Vermorel Tourer

1913 Vermorel 12/16HP Model L Torpedo Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The French Vermorel company (officially, Établissements V. Vermorel) traces its roots back to 1850, when it was founded as an engineering firm in Villefranche-sur-Saône, France. They built their first car in 1899, but series production didn’t being until 1908.

Production took off until the outbreak of World War One and resumed immediately upon the war’s conclusion. The last Vermorel passenger car rolled off the line 1930 and heavy trucks were built through 1932. The company soldiered on in other arenas until 1965.

This particular example was discovered in a barn in France in 1968. It had two owners until 1990 when the current owner bought it. It is likely powered by a 2.3-liter straight-four making 12/16 horsepower and the body is by Henri Gauthier & Cie. Vermorel is a rare marque these days and this is believed to be the only example in the U.K. It should sell for between $26,000-$39,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

July 2017 Auction Highlights

July was a lull in the auction world between a packed June and an always-huge August. We start this with H&H Classics at the Imperial War Museum. The top seller at this sale was this 1929 Bugatti Type 44 Saloon by Vanvooren that brought $258,555.

Photo – H&H Classics

The Adams Roadster we featured sold, bringing $22,900 (you can see all of the results here). And we’ll stay in the U.K. for the first half of Silverstone Auctions’ two-parter, the Classic Race Car Sale. The Tojeiro-JAP failed to meet it’s reserve, but the top sale was this $295,492 1990 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Works Rally Car. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Next up, Mecum’s Harrisburg sale. A previously-featured Stutz failed to sell at this auction. The top sale was this 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird for $415,000.

Photo – Mecum

The Hertz Rent-a-Racer Shelby we featured sold for $120,000. Complete results can be found here.

Let’s jump back to June to cover Russo & Steele’s Newport Beach auction. The top sale there was $292,600 for this 2006 Ford GT.

Photo – Russo & Steele

The Fiat 1200 TV we featured failed to sell. Check here for more results.

Here we go… the first of the Pebble Beach sales: Bonhams in Carmel. The top sale, as predicted, was the single-owner McLaren F1 we featured that ended up bringing an astonishing $15,620,000. The 1904 Premier we featured blasted past its estimate, selling for $341,000. A couple of no-sales included the Maserati Mistral, Ferrari 312 F1 car, the Lotus Indy car and a previously-featured 1904 Humber.

We’ll give Most Interesting to this 1957 BMW 503 Cabriolet by Bertone that we really wanted to feature but ran out of time. It sold for $583,000.

Photo – Bonhams

A rare model of Horch we featured a long time ago while it was for sale at a dealership sold at this auction for $102,300. Click here for more from Bonhams.

“Die Valkyrie”

1955 Cadillac Die Valkyrie Concept Car by Spohn

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 2, 2017

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Yesterday we featured a car owned by Brooks Stevens. Today we feature a car designed by Brooks Stevens. Stevens was an industrial designer best remembered in automobile circles for designing some great cars. In the 1950s he wanted to build a nice ride in the European tradition at a time when there were a lot of European-American cars coming out from American manufacturers.

So he took a 1954 Cadillac chassis and penned an original body for it. There’s a swooping “V” at the front, a long hood, and a removable hardtop for open air driving. The body was built by Spohn of Germany and the engine is an all-American 5.4-liter V-8 making 230 horsepower.

Dubbed “Die Valkyrie” after the Wagner opera, you can just imagine that famous piece of music emanating from this car as it stalks up behind you, that big V at the front trying to root you off the road.

This car was shown at the 1954 Paris Auto Salon and the 1955 New York Auto Show. Stevens bought the car for his wife from the financial backer who funded the project. It remained in his stewardship until 1997 when the current owner acquired it. It’s a one-of-one custom GM Concept Car and should bring big money when it goes under the hammer in Auburn. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Al Jolson’s Mercedes

1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/120/180 Sports 4 by Sindelfingen

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

I know we featured a similar-looking Mercedes-Benz S-Type just a week ago but this… this is one of my favorite cars of all time. This is Al Jolson’s Mercedes and it is wonderful. The S-Type was sort of the entry-level model of Mercedes-Benz’s first halo car, introduced in 1926. The cars only get better as they added letters: the SS, the SSK, and the SSKL.

Under that long hood is a 6.8-liter straight-six. Under normal operating conditions, it makes 120 horsepower – but there is a supercharger strapped to the motor that, when engaged, pushes the power to 180. The body is a two-door, four-seat tourer by Mercedes’ in-house coachbuilder, Sindelfingen. The cream exterior with red interior is a great combo and the low-slung dramatic stance this car has is just incredible.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

We never use more than one photo of a car, but it’s impossible not to here. I’d use all of them, but RM Sotheby’s would probably get angry, so just go check out the rest of them here on their site.

According to its third owner, famed American designer Brooks Stevens, this car was given to Mercedes-Benz factory racing driver Rudolf Caracciola when new. But it’s first traceable owner was none other than Al Jolson, one of the biggest stars of stage and screen (and radio) in the 1920s. He owned the car until 1947 when Stevens bought it. Stevens owned the car until 1990 when he sold it (and then the new owner restored it).

About 10 years ago (give or take) this car was offered at the Auto Collections (or the Blackhawk Collection, I can’t quite recall which, but aren’t they essentially the same thing?). It was there for a while and that’s when it became my “lottery car.” It’s a spectacular looking example of one of the finest pre-war sporting tourers money could buy. And imagining it being manhandled around Jazz Age Hollywood by one of its top stars just adds to its appeal.

RM Sotheby’s is estimating that it will bring $3,500,000-$4,000,000. On a related note, can anyone lend me $4 million? You can see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Gardner 140

1930 Gardner 140 Sport Roadster

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

Russell Gardner founded the Gardner Motor Company in St. Louis in 1920. The company did pretty well right off the bat, moving nearly 4,000 cars in 1921 and more than double that the year after. They began with four-cylinder cars and expanded to six and eight-cylinder engines later on.

In 1930 the company offered three models: the Model 136, Model 140, and Model 150. The mid-level Model 140 is powered by a 90 horsepower, 4.1-liter Lycoming straight-eight. It was an evolution of 1929’s Model 125 (not to be confused with the 120).

The 140 could be had in eight body styles, with this Sport Roadster among the least expensive options, priced at $1,645 when new. Restored in 2016, this ex-Harrah car is one of about 1,100 Gardners produced in 1930 (the company folded after 1931). It’s also one of two Model 140 Sport Roadsters known to exist. It should sell for between $200,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $132,000.

Lotus 34

1964 Lotus Type 34

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Lotus was far from the first European car company to try and conquer the Indianapolis 500, after all Peugeot won the third running. But there are few car companies that really left as an indelible a mark at the Speedway quite like Lotus did. They brought the rear-engined revolution. They were the rear-engined revolution. The 1964 Type 34 was their second “Champ Car” made specifically for American ovals.

The Type 34 was an evolution of Colin Chapman’s original Indy entrant, the Type 29. Lotus teamed with Ford for power and this car features by a 495 horsepower 4.2-liter V-8. It has a two-speed manual transmission. It’s racing heritage includes practice for the ’64 500 and the following:

  • 1964 Milwaukee Mile – DNF (with A.J. Foyt)
  • 1964 Trenton 200 – 1st (with Parnelli Jones)
  • 1965 Phoenix 150 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 100 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Indianapolis 500 – Pole, 15th, DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Milwaukee Mile – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Langhorne 150 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 150 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Indianapolis Raceway Park – 4th (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Langhorne 125 – 2nd (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Atlanta 250 – DNF (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Trenton 200 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1965 Phoenix 200 – 1st (with Foyt)
  • 1966 Trenton 200 – 3rd (with Foyt)

That’s quite the history, even if the transmission gave out on the car seemingly more often than not. But it was quick in its day with who else but A.J. Foyt at the wheel. Foyt kept the car until 1992 when the current owner acquired it. The restoration is fresh, having been completed earlier this year.

All four of A.J.’s 500-winning cars are owned by the Speedway Museum. This pole-winning car (which set a lap record at Indy) is referred to as one of the most significant Foyt cars in private hands by the catalog. It is the winningest Indy Lotus and one of only two Type 34s in existence – the other at the IMS Museum. Get it while it’s hot – but it won’t come cheap. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Three Late Ferraris

1952 Ferrari 342 America Cabriolet by Vignale

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s really packed their Monterey catalog this year, so much so in fact that I thought they were finished adding cars to it so I mapped out which cars to feature over the three weeks prior to the Pebble Beach Weekend. And then they added these three rare Ferraris. Time is tight, so they are being combined into one post. Enjoy the Ferrari overflow!

The 342 America was the second car in the Ferrari America line, produced in 1952 only. It’s powered by a 4.1-liter V-12 making 200 horsepower. This particular car is the only 342 America bodied by Vignale and it totally has that early-1950s Ferrari appeal.

The amazing thing about the 342 America is that Ferrari only built six examples (with this being the first). Six! That’s it. It’s one of the rarest road-going Ferraris ever made. Only three of them were drop tops and this car was delivered new to Switzerland. The current owners acquired it in 2007 and had it restored to the spec you see here. The estimate on this car is $2,250,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $2,255,000.


1954 Ferrari 500/735 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The car in this photograph definitely has the look of a child’s car. But it is not, as it is a true Ferrari race car. It started life as a 500 Mondial, the third car in Ferrari’s Monza line of sports racers. Bodied by Pinin Farina, it doesn’t quite resemble other 500 Mondial Spiders by the same coachbuilder.

Before it left the factory, Ferrari installed an engine from the slightly-earlier 735 S race car. That means this 500 Mondial is powered by a 2.9-liter straight-four that puts out 225 horsepower. That’s actually quite an upgrade over the Mondial’s comparatively weak 170 horsepower, 2.0-liter unit. To this day, no one knows why Ferrari built this car this way.

Sold new to a man in California, it spent its early days tearing around tracks on the West Coast in regional sports car races. The current owner has had the car since 1999, meaning it is being offered from relatively long-term ownership. It’s one of only 13 Pinin Farina Spider-bodied 500 Mondials. And possibly the only one with a 735 S engine. It should bring between $4,000,000-$5,500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,850,000.


1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider by Scaglietti

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is one of the more obscure Ferraris. But because it’s a sports racer from the 1950s, that means it’s worth a huge amount of money. Ferrari’s chief competition during the 1955 World Sportscar Championship were cars like the Jaguar D-Type. So Ferrari went head-to-head, developing a monster six-cylinder engine to take down the English.

This car is powered by a 360 horsepower 4.4-liter straight-six. This chassis began life as a 118 LM and was one of two examples of that model to be upgraded by the factory to 121 LM specification. In this new spec the cars were unbelievably fast: capable of over 180 mph! The race history for this car includes:

  • 1955 Mille Miglia – DNF (with Paolo Marzotto as a 118 LM)
  • 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans – DNF (with Maurice Trintignant and Harry Shell as a 121 LM)

After that, Ferrari sold it and it entered service as a privateer car in California road races. Unfortunately, driver Ernie McAfee was killed while racing this car in Northern California. The then-owner rebuilt it and the present owner acquired it in 1997. This is a rare chance to acquire a factory Ferrari Le Mans racer. One of just four 121 LMs built, it should bring between $6,500,000-$7,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $5,720,000.

Maseratis in Monterey

Maseratis in Monterey


1959 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder by Frua

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

We did this a few years ago when there was an abundance of Maseratis on offer during the Pebble Beach auction weekend. It turns out there’s quite a few nice examples being offered this year as well. And there’s nowhere near enough time to feature them all.

This is a 3500 GT, a model produced between 1957 and 1964. It was the company’s first successful GT road car and, really, the first successful production car that Maserati launched. It’s powered by a 3.5-liter straight-six making 217 horsepower with the three Weber carburetors as configured in this car. Introduced as a coupe, coachbuilder Frua designed a single convertible to show the company that a Spyder was a good idea.

As good looking as it is, Maserati chose Vignale’s design instead and that car become the series production 3500 Spyder. That makes this a one-off – and one of only five 3500 GT chassis bodied by Frua. The current restoration was freshened in 2000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $605,000.


1956 Maserati A6G/54 Berlinetta by Zagato

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

This car looks loud… like a muffler-less, high-revving car with a heavy clutch. Sort of like a race car with a road car body. Which is kind of what it is. Maserati’s A6G/54 was a road car based on the A6GCS race car and was available between 1954 and 1956. The’re powered by a 160 horsepower, 2.0-liter straight-six.

The aggressive body here is by Zagato, one of only 21 of this model bodied by the coachbuilder. Of those 21, they are broken down by three different variations on this body style. And they were only built in ’55 and ’56. This example was raced in its day and restored recently with it debuting at the 2014 Villa d’Este. It’s rare and should bring between $4,000,000-$5,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Sold $4,400,000.


1968 Maserati Mistral 4000 Spyder by Frua

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Mistral was a 2-door Maserati GT car that was built between 1963 and 1970. It replaced the 3500 GT and was replaced by the Ghibli. It’s the perfect 1960s Maserati tourer, a competitor to the likes of the Aston Martin DB6.

Pietro Frua designed the Coupe and the Spyder variants. The Spyders were much rarer, with only 120 built to the Coupe’s 828. There were also three engine choices offered and we’ve already featured a Mistral Spyder with the smallest engine. But the car you see here has the largest: a 4.0-liter straight-six making 265 horsepower. Only 37 of the Spyders were the 4000 model, making it the rarest version of the Mistral.

Restored to as-new condition (with the addition of a second fuel pump), this car has covered 7,000 miles since completion. It is expected to bring between $750,000-$900,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.


1964 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Michelotti

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 5000 GT was an extremely rare Maserati offered in Coupe-only form between 1959 and 1964. It wasn’t even a car the company planned on building: the Shah of Persia liked the 3500 GT but requested Maserati build him one with a modified version of the engine from the 450S race car. So Maserati capitulated, stuffing a 4.9-liter V-8 engine making 325 horsepower under the hood.

Each car was specially built by leading coachbuilders of the day. Designer Giovanni Michelotti built this example for famed American sportsman Briggs Cunningham. Cunningham requested a 5000 GT that resembled the 450S and the result was something that resembled no other 5000 GT (nor any other Maserati). It almost looks like a custom Ferrari of the era.

The restoration dates to the early-1990s. It’s pretty special, and as a one-off version of a production car that only ever saw 33 examples built, it should bring big bucks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,017,500.


2007 Maserati MC12 Corsa

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 16-19, 2017

Photo – Mecum

The MC12 is the coolest Maserati of the last 25 years – easily. The car was designed around the underpinnings of the Ferrari Enzo. But unlike Ferrari, who doesn’t take their halo cars to the track, Maserati’s entire aim with this project was to return to the FIA GT Championship. Production of road cars began in 2004 and they had to homologate 50 of them to go racing, which they did by the end of 2005.

And racing they went. And it was pretty a successful endeavor – or successful enough that some customers demanded their own track version. So after the 50 road cars were built, Maserati constructed 12 “MC12 Corsa” examples that were track-only versions of their supercar. It’s powered by a 6.0-liter V-12 making 745 horsepower – pretty much the same powerplant from the factory-backed MC12 GT1 race car. These cost nearly $1.5 million when new. We’ll see what it brings in a couple of days. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $1,700,000.

1957 Arnott-Climax

1957 Arnott-Climax 1100 GT

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

Three quick things we love about this car: 1. that shade of green; 2. the fact that it’s a factory race car from a cottage industry sports car manufacturer that has survived this long and; 3. gullwing doors!

There aren’t many car companies out there founded by women, but Daphne Arnott managed to produce about 25 cars – some for the road, some for the track – between 1951 and 1957 in London. She started with F3 cars and ultimately ended up with Coventry Climax-powered sports cars that competed at Le Mans. This car uses a 1.1-liter Coventry Climax straight-four that makes 94 horsepower.

The body is aluminium and just enough of it exists to cover all the important pieces underneath. This was one of only a few “factory race cars” the company ever had, and it’s competition history includes:

  • 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans – 44th, DNF (with Jim Russell and Dennis Taylor)

After the ’57 24 Hours, the team (and automobile-building portion of the company) folded. This car was parked in the Arnott workshop for over 15 years before being rescued in the early 1980s. The new owner restored it and it’s had a few other caretakers since, successfully completing some touring rallies along the way.

Being the only Arnott quite like it, of only a few automobiles produced in total, it should bring between $350,000-$425,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Veyrons.

2008 Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 16-19, 2017

Photo – Mecum

Mecum is hitting a supercar home run this year in Monterey. To wit: they have not one but two Bugatti Veyrons in their catalog (and from what I can tell, that catalog has not yet been finalized). When the Veyron went on sale in 2005, it ushered in a whole new era of the hypercar.

It’s basically just a rocket sled you are allowed to drive on the streets: super fast, fairly heavy, not so nimble. The engine is an 8.0-liter, quad-turbocharged W-16 that makes 987 horsepower. That’s enough to power this all-wheel drive machine to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 253 mph – which was faster than anything else when introduced. There have been some other pretenders to the World’s Fastest Car throne, but this one is an actual production car, with 450 built between the coupes and convertibles.

This is one of the 300 original coupes the company built between 2005 and 2011, when Coupe production ended (some of those 300 were the “Super Sport” model with more power). Price when new on these was well over $1 million, which is where the price is pretty much guaranteed to remain. See more about this car here and more from Mecum here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $900,000.


2015 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 16-19, 2017

Photo – Mecum

This is a slightly sexier Veyron than the base model. Actually, this was sort of the magnum opus of the entire Veyron line. Basically, Bugatti built the base Veyron from 2005-2011, and the Veyron Grand Sport (the convertible) from 2009-2015. They offered a hopped-up coupe (the Super Sport) from 2010-2011 and this, the Grand Sport Vitesse (a convertible with the more powerful Super Sport engine) from 2011-2015. This is one of the last Grand Sport Vitesses brought to the U.S. They also built a bunch of special editions and one-offs as part of these models.

The engine is the same: an 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W-16, but in Super Sport (or Vitesse) trim, it makes 1,184 horsepower. While the Super Sport could hit 258 mph, you have to settle for 254 in this open-top version. Toupee or not, that kind of wind will suck your hair right off (to be fair, once you remove the top the car is electronically limited to a downright wimpy 229 mph).

Only 150 Grand Sports were built of all types. This one has an awesome color combo of matte black and orange. It’ll bring big bucks – more than the base coupe. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Mecum’s lineup.

Update: Sold $2,350,000.