Offered by Bonhams | Milan, Italy | November 18, 2022
This has to be the nicest third-gen Kapitan anywhere. You generally don’t see Opels of this era, much less in this condition. The Kapitan was a big car when it was introduced in 1938, and it became the marque’s top model when production resumed after the war in 1948. The generation represented here was offered between 1951 and 1953.
A sedan was the only option and featured suicide rear doors. Power is provided by a 2.5-liter inline-six that was initially rated at 57 horsepower (later cars got a two-horsepower bump). Just over 48,500 of these were built in three years. But when was the last time you saw one, if ever?
It was restored a while ago and has been in Italy since 1991. It now has a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | London, U.K. | November 5, 2022
Frazer Nash built pre-war and post-war sports cars. They were also the U.K. distributor for BMW in the 1930s. This is a post-war sports car, obviously, as it’s from the early 1950s. The last Frazer Nash cars were built in 1957, which was about eight years before Archibald Frazer-Nash died.
In 1948, the company built a car called the Fast Tourer, which was also the name of a pre-war model. This morphed almost immediately into the Mille Miglia model, of which 11 were built through 1953. Power is provided by a 2.0-liter Bristol inline-six that made somewhere between 110 and 126 horsepower depending on the compression ratio.
This car was damaged in the 1960s or ’70s, spending a period in storage after that. A restoration that started in the late 1970s dragged on for decades, eventually being completed around 2005. You can read more about it here.
Offered by Broad Arrow Auctions | Gloversville, New York | October 14-15, 2022
Allard is best remembered for its J2 and J2X sports cars. They were British-built and powered by American V8s. Styling incorporated cycle fenders, giving the car a near open-wheel look. J2s were popular race cars – even Carroll Shelby raced one back in the day.
The third and final iteration of the J2 was the J2R (sometimes called the JR), of which seven were built between 1953 and 1956. This car, as visible above, had more traditional 1950s sports car body work. Power in this example is provided by an overbored 5.4-liter Cadillac V8.
This was the last J2R built and is said to be the only one originally configured in left-hand drive (and was apparently the only one built with doors on both sides). Why it’s listed/titled as a 1952, I do not know. But it does have a pre-sale estimate of $400,000-$450,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Chicester, U.K. | September 27, 2022
The DB3 was Aston Martin’s sports racing car for the early ’50s, with the cars being built in 1951 and 1952. It was their first post-war purpose-designed race car and was usurped by the somewhat-prettier and more famous DB3S in 1953. This car is number five of 10 built, and the the first five were all Aston team race cars. The remainder of the run were sold to privateers.
The first cars were powered by a 2.6-liter Lagonda inline-six, and later cars got a 2.9-liter version of the same powerplant that was good for up to 163 horsepower. This chassis has period competition history as a works racer, including:
1952 24 Hours of Le Mans – 19th, DNF (with Lance Macklin and Peter Collins)
1953 12 Hours of Sebring – 2nd (with George Abecassis and Reg Parnell)
1953 Mille Miglia – DNF (with Abecassis)
The nose was damaged during the Mille Miglia DNF. The entire body was removed, and the rolling chassis was sold to a driver who fitted a closed body. It wasn’t until 1990 that the car was restored with an original-style DB3 body. Now, this incredibly rare 1950s race car is offered with “estimate upon request.” You can read more about it here.
1952 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 GT Villa d’Este Cabriolet by Touring
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2022
The 2500 version of Alfa Romeo’s 6C was really the best version of the model. Produced from 1938 through 1953 (with a break for the war), the car featured various improvements over its predecessors, which dated back to 1927.
There were some excellent coachbuilt versions of this chassis, including one-offs. But a few of the more “standard” variants also featured bodies from top European coachbuilders. One such model was the Ville d’Este, with bodies by Carrozzeria Touring. It’s powered by a triple-carbureted 2.4-liter inline-six that was rated at 110 horsepower.
The Villa d’Este was a coupe in standard form. It was also the final hand-built Alfa Romeo. Just 36 were built, with only five of those being cabriolets, which makes this one pretty special car. Click here for more info.
Siata only built cars in low numbers, and they all looked like low, sleek Mille Miglia-style racing cars for the street. Well, you know, until the Spring. The 200CS was a model that launched as a bare chassis in 1952. The Chrysler V8-powered car was supposed to preview the next line of Siata cars.
But instead, they switched to Fiat 8V power, and the 200CS was kind of a stillborn project. This one is now powered by a 6.4-liter Chrysler FirePower V8, which has been installed in place of the car’s original 5.4-liter Chrysler V8. The body was built by Bertone especially for John Perona, the then-owner of New York’s El Morocco nightclub.
The current owner traced the car down in 1983, finding it in an Indiana garage. It’s unclear how many 200CS chassis were built, but this is the only one that looks like this. Bidding is already into the six figures, and you can read more about it here.
Later that year, Alvis tweaked the formula a bit, offering the TC 21/100, aka the Grey Lady. It featured a top speed of 100 mph thanks to a revised exhaust and an increased compression ratio in the 3.0-liter inline-six. The TC 21/100 was offered as a drophead coupe, with bodies like this one sourced from Tickford.
Only 757 examples were produced between the standard TC 21 and the Grey Lady through 1955, making it about twice as rare as the TA 21 that preceded it and way more common than the ultra-rate TC 108G that came later. This one is expected to fetch between $96,000-$116,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Oldtimer Galerie Toffen | Toffen, Switzerland | March 27, 2021
We’ve featured a number of variants of Alfa’s 6C over the years. The model was a mainstay of Alfa’s lineup from the late 1920s through the mid-1950s. The 6C 2500 was built between 1938 and 1952, and quite a few different sub-models were offered across a range of power ratings.
The auction catalog notes that this is one of 188 6C 2500 Sport models produced with a 105-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-six from the Super Sport. It features a two-door Berlina GT body that was styled in-house by Alfa Romeo.
Somehow, the car was delivered new to a fire department in Milan. It was restored in the 1990s and came to Switzerland in 2015. It was later refreshed and is now offered with a pre-sale estimate of $210,000-$230,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The 2.6 was produced between 1948 and 1953, and just 510 examples were built, split between four-door sedans and two-door drophead coupes. The engine is a 2.6-liter inline-six that, in Mk II form as seen here, made 125 horsepower.
The current owner of this car bought it five years ago, and it was restored prior to that. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $83,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | August 16, 2020
Giuseppe Benelli, he of later motorcycle fame, joined forced with Giuseppe Beretta, he of gun fame, to move into automobile territory to help rebuild their respective companies. Benelli was actually in the firearm business at that point in time, and both men’s companies suffered after WWII.
Benelli designed the chassis, and the two men teamed up with Viscount Guglielmo Castelbarco Albani to form BBC. Benelli’s design featured a 21-horsepower, 750cc V-twin mounted ahead of the front wheels. It was air-cooled and drove the front wheels. The perfect economy car for a struggling post-war Italian economy. It could hit 63 mph, and that car still exists today in the Beretta museum.
Beretta bailed on the project shortly after it was built to return his focus on guns. Benelli soldiered on and built two more cars under the name FAM (Factory Auto Motoveicoli). The prototype, this car, debuted at the 1952 Turin Motor Show. Both cars still exist – sort of. One is a bare chassis with an engine. It’s in pretty sad shape; one of the wheels is plywood.
The other has no engine but has the body, as shown above. Both are offered here together as part of Bonhams Bicester motorcycle sale. The pre-sale estimate is $10,000-$18,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.