Duesenberg J-555

1934 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Phaeton

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Duesenbergs have a fairly high survival rate when compared to other cars of a certain age. That’s thanks in large part to pioneering collectors who realized the importance of cars like this and saved them. But not every part of every car can be saved.

This car retains its 6.9-liter, 265 horsepower straight-eight engine and its factory chassis. The body, however, is not original. Initially equipped with a Willoughby sedan body – not the most desirable look – the car was re-bodied before WWII as a convertible sedan.

This Brunn-style dual-cowl torpedo phaeton body was built by Fran Roxas in Chicago sometime in the late-1980s. The car bounced around the auction circuit in the 1990s before being purchased by its late owner in 2006. It’s been in Britain for over 10 years and should bring between $600,000-$800,000 in California in a few weeks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $478,000.

Duesenberg J-547

1934 Duesenberg Model J Prince of Wales Berline by Rollston

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

A car museum closing is never a good thing as it deprives people to see great automobiles they would otherwise never have a chance to see. But, sometimes it’s kind of nice to see some long-term vehicles put back into circulation.

This Duesenberg has been in this collection since 1996. It has known ownership history since 1950 and was partially restored many decades ago. Power is from a 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower.

It retains its original one-off Rollston body, its chassis, and engine. One of the centerpieces of its current collection, it should bring between $500,000-$600,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $450,500.

Three Pre-War Cars from Bonhams

Three Pre-War Cars from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 24, 2018


1934 BMW 315/1 Roadster

Photo – Bonhams

Mercedes-Benz (and more specifically, Daimler) have been around for a long time, and have been a major producer of automobiles for essentially that entire time. Not so with BMW. It seems like the only Pre-War Bimmers that are any sort of common are 327/8/9s. Have you ever seen a 315?

This model was introduced in 1934 to replace the four-cylinder 303. The base 315 was a two-door sedan, cabriolet, or tourer. The 315/1 was the sports car variant. Built between 1934 and 1937, it shared the sedan’s chassis but had a slightly tuned engine. The 1.5-liter straight-six made 40 horsepower in this form. But, this particular car actually has an 80 horsepower, 2.0-liter straight-six from the similar 319/1 Roadster. A swap was made at some point in the past.

Only 242 examples of the 315/1 Roadster were made – perhaps most people haven’t seen them. This car has been more or less dormant for 30 years, so some work is needed. Regardless, it should still command between $125,000-$175,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $134,400.


1915 Simplex Crane Model 5 Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

The Crane, Simplex, Crane-Simplex, and Simplex Crane is one confusing mess of marques. Henry Middlebrook Crane started his own car company in 1912 and it lasted through 1914. It was acquired by Simplex and in 1915 they merged the Crane line of cars into their own, as a separate model. From 1915 through the end of the company, the cars were branded as Simplexes and the model was the “Crane Model 5” which Crane introduced back in 1914. When Simplex went under, Henry Crane bought the remnants and sold the Crane-Simplex (as a marque) for about a year in 1922. CONFUSED YET?

What we have here is a Simplex Crane Model 5. It’s powered by a ridiculous 110 horsepower, 9.2-liter straight-six with a four-speed transmission. The two-seater sports tourer body is not original but is nice. Less than 500 Crane Model 5s were produced, making this quite rare today. It should bring between $175,000-$225,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1913 Mercedes 28/60HP Phaeton

Photo – Bonhams

Daimler built some pretty impressive Mercedes-branded automobiles in the pre-Benz years. The 1913 28/60 was a development of the 28/50, which was introduced in 1910. Production of the 28/60 would continue until 1920 and power comes from a 60 horsepower, 7.2-liter straight-four.

This car has been in the same family for the last 40 years and was restored in 2008. It’s been actively toured, a testament to the usability of early Mercedes cars, despite their sometimes immense size. It’s well-outfitted in period accessories and should bring between $800,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Carmel.

Update: Not sold.

Ford Commercial Vehicles

Ford Commercial Vehicles

Offered by Bonhams | Hillegom, Netherlands | June 23, 2018


1918 Ford Model TT Fuel Tanker Truck

Photo – Bonhams

Ford wasn’t big on commercial vehicles when they were first founded. There was a Model E (a delivery van from around 1905) and there were work vehicles created using Model T chassis. But, their first true commercial vehicle was the Model TT that went on sale in 1917 and lasted through end of T production in 1927. These were sold as chassis only and were bodied by many other companies and even by some individuals.

It was a one-ton chassis that was longer than a traditional T and it also featured lower gearing for hauling heavier loads (and limited top speed to between 15 and 22 mph). It probably still uses the same 2.9-liter straight-four from the T which would’ve made 20 horsepower. The catalog lists this as a “circa 1917” but 1917 TT production was extraordinarily low, so it’s likely this is actually from 1918 or even a little later.

Bodied as a fuel tanker (in Supertest Petroleum livery), this truck has been on longtime museum display but does sport 1925 Canadian plates. It should sell for between $29,000-$41,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $21,432.


1929 Ford Model AA Bus

Photo – Bonhams

The Model AA was Ford’s commercial chassis based on the Model A road car. It was a significant upgrade over the TT and uses a 3.3-liter straight-four good for 40 horsepower, double that of the outgoing model.

Again sold as a bare chassis (though there were some Ford body designs that could be ordered from outside manufacturers), the AA was bodied to be what the owner needed. This one carries a bus body that has doors down the driver’s side for access to the rows of bench seats. In all, it will hold between 7-11 people, including the driver.

It has canvas windows down the sides that can be rolled up and stowed. It also has the luggage rack on the roof, which gives it the appearance of a vehicle used in exotic locales. This example came to the Netherlands in 1995 and has been on museum display for a while. It should sell for between $11,000-$14,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,506.


1930 Ford Model AA Platform Truck

Photo – Bonhams

This is another example of the Model AA. When commercial vehicles are sold as a bare chassis, the possible body combinations are essentially limitless. If you can imagine it, someone probably had it built.

This one wears a platform truck body and is stacked with barrels to compliment its amusing “Capone Distributing” livery. It sits on the medium wheelbase AA chassis but still uses the 40 horsepower, 3.3-liter straight-four engine. The best part about this truck? Those 1930s-era commercial vehicle wheels.

This one should bring between $18,000-$29,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $40,185.


1934 Ford Model BB 82 Stake Bed Truck

Photo – Bonhams

The Ford Model B replaced the Model A and was sold between 1932 and 1934. When they replaced the A, they replaced the Model AA commercial chassis too, dubbing the new one – wait for it – the Model BB.

The Model B finally gave its customers some options – namely that they could choose a four-cylinder or V8 engine. And the trucks had the same option. This truck carries the 3.3-liter straight-four that, in Model B form, makes 50 horsepower.

This dually is a stake bed truck and it looks like it was used for quite some time (it carries Dutch registration from 1957). With a little love, it can still be a usable piece of history for $7,000-$9,300. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $13,395.


1937 Ford 950 Autobus

Photo – Bonhams

Here’s another Ford bus. I don’t have much information about the model, the Type 950. But it’s got swoopy windswept lines and nice paint (and those great 1930s commercial vehicle wheels).

It’s powered by a V8 engine and has an entrance door on the rear passenger side. There’s a ladder out back that goes over the built-in spare tire to reach to luggage rack on the roof. This would’ve been an ideal intercity bus for the 1930s. It was most recently road-registered in 1937 and the interior looks to be in pretty nice shape. It’s an interesting vehicle and should bring between $35,000-$47,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $66,976.

Brewster-Ford

1934 Brewster-Ford Convertible Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 18-19, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Brewster & Company was a company originally based in Connecticut that ended up in New York. They started as a carriage company and then turned to coachbuilding. Unlike most coachbuilders, Brewster also built some cars of their own right after WWI. That endeavor lasted 10 years before they went back to just coachbuilding.

In the 1930s, J.S. Inskip, the sales director at Brewster, purchased 135 bare Ford V-8 chassis and Brewster built custom bodies for the cars and sold them as Brewster-Fords. The cars were popular, but it wasn’t enough to save the business and Brewster was liquidated in 1937.

This car is powered by a 95 horsepower, 3.9-liter V-8. The styling is swoopy, for an American car, and that distinctive Brewster grille also works well for clearing snow off of rail tracks (we’re kidding… sort of). Only nine Convertible Sedans were built and only four are known to exist, with this being the best unrestored example. It should bring between $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $89,600.

Cadillac V-12 Phaeton

1934 Cadillac V-12 Series 370D All-Weather Phaeton by Fleetwood

Offered by Mecum | Dallas, Texas | September 6-9, 2017

Photo – Mecum

Mecum has actually sold this car (at least) twice before. They sold it out of a collection in 2012 for $200,000 and in Houston 2014 for $165,000. And they’re offering it again, this time in Dallas. We’ll see what it brings, but it makes you wonder why no one wants to continue to own this gorgeous four-door V-12 convertible.

The Series 370D was the 1934 version of Cadillac’s V-12 model that dated back to the 1931 370A. The 370B was for 1932, the 370C for 1933, and the 370D was for ’34. Actually, they sold the 370D again in 1935… low sales counts probably contributed to G.M. not slightly re-engineering an “E” variant. Twelve cylinder Cadillacs could be had through 1937.

That luscious, silky-smooth V-12 is a 6.0-liter unit that makes 133 horsepower. This car rides on the 146 inch wheelbase and the body is by Fleetwood, which by this point was a GM subsidiary. This is quite a rare body style, with only three examples built. V-12 Caddys from 1934 and 1935 are very rare in general, with only 1,098 examples built between the two years in total. Based on previous sales history of this chassis, it will likely sell for about $150,000, if the owner doesn’t have too high a reserve on it. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Mecum’s auction lineup.

S/N: 570370D

Engine: 4100303

Update: Sold $130,000.

Update: Not sold, Mecum Las Vegas 2018, high bid of $115,000.

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2019.

Raleigh Safety Seven

1934 Raleigh Safety Seven

Offered by H&H Classics | Castle Donington, U.K. | February 23, 2017

Photo – H&H Classics

Many early automobile manufacturers began their corporate lives as bicycle companies. The Raleigh Bicycle Company was the same way – except that they remained the Raleigh Bicycle Company from their inception in 1888 through, well, today as they still build bikes.

The Raleigh Safety bicycle was an early popular product and in the early 1930s the company introduced the Safety Seven, their first motorized passenger vehicle. It’s a four-seat roadster powered by a 742cc V-twin. This example comes with a rare removable hardtop. Top speed was 55 mph.

It’s a three-wheeler and Raleigh planned a sedan version but it never got off the ground (but it was responsible for the beginning of the Reliant Motor Company in 1935). In the 1950s and 60s, Raleigh made scooters, but after that motorized vehicles disappeared from the company’s product lineup. This example has been restored and shows almost 85,000 miles. It should sell for between $8,600-$11,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Alfa Romeo Tipo B

1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 8, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Alfa Romeo P2 was built between 1924 and 1930 and it won the inaugural Automobile World Championship, the precursor to the European Championship (which itself was a sort of precursor to modern Formula One). The Alfa Romeo P3 (or Tipo B) was introduced halfway through the 1932 season. It was the first monoposto (true single seat) race car on the circuit.

The engine is a 255 horsepower, supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight – a really stout motor. The car was instantly successful, racking up victory after victory in the major Grands Prix across Europe. This particular car was campaigned by none other than Scuderia Ferrari for the 1934 and 1935 seasons. Because the record keeping of the day wasn’t the best, no one can say with certainty who raced this car where, but it is believed (and likely) that it was driven in period by Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi, and Pierre Louis-Dreyfus.

This example is the sixth of seven second-series “wide body” examples built out of a total of about 13 cars in all. It has known ownership history from new and is in spectacular condition. If you want to feel like a true racing hero, you should buy this and take it to a track day. The Alfa P3 is one of the greatest and most dominant race cars of all time and this is your chance to get one. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $4,177,896.

Horch 780 B

1934 Horch 780 B Cabriolet by Gläser

Offered by Bonahms | Paris, France | September 3, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Horch’s first eight-cylinder model went on sale in 1926. In 1931, their largest straight-eight was introduced, displacing 4.9-liters. The 780 B was the ultimate version of this series, produced between 1932 and 1935. That engine put out 100 horsepower, which made the car good for 77 mph – the fastest eight-cylinder Horch produced up to that time (the 4.9-liter engine would return in 1937 for the legendary 853 series).

This particular example was bodied by Gläser of Dresden and it’s very attractive. During or after WWII, this car ended up in Belarus, of all places, and it didn’t return to Germany until 2005 when it was finally restored after untold decades in a barn.

The 780 B is one of the rarer Horch models, with only 82 built. While the 853/853A is among the most sought-after models, they tend to appear for sale more often than the likes of this. It’s price reflects its rarity as this car carries a pre-sale estimate of $680,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $712,701.

Four-Wheeled Darmont

1934 Darmont Type V Junior

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 4, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Darmont was a car manufacturer from just outside Paris that was founded in 1919 when Robert Darmont began importing three-wheeled Morgans from the U.K. When the war ended, he teamed up with his brother André and to build Morgans under license under the name Darmont-Morgan. Darmont-branded cars went on sale in 1926 and lasted through 1939.

The Type V Junior was the last new model introduced by the company and it was the only four-wheeled car the company produced. Going on sale in 1935, the car was powered by a 1.1-liter V-twin engine.

Production ended in ’39 and this one features an “older” restoration. These are rare and it’s unknown how many were built. It should bring between $22,000-$33,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $20,619.