Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 24, 2018


1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport Coupe de Ville by Saoutchik

Photo – Bonhams

The T26 Record was a post-war model from French firm Talbot-Lago. The car was launched in 1946 and built through 1953. Along the way, there were steel-bodied two and four-door cars sold by the factory. But there were numerous coachbuilt one-offs built as well. Like the car you see here.

Power is from a 4.5-liter straight-six that produced 190 horsepower. The body is by Saoutchik and is a two-door, four-seat Coupe de Ville. The roof over the rear passengers’ seat is fixed, but the roof over the front seats pops off (and is stored in the rear section). It’s like a 1940s French Targa.

The current owner acquired the car in 2013 in original condition. A full restoration was commissioned in 2014, the result of which you see here. This was the only such car built by Saoutchik and it is presented in its original colors. It should bring between $1,200,000-$1,600,000. Click here for more info.


1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sports Roadster by Mayfair

Photo – Bonhams

The 540K was the highlight of pre-war Mercedes-Benz engineering and style. Factory-bodied cars were beautiful, but sometimes an outside firm could take it just one notch up, like this 540K Sports Roadster from the Mayfair Carriage Company of London.

They took a 540K and among other things, added those rear fender skirts that are sliced to pieces with louvers. It’s rakish and almost looks like a hot rod someone would’ve designed in the last 15 years.

Power comes from a 178 horsepower (with supercharger engaged) 5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight. This car made its way from the U.K. to Canada in 1955 where it was subsequently damaged in a fire. Restored over a period of 20 years, it eventually found its way to the Imperial Palace collection in the 1990s, remaining there until 2002. The current owner acquired it in 2007 and this rival to the factory Special Roadsters can be yours for between $3,500,000-$4,500,000. Click here for more info.


1946 Delahaye 135M Coupe by Van Leersum

Photo – Bonhams

This is a classic French design. Swoopy and full of curves, it’s reminiscent of many of the best French coachbuilt classics.

The 135M was part of Delahaye’s 1935-1954 135 line of cars. Introduced in ’36, it was available until the end of 135 production in 1954. The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six good for 113 horsepower. A Dutch car from new, the body was also applied in the Netherlands by Van Leersum of Hilversum, one of the last cars they bodied.

In addition to the Netherlands, this car was known to have been kept by various owners in France and Belgium. Restored and painted to highlight its curves, this car is coming from a large European collection and can be yours for between $450,000-$550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Nash Pickup

1946 Nash P1 Pickup Prototype

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | March 21, 2018

Photo – H&H Classics

Nash was one of the lucky few to survive the Depression and the War. Nash had a history of rugged vehicles but they never really got going with light duty trucks, though in 1946 they apparently experimented with just such a vehicle. This was a time when automakers were scrambling to produce cars and trucks America wanted after years of a stagnant auto industry.

As you can tell, styling was certainly an important factor. It kind of reminds me of a Studebaker pickup of the era from the windshield on back. The front of the truck is clearly shares corporate styling cues from the Nash 600 and it’s powered by a 3.8-liter straight-six, which was likely installed during a comprehensive restoration and was probably not the engine it came with.

It’s unclear how many of these Nash actually built (the possibility exists that it was more than one), but the catalog says that this is the only one in existence. It’s curious that it is in the U.K., but Nash may have exported any prototypes to shield themselves from liability issues. At any rate, the P1 never made it to production, making this a rare piece of American auto history. It will sell at no reserve with an expected result of $21,000-$35,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $30,216.

Bugatti Type 73C

1946 Bugatti Type 73C Monoposto

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | June 24, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The most collectible Bugattis were built prior to the outbreak of World War II. But some of the rarest Bugattis were produced after the war. Ettore Bugatti had been planning to produce a Type 73 road car and racing car once the war ended. But it never really made it past the prototype stage – mainly because Ettore died in 1947 (but also because of the economic climate in France right after WWII).

Bugatti managed to show a chassis/body Type 73 at the 1947 Paris Motor Show. Five chassis were built, only one of which was ever bodied by the factory. At least three engines were also built. Those engines were supercharged 1.5-liter straight-fours. When Ettore died, the cars were disassembled and put into storage.

A Belgian Bugatti dealer bought two of them, had them bodied, and sold them off. All five cars still exist, with this being #4. It was bought from the factory in the 1960s and the current owner got his hands on it in 1985. The engine is not original as it was damaged (but the original is supplied with the car). One other Type 73 is a “C” Grand Prix Monoposto. All of them are tiny, and this one could be eligible for historic events. It should bring between $390,000-$460,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Goodwood.

Update: Not sold.

Microcar Mondays Pt VIII

The Bruce Weiner Microcar Collection

Offered by RM Auctions | Madison, Georgia | February 15-16, 2013

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1958 Burgfalke FB250

1958 Burgfalke FB250

Photo – RM Auctions

The Brütsch Spatz went into production in revised form as the Victoria 250. When production ceased on that car, the head of Burgfalke (an airplane and glider manufacturer in Germany) bought the rights to the car and put it into production as the Burgfalke FB250. They used a 248cc single-cylinder making 14 horsepower. In all, 60 were built and two of those were shipped to the U.S. This car is one of those two and it is completely original. It should sell for between $25,000-$35,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $20,700.

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1949 Voisin Biscooter Prototype

1949 Voisin Biscooter Prototype

Photo – RM Auctions

We’ve talked of Gabriel Voisin and his attempt to manufacture a microcar after World War II. When he designed the Biscooter, he built approximately 15 prototypes that he shopped around. Eventually, two of them were given to Voisin to take home. This is one of those two cars. It is completely original. The Biscuter was made in Spain, but this Biscooter was made by Voisin. It’s a pretty big deal. The engine is a six horsepower 125cc single-cylinder. It should sell for between $60,000-$80,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $66,125.

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1946 Larmar

1946 Larmar

Photo – RM Auctions

Larmar built invalid carriages in Essex, England. When this model hit the scene, they were quick to point out all of its positive, road car-like characteristics in order to drum up as many sales as possible. It was about the smallest road car you could buy and perhaps the narrowest ever built, at just two feet four inches wide. The engine is a 246cc single-cylinder making 7.5 horsepower. This one has not been restored (obviously) and is missing a door, the convertible top and the folding windshield. It honestly resembles an airplane tug more than a car, but it is what it is. It can be yours for the rock-bottom price of $3,000-$5,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $4,600.

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1963 Vespa Ape Model C

1963 Vespa Ape

Photo – RM Auctions

The iconic Vespa scooter was introduced by Piaggio in 1946. It was great for transporting people cheaply around the windy streets of Italy. It was not so great for transporting things. So Piaggio sent their designers back to the drawing board and in 1948 the Ape came to market. This Model C has an enclosed metal box at the rear and a bench seat up front. Payload was 770 pounds – about all the 5.8 horsepower 145.5cc single-cylinder can handle. The controls are still scooter-like and the rear box actually tips. It’s a useful little commercial vehicle. It should bring between $5,000-$10,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $25,300.

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1948 Mochet Type K

1948 Mochet Type K

Photo – RM Auctions

This Mochet is a little sportier than the commercial Camionette we featured a month or two ago. It uses a single-cylinder engine of 125cc making a paltry 3.5 horsepower. The car is actually a little bigger than it looks, at almost eight feet long. This was the first Mochet cyclecar not to actually be fitted with pedals (what progress!). Everything else was still crude – no front suspension and an external handbrake to slow the rear wheels. And everything comes together at some kind of sharp angle. Only 650 were built. There are two in this sale, this being the nicer. It should sell for between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $35,650.

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1957 Messerschmitt KR 201 Roadster

1957 Messerschmitt KR 201 Roadster

Photo – RM Auctions

Another Messerschmitt? Look closely, this isn’t a KR 175 or a KR 200. It’s a very rare KR 201. Closed-top cars had an occupant baking problem, as they were essentially in a glass oven. Solution? Cut the top off. They gave it a heavily-raked windshield and a cloth top that goes back most of the way. It was a special edition model with other bits of nice trim and they were only built for two years (1957 and 1958) but it was available by special order until KR 200 production finally stopped. It uses the same 191cc single-cylinder engine making 9.5 horsepower. Only 300 were made. This one should bring between $60,000-$70,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $103,500.

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1972 Bond Bug 700E

1972 Bond Bug 700E

Photo – RM Auctions

The futuristic Bond Bug was exactly what a futurist would drive in 1972. It’s a three-wheeler with a pop-forward canopy for a door. The interior is now dated but was probably modern then. The engine is a 701cc straight-four making 30 horsepower. Bond had actually been acquired by Reliant in 1969 and you can see some of the Reliant Robin-type architecture in this car. Every one of the 2,276 cars built was painted in this god-awful 1970s orange color, which must have helped Bond reach their young consumer target market, or something. This one should sell for between $15,000-$20,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $17,250.

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1942 Peugeot VLV

1942 Peugeot VLV

Photo – RM Auctions

You might be thinking “Just what in the hell did Peugeot think they were doing trying to build a production car in 1942, under German occupation.” While the first part of that sentence – right up to the qualifier of “trying to build a production car…” is fair game at any point in their history, Peugeot actually had an interesting idea with this car. Gasoline was forbidden once Germany took over unless you had a special permission slip to drive. Literal cyclecars (without engines) were popular. Peugeot went with electricity. They were the only one of France’s large automakers to take a shot with building electric cars. The VLV was interesting – there was a single brake drum for the two rear wheels and the batteries up front made up half the weight of the car. It had a top speed of 22 mph and a range of 50 miles. It got around the fuel-restrictions but was banned by the occupying government after 377 were built. It’s cool, it’s rare. It should sell for $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $20,125.

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1949 Crosley Farm-O-Road Prototype

1949 Crosley Farm-O-Road Prototype

Photo – RM Auctions

Powell Crosley’s cars are all really tiny and all really cool. The Farm-O-Road is one of the stranger cars the he built. It looks like a miniature version of the Jeep that helped America win the war that had just ended. But its purpose was that of a utility tractor, as Crosley “had an interest in farming.” There were all sorts of attachments for this thing: plows, mowers, skis. It was also intended for road use. They were available for three model years: 1950-1952. About 600 were made. This is one of two factory prototypes and the one that was used in factory sales literature. It uses the 724cc COBRA straight-four making 26.5 horsepower. It should sell for between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $32,775.

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1957 Iso Isettacarro 500

1957 Iso Isettacarro

Photo – RM Auctions

The Isetta was originally built by Iso. They licensed the design out all over the place and used the proceeds to build some wicked sports cars. To make the tiny bubble-car even more appealing, Iso built the Autocarro, a commercial variant available in a variety of bodystyles. This one has a wooden pickup box. It uses a 236cc single-cylinder making 9.5 horsepower. It was built in Madrid by the Spanish arm of Iso (but it’s still an Iso). The only difference is that the Autocarro was renamed Isettacarro 500 in Spain. It is one of 4,900 built and is mostly original. It should sell for between $45,000-$55,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of the lineup, as this is the final Microcar Monday.

Update: Sold $97,750.

1946 Larmar

1946 Larmar

Offered by RM Auctions | Madison, Georgia | February 15-16, 2013

1946 Larmar

Photo – RM Auctions

Larmar built invalid carriages in Essex, England. When this model hit the scene, they were quick to point out all of its positive, road car-like characteristics in order to drum up as many sales as possible. It was about the smallest road car you could buy and perhaps the narrowest ever built, at just two feet four inches wide. The engine is a 246cc single-cylinder making 7.5 horsepower. This one has not been restored (obviously) and is missing a door, the convertible top and the folding windshield. It honestly resembles an airplane tug more than a car, but it is what it is. It can be yours for the rock-bottom price of $3,000-$5,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $4,600.

Bonhams Harrogate Highlights

Bonhams recent motorcycle and car auction at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, U.K. featured a few interesting sales. Unfortunately, three of our featured vehicles here on the site did not sell: the Triumph 1800 Roadster, Bristol Beaufighter and the Brough Superior SS100.

Some of the highlights include a 1963 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser. The 40 Series of the Land Cruiser range were made from 1960 until 1984 (and even longer in Brazil. These cars – er, uh, Jeeps – are much beloved by the off-road community. This particular model looks brand new and was owned by the Rover Car Co as an “evaluation” vehicle. It sold for about $26,000. Bonhams has these pictures locked, but I’ll do what I can for the other cars.

At most British auctions, there is a large selection of British cars. Two that I’d like to focus on are a 1946 Hillman Minx Drophead Coupe and this 1934 BSA Scout Roadster.

This isn’t the exact car – the exact car had striking red brakes and wheel caps. BSA, Birmingham Small Arms Company, is known primarily as a motorcycle manufacturer but they built cars from 1909 until 1926 and again from 1929 until 1940. Some of these cars where sporty three-wheelers but they built a number of four-wheeled variants as well. This 8.9 horsepower Scout uses a 1,075cc engine that was rebuilt about three years ago. It sold for about $12,000.

The Hillman Minx was produced from the early 1930s through 1970. The immediate postwar Minx (the example sold at Bonhams a 1946) did not differ much from the pre-war Minx. The model is commonplace but the Drophead Coupe body style is quite rare. A driver in nice black paint sold for about $5,700.

There were two interesting old trucks that passed across the block at this sale: a 1925 Autocar 27KS 5-Ton Truck in original running condition sold for about $10,000. And a 1927 International SF24 1.5-Ton Flat-Bed Truck in restored-as-necessary condition with an engine rebuild at some point brought about the same price.

Check out the complete results here (with pictures!).