Lesovsky Indy Roadster

1949 Lesovsky-Offenhauser

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17-18, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Classic race cars take a special breed of person. They’re high-maintenance cars and you can’t exactly take them to the local cruise-in. And the older they are, the crazier they can be. Before big money moved in, there were a lot of people with a lot of different ideas building cars that ran within inches of each other. They were individuals, not spec cars. And because of that, old race cars are awesome.

This car was built by Lujie Lesovsky’s L.A. Lesovsky Race Car Engineering, an open-wheel race car constructor active from the late-1940s through the early-1960s. It’s a short-wheelbase car powered by a Meyer-Drake Offenhauser inline-four making 300 horsepower. 

The racing history for this chassis includes:

  • 1948 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ
  • 1949 Indianapolis 500 – 3rd, with George Connor
  • 1950 Indianapolis 500 – 8th, with George Connor
  • 1951 Indianapolis 500 – 30th, with George Connor
  • 1952 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, with Bill Taylor
  • 1953 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, with Bill Taylor
  • 1954 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, with Bob Christie

Well there you have it – three Indy 500 starts with a podium finish. The car was also raced in period by Bill Holland and Len Sutton, the latter of which wrecked the car in a race in 1955. After that, it never raced competitively again. It was preserved and later restored to its “Blue Crown Special” livery.

This Offy-powered Lesovsky is one of very few such cars that survive today. They don’t change hands often, but when they do the prices make you take note. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Duesenberg J-348

1931 Duesenberg Model J Custom Berline by Judkins

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 16, 2019

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Classic cars don’t always make for great drivers. They can be pretty, historical, or just fun to say you own, but not everyone takes them out and drives them. The great part – well one of many – about a Duesenberg Model J is that it has enough performance to keep pace with today’s traffic, though I suspect the brakes aren’t quite what you’re used to.

This Model J is a long-wheelbase example carrying its original Custom Berline sedan body by Judkins. The car has never been restored, just serviced as-needed to keep it roadworthy. The engine is a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight, and, strangely, the auction listing makes not one note of which engine this car carries. A little internet sleuthing reveals it is most likely J-348.

It was delivered new to the daughter of Billy Durant, and was purchased by the current owner in 2001. Being sold without reserve, it’s a great opportunity to acquire an all-original Model J… that you can still go out and enjoy. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

675LT Spider

2016 McLaren 675LT Spider

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 12, 2019

Photo – Mecum

McLaren has built a lot of cars in the last five years, including a number of limited-edition specials. But most of them are still in production (or in some vague degree of production). The 675LT is not, however. It is done.

The 675LT was a special edition coupe built between 2015 and 2017. Based on the 650S, it received slightly elongated bodywork and styling tweaks, among other improvements. The Spider variant was available in 2016 and 2017 and shared the same 666 horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8. Because of the folding hardtop, top speed is limited to just 203 mph.

Like the coupe, Only 500 examples of the Spider were built. This one is finished in vibrant Mantis Green and should bring between $275,000-$300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $250,000.

Apollo 3500 GT

1963 Apollo 3500 GT Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17-18, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This sleek Italian-styled sports car from the early 1960s was actually built in Oakland, California, by International Motor Cars. The body was technically built in Italy by Intermeccanica, then shipped to Oakland for final assembly, where it would be mated to an American engine.

In this case, that American engine is a 3.5-liter Buick V8 making 225 horsepower. A more powerful variant, the 5000 GT, would receive a larger 4.9-liter unit. It has the styling of a contemporary Ferrari, and it’s probably much cheaper to maintain.

Production numbers are really weird for these. Initially, Apollo only built 42 cars (combined between both engine options), and then the design was sold and the car was sold as the Vetta Ventura. After that venture ended, Apollo sprang back up and built a few more cars. RM says this is one of 90. I’ll take their word for it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

November 2018 Auction Highlights, Pt. II

There were three other auctions held at the end of November, including Historics at Brooklands’ Mercedes-Benz World sale. The 1911 Sunbeam we featured sold for $34,834, and the top sale was this 1987 Porsche 911 Turbo that brought $122,065. Click here for more results.

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Next up is Brightwells where this 1998 Ferrari 355 F1 Spider brought $64,575.

Photo – Brightwells

The SS Jaguar we featured sold for $36,499 while the Bristol and the Itala both failed to sell. Click here for further results.

Onward to H&H Classics where the Bristol we featured from this sale sold, bringing $43,071. The overall top sale was $143,572 paid for this 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series I 3.8 Roadster.

Photo – H&H Classics

The TVR Taimar sold for $11,198 and complete results can be found here.

The first of two Bonhams sales held in December was their Bond Street Sale. We featured two racing Jaguars (XJ220 C and XJR-6), but both failed to sell… as did quite a few other cars. The top sale by a decent margin was this 1958 BMW 507 Series II Roadster. It sold for $3,018,677. Click here for additional results.

Photo – Bonhams

Mecum will round out this rundown with their Kansas City sale. We didn’t get to feature anything, but this 2006 Ford GT was the top sale at $308,000. Click here for more results.

Photo – Mecum

Ken Okuyama Kode 0

2017 Ken Okuyama Kode 0

For sale at TPE Ltd | Tokyo, Japan

Photo – TPE Ltd.

Ken Okuyama is a Japanese industrial designer and heads his own design company. He used to work a Pininfarina and was responsible for cars like the Ferrari Enzo and 599 GTB Fiorano. Under the auspices of his own company, Ken Okuyama Design, he has crafted a handful of over-the-top supercars

This is the Kode 0, a one-off creation that resembles the spawn of a Lamborghini Aventador and Huracan. Power is from a 6.5-liter V12 making 700 horsepower. And while Okuyama won’t admit it, it’s pretty obvious this is based around Lambo bits and pieces. The body is made of carbon fiber, and some of it isn’t painted.

This is the only example built. More information about it is available on Okuyama’s website here. It is for sale in Tokyo (the dealer’s website isn’t working at the moment). Price is available on request.

Lone Star Touring

1920 Lone Star Beauty Four 5-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17-18, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Lone Star was a short-lived brand of automobile that was, in one very specific way, ahead of its time. Sold by the Lone Star Motor Truck and Tractor Association of San Antonio, Texas, the Lone Star was actually just a Piedmont (built in Virginia) with a different badge. You know, kind of like how the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon are the exact same truck with different badges and marketing?

The Lone Star was sold from 1919 through 1922, and it’s thought that only 12 examples were produced (maybe shoppers in 1920 were able to see through the “buy Texas-made stuff” B.S. that people today so readily jump at?).

The Beauty Four is powered by a Lycoming inline-four making 35 horsepower. The 5-Passenger Tourer was the only body style offered. Restored, this is the only Lone Star thought to survive. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Corvette ZR2 Convertible

1971 Chevrolet Corvette ZR2 Convertible

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 3-13, 2019

Photo – Mecum

There have been some great limited-edition factory Corvettes, like the original Z06, the L88s, and the ZR1 and ZR2. The ZR1 was available as a coupe or convertible and could’ve been had in 1970, ’71, or ’72. The ZR2 included all of the special bits that a ZR1 had, except the engine.

Instead of the LT1 in the ZR1, the ZR2 was equipped with a monstrous 7.0-liter (454) LS6 V8 rated at 425 horsepower. Chevy moved 188 examples of this engine in 1971 (the only year the ZR2 was available), but only 12 had the ZR2 package.

And only two of those were convertibles, making this car an extremely rare example of the last of the original run of special edition Corvettes before all of the power was zapped from them. If you think about it, the ZR1 of the early 1990s was the next “go-fast” limited edition Corvette. The last ZR2 we featured brought nearly a half million dollars in 2013. And it was a coupe. Click here for more info on this car and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $380,000.

Little Giant Bus

1912 Little Giant Model D Bus

For Sale at Hyman Ltd. | St. Louis, Missouri

Photo – Hyman Ltd.

This might be the most exciting classic commercial vehicle to be offered for public sale in years. You will never see another one. Especially not in this condition. Little Giant was the name under which a line of commercial vehicles from the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company were sold.

They were only actually offered between 1911 and 1917 – a very short time and were sold on a 1-ton chassis powered by a flat-twin engine and 2-speed gearbox. A few “factory” body styles were offered, including this bus (which appears to function more like a paddywagon).

Only 10 examples from this marque are thought to still exist, and as I said, you won’t find another in this condition. This one was found in 2009 and restored to “better than new condition” – which is a serious understatement. Even calling it a Concours restoration seems like you’re slighting the work put in. It really is amazing, and you can go buy it in St. Louis today. The price isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it. Click here for more info.

1989 Rolls-Royce State Landaulette

1989 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit I Emporer State Landaulette by Hooper

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17-18, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit was produced in four different series between 1980 and 1999. A related model, the Silver Spur was produced alongside it and was identical except for a lengthened wheelbase. Interestingly, this one-off creation is actually a Silver Spirit – the short wheelbase car – but features a lengthened chassis, thus the extremely long stance.

That extension was nearly three feet in added length. This remarkably stately creation is a one-off custom landaulette by the famed coachbuilder Hooper. It was commissioned by an Australian charity (some charity if this what they spent their money on… turns out they never finished paying for the $1 million+ build cost and Hooper took the car back). The car is right-hand-drive, and the interior looks like a place Gordon Gecko would be very comfortable hanging out.

Power is from a 6.75-liter V8, and the car has had two real owners since Hooper let it go in 2010. One of one, it is among the final coachbuilt Rolls-Royces and should command big bucks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.