Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
SA des Automobiles Tracta was a French car company founded by engineer Jean-Albert Grégoire in 1926. Tracta built some of the first successful front-wheel drive vehicles anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, business was never super profitable and Grégoire shuttered his company in 1934 to become a design consultant.
Interestingly, a front-wheel drive Tracta won its class at Le Mans in 1927 and continued to compete there through 1930. This car is powered by a 1.6-liter straight-four from SCAP. The body on this car looks really long, but it’s a two-door sports car and it is eligible for the Le Mans Classic.
This example was sold new in the U.K. – one of just a few ever sold there. It was restored (mostly, anyway – the interior looks original) in the 1980s while owned by a front-wheel drive specialist. It’s a driver and will be a talking point wherever it goes. Tractas were never built in large numbers and don’t change hands often. This one should bring between $64,000-$85,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ lineup.
Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
Ye Gods! I have to admit, this car is near the top of amazing cars we’ve ever featured. There is something just so alluring… so… bad ass about these big, early Mercedes-Benz Tourers. There is a mystique here that few cars can match. This is probably also why they so very rarely come up for sale.
Mercedes and Benz joined forces in 1926 and that same year they introduced a model called the Typ S (or Type S or S-Type… you’ll inexplicably find different names for the same cars depending on the auction house). The Type S was built through 1930 and it gave rise to the Type SS and the legendary SSK. The low slung chassis of the Type S is powered by a 6.7-liter straight-six and makes 120 horsepower – or 180 with the supercharger engaged. That’s pretty impressive for 1926… as was the price: $7,000 as a bare engine/chassis. Over 100 mph was possible as well.
The body is by coachbuilder Erdmann & Rossi and is original to this car (as is the engine). It was delivered new to the U.S. and was restored in the mid-1990s. The car’s been in Europe for some time, but is being sold again in the U.S., where it spent much of its life. Mercedes-Benz only built 174 examples of the Type S making it quite rare. It’s a gorgeous beast of a car and it’s entirely usable. Get it while you can because it could be years before another example hits the market. But it won’t come cheap. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
1928 Lea-Francis 1½-Litre Type S Hyper Sports Two-Seater
Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | June 24, 2016
Photo – Bonhams
Trivia: what marque produced the first British production car with a supercharger? Bentley? Nope. It was Lea-Francis and their Hyper 1½-liter Type S. It was introduced in 1928 and was built through 1931. Only 185 were built.
It is powered by a 1.5-liter straight-four that has been supercharged. I can’t tell you how much power it makes but there is a quote in the lot description that says it will cruise comfortably at 70 mph. So it has plenty of power, I guess. This car was actually a factory racer, having competed in the 1928 Ards Tourist Trophy race, a race that was won by a sister machine.
The car has been completely restored and, strangely, is being offered by the family of the man who raced it in the Ards TT (even though they had to reacquire the car at auction in the early 1990s). It’s a solid competitor to a Frazer Nash, should you seek out on-track competition once purchased. If you’re interested, it should bring between $230,000-$320,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 5, 2016
Photo – Bonhams
Benjamin and William Jowett (along with a man named Arthur Lamb) founded Jowett in 1901 as a cycle manufacturer. Automobiles went on sale in 1906 and Jowett, unlike most British manufacturers, stayed independent their entire life before going out of business in 1955. Among their most famous products was the sporty Jupiter from the 1950s.
What we have here is a very rare, early car. You don’t see many pre-1930 Jowetts. The 7/17 is powered by a 907cc flat-twin making 17 horsepower. It’s a light, small car with very sporty bodywork that was applied in the 1970s (the car was originally a Tourer). Although the body is not original, it is said that it was constructed with “mostly Jowett parts.”
This model went on sale in 1919 and lasted through 1936, albeit with changes over the years. This is the second time this car has come up for sale in the last two years: it sold for $38,500 in 2014 and is now estimated to bring between $28,000-$31,000. It is thought that this is the only pre-war Jowett in the U.S. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Portland, Oregon | June 17-18, 2016
Photo – Mecum
The Chandler Motor Company of Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1913 by Frederick Chandler after he and some other executives left Lozier. The company built quality cars priced in the middle of the market. If the company were still around, I would guess they’d be a competitor to Buick (they were just slightly less expensive than Buick in ’28).
In 1929, Chandler was bought out by Hupmobile and the marque was retired. This car is powered by a straight-six and is listed in the catalog as a Chandler Six. But in 1928, they offered both the Special Six and the Big Six. I’m sort of just assuming this was the entry-level Special Six, which could be had in a bunch of body styles and the five-passenger Sedan cost $995 when new.
Chandlers used wood frames, which is one reason the cars didn’t survive quite as well as some of their competitors. They are much rarer than they should be, considering they sold over 20,000 cars in 1927 alone. The engine was redone in 2012 and this would be a nice, affordable classic. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1928 Mercedes-Benz 630K La Baule Transformable by Saoutchik
Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 28, 2016
Photo – Bonhams
We’ve featured a Mercedes-Benz 630K before and this car has much more attractive body work – from Jacques Saoutchik of all people, the man responsible for some of the most sought-after designs to ever come out of France. The 630K was the new name of the Mercedes 24/100/140 after the merger of Daimler and Benz.
Power here is supplied by a 6.2-liter supercharged straight-six – it puts out 100 horsepower normally and 138 once the supercharger is engaged. The “K” variant of the Typ 630 is the short-wheelbase version. Top speed was over 90 mph.
Only 267 Model K Mercedes’ were produced between 1926 and 1932. The early history of this car is not known, but it is believed that it has been in North America for many years. It was restored a while back, but not widely shown, meaning it is eligible for most major car shows. It’s a rare treat – Saoutchik body on a high-performance Benz chassis. It should bring between $1,000,000-$1,300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | February 27-28, 2015
Photo – Mecum Auctions
Nash Motors Company was founded by Charles W. Nash, a former G.M. president, in 1916 when he acquired the Thomas B. Jeffrey Company. Nash branded cars went on sale in 1917. The company would go on to become part of American Motors, with the Nash name disappearing after 1957.
This Special Six wears an attractive body from the Seaman Body Corporation, which from 1919 was part of Nash. The Special Six nameplate dates back to 1925 and lasted through 1929. It was Nash’s mid-range model for 1928 (a year in which they only offered six-cylinder models). It was slotted between the Standard and Advanced Six models.
The engine is a 3.7-liter straight-six making 52 horsepower at 2600 rpm. This Model 341 Cabriolet retailed for $1,290 in 1928. It has a rumble seat and rear-mounted spare tire. It shows very nice. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1928 Bugatti Type 44 Profile Aerodynamique by Gangloff
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 6, 2015
Photo – Artcurial
The eight-cylinder Bugatti that began with the Type 30 in 1922 would go on to spawn a series of models, including this, the Type 44. It was the most prolific model in the line, remaining in production from 1927 through 1930. In all, 1,095 were built.
The engine is a 3.0-liter straight-eight and the body is an interesting one. It’s aerodynamic and boxy all at the same time – very sporty for the 1920s. Compare the design of this car to the bigger, boxier touring cars of the late 20s and early 30s. It’s just so different.
This car has a very extensive history that you can read more about here. It has known ownership history going back many decades and is kind of a “lost Gangloff,” to borrow a term from the art world. And this car is a work of art. It should sell for between $290,000-$350,000. Click here for the rest of Artcurial’s sale lineup.
Offered by Bonhams | Hendon, U.K. | April 28, 2014
Photo – Bonhams
Ansaldo was an Italian car manufacturer that existed as a spin-off of a very old Italian engineering company known for armaments and railway components. When they were absorbed in 1993, they were one of Italy’s oldest companies. The car manufacturing period only lasted from 1919 through 1936.
The company built a few different models over its short life, with the Tipo 14 being new for 1928 (and not lasting long thereafter). It uses a 1.8-liter straight-four making 36 horsepower.
In 1932, Ansaldo cars was absorbed by OM and they ran out production of Ansaldos through 1936. The car offered here could be the only one like it left. The Tipo 14 was not the most popular model and Ansaldo only built between 1,000-2,000 cars per year. So Ansaldos in general are extremely rare. This one should bring between $75,000-$92,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
All tractors offered by Mecum | Davenport, Iowa | April 4-5, 2014
Photo – Mecum
This is our second chunk of tractors we’ve featured. I try to get a few of them in the mix as something different. We featured a Rumely Oilpull before. Here are the need-to-knows about this very nice old tractor: