914 after a blown tire resulting in a driver-ejecting spin and subsequent rollover. Gilhooey and his riding mechanic survived.
By 1917 it had been re-bodied in New York and sold to a private owner as a road car. It was restored by a later owner in the 1960s and was purchased by the consignor in 1995. Since then, the car has been restored again, this time to its 1914 Indy 500 specification. Many early 500 cars didn’t survive. This one has, and it’s wonderful. The pre-sale estimate is $3,000,000-$4,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The Model 38 sat at the lower end of the 1912 and 1913 Simplex lineup. Powered by a 38 horsepower, 7.8-liter inline-four, the cars could be had in two wheelbases. The car you see here is the short wheelbase at 127″. It’s a four-passenger touring car, which would’ve cost $4,850 when new. That was a lot in 1912.
The body appears to be a replacement, as it is described as being “in the style of Holbrook.” It also has kind of a funky inward lean to it, but I think it may just be an odd photo angle. Completely restored, this is a useable brass era car, with enough power to comfortably use on tours. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
It’s a little amusing how much the Mecum catalog is hedging on the description of this car. It is in the catalog as “1954/1959 Ferrari 0432M.” Which is useless info. This car has a nuanced history, that’s for sure. I guess when you own the auction house you want to lay out the facts and let others draw their own conclusions – which I will now do. This car was born in 1954 as a Pinin Farina-bodied 250 Monza Spider.
Only four examples of the 250 Monza were built and they were essentially the 750 Monza with a 3.0-liter V12 instead of a 3.0-liter inline-four. Output was 260 horsepower. This particular car won the 1954 12 Hours of Hyeres with Maurice Trintignant and Luigi Piotti.
Sometime in 1956 or 1957, the car returned to Ferrari, who had it re-bodied by Scaglietti with the pontoon fender-style body you see here. The interesting bit is that this was done at approximately the same time Scaglietti was designing the 250 Testa Rossa. Maybe it’s like a proto-Testa Rossa?
In 1959, it arrived at Luigi Chinetti’s place in New York, and it was shown at the 1959 New York Auto Show. From there it’s had a few owners, including Dana Mecum who had the car restored in 2014. The catalog makes this car seem mysterious. But old cars changed bodies here and there. No big deal. It’s a factory-re-body of a 250 Monza. And it’s wonderful. I look forward to your hate mail telling me why my assumptions are wrong. Check out more info on this car here, and see more from Mecum here.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Pacific Grove, California | August 15, 2019
Stevens-Duryea was founded in 1901 when J. Frank Duryea got pissed off at his brother and left their joint company to work elsewhere. He designed a car and convinced The J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company to build it. They continued to offer very expensive cars through 1927.
This Model X, which is listed as a 1908 but was first purchased in 1911, was from the heydey of Stevens-Duryea. The Model X was produced from 1909 through 1912. Power is from a 36 horsepower, L-head four-cylinder engine. The car is wonderful, especially if you start looking at the details. And it’s all-original apart from a 1950s repaint.
But the big story here is the car’s history. It was retained by its first owner for many years before being willed to Henry Austin Clark Jr. in the 1950s. Clark kept it in his museum and used it on tours (of which video exists on YouTube). It’s currently on only its fourth owner. No pre-sale estimate is provided, but it failed to sell on BringaTrailer for $125,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 15, 2019
There have been a few Aston Martin wagons – err, “shooting brakes” – over the years. They officially started with the DB5. The story is that company owner David Brown was annoyed that his hunting dog was destroying the front seats in his normal DB5, and he had nowhere to put his polo gear. I should’ve warned you that it was a very pretentious story.
The Shooting Brake versions of the DB5 share the same 282 horsepower, 4.0-liter inline-six as the coupes. But it has that extra bodywork and glass at the rear, courtesy of Radford, a British coachbuilder hired by Brown to build the bodies, as the Aston factory didn’t have the capacity to fill the special orders for these cars.
Only 12 examples of the DB5 Shooting Brake were built by the “factory” (i.e. by Radford). One for Brown, and 11 others for customers who saw Brown’s car and wanted their own. They are very hard to find today, and this example has been with three Swiss owners since new. It should bring between $1,000,000-$1,400,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019
The 1950s were a great time for one-off road racing specials. Returning soldiers saw the light in Europe with their lightweight sports cars and came back with an increased technical know-how to get it done. And that’s what we have here.
Charles Hughes and Kurt Kircher teamed up to build this very pretty special. Kircher was an ex-GM man who helped develop the Powerglide transmission. Hughes was an ex-G.I. who happened to buy a Jaguar XK120. He took it to Kircher, now in Colorado, and used the XK120 engine, a tube-frame chassis, and an MG steering rack to create the first version of the Hughes-Kircher Special. The body was done in aluminum.
After a few years, the car ceased to be competitive. Somehow, the duo got their hands on a Mille Miglia-prepped 300SL race engine and plopped it under the hood. Later, that engine was swapped for a 240 horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six from a “standard” 300SL. It still has such an engine, just a different one, as the second straight-six was eventually reunited with its factory Gullwing chassis.
This car has raced all over the world and has been in some major collections. It’s been restored and looks as good as any period Ferrari. But it’ll be much cheaper – between $300,000-$400,000 will take it home. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 17, 2019
Let’s start with this: Tatras are amazing with their unique, otherworldly designs. These big, streamlined, rear-engined cars must’ve seemed completely alien to car shoppers in the 1930s. That’s right, the 1930s! The Tatra 77 was introduced in 1934 and was the world’s first production aerodynamically-designed air-cooled car.
Features include three headlights and a sloping fastback body style that achieved an insanely-low drag coefficient. Power is from a 75 horsepower, 3.4-liter V8. The engine compartments in these cars are so interesting – it looks like there is some kind of machine back there, not an air-cooled V8. Top speed on the 77A was 93 mph.
The interior here is pretty luxurious as well, with a huge rear passenger compartment partitioned off from the driver. And the rear seatback folds forward to reveal a nicely-trimmed trunk ahead of the engine. Only 255 combined examples of the 1934-1935 Tatra 77 and 1935-1938 77A were produced. Only 20 are thought to remain.
Check out Gooding’s posted ownership history: purchased new by a Czech citizen who had the car confiscated by the German army in 1939. The Soviet army took possession of the car in 1945. In 1950, a Russian bought the car and kept it for 50 years before the current owner bought it from him. It should sell to its next owner for between $450,000-$650,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 15, 2019
James Cunningham founded a carriage-building business with his songs in Rochester, New York in 1882 and then died in 1886. His son Joseph ran things from then on, and by 1911 they were in the automobile business. By 1916 they were selling V8-powered cars. Never inexpensive, the Cunningham car disappeared after 1929, with a few leftovers completed during the 1930s.
Cunningham also had a very confusing naming convention for their cars. It started innocently enough, but when the five-year-old Series V gave way to the V-4 in 1922, things got weird. All powered by the firm’s V8 engine, the models would be named V-4, V-5, V-6, V-7, and apparently even V-8. Things started to make sense just in time to go out of business.
The engine in this car is a 7.2-liter V8 rated at 106 horsepower when new. It likely would’ve cost its new owner in the neighborhood of $8,500 in 1928 – quite a sum. Later, this car was owned by Bill Harrah and remained in his collection until his death. The restoration is fresh as of 2016, and the car should now bring between $150,000-$220,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.