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.

RA4 Vanguard

1954 RA4 Vanguard

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Online | July 31-August 2, 2020

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

So no, this isn’t an Auto Union Grand Prix car, despite its looks. In fact, it was built a full 20 years after those cars dominated the European Grand Prix circuit. The “RA” cars were racing specials built by Hector Green and Jack Brewer in New Zealand between the end of WWII and the mid-1950s. Their first car kept evolving, and in 1951 they decided to replace it.

The RA4 Vanguard was the replacement, and its design and construction were heavily influenced by the pre-war Auto Unions. That’s because its builders consulted a then-declassified British intelligence document that investigated the construction of the German Grand Prix cars of the 1930s. Intriguing stuff.

Power is from a rear-mounted 2.1-liter inline-four from a Standard Vanguard that was supercharged and fitted with dual SU carburetors. Horsepower, when the car was running on methanol, was approximately 200. Wow.

The car competed regularly in New Zealand beginning in 1951 through about 1954. It’s been invited to the Goodwood Revival and has been owned by its current caretakers since 2017. Only five or six RA specials were built. You can read more about this one here and see more from this sale here.

Zenos E10

2016 Zenos E10 2.3 R Roadster

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Online | July 31-August 1, 2020

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Zenos Cars was founded in 2012 by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards in Norfolk in the United Kingdom. They announced their first car, the E10, in 2013, and it was a lightweight mid-engine sports car. Production started in 2015, but the following year the company had some financial problems and everything stopped by 2017.

There was a base E10, the turbocharged S model, and the even-more-powerful R model. This is an example of the latter, and it is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter Ford EcoBoost inline-four that was rated at 350 horsepower. That engine went into a car that weighed about 1,600 pounds dry. That combo was good for a sprint to 60 mph in about three seconds, and it topped out around 150 mph.

Silverstone is offered two Zenos cars at this sale: this car and a base roadster. Neither car has ever been registered, and they are essentially brand new. Due to the company’s financial problems, I sort of want to think that these were two leftovers or demonstrators that are being liquidated. But that’s just conjecture. What is cool is that Zenos built over 100 examples of the E10, making it a legitimate production sports car. Here’s your chance to get one of the last new examples. It will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Moskvitch 400-420

1951 Moskvitch 400-420

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-6, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Moskvitch was a brand of automobile produced by the Soviet Union beginning in 1946. The first cars were actually built at a former Opel plant in East Germany. Production continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and afterward under a privately-owned company until 2002. Somehow, Volkswagen currently owns the brand name.

The cars were reliable and low-cost by Soviet standards, although they were not always easy to get. The 400 was based on the pre-war Opel Kadett and went on sale in December 1946. The “400” meant that the car was powered by a 23-horsepower 1.1-liter inline-four, and the “420” meant that it was a sedan.

Other body styles were offered, and the model was ultimately succeeded by the short-lived 401 in 1954. Between the 400 and 401, 247,439 examples were produced. I have no particular history on this car, as this post is being written well in advance of RM’s catalog going online. But, these are rarely seen in the U.S. (or even Western Europe), and this one is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Alfa Romeo RZ

1993 Alfa Romeo RZ

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | July 23-30, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It’s always fun when a manufacturer rolls out an unnecessary, limited-edition specialty car. Think of things like the Lancia Hyena, the Alfa SZ/RZ, and even the Chevy SSR (I like them, leave me alone). They just make life more interesting.

The Alfa Romeo SZ, or Sprint Zagato, was built between 1989 and 1991. It was a hardtop coupe and 1,036 were built. The RZ, or Roadster Zagato, was offered from 1992 through 1994 and only 278 were built. It’s boxy, distinctive, and the suspension is based on the Alfa 75 IMSA car. It is apparently quite the driver’s car.

Power is from a 3.0-liter V6 rated at 207 horsepower. The roadster could hit 60 in 7.5 seconds, which doesn’t sound all that quick, but hey, it’s only got 207 horsepower. It’s a momentum machine, capable of great gobs of grip. This example is a rare sight in the U.S. and will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $61,600.