XM Turnpike Cruiser Concept Car

1956 Mercury XM Turnpike Cruiser Concept Car

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 4-15, 2022

Photo – Mecum

This poorly photographed mid-century concept car is a pretty wild thing. First of all, it’s built on a 1954 Ford F-250 chassis, and it was designed by Mercury yet actually built by Ghia in Italy. Which seems backward of how it is supposed to have been done. Power is from a 4.8-liter V8.

But let’s talk styling. First off, we have split dual-Dagmar front bumpers. The exhaust has dual tips sticking through each quarter panel, and the fins have a weird rotated-3D look to them that are surrounded by a flat rear deck and vertical tail panel. The C-pillar buttresses are actually glass, and brake lights are also located at the rear top base of the roof. The four-seat interior is full-on jet age, too.

It toured around the show circuit in 1956 and was used as a pace car in Daytona in 1957. From there, it sat parked outside at Ford HQ, deteriorating. The owner restored it between 2017 and 2022. It’s as fresh now as it’s ever been.

It’s actually been a while since a good 1950s concept car came up for sale. And this is one that hasn’t been seen in a long time. Click here for more info.

Jomar Mk II

1956 Jomar Mk II

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 19, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Jomar was founded by Raymond Saidel, who inherited a sports car dealership in New Hampshire in 1950. The first Jomar cars, the creatively named Mk I, were based on Dellow chassis from England wrapped in aluminum bodies and powered by tiny Ford engines.

The Jomar Mk II of 1956 used a TVR chassis and a Coventry Climax engine. This example is the third Mk II built and features a 1.1-liter Coventry Climax engine rated at about 85 horsepower. The body is in aluminum, and it’s been restored and updated with a few modern safety features for historic racing.

This car actually competed throughout the U.S. in 1957 and 1958 and has more recently seen time on track during events such as the Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca. The pre-sale estimate is $80,000-$120,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Continental Mark II Convertible

1956 Continental Mark II Convertible by Derham

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

When Lincoln (well, Ford), spun Continental off as a separate marque for 1956, the new company’s goal was to build the best car in America. And they did. The price reflected it too as the two-door Mark II cost $10,000 when new. In 1956. Which made it the most expensive American car you could get at that point.

Because they were so expensive, the product line made Ford rethink the whole thing pretty quickly. The model was only around for two years, with a combined production of just 3,005 units. And only one of those was a convertible. This one.

Ford sent this Mark II to Derham in Pennsylvania to figure out how to make a drop-top out of the car, as the range was supposed to expand to other body styles. But never did, which is a shame as this car looks GREAT with the top down.

After the show circuit, it became the personal car of Martha Firestone-Ford, wife of Continental head William Clay Ford. Before she received it, the mechanicals were updated to 1957-spec. The unrestored-but-repainted car is powered by a 300-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8.

Post-Ford ownership included a brief stint with a Ford employee before remaining with one family for over 60 years. It’s now offered without reserve. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $296,500.

Alfa 1900C by Ghia-Aigle

1956 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Barchetta by Ghia-Aigle

Offered by Bonhams | Gstaad, Switzerland | July 3, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Who needs doors? Certainly not Giovanni Michelotti, who designed this car while working for Ghia-Aigle. Carrosserie Ghia S.A., Aigle, started out as a subsidiary of Ghia but based in Aigle, Switzerland. It became independent in 1953 and employed Mario Boano, Michelotti, and Pietro Frua at different points. Ghia-Aigle closed in 1988.

Alfa Romeo’s 1900C was a short-wheelbase version of the 1900, which itself was sold from 1950 through 1959. The styling of this chassis was inspired by Riva speedboats. It is one of about 10 1900Cs bodied by Ghia-Aigle.

Power is from a 2.0-liter inline-four rated at 115 horsepower in Super Sprint spec. This one has known ownership history, with original delivery in Switzerland and a long time spent off the road. It’s expected to sell for between $300,000-$400,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $322,338.

Three German Vans

Three German Vans

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 2, 2022


1954 Tempo Viking Bus

Photo – Dorotheum

Tempo-Werke (officially Vidal & Sohn Tempo-Werke GmbH) was a Hamburg-based company that got their start in 1924. The company was purchased by Daimler-Benz in 1971, and the marque was phased out after 1977.

The Viking was introduced in 1950 to replace previous three-wheeled light trucks. A pickup and van were offered, with power from a 452cc two-stroke twin making about 20 horsepower. They featured a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. Top speed was about 40 mph.

This passenger van variant has three rows of seats and has been restored to a condition probably better than when it was new. This Viking is estimated at $19,000-$27,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $17,168.


1967 Barkas B 1000 Kasten

Photo – Dorotheum

VEB Barkas-Werke was an East German manufacturer of vans that existed from 1958 until 1991. And they made essentially one product during that time: the B 1000 (they also produced engines for Trabant). In over 30 years, they somehow managed to only make about 176,000 of these.

But they are kind of iconic in that the front-engine, front-wheel drive van is the vehicle of choice for baddies on the “wrong side” of the Berlin Wall. The engine is a 1.0-liter two-stroke inline-three that made about 41 horsepower.

An unlikely full-restoration candidate, this van has had just such a thing. It carries an estimate of $15,000-$23,000. Good luck finding a better one. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $17,168.


1956 Goggomobil TL-300 Transporter

Photo – Dorotheum

About 2,000 Transporter models were built by Goggomobil, or Glas, the company that produced the Goggomobil. These were built at the request of the German postal service, and they very much do like look a mail van.

Different levels were offered. We’ve featured a TL-250 Transporter and a TL-400. This is an early model and is a TL-300, meaning it is powered by a 298cc two-stroke inline-twin. Output was rated at 15 horsepower.

Of the 3,667 Transporters produced, only about 100 are known to exist, a quarter of those thought to be roadworthy. The estimate is $63,000-$84,000. Click here for more.

Update: Not sold.

Snowberger-Offy

1956 Snowberger-Offenhauser

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 13-21, 2022

Photo – Mecum

Russ Snowberger competed in 15 Indianapolis 500s as a driver between 1928 and 1947 with one pole position and a best finish of fifth (two years in a row). He was the king of the “junk formula” that debuted in the 1930s that required stock-ish engine blocks.

He built and entered some of his own cars, including this Hupmobile-powered roadster. After his career as a driver ended, he became the chief mechanic for the Federal Engineering racing team based in Detroit. This lasted until 1961 and included prepping this Federal Engineering Detroit Special in 1956.

The chassis is based on a Kurtis 500C, and it’s powered by a 4.2-liter Offenhauser inline-four. No specific competition history is listed, but it was driven in period by Tony Bettenhausen, George Amick, Billy Garrett, and Tom Pistone. It’s currently owned by Ray Evernham, who is thinning his collection a bit at Mecum in Indy. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $220,000.

Diamond T COE

1956 Diamond T 931C COE

Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | November 11, 2021

Photo – Mecum

COEs were seemingly everywhere even 30 years ago. Now seeing one on the road is kind of a treat, but in the 1970s they were much more commonplace. The cab-over-engine design is still popular in Europe, but different laws in the U.S. make them less appealing today than they were 40 or 50 years ago.

Something I find interesting about older semis is that it can be hard to pin down a year (or range of years) of manufacture. Trucks were generally in use until they were no longer functional. So some of the trucks you saw on the highway in the 1990s may very well have been produced in the 1970s, ’60s, or even earlier.

Diamond T is perhaps best well-known for its beautiful Art Deco pickup trucks of the 1930s and ’40s. But they were also building heavier trucks for commercial and military use. This 1956 COE model is said to have a “262 engine,” which I think means a 12.2-liter Cummins turbodiesel.

It’s one of the tallest COEs of its day and is well restored. It’s being sold on behalf of the American Truck Historical Society. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Sold $18,700.

Byers SR-100

1956 Byers SR-100

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | June 23-30, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 1950s was the golden era of fiberglass. And Jim Byers took full advantage of it in El Segundo, California, in 1955 when he designed the SR-100. This body was constructed of fiberglass and was meant to fit over a 100-inch wheelbase. He sold the molds to Victress in 1960.

Approximately 25 bodies were produced in that time, and only 10 are known to still exist. This one is fitted on a modified 1949 Ford chassis and features independent suspension. Power is from a 4.3-liter Chevrolet V8 that is mounted behind the front suspension, which technically, I guess, makes this car mid-engined.

It’s a pretty great example of a rare, cool, old sports car. The pre-sale estimate is $60,000-$70,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

BMW 502 by Baur

1956 BMW 502 Cabriolet by Baur

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | April 2021

Photo – Bring a Trailer Auctions

The BMW 502 was the V8-powered version of BMW’s six-cylinder 501. The 501 went on sale in 1951 and the 502 in 1954. Confusingly, there was also a “501 V8” model sold, with a detuned version of the 502’s.

The 502 was also better appointed than the 501, which made it expensive. They only sold 190 in the first sales year. The standard body style was a sedan, but Baur-built coupes and cabriolets were also available. This car is one of 57 cabriolet examples.

This one is powered by a 3.2-liter V8 sourced from a later BMW 3200L. The 502 was Germany’s first post-war V8-powered car. With a single carburetor, this engine was rated at 140 horsepower when new. The removed factory 2.6-liter V8 is included with the car.

This car was restored between 2011 and 2013, and it looks pretty fantastic. It’s been at Pebble Beach and is being offered out of a museum. The bidding is already at $125,000 as of this writing, and it is scheduled to end two days from this posting. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $275,000.

Austin Metropolitan

1956 Austin Metropolitan Coupe

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

A few weeks ago we featured a Nash Metropolitan, which is what this car is usually referred to as. But, it was actually built under four different brands including Nash, Hudson, Metropolitan, and Austin. The easy way to identify an Austin is the right-hand-drive layout.

Actually, Austin built them all and then shipped most of them to the States for sale by Nash/Hudson/AMC. Metropolitans aren’t uncommon in the US (I love them), but the Austin version sure is. This one is still in England though.

Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-four (sourced from the Austin A50 Cambridge) that made about 68 horsepower. While the Metropolitan launched in the US in 1953, they didn’t go on sale in the UK until the very end of 1956, making this a very early UK model. Austin-branded production continued through 1959. There were no ’60 models in the UK, and 1961 cars were just known as “Metropolitans” as they were in the US. Both coupes and convertibles were available.

This one looks good and should bring between $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $16,992.