Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 2, 2023
Maserati has been around since the mid-1920s, but not many of their early cars survive. Most of that has to do with the fact that not many were built, because they were all low-production racing cars.
The 4CM was an open-wheel Grand Prix car produced between 1932 and 1938. It was the Maserati Brothers’ first light racing car, powered by a supercharged 1.1-liter inline-four that was good for 125 horsepower and 130 mph. This particular car was one of the last of the model built. It was purchased new by driver Johnny Lurani, and it’s competition history includes:
1938 Tripoli Grand Prix – 3rd (supposedly) (with Johnny Lurani)
1938 Targa Florio – DNF (with Lurani)
It was first restored in the 1960s and, after, was shown at a Swiss classic car show before being hung on a wall for 38 years. It was returned to usable condition in 2017 and was on track at the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix historics. It has an estimate of $1,200,000-$1,500,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 4-15, 2022
E.L. Cord’s 810 (for 1936 and 812 for 1937) remains a pretty remarkable car. An early front-wheel-drive car, it featured an independent front suspension and was offered in a variety of body styles. Superchargers were also an option.
This naturally aspirated sedan is powered by a 4.7-liter Lycoming V8 that was rated at 125 horsepower. Shifting is through a four-speed pre-selector transaxle where you select the gear you want and then hit the clutch, which completes an electrical circuit, which then completes the shift. Fancy stuff.
The Westchester sedan was the most common version of the 810/812. It featured a fastback body style. There was also a Beverly sedan, which featured a bustle back trunk. The auction catalog calls this a Westchester, but it has a bustle back trunk. So it’s a Beverly… unless it’s a Westchester that has been modified later on. But it also seems to have a Westchester’s interior. At any rate, you can read more about it here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
Delage’s D8 was produced in nearly constantly updated versions from 1929 through 1940. There were more than five versions of it, with this, the D8-100 being among the longest produced, lasting from 1936 through 1940.
It’s powered by a 90-horsepower (105 from 1937 on), 4.3-liter inline-eight. Bodywork was either done in-house or contracted out, and Delages often got quite the treatment from some of Europe’s finest coachbuilders.
Look no further than Franay for high 1930 style. This car, the fifth D8-100 produced and the oldest survivor, was one of five with this style of Franay coachwork. It’s long and low. So low in front that it kind of looks hot-rodded. It was on Franay’s stand at the 1936 Paris Auto Salon, and it came stateside in the ’50s. The pre-sale estimate is $200,000-$250,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | April 30, 2022
The Mercedes-Benz W143 launched in 1936 as the 230. The following year, the 230 N (for Normal) was introduced as a short-wheelbase variant of the 230. It actually shared its wheelbase with 1933’s W21 200 model.
The 230 N was only produced for a single year, with approximately 963 built. Like the standard 230, the N is powered by a 2.2-liter M143 inline-six that was rated at 55 horsepower when new.
This car wears Sindelfingen Cabriolet A coachwork, one of a variety of styles offered on the 230 N. The car looks to have been restored, at least in part, over the years. It’s not a classic Benz that crops up often, and bidding on this one ends in just a few days. Click here for more info.
Silverstone Auctions | London, U.K. | March 5, 2022
Jawa has primarily been known for their motorcycles since the company’s 1929 founding by Frantisek Janecek in Prague. They continued with bike production for decades, and continue to exist. For a brief time in the 1930s, the company experimented with four-wheel automobiles.
Only three models were ever offered, including the 750 (a very limited-run sports car), the 600 Minor (which is better known as its post-war successor, the Aero Minor), and this, the 700. It features a front-wheel-drive layout and is powered by a 684cc water-cooled two-stroke inline-twin. It was more or less a license-built copy of the DKW F2.
Only 1,002 were produced between 1934 and 1937, at which time it was replaced by the short-lived 600 Minor. It’s pretty amazing that this example exists at all, as Prague was sort of ground zero for “things not surviving WWII.” A restoration was completed sometime in the last two years. Only a handful of these exist, like very few. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
However, that popularity faded into the 1920s. As time wore on, sales plummeted while styling became more mainstream. Bankruptcy occurred in the early 1930s, and the last production Detroit Electrics were sold in 1935. After that, they were available on a per-order basis. Only a “handful” (as if they can fit in your hand) were sold between 1936 and 1939. The company advertised up until 1942.
This is one of the last examples produced, and by this point, the company wasn’t even producing its own bodies anymore. This is a Willys coupe with a Dodge front end. Yes, there is a grille and hood louvers… even though there is not an engine. Late Detroit Electrics were five-horsepower cars, and they even retained the very early cars’ tiller steering! Check out more about this one here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 16, 2020
The British sports car, exemplified by post-war cars from Triumph, MG, and the like, was not something new that appeared in the 1950s. The British liked the idea for decades before that. Tiny, short-lived marques like Atalanta, Arab, Frazer Nash, and Squire were the forefathers of the TR6, MGB, and Austin-Healey Sprite.
The Atalanta was built between 1937 and 1939 in Middlesex, England. The company was founded by Alfred Gough, an engine-builder for Frazer Nash, as well as Peter Crosby, Peter Whitehead, and Neil Watson. They hand-built their cars, and they were expensive. But look at it. It has all of the style of an SS Jaguar.
Only 20 cars were built in total, and three engines were offered, including a Lincoln-Zephyr V12 in 1938. Most cars had a Gough-designed 1.6- or 2.0-liter inline-four, and this car has the latter. It made 98 horsepower when new. This car is one of only two short-chassis examples produced. It’s also one of only two 2.0L Atalantas built.
This is a great little car and is welcomed at events such as the Le Mans Classic. It is expected to bring between $400,000-$530,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Gooding & Company | London, U.K. | TBD…
Gooding & Company calls this “the most desirable of all road-going Bugattis,” which seems a tad hyperbolic considering some of the other Bugattis out there. The Type 57 S was a lowered version of the already-great Type 57, which was introduced in 1934.
This car was built with a naturally aspirated 3.3-liter inline-eight, but after Bugatti sold a few Type 57 SCs with superchargers, most of the base 57 S cars came back to the factory to get fitted with a supercharger, which this car has (though it was added much later on). Output is rated at 220 horsepower.
Jean Bugatti was company founder Ettore’s son and designed an aluminum body for the 57 S dubbed “Atalante.” It’s a low two-door coupe very similar to the famed Atlantic. Only 17 were built, four of which are locked away in a French museum that I don’t much care for. This one carries a pre-sale estimate “in excess of $8,500,000”. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale, whenever it ends up being held.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Elkhart, Indiana | October 23-24, 2020
This is the ultimate iteration of the Cord 810/812. Introduced in 1936, the front-wheel-drive 810 was styled by Gordon Buehrig and featured an independent front suspension and a design like nothing else in the world at the time. The car was renamed the 812 for 1937, which was more-or-less an attempt to spruce up the fact that they had a lot of leftover 810s from the year before. Supercharging also became an option in 1937.
The supercharger bumped power from the 4.7-liter Lycoming V8 to 170 horsepower. Two different wheelbases were used in ’37, and four body styles were offered on the shorter of the two, including the $2,585 Sportsman two-door cabriolet. The supercharger bumped the price by another $2,000, which is insane. Imagine adding 77% of the car’s price back on as options. Oh wait, you can probably do that on a Porsche.
Reliability issues early in production really put a wet blanket over the initial enthusiasm for the model, which was originally envisioned as a “baby Duesenberg.” About 3,000 examples were built in total, only 64 of which were reportedly SC Sportsmans. This one is now going to sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Essen, Germany | April 11, 2019
There are two very interesting things about this car. First, quite obviously, are its looks, as it resembles nothing else Mercedes has ever built. Second is that the looks are very 1950s and the chassis is very 1930s. That’s because it was bodied in the early-1950s by Wendler, the company most famous for building the bodies for the Porsche 550.
The Mercedes W142 was also called the Mercedes Type 320, and it was produced between 1937 and 1942. In all, 7,017 examples were built in a wide variety of body styles. Power is from a 3.2-liter inline-six making 77 horsepower.
The post-war body features three headlights, which is certainly unusual. You could drive this car rather anonymously through a Mercedes-Benz festival and no one would be the wiser. That’s what I love about it – it is uniquely coachbuilt and removes all brand pretense from the equation. Believed to be one of four “Ponton” cabriolets built by Wendler, it is a one-off and should bring between $125,000-$180,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.