The Fabulous Hudson Hornet

1952 Hudson Hornet 6 NASCAR

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Shipshewana, Indiana | August 4, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Worldwide Auctioneers is liquidating the greatest collection of Hudson motorcars in the world. And after studying the catalog, I’m pretty sure this is the crown jewel (Italia included). Hudson’s Hornets dominated NASCAR in the early 1950s with legendary drivers like Marshall Teague, Tim Flock, Dick Rathmann, Buck Baker, and Herb Thomas. This was Herb Thomas’ actual race car from 1952 and 1953.

The Hornets were an underdog car that quickly rose to the top. They were six-cylinder cars in an eight-cylinder world. But their chassis design made the cars quick and nimble. Documents show this car was sold to Herb Thomas in July of 1952 to replace a wrecked Hornet. Driven to 15 victories, this very car led Thomas to the 1953 NASCAR championship. After the ’53 season, this chassis was retired and sold to a private owner who used it as a normal road car.

A different owner acquired it in the 1970s hoping to get it roadworthy. That never happened but by this point its racing heritage had been forgotten. It wasn’t until that owner sold the car to a former Hudson dealer and then-current parts supplier that the history of this car was uncovered. A sympathetic restoration followed, leaving the interior mostly intact.

The engine is a 5.0-liter straight-six with Hudson’s “Twin H-Power” intake system – all good for 170 horsepower (up from 145 from a car off the showroom floor). This is the only surviving example of the “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” racing program of the 1950s. Its legacy cemented by Paul Newman’s character in the Pixar movie Cars and a truly legendary NASCAR racer, this will remain collectible forever. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.

Ferrari 212 Europa

1952 Ferrari 212 Europa Cabriolet by Ghia

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2018

Photo – Gooding & Company

The 212 Europa was actually a series of 212 Inter cars that had an “EU” suffix on their chassis and engine numbers. The 212 Inter was introduced in 1951 and lasted through 1952. In all, just 78 examples were made and only the last 29 of those were identified as Europas. It was sort of a stepping stone to the 250 Europa that burst on the scene in 1953.

This car has wonderful style. Bodied by Ghia, it appeared on the 1952 Geneva and Turin Auto Show stands. It was one of two cars like this they built but the cars differ slightly as they were different colors and had minor trim differences. The rear fender skirts make this thing look amazing. It’s powered by a 2.6-liter V-12 making 170 horsepower.

This car has a pretty amazing history. It was in the Detroit area in the 1960s and in 1972 it was found at a swap meet (it had a Corvette engine in it at that point) and traded hands for $600. Ferrari hunter Tom Shaughnessy was able to rescue it in 2011 and it was restored over a six year period thereafter by its next owner. It’s a classic Ferrari with great 1950s styling and it should bring between $1,800,000-$2,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,600,000.

Kurtis KK4000

1952 Kurtis KK4000

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Now we’re talkin’. Here is an Indy car from the early 1950s, back when these cars ran on dirt more often than pavement. It predates other Kurtis cars, namely their Indy Roadsters. Frank Kurtis built some of the most dominant race cars of this era and, especially in the early 1950s, they won just about everything.

The KK4000 was new for 1951 but race cars then tended to be fielded for years, even after they ceased to be competitive (a different KK4000 was raced until 1975). The 4000 series was a development of the earlier 3000 series and featured a lighter construction, thus making it faster. It’s powered by a 4.4-liter Offenhauser straight-four – probably the most legendary race car engine of all time.

Only 12 examples of the KK4000 were built and they rarely change hands. The race history of this chassis includes:

  • 1952 Indy 500 – DNQ (with Allan Heath)
  • 1953 Indy 500 – ?
  • 1954 Indy 500 – 21st, DNF (with Pat O’Connor)
  • 1955 Indy 500 – 30th, DNF (with Ed Elisian)
  • 1956 Indy 500 – DNQ (with John Kay)

It was entered in the ’53 500 but I can’t find who drove this chassis that race and if it even qualified. Bonhams doesn’t seem to know either. This car raced up through 1959 before it was retired and sold to a collector. It has been restored to 1955 race spec. This is a very rare, very historically important race car (this was the car Elisian was driving when he pulled over and tried to help Bill Vukovich after his fatal crash). It should sell for between $275,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Sold, Mecum Indy 2018, $291,500.

Two Single-Seaters at Rétromobile

Two Single-Seaters at Rétromobile


1952 Gordini Type 16

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Amédée Gordini started working on cars in the 1930s. He built his first single-seaters right after WWII and now the Gordini brand is owned by Renault. As a team, Gordini competed in Formula One between 1950 and 1956. This is their 1952 racer… or at least that’s when it debuted.

The Type 16 was developed as a Formula 2 car for the 1952 season, which was what the regulations were for the World Driver’s Championship that year. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter straight-six and it was the third example built, debuting at the 1952 French Grand Prix. This car’s lengthy race history includes:

  • 1952 French Grand Prix (Reims, F2) – 1st (with Jean Behra)
  • 1952 French Grand Prix (Rouen, F1) – 7th (with Behra)
  • 1952 Italian Grand Prix – DNF (with Maurice Trintignant)
  • 1953 Argentinian Grand Prix – DNF (with Carlos Menditeguy)
  • 1953 Dutch Grand Prix – DNF (with Harry Schell)
  • 1953 Belgian Grand Prix – DNF (with Behra)
  • 1953 French Grand Prix – DNF (with Trintignant)
  • 1953 British Grand Prix – DNF (with Trintignant)
  • 1953 German Grand Prix – DNF (with Trintignant)
  • 1953 Swiss Grand Prix – DNF (with Trintignant)
  • 1953 Italian Grand Prix – 5th (with Trintignant)
  • 1954 Argentinian Grand Prix – DQ (with Behra)
  • 1954 Belgian Grand Prix – DNF (with Behra)
  • 1954 French Grand Prix – 6th (with Behra)
  • 1954 British Grand Prix – DNF (with Clemar Bucci)
  • 1954 German Grand Prix – DNF (with Paul Frère)
  • 1954 Swiss Grand Prix – DNF (with Bucci)
  • 1954 Italian Grand Prix – DNF (with Bucci)
  • 1954 Spanish Grand Prix – DNF (with Jacques Pollet)
  • 1955 Argentinian Grand Prix – DNF (with Pablo Birger)

Wow. That’s a lot of F1 races for one chassis over four different seasons (with some pretty big names from the era as well). The car was not necessarily competitive at the end of its career as F1 advances at a pretty breakneck pace, but it was still out there, grinding laps. The car was acquired in the 1970s by Christian Huet, who wrote the book on Gordini. The car was offered to him by Gordini himself before passing away.

It’s well-documented and currently has a different engine installed, although a 2.0-liter F2 engine does come with it. Apparently, Gordini only built 33 single-seater cars and 14 of those are in the Schlumpf hoard. This one should bring between $1,100,000-$1,700,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.


1950 AGS Panhard Monomill

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 7, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Here’s a strange, one-off single-seater. Called the Atelier Guérin Special, or AGS, this car was built by Pierre Guérin in Grenoble, France. It’s based around a Panhard car of the era and, quite unusually for an open-wheel race car, features front-wheel drive.

It’s powered by an 850cc Panhard twin. Apparently it was raced in period, but it isn’t really known where, though it did compete in some hillclimb events in Italy more recently and that’s probably where its specialty lies.

It finally left its hometown in 1990 and its then-new owner kept the car for 20 years. A few others have enjoyed it since then and now it’s on the open market. It’s a unique, period-correct time attack car waiting for a new owner to take it to the track. It should bring between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $39,452.

Juan Peron’s Ferrari

1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe by Ghia

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 18-19, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Ferrari’s weren’t always red. In fact, this yellow and black paint scheme with whitewalls and knock-off wire wheels is one of the most brilliant Ferrari road car liveries we’ve seen in a while.

The 212 Inter was introduced at the 1951 Brussels Motor Show and produced in either 73 or 82 examples through the following year. This particular chassis (#49) was on Ferrari’s stand at the 1952 Paris Salon where it was purchased by Juan Perón, President of Argentina. The car remained in his possession until he was forced out of Argentina in 1955. In 1987 it was sold to a European and the car was then restored. The current owner acquired it in 1999

The 212 Inter is powered by a 150 horsepower 2.6-liter V-12. Bodies were supplied by different coachbuilders including Vignale and Touring. This is a one-off body by Ghia and it is fantastic. The proportions are perfect and that understated from end with dim headlights just begs you to buy it. The livery it sports is what it looked like on the Paris stand in 1952.

Early Ferraris are some of the best looking Ferraris and this one has pretty impressive provenance. It is expected to bring between $1,600,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,187,500.

Chrysler D’Elegance

1952 Chrysler D’Elegance by Ghia

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | December 6, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The relationship between Chrysler and Ghia resulted in quite a few different designs during the 1950s. There were a series of Chrysler Specials including this one and this one. There were concept cars and the relationship bore fruit for DeSoto as well. Ghia benefited too, with Chrysler powering the Dual-Ghia and Ghia’s sports cars.

The car you see here, the D’Elegance, was a show car bodied for Chrysler by Ghia on a shortened New Yorker chassis. It’s a gorgeous two-seater with a built-in spare tire where the trunk would be. The engine is a 280 horsepower, 5.8-liter Firepower V-8.

This car has been listed as a 1952 or 1953 in various places, but it was built in 1952 and debuted at the 1952 Paris Auto Show. Each of these Italian-bodied 1950s Chryslers is different, bringing their own heightened sense of style and flair to what was already a stylish automotive landscape in the 1950s. This is definitely one of the best-looking of the lot and it should bring between $900,000-$1,100,000 at auction this December. Note: it sold for $946,000 in August of 2011. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $885,000.

Three Late Ferraris

1952 Ferrari 342 America Cabriolet by Vignale

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s really packed their Monterey catalog this year, so much so in fact that I thought they were finished adding cars to it so I mapped out which cars to feature over the three weeks prior to the Pebble Beach Weekend. And then they added these three rare Ferraris. Time is tight, so they are being combined into one post. Enjoy the Ferrari overflow!

The 342 America was the second car in the Ferrari America line, produced in 1952 only. It’s powered by a 4.1-liter V-12 making 200 horsepower. This particular car is the only 342 America bodied by Vignale and it totally has that early-1950s Ferrari appeal.

The amazing thing about the 342 America is that Ferrari only built six examples (with this being the first). Six! That’s it. It’s one of the rarest road-going Ferraris ever made. Only three of them were drop tops and this car was delivered new to Switzerland. The current owners acquired it in 2007 and had it restored to the spec you see here. The estimate on this car is $2,250,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $2,255,000.


1954 Ferrari 500/735 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The car in this photograph definitely has the look of a child’s car. But it is not, as it is a true Ferrari race car. It started life as a 500 Mondial, the third car in Ferrari’s Monza line of sports racers. Bodied by Pinin Farina, it doesn’t quite resemble other 500 Mondial Spiders by the same coachbuilder.

Before it left the factory, Ferrari installed an engine from the slightly-earlier 735 S race car. That means this 500 Mondial is powered by a 2.9-liter straight-four that puts out 225 horsepower. That’s actually quite an upgrade over the Mondial’s comparatively weak 170 horsepower, 2.0-liter unit. To this day, no one knows why Ferrari built this car this way.

Sold new to a man in California, it spent its early days tearing around tracks on the West Coast in regional sports car races. The current owner has had the car since 1999, meaning it is being offered from relatively long-term ownership. It’s one of only 13 Pinin Farina Spider-bodied 500 Mondials. And possibly the only one with a 735 S engine. It should bring between $4,000,000-$5,500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,850,000.


1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider by Scaglietti

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is one of the more obscure Ferraris. But because it’s a sports racer from the 1950s, that means it’s worth a huge amount of money. Ferrari’s chief competition during the 1955 World Sportscar Championship were cars like the Jaguar D-Type. So Ferrari went head-to-head, developing a monster six-cylinder engine to take down the English.

This car is powered by a 360 horsepower 4.4-liter straight-six. This chassis began life as a 118 LM and was one of two examples of that model to be upgraded by the factory to 121 LM specification. In this new spec the cars were unbelievably fast: capable of over 180 mph! The race history for this car includes:

  • 1955 Mille Miglia – DNF (with Paolo Marzotto as a 118 LM)
  • 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans – DNF (with Maurice Trintignant and Harry Shell as a 121 LM)

After that, Ferrari sold it and it entered service as a privateer car in California road races. Unfortunately, driver Ernie McAfee was killed while racing this car in Northern California. The then-owner rebuilt it and the present owner acquired it in 1997. This is a rare chance to acquire a factory Ferrari Le Mans racer. One of just four 121 LMs built, it should bring between $6,500,000-$7,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $5,720,000.

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.

Aurelia B52 by Vignale

1952 Lancia Aurelia B52 2000 Coupe by Vignale

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 27, 2017

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

What time period do you define as the “golden age” of coachbuilding? Is it the 1930s? If so, I would be inclined to agree, but at the same time, I’d be doing a great disservice to the 1950s because there were some really fantastic coachbuilt cars built during that decade. The Lancia Aurelia alone had some great designs.

The Aurelia was Lancia’s luxury car (which was also available as a coupe and convertible in addition to the standard sedan) between 1950 and 1958. It featured the first production V-6 engine and this car carries a 2.0-liter V-6 making 90 horsepower. It rides on a B52 chassis, which was the slightly lengthened B21 chassis that Lancia offered to coachbuilders.

This one went to Vignale and it was fitted with this body that resembled nothing else that Lancia built. The company only sold 98 B52 Aurelias between 1952 and 1953 (with 86 of those being from ’52). It’s a cool car that will stand out anywhere it goes. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.

Update: Sold $313,152.

340 America Competizione

1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione by Vignale

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2017

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Ferrari 340 America was the first model of the Ferrari “America” cars which would reach their pinnacle in the 1960s with the Ferrari 400 Superamerica. They all wore bodies by either Ghia, Vignale or Touring. Built from 1950 through 1952, the 340 America would be replaced by the exceedingly rare 342 America.

This car is powered by a 4.1-liter V-12 making 280 horsepower. It’s stout and a performer. It was raced in period and by the factory. Its competition history includes:

  • 1952 Mille Miglia – DNF (with Piero Taruffi and Mario Vandelli)
  • 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans – 42nd, DNF (with Louis Rosier and Maurice Trintignant)

Only 22 examples of the 340 America were built – eight of which were sold as decked-out luxury tourers for the street. Of the remaining 14, only three were spec’d as Competizione models from Ferrari. This, car #17, is one of those cars (and it is also one of only four bodied as a Vignale Spider).

The consignor acquired the car in 2011 after it had passed through countless other owners. The restoration dates to 2000, but it’s been lovingly cared for and lightly used on the historic circuit – namely the historic running of the Mille Miglia. This former factory racer will bring big money when it crosses the block in January. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $6,380,000.