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.

Albion Can Carrier

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.

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.

Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Cabriolet

1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Offered by RM Auctions | New York, New York | November 21, 2013

1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Talbot-Lago is one of those French marques that is widely associated with swoopy Art Deco coachwork from some of the most renown French coachbuilders of the pre-war era. The T-150C was introduced by Talbot-Lago in 1937. It had a competition chassis and the “SS” refers to it having a short wheelbase.

The engine is a 4.0-liter straight-six putting out 140 horsepower. Many of the cars were bodied by Figoni & Falaschi and the Teardrop bodystyle is their signature look. This Teardrop also happens to be a cabriolet. This is said to be the only short-wheelbase example with its original chassis, engine, and body.

Only 11 T-150C SS models were built and only two received Figoni Teardrop Cabriolet bodies (they did a third cabriolet on the longer wheelbase). This, the first one one has an interesting history: it was acquired by a merchant in Lille in 1941. He later moved to Paris and became a double agent under the Germans and had to flee to Brazil toward the end of the War.

It was confiscated and sold and by the mid-1950s, it found its way to Chicago. The current owner acquired it in 2008 and commissioned a stunning restoration that will easily win the car awards. These are truly amazing cars with flowing lines and a downright beautiful design. This is what RM is talking about when they call a sale “The Art of the Automobile.” It is art in motion. It will bring millions (between $8,000,000-$10,000,000). Click here for more info and here for more from RM.

Update: Sold $7,150,000.