1948 Playboy

1948 Playboy A48 Convertible

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 11-12, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Playboy Automobile Company was founded in 1947 by Lou Horowitz, a Buffalo, New York-area Packard dealer who wanted something smaller to sell after WWII. The prototype was shown in late ’46 and the Playboy Convertible went on sale in 1947.

Early cars used a Hercules engine and this, one of the later cars, uses a 2.0-liter Continental straight-four making 40 horsepower. It features an early retractable hardtop and sat on a 90-inch wheelbase. Featuring three-abreast seating, this car topped out at 75 mph.

The company folded in 1951. This car is #88 of 97 built and 43 are thought to survive, including the original prototype (a total of 99 cars were made, only 97 were “production” models). A rare example of a Post-War start-up automobile company, this car was painted in 2010 and can now be yours. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $132,000.

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.

Update: Sold $962,000.


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.

Update: Sold $3,277,500.


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.

Update: Not sold.

Healey Westland

1948 Healey Westland 2.4-Litre Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Donald Healey set up the Donald Healey Motor Company in 1945 and a year later he introduced his first road car, this, the Westland Roadster. At the same time he also built a sedan called the Elliott and there was a special, coachbuilt hardtop sedan version of the Westland called the Duncan.

The chassis were built in-house, but the engines were all 2.4-liter Riley straight-fours and in this instance, it made 104 horsepower. There’s a lot going on with the styling of the body, but it’s a nice British roadster on par style-wise with Sunbeams, Rileys and the like of the era.

This car was discovered in storage in L.A. and was restored in Australia. The current owner acquired the car in 2010 and had it repainted and freshened throughout. The Westland was a rare car – rarer than the later Silverstone – with just 64 examples built. It should bring between $200,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $218,400.

Four Cars from Rétromobile

Four Cars from Rétromobile

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018


1947 Dolo Type JB10

Photo – Artcurial

There were a lot of car companies that popped up after World War Two showing prototypes at auto shows and then promptly disappearing. Dolo was one such marque. Usually these cars exist only in grainy scans of old sales literature developed when the company’s founders thought they had a chance to make it big.

The JB10 was shown by Brun, Dolo & Galtier at the 1947 Paris Auto Salon. It was a front-wheel drive car powered by a 592cc flat engine making 23 horsepower. I don’t believe the engine is still with this car, however. The roof was a Plexiglas dome, which is kind of weird. The company went around taking orders (and payments) but never honored them. The company did build a second car but its whereabouts are unknown.

This car was discovered in storage at the Montlhéry circuit and entered the collection it is being offered from in 1967. It’s all-original and was originally blue. As a one-off it should bring between $7,500-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $33,585.


1931 Salomon Prototype

Photo – Artcurial

Jean-Marie-Jules Salomon co-founded Le Zebre early in his career. He later worked for Citroen and then Peugeot. From 1928 through 1939 he worked at Rosengart. While at Rosengart (which did pretty well building light cars themselves), Salomon designed and built his own cyclecar prototype.

This light, two-seat roadster features a tubular axle and front brakes. The body is aluminium, which wasn’t all that common in 1931. It’s powered by a two-stroke single-cylinder engine. It’s in pretty original condition and would require a full restoration (it’s missing things like gauges, the entire floor, you know… some basics). But still, it’s a unique car from the 1930s and it can be yours for between $12,000-$18,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $7,301.


1927 Taupin 1100 Prototype

Photo – Artcurial

Here’s yet another one-off prototype car from this same collection. Not much is known about this history of this car, other than it seems to be assembled and custom made. The radiator is from a Darmont. The engine is a SCAP unit of 1.1-liters.

It was built by an actual engineer, so there was some thought put into it. The wheels have independent suspension, so it sits very low. It’s almost like the grandfather of the Ariel Atom… if an Atom only had three wheels. Customized by the owner to add such creature comforts as a cushion to sit on, this thing is largely original and just might be in running condition. It should cost the next owner between $6,000-$9,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $23,363.


1948 De Coucy Prototype Record

Photo – Artcurial

What we have here was someone’s – a Count de Coucy, to be more specific – idea of a land speed record car. A trained engineer, de Coucy built some high-revving engines of his own design – we’re talking engines that revved to 10,000 rpm in the 1930s. In 1935, he designed a 500cc engine capable of that 10,000 rpm.

Unfortunately, he was arrested by the Germans during WWII as a part of the Resistance and then his workshop was bombed in 1943. In 1948 he took the chassis from a Formula One car he was working on and built a single-seater enclosed record car. The 500cc engine never made it in, but it now carries a 1.1-liter straight-four instead (which is not completely installed). The car was never run and is being sold in hopes that someone will pick up the cause. It should bring between $6,000-$9,500. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $55,488.

Three Decades of American Wagons

Three Decades of American Wagons

Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 16-18, 2017


1948 Buick Super Estate Wagon

Photo – Mecum

The Buick Super was first introduced in 1940 and it only lasted a little over a year before the war broke out, though an upgraded 1942 model was brought to market. This model was built through 1948, which makes this car from the final year of manufacture for that series. The Super was Buick’s mid-level model for ’48 and four body styles were offered, with the Wagon you see here being the rarest.

The Model 59 was actually the “Estate Wagon” and it featured this beautiful woodwork from Ionia. It’s powered by a 5.2-liter V-8 making 115 horsepower. It’s a wonderful car sporting a 20+ year old restoration and a prime example of functional post-war Americana: a V-8 woody wagon. Only 2,018 of these were built. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $26,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Kissimmee 2018, $29,700.


1953 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country

Photo – Mecum

The first two generations of the Chrysler Town & Country were woodies. The last year for those was 1950 and for the 1951 model year, the name was applied to Chrysler’s station wagons (and would continue on their wagons through 1988 before becoming a minivan in 1990).

Chrysler’s 1953 model offerings included the six-cylinder Windsor and the eight-cylinder New Yorker. This car is powered by the New Yorker’s 5.4-liter V-8 making 180 horsepower. Only 1,399 of these were built in 1953 and they cost $4,077 when new. Read more about this one here.

Update: Sold $48,000


1969 Dodge Coronet 500 Wagon

Photo – Mecum

This style of station wagon was really the last hurrah for the classic, huge American Family Truckster. In another decade or so minivans would be the vehicle of choice for families and behemoths like this were relegated to the scrap heap. Luckily, someone saved this big boxy family hauler.

Dodge’s 1969 four-door model lineup included the Coronet and the Polara/Monaco. Four-door Coronets were available in base Deluxe trim, mid-level 440 trim, or as a top-trim 500. This nine-passenger Coronet 500 Wagon was the best Coronet family carrier you could buy. It’s powered by a 6.3-liter V-8 making 300 horsepower. Only 991 of these were even sold in 1969, making this extremely rare today. The original base price was $3,392. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum in Vegas here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $13,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Kissimmee 2018, $19,800.

1948 Buick Super Estate Wagon

1948 Buick Super Estate Wagon

Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 16-18, 2017

 Photo – Mecum

The Buick Super was first introduced in 1940 and it only lasted a little over a year before the war broke out, though an upgraded 1942 model was brought to market. This model was built through 1948, which makes this car from the final year of manufacture for that series. The Super was Buick’s mid-level model for ’48 and four body styles were offered, with the Wagon you see here being the rarest.

The Model 59 was actually the “Estate Wagon” and it featured this beautiful woodwork from Ionia. It’s powered by a 5.2-liter V-8 making 115 horsepower. It’s a wonderful car sporting a 20+ year old restoration and a prime example of functional post-war Americana: a V-8 woody wagon. Only 2,018 of these were built. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $26,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Kissimmee 2018, $29,700.

Talbot-Lago T26 by Franay

1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Cabriolet by Franay

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 27, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Post-war Talbot-Lagos have always been desirable and appreciated cars. This car was shown at concours shows when it was brand new. The fact that it sports body work from one of the most sought-after coachbuilders only strengthens its case.

The T26 Grand Sport went on sale at the end of 1947 and it was a short-wheelbase version of the T26, which was introduced a year earlier. They were the sporty car in Talbot-Lagos catalog and could be had as a race car. Road cars were also constructed, with bodies from Europe’s top coachbuilders. The T26 Grand Sport is powered by a 190 horsepower version of the T26s 4.5-liter straight-six.

Only 29 cars were built on the short wheelbase and only 26 still exist. This chassis was shown at the 1949 Paris Auto Salon. Franay painted it black in 1950 and had its grille updated in 1951. The car sold in 1960 for $800 and wasn’t restored until 2010, a few owners later. This one-off T26 GS will bring slightly more this year than it did in 1960; it has an estimate of $1,300,000-$1,650,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

S/N# 110121.

Update: Sold $1,252,608.

Zimmerli Roadster

1948 Vauxhall-Zimmerli 18-6 Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10-11, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

In the U.S., auto production resumed more or less immediately following the end of World War II. In most of Europe, especially Germany and France, it took a little longer to get going again. And when it did, the cars in high demand were functional vehicles. But that didn’t stop two enterprising brothers from Switzerland for attempting to build a sports car around 1950.

Switzerland has never really had an active automobile industry anyway, so for the car to spring up there is weirder still. Werner and Fritz Zimmerli (who sold Chevys and Vauxhalls in their native town) designed a pretty roadster based on the Vauxhall Velox. The car uses a custom chassis and frame, but the running gear is all Velox: a 54 horsepower, 2.3-liter straight-six and a three-speed transmission move it down the road. The body is aluminium (with steel doors).

The finished product wasn’t complete until 1950 and the Zimmerlis kept the car until 1968. The current owner acquired the car in 2008 and performed a beautiful restoration. It is technically titled as a 1949 Vauxhall, thus its hyphenated name above, but it is a one-off, and a really cool one at that. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $71,500.

Ferrari 166 S

1948 Ferrari 166 S Spyder Corsa by Scaglietti

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 11, 2017

Photo – Artcurial

The 166 S was among the first cars built by Ferrari. It is preceded only by the 125 S and 159 S. It was a race car from the get-go and it was the first Ferrari to have a road-going counterpart, the 166 Inter. And even some of those were raced.

The 166 S (as well as the 166MM) were built from 1948 through 1953. It was powered by a 2.0-liter V-12 that Ferrari later enlarged to 2.3-liters in this car only (it would’ve originally put out between 110 and 140 horsepower depending on configuration). It was a factory race car when new. 1949 saw a new owner and it’s competition history under that owner includes:

  • 1949 Targa Florio – DNF (with Giampiero Bianchetti)

After the ’49 racing season, the car went back to Ferrari for engine enlargement. It’s final competition engagement was in 1952 and then the car was stored in Maranello. In 1954, Enzo Ferrari sent the car to Scaglietti and the original Ansaloni body was replaced by this very 1950s-looking body. Enzo wanted the car used a test bed for future racing bodies.

In 1957 it entered private hands (again) and eventually made its way to the U.S. A recent restoration preserved some original parts while making everything else perfect. This sort of proto-Testa Rossa will bring big bucks in Paris. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,138,024

1948 Murad

1948 Murad Prototype

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | September 21, 2016

Photo - Brightwells

Photo – Brightwells

The Murad was a car designed by English-trained and Jamaican-born electrical engineer Wadia Halim Murad. Designed and built by the Murad Machine Tool Company between 1946 and 1948, the intention was to offer a sedan in the competitive British market. The entire thing was designed in-house, engine included, and the cost of such a large undertaking nearly bankrupted the company and the project was shelved.

One lone prototype was ever completed. It was powered by a 1.5-liter straight-four capable of 48 horsepower, however the engine is no longer with the car and it is being sold as a restoration project. Surely a period-correct four-cylinder could be located and installed without too much trouble. Air-conditioning was to be standard as well.

After the project was cancelled, Mr. Murad continued to drive this car regularly up until 1964 when it was parked. It essentially disappeared and, like many cars before it, was assumed scrapped. But as luck would have it, in the 1990s a man purchased an old farm building and while he was clearing it out, this car was found in the back corner under some straw. It is complete (other than the engine) and, should the next owner restore it, would make for an interesting conversation starter wherever it goes. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $1,557.