Four Beautiful Delages

1937 Delage D6 70 Coach Panoramique by LeTourneur et Marchand

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1937 Delage D6 70 Coach Panoramique by LeTourneur et Marchand

This sale is packed with amazing cars and I don’t have time to feature them all (why does Retromobile have to be so close to the Arizona auctions!?). I’m stacking today’s post with four beautiful Delage automobiles, starting with my favorite of the bunch.

The Delage D6 was in production (in several different iterations) from 1930 through 1954 (with a break for the war). The D6-70 was built for 1937 and 1938 only. It uses a 2.8-liter straight-six making 78 horsepower. The body is the remarkable Coach Panoramique style by LeTourneur & Marchand.

This is a very desirable, very usable car and it is expected to sell for between $135,000-$200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $101,342

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1936 Delage D6 70 Cabriolet Mylord by Figoni et Falaschi

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1936 Delage D6 70 Cabriolet Mylord by Figoni et Falaschi

Here’s another D6-70 that was built toward the end of 1936 and first registered in August of 1936. It uses the standard 2.8-liter straight-six making 78 horsepower. This was the top-of-the-line six-cylinder Delage you could buy – although any car bodied by Figoni et Falaschi could be considered pretty top-of-the-line.

The “Cabriolet Mylord” bodystyle is pretty and very regal-looking. The top can either be all the way down, all the way up, or sort of halfway in between where only the back seats are covered and it creates sort of a parachute effect. At any rate, this is a beautiful car that should bring between $250,000-$325,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

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1933 Delage D8 S Cabriolet by Pourtout

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1933 Delage D8 S Cabriolet by Pourtout

The Delage D8 was the biggest car Delage built. It also had the biggest engine. The D8 S had an even bigger engine than the standard D8. Only 145 examples of the D8 S were constructed. It uses a 4.0-liter (or 4.1… it was 4,061cc) straight-eight making 120 horsepower.

This car is original and preserved. The Cabriolet bodystyle is by legendary French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout. One design aspect I really like are the 1920s/1930s-style body-colored Rudge wheels. This is one of stars of the show and a really beautiful automobile that evokes the period brilliantly. It should sell for between $1,360,000-$1,630,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,281,647

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1931 Delage D8 Roadster by Chapron

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1931 Delage D8 Roadster by Chapron

The Delage D8 was introduced in 1929 and this 1931 model uses the 4.1-liter straight-eight, in this case making 102 horsepower. The body is by Henri Chapron and I would describe it as “restrained elegance.” It’s not flashy – but it is also earlier than the other three cars in this post. Dramatic design really flared up the farther they got into the 1930s.

This car was restored in the 1960s and has been maintained since. It would be a relatively inexpensive way to get behind the wheel of a Delage D8 – it’s expected to sell for between $550,000-$675,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $438,318.

Delage D8 by Chapron

1931 Delage D8 Roadster by Chapron

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1931 Delage D8 Roadster by Chapron

Photo – Artcurial

The Delage D8 was introduced in 1929 and this 1931 model uses the 4.1-liter straight-eight, in this case making 102 horsepower. The body is by Henri Chapron and I would describe it as “restrained elegance.” It’s not flashy – but it is also earlier than the other three cars in this post. Dramatic design really flared up the farther they got into the 1930s.

This car was restored in the 1960s and has been maintained since. It would be a relatively inexpensive way to get behind the wheel of a Delage D8 – it’s expected to sell for between $550,000-$675,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $438,318.

A British Star

1931 Star Comet Fourteen Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Harrogate, U.K. | November 13, 2013

1931 Star Comet Fourteen Coupe

This is not to be confused with the American car company also called Star that operated between 1922 and 1928 (there were other as well, but this was the biggest) and was part of Billy Durant’s little empire. This Star was actually founded in 1898 in Wolverhampton by Edward Lisle and William Sharratt who owned the Star Cycle Company since the 1870s.

Cars were sold under the Star, Starling, and Stuart brand names over the years. Star found new owners around 1932 but the economy was tanking and the company, which had become known for their well-appointed and well-made cars, didn’t have a model in the entry-level segment. The Comet Fourteen was introduced near the end of 1931 and it was luxurious and too expensive to make – and even harder to sell in tough economic times. Star folded in 1932 and their leftover cars were sold through 1935.

The Comet Fourteen used a 2.1-liter straight-six making 14 horsepower. Very few were made and even fewer survive. They were available with two or four doors and even though this one has four, Bonhams still lists it as a “coupe.” I don’t know. Anyway, it should sell for between $13,000-$16,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ Harrogate sale.

Update: Sold $12,857.

Duesenberg J-345

1931 Duesenberg Model SJ Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by RM Auctions | Monterey, California | August 16-17, 2013

1931 Duesenberg Model SJ 345 Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Auctions in Monterey spell “Duesenberg time!” This is a supercharged Model J – or, unofficially, an “SJ.” This, the opening paragraph, would also be a nice place to tell you that there is another subject of which I have a major interest. And that is: the early days of 20th Century organized crime. Why is that an important detail? Read on.

I’ll start by saying that this is not an original SJ – the supercharger was added in the late-1970s when it was restored. That said, the 6.9-liter straight eight makes 320 horsepower with the supercharger.

The car was purchased new by William Collins – who ran in the New York underworld and of whom I’ve heard nothing about. He was killed the day after he bought it. It was then bought by Mickey Duffy – one of the biggest bootleggers in Philadelphia. Fans of Boardwalk Empire: the character of Mickey Doyle is based on Mickey Duffy. From Duffy (who died in 1931), the car was next owned by Owney Madden – another famous bootlegger and owner of the Cotton Club.

He sold it in 1931 and that’s where this car’s history with the mob ends. It passed from owner to owner over the years – and in 1953 it was listed for sale for only $150! It was restored in the 1980s and has been carefully pampered since. Only 27 Disappearing Top Convertible Coupes were built by the prolific Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California. This one should sell for between $2,000,000-$2,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in California.

Update: Did not sell (high bid of $1,850,000)

Lincoln Model K Sport Phaeton

1931 Lincoln Model K Sport Phaeton

Offered by RM Auctions | Plymouth, Michigan | July 27, 2013

1931 Lincoln Model K Sport Phaeton

This beautiful Lincoln Model K is from the first year of K-Series production, 1931. The cars would be made through 1939 and offered for the beginning of the 1940 model year. All cars built in the first year were offered with the 145 inch long wheelbase.

The engine was an improved version of Henry Leland’s original 6.3-liter V8 that was introduced 10 years prior. It made 120 horsepower and would be replaced for 1932. The body on this thing is gorgeous though. It’s a dual-cowl phaeton built and designed by Lincoln and it very much rivals some of the great coachbuilt bodies of the era.

This car was restored for the first time in 1975 and again in 2005. It was acquired by the current owners shortly thereafter and expertly maintained since. It has been shown at numerous shows and has only covered 23 miles since its restoration (!). I understand show cars and why they are so babied, but this thing begs to be driven. It’s amazing sitting still and cars always look (and sound and smell) better in motion. It is expected to sell for between $125,000-$175,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM at St. John’s.

Update: Sold $165,000.

Duesenberg J-338

1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by LeBaron

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2013

1931 Duesenberg Model J-338 Convertible Sedan by LeBaron

This Model J is an affordable way to get into the Duesenberg club. The pre-sale estimate is a paltry $350,000-$425,000. I happen to really like this bodystyle, but it isn’t really the most sought after. Part of the reason is that this is not the original body that went with this chassis/engine. And the restoration is an old one.

The body was originally a Derham Sedan but this LeBaron Convertible Sedan survived better on the chassis it was on. After sitting outside for a long time, the two Duesenbergs were turned into one complete car and this body made the transition. Ownership is known from new and this car has been in some big collections since the late 1960s.

If you’re looking for an easy way to get your hands on a Model J, this is your ticket. It’s a nice, clean, drivable car recognized by the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum. You can read more about it here and check out more from Gooding & Company in Amelia Island here.

Update: Sold $462,000.

Duesenberg J-444

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2013

1931 Duesenberg Model J-444 Tourster by Derham

This is the second Derham Tourster (of the eight originally built) to be offered at an RM auction in 2013. The other one, J-423, sold for $1.32 million. That one had kind of an interesting history, being owned by an Italian Count and all. This one is slightly more interesting.

J-444 was delivered new to film comedian Joe E. Brown, who was known for his comedic roles in the 1930s-1950s (and he was the rich gentleman who hilariously courted Jack Lemmon (in drag) in the near-perfect film Some Like It Hot. He delivered the classic line “Well, nobody’s perfect”). By the time World War II came around, the car was passed around before it came into the hands of a Mr. Howard Hughes.

Hughes liked powerful things and the Duesenberg Model J fit that bill. A 265 horsepower straight-eight engine was about as good as you were going to do in the day. He, apparently, wasn’t so concerned with the gorgeous Derham Tourster body on the car – as he cut the rear half of the car off and used the car to tow gliders up and down a runway – aircraft, after all, were his business.

The car was later in the Otis Chandler collection and then the John McMullen collection and a replica of its original body was fitted at some point. This is a real Derham Tourster, but it just doesn’t have the original Derham Tourster body it came with. It is remarkable to look at nonetheless. John O’Quinn acquired it after that.

This car has been in the hands of some seriously famous people and well-respected car collectors who obviously didn’t let its “replica” body scare them (as it shouldn’t). This car sold in 2007 for $1.35 million. It won’t bring less than that this time around but that is, apparently, the going rate for a Derham Tourster today. Click here for more info and here for more from RM at Amelia Island.

Update: Sold $825,000.

Hispano-Suiza Coupe-Chauffeur

1931 Hispano-Suiza H6C Coupe-Chauffeur by Saoutchik

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 18, 2013

1931 Hispano-Suiza H6C Coupe-Chauffeur by Saoutchik

The Hispano-Suiza H6C was the final version of the great H6. Introduced in 1924, the model lasted into the early 1930s and was the most powerful variant of the H6. It also featured some of the most outlandish and stylish bodies by some of the world’s most prestigious coachbuilders.

Hispano-Suiza – which is roughly Spanish for “Spanish/Swiss” – was founded in Barcelona by a Spaniard and a Swiss engineer. They opened a factory in France and cars were produced in both countries. It was quite the international company. The H6C line was made in France.

This car uses a straight-eight of 8.0-liters making 160 horsepower. It was the most potent of H6s. The fact that the French factory rolled this car out is important because it allowed French coachbuilders – arguably the best of the best – to design beautiful bodies for the cars. Saoutchik is regarded as one of the most desirable coachbuilders and this Coupe-Chauffeur style is both reserved and opulent at the same time. Some of the exterior trim is silver-plated!

This car has known ownership history and has been owned by the same man since 1985, who had the car restored during his stewardship. Only about 250 H6Cs were built and they are highly prized today. This one should sell for between $400,000-$800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $424,849.

Bugatti Type 54 Grand Prix

1931 Bugatti Type 54 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2013

1931 Bugatti Type 54 Grand Prix

Whoa. Bonhams dug up a treasure for their Paris sale this year – this is one of only nine Bugatti Type 54 Grand Prix cars built. The Type 54 was an evolution of the Type 51. It was used for the 1931 Grand Prix season. The engine is a 300 horsepower 4.9-liter supercharged straight eight. It was entered in the “Above 3-Liters” category, which was essentially an “anything goes” class. Most of the important pieces on the Type 54 were sourced from other Bugattis. Essentially, they took the best bits of every car they built until one super machine was finished. This particular car won the 1931 Grand Prix of Monza with Achille Varzi driving.

I’d like to list the entire race history of this car, but Bonham’s catalog description looks like it was written in French and run through a mediocre translator to get the English version. As it is, it is almost unreadable and very vague. If you’re thinking of buying this thing and provenance is important to you, I’d get someone on the phone first to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

This car left the Bugatti team ranks at the end of 1931 and was sold to Prince Georg Christian Lobkowicz of Czechoslovakia. He was a “gentleman driver” so to speak and was unfortunately killed in this car during his first outing in it at AVUS in 1932. The car was given to his teammate, Zdenek Pohl, who had it rebuilt but didn’t really use the car until it was obsolete. So he turned it into a two-seat roadster with beautiful coachwork by Oldrich Uhlik (the body for this new car now resides on another chassis and is owned by a 1930s European car hoarder in California – just kidding, Mr. Mullin!).

The next owner, who acquired the car in 1970, had the roadster body removed and an original-style Grand Prix body was constructed for the car by the Peel coachbuilding company. It was re-bodied again in 2005 by Rod Jolley in painstaking detail back to 1931 Monza race condition. It is being offered as one of four surviving Type 54s of the original nine built and the only one whose original mechanical parts have never been removed/separated from the car. It is expected to sell for between $3,300,000-$4,700,000. Read more here (it’s better if you speak French) and check out the rest of the Bonhams lineup here.

Update: Not sold.

Minerva Convertible Sedan

1931 Minerva Model AL “Windswept” Convertible Sedan by Rollston

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2013

1931 Minerva Model AL Windswept Convertible Sedan by Rollston

Minerva is one of the great makes of the 1930s. They built big, powerful, imposing cars for the rich elite. The cars came adorned in the fanciest coachwork from the most respected of coachbuilders. This particular Minerva meets all of the above criteria.

Dutchman Sylvain de Jong started manufacturing bicycles under the name Minerva in Antwerp, Belgium in 1897 before moving onto automobiles. In 1930, the Model AL was introduced. It uses a 6.6-liter sleeve-valve straight-eight making between 120-130 horsepower. The wheelbase of 152 inches was one of the longest you could get, giving the folks at Rollston a lot of room to work with when crafting this exquisite “windswept” convertible sedan. The “windswept” referring to the distinct “in-motion” look the car has when sitting still – the sharp angle of the doors, A & B pillars and roofline.

Rollston provided some of the most expensive coachwork you could buy in the 1930s and the Minerva AL chassis was also near the top of its own list. In fact, it was so expensive, only about 50 were ever built and you had to have deep pockets to get one. This car was purchased new by the son-in-law of R.J. Reynolds (of tobacco fame). Over the years, it has maintained its exclusive price, with a pre-sale estimate of $900,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Scottsdale.

Update: Did not sell.

Update II: Sold, RM Auctions, New York, 2013: $660,000.