500K Roadster by Windovers

1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Three-Position Roadster by Windovers

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | May 22, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Mercedes-Benz offered a variety of factory body styles for their 500K touring car. These included sedans, various roadsters, and the very popular cabriolets. But there were outside coachbuilders that also put their personal touch on examples of this chassis. And this one is brilliant.

The 500K was sold between 1934 and 1936 before it was replaced by the 540K. It is powered by a supercharged 5.0-liter inline-eight that was rated at 160 horsepower with the supercharger engaged. Top speed was over 100 mph.

Only 41 500Ks were sold as bare chassis to be bodied by independent coachbuilders. This car features one-off coachwork from Windovers, a British coachbuilder. It’s a three-position roadster, meaning the top can be all the way up, all the way down, or at an awkward place in the middle.

The car was purchased by the current owner in 2006 and later restored. It has a real Count Trossi SSK vibe to it, which is awesome. No pre-sale estimate is available, but you can read more about it here. Check out more from this sale here.

Austin Metropolitan

1956 Austin Metropolitan Coupe

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

A few weeks ago we featured a Nash Metropolitan, which is what this car is usually referred to as. But, it was actually built under four different brands including Nash, Hudson, Metropolitan, and Austin. The easy way to identify an Austin is the right-hand-drive layout.

Actually, Austin built them all and then shipped most of them to the States for sale by Nash/Hudson/AMC. Metropolitans aren’t uncommon in the US (I love them), but the Austin version sure is. This one is still in England though.

Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-four (sourced from the Austin A50 Cambridge) that made about 68 horsepower. While the Metropolitan launched in the US in 1953, they didn’t go on sale in the UK until the very end of 1956, making this a very early UK model. Austin-branded production continued through 1959. There were no ’60 models in the UK, and 1961 cars were just known as “Metropolitans” as they were in the US. Both coupes and convertibles were available.

This one looks good and should bring between $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Fiat 500 Albarella

1968 Fiat 500F Albarella by Savio

Offered by Bonhams | Monaco | April 23, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

This car started life as a diminutive Fiat 500. It’s technically a 500F, which was an updated model sold from 1965 through 1973. Later in the run, it was considered the base model to the “luxury” 500L. But that doesn’t really matter here because Carrozzeria Savio chopped the roof off of it and redesigned the bodywork to turn it into a beach car.

Beach cars were all the rage in the 1950s and into the 60s. Savio was based near Turin and was one of many coachbuilders that modified Fiats for beach/resort use. It retains a rear-mounted 499cc inline-twin that was factory rated at 21 horsepower.

Only 20 of these were built, and this one has remained with the same family since new. Of course, it was kept at the family’s “holiday villa along the Adriatic Sea.” Must be nice. Unrestored, it should sell for between $18,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Ferrari 550 GTLM

1997 Ferrari 550 Maranello GTLM

Offered by Bonhams | Monaco | April 23, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Ferrari’s 550 Maranello was a front-engine V12-powered grand tourer. And its design has aged very well. These were pretty hot cars in the late 1990s. But Ferrari never took them racing. Not officially anyway.

That didn’t stop some privateer teams from seeing promise from the quick car. This car was built by a French team called Red Racing, with Ferrari’s approval. It was the first 550 race car built and was campaigned from 1999-2002 in the Spanish and French GT championships along with some races in Italy. It was purchased by XL Racing in 2003 and modified to ACO LMGT specifications. Its competition history includes:

  • 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans – 34th, DNF (with Ange Barde, Michel Ferte, Gael Lasoudier)
  • 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans – Did not arrive

So it has Le Mans history, which is pretty cool. It’s had two owners since and retains a 600-horsepower, 5.5-liter V12. The estimate is $590,000-$830,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Audi Front UW

1933 Audi Front UW Prototype by Glaser

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

The Audi Front was the first front-wheel-drive European car with a six-cylinder engine. The “UW” part was a sort of German abbreviation denoting that this Audi used a Wanderer engine that was flipped 180 degrees to drive the front wheels. The cars were also built in a Horch plant, making it a real Auto Union effort. Two different engines were offered during a production run that lasted from 1933 to 1938.

This car was in Russia during WWII, and it’s owner kept it hidden in his basement to avoid it be confiscated by Soviet authorities. It was purchased by the current owner in 1984 and relocated to Armenia, where it sat in storage until a restoration began in 2012.

Of the two Wanderer engines offered in the Audi Front (220 or 225), this car has neither. It has a 3.0-liter inline-six and some one-off features that have led people to believe it was some kind of prototype fitted with a four-seat, two-door convertible body by Glaser. Historics hypothesize that it was ordered by a high-ranking German military official. The pre-sale estimate is $480,000-$520,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Rolls-Royce Silver Spectre

2016 Rolls-Royce Silver Spectre Shooting Brake

Offered by Bonhams | Monaco | April 23, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

The current generation of the Rolls-Royce Wraith went on sale for the 2014 model year. It is offered as a two-door hardtop only. No wagon from the factory. So what’s a rich guy to do when he wants a wagon, err, shooting brake, version of his $300,000 Roller coupe?

Well, in this case, you hire Carat Duchatelet, a Belgian coachbuilder and vehicle armorer. This one-off wagon was first owned by Rolls-Royce and used a demonstrator back in its coupe days. The current owner bought it later and paid for this custom conversion, which was carried out between 2018 and 2020. The name “Silver Spectre” was made up for this car. And it sounds kind of dark and mysterious.

The mechanicals remain stock, with the standard twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V12 pumping out 623 horsepower. I actually quite like it. When was the last time you saw a 600+ horsepower hatchback/wagon with suicide doors? The pre-sale estimate is $530,000-$770,000, which is probably a lot less than the cost of a new Wraith plus a custom wagon build. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Oh, and here’s what it looks like from the front.

Photo – Bonhams

Allard K1

1947 Allard K1

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | May 20, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Many early Allard models look… similar. And by early, I mean those built after WWII. The K1 went on sale in 1946 and lasted until 1948/1949. It was intended to be a street car, and it kind of looked like a passenger-car version of the J1/J2. But the example we have here was modified as a vintage race car in the 1990s.

There were different engine options offered, and this car has a 4.5-liter Mercury V8 that’s been slightly modified and is said to make 200 horsepower. There was a long-wheelbase, four-seat version of the K1 also offered, and it was called the L-Type.

Only 151 examples of the K1 were produced. This one has been used pretty regularly for the last ~20 years, which is a pretty good sign. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Austin A90 Atlantic

1952 Austin A90 Atlantic Sports Saloon

Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Duxford, U.K. | May 26, 2021

Photo – H&H Auctioneers

The Austin A90 Atlantic was sold in two forms between 1949 and 1952. Initially launched as a two-door, four-seat convertible, the Sports Saloon hardtop variant replaced it for 1951 and 1952. It was one of Austin’s first clean-sheet post-war designs, and it’s a pretty attractive sporty car.

Power comes from a 2.7-liter inline-four that was rated at 88 horsepower. This was the same engine later used in the Austin-Healey 100. Top speed was 91 mph, and 60 arrived in a spirited 16.6 seconds.

Between the two different body styles, there were 7,981 examples produced. A handful (350) were exported to the U.S. This one wears an older restoration and carries a pre-sale estimate of $16,000-$19,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Nash Metropolitan

1957 Nash Metropolitan

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 14-22, 2021

Photo – Mecum

Here is a car I adore. Partly because it is adorable, but also because it is affordable. The car was designed by Nash in the U.S. with the aim of offering a less expensive and economical alternative to the big behemoths rolling out of Detroit. But the cars were actually produced in England by Austin.

Series I examples were introduced in 1953, and this Series III hardtop would’ve sold for $1,527 when new. Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-four that was factory rated at 52 horsepower. Metropolitans were sold as Austins in the U.K. and under the Nash brand in the U.S. through 1957. Hudson-branded models were also offered until Nash and Hudson were phased out in ’57. From 1958 through 1962, Metropolitan was a standalone marque.

This restored example is finished in teal and white (excellent) and features houndstooth upholstery. Affordable when new, they remain an inexpensive way to get into 1950s American (or British, depending on your perspective) cars. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Cisitalia D46

1947 Cisitalia D46 Monoposto

Offered by Bonhams | Monaco | April 23, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Piero Dusio’s Cisitalia got its start by building tiny open-wheel race cars. In fact, the D46 was their first attempt at building a race car. And it was groundbreaking. It featured a tubular spaceframe chassis, which was something new in the open-wheel world.

The cars scored victories all over Europe in 1946 and 1947. Some of them continued racing into the 1950s season, even though Cisitalia had introduced other cars – and eventually road cars. Power is from a Fiat 1.1-liter inline-four. It’s a tiny engine, but with the chassis built the way it is, the car is light. It didn’t need a ton of power to be competitive.

This car is said to have been raced by Harry Schell back in its competition days and later spent time in Australia. In the 1960s, it returned to Europe, remaining with an owner for 40 years before the current owner bought it in 2003.

I’ve been waiting to feature one of these for some time, so it’s a treat that it has popped up. The pre-sale estimate is $180,000-$240,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.