The Guidomobile

1939 Guidobaldi Guidomobile

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 2024

Photo – Artcurial

If someone said “Guidomobile” to you, chances are this is not what you pictured. This car was built – from scratch – by Francois Guidobaldi, an inventor and former cycling champion. After winning a cycling championship in the 1900s, he went on to patent a carburetor, a gas generator, and and more into the 1970s. But in 1939 he was working on this, which very much looks like a period Auto Union grand prix car.

Most incredibly, he built the engine from scratch. And it is an eight-cylinder two-stroke unit measuring 1,357cc in displacement and shaped like a star. It has dual ignition, two Roots-type superchargers, and a self-designed carburetor. It is said to have been capable of 180 horsepower. It resides right behind the driver.

Guidobaldi died in 1971, and the current owner purchased it out of a museum in 2009. It was only later, during a restoration, that the body was finally crafted in aluminum based on sketches by the original constructor. This one-off piece of madness has an estimate of $285,000-$395,000. More info can be found here.

Type 57 by Letourneur et Marchand

1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Letourneur et Marchand

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 2024

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Type 57 was a fairly popular car from Bugatti, with 710 examples produced between 1934 and 1940. This one looks like a lot of other Type 57s, with the upright radiator shell and sweeping two-tone bodywork. The thing that is really kind of trippy is the area around the headlights. Lots of curving metal there.

Each naturally aspirated Type 57 received a 3.3-liter inline-eight that made 135 horsepower. They were good for about 95 mph. This car wears coachwork by French coachbuilder Letourneur et Marchand, and it is first of eight so bodied.

It remained under ownership in France until being exported to the U.S. in 1957. And it’s been here most of the time since, spending a few years in the Netherlands in the 2000s. The estimate here is $900,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info.

Delage D6 Grand Prix

1939 Delage D6 3-Litre Grand Prix

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 17-19, 2023

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The D6 was a long-lived line of Delage cars that started in 1930, took a break during the war, and returned to production afterward and on through 1953 or 1954. The D6 3-Litre road model went on sale in 1946 and lasted until the end of D6 production. It was powered by a… 3-liter inline-six. But so were other, earlier D6s.

This pre-war grand prix car is one of two constructed in preparation for the 1939 season. It’s got a 150-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six and was campaigned in the following:

  • 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2nd (with Louis Gerard and Georges Monneret)
  • 1940 Mille Miglia – DNF (with Gianfranco Comotti and Archimede Rosa)

This car was damaged during the race and was left behind in Italy. The disassembled chassis later found its way into the reserve collection of the horrible Schlumpf brothers, remaining there until 1966. The car was returned to the state you see here by a later owner in the 1990s.

It’s now got an estimate of $600,000-$750,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Lagonda V12

1939 Lagonda V12 Drophead Coupe

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | March 15, 2023

Photo – H&H Classics

Lagonda’s V12 engine was designed by W.O. Bentley and debuted just in time for WWII. Production of the V12 model commenced in 1938, and just two years later only 189 had been produced when the war broke out.

The 4.5-liter V12 produced 180 horsepower, which was enough to propel the cars over 100 mph, regardless of what body style they wore. This short-wheelbase car features factory drophead coupe coachwork and received a replacement V12 under warranty when new.

It later spent over 40 years in a barn in England before being pulled back out into the light in 2006 and subsequently restored. This is one of the great pre-war classics, and perhaps England’s best. This one has an estimate of $300,000-$360,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold, but H&H LAMELY removed the price to protect some sensitive owner or flipping dealer.

Rosengart Supertraction Cabriolet

1939 Rosengart LR539 Supertraction Cabriolet

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 3, 2023

Photo – Artcurial

The first Rosengarts were Austin Sevens built under license in France. Later on, the company expanded its range with models of its own design. They partnered with Adler to explore front-wheel-drive layouts in the early 1930s, and their development of this layout led to the car you see here.

Called the Supertraction, the LR539 model launched at the 1938 Paris Motor Show and used Citroen Traction Avant mechanicals. The stock coupe and cabriolet bodies were much more stylish than those of the Citroen, however. The engine is a 1.9-liter inline-four that made about 50 horsepower.

This one was discovered in 1976 and was later parked in the 1980s. It’s not current running, but is a very rare example of the model, which was produced for just over a year before the war shuttered production. This sale has two of these in it, with this one being much nicer. The estimate is $43,000-$65,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

BMW 327

1939 BMW 327 Sport Cabriolet

Offered by Oldtimer Galerie Toffen | Gstaad, Switzerland | December 29, 2022

Photo – Oldtimer Galerie Toffen

BMW’s ultimate pre-war car was the 328, which was a Mille Miglia-winning sports car powered by a legendary inline-six engine. A similar car, launched in 1937, was the 327. It was less sporty and more grand tour-y.

It was also powered by an inline-six. In this car, it was the 2.0-liter M78 unit, which made about 54 horsepower. There was a 327/8 version that got the 328’s engine, which was good for a bump to 79 horsepower.

The 327 was available in cabriolet or coupe form. After WWII, production continued in the form of the EMW 327, and they were available until 1955 (!). This car is one of only 1,124 pre-war cabriolet examples produced. Delivered new to Zurich, it was restored within the last five years. It now has an estimate of $133,000-$144,000. Click here for more info.

Steyr 220 Cabriolet

1939 Steyr 220 Cabriolet

Offered by Dorotheum | Salzburg, Austria | October 15, 2022

Photo – Dorotheum

Hard to believe a Steyr 220 has not come across this site yet. There have been a few that have popped up over the years, which can only mean that this site was asleep at the wheel. That or confident another would pop up soon. And here we are.

Steyr, which is mostly known for Steyr-Daimler-Puch products like the Pinzgauer, actually built road cars, including some fancier-looking ones like this. The 220 was the last in a line of 120/125/220 that stretched back to 1935. The 220 would be built from 1937 through 1941. It was the company’s most glamorous product – and their last passenger car.

Power is from a 2.3-liter inline-six that made 55 horsepower. Just 5,900 examples of the 220 were produced. Interestingly, a 220 with the same engine number sold on Bring a Trailer for $36,000 earlier this year. The car here has maroon wheels and fenders in lieu of body-color fenders and tan wheels, but it could be the same car. It has an estimate of $78,000-$110,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Steyr Type 55

1939 Steyr Type 55

Offered by Dorotheum | Salzburg, Austria | October 15, 2022

Photo – Dorotheum

The “Steyr Baby” was a small car produced by Steyr-Daimler-Puch between 1936 and 1940. It was actually called the Steyr 50 upon its introduction, and it was renamed the 55 when it was updated for 1938. Updates for the Type 55 included a lengthened wheelbase (by like two inches) and a stronger engine.

That engine is a 1.2-liter flat-four that made 25.5 horsepower compared to 22 horsepower of the Type 50. Only 7,800 Type 55s were built, all in two-door sedan style. The diminutive shape and rounded profile has lead to the occasional “Austrian Volkswagen” nickname.

This example was restored at the end of the 1990s and wears a two-tone paint scheme, as they came with from the factory. A rare survivor, it’s likely the best one around. The pre-sale estimate is $37,000-$47,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $48,705.

Delage D8-120 Grand Luxe

1939 Delage D8-120 Cabriolet Grand Luxe by Chapron

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 19-20, 2022

Photo – Gooding & Company

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.

Update: Sold $940,000.

Aero 50 Dynamik

1939 Aero Model 50 Dynamik by Sodomka

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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.

Update: Sold $346,000.