Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

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


1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport Coupe de Ville by Saoutchik

Photo – Bonhams

The T26 Record was a post-war model from French firm Talbot-Lago. The car was launched in 1946 and built through 1953. Along the way, there were steel-bodied two and four-door cars sold by the factory. But there were numerous coachbuilt one-offs built as well. Like the car you see here.

Power is from a 4.5-liter straight-six that produced 190 horsepower. The body is by Saoutchik and is a two-door, four-seat Coupe de Ville. The roof over the rear passengers’ seat is fixed, but the roof over the front seats pops off (and is stored in the rear section). It’s like a 1940s French Targa.

The current owner acquired the car in 2013 in original condition. A full restoration was commissioned in 2014, the result of which you see here. This was the only such car built by Saoutchik and it is presented in its original colors. It should bring between $1,200,000-$1,600,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $962,000.


1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sports Roadster by Mayfair

Photo – Bonhams

The 540K was the highlight of pre-war Mercedes-Benz engineering and style. Factory-bodied cars were beautiful, but sometimes an outside firm could take it just one notch up, like this 540K Sports Roadster from the Mayfair Carriage Company of London.

They took a 540K and among other things, added those rear fender skirts that are sliced to pieces with louvers. It’s rakish and almost looks like a hot rod someone would’ve designed in the last 15 years.

Power comes from a 178 horsepower (with supercharger engaged) 5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight. This car made its way from the U.K. to Canada in 1955 where it was subsequently damaged in a fire. Restored over a period of 20 years, it eventually found its way to the Imperial Palace collection in the 1990s, remaining there until 2002. The current owner acquired it in 2007 and this rival to the factory Special Roadsters can be yours for between $3,500,000-$4,500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,277,500.


1946 Delahaye 135M Coupe by Van Leersum

Photo – Bonhams

This is a classic French design. Swoopy and full of curves, it’s reminiscent of many of the best French coachbuilt classics.

The 135M was part of Delahaye’s 1935-1954 135 line of cars. Introduced in ’36, it was available until the end of 135 production in 1954. The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six good for 113 horsepower. A Dutch car from new, the body was also applied in the Netherlands by Van Leersum of Hilversum, one of the last cars they bodied.

In addition to the Netherlands, this car was known to have been kept by various owners in France and Belgium. Restored and painted to highlight its curves, this car is coming from a large European collection and can be yours for between $450,000-$550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

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.

Brough Superior 3.5-Litre

1937 Brough Superior 3½-Litre Saloon by Atcherley

Offered by Bonhams | Chicester, U.K. | July 13, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

From the straight-on front view of this car, you find that it is rather imposing. This is probably quite intentional as George Brough, the designer of this car, is known as the builder of the some of history’s greatest, high-end motorcycles. So why wouldn’t his cars be just as high-end and intimidating?

Those cars, though much rarer, were built to a high standard – some so high they never made it past prototype stage. His first car was the 4-Litre, which featured a Hudson chassis. Railton, one of Brough’s chief competitors who also happened to use that same chassis, put a stop to it.

This left Brough with a single model: the 3.5-litre. It’s powered by a 107 horsepower, 3.5-liter straight-six. Top speed was 90 mph and the cars were competitively priced. But with a war looming, six-cylinder production ended in 1939 and only about 60 3.5-litres were built since they went on sale in 1936. Most of these were convertibles, but this Atcherley-bodied Saloon is one of three such examples known to exist.

It was restored over a three year period and sat in storage since completion. It will need freshening before use – use it deserves. It should bring between $33,000-$47,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $42,367.

Australian Terraplane

1937 Terraplane Series 71 DeLuxe Utility Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | May 11-12, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Terraplane was a marque introduced by Hudson as a standalone brand in 1934 (in ’32 and ’33 they were called Essex-Terraplane). As an entry-level car on the pricing scale, for a brief period during the Depression, Terraplane outsold its parent, Hudson.

Unfortunately, the lifespan of Terraplane was short and 1937 was the final year the cars could be had. Two models were available for ’37: the Series 71 DeLuxe and the Series 72 Super. Both were virtually identical to the Hudsons of that year with just slight trim changes. The DeLuxe differed from the Super in that it only had one taillight and no vents on the front windows.

This well restored example (the restoration cost $263,000 – quite a bit for a car that cost about $600 when new) is likely powered by a 3.5-liter straight-six that makes 96 horsepower. What’s interesting about this particular car is that it is an Australian example, hence the “Utility” or pull-out pickup bed out back. Terraplanes were sold in Australia when new but were all bodied locally, hence the Aussie take on an American export.

A rare body style stateside, and one of only a few known to exist worldwide, this entry-level Hudson should bring between $80,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Auburn.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s, Auburn Fall 2018.

Three Hispano-Suizas

Three Hispano-Suizas

Offered during Rétromobile 2018 | Paris France


1925 Hispano-Suiza H6B Coupe De Ville by Kellner

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 8, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

The H6 was a line of Hispano-Suiza automobiles that were built in France (for the most part) between 1919 and 1933. The H6B was introduced in 1922 and could be had through 1929, even though the more powerful H6C was also on sale for most of that time.

The H6B features a 6.6-liter straight-six making 135 horsepower. This car was bodied by Kellner of Paris and sold new to a Parisian owner. In 1967, it was discovered in a French warehouse in all-original condition and was then restored. Refurbished in Switzerland in 2003, the current owner has had the car since 2008. Tell your chauffeur to get their hat ready, because this car is expected to bring between $420,000-$550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $411,472.


1937 Hispano-Suiza J12 Sedan by Gurney Nutting

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Imposing. That’s the word I would use to describe this beautiful Hispano-Suiza. And imposing was probably the point as it was ordered new by a Maharaja. This was Hispano-Suiza’s grandest automobile, produced in limited numbers between 1931 and 1938. How limited? They only made between 100 and 120 of these cars – all sold as bare chassis only. The owner got to have the car’s body custom built.

This one wears a huge, sweeping sedan body by Gurney Nutting. The J12 is powered by a massive 9.4-liter V-12 that normally makes 220 horsepower. An upgraded engine displacing an additional 1.9-liters was available and it brought an additional 30 horsepower. It is believed that this car carries one of those very rare engines.

Formerly part of the Blackhawk Collection, it is being sold with a beautiful restoration. The interior on this thing is mint: the front bench seat is pristine black leather and the rear passenger compartment looks like a red velvet bordello. Listed as “one of the most desirable examples of the Hispano J12 in the world,” it should bring between $730,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $788,508.


1937 Hispano-Suiza K6 Pillarless Sedan by Vanvooren

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Hispano-Suiza’s H6C was last produced in 1929. The massive J12 could be had between 1931 and 1938 and the K6 was introduced alongside the J12 in 1934. It was built through 1937 with just 204 examples produced.

Vanvooren actually bodied nearly half of all K6s built and this Pillarless Sedan is quite beautiful. It actually almost requires a double take to see that it is in fact a four-door sedan with those tight rear doors hugging the rear fenders. The engine is a 5.2-liter straight-six good for 120 horsepower.

This was one of the last K6s built and one of the last cars to leave Hispano-Suiza’s factory before they closed and turned to military production. Hidden during the war, it changed hands first in the 1950s before making its way to Sweden and then it’s next owner put it in a museum. Restored after 2010 in Germany, this well-traveled Hispano-Suiza has been on museum duty for the last few years. But it should still bring a healthy $220,000-$315,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $350,448.

Phantom III Pillarless Saloon

1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Pillarless Saloon by Vesters & Neirinck

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

By definition, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III was not a sporty automobile. It was a huge car, introduced by Rolls in 1936 and it lasted through 1939. The bare chassis alone weighed in at just over two tons. It featured a big, 7.3-liter V-12 making about 160 horsepower, which was a decent amount of power, but not enough to scoot the pure massiveness of this car along at any decent clip.

But, I suppose, that has never been the point of a Rolls-Royce, V-12 or otherwise (the Phantom III was the first V-12 RR and the last one until 1998). Because these were sold as bare chassis, it was kind of up to the coachbuilder of your choice to make it seem sporty and that is where Vesters & Neirinck of Brussels succeeded wildly with this car. The low, extremely solid-looking roof, swoopy fenders and two-tone paint really do make this car look sporty. And the fact that it lacks B-pillars is icing on that design cake.

Now let’s talk about this car’s downright bizarre ownership history. It is said that during WWII this car was used by the King of Belgium and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. In the late 1950s the car was in Germany and a decade later it was in the U.S. where it had a series of owners. Then, in the 1980s, it was purchased by G. Gordon Liddy (of Watergate infamy). He sold it to Charles Nelson Reilly, who, because he was way before my time, became known to me thanks to Alec Baldwin’s not-as-over-the-top-as-you-might-think impression of him on Saturday Night Live.

Restored between 1992 and 1994, this car won its class at Pebble Beach and has been in the same collection for nearly 20 years. Only 727 Phantom IIIs were built and this is, so far, the best-looking example I’ve seen (though we featured another wild one a few weeks ago). It should bring between $550,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $593,500.

Copper-bodied Rolls-Royce

1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sedanca de Ville by Freestone & Webb

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 13-21, 2018

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The Phantom III was the third (obviously) Phantom model introduced by Rolls-Royce and the final large car introduced by the company before WWII. First shown in 1936, the company built just 727 examples before production was suspended in 1939. It did not return after the war.

The body that this car carries was actually custom built in 1946 for the car’s second owner, as it was originally supplied with a limousine body. Freestone & Webb of London built this over the top, yet still gorgeous Sedanca de Ville body in a style that could’ve certainly been built in 1937. The windswept fenders and running boards are brushed copper over steel, as is the radiator and other trim pieces.

The Phantom III was the first Rolls-Royce to be powered by a V-12 engine – and the last until the Silver Seraph went on sale in 1998. That V-12 is a 7.3-liter unit that makes an “adequate” amount of power (though in reality it was about 160 horsepower). This is a very striking automobile that has been making concours appearances since it was essentially new. It will be one of a few cars offered at Barrett-Jackson this January with a reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Autovia Saloon by Mulliner

1937 Autovia Saloon by Mulliner

Offered by Brightwells | Bicester, U.K. | October 25, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

It took me a while to figure out it, but no, the picture is not blurry – it’s the paint on the car. It’s not a bad thing, this car has serious patina. And you won’t find a better one anywhere on the market, because this is the only Autovia on the market. It’s only the second one to come up for sale since 2013.

Autovia was founded in 1935 as a subsidiary of Riley. It was created to build fancy cars to compete with the other big British names of the day. This car sports a four-door body from Mulliner, one of the preferred coachbuilders for Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much room for another luxury marque in Britain during the 1930s. Riley went bankrupt and was absorbed by another company and Autovia was dissolved in 1938, after barely a year of production.

Autovias are powered by a 99 horsepower, 2.9-liter V-8. This example cost £975 when new and Autovia only built 44 cars in total. Only 11 still survive today. This one is all-original and has only covered 1,000 miles since the end of WWII. It should bring between $110,000-$135,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $98,463.

1937 Yellowstone Park Tour Bus

1937 White Model 706 Yellowstone Park Tour Bus by Bender

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Cleveland, Ohio’s, White Motor Company was the Chosen One when it came to being the National Park Service’s vehicle of choice for toting tourists through America’s parks in the pre-WWII era. We’ve featured an earlier version of the White Yellowstone Park Bus before, and it too was quite interesting.

Like its predecessor, this Model 706 is also a convertible, with a giant canvas top that can be peeled back. It does not retain its original engine, but instead has been updated with a 4.9-liter Ford straight-six and some other modern running gear. But it does retain one excellent piece of originality: a ridiculous number of doors!

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

White built 500 examples of this bus for the National Park Service. Yellowstone was given 98 of them and eight of those have been restored and are still in service (Glacier National Park still operates 33 of their original 35 White Model 706s).

This one escaped government service and can be yours. As a piece of American history, it will be a talking point wherever it goes. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $165,000.

Talbot-Lago Teardrop Coupe

1937 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Teardrop Coupe by Figoni et Falaschi

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 27, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Here we go. It seems like 10 years ago cars like this were winning every major show and bringing the top money at every big sale. Then it sort of cooled off. We’re glad to see something this exotic back on the big auction stage.

Talbot-Lago introduced the T150 in 1937. They produced a competition model, which appended a “C” to the T150 model designation. Some of these were competition cars sold to the public which were bodied by coachbuilders as road cars (see photo above). The “SS” signifies a short-wheelbase car, which was even more desirable. This car is powered by a 140 horsepower, 4.0-liter straight-six.

This is one of two “Goutte d’Eau” coupes bodied by the legendary Figoni et Falaschi. What that means is it’s a Teardrop Coupe and the front fenders are enclosed. Those wheel covers make the entire car look extremely aerodynamic. The design is one of the best of the era and this car would be a centerpiece to any collection.

Hidden during WWII, it was re-bodied as a convertible in Switzerland in the late 1940s. The current owner acquired the car in 1987 and in 2000 had it brought back to original specification. The result is fantastic. It should bring between $3,500,000-$4,150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,757,824.