Voisin C28 Cabriolet

1938 Voisin C28 Cabriolet

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

It seems like there is maybe one of Gabriel Voisin’s automobiles that trade hands each year. This year, it looks like this beautiful, windswept C28 Cabriolet is the one you can get your hands on. The C28 was introduced in 1936 and we featured a relative of this car previously.

Voisin used sleeve-valve engines in his cars. This car is likely powered by a 3.3-liter straight-six with a power rating of 102 horsepower. Racing cars they were not. Instead, these were mechanical marvels with beautiful coachwork and sometimes wild interiors. This is one of the more restrained Voisins I’ve seen come up for sale. Part of the reason is that the coachwork was done outside of the factory, something that, while common in its day for cars of this stature, was quite uncommon for Voisin.

The body was designed by R. Saliot, a Voisin service center. They didn’t have the ability to actually build the body, so they outsourced their design elsewhere. This car is one of two with coachwork known to have been designed by Saliot (the other one won Pebble Beach). It was actually applied to this chassis when it was about 10 years old, which is why it looks a little post-war.

It is known that a monk acquired this car before selling it at auction in the late 1960s. Restored in the early 2000s, it comes from a “prominent” collection. Only about 60 C28 Voisins were built and this one is the only one quite like it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Five Coachbuilt Delahayes

Five Coachbuilt Delahayes

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 11, 2017


1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Court Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Photo – Artcurial

The Delahaye 135 was the first model in a series of cars that would be built from 1935 through 1954 (with some time off for the War, of course). The 135 would be offered in a few different forms, but the Competition Court was the top-of-the-line model. The engine in this car is a 3.8-liter straight-six, which is not original to this car (it would’ve had a 3.5-liter unit when new).

It rides on a Competition chassis (which was sort of discovered by its most recent owner when the car was restored). It originally featured a Faux-Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi, but it was converted to a full cabriolet by the same guy who swapped the engine – but the design stays true to the original. This is one of six 135 Competition Court cars that originally sported a Figoni coupe body (here’s another). It’s a beautiful car with a good story (like how it was hidden from the Nazis) and it should bring between $1,275,000-$1,900,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.


1938 Delahaye 135M Coupe Sport by Chapron

Photo – Artcurial

The 135M was built on both sides of World War II and it was basically a standard 135 with a better engine. In this case, that engine is a 3.5-liter straight-six, which, depending on carburetor setup, put out 90, 105, or 115 horsepower. This car is a 115 horsepower variant. This example was one of two ordered new from Chapron by a man from Algeria and its early history is not known.

It reappeared in Luxembourg sometime before 1986 and passed between owners before being liquidated as part of Evert Louwman’s purchase of the Rosso Bianco collection. Presented as an all-original car with “refreshed paintwork,” this car should sell in the neighborhood of $425,000-$635,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1939 Delahaye 135MS Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Photo – Artcurial

If you didn’t guess it, the Delahaye 135MS was a step up from the 135M. In this case the engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six putting out 160 horsepower. This numbers matching car (body, engine, chassis) was bodied by Figoni & Falaschi in the a highly desirable cabriolet style.

It was originally ordered and owned by a famous French singer and stayed in her family until the late 1940s. The body was modified around 1950 when it was used in a film. Fortunately, the current owner (who has had the car since 2012) restored the car to its original glory, winning two awards at Pebble Beach as a result. This beauty should bring between $1,275,000-$1,700,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1950 Delahaye 148L Coach by Saoutchik

Photo – Artcurial

The Delahaye 148 was a long-wheelbase version of the 135M. It wasn’t as sporty, but that doesn’t mean they still didn’t garner incredibly crafted bodies from France’s finest coachbuilders. Because it is a derivative of the 135M, the 148 is powered by a 3.5-liter straight-six. Power depended on the number of carburetors and this is likely a 115 horsepower car.

Saoutchik built some of the most exotic bodies for old cars and this windswept two-door fastback fits right in with what they’re known for – in fact, it was shown on their stand at the 1950 Paris Motor Show. The current owner has had it since 1970 and while he kept it in running order, he drove it sparingly. It shows just less than 19,000 original miles. It’s all-original and should bring between $750,000-$1,050,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1951 Delahaye 135M Gascogne Coach by Dubos

Photo – Artcurial

With the 135M spanning both sides of the second World War, you see designs that vary pretty wildly between early and late cars – especially since each of them were bodied by a professional coachbuilder. In this case, it is Carrossier Louis Dubos of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. It’s powered by a 3.6-liter straight-six.

Remarkably, this car has been owned by the same family since 1959. The restoration dates to the latter half of the 1990s, and has been driven only a few times since 2000, thus will require a thorough inspection before being declared roadworthy. The other four Delahayes we featured are all quite pricey, but this attractive and usable example will likely sell for between $75,000-$105,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Artcurial’s auction lineup.

Update: Sold $126,297.

Buick Special by Brewster

1938 Buick Special Series 40 Town Car by Brewster

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Las Vegas, Nevada | October 13-15, 2016

Photo - Barrett-Jackson

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The first Buick Special was introduced in 1930. For 1936, it was redesigned and gained more of the look of the car you see here – except that this is a very rare, specially-bodied car by Brewster of Long Island. The Special would continue in Buick’s lineup (taking a few years off here and there) until 1969.

The 1938 Series 40 Special is powered by a 107 horsepower 4.1-liter straight-eight. With the Special being a full-size car, it was still Buick’s entry-level model. The cheapest 4-door Series 40 cost $1,022 in 1938 – but you can bet this car cost a lot more.

It’s always interesting to see the chassis people chose to have a coachbuilt body applied to. In this case, it was a popular one and the beautiful end result makes for a very special Special. You can read more about this car here and check out some other no reserve cars from Barrett-Jackson here.

Update: Sold $42,900.

Maybach SW38

1938 Maybach SW38 Roadster by Spohn

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Want to know how you can tell that Maybachs are great cars? They never come up for sale – that’s how you know. If you’re lucky enough to snag one, you keep it. In the five years or so since this site has been live, I can only recall three of them coming up for auction, this car included. We featured one of them and the car you see here had been on sale at Fantasy Junction in California for at least a few years with a price tag of $3,300,000.

Wilhelm Maybach’s company and its success up to the outbreak of WWII are a direct result of flawless engineering. These were some of the best-built cars money could buy in the 1930s. The competitors for the SW38 included the Mercedes-Benz 540K and the Horch 853A. The SW38 was the short-wheelbase Maybach and it made more power than the other two cars (you know, until you matted the accelerator in the 540K and the supercharger kicked in). This is powered by a 140 horsepower, 3.8-liter straight-six.

With an unparalleled body by Spohn, this car was sold new in Germany and came stateside in 1961. It’s had a number of interesting American owners since and has been restored. The current owner acquired the car in 1999. Only 520 SW38s were built and 152 still exist – only a few are this sporty (in fact, this is one of two SW38 Disappearing Top Roadsters by Spohn). It’s a big money car, and deservedly so. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $1,072,500.

Two Albion Trucks

1915 Albion A10 Flatbed

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 13, 2016

Photo - Brightwells

Photo – Brightwells

Albion was a Scottish automobile marque founded in 1899 that built passenger cars up until 1915. In 1909, the company started building commercial vehicles and that’s what they stuck with after WWI up through 1980. They still exist as an automotive systems supplier.

The A10 commercial chassis was introduced in 1910. It was a 3-ton chassis and this example is now powered by a 5.2-liter engine. Originally, the A10 had a 3.2-liter straight-four rated at 32 horsepower.

It should be noted that this truck, while certainly appearing 100 years old, is listed as a “circa 1915” and the A10 was actually succeeded by the A12 in 1913, with the short-lived A16 built the following year. At any rate it’s an interesting, probably affordable, classic commercial vehicle that should bring between $31,000-$43,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $27,707.


1938 Albion KL126 Can Carrier

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 13, 2016

Photo - Brightwells

Photo – Brightwells

What we have here is another Albion truck, this time one from the inter-war period. The Type 126 was introduced at the end of 1935 and lasted up until the Second World War came to the U.K. in 1940.

This truck is powered by a 4.0-liter engine – possibly making 65 horsepower. This chassis was popular because the truck itself wasn’t that heavy, but it could carry a decent load. This example is outfitted to carry cans, which isn’t something you see often. The payload was originally rated between 3.5 and 4.5 tons. In 1936, that was upped to 5 (and later 5.5) tons. Empty, it can do 35 mph. Not a speed demon, this one.

This truck is in pretty nice shape, and the price seems like a bargain. It should bring between $17,500-$20,250. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

540K Cabriolet B

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B by Sindelfingen

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Houston, Texas | April 23, 2016

Photo - Worldwide Auctioneers

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

I feel like we’ve been featuring a lot of Mercedes-Benz 500K/540Ks recently – and we have – but the reason is that these are some of Mercedes’ finest cars and, while we tend not to feature the same car twice, there were a lot of different styles offered. This is the Cabriolet B. There was also an A and a C, among others.

Powered by a 5.4-liter straight-eight, the 540K makes 115 horsepower and, when the supercharger is engaged (i.e. the gas pedal is pushed to the floor), 180. The Cabriolet B was the most popular body style of all 500K/540K production with 296 built (there were 419 540Ks built in total).

The restoration on this car was completed in 1981 but it has aged so well that it has continued to win awards up through the 2000s. It was even shown at Pebble Beach in 2013. It is expected to bring between $900,000-$1,300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $836,000.

540K Roadster by Lancefield

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster by Lancefield

Offered by Bonhams | Stuttgart, Germany | March 19, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We’ve seen a lot of 500K and 540K cars roll through here over the past few weeks. So to find something else to say about these cars is tough. The 540K was the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz engineering when it debuted in 1936. There were 419 chassis built.

The engine is a 115 horsepower 5.4-liter straight-eight that could pump out 180 horses when you pushed the throttle pedal to the floor and engaged the supercharger. Most of the cars were bodied by Mercedes’ in-house coachbuilding division, Sindelfingen. Not nearly as many were bodied by an outside firm.

This is one of those cars. It is an attractive convertible roadster designed by Lancefield Coachworks Ltd. of London. This would’ve been a late body by the company as they switched to aircraft components during the war and maintained that production afterward. It’s a one-off body and it is quite elegant. Look for it to bring between $3,000,000-$3,800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ all-Mercedes sale.

Update: Not sold.

Bentley High Vision Coupe

1938 Bentley 4¼ Litre High Vision Coupe by H.J. Mulliner

Offered by Bonhams | Hendon, U.K. | December 10, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

For being the fans of coachbuilt cars that we are, we really don’t feature enough Rolls-Royces or Bentleys. The Bentley 4¼ Litre began life as the Bentley 3½ Litre in 1933. It was the first new Bentley introduced after Rolls-Royce had acquired the company. The engine enlargement occurred for the 1936 model year.

The engine, obviously, is a 4.25-liter straight-six making about 110 horsepower, even though the power was not advertised. All 4¼ Litre Bentleys were coachbuilt and this one features a two-door “high vision” body from H.J. Mulliner.

The original owner of this car also owned five other 4¼ Litre cars from new – the most of anyone. The current owner acquired the car in 1993 and it is not known when the car was last used, so it will require a little work to make it roadworthy, but it shows great. Total production of the “Derby” Bentleys (what the 3½ Litre and 4¼ Litre cars were referred to) measured 2,442 units – 1,234 of those had the larger engine. This one should bring between $91,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $144,019.

Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine

1938 Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 14-15, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

There is so much to like about this car. The first thing that caught me eye was the car’s looks. With the silver, streamlined body and the dim headlights (not to mention that it’s photographed in an aircraft hangar) it looks like some top secret Nazi experiment.

But it isn’t. It is fascinating. This was the ultimate Adler Trumpf, which was a small family car built by Adler between 1932 and 1938. Trumpfs were powered by a 56 horsepower 1.9-liter straight-four. Most had upright grilles and traditional body work for the period. They were not fast.

Enter Paul Jaray, an aerodynamicist schooled in zeppelin design. He figured he could make a Trumpf faster by slimming it down. At least six Rennlimousines (“racing limousine”) were built and three of them were entered in the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans, including this one. It finished 9th (2nd in class) with Otto Löhr and Paul von Guilleaume. It was then wrecked at Spa, repaired, and used as a show car.

Somehow it survived the war and reappeared in Bavaria in 1955. It ended up in the U.S. shortly thereafter. It passed around before being purchased by the current owner from the Blackhawk Collection in 1994. It’s beautiful. The interior is fantastic if not sparse and roomy. It’s unlike anything else you’re likely to come across and it comes from a weird time time and place in history when things were inventive and little mysterious. I’m over the moon with this car.

Only three of these still exist, all slightly different. This is the best one. And it shouldn’t be cheap. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Removed from catalog.

A Supercharged Alta

1938 Alta Supercharged Sports

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | June 27, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Alta Car and Engineering Company was founded by Geoffrey Taylor in 1929. Their goal was to build sports cars – and later, racing cars, having entered factory racers in the first three different Formula One seasons. They were – and remain – very rare cars.

This 2.0-liter straight-four powered car has the optional supercharger that allows it to push out 180 horsepower. It could do 120 mph – making it one of the fastest cars you could buy in 1938. It could hit 60 mph in 7 seconds – that’s quicker than the car I drive today!

This car was extensively raced and has had many owners in the U.K., U.S., and Australia. The restoration was completed around 2000. Only 19 Alta cars were made prior to WWII. It’s been used a fair amount and well maintained. This car is ripe for historic racing. It should sell for between $300,000-$370,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $336,390.