Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | October 28, 2020
This is the second of the three Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept cars that RM Sotheby’s is offering as a single lot later this week in New York. It was also styled by Franco Scaglione at Bertone and carries a similar look as BAT 5, except that those rear wings are pulled so far inward they look like the spiraling vapor trails off the end of a plane’s wing.
The driveline was sourced from Alfa’s 1900, meaning that this car has a 115-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four. Designed without the aid of computers (and likely little-to-no windtunnel time), the BAT 7 boasts a drag coefficient of 0.19. That’s better than a Prius, a car designed specifically to slip through the air.
This car debuted at the 1954 Turin Motor Show and was later sent to the U.S. by Alfa Romeo. It even ran in SCCA races in 1955. The rear wings were removed at one point before being re-installed during a late-1980s cosmetic restoration. Click here for more info.
Update: All three B.A.T. cars sold as a single lot for $14,840,000.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | August 14-15, 2020
Sterling Edwards’ eponymous car company managed to produce just six-ish cars during its short run. But they were pretty. The America was available as a coupe and convertible. Two coupes were made, three convertibles were completed, and the sixth body was stolen and likely scrapped.
This is car number one. It was constructed using the frame from a Henry J and an Oldsmobile Rocket V8 engine. The body is fiberglass, and other parts were sourced from existing cars of the era, including Studebaker headlight rings and Mercury taillights.
When new, this car was said to cost $4,995. Not cheap in the day – almost two grand more than a Corvette. This example received a mechanical restoration in 2003 and was purchased by the consignor in 2013. It can now be yours, as it’s selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Online | July 31-August 2, 2020
So no, this isn’t an Auto Union Grand Prix car, despite its looks. In fact, it was built a full 20 years after those cars dominated the European Grand Prix circuit. The “RA” cars were racing specials built by Hector Green and Jack Brewer in New Zealand between the end of WWII and the mid-1950s. Their first car kept evolving, and in 1951 they decided to replace it.
The RA4 Vanguard was the replacement, and its design and construction were heavily influenced by the pre-war Auto Unions. That’s because its builders consulted a then-declassified British intelligence document that investigated the construction of the German Grand Prix cars of the 1930s. Intriguing stuff.
Power is from a rear-mounted 2.1-liter inline-four from a Standard Vanguard that was supercharged and fitted with dual SU carburetors. Horsepower, when the car was running on methanol, was approximately 200. Wow.
The car competed regularly in New Zealand beginning in 1951 through about 1954. It’s been invited to the Goodwood Revival and has been owned by its current caretakers since 2017. Only five or six RA specials were built. You can read more about this one here and see more from this sale here.
For Sale by Very Superior Old Cars | Sassenheim, Netherlands
Maurice Mestivier and Roger Lepeytre’s Autobleu was founded in 1950 as a tuning company focused on Renault 4CVs. They introduced their own car in 1953 and it was based on, you guessed it, the 4CV. It did reach production, but the company was gone by 1959. A second model was introduced, but it’s unclear how many were made.
Autobleu believed in the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” thing, so they developed a racing prototype to help market the brand. It featured a tubular frame and a 750cc inline-four. The streamliner body was designed by our friend Marcel Riffard.
This car competed in the Mille Miglia in 1954, 1955, and 1956 with driver Jean Bianchi. It competed in other sports car races around France and Belgium during that era as well. It was restored a few years ago and is eligible for historic racing. It’s also a very rare example of a product from this brand. Oh, and if you don’t believe it actually went racing, check out the unbelievable period photo below of it surrounded by Italian cars at the Mille back in the day. You can see more about this car here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Elkhart, Indiana | October 23-24, 2020
Can you believe that Fiat didn’t built a V8 until they introduced the 8V in 1952? They didn’t produce any eight-cylinder engines until that time, and the only reason the model is called the “8V” is because they didn’t want to get in a tussle with Ford over the use of “V8.”
Between 1952 and 1954, Fiat produced just 114 examples of its 2.0-liter V8-powered 8V. Power was rated between 104 and 125 horsepower depending on which iteration of the engine the car received, although the catalog is short on that detail.
This is the 80th example produced, and it features dramatic bodywork from Vignale. It was produced as a follow up to a Michelotti-penned show car called the Demon Rouge. 8Vs are never cheap, and short of a Supersonic, this is about the best-looking example I’ve seen. It will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Here’s another classic Dodge concept car from the mid-1950s. This was the final car in the Firearrow series. To recap, the first Firearrow was a mockup, the second was a beautiful convertible, the third was a coupe, and this, the fourth, was a production-ready car that Chrysler decided not to move forward with.
It’s powered by a 150 horsepower, 3.9-liter Red Ram Hemi V8. Like the Firearrow II, it was styled by Virgil Exner and produced in Turin by Ghia. It has a black-and-white checkered interior, which is fantastic. Imagine if Dodge had actually built this and given themselves a legitimate, stylish Thunderbird and Corvette fighter.
This car has changed hands before (it sold for $1.1 million at Barrett-Jackson in 2007) and has been in the Blackhawk Collection for years. And now Mecum appears to be offering it on their behalf. Click here for more info.
Dodge debuted a series of Firearrow concept cars in the 1950s that showcased their Hemi V8s and their relationship with Ghia in Italy. Only two of the four Firearrow cars were convertibles, including this one.
It’s powered by a 150 horsepower 3.9-liter Red Ram Hemi V8. Not the most powerful thing in the world, but proof that Dodge was trying to move into a more performance-oriented territory.
Styling is by Virgil Exner, and the body was built in Turin by Ghia. The car was shown all over the U.S. in 1954, and it marked the first running, driving Firearrow, as this car’s predecessor was just a static model. This Jet Age concept car is fully usable, and it is for sale by Mecum/the Blackhawk Collection. Click here for more info.
Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 11-19, 2020
We’ve been promised flying cars for a long time. Well, Moulton Taylor and his company, Aerocar International, tried to make that promise come true back in 1949 when they introduced the Aerocar. It’s the first – and so far, only – road and air-legal vehicle ever produced. Six examples were constructed. They all still exist, but they don’t all still fly.
Power is from a 5.2-liter Lycoming flat-four that makes 150 horsepower. The top speed on land was 60 mph, while 110 mph was attainable in the air. As you can see above, the “car” portion of the vehicle was a bean-shaped thing with no fenders. It towed a very conspicuous trailer consisting of the propeller (it’s a pusher), wings, and a tail that you would have to attach in order to take flight (apparently it takes about half an hour to do). No word on how many people it takes to actually get that done in 30 minutes.
Aerocars are almost always “for sale” with ridiculous asking prices. It’ll be interesting to see what this actually sells for, as it is crossing the block at no reserve. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
It’s a little amusing how much the Mecum catalog is hedging on the description of this car. It is in the catalog as “1954/1959 Ferrari 0432M.” Which is useless info. This car has a nuanced history, that’s for sure. I guess when you own the auction house you want to lay out the facts and let others draw their own conclusions – which I will now do. This car was born in 1954 as a Pinin Farina-bodied 250 Monza Spider.
Only four examples of the 250 Monza were built and they were essentially the 750 Monza with a 3.0-liter V12 instead of a 3.0-liter inline-four. Output was 260 horsepower. This particular car won the 1954 12 Hours of Hyeres with Maurice Trintignant and Luigi Piotti.
Sometime in 1956 or 1957, the car returned to Ferrari, who had it re-bodied by Scaglietti with the pontoon fender-style body you see here. The interesting bit is that this was done at approximately the same time Scaglietti was designing the 250 Testa Rossa. Maybe it’s like a proto-Testa Rossa?
In 1959, it arrived at Luigi Chinetti’s place in New York, and it was shown at the 1959 New York Auto Show. From there it’s had a few owners, including Dana Mecum who had the car restored in 2014. The catalog makes this car seem mysterious. But old cars changed bodies here and there. No big deal. It’s a factory-re-body of a 250 Monza. And it’s wonderful. I look forward to your hate mail telling me why my assumptions are wrong. Check out more info on this car here, and see more from Mecum here.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | June 30, 2019
The Arnolt-Bristol was the result of a collaboration between Stanley Arnolt’s company of Chicago, Illinois, Bristol Cars of England, and Bertone of Italy. Bristol supplied the engine and chassis, Bertone the body, and Arnolt the money, spirit, and marketing.
The cars use the chassis and the 130 horsepower 2.0-liter inline-six from the Bristol 404 (okay, the engine actually could trace its roots back to BMW). Bertone designed the two-door body. Three trims were offered: Bolide, DeLuxe, and Competition. The DeLuxe was similar to the Bolide except it brought side windows, a convertible top, a glovebox, and instrumentation behind the steering wheel.
These cars were serious racers in their day, taking class victories at Sebring and Le Mans. Only 130 examples were produced, and this one was delivered new in Mexico. Restored, it is eligible for historic events such as the Mille Miglia. It should bring between $320,000-$370,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.