Epperly-Offenhauser Streamliner

1955 Epperly-Offenhauser Streamliner

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | August 31, 2019

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Though not as well-known, Quin Epperly is a name that sits right there with Frank Kurtis, A.J. Watson, Eddie Kuzma, and Lujie Lesovsky when it comes to legendary builders of race cars during the “Roadster” era of the Indianapolis 500. Epperly actually worked for Kurtis before opening his own shop in the mid-1950s. His cars appeared at Indy from 1955 through 1960 and beyond.

The history of this car is interesting. Howard Keck had just won two consecutive 500s with Bill Vukovich driving his cars and was going for number three in 1955. Epperly had designed this streamlined special for Vuky to drive, but it wasn’t completed in time for the race. Instead, Vukovich drove a Kurtis for another owner. He was killed while leading the race.

Epperly completed the car with Keck’s help (money) anyway and installed a 385 horsepower, 4.4-liter Offenhauser inline-four instead of the V8 that was originally planned. IMS president Tony Hulman knew of the car and wanted it in the ’56 race, paying the entry fee for it in advance. But with Vukovich’s death, Keck lost all interest in racing and the car ended up stored in his shop until 1985.

The car became more or less legend until it was purchased and restored in 1990. And now it’s being offered for public sale. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $385,000.

375 MM Speciale by Ghia

1955 Ferrari 375 MM Coupe Speciale by Ghia

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Ferrari 375 MM was a race car. The MM stood for Mille Miglia, the famed Italian road race. That’s what the 26 examples of the 375 MM were destined for, along with the Carrera Panamericana and other similar events.

But sometimes exclusive Ferrari clientele convinced Enzo that his latest race car would make their perfect road car. Such was the case with this car, which was purchased by early Ferrari fan Bob Wilke. It’s powered by a 340 horsepower, 4.5-liter V12 and was the second-to-last 375 MM built.

It carries a striking body by Ghia and was the final Ferrari bodied by that particular carrozzeria. The paint scheme is spot on and compliments the Borrani wire wheels and the overall stance of the car exceptionally well. Debuting at the 1955 Turin Motor Show, the car was retained by Wilke’s family until 1974. It was never restored but has been repainted. It’s one of RM’s “big money Ferraris” and you can read more about it here. Check out more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Denzel 1300

1955 Denzel 1300

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alcacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This may look like some kind of early Porsche or Volkswagen sports car, but it isn’t. It is certainly related to those cars but is its own thing entirely. Wolfgang Denzel built cars in Vienna, Austria between 1948 and 1959. Very few were made.

Early examples used a Volkswagen chassis, but by 1952 the cars used a custom-built frame. Bodies were done in aluminium, and running gear was sourced from Volkswagen (though some later cars used Porsche powerplants instead).

This car carries a replacement 1.3-liter flat-four and a later-style Denzel body. It was sold new in Portugal, where it remains today. Only about 65 of these 1300 model examples were built and approximately 30 survive. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $345,025.

OSCA MT4 by Morelli

1955 OSCA MT4-2AD 1350 by Morelli

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 6, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

OSCA was founded by a couple of the Maserati brothers after they left the company that bore their name. In existence for only 20 years (1947-1967), the company produced mainly sports racing cars, some of which just happened to be road legal – but road cars were not their primary concern.

The MT4 was actually their first product, going on sale in 1947. Different engine sizes were used and many of them sported different bodies. For example, here is a Frua-bodied car with a 1.5-liter engine. The car you see here is powered by a 1.3-liter straight-four.

OSCA built 72 examples of the MT4 from 1947-1963, a long time in race-car-land, which should say something about how good they were. The original body was an aluminum structure hand-built by the car’s original owner. It was ruined in an accident during the 1959 Targa Florio, and this Morelli coachwork was fitted in 1959.

This Italian racer has Targa Florio race history. What more do you want? It should bring between $1,250,000-$1,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

The Royal Rolls

1955 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV State Landaulette

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 8, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

So this looks like most Rolls-Royces (or Bentleys) from the 1950s, no? Perhaps you’re thinking of the Silver Wraith, Silver Cloud, or Phantom V. This is a Phantom IV – it’s an ultra-rare example produced between 1950 and 1956. Only 18 were made.

Why so rare? Well, it was only sold to royalty or heads of state (mostly from the Middle East or the U.K.). This particular car was one of five owned by the British Royal Family. This is one of two used by the Queen herself and when Rolls sold these cars originally, they stated that they could not be re-sold, only bought back by Rolls-Royce. This car spent over 40 years (1959 to 2002) in the hands of the royal family and is now being sold publicly for the first time.

Carrying a body by Hooper, this car is powered by a 5.7-liter straight-eight engine. It’s an exceptionally rare automobile and one that doesn’t come up for sale often. It was on permanent loan to the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation and is now for sale. If you’ve always wanted the rarest post-war Rolls-Royce, now’s the time. It should bring between $1,300,000-$2,600,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Alfa 1900C SS Speciale

1955 Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Speciale by Boano

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Alfa Romeo 1900 was Alfa’s executive car introduced at the 1950 Paris Motor Show. Produced through 1959, it could be had as a four-door sedan, two-door coupe, or two-door convertible. This is not the standard coupe.

There were a few sub-models of the 1900, including the 1900 Super, 1900TI, and the 1900C – which was the short wheelbase version. This SS version is powered by a 115 horsepower, 2.0-liter straight-four.

Quite a few of these were coachbuilt specials and many of those were one-offs, including this Turin Motor Show car by Mario Boano. Sold after that show to a Milanese buyer, it remained in Italy for quite some time, finally finding a foreign owner in 2013. The restoration you see here wasn’t complete until 2017 – and it has been restored back to as it was on the Turin Motor Show stand.

The styling on this car is very Jet Age, carrying bodywork that fit right in with other coachbuilt specials from the era. When it crosses the block in January, it is expected to bring between $1,250,000-$1,750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,270,000.

Peugeot D3A

1955 Peugeot D3A

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | November 25, 2017

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Chenard et Walcker was a French automobile manufacturer that built some fantastic cars before WWII. After WWII, car production never resumed, but they did get into the van business. Their corporate overlords, Chausson, was bought out by Peugeot and Chenard’s little van was re-branded as a Peugeot for 1950.

The D3 was originally introduced in 1947 and it was replaced by the D4 in late 1955, making this example from the last year of D3 production. The D4 would last another 10 years. It’s a forward control van, meaning the engine was sort of between the front passengers and you sat with your feet pressed against the front of the van, making you the crumple zone in the event of an accident.

This D3A is powered by a 1.3-liter straight-four making 32 horsepower. It was a direct rival to Citroen’s ubiquitous H-Van. Most of these were used and abused so to find one in such great condition is a treat. Peugeot built about 75,000 of these between the D3 and D4, but this is as nice of one as you’re likely to find. It should sell for between $10,500-$15,750. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Historics’ lineup.

“Die Valkyrie”

1955 Cadillac Die Valkyrie Concept Car by Spohn

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 2, 2017

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Yesterday we featured a car owned by Brooks Stevens. Today we feature a car designed by Brooks Stevens. Stevens was an industrial designer best remembered in automobile circles for designing some great cars. In the 1950s he wanted to build a nice ride in the European tradition at a time when there were a lot of European-American cars coming out from American manufacturers.

So he took a 1954 Cadillac chassis and penned an original body for it. There’s a swooping “V” at the front, a long hood, and a removable hardtop for open air driving. The body was built by Spohn of Germany and the engine is an all-American 5.4-liter V-8 making 230 horsepower.

Dubbed “Die Valkyrie” after the Wagner opera, you can just imagine that famous piece of music emanating from this car as it stalks up behind you, that big V at the front trying to root you off the road.

This car was shown at the 1954 Paris Auto Salon and the 1955 New York Auto Show. Stevens bought the car for his wife from the financial backer who funded the project. It remained in his stewardship until 1997 when the current owner acquired it. It’s a one-of-one custom GM Concept Car and should bring big money when it goes under the hammer in Auburn. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Abarth 207/A

1955 Abarth 207/A by Boano

For sale at Fantasy Junction | Emeryville, California

Photo – Fantasy Junction

Carlo Abarth’s little company first put its name on cars at the tail end of the 1940s. In the following decades they were responsible for many “Fiat-Abarth” cars and even some original designs of their own. While a lot of these originals were prototype race cars, there were some very obscure cars that could’ve been used on the street too (it would take some creative talking at your local DMV to get a license plate on this one, however).

The 207/A was built in 1955 and it’s a sports racing car built at the request of an importer in the U.S. The 207/A, with sporty body by Boano, was powered by a 1.1-liter straight-four from the Fiat 1100. Of course, Abarth had their way with the engine and it’s more powerful than it would’ve been in any Fiat.

This particular example is the first 207/A built and its period racing history includes:

  • 1955 12 Hours of Sebring – DQ’d, with John Bentley and Jim McGee

It continued to race through 1957 and didn’t see the track again until it entered the historic circuit in 1986. It’s been restored and is fully prepped and ready for the track. Only 10 were built and they do not change hands often. Get your hands on the very first one for $275,000. Click here for more info.

Update, Gooding & Company Amelia Island 2019:

Photo – Gooding & Company

Sold $362,500.

Pegaso Coupe by Saoutchik

1955 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Coupe by Saoutchik

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Z-102 from Spanish manufacturer Pegaso is the most exotic car to come out of post-WWII Spain. The cars were built in Barcelona, but bodied by some of Europe’s finest coachbuilders, in this case by Saoutchik of Paris.

This Z-102 is powered by a 2.8-liter V-8 producing 170 horsepower. This Saoutchik Coupe was one of seven built (there was also a Cabriolet). It’s one of the most striking designs of 1950s sports cars – at the same time sexy and aggressive.

Sold new in Paris, it was later owned by Bill Harrah and in 2002 came into the possession of the Imperial Palace Collection. It’s second restoration was completed in 2008. Only 84 Z-102s were built and each one is highly sought after. Costing approximately $17,000 when new, this car should bring between $600,000-$800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.