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.

Bugatti 57S

1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet by Vanvooren

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10-11, 2017

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Some of the highest-dollar Bugattis come from the Type 57 family of cars that was produced by the firm between 1934 and 1940. In 1936 they introduced a few updated versions of the model, among them the Type 57S – a lowered variant that gave the car a sportier stance.

It’s powered by a 3.3-liter straight-eight making 170 horsepower. The 57S was successful on the European racing circuit and about half of the cars were bodied by the factory. There were 22 chassis that were unsold by mid-1938, when the 57S was killed off. Most of these ended up in coachbuilders’ hands and this car is one of four Vanvooren Cabriolets built in Paris (three of which are known to still exist).

This car has known ownership history since new and was on long term display. RM has brought the car back to being a runner and driver, but it’s not quite ready for long distance trips. Only 42 Type 57S chassis were built and this is, again, one of just three Vanvooren Cabriolets remaining. It’s a matching-numbers, unrestored car (though it has had certain mechanical elements rebuilt for functional purposes). It’s fantastic. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Amelia Island.

Update: Sold $7,700,000.

Matford Cabriolet

1937 Matford V8 Model 72 Cabriolet by Antem

Offered by Artcurial | Château-sur-Epte, France | October 9,  2016

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

Ford Motor Company set up shop all over the world after conquering the United States. They had arms in Brazil, Australia, Germany, Britain, and even France (and for the most part, still do). The history of Ford in France is probably the most unusual – founded in 1916, the original company didn’t fare so well because the cars were too pricey.

Enter Émile Mathis, who started building cars under his own name in 1910. At the onset of the 1930s, his fortunes waned and his company was pretty much finished. But Ford, who was also struggling, partnered with the beleaguered French firm and formed Matford (it was technically a joint venture tilted 60/40 in Ford’s favor). Matford copied British Fords, but were British Fords ever this stylish?

The V8 was a 2.2-liter unit that made 60 horsepower. Matford built cars between 1934 and 1942, with the final two years churning out only a few cars as the Germans controlled the factory and focused on trucks. After the war, Mathis was not invited by the French government to continue production, but Ford reformed its company as Ford SAF and built stylish cars until 1954 when it became part of Simca (which later became part of Chrysler until Chrysler sold its European brands to Peugeot).

This pretty 2/3-seater cabriolet was restored in the 1960s. Ford didn’t offer a cabriolet in 1937, so this car was actually bodied by Antem. It’s a rare style that isn’t seen often but it is well done. It has spent a long time in the present collection and is not roadworthy (and doesn’t even have a battery in it). Slight recommissioning is required before enjoyment. It should bring between $20,250-$27,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $20,010.

Horch Stromliniencoupe

1937 Horch 853 Stromliniencoupe

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The 853 is the grandest car that August Horch’s company ever produced. It was also one of the last models that the original, pre-war, Horch marque produced – even though they had already become a part of Auto Union five years prior to this car’s introduction in 1937.

The 853 is powered by a 4.9-liter straight-eight making 100 horsepower. They weren’t the most powerful or fastest cars of their day, but with the right coachwork, they could compete, beauty-wise, with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz 500/540K. This car sports a very fancy streamlined coupe body – a style that is not seen often.

But that’s partly because Horch cars aren’t seen that often to begin with. This car spent its post-war life in Belarus and the Ukraine until 2005 when it was restored in Germany. It is likely to be one of those rare European cars that makes waves at Pebble Beach sometime in the future and everyone will wonder where it came from and where it has been hiding all these years. Well here’s your chance to grab it – for a cost between $670,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Withdrawn from sale.

57SC by Vanden Plas

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Bugatti Type 57 was introduced in 1934 and lasted in some form or another until WWII broke out. The Type 57S – which was a lowered version of the Type 57 – was more like a race car for the street than anything else. Then Bugatti took it a step further with the Type 57SC – it was supercharged and the fastest car money could buy.

Bugatti only built two Type 57SC examples, but many of the 46 other Type 57S examples were later upgraded by Bugatti (or their owners, as is the case here) to SC specification. This car began life as a 57S and when it traded hands in the 1950s it had a supercharger from a Type 35B affixed to the engine. When it was restored in 1985, a correct Type 57 supercharger was fitted, so now the car was fully brought up to Type 57SC spec – which means it is powered by a 200 horsepower 3.3-liter supercharged straight-eight engine.

The beautiful one-of-a-kind body was created by Vanden Plas of Belgium. Very few Type 57 Bugattis were bodied outside of Bugatti’s favored coachbuilders. This car is very Vanden Plas – it sort of looks like a windswept Jaguar SS. It’s fantastic – and that color is gorgeous.

This car is extremely rare – one of only 46 built. No pre-sale estimate has been made available… so if you have to ask, as the saying goes, you can’t afford it. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $9,735,000.

540K Special Roadster

1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster by Sindelfingen

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 28-29, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

You’re looking at what might be the biggest dollar car sold at this year’s Arizona auctions. It’s certainly among the most beautiful (okay it is the most beautiful). This is the Benz of the 1930s. The 540K was introduced at the 1936 Paris Motor Show, an evolution of the 500K.

The 540K is powered by a 5.4-liter straight-eight that makes 115 horsepower in normal operating mode and a sporty 180 horsepower when the supercharger was engaged via matting the pedal. 540Ks usually wear Cabriolet A, B, or C bodies by Sindelfingen. But the ultimate topless version was the Special Roadster.

This example is one of the earliest 540Ks known to exist and it was sold new in the United States and kept by the original owner up until the late 1950s. The current owner acquired the car in 1989, it having been restored prior to that acquisition. It is believed to have 10,277 original miles.

Not many of these were built but it is thought that only six remain in this specific style today. They never come up for sale. The pre-sale estimate of $10,000,000-$13,000,000 underscores how special these are. Don’t miss it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $9,900,000.

Aston Martin 15/98

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, England | June 26, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Every year Bonhams holds an all-Aston Martin sale yet this Goodwood Festival of Speed sale features some incredible pre-war Astons, including this beautiful 15/98 Tourer. I’m severely struck by this awesome color combination, as simple as it is.

The 15/98 was the final Aston Martin model introduced before WWII. It was built between 1937 and 1939 only. It has a 2.0-liter straight-four under the hood which is good for 98 horsepower and 85 mph.

This car has known ownership history from new and a flawless restoration undertaken in 2003. Pre-war 2.0-liter Aston Martins are exceedingly rare, with only 176 having been built between a few different models. The 15/98 Tourer you see here is one of only 24 four-seat versions of this model ever made. It’s pretty and could bring between $180,000-$230,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Frazer Nash TT Replica

1937 Frazer Nash TT Replica

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | May 13, 2015

Photo - Brightwells

Photo – Brightwells

I don’t know what Archibald Frazer-Nash’s obsession was with naming his road models “Replicas” but he had at least two cars that featured that word. Imagine if Jaguar would’ve called their F-Type an “E-Type Replica” – it would have been chaos. “Replica” isn’t necessarily a word full of positive connotations.

But in this case it served a purpose. They were based on the cars that competed in the 1931 Tourist Trophy race, a race in which Frazer Nash entered three cars. The road car could be had with two engines, this one features the smaller 1.5-liter Meadows straight-four. The chassis was from an earlier FN car – the Boulogne – and is chain-drive.

The TT Replica was the second-most popular Frazer Nash model built, with 83 constructed between 1932 and 1938. These light, British sports cars were among the first of their kind and led the way for many light, British sports cars to come. This one should bring between $210,000-$240,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $337,550.

Alfa 6C Pescara

1937 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 B Pescara Berlinetta by Pinin Farina

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Alfa Romeo 6C was new for 1925 and the 6C 2300 would be the fourth version of the model. It was introduced in 1934 at the Milan auto show and was the first version of the 6C with over two liters of engine capacity.

The engine is a 2.3-liter straight-six and in this trim it makes 95 horsepower with a top speed of 90 mph. The 2300B Pescara was built between 1934 and 1937, with 185 models produced in total (this includes non-B Pescaras as well).

This Pescara Berlinetta was bodied by Pinin Farina for the 1937 Milan show. It is thought that this body work is actually unique in its glorious Art Deco-ness. After the war, this car was used in hillclimbs before being butchered and converted into a pickup truck in 1954. Luckily, it was discovered in 1992 with a good portion of the original parts there – but the restoration, which began in 2002, required a reconstruction of the fastback section.

Today it looks wonderful. It’s a fine example of 1930s pre-war style by one of the world’s most famous design houses. It will likely sell for between $950,000-$1,700,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Studebaker J5 Pickup

1937 Studebaker J5 Express Coupe Pickup

Offered by Mecum | Austin, Texas | December 12-13, 2014

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Michael Kisber of Memphis, Tennessee, had a great collection of classic American pickups. This 1937 Studebaker J5 is one very pretty truck. The J5 was new for 1937 and it was a new take on the pickup truck: instead of  pure utility, they added some luxury and style.

The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six making 85 horsepower. The Coupe Express was available through 1939. About 3,000 of the approximately 5,000 examples built were constructed in 1937. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $72,000.