Hitler’s Mercedes

1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Worldwide Auctioneers is calling this “the most historically significant automobile ever offered for public sale.” And they aren’t likely wrong. Yes, this is the touring limousine ordered by and built for Adolf Hitler. And while that may be an unpopular association to have with any item, let’s keep in mind that this is a piece of history – and one of the finest examples of pre-WWII automotive engineering extant.

The 770 was an extremely rare and expensive car when new. Introduced in 1930, it was built through 1943. In that span of time, only 205 examples left the factory in two different series. This is a Series II car, the series which was available beginning in 1938 and only 88 were built.

The 770K is powered by a 7.7-liter straight-eight engine fitted with a supercharger that, once engaged, produced 230 horsepower. Capable of speeds of 100 mph or more, the 770K was Germany’s answer to big American cars from Packard, Marmon, Cadillac, and Duesenberg as well as some of Europe’s finest from Hispano-Suiza, Bugatti, Horch, Maybach, and Isotta Fraschini. It was the best Mercedes had to offer.

This car sports an Open Tourer body by in-house coachbuilder Sindelfingen. It has bullet-resistant glass and the body is armor-plated. There’s seating for six (at least) and it was used by Hitler in various parades around Europe during the war.

In 1943 it was sent back to Mercedes for maintenance and it saw little use after that. The car was taken by the American military and was used by the military police in France. Because the car was so magnificent, several service members tried to export it back to the U.S. A Belgian owner succeeded in getting it to the U.S. in 1946 to its new owner in North Carolina.

That owner donated it to the local VFW and they used it in parades, too. It was discovered in storage in 1976, purchased, and restored. It was thought at that time to have been Himmler’s car, but research indicated that it was one of Hitler’s four cars. In the 1980s it became part of the Imperial Palace Collection in Las Vegas and, no doubt, became a tourist draw.

In 2004 it found its way back into Europe as part of a massive Mercedes-Benz collection. Only five 770K Offener Tourenwagens still exist and this is one of three in private hands. Add to it the infamy of its original owner and you have what I consider to be the first car truly worthy of the “Estimate Available Upon Request” tag so often seen with big money cars. It’s a real question what it will sell for. As a piece of automotive magnificance and as an historical artifact, its price could be monumental. But will its close association with Hitler and Nazi Germany hold it back? There’s only one way to find out: head to Worldwide’s sale in Scottsdale next month. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Update: Not sold, high bid of $7,000,000.

Six Collectible Pickups

Five Classic American Pickup Trucks (and one Canadian)

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 5-13, 2018


1939 Chevrolet Master Pickup

Photo – Mecum

The Chevrolet Master was produced between 1933 and 1942. After the war their model names would change, but the pickup truck had been part of their lineup for some time prior to that. Their pickups from this era shared the same basic design as their passenger cars as they were all offered as part of the same model line.

This truck is powered by Chevy’s 3.4-liter straight-six, likely producing 85 horsepower. The dark green shortbed example you see here was restored about 1,500 miles ago and it has a wooden bed. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $30,000.


1939 Plymouth Model PT81 1/2 Ton Pickup

Photo – Mecum

Yes, Plymouth built pickup trucks (other than the Scamp and Arrow). Before WWII started, they built some beautiful pickups. They built the Model PT line of trucks between 1937 and 1941, with the 1939 model dubbed “PT81.”

This truck is powered by a 3.3-liter straight-six. It’s well optioned and wonderfully restored. PT Plymouth pickups aren’t that easy to come by and they’re some of the prettiest trucks you can get. You can see more about this one here.

Update: Sold $36,300.


1941 Ford 1/2 Ton Pickup

Photo – Mecum

Mecum finds some great old pickups for their sales. The 1941 Ford was introduced, obviously, in 1941 and was the same model they picked up after the war ended, producing it through 1948. But, their 1941 Pickup used the leftover styling from 1940. So this truck was part of the newer line of cars (with a new-for-’41 color, Lockhaven Green), but still looks like an older one.

The engine here is an 85 horsepower, 3.6-liter Flathead V-8. This example had a frame-off restoration that took it back to as-new condition… likely better-than-new. Ford pickups never go out of style, and this is a great one. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $32,000.


1957 Dodge D100 Pickup

Photo – Mecum

The 1957 Dodge pickups are great-looking trucks, especially the ultra-rare D100 Sweptside. As discussed in that post, the D100 was actually part of the C Series of pickups that Dodge offered between 1954 and 1960. The D100 was the 1/2 ton model.

In 1957, the engine was either a six or eight and this truck has the 5.2-liter Red Ram V-8 making 204 horsepower. And it. Is. Clean. This is a great color scheme for a truck, very 1957. The 1950s offered some pretty pickups, and this is no exception. See more here.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1959 Mercury M100 Pickup

Photo – Mecum

Yes, even Mercury got in on the pickup game after WWII. The Mercury M-Series was offered between 1946 and 1968. Sold primarily in Canada, these trucks more or less mirrored Ford’s American offerings with slightly different exterior styling.

This third generation truck is the Canadian equivalent of the Ford F100, meaning it’s the 1/2 ton model. Two engines were offered in 1959, a 3.7-liter straight-six or a 4.8-liter V-8, and this truck is equipped with the former. It’s a step-side pickup that presents well enough. This is an interesting truck and a rarity in the U.S. Click here for more.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $16,000.


1972 International 1210 Pickup

Photo – Mecum

International Harvester, now a company that builds tractors and semis, used to build passenger vehicles. The final examples rolled off the line in 1980, and those were SUVs. True pickup production ended in 1975 when they built their final example of the D-Series Light Line pickup rolled off the line. These trucks were built between 1969 and 1975.

This Model 1210 was the 3/4 ton model and it’s powered by a 6.4-liter V-8. It’s got 4-wheel drive and this example appears to be a survivor. International-branded pickups don’t get the credit they deserve in collector circles as everyone wants a Ford, Chevy or Dodge. These were the workhorse trucks. IHC would be doing good business today if they had remained in the market, but instead you’ll have to settle for a time capsule like this one. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $26,400.

Georges Irat OLC3

1939 Georges Irat OLC3 Cabriolet

Offered by Aguttes | Linas, France | September 24, 2017

Photo – Aguttes

Georges Irat founded his eponymous car company in 1921 in Chatou, France. Irat was an engine builder by trade, so full automobiles were a natural extension. Georges’ son Michel also had a car company. It was called, guess what, Michel Irat.

The OLC3 is powered by a 1.9-liter straight-four that makes 55 horsepower (or 11 CV). It is the same engine Citroen used in their 11CV Traction Avant. Irat’s chassis design was ahead of its time: this car features front-wheel drive and four-wheel independent suspension.

This Cabriolet is one of the final cars Georges Irat made before the end of production due to the outbreak of war (they tried again after the war but only a few cars were made). Restored in 2003, the current owner acquired this car a decade ago. It’s a French car of the 1930s that has comparable style to some of the more lauded French marques like Talbot-Lago or Delage. It’s offbeat, in that sense, and can yours for between $65,000-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

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.

Maybach Spezial Cabriolet

1939 Maybach SW38 Spezial Cabriolet by Petera & Söhne

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Maybachs are serious cars. Imagine if a company had their choice to produce any of the pre-war Mercedes-Benz lineup and decided only to build the 500/540/770K cars – the absolute best of the best. That’s sort of how I’d describe Maybach. They didn’t half-ass anything.

The SW38 was introduced in 1936 and it was smaller than the Zeppelin line of cars that came before it – and it’s only smaller in that the Zeppelins were huge and that it has half the cylinders. The SW38 is powered by a 3.8-liter straight-six making 140 horsepower. The body is by Petera & Söhne, a coachbuilder that isn’t too well known. The body is original to this car, but it has been restored.

Only 520 SW chassis were built (which comprised three different models, of which the SW38 is in the middle, displacement-wise). Only 152 are known to exist today and this car is surely one-of-a-kind. It should sell for between $790,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $719,304.

Two Valuable Alfa Romeo 8Cs

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Alfa Romeo 8C was Alfa’s largest, most powerful, pre-war road car. It was available from 1931 through 1939 and came in a few different models, beginning with the 8C 2300 and culminating in the 8C 2900B. They were powerful, fast, and sporty. In fact, RM says that it was sportiest car money could buy in 1939 – on par or above the Bugatti Atlantic.

This car is powered by a 180 horsepower, supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight – enough to allow this car to cruise along at over 100 mph all day long. The Carrozzeria Touring-built body is aluminium and it is beautiful. This is a “Lungo” 8C, meaning it has the longer of the two wheelbases offered.

The earliest known history of this car goes back to 1949, when it was racing in Brazil. The body was separated from the chassis and for the next few decades they remained apart in hands of separate owners. By some miracle, they were reunited in Switzerland in the early 1990s. The restoration was completed by the end of 1997 and, remarkably, the current owners have driven more than 12,000 miles in this car – which is a huge number for a car this rare and valuable.

Only 32 8C 2900 chassis were built and twelve of those are Touring Spiders. Of the 12, only seven are on the long-wheelbase chassis. This is where it gets even more mind-blowing: the pre-sale estimate is between $20,000,000-$25,000,000. Incredible all around. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $19,800,000.


1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

The 8C 2300 was the initial Alfa Romeo 8C offered and it was introduced in 1931. It was a sports car, through and through, and they were raced heavily in their day – both by the factory and privateers and winning Le Mans four times (in a row!).

The 8C 2300 Monza is a short-chassis model based on a car Alfa ran at Monza in 1931 (basically they just cut some length out of a Spider chassis and put the exhaust down the side of the car). The first Monzas were just shortened Spiders, but for 1932 and 1933, the Monza was a model unto itself. Alfa didn’t build many, but race teams – like Scuderia Ferrari – converted some Spiders into Monzas.

And what we have here is an actual, Alfa Romeo factory-built 8C 2300 Monza. It carries a Brianza-built body and was sold new in Italy. It is one of the last Series 3 Monzas built and is powered by a supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight making in excess of 180 horsepower (when new, it would’ve have a 2.3-liter engine). Only about 190 8C 2300s were built and very few were factory-build Monzas. This one should bring between $12,000,000-$15,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Sold $11,990,000.

Horch 930V Phaeton

1939 Horch 930V Phaeton

For sale at The Auto Collections | Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo - The Auto Collections

Photo – The Auto Collections

The Horch 930V was part of the 830 line of cars that August’s company built between 1933 and 1940. Here is a quick breakdown of the different models in this line: 830 (1933-1934), 830 B (1935), 830 BL (1935-1940), 830 Bk (1936), 930V (1937-1940).

The late 1938 through 1940 930V was powered by a 3.8-liter V-8 making 92 horsepower (a 10 horsepower and 300cc bump over the 1937/early ’38 model). Most of these cars were built as a four-door sedan, two-door convertible, and two-door roadster. Only three four-door Phaeton convertibles were built. Two still survive.

It’s a stately car, for sure, but not one really associated with the Nazis (which is a good thing, but it also makes it a little less well known). This car was restored in 1982 and is currently owned by a Guatemalan, but is for sale in Las Vegas for $375,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold, Bonhams Carmel 2017, $102,300.

Amilcar Compound

1939 Amilcar Compound B38 Roadster

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | June 19, 2016

Photo - Osenat

Photo – Osenat

Amilcar, Joseph Lamy and Emile Akar’s French car company, is most well-known for their light, sporting cars of the 1920s. They competed in a lot of different racing events over the years, including the Monte Carlo Rally and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Amilcar faced financial trouble in the early 1930s and they had a new corporate overlord that they turned to for help: Hotchkiss. At the 1937 Paris Auto Show, they debuted a front-wheel drive car that would go on sale in 1938. Called the B38 (or the Compound), the cars were powered by a 1.2-liter straight-four making 34 horsepower. Most were two-door sedans, through a Roadster was offered (as were commercial variants).

In all, only 681 passenger versions were made, with the Roadster being much rarer than the sedan. Very few survive. This one has been in the same family for 50 years and has not seen much if any use in recent decades. The paint has been redone but it does need a little work to get it roadworthy. You will definitely have something almost no one else does with this car. It should bring between $13,000-$17,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,725.

540K Spezial Cabriolet A

1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 12, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Mercedes-Benz 540K was the final iteration of their most luxurious line of pre-war cars. It was produced between 1936 and 1940 and a total of 419 of them were built. There are a number of popular body styles, including the Sindelfingen-bodied Cabriolet A, B, & C. There was also the Special Roadster. And then there was this, the 540K Spezial Cabriolet A.

Only two such cars were given the Spezial Cabriolet A treatment (the other is a 500K, making this, essentially, a factory one-off). It’s a combination of the Special Roadster’s raked windshield and the Cabriolet A’s classic, beautiful lines. The engine is a 5.4-liter straight-eight that makes 115 horsepower in normal mode and 180 when the supercharger is engaged.

This car has known ownership history back to the 1940s when it first arrived in America. It was part of the Otis Chandler collection and actually won Best of Show at the 1973 Pebble Beach Concours during his ownership. It was most recently restored in the early-90s and should bring between $3,000,000-$4,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.

Update: Not sold.

Coachbuilt Classics at Rétromobile

Coachbuilt Classics at Rétromobile

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 5, 2016


1951 Salmson G72 Coupe by Saoutchik

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

Salmson, the French auto manufacturer, built cars up through 1957. They had a range of sedans and two-doors. This is a G72, a model introduced in 1950. Most G72s were sedans, but some of them were sent to coachbuilders for something a little more fancy. Power was supplied by a 2.3-liter straight-four.

This car was bodied by Saoutchik, the legendary French coachbuilder. It was repainted some 25 years ago but otherwise it is original. Only 254 of this series of the G72 were produced and this one carries a one-off body. It should bring between $175,000-$240,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $207,019


1953 Renault Frégate Ondine Cabriolet by Ghia

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Renault Frégate was Renault’s executive sedan that they built between 1951 and 1960. Estate wagons were available as well, under different names. Renault showed a convertible at the 1953 Paris Motor Show, but it never entered production. Later, three more examples were shown and two disappeared. It is believed this is the only survivor of those cars.

The body is actually made of some kind of polyester blend. We’re really not sure what that means, but the engine is likely a 2.0-liter straight-four. The restoration was completed in the 1990s and it is believed that this car was used by legendary French singer Edith Piaf in the 1950s. It is the only car like it and it should bring between $87,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $86,814.


1939 Graham-Paige Type 97 Supercharged Cabriolet by Pourtout

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Graham brothers of Dearborn, Michigan, began producing their own trucks in 1922 after years of modifying Fords. That company was bought by Dodge in 1925 and the brothers joined Dodge’s board. But when Chrysler took over Dodge in 1928, the Graham brand was soon phased out. Good thing the brothers bought the Paige-Detroit Motor Company in 1927.

So in 1928, the Graham-Paige marque was introduced. In 1938 they introduced a bold (and awesome) new style that they built in low quantities through 1941. After the war, the automotive portion of the company was acquired by Kaiser-Frazer (which never reintroduced the Graham-Paige automobile brand), but Graham-Paige, strangely, soldiered on as a real estate company into the 1960s before becoming the Madison Square Garden Corporation. Weird, huh?

Anyway, the Type 97 Supercharged was built in 1938 and 1939. It is powered by a supercharged 3.5-liter straight-six making 115 horsepower. This car left Graham-Paige as a coupe (they didn’t offer a convertible) and made its way to France to be bodied by Pourtout in Paris. It may be the only such car with this body. It has been restored and should sell for between $165,000-$215,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $186,985.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2017, $770,000.


1949 Delahaye 135MS Coupe by Ghia

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Delahaye 135 was one of their best models. It lasted (in some form) between 1935 and 1954. The 135MS was the sportiest version – sometimes it was a race car, and sometimes it was a road car. It was the final Delahaye car available for purchase before the brand was phased out.

Bodies for the car varied widely. This car, with its covered wheels and sort of boxy design, was styled by Ghia in Turin. It’s beautiful. The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six making 120 horsepower. It was built for the Shah of Iran who owned it until the late 1950s when it went back to Europe. Since then it spent time in the Blackhawk Collection and the John O’Quinn collection. The restoration was carried out sometime in the early 1990s. It’s a wonderful car and one of three Delahaye 135s styled by Ghia. It should sell for between $210,000-$285,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $180,307.


1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport by Dubos

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Talbot-Lago T26 Record was a car introduced by Talbot-Lago in 1946. In late 1947, a Grand Sport version was introduced, which included a more powerful 4.5-liter straight-six making 190 horsepower (in this form). Grand Sport cars (that weren’t race cars) were all sent out to coachbuilders to have some of the best designs of the period attached to them.

This one went to Carrossier Louis Dubos near Paris for this elegant cabriolet that, while originally black, looks glorious in white. Never completely restored, mechanical bits have been redone as needed. This is one of three T26s bodied by Dubos and the only Grand Sport to wear one of their bodies. It should sell for between $260,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $293,834.