Wright Special

1953 Wright Special

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo – Mecum

One-off racing specials were commonplace in the U.S. in the 1950s. Enterprising individuals would take some off the shelf components, drive down the street to the local fiberglass fabricator, and get their self-designed body produced.

Then they’d tear up the tracks in SCCA events for a couple of years. Surely, countless examples of these pieces of mechanical creativity have been lost to time. But a good number remain, including this one, which was originally constructed by George Kopecky using a pre-war Maserati chassis and an aluminum body.

The history thereafter is a little hazy. The catalog description says that the body was bought by Johnny Wright in 1954 and that an upgraded frame was also built. It’s powered by a 5.4-liter V8 from a 1957 Corvette and was clocked at 143 mph in 1957. It’s an interesting build and very of-the-era. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum here.

Arnolt-MG

1953 Arnolt-MG Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 2, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Stanley Arnolt began importing cars into the US from Europe in the 1950s and was later a manufacturer in his own right, based out of Chicago. When he was on a business trip in 1952 he ran into the folks from Bertone at an auto show and struck up a deal.

The deal was that Bertone would design bodies for Arnolt to fit on the chassis of other European cars. The first collaboration was the Arnolt-MG, which was offered as a coupe and convertible. Power is from a 54 horsepower, 1.3-liter inline-four. The mechanicals and chassis were from an MG TD.

Only 65 coupes were built before MG moved on to the TF, leaving Arnolt to find a new base car, which he did from the likes of Bristol, Jaguar, and Aston Martin. This car has been restored and looks as if it came from an entirely different decade than the MG TD on which it is based. It should sell for between $75,000-$125,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $64,960.

Bristol 403

1953 Bristol 403

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | April 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

We are slowly filling in the gaps of the Bristol model history. We’ve previously covered models 400, 401, and 402. And here we have the 403. Largely an evolution of early cars, it was built between 1953 and 1955. Only 287 were made (or 281, depending on who you ask).

Like earlier cars, and a few following it, the 403’s powerplant is based on a pre-war BMW six-cylinder engine, specifically a 2.0-liter straight-six. Horsepower now cracked three figures for the first time, at 100. It could also do over 100 mph.

Other improvements included work on the suspension and brakes, to add some credibility to the “sport” part of the “sports saloon” they advertised it as being. This is a rare two-door post-war British sports sedan that should command between $62,000 and $66,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Not sold.

Healey Abbott

1953 Healey Abbott Drophead Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 3, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

In addition to attaching his name to everything under the sun, Donald Healey also built cars on his own. Between 1946 and 1954 the Donald Healey Motor Company churned out seven models of their own design that weren’t associated with Nash, Jensen, or Austin.

The Abbott was one of the last models to be introduced, going on sale in 1950. The name came from E.D. Abbott Ltd, a Surrey-based coachbuilder that actually built the body for this car (which is quite attractive compared to some of their other cars). All models were Drophead Coupes, and this particular car is powered by a 2.4-liter Riley twin-cam straight-four.

Production wrapped in 1954, with just 77 units produced, putting it right in the middle when it comes to Healey rarity. Only 20 are thought to remain roadworthy. This well-restored and well-used example should bring between $58,000-$71,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Not sold.

Ferrari 250 MM

1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta by Pinin Farina

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 24-25, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

There are a lot of different “250” models from Ferrari. It started with the 250 S, then came this, the 250 MM. It would evolve into cars like the 250 Testa Rossa, 250 GTO, 250 P and 250 LM. And those are just the racing variants.

The 250 MM was a stout little thing produced in 1952 and 1953. The Colombo V-12 was enlarged to 2.5-liters and produced 237 horsepower when it was dropped into the slightly longer (than the 225) wheelbase of the 250 MM. Named for the famous Mille Miglia road race in Italy, and to commemorate Ferrari’s recent victory there, the 250 MM was one of the premier racing cars for independent drivers of the early 1950s.

This particular car saw action on the privateer sports car circuit in Sweden when new. Down the line, this car was owned by racing driver Jo Bonnier and was eventually registered in Switzerland. Later owners had the car in Italy, England, France, Germany, and finally the United States. In beautiful condition after a recent cosmetic freshening, this will be another of RM’s mega-dollar cars in Monterey. It is one of just 31 250 MMs built and one of only 18 such cars that wear a Pinin Farina Berlinetta body. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Ferrari 625 TF

1953 Ferrari 625 TF by Vignale

Offered by Bonhams | Monaco | May 11, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

If you like ultra-rare early Ferrari factory race cars, then Bonhams has the car for you. This is a Ferrari 625 TF (for Targa Florio). Built in 1953 only, it was the first closed-wheel, four-cylinder race car from Ferrari.

A four-cylinder Ferrari? Of course! It’s the legendary 2.5-liter Lampredi straight-four and that Lampredi engine would go on to power Ferrari’s Monza line of racing cars. In this guise, it’s good for 220 horsepower… not a far cry from the 237 horsepower produced by the 250 MM’s V-12.

Only three examples of the 625 TF were built and each of them are markedly different, showing signs of evolution from chassis to chassis. This car features open body work from Vignale but in its earliest form carried a different body. Enzo didn’t like the original and so here we are.

This chassis spent its competitive days racing around Italy with the likes of Mike Hawthorn and Umberto Maglioli behind the wheel before being exported to a new owner in Argentina toward the end of 1953. It raced in Argentina and Brazil thereafter, competing into the early 1960s. In the mid-1970s it was discovered in a scrapyard in Naples, Italy, with a Lincoln V-12 stuffed under the hood. It was restored in the 1980s and again by its current owner in the 2000s.

Ferrari road racers from the golden era of sports car racing – and those that Enzo had a hand in – are just wonderful things. This sheer exclusivity of this the 625 TF makes it a great opportunity. It’ll be expensive though: this car carries an estimate of $5,500,000-$8,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Kaiser Dragon

1953 Kaiser Dragon

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2018

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Dragon was originally a trim level offered on 1951 Kaiser cars. Basically, they were cars equipped with faux-alligator skin interior (called “dragon skin” so no one got the impression that it was real alligator) and thick carpeting. In 1953, Kaiser, decided to build a top-shelf car also called the Dragon.

The 1953 Dragons were well-equipped and aimed at the top of the market. They were marketed as “safety” cars with featured like padded dashboards and pop-out windshields. They also had an electric clock, radio, gold-plated exterior nameplates and power steering. They were more expensive (at $3,924) than both a Buick Roadmaster and a Cadillac Series 62. Sales weren’t great because, while well-equipped, when compared with their more-expensive competition, they seriously lagged in the motor department. The Dragon is powered by a 118 horsepower, 3.6-liter straight-six. The Buick had a V-8 and 70 more horsepower.

Only built for 1953, Kaiser managed to move only 1,277 Dragons. The car is well-styled and definitely has standout looks. The vinyl top even looks like bamboo. The restoration on this car dates to 1982, but it’s still in great shape and is completely usable, as it’s been well-preserved since. This example should bring between $70,000-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $37,400.

Chrysler New Yorker T&C

1953 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country

Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 16-18, 2017

Photo – Mecum

The first two generations of the Chrysler Town & Country were woodies. The last year for those was 1950 and for the 1951 model year, the name was applied to Chrysler’s station wagons (and would continue on their wagons through 1988 before becoming a minivan in 1990).

Chrysler’s 1953 model offerings included the six-cylinder Windsor and the eight-cylinder New Yorker. This car is powered by the New Yorker’s 5.4-liter V-8 making 180 horsepower. Only 1,399 of these were built in 1953 and they cost $4,077 when new. Read more about this one here.

Update: Sold $48,000

Three Decades of American Wagons

Three Decades of American Wagons

Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 16-18, 2017


1948 Buick Super Estate Wagon

Photo – Mecum

The Buick Super was first introduced in 1940 and it only lasted a little over a year before the war broke out, though an upgraded 1942 model was brought to market. This model was built through 1948, which makes this car from the final year of manufacture for that series. The Super was Buick’s mid-level model for ’48 and four body styles were offered, with the Wagon you see here being the rarest.

The Model 59 was actually the “Estate Wagon” and it featured this beautiful woodwork from Ionia. It’s powered by a 5.2-liter V-8 making 115 horsepower. It’s a wonderful car sporting a 20+ year old restoration and a prime example of functional post-war Americana: a V-8 woody wagon. Only 2,018 of these were built. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $26,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Kissimmee 2018, $29,700.


1953 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country

Photo – Mecum

The first two generations of the Chrysler Town & Country were woodies. The last year for those was 1950 and for the 1951 model year, the name was applied to Chrysler’s station wagons (and would continue on their wagons through 1988 before becoming a minivan in 1990).

Chrysler’s 1953 model offerings included the six-cylinder Windsor and the eight-cylinder New Yorker. This car is powered by the New Yorker’s 5.4-liter V-8 making 180 horsepower. Only 1,399 of these were built in 1953 and they cost $4,077 when new. Read more about this one here.

Update: Sold $48,000


1969 Dodge Coronet 500 Wagon

Photo – Mecum

This style of station wagon was really the last hurrah for the classic, huge American Family Truckster. In another decade or so minivans would be the vehicle of choice for families and behemoths like this were relegated to the scrap heap. Luckily, someone saved this big boxy family hauler.

Dodge’s 1969 four-door model lineup included the Coronet and the Polara/Monaco. Four-door Coronets were available in base Deluxe trim, mid-level 440 trim, or as a top-trim 500. This nine-passenger Coronet 500 Wagon was the best Coronet family carrier you could buy. It’s powered by a 6.3-liter V-8 making 300 horsepower. Only 991 of these were even sold in 1969, making this extremely rare today. The original base price was $3,392. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum in Vegas here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $13,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Kissimmee 2018, $19,800.

AC Buckland

1953 AC Buckland

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 8, 2017

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Auto Carriers Ltd., later known as AC Cars, started building vehicles in 1901. They’re still around, though they are mostly building Cobra replicas and random attempts at sports cars. The 1950s were their sweet years, introducing or selling five different models during the decade.

The first of these was the 2-Litre, a car AC introduced in 1947. It was available as a two-or-four-door sedan and they also built a few Drophead Coupes. And then there was this, the Buckland tourer. The 2-Litre had the highest production total of any four-wheeled AC vehicle by the time it was out of production in 1956.

They are powered by a 74 horsepower, 2.0-liter straight-six. Only 60 Buckland tourers were built and this car has period racing history. It raced at Silverstone, Brands Hatch, and was the first AC car to race at Goodwood. It’s been completely restored and retains its original chassis and body. This particular Buckland was a no-sale at Historics’ most recent sale, so we’ll see if they can find it a new home this time around with an estimate of $47,000-$55,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.