Miller-Ford

1935 Miller-Ford

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 19-20, 2022

Photo – Gooding & Company

Few names are as synonymous with Indianapolis as Harry Miller. Maybe Andy Granatelli would be up there for people in the know. And Tony Hulman. Well, all three are in play here, but let’s start with this: legendary Indy car designed Harry Miller was approached by Preston Tucker to design an Indy car around a road car-based engine. This was the “junk formula” era.

Tucker then got his friend Edsel Ford to persuade his dad Henry to fund it. Henry ended up making his franchised dealers foot the bill, but the project went ahead. The result was a two-seater, front-wheel-drive chassis powered by a Ford flathead V8. The bodies were built by Emil Diedt, a famous Indy car name on its own.

Ten examples were produced, but just four qualified for the 1935 Indy 500. None finished due to a design flaw with the steering. Henry Ford scooped all of them up, apparently out of embarrassment/rage, and hid them away in Dearborn. They would slowly be sold off to private customers.

This car escaped not long after, and, just after WWII, was owned by a California-based race team owner who had a 4.4-liter Offenhauser inline-four put in it in place of the flathead. Output now is estimated to be 350 horsepower. In 1948, the car was purchased by team owner Andy Granatelli, who entered it in the 1948 race. So the known competition history for this car, chassis #5, consists of:

  • 1948 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ (with Granatelli)

He actually destroyed the car in practice and it was later rebuilt. In 1949, it was purchased by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman and remained with the IMS Museum until 1993. This is a hard car to come by, and it has an estimate of $750,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $830,000.

Duesenberg J-550

1935 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Rollston

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It is both kind of disappointing and kind of mind-blowing that seemingly half of Model J Duesenbergs that come up for sale have already been featured on this site. This car is one of two coming out of this collection (this is the other). We haven’t featured this one before because it’s been owned by the same guy since 1967.

The Model J is powered by a 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight that made 265 horsepower in naturally aspirated form. This car, a 1935 model, carries one of the later engines built. There were more than a few convertible coupes put on Model J chassis, many of which by Murphy. This car is the only Rollston convertible coupe example built.

But the body wasn’t initially on this chassis, as it was previously fitted to an SJ. It has known ownership history, including time spent in Cuba, and it was purchased by the current owner in 1967, two years after it was restored. Read more about it here.

Update: Sold $4,680,000.

Bugatti 59/50S

1935 Bugatti Type 59/50S

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | June 2022

Photo – Bring a Trailer Aucions

Spoiler alert: Bugatti Fridays, as has been the case here in June, will continue next week with a Bugatti Type 43 that has a replacement body and a replacement engine. This car has a similar story. And it is this: in the 1960s, a huge collection of parts was acquired by the guy who would end up putting this car together.

Among those items were four (!) Type 59 frames he brought back to the U.S. with him. The Type 59 was sort of the ultimate evolution of the pre-war Bugatti racing car. Only eight were constructed (although it is unclear how many frames were built). This car uses frame number two.

The supercharged 5.0-liter inline-eight is supposedly a special engine that was previously used in a speed record car in 1933 before being used in Robert Benoist’s 1935 French Grand Prix race car. The assembler of this car got that engine and put it in this chassis, then built a body around it that replicates Benoist’s race car. All of this was completed in the 1990s. It’s pretty amazing, really, and the auction listing notes a list of factory Bugatti parts used in the build, including the piano-wire wheels.

So it’s not that different from the Type 43 described above. It just so happens that all of the replacement bits were put on the car many decades later. This is a one-of-a-kind Bugatti with some pretty detailed history. The auction ends today, click here to see where the bidding ends up.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $500,000.

Frazer Nash-BMW 315

1935 Frazer Nash-BMW 315 Three-Position Drophead Coupe by E. Bertelli

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | June 24, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Archibald Frazer-Nash was the British importer of BMWs beginning in 1934. They re-branded and sold BMWs in the U.K. as Frazer Nash-BMWs, but this only lasted until the outbreak of war in 1939. After WWII, Frazer Nash sold sports cars of their own design.

So this 315 model is essentially a re-branded BMW 315, which was sold from 1934 through 1937. These small BMWs were part of the 303 lineage of cars that dated back to, well, 1933. But the 315/1 was a factory roadster. This particular car is said to be one of three fitted with three-position drophead coupe coachwork by British coachbuilder Enrico Bertelli of Feltham.

Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-six that was rated at 40 horsepower when new. These were sports cars in their day, even if this one has a less-sporty body. It’s been in the ownership of the same family since new, and it’s gonna need a restoration. The pre-sale estimate is $24,500-$37,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $31,767.

SS1 Tourer

1935 SS1 2.5-Litre Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | April 10, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

The Swallow Coachbuilding Company started building their own cars in 1932. The first model launched was the SS1. Bonhams quotes a total of 2,503 examples produced through 1936. SS, of course, would become Jaguar after WWII and the resulting new associated connotations with “SS”.

The SS1 was powered by a choice of inline-six engines, with this car being powered by the later, larger 2.6-liter unit. There was an SS2 that featured a four-cylinder powerplant. Output in this car was rated at 68 horsepower.

Five body styles were offered, including the tourer shown here. It remained with a single family for about 50 years, being restored early in their stewardship. Now it has a pre-sale estimate of $78,000-$105,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $73,188.

Duesenberg J-537

1935 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LaGrande

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Well, this is the best body style on a Model J. LeBaron debuted the Dual Cowl Phaeton on the Model J, but Duesenberg’s in-house designer, Gordon Buehrig, tweaked the design a bit, and the “Sweep Panel” dual-cowl phaeton was born. The bodies were produced by “LaGrande,” which was the sort of pen name of the Union City Body Company, a Cord subsidiary.

It’s thought that just 15 of these were built by LaGrande, with this being the last. Power is from a 6.9-liter inline-eight rated at 265 horsepower. This car was used as a factory demonstrator in New York before being purchased by its first owner in 1936. That person was a 26-year-old heir to the Dow Jones publishing fortune. Must be nice.

It was restored for the first time circa 1970 and again around 2000. The car retains its original engine, body, and firewall. Model J-wise, this is about as good as they come (although I prefer more dramatic two-tone paint schemes). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,125,000.

Hanomag 15 K Rekord

1935 Hanomag Type 15 K Rekord Convertible

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 3, 2021

Photo – Dorotheum

Hanomag was a producer of heavy machinery and motorcars that was essentially founded in 1871 by Georg Egestoff as a company with a different name that produced steam engines. Automobile production lasted from 1925 through 1940, although commercial vehicles remained available until the 1970s.

The Type 15 was introduced in 1933 and was offered as a few different submodels, including the Record 15 K, which was produced from 1934 through 1936. Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-four that made 32 horsepower. A few body styles were offered, including a sedan and a convertible with a body from Ambi-Budd. That is what this car has.

They were not very common when new, and they are about as rare as they come today, especially the convertible variant. This one was restored over many years and is expected to sell for between $32,000-$46,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $54,148.

Duesenberg J-566

1935 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Sedan by Rollston

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | Online | June 2021

Photo – Bring a Trailer Auctions

It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve featured a Model J. This Duesenberg is a late one, and it’s one of 10 “JN” models built in 1935. All 10 were bodied by Rollston, and this car is one of three that was built as a convertible sedan. It was restored in the late 1990s and has spent the last two decades in the collection of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Power comes from a 420ci Lycoming straight-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. There were a number of four-door convertible body styles on Duesenbergs. The “convertible sedan” features folding B-pillars and a single front windshield. The top boot out back sticks up like a big spoiler in the air.

This is the fifth JN we’ve featured. I believe all still exist, meaning half of them have come up for public sale since 2012. This one has a week left to bid on, and you can find out more about it here.

Update: Sold $1,341,000.

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.

Update: Sold $1,600,000.

Morris CS8

1935 Morris Commercial CS8

Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Duxford, U.K. | April 14, 2021

Photo – H&H Auctioneers

This thing is awesome. Let’s start with Morris Commercial, which was – as you’ve probably guessed – the commercial vehicle arm of British automaker Morris. It was founded in 1924 and was phased out during the British Leyland consolidation of the late 1960s.

The original CS8 was introduced in 1934 and used a 24-horsepower inline-six engine. They were built in every imaginable body style variant that the military could need. The big problem was that they were very heavy and only rear-wheel drive. Production lasted through 1942 when it was replaced by the 4×4 C4, which was in turn replaced by the popular C8 in 1944.

H&H describes this as the “finest example” they’ve ever encountered. I mean, I have never seen another one, but I can’t imagine there is a nicer one around. The pre-sale estimate is $55,000-$69,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.