340 America Vignale Coupe

1951 Ferrari 340 America Coupe Speciale by Vignale

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The 340 was the first in Ferrari’s line of America cars that sort of culminated in the ultra-rare 365 California. Produced between 1950 and 1952, the 340 was intended as a grand tourer, but, being Ferraris, that didn’t stop some from being pressed into racing duty. In 1951, a 340 America won the Mille Miglia.

Power is from a 4.1-liter V12 making 220 horsepower. The engine was actually derived from Ferrari’s Grand Prix motor. Only 23 examples of the 340 America were produced, with two of those actually being cars converted from earlier 275 S models. Eleven of them were bodied by Vignale.

Five of those 11 were coupes, including this one. At a cost of $25,000 when new, the car was kept around Southern California in its early years before being acquired by the current owning family in the late 1950s. It’s remarkably untouched after 60+ years, with chipping paint and great patina. If only all old Ferraris looked this authentic. No estimate is available, but you can read more here and see more from Bonhams here.

Update: Sold $3,635,000.

Frua-Bodied A6G 2000 Spider

1951 Maserati A6G 2000 Spider by Frua

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2019

The Maserati A6 1500 went on sale in 1947 and was succeeded by the A6G 2000 (a different car from the A6G/2000, which Bonhams confuses in their catalog), which was produced in 1950 and 1951. It was a very limited run, and all of the cars were coachbuilt. Styling from different coachbuilders varied greatly.

This car is one of three carrying Frua Spider coachwork. It’s a very tight, attractive design, with a symmetrical front end highlighted by that third, central light. Power is from a 2.0-liter straight-six from a later edition of the A6 making about 110 horsepower.

Frua also built a single coupe version, while Pininfarina bodied nine fastbacks and Vignale one coupe. There were two others, and that’s it. Just 16 cars. This car made its way to California in the late-1950s where it remained until 2001 when it was shipped to Italy for restoration. The replacement A6G/2000 engine was fitted at this time.

Very rare and very pretty, this car should bring between $2,800,000-$3,400,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,755,000.

Monarch Convertible

1951 Monarch Convertible

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Here’s a marque produced by the Ford Motor Company that you probably aren’t familiar with. In Canada, GM and Ford have a history of needing to change the names of cars to get them to sell. GM did it with Beaumont and Acadian (and later, others), and Ford would do it with Meteor and Monarch.

Monarch was essentially a Canadian-market Mercury aimed at Oldsmobile. It was sold between 1946 and 1957, and then again from 1959 through 1961. Canadians had a lot more choice, brand-wise, than Americans because they got Mercury, Ford, and Lincoln too.

This car is powered by a V8 and was restored in 1995. In all, Ford sold just over 95,000 Monarchs over about a decade and a half. Only four 1951 Convertibles are still known to exist. And when was the last time you saw a Monarch? It’s a Canadian rarity. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Hershey.

Update: Sold $60,500.

Wide-Body XK120

1951 Jaguar XK120 Cabriolet by Autenrieth

Offered by Oldtimer Galerie | Gstaad, Switzerand | December 29, 2017

Photo – Oldtimer Galerie

British sports cars are known for being small and having cramped quarters for driver and passenger. The Jaguar XK120 was no exception. Introduced in 1948, it was Jaguar’s first post-war sports car and it was unlike anything else on the road at the time.

It was powered by a 160 horsepower, 3.4-liter straight-six. The “120” in the car’s name referred to it’s top speed in mph. It was lauded as “the world’s fastest production car,” which was largely marketing B.S. as a pre-war Model J Duesenberg could supposedly do 130+ (but I guess that wasn’t classified as a “production” car?).

Anyway, about those cramped quarters. This car was ordered new by a man in Frankfurt, Germany. He didn’t like the way he fit inside of it, so he shipped it to Autenrieth in Darmstadt and they built a wider body for the car, enlarging the passenger compartment to make it roomier. Strangely, the body was built in two halves by two different teams and then joined when placed on the car. If there was a reality competition show about coachbuilding, this is how it would be done. You can apparently still see the seam under the hood.

Autenrieth planned to build eight of these, but this was the only one completed as it brought with it an immense cost. It may still look like a stock XK120, but it is indeed different. Discovered in 1990 after 25 years of disuse, it was restored between 1991 and 1994 and again between 2010 and 2012, when the original engine was re-installed. This one-off Jag will be one of the last cars sold at auction in 2017. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Saoutchik-bodied Talbot-Lago

1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupe by Saoutchik

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 13-21, 2018

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

It’s kind of crazy to think this car is from 1951, especially if you consider the golden age of coachbuilding to be in the 1930s. This was pretty late in the game to get a custom-bodied car from a major coachbuilder as luxury cars pretty much standardized themselves not too long after this car was built.

But it helped that there was such a luxurious manufacturer like Talbot-Lago still operating at this point. The T26 Grand Sport was new for 1948 and Talbot-Lago sent all of the road cars to coachbuilders (there were race cars bodied in-house). This one was bodied by the legendary Jacques Saoutchik and it’s pure art.

Under the hood you’ll find the 4.5-liter straight-six that pumps out 190 horsepower. This body is one-of-one and is from one of the most sought-after coachbuilders of the post-WWII era. Few T26 Grand Sports were built and even fewer remain. You’ll need at least a million to top the reserve, but in the meantime, check out more about this one here and see more from Barrett-Jackson’s ever-expanding Scottsdale lineup here.

Update: Not sold.

Silver Dawn Fastback

1951 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupe by Pininfarina

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Bentley Continental Fastback of the 1950s is one of the most popular classic, post-war Bentleys. Rolls-Royce never built something quite like it, the exception being this one-off, coachbuilt Silver Dawn.

The Silver Dawn was built between 1949 and 1955. In all, 760 were made – almost all of them four-door sedans. The 1951 Silver Dawn was powered by a 4.6-liter straight-six and the power rating was “adequate” in RR terms.

This particular Silver Dawn was purchased as a chassis by an Italian and it was sent to Pininfarina for this body. It is the only Silver Dawn bodied by Pininfarina. Its cost in 1951 was extraordinary, costing the original owner roughly five times the price of an average home in the U.K. at the time. Displayed at the 1951 Turin Motor Show, it was restored by its current owners in 2014.

As a classically-bodied one-off, this Silver Dawn is one of the most stylish, coachbuilt post-war Rolls-Royces. It should bring between $580,000-$710,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ Goodwood lineup.

Update: Not sold.

Invicta Black Prince Wagon

1951 Invicta Black Prince Shooting Brake by Associated Coach Builders

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

I remember reading about the Invicta Black Prince when I was a little kid and I’ve always remembered that it is a rare, special car. In fact, most Invictas are pretty rare today. They company was founded in 1925 and sort of died in 1938. Those pre-war cars are pretty cool and sporty, competing with the likes of Lagonda.

The company was revived in 1946 and their goal was to build a Bentley/Rolls-Royce competitor. The Black Prince was an extraordinarily luxurious sedan offered until the company went bankrupt in 1950 (at which point they were acquired by Frazer Nash, who sold off the rest of the cars, including this one which the new owner had custom-bodied as an estate car). The cars were just too expensive, costing three times as much as a comparable Jaguar and almost as much as the Bentley. Side note, they tried to relaunch the marque as a sportscar maker in the 2000s, but they are now gone too.

The Black Prince is powered by a 127 horsepower, 3.0-liter straight-six. Because of slow sales, only 16 were made and only 12 of those still exist, including this one-off wagon. I don’t remember another Black Prince coming up for public sale in the last decade. The restoration on this car dates to the 1970s, which contributes to its seemingly low estimate of $28,000-$33,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $21,438.

The Asteroid

1951 Tojeiro-JAP

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Silverstone, England | July 27, 2017

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

We’ve featured a number of Portugal-born John Tojeiro’s cars over the years. No two are quite alike, and this little race car is different from all of them. This is also the earliest Tojeiro we featured, as it was the second car to ever bear his name.

The other person’s name associated with this car is that of Brian Lister. It was the first chassis he ever built (he wouldn’t found his own company until 1954). The wild design was inspired by a magazine article that Lister read about attaching a JAP engine to a Jowett Jupiter chassis. (JAP = JA Prestwich Industries, a British company that built a ton of small engines from around 1910 through the 1950s).

So Lister and Tojeiro took a 1.1-liter JAP V-Twin and stuck it in this custom chassis. It’s technically mid-engined, I guess, since you can see the engine sticking through the hood behind the front wheels. It was nicknamed “The Asteroid” and was very successful on track in its day.

This car was discovered in a barn, its body having been modified over the years. Silverstone’s catalog has pictures of it when it was new and it does look a little different. It was completely restored and is road registered in the U.K. The pre-sale estimate is between $117,000-$143,000 for this piece of racing history. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Four Fire Trucks from France

Four Fire Trucks in France

Offered by Osenat | Puiseux-Pontoise, France | May 14, 2017


1942 American LaFrance V-12 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

American LaFrance is one of the biggest names in fire trucks. Tracing their roots to 1832, the company built their first motorized vehicle in 1907. In 1995 they were bought by Freightliner, part of Daimler, who dumped them on an investment firm in 2005. They went through bankruptcy in 2008 and closed up shop in 2014.

People love fire trucks, and this wartime example is powered by a big Lycoming V-12 engine, something they only did for a brief period of time. This particular model (whose name I cannot find) was only produced in 1942. These are all coming out of a museum and this one should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $9,329.


1951 Laffly BSS163 Fire Van

Photo – Osenat

Laffly, which sounds like a comedy club, was actually a French manufacturer of commercial vehicles that was founded back in 1849. Their first automobiles were produced in 1912 and they went out of business in the 1950s.

Their specialty were military vehicles and fire trucks. The BSS163 was the “Standardized Fire Van” and it went into production in 1946. It’s a large van and it’s powered by an 80 horsepower straight-six from Delahaye. This particular van was restored by the owner of this collection. There are two other Laffly fire vans at this sale, but this is the nicest. It should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1952 Seagrave V-12 Roadster

Photo – Osenat

A couple of things… first, there is no model year listed for this truck. A quick search online revealed (as you can probably surmise by just looking at it) that this Seagrave fire truck is from the early 1950s, thus why I’ve called it a 1952. I also don’t have a model name, but it is V-12 powered and it does sport Roadster body work.

Like American LaFrance, Seagrave is among the biggest names in American fire trucks. Founded in 1881, the company built their first motorized fire truck in 1907. They were acquired by FWD in 1963 and have been based in Wisconsin since. This is a spectacular design and it can be yours for between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1927 Delahaye Type 83 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

The last fire truck we’ll feature today is from Delahaye, builder of some of France’s most beautiful cars. In fact, Delahaye built a lot of commercial vehicles over the years, including many fire trucks. They are quite rare today because, like Pierce-Arrow and Packard in the U.S., people acquired the commercial vehicles and stripped the bodies off of them and applied sexy passenger car bodies instead.

This fire truck has had a complete restoration and looks very nice. It has one large improvement over the previous generation of heavy trucks: inflatable tires. If you were to drive this back-to-back with a truck on solid rubber tires you’d notice a world of difference. This one should bring between $16,500-$22,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Laffly Fire Van

1951 Laffly BSS163 Fire Van

Offered by Osenat | Puiseux-Pontoise, France | May 14, 2017

Photo – Osenat

Laffly, which sounds like a comedy club, was actually a French manufacturer of commercial vehicles that was founded back in 1849. Their first automobiles were produced in 1912 and they went out of business in the 1950s.

Their specialty were military vehicles and fire trucks. The BSS163 was the “Standardized Fire Van” and it went into production in 1946. It’s a large van and it’s powered by an 80 horsepower straight-six from Delahaye. This particular van was restored by the owner of this collection. There are two other Laffly fire vans at this sale, but this is the nicest. It should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.