Ferrari 410 Sport Spider

1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider by Scaglietti

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Enzo Ferrari wanted a car that could win the Carrera Panamericana in 1955. The company developed a new sports car chassis and fitted it with the 5.0-liter V12 from the 410 Superamerica. The twin-plug racing engine produced 400 horsepower, which was 40 more than the two single-plug customer cars that Ferrari delivered to some independent drivers.

Two twin-plug cars were built, with this being one of them. The Carrera was cancelled, so this car was saved for the 1956 World Sportscar Championship. This chassis, #0598, was driven by Fangio at the 1000 km of Buenos Aires before being sold into privateer hands.

From there, it was used at a variety of hillclimbs and SCCA events in the U.S., with wins racked up by Carroll Shelby. Other drivers in period included Phil Hill, Richie Ginther, Masten Gregory, Jo Bonnier, Jim Rathmann, and Fireball Roberts.

The full history of this car is pretty interesting and can be read here. Other notable events include decades under ownership of Luigi Chinetti. It was cosmetically refreshed in the 1980s, and the engine was rebuilt in 2012. With only four produced, and only two in this specification, this is a monster among golden-era Ferrari sports racing cars. RM won’t even publish an estimate.

Update: Sold $22,005,000.

Uhlenhaut Coupe

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

Sold by RM Sotheby’s | Stuttgart, Germany | May 5, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

We rarely feature a car after it sells, but this one sort of snuck up on everybody. The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart owned both examples of the “Uhlenhaut” coupe until recently, when they decided to part with one of the two. Why? Who knows. Maybe Daimler is cash-strapped. It’s kind of a weird situation when a well-funded museum decides to do a quick cash grab for a priceless piece of automotive history. Supposedly there were conditions on this private auction, like that the new owner isn’t allowed to re-sell it.

Anyway, a little history. This is not a 300SL Gullwing coupe. The 300 SLR was a full-fendered open-cockpit racing car based on the W196 Formula One car. The SLR was the company’s entry into the World Sportscar Championship. The cars won the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio before the program was quickly shuttered after the 1955 Le Mans disaster.

Meanwhile, motorsport chief Rudolf Uhlenhaut designed a road-going coupe version of the SLR, later dubbed the Uhlhenhaut coupes. Two were built. The engine was a 3.0-liter straight-eight that made about 305 horsepower. This coupe could do 180 mph. In 1955.

This one was the second one built and has been owned by Mercedes-Benz since new. It was restored in the 1980s and has been displayed and demonstrated on various occasions over the years. So how did it fare?

Sold: $142,000,000.

XK120 by Pinin Farina

1955 Jaguar XK120 SE Coupe by Pinin Farina

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 3, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

This is the third Jaguar XK120 we’ve featured, and all three have been coachbuilt cars with bodies that would not have come from the Jaguar factory. The XK120 launched in 1948 at the London Motor Show. Roadsters came first, and coupes and drophead coupes followed thereafter.

This coupe is the only XK120 bodied by Pinin Farina. It was at shows in 1955, which would’ve been after the XK140 entered production. It is an SE, or Special Equipment, model, meaning that the 3.4-liter inline-six was modified with higher-lift camshafts and a dual-exit exhaust for a horsepower bump to 180.

This car came to the U.S. via Max Hoffman, and a restoration was carried out in 2015. The result was a second-in-class at Pebble Beach in 2017. This one-off Jag has an estimate of $900,000-$1,300,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $940,000.

Bandini Veloce Zagato

1955 Bandini 750 GT Veloce Zagato

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | March 18, 2022

Photo – Artcurial

Here’s another Bandini, one that seems somehow even smaller than the others. The 750 GT was not a model that ever entered “production” by Bandini and was instead a one-off. It features aluminum Zagato coachwork over a elliptical tube chassis that supposedly only weighs about 60 pounds.

Power is from a twin-cam 750cc inline-four rated at 67 horsepower when new. The car made its way to the U.S. by 1959, when it started upon a sports car racing career that included:

  • 1960 12 Hours of Sebring – DNF (with Victor Lukens)

There were a few class victories sprinkled in during the 1960 season as well. The car was purchased by Ilario Bandini’s nephew in 1998, returned to Italy, and restored. It’s now offered from his collection with an estimate of $450,000-$700,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Bristol 405

1955 Bristol 405 Drophead Coupe

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 5, 2021

Photo – Artcurial

Bristol’s “400” line of cars began with the company’s first vehicle, the 400, in 1947 and continued through the 412, which was built through 1981. And, until now, we’ve featured an example of each one in the sequence, except for the 409 and this, the 405.

The 404 and 405 were built roughly alongside one another, with the 404 being a two-seat coupe, and the 405 was available as a ragtop or a sedan. It was the better seller, with 308 built between 1955 and 1958. Only 43 of those 308 were convertibles.

This one is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-six rated at 125 horsepower. It was restored decades ago and entered its current collection in 2006. The pre-sale estimate is $125,000-$185,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $172,840.

B.A.T. 9

1955 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 9d

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | October 28, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

And then there was this one, the final Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept car of the 1950s (they actually produced a B.A.T. 11 concept in 2008 as a sort of tribute to the first three). Scaglione’s styling on this one was a little more subdued. The rear wings shrunk down, and the front end actually carried an Alfa Romeo corporate look, foreshadowing the Giulietta Sprint Speciale.

This one also debuted at the Turin Motor Show, albeit in 1955. Ownership history is known since new, and the powertrain was again sourced from Alfa’s 1900.

The story of the three of these being united is interesting. Nuccio Bertone was in Pasadena, California, in 1989, and the organizers of the Pebble Beach Concours arranged to have all three cars displayed at their show, which Bertone ended up attending. While there, a collector made offers on all three, and it worked. The cars later spent ~10 years at the Blackhawk Museum and are all three now being offered as a single lot. Click here for more info.

Update: All three B.A.T. cars sold as a single lot for $14,840,000.

D-Type Continuation

1955 Jaguar D-Type Continuation

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Elkhart, Indiana | October 23-24, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This time last week we were talking about Jaguar’s XKSS continuation series of cars. This week, it’s time to talk D-Types. This is, perhaps, the most legendary Jag. The D-Type won Le Mans three straight years: 1955, 1956, and 1957. The company managed to get 71 built, though they planned on building 100.

Which leads us to this. A couple of years ago Jaguar announced that they would finish off the 25 cars to get them to the 100 they initially wanted (though the 25 they didn’t build were intended to be XKSS examples, and nine of those never got built due to a fire… the math works, trust me).

These continuation cars were built by Jaguar using the same processes they used in 1955. Power is from a 3.4-liter inline-six. You could get them in short or long-nose form, and this is an example of the former. It’s covered less than 200 miles with its first owner.

The D-Type we featured in 2013 failed to sell with a high bid of $6.2 million. This one, supposedly built the same way, should bring significantly less. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,325,000.

Dodge Firebomb

1955 Dodge Firebomb Concept

For Sale by Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Does this look like a Dual-Ghia to you? Well if it does, that’s because it essentially is. Chrysler had a relationship with Ghia during the 1950s that led to some fantastic concept cars, including this. But Chrysler passed on putting this one into production.

So in stepped Gene Casaroll, a Detroit-area businessman, who arranged to put it into production as the Dual-Ghia. The Firebomb remained a one-off Chrysler concept powered by a 270 horsepower, 5.1-liter V8. This car is also the reason some people refer to the Dual-Ghia as the “Dual-Ghia Firebomb,” which is not accurate.

The car has been hanging around the Blackhawk Collection for years and is now offered for sale as part of Mecum’s “Gallery,” alongside quite a few other Blackhawk cars. You can see more about it here.

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.