166 Inter Cabriolet

1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Cabriolet by Stabilimenti Farina

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 19, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

The 166 Inter was Ferrari’s first real road car, and it was built in limited numbers (just 38 were produced) from 1948 through 1950. We’ve featured one of them before, but naturally that one was used in competition.

This car does not look like a race car. It isn’t even immediately recognizable as a Ferrari either. Part of it is the restrained two-door cabriolet body by Stabilimenti Farina, and the other is the very demure beige paint. This car was hand built over a nine-month period that ended in October 1949. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter Colombo V12 that made about 110 horsepower.

This was the 16th Ferrari road car built, and it has been restored. There is now a pre-sale estimate of $1,800,000-$2,200,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Delahaye 148L Coupe

1949 Delahaye 148L Panoramic Coach by Letourneur & Marchand

Offered by Aguttes | Neuilly, France | June 20, 2021

Photo – Aguttes

Delahaye’s 135-series of cars was one of the very few cars that looked as fresh after WWII as it did before. The 135 was introduced in 1935, and the production of various related models lasted until 1954. Part of the reason this was able to be accomplished is that many of the cars were bodied by coachbuilders, so they continued to look fresh after nearly 20 years.

The 148 was a more boring version of the 135 set on a longer wheelbase. It still featured the same 3.6-liter inline-six that, in this triple-carbureted car, would’ve been rated at 115 horsepower when new.

The body is by Letourneur & Marchand and is of the “Panoramic Coach” variety. Which I think just means it has two doors and a lot of glass. It’s been restored in a very nice two-tone scheme that makes the profile view look like a mid-50s Buick. There were 2,592 examples of the 135 car line built, but the breakout to 148 is unknown. This one should bring between $60,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $67,630.

Allard L-Type

1949 Allard L-Type Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | May 30, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

The L-Type was one of a handful of Allard models introduced in 1946, which was the first year for true Allard production. It went on sale alongside the J1 and K1. The L was produced until 1950 and strongly resembled a drop-top version of the P1 and the later M-Type.

L-Type buyers had the choice between two engines from the factory: one being a 3.6-liter Ford V8 and the other a modified 4.4-liter Mercury V8. No word on what this car has. It was restored in the 1990s, and some mechanical systems were refreshed a few years ago.

Only 191 examples of the L were produced, and only 10 are said to be listed in the Allard registry. They were all convertibles. This one should bring between $49,000-$62,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Healey Elliott

1949 Healey Elliott Estate

For Sale at Classicmobilia Limited | Buckinghamshire, England

Photo – Classicmobilia Limited

Donald Healey wasn’t just about building lithe sports cars, as the vehicle you see here does not appear to be all that sporty. But, when it was introduced, the Elliott was claimed to be the fastest closed production car in the world.

It is powered by a 2.4-liter Riley inline-four good for 104 horsepower. Most Elliotts were homely two-door sedans, but some of the 101 chassis built were sold as rolling chassis for aftermarket, coachbuilt bodies. That was the case here and why this car wears a woodie estate body by British coachbuilder Hobbs.

Only two of the 17 Hobbs woodies that were built are known to survive, and this one is about as nice as you could expect. The Elliott was built between 1946 and 1950, and it was one of Healey’s early successes. This one is for sale in the U.K. for about $155,000 Click here for more info.

Kaiser Vagabond

1949 Kaiser DeLuxe Vagabond

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Kaiser-Frazer was an American car company that popped up after WWII. Kaiser sold its first cars in 1947, and by 1955 the company was gone. During their short lifespan, they built some really cool cars, including this, the Vagabond.

Technically part of the DeLuxe line, the Vagabond was sold alongside a four-door DeLuxe Sedan, a four-door DeLuxe Convertible, and the Virginian, a four-door hardtop. The Vagabond was actually a utility sedan and it had a beautiful cargo area:

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The rear seats fold flat for increased cargo space, and a covered spare tire is present in the left-rear doorwell, making that door virtually unusable. From the outside, this looked like an attractive-enough sedan. But with that rear hatch and wood-slat cargo area, it’s quite a looker from the inside. And functional too.

Power is from a 3.7-liter inline-six capable of 100 horsepower. It is estimated that only 25 of these were produced for the 1949 model year. While the DeLuxe Vagabond might sound like a stylish hobo, this car is one of Kaiser-Frazer’s best pieces of work. It should sell for between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $10,080.

Healey Sportsmobile

1949 Healey Sportsmobile

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 13, 2019

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Here’s a rare bird. While Donald Healey might be best remembered for his affiliation with the Austin-Healey and Nash-Healey, he also built cars under his own name between 1946 and 1954.

The Sportsmobile is kind of a porky-looking thing for carrying such a sporty name, and it is powered by a 2.4-liter twin-cam inline-four from Riley. It was built in extremely limited numbers between 1948 and 1950 and was the third model introduced by the company after the Westland and Elliott.

Only 23 were built, making it the rarest of all Healey-branded automobiles. Only three are known to still exist, and this one looks mostly original. It would be a great addition to any collection of British sports cars and should sell for between $25,000-$32,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $22,404.

Lesovsky Indy Roadster

1949 Lesovsky-Offenhauser

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17-18, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Classic race cars take a special breed of person. They’re high-maintenance cars and you can’t exactly take them to the local cruise-in. And the older they are, the crazier they can be. Before big money moved in, there were a lot of people with a lot of different ideas building cars that ran within inches of each other. They were individuals, not spec cars. And because of that, old race cars are awesome.

This car was built by Lujie Lesovsky’s L.A. Lesovsky Race Car Engineering, an open-wheel race car constructor active from the late-1940s through the early-1960s. It’s a short-wheelbase car powered by a Meyer-Drake Offenhauser inline-four making 300 horsepower. 

The racing history for this chassis includes:

  • 1948 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ
  • 1949 Indianapolis 500 – 3rd, with George Connor
  • 1950 Indianapolis 500 – 8th, with George Connor
  • 1951 Indianapolis 500 – 30th, with George Connor
  • 1952 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, with Bill Taylor
  • 1953 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, with Bill Taylor
  • 1954 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, with Bob Christie

Well there you have it – three Indy 500 starts with a podium finish. The car was also raced in period by Bill Holland and Len Sutton, the latter of which wrecked the car in a race in 1955. After that, it never raced competitively again. It was preserved and later restored to its “Blue Crown Special” livery.

This Offy-powered Lesovsky is one of very few such cars that survive today. They don’t change hands often, but when they do the prices make you take note. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $201,600.

Patriarca 750 Berlina

1949 Fiat-Patriarca 750 Berlina Sport by Faina

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 24-25, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

With its almost-Porsche-like looks, this Patriarca 750 Berlina is one of many specials built on the backs of small Fiat road cars. Post War Italy didn’t have an economy to support a lot of fancy car sales, so companies like Fiat focused on small, affordable cars for the masses.

But that doesn’t mean Italians still didn’t love motorsport. So people like Rodolfo Patriarca and Carlo Abarth took to modifying these cars for sport. This car was based on a Fiat 500C and has an 81 horsepower, 750cc straight-four tuned for racing by Giannini.

Built by Patriarca for gentleman driver Sesto Leonardi, the competition history for this car includes:

  • 1950 Targa Florio – 3rd in class
  • 1950 Mille Miglia – 1st in class

It continued to race through 1953, with at least one more appearance at the Mille Miglia. It’s wonderfully restored and eligible for many historic events. You can read more here and see more from RM here.

Update: Not sold.

Bristol’s First Road Car

1949 Bristol 400

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 11, 2018

Photo – Brightwells

The Bristol Aeroplane Company was founded in 1910. It had a different name then, but they produced Bristol-branded airplanes for decades, helping the Allies win WWII in the process. Either in a dig at the defeated Germans (or because it was a great starting point), Bristol decided to build cars after the war and used the BMW 328 as their starting point.

Initially acquiring a license from Frazer Nash to build BMW cars, the first Bristol road car was the 1947 400. It’s powered by BMW’s 2.0-liter straight-six that made 80 horsepower. Built through 1950 (the 401 was introduced in 1948), all factory-built 400s were two-door sedans. At least one coachbuilt convertible was also built.

In all, 487 examples were produced. They were a great first start for one of the world’s most exclusive and private car companies. Painted in a striking shade of blue, this example features a rebuilt engine and a re-trimmed interior. It should bring between $66,000-$74,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $75,385.

Gilco 1100 Zagato

1949 Fiat-Gilco 1100 Zagato

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monaco | May 12, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Gilberto Colombo began building lightweight automotive chassis right after WWII. It was an extension of his father’s tube-manufacturing company and eventually Gilco became a company in its own right. They were famous for building chassis for racing cars for the likes of Alfa Romeo and Ferrari.

In 1949, Gilco wanted to build a car to race in the famous Mille Miglia. They produced a chassis called the 205MM and before they ever went racing they changed their focus and decided to build a limited-edition roadster. Using a Fiat 1100 1.1-liter straight-four, Gilco reached out to Zagato to get a racing body designed.

And then it all stopped. Only this one prototype was ever built. It was restored in Germany within the last three years and is now a driveable footnote in Italian automotive history. Why the car is called a Fiat-Gilco 1100 Zagato and not a Gilco 205MM Zagato makes it kind of seem like Gilco is getting a little shortchanged. At any rate, it carries a pre-sale estimate of $245,000-$310,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.