1939 Delage D8-120 Cabriolet Grand Luxe by Chapron
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 19-20, 2022
The D8-120 was the ultimate version of Delage’s grand eight-cylinder car. Introduced in 1937, the model was available through 1940, which marked the end of eight-cylinder Delages. Those eight cylinders displaced 4.3 liters, a slight increase over the earlier D8-100. Output was rated at 90 horsepower. Or 120. Depends who you ask.
This car features bodywork by Henri Chapron that is set off by swoopy lines and a bumper-less front end. Between the louvered hood, superbly placed bits of chrome, and kind of intense wheel covers, this car just has that look. The car wasn’t actually bodied until 1946, with the chassis having been intended for the canceled 1939 Paris Motor Show.
It spent time in Egypt before coming to the U.S. The car was restored in 1995 and repainted in these colors, the originals, in 1998. It now has an estimate of $800,000-$1,200,000, which seems like a steal from the sheer look of it. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
Aero was a Czech company the operated as an automobile manufacturer from 1929 through 1947, with post-war models amounting to 500 units of a pre-war model. The company as a larger unit was primarily known for aircraft, and after it was nationalized in 1947, returned to strictly producing aircraft, which they still do today.
The Model 50 was the largest of the company’s offerings and went on sale in 1936. It remained in production until 1942, making it one of very few cars you could buy new in ’42. It featured a front-wheel-drive layout and sourced its 50 horsepower from a two-stroke 2.0-liter inline-four. Top speed was just over 80 mph.
Only 1,205 examples of the Model 50 were built, with just six of those being the Dynamik with swoopy coachwork from Joseph Sodomka. Two of the six examples built survive. The original owner stuffed this car in a barn during the war and then joined the Czech resistance. After the war, he gifted it to a friend in Colorado, and it was restored in the 1980s. The pre-sale estimate now is $300,000-$400,000. Click here for more info.
1939 Bugatti Type 57C Aravis Special Cabriolet by Gangloff
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2022
Among the most valuable Bugattis – and pre-war cars in general – are variations of the Bugatti Type 57. This particular car is a rare version called the Aravis Special Cabriolet with coachwork by Gangloff, who were also responsible for the Stelvios.
This is a Type 57C, which indicates a racing chassis powered by a supercharged 3.3-liter inline-eight capable of 160 horsepower. This car is one of three Gangloff-bodied Aravis cars in existence, of what is thought to be six built (in addition to six from Letourneur et Marchand). Only two of the remaining three were factory-supercharged examples, with this being one of them.
In 1959, the coachbuilder Graber was hired to put a fixed roof on the car, a configuration it was rescued from after being purchased by its current owner in 1993. It has a replacement engine, but of the correct type. You can read more about it here.
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Hendon, U.K. | March 5-6, 2022
Frazer Nash was the official British importer for BMW cars between 1934 and 1939. The cars were sometimes slightly modified by Frazer Nash before being sold, and they were all sold in the U.K. under the Frazer Nash-BMW marque. BMW’s 327 was built between 1937 and 1941 (and again after the war for a short period).
Frazer Nash only managed to import 19 of them before the outbreak of the war. BMW offered the 327 with the 328‘s more potent 2.0-liter inline-six. It was rated at 80 horsepower, hence the model designation here. In Germany, these were referred to as the 327/28.
This car was restored in 2005 and is one of 12 known to exist. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | October 23-28, 2021
Sunbeam-Talbot was a short-lived marque and part of the myriad of Talbot-branded cars over the decades. The brand came into being in 1935 when Rootes merged Sunbeam and Talbot into a single marque. In 1954, after dealing with confusion in relation to the French Talbots, Rootes dropped the name and Sunbeam soldiered on alone.
The 4-Litre model was introduced in 1939 and was made in very limited numbers into 1940. This was the company’s largest model and was derived from the Humber Super Snipe. It’s powered by a 4.1-liter inline-six that made 100 horsepower. It topped out at 85 mph.
WWII cut short the 4-Litre’s production run, and only 229 were built. Just 44 of those were Sports Saloons. This example was restored in 1991 and is one of two Sports Saloon 4-Litres known to exist. It should sell for between $39,000-$44,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
This series of the Cadillac Series 75 was produced in 1936 and 1937. Most of them were bodied by Fisher or Fleetwood, but a few escaped GM as bare chassis, including this car, which wears Town Car bodywork by Brunn. This means that the driver’s compartment can be “open” or closed, while the rear passenger compartment is always closed.
Two of these were built for the same guy, but the other one was lost in a fire in the 1950s. In 1966, this, the surviving example of the two, was purchased by its current owner… who was only 16 at the time. Imagine driving a used coachbuilt American classic as your first car.
Power is from a 5.7-liter V8 that was rated at 135 horsepower when new. The car was restored over a period of 50 years. I guess that makes it a “labor of love” because I couldn’t imagine tinkering on the same car for 50 years. At any rate, this one ends on Saturday. Click here for more info.
In 1936, Lagonda introduced the V12, which featured a 4.5-liter V12 designed by W.O. Bentley and rated at 180 horsepower. It was the company’s first car to feature more than six cylinders. Production started in 1938 and ended at the outbreak of war in 1940.
Just 189 examples were produced. Lagondas have always been very exclusive cars, but the V12 is exclusive even by Lagonda standards. This one is largely original and is one of the final examples built. Its stately four-door sedan body will hold back the value a bit when compared to sportier body styles and open cars, but it should still command between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.
Update: Sold, Bonhams, London, October 2020, $80,004.
Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | December 5-7, 2019
The “sharknose” Graham was introduced for 1938 and it was a pretty radical design. The design lasted into 1940, and four models were offered in 1939: the Model 96 (which could be had in Special or Custom form) and the Type 97 (which was available in base or Custom form). Both Type 97 models were supercharged.
The 3.6-liter inline-six featured a Graham-designed supercharger that allowed for about 115 horsepower. The auction catalog does not note that this car is supercharged, but if it were a Model 97 from the factory, it would’ve been.
As great as the cars look today, they weren’t strong sellers when new. Graham managed to move only about 3,600 units in 1939. By 1940, they switched to producing the Hollywood, but the company was doomed. You can see more about this car here, and more from this sale here.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16-17, 2019
The Tipo 256 is a very rare pre-war Alfa based on the 6C 2500. It was a racing car that was introduced in 1939. A few things differentiate the 256 from other racing variants of the 6C, one of them being that the Tipo 256 was actually prepared by Scuderia Ferrari in Modena, and not by Alfa themselves.
Power is from a 125 horsepower, 2.5-liter inline-six. Other features include a shortened frame, larger fuel tank, lowered radiator, three Weber carburetors, and a stiffer suspension. This car was originally built as a Spider Siluro and it’s competition history includes:
1940 Mille Miglia – 36th, 7th in class (with Giovanni Maria Cornaggia Medici and B. Gavazzoni)
It competed in a number of other Italian road races in 1939 and 1940, when production of the 256 ceased. In all, it is believed that 20 examples were built. This one, like at least a few others, was re-bodied after its racing career ended. This Touring body you see above was fitted in 1941.
It remained in Italian hands until coming to Washington state in 2012. This marks the first time this chassis has ever been offered for public sale, and it is expected to fetch between $2,750,000-$3,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
Ferdinand Porsche’s fingerprints are all over the German automobile industry. He helped engineer the original VW Beetle in the 1930s as well as cars for Wanderer, Auto Union, and Zundapp. In 1937 he designed the Type 64 and it wore his name – and his alone – for the first time.
Three examples were built between 1939 and 1940 – all race cars. They have a speed record car kind of look to them and that’s because they were commissioned by the German government to compete in a race from Berlin to Rome. And partially to celebrate the launch of the Volkswagen.
They shared the VW Type 1’s running gear: a rear-mounted 32 horsepower flat-four. The body was construed by Reutter, who would go on to help build Porsche’s post-war 356. Only one example was built before the war began, and the German government took possession of that car.
The race being canceled due to hostilities didn’t deter Ferry Porsche from building two more cars, the third of which used the same chassis as the first, after it was damaged in an accident. The second car didn’t survive the war, supposedly thanks to some joy-riding American GIs, but that third car was retained by the Porsche family until 1949 when it was purchased by racing driver Otto Mathe, who kept the car until his death in 1995.
This car, which is nicely described in the catalog as the missing link between the VW Beetle and the Porsche 356, is the oldest Porsche automobile in existence and was the third car ever built by Porsche. With Porsches as hot as ever, it is likely to break the bank in Monterey. Stay tuned! Click here for more info and here for more from RM.