Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-6, 2020
Moskvitch was a brand of automobile produced by the Soviet Union beginning in 1946. The first cars were actually built at a former Opel plant in East Germany. Production continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and afterward under a privately-owned company until 2002. Somehow, Volkswagen currently owns the brand name.
The cars were reliable and low-cost by Soviet standards, although they were not always easy to get. The 400 was based on the pre-war Opel Kadett and went on sale in December 1946. The “400” meant that the car was powered by a 23-horsepower 1.1-liter inline-four, and the “420” meant that it was a sedan.
Other body styles were offered, and the model was ultimately succeeded by the short-lived 401 in 1954. Between the 400 and 401, 247,439 examples were produced. I have no particular history on this car, as this post is being written well in advance of RM’s catalog going online. But, these are rarely seen in the U.S. (or even Western Europe), and this one is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | August 27-29, 2020
The Statesman was a full-sized car offered by Nash for a short period of time. It wasn’t their only full-sized car, but it slotted in below the Ambassador in the Nash product line. Despite being on sale for only six years (1950-1956), it spawned two distinct generations.
This Statesman Custom Brougham was from the final year of the first generation. The Custom was the top of three trim levels, and was offered in three body styles: a two-door sedan, a four-door sedan, and a two-door Brougham. The latter had a distinct fastback style that is pretty awesome for 1951.
Two-door Broughams were the rarest of all 1951 Nash cars, regardless of what model and trim combo you picked. For instance, only 38 Statesman Custom examples were built. Thirty-eight. That’s it. Could you imagine a major car company today producing less than 50 examples of one of their models? It’s crazy.
Power is from a 3.0-liter inline-six that made 85 horsepower when new. This is a cool car from a once-great manufacturer. And I can’t imagine how rare it is today. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020
This car is listed in the auction catalog as a “Silnes-Offenhauser Tomshe.” It was apparently built by Fred Tomshe, but was entered in various races as a Silnes-Offenhauser with Tomshe/Bardahl listed as the entrant. The car was commissioned by gangster George “Babe” Tuffanelli, who was part of the Chicago Outfit.
Power is from a fuel-injected 4.4-liter Offenhauser inline-four. It was entered in the 1951 Indy 500 with driver Ray Knepper, who failed to qualify. It did compete at Milwaukee and Langhorne later that year.
It’s been used at historic events since 2010, including the Monterey Historics. The constructor confusion here could be easily explained by that the possibility that the Tomshe build was based on a Silnes car. Who knows… the people who were there are no longer here. The pre-sale estimate is $125,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM at Amelia.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 4, 2020
The Fordson tractor brand was manufactured by various entities of the Ford Motor Company between 1917 and 1964. It was under Ford of Britain’s purview for the last few decades, and in that time, they built a 1/2-ton commercial vehicle called the E83W. It was available as a delivery van, a pickup, and other light-duty body styles.
The truck was available from 1938 through 1957 in the U.K. and was also offered under the Thames commercial brand. It retained its pre-war styling and 10 horsepower, 1.2-liter inline-four for the duration of production. Top speed was about 40 mph.
This tiny pickup has been restored and is now offered with a pre-sale estimate of $9,000-$12,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1951 Ferrari 340 America Coupe Speciale by Vignale
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.