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.

Five Coachbuilt Delahayes

Five Coachbuilt Delahayes

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


1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Court Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Photo – Artcurial

The Delahaye 135 was the first model in a series of cars that would be built from 1935 through 1954 (with some time off for the War, of course). The 135 would be offered in a few different forms, but the Competition Court was the top-of-the-line model. The engine in this car is a 3.8-liter straight-six, which is not original to this car (it would’ve had a 3.5-liter unit when new).

It rides on a Competition chassis (which was sort of discovered by its most recent owner when the car was restored). It originally featured a Faux-Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi, but it was converted to a full cabriolet by the same guy who swapped the engine – but the design stays true to the original. This is one of six 135 Competition Court cars that originally sported a Figoni coupe body (here’s another). It’s a beautiful car with a good story (like how it was hidden from the Nazis) and it should bring between $1,275,000-$1,900,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.


1938 Delahaye 135M Coupe Sport by Chapron

Photo – Artcurial

The 135M was built on both sides of World War II and it was basically a standard 135 with a better engine. In this case, that engine is a 3.5-liter straight-six, which, depending on carburetor setup, put out 90, 105, or 115 horsepower. This car is a 115 horsepower variant. This example was one of two ordered new from Chapron by a man from Algeria and its early history is not known.

It reappeared in Luxembourg sometime before 1986 and passed between owners before being liquidated as part of Evert Louwman’s purchase of the Rosso Bianco collection. Presented as an all-original car with “refreshed paintwork,” this car should sell in the neighborhood of $425,000-$635,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1939 Delahaye 135MS Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Photo – Artcurial

If you didn’t guess it, the Delahaye 135MS was a step up from the 135M. In this case the engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six putting out 160 horsepower. This numbers matching car (body, engine, chassis) was bodied by Figoni & Falaschi in the a highly desirable cabriolet style.

It was originally ordered and owned by a famous French singer and stayed in her family until the late 1940s. The body was modified around 1950 when it was used in a film. Fortunately, the current owner (who has had the car since 2012) restored the car to its original glory, winning two awards at Pebble Beach as a result. This beauty should bring between $1,275,000-$1,700,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1950 Delahaye 148L Coach by Saoutchik

Photo – Artcurial

The Delahaye 148 was a long-wheelbase version of the 135M. It wasn’t as sporty, but that doesn’t mean they still didn’t garner incredibly crafted bodies from France’s finest coachbuilders. Because it is a derivative of the 135M, the 148 is powered by a 3.5-liter straight-six. Power depended on the number of carburetors and this is likely a 115 horsepower car.

Saoutchik built some of the most exotic bodies for old cars and this windswept two-door fastback fits right in with what they’re known for – in fact, it was shown on their stand at the 1950 Paris Motor Show. The current owner has had it since 1970 and while he kept it in running order, he drove it sparingly. It shows just less than 19,000 original miles. It’s all-original and should bring between $750,000-$1,050,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1951 Delahaye 135M Gascogne Coach by Dubos

Photo – Artcurial

With the 135M spanning both sides of the second World War, you see designs that vary pretty wildly between early and late cars – especially since each of them were bodied by a professional coachbuilder. In this case, it is Carrossier Louis Dubos of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. It’s powered by a 3.6-liter straight-six.

Remarkably, this car has been owned by the same family since 1959. The restoration dates to the latter half of the 1990s, and has been driven only a few times since 2000, thus will require a thorough inspection before being declared roadworthy. The other four Delahayes we featured are all quite pricey, but this attractive and usable example will likely sell for between $75,000-$105,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Artcurial’s auction lineup.

Update: Sold $126,297.

Maseratis in Monterey

1957 Maserati A6G/54 Spider by Frua

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

It seems like each year there is a theme among auction houses as to a certain type of car that is, for whatever reason, more prevalent at the Pebble Beach sales than usual. Two years ago it was open-wheeled race cars. This year it’s Maseratis. Both Gooding & Company and RM Sotheby’s are offering difference collections of Maseratis. The car you see here is probably the best one available.

The A6G/54 was introduced in 1954 (and built through 1956) and was the final version of the A6G, a car that dated back to 1947. It is powered by a 160 horsepower 2.0-liter straight-six and four body styles were offered, though none were built by Maserati themselves. Frua offered a Coupe and Spider, while Zagato and Allemano also offered a style each.

This is the fifth of 10 Frua Spiders and one of only 60 A6G/54s built in total. It was sold new in the U.S. and has spent a majority of its life on the west coast. Restored in the 1990s, this beautiful car does not come with a pre-sale estimate, which should tell you what you need to know regarding affordability. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,300,000.


1951 Maserati A6G 2000 Coupe by Pinin Farina

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016

Photo Courtesty of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesty of RM Sotheby’s

The A6G 2000 was the second iteration of the Maserati A6. Produced in 1950 and 1951 only, the cars saw increased displacement in the straight-six engine (to 2.0-liters) which makes 100 horsepower.

This example was sold new in Italy and has been in the U.S. since 1970. The handsome Pinin Farina body is the sort of typical body you could expect to see on one of these chassis. Except that you should never expect to see one as this is the second of just nine built by Pinin Farina (of about 15 cars built in total). It has been restored twice since 2000 and should bring between $400,000-$500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1971 Maserati Ghibli SS Spider

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

There have been three Maserati Ghiblis: the current sedan, a largely forgotten coupe of the 1990s, and this, a beautiful Ghia-styled Grand Tourer from the 1960s and 70s. A Coupe and Spider were available and in 1969, to partner with the base Ghibli, an SS was released.

The difference was that the SS came with a 4.9-liter V-8 making 335 horsepower. Think of what was going on in America at the time – this engine put it smack dab in the middle of muscle car territory. The difference is in the gearing: this car tops out at 170 mph (while most muscle cars were geared for the ¼ mile). This example was restored in 2009 and is noted in the lot description as “the best Ghibli out there.”

Only 128 Ghibli Spiders were built and only 30 of those were of the 4.9-liter SS variety. The estimate on this car is between $1,750,000-$2,250,000. You get what you pay for. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $1,500,000.


1971 Maserati Quattroporte Prototipo by Frua

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The original Maserati Quattroporte was a sedan built between 1963 and 1969. Maserati was out of the sedan game until 1976. But in those years between, something strange occurred. And it resulted in two amazing cars.

The story is that Frua designed this prototype Quattroporte sedan and showed it at the 1971 Paris Auto Salon. A second was built for Aga Khan IV and that was it. This is one of the rarest Maseratis outside of cars like the Boomerang. It is powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 making 290 horsepower (from the Maserati Indy). This car is rumored to have been owned and used by the Spanish royal family. Most recently, it’s been in the Riverside Automotive Museum and should sell for between $175,000-$225,000, which seems like a steal. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.

Update: Sold $88,000.


1948 Maserati A6/1500 Coupe by Pinin Farina

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

Remember when we said that Pinin Farina’s Coupe on the A6G 2000 was sort of the prototypical design for this car? Well here’s proof we aren’t crazy. This car is a little earlier, as the A6 1500 was the predecessor of the A6G 2000 having been built between 1947 and 1950. Believe it or not, it was Maserati’s first production road car.

The engine is a 1.5-liter straight-six making 85 horsepower. Only 61 were built and 59 of those carry Pinin Farina coachwork. This example, a long time Texas resident, was restored in 1998 and the engine was redone in 2005. It’s never been shown, but was raced back in 1949 and 1950. As an important piece of Maserati history, it could bring between $800,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company in Pebble Beach.

Update: Sold $852,500.

1950s Mercedes-Benz Station Wagon

1951 Mercedes-Benz 170 Da Kombi

Offered by Coys | Jüchen, Germany | August 6, 2016

Photo - Coys

Photo – Coys

The station wagon boomed in the 1950s – but not just in the United States. While Germany may have produced some wagons, they didn’t build a whole lot of them. Here’s some model history: the 170 DA was an evolution of the W136 Mercedes-Benz that was first introduced in 1935. Production stopped due to the war in 1942 with just over 75,000 built.

After the war ended, W136 production resumed in 1947, thanks to its pre-war popularity. There were two models, the 170 V and the 170 D and in 1950 both were upgraded to the 170 Va and 170 Da respectively – with the 170 Da being the car you see here. The engine is a 1.8-liter straight-four.

The 170 Da was produced between 1950 and 1952 and the Kombi wagon variant is quite rare. This example has been completely restored and looks like it belongs in a museum. It should bring between $66,000-$88,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Coys.

Update: Sold about $71,000.

Stanga Barchetta

1951 Stanga Barchetta

Offered by Dragone Auctions | Westport, Connecticut | June 4, 2016

Photo - Dragone Auctions

Photo – Dragone Auctions

“Etceterini” is a term to describe light Italian racing cars built between the immediate postwar period up through the early-to-mid-1960s. The Stanga brothers’ little company falls neatly into that category. Gianfranco, Sandro, and Camillo Stanga set up shop in 1949.

Stanga Barchettas began life as a Fiat 500 chassis (the Topolino, not the original Cinquecento). The engine is a Giannini-tuned Topolino engine, the straight-four now buffed up to 600cc. For the bodies, the brothers turned to Motto.

This car does have Mille Miglia history (all Stangas competed there) but the exact race history of this car is unknown. Only seven Stanga Barchettas were built and only two carry bodywork by Motto. This car should bring between $175,000-$185,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Ferrari 340 America

1951 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta by Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monaco | May 14, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

There were a number of Ferrari automobiles that wore a “340” badge. There was the 340 Mexico, the 340 MM, the 340 F1, and this, the 340 America. The America, obviously, was part of the Ferrari America line of cars that began in 1950 with this model. It would continue through 1966 with the 500 Superfast (and maybe through 1967 with the 365 California if you count that one).

The 340 America is powered by a 4.1-liter V-12 making 317 horsepower. That’s some serious get-up-and-go for 1951. It’s first owner was a Frenchman who drove his first 24 Hours of Le Mans 20 years prior. And with that, this car was entered in the 1951 24 Hours (just a week after its owner took delivery, no less). It’s competition history includes:

  • 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans – 56th, DNF (with Louis Chiron and Pierre-Louis Dreyfus (the car’s owner)
  • 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans – 45th, DNF (with Dreyfus and Rene Dreyfus)

It’s a quick car, too – able to hit 150 mph on the Mulsanne. It sports a recent restoration to 1951 Le Mans spec and has both competed in the historic Mille Miglia and has been shown at Villa d’Este. It is the third of 23 340 Americas built. Only eight were bodied by Touring (this is the second). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $8,233,680.

T26 Grand Sport by Dubos

1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport by Dubos

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 5, 2016

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

The Talbot-Lago T26 Record was a car introduced by Talbot-Lago in 1946. In late 1947, a Grand Sport version was introduced, which included a more powerful 4.5-liter straight-six making 190 horsepower (in this form). Grand Sport cars (that weren’t race cars) were all sent out to coachbuilders to have some of the best designs of the period attached to them.

This one went to Carrossier Louis Dubos near Paris for this elegant cabriolet that, while originally black, looks glorious in white. Never completely restored, mechanical bits have been redone as needed. This is one of three T26s bodied by Dubos and the only Grand Sport to wear one of their bodies. It should sell for between $260,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $293,834.