Citroen Traction Avant 11BL Cabriolet

1939 Citroen Traction Avant 11BL Cabriolet by Clabot

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019

Photo – Artcurial

The Traction Avant was one of a few cars produced worldwide that saw a pre-war introduction and continued post-war success. Part of that probably had to do with the financial state of France after WWII and the associated engineering costs for developing a new vehicle. It’s kind of crazy that a car designed for 1934 was still being sold in a Western country in 1957.

There were a number of variants and also a number of coachbuilt models. The 11CV model went on sale in 1934 and can be further divided into two sub-models. This is an example of the 11BL, which meant that it is powered by the 11CV 1.9-liter inline-four but rides on the 7CV chassis.

This car is one of three Cabriolets bodied by Robert Clabot, and if the design looks vaugely Saoutchik-like, that’s because Clabot was once employed by Jacques Saoutchik. This flamboyant example of a common French car should bring between $285,000-$400,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019

Photo – Artcurial

Now here is something special. First, a quick recap of the Alfa 8C: it was introduced in 1931 in 2300 guise. 1933 brought the 2600, followed by the 2900 in 1935. There were also race cars sprinkled in there for good measure. The 2900B started production in 1937 and these were as grand as cars got before WWII. There are only 32 examples of the 2900B, and we featured the drop-top version of this car back in 2016.

Two wheelbases of the 2900B were offered: Corto (short) and Lungo (long). I believe this is a long-wheelbase car, but the auction catalog is frustratingly unclear on that point. Only five Berlinetta versions were built by Touring, and this is number two.

The engine is a supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight making 180 horsepower. They were sporty in their day. No one is sure who owned the car first, but it was exported to the UK in 1939 and was purchased by the current owner in 1976. It has never been restored. The Lungo Spider sold for just under $20 million… the estimate on this car is $18,000,000-$25,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,997,883.

Horch 830 BL

1939 Horch 830 BL Convertible

Offered by Bonhams | Padua, Italy | October 27, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Horch really hit their stride in the 1930s. The last cars they built were sold in 1940 and some of them were quite extravagant. The 830 BL, and 930V sister car, were sold between 1937 and 1940. The 830 BL was the long-wheelbase model.

While the grand 853 cars were powered by a straight-eight engine, the 830 BL was offered with a pair of V8s, with this later car carrying the larger 3.8-liter V8 that made 92 horsepower.

This example was sold new in Sweden and has known ownership history from new. The car was rebuilt over a 24 year period and it is considered to be largely original. This big convertible – seriously, look at that parachute-like folded soft top – is one of approximately 6,400 830 models produced by Horch in the 1930s. It should bring between $350,000-$460,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Not sold, Bonhams Retromobile 2019.

Bugatti Type 57 Galibier

1939 Bugatti Type 57 Galibier Sedan

Offered by Osenat | Strasboug, France | May 1, 2018

Photo – Osenat

The Type 57 was the last hurrah for the original Bugatti company. Designed by Ettore’s son Jean, they first went on sale in 1934 and were built up through the outbreak of WWII. There were many variants, including the much sought-after 57S and 57SC.

This is a standard Type 57, meaning it uses a 3.3-liter straight-eight engine borrowed from the Type 59 Grand Prix cars. Power is a healthy 135 horsepower. The aluminium body is the factory-offered Galibier four-door sedan – the only factory four-door for the Type 57.

This particular chassis was built near the end of the production run and was the second-to-last sedan assembled (this was June of 1939). Originally black, it was delivered new to Nantes, France. It has a known chain of owners and events since then.

Bugatti built 710 examples of the Type 57 (including all sub models). This restored “base model” sedan should bring between $430,000-$675,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $516,615.

Roadmaster Sport Phaeton

1939 Buick Roadmaster Model 80C Sport Phaeton

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | April 7, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Roadmaster is one of the most storied models in Buick’s history. First introduced in 1936 as their second-most luxurious offering, the Roadmaster would be produced uninterrupted (except for the war) through 1958. It made a brief reappearance from 1991 through 1996. The second generation of the model was sold in 1938 and 1939 only.

This model of Roadmaster was powered by a 141 horsepower, 5.2-liter Fireball straight-eight. Five body styles were offered and the 80C was the four-door, six-passenger Sport Phaeton. When new, it cost $1,938 – the most expensive Roadmaster. Unfortunately, Buick only found three customers for this car. That’s right, only three were built, making this far and away the rarest 1939 Buick. One of those three was used as the pace car for the 1939 Indianapolis 500.

It’s unclear if this was that car, likely not, as it was restored in the 1990s to look like the car that did lead the field to the green flag in May of 1939. It’s a large and striking automobile that has been shown here and there. This is your chance to acquire one of the rarest Buicks ever built. It should cost between $65,000-$75,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Florida.

Update: Sold $56,100.

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.

Update: Sold, Mecum Indy 2018, $37,400.


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.