The Original Hellcat

1944 Buick M18 Hellcat

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | May 12, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

World War II tanks are just awesome. And the Buick-built M18 Hellcat was one of the best. It was the most effective American tank destroyer in WWII and the fastest American tracked armored vehicle until the M1 Abrams of 1980. As a tank destroyer, this thing was designed to destroy other tanks. What’s manlier than a tank built to eliminate its own kind? Not much.

Designed in 1942, the M18 entered service in 1943 and Buick turned out 2,507 of them through October of 1944. It’s powered by a 350 horsepower, Continental nine-cylinder radial engine. Top speed was 55 mph. Imagine one of these bearing down on you at top speed. Pretty frightening.

The pre-sale estimate is between $275,000-$350,000. WWII tanks in great condition trade hands for big money. They are both rare and desirable because of the generation of soldiers they represent. Click here for more info and here for more from Auctions America.

Update: Sold $247,500.

NSU Kettenkrad

1944 NSU Kettenkrad

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | March 19, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

It’s weird how war can create the need for vehicles that previously did not exist. Take this, the Kettenkrad – or, technically, the SdKfz 2. “Kettenkrad” is basically German slang for “tracked motorcycle.” This vehicle – it’s not technically a tank, and not technically a motorcycle, nor technically a tricycle (it has the right layout but more wheels than most trucks) – was designed and manufactured by NSU in Germany.

Produced between 1939 and 1948, the Kettenkrad was designed to be used by the German airborne, as it could fit in the cargo compartment of a Junkers Ju 52 – but it couldn’t be dropped via parachute. It’s powered by the 1.5-liter, 36 horsepower straight-four from an Opel Olympia. Top speed was 44 mph – making it the fastest tracked vehicle of WWII.

This has known ownership history back to 2011 (yep) and it’s been completely restored. Kettenkrads are a staple of every WWII movie set in Europe. By the time wartime production stopped in 1944, 8,345 of these had been built. Production resumed after the war as these were popular on farms. About 550 more were built through 1948. This immaculate wartime example should bring between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $64,108.

M4 Sherman

1944 Chrysler M4 Sherman

Offered by Artcurial | Catz, France | September 18, 2016

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

This is not your father’s Chrysler. Or, if he’s a World War II veteran, maybe it is. The Medium Tank, M4 (aka the M4 Sherman) was the most popular American tank of WWII (and thereafter). They were in service from 1942 through 1955 and some countries used them until 1990.

There were 16 variants of this tank, with this being an M4(105) which was built between February 1944 and March 1945. Only 800 were built, making it one of the rarer variants. Nearly 50,000 Shermans were built of all types.

This historical monster is powered by a 16-liter, 9-cylinder radial engine built by Continental. Horsepower is in the 300-450 range and this fully restored example is described as “quite pleasing to use and drive.” This is a great piece of WWII and American history and one that doesn’t come up for sale often. It’s incredibly cool and should sell for between $225,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $330,540.

Jumbo Sherman

1944 Fisher Tank Arsenal M4A3E2 Jumbo Sherman

Offered by Auctions America | Portola Valley, California | July 11-12, 2014

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

The M4 Sherman was the United States’ primary tank for a duration of World War II. They were produced in big numbers and saw hell on the battlefield. The Jumbo Sherman was built in 1944 by Fisher Tank Arsenal (the same Fisher that built bodies for GM). Only 254 of this model were built – making them super rare today. Only 7 or 8 remain. The engine is a Ford V-8 making 450 horsepower. The armor is thick and the guns were strong, which made them really popular with soldiers during the war and collectors today. This one, with only a partial restoration, could bring between $1,400,000-$1,600,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $800,000.

Another Five Military Vehicles

The Littlefield Collection

Offered by Auctions America | Portola Valley, California | July 11-12, 2014


 1944 Nibelungenwerke Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. H

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

The Panzer IV was one of the most popular German tanks during the Second World War. It was the most produced as well. They were manufactured by Krupp, Vomag, and Nibelungenwerke – which would become Steyr-Daimler-Puch after the war. So this one was built in Austria. About 8,553 were built between 1936 and 1945.

The engine is a 296 horsepower Maybach V-12 that can push this thing to 26 mph. Used by Czechoslovakia after the war, they sold it to Syria. It was captured by Israel in 1967 and the museum got it in 2003. It is all-original and needs to be restored. But that doesn’t mean it’s cheap: the estimate is between $2,000,000-$2,400,000. Click here for more.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $1,750,000.


ca.1939 Krauss-Maffei Sd.Kfz. 7

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

Continue reading

Panzer.

 1944 Nibelungenwerke Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. H

Offered by Auctions America | Portola Valley, California | July 11-12, 2014

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

The Panzer IV was one of the most popular German tanks during the Second World War. It was the most produced as well. They were manufactured by Krupp, Vomag, and Nibelungenwerke – which would become Steyr-Daimler-Puch after the war. So this one was built in Austria. About 8,553 were built between 1936 and 1945.

The engine is a 296 horsepower Maybach V-12 that can push this thing to 26 mph. Used by Czechoslovakia after the war, they sold it to Syria. It was captured by Israel in 1967 and the museum got it in 2003. It is all-original and needs to be restored. But that doesn’t mean it’s cheap: the estimate is between $2,000,000-$2,400,000. Click here for more.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $1,750,000.

White M16 Half-Track

1944 White M16

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | December 8, 2012

Here’s another good-lookin’ White half-track, this one an M16. The M16 was essentially an M3 (like the Autocar above) but it has a powered, armored turret with up to four .50 caliber machine guns. As with all of the items offered in this sale, the guns have been demilitarized – meaning, they no longer work as guns. But this is what makes something like this legal to own… and drive down the street. Engine-wise, this is powered by a 148 horsepower 6.3-liter straight-six. More here.

Update: Sold $95,000.

Update II: Sold, Auctions America Auburn Spring 2017, $82,500.

Half-Track Mania!

Half-Tracked Vehicles from The National Military History Center

All offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | December 8, 2012

                                                                                                                                                 

1943 Ford Maultier

This Ford “Maultier” (or “Mule”) is one of quite a few half-tracks going under the hammer from the National Military History Center in Auburn, Indiana. I’m not sure of the story behind this sale. The collection is quite astounding and it’s a shame that it’s being broken up and sold off, especially considering they are all available for the public to see. Half-tracks are some of my favorite WWII vehicles because… well they’re just so awesome. I’m unaware of the condition of these vehicles. The paint looks fresh but they are museum pieces so they might not be in the best shape mechanically (some even lack engines). But who cares – they are all rare and all really, really cool.

This one was built by Ford of Germany (this collection includes an impressive number of rare “Axis” vehicles). It’s powered by a 3.9-liter V8 making 95 horsepower. It will do 25 mph with those big tracks on the back. More here.

Update: Sold $42,500.


                                                                                                                                                 

1945 Daimler-Benz DB10 Sd.Kfz. 8

Daimler-Benz was the name of the company that owned Mercedes-Benz in the 1930s. Instead of badging their Sd.Kfz.8s as “Mercedes-Benz,” they went ahead and just called them “Daimler-Benz”es – as were most of their heavy machinery during the war. The front is adorned with the three-pointed Mercedes-Benz star, but lacks the ring around it.

These were in production from 1937 until 1945 and used a Maybach 8.5-liter V12 making 185 horsepower, although this particular truck is engine-less. It has a 12-ton payload capacity – in other words, it’s a monster. About 4,000 were built in total by various manufacturers making this one of the most desirable half-tracks you can get. More here.

Update: Sold $200,000.


                                                                                                                                                 

1941 Autocar M3

This is, by far, one of my favorites of this sale. It has that classic look – as did most of the vehicles produced by White, Autocar and Diamond T. That slanted front where a radiator would usually be. And whatever that thing is hanging off the front. Classic.

About 12,000 of these were built for the U.S. war effort (about 41,000 half-tracks were built in total of all kinds for the U.S.). This one has a 148 horsepower 6.3-liter straight-six. It’s quick too, capable of 40 mph. More here.

Update: Sold $38,000.


                                                                                                                                                 

1940 Hanomag S.P.W. Ausf. C Sd.Kfz. 251/1

This massive Hanomag is technically a 3/4-track. Whatever. I don’t like fractions. The Sd.KFz. 251 was one of the more popular German vehicles with 15,252 built by various manufacturers, with Hanomag being the most prolific. It uses a 100 horsepower 4.2-liter Maybach straight-six. This is a Model C (they made them in A through D configuration) so it had many improvements over earlier models, such as better engine ventilation. More here.

Update: Sold $160,000.


                                                                                                                                                 

1944 Auto Union HL kl 6p

This Auto Union model was the final evolution of the 3-ton half-track. They were made for a short time in 1944 only and, due to material shortages in Germany at the time, the cabs were mostly finished with wood and/or cardboard. Classy. It’s powered by a 100 horsepower 4.2-liter Maybach straight-six. More here.

Update: Sold $75,000.


                                                                                                                                                 

1943 Opel Maultier

This 2-ton Opel Maultier is one of about 4,000 built. It has a 75 horsepower 3.6-liter straight-eight. Opel was a curious case during the war. They  have been a General Motors subsidy since 1929. When the war broke out, Opel’s automobile production ceased so they could help with the war effort. Meanwhile, back in Detroit, GM was building airplanes that could have possibly flown missions in Europe, essentially bombing their own factories. More here.

Update: Sold $65,000.

 

                                                                                                                                                 

1939 Unic Kegresse P107/U304(f)

Unic, the French automobile manufacturer that turned to trucks in 1938 – which was highly convenient when war broke out the following year. Military vehicles are usually an extension of the heavy-truck business. Unic was bought by Fiat in 1966 and was merged into Iveco in 1975.

This Kegresse tracked tractor uses a 60 horsepower 3.4-liter straight-four. Kegresse means that the tracks are made out of rubber or canvas and not metal like most tanks and other half-tracks. I guess it’s gentler on the roads… or enemy soldiers. Strangely, all of these vehicles were built before the Germans took over France – but Germany used them anyway. More here.

Update: Sold $20,000.


                                                                                                                                                 

1942 Borgward H kl 6

Carl Borgward’s little (okay, it wasn’t that little) automobile company was drafted into producing vehicles for the Reich. This truck has a 3-ton payload capacity and entered production in 1937. This particular vehicle does not have an engine – it’s more of a static display piece – but back during the war it likely had a 100 horsepower 4.2-liter Maybach straight-six. More here.

Update: Sold $145,000.

 

                                                                                                                                                 

1944 White M16

Here’s another good-lookin’ White half-track, this one an M16. The M16 was essentially an M3 (like the Autocar above) but it has a powered, armored turret with up to four .50 caliber machine guns. As with all of the items offered in this sale, the guns have been demilitarized – meaning, they no longer work as guns. But this is what makes something like this legal to own… and drive down the street. Engine-wise, this is powered by a 148 horsepower 6.3-liter straight-six. More here.

Update: Sold $95,000.

 

                                                                                                                                                 

1943 Opel Maultier Panzer-Werfer 42 Rocket Launcher

This Opel Panzer-Werfer is a tracked rocket launcher. It’s pretty mean looking, isn’t it? It has one 10-barreled rocket launcher mounted in the back – of course it no longer works, so you won’t be able to blast traffic jams out of your way. This piggish brute is powered by a 75 horsepower 3.6-liter eight-cylinder engine. It weighs about 7-tons, so that is probably no where near enough horsepower. Only 300 of these were built. More here and the rest of the auction lineup here.

Update: Sold $60,000.