Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 22, 2021
Many people think that peak American cars of the 1950s culminated in the outlandish 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. Not so. It peaked more mid-decade, with cars like the Continental Mark II and this, the Eldorado Brougham. These were in a class of their own. The ultra-luxury class.
The Brougham was based on Cadillac’s Orleans and Park Avenue concept cars and featured a pillarless four-door hardtop body with suicide rear doors. The roof was finished in brushed stainless steel, and the car featured a self-leveling suspension, power seats with memory, cruise control, an automatic trunk opener, automatic high-beam headlights, and air conditioning. So basically, it was loaded with all of the stuff (and more) than that of your average 2020 mid-size sedan.
Over-the-top features included drink tumblers, a leather-trimmed cigarette case, a vanity, and a bunch of other stuff Cadillac threw in so everyone could know how high-maintenance you were. Power is from a 6.0-liter V8 that makes 325 horsepower courtesy of dual Rochester carburetors.
So what does all of this run in 1957? Well, how about $13,074 – nearly three times the price of a base Series 62 hardtop sedan from the same year. It also bested the Continental Mark II, which up to that point was the most expensive American car. This car cost more new than a Rolls-Royce. The Brougham was actually the Series 70, to set it apart, and only 400 were built this year. The 1958 model was even rarer. This one should sell for between $80,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 16, 2021
I think we all know at this point that the Mercedes-Benz 300SL is one of the poster children for “collector cars.” The Gullwing coupe version is probably in the dictionary next to the phrase. The roadster was introduced in 1957 when the coupe was discontinued. It would be built through 1963.
Power is from a fuel-injected 3.0-liter inline-six. Output was rated at 240 horsepower when new. Also, keep in mind that fuel injection was no common sight in 1960. Or even 1970. The 300SL was really a landmark car and deserves its reputation as an amazing machine.
With its extended production run, the roadster was more common than the coupe, with 1,858 built. This restored example is finished in Silver Gray Metallic over red leather. It’s good-lookin’ stuff. A little over a decade ago, these were $500,000 cars. They’ve been trading right at about a million dollars now for the last five years or so. This one carries an estimate of $1,100,000-$1,300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | December 12, 2020
Jaguar’s XK140 replaced their XK120 in 1954. It would be produced for three years and cover multiple body styles and a few sub-models, including the Special Equipment (SE) model, which was sold as the “MC” in the United States. The range was supplanted by the XK150 in 1957.
One body style was the Roadster, as shown here with a disappearing soft top. XK140s could also be had as fixed-head and drophead coupes, the latter saw the soft top pile up behind the seats when stowed. All XK140s were powered by a 3.4-liter inline-six, and in SE spec with a C-Type cylinder head, power was upped from 190 to 210 horsepower.
This restored example was a U.S.-spec car originally and has returned to the U.K. So I guess that makes it an SE by way of an MC. It should sell for between $90,000-$115,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
For Sale by Dragone Classic Motorcars | Orange, Connecticut
This is a car with quite a few names. I’ll start at the beginning, and you can draw your own conclusions as to what it should be called (I just went with what the dealership selling the car calls it). The Ghia and Chrysler connection of the 1950s is well documented. Chrysler spent a lot of money designing fanciful show cars in the ’50s, with styling done by Ghia (well, styling by Exner, execution by Ghia).
Ghia showed a prototype dubbed “Gilda” in 1955. Then there was Dart concept was styled by Exner in 1956, and a second version called the Diablo also appeared in ’56. Then, in 1957, Ghia showed another evolution, called the Superdart. It was reportedly created for Chrysler, but there doesn’t appear to be any Chrysler badging on this car.
Power is from a 400 horsepower Hemi V8, and the car rides on a Chrysler 300C chassis. It debuted at the 1957 Turin Motor Show and later ended up in the U.S., where it was purchased by Dual Motors, who showed the car as a Dual-Ghia prototype. Most of the internet seems to just call this car a 1958 Dual-Ghia Prototype. Which is what it was last shown as. But it’s not what it was called originally.
A private owner purchased it shortly after Dual-Ghia’s 1958 New York show appearance and actually put nearly 40,000 miles on it over nearly two decades. It’s said to be original and unrestored. Be it a Chrysler, a Ghia, or a Dual-Ghia, it remains as a fantastic piece of ’50s styling excellence. It’s for sale in Connecticut with no price listed. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Elkhart, Indiana | October 23-24, 2020
The XKSS was the road-going version of the Jaguar D-Type racing car. Basically, Jaguar had unsold D-Types that they converted to sell to Americans who wanted a high-performance sports car. They planned to build 25 of them, but a fire broke out at the factory in February 1957 after only 16 were sold.
So in 2016, Jaguar decided they would build the other nine that never got completed back in the day. From scratch. They digitally scanned a few surviving XKSS cars and built the new ones using the same construction methods from the 1950s. Major changes include a modern fuel cell and redesigned seats. Power is from a 3.4-liter inline-six that Jaguar rated at 250 horsepower in 1957.
So what do we have here exactly? Well, it depends on how much of an asshole you want to be (pardon my French). Whoever edited the Wikipedia article for these referred to them as “replicas” (presumably the page was edited by an actual XKSS owner or some Jag purist). At the same time, this is a factory-built XKSS. It wasn’t built by Tempero or some other actual “replica” builder. True, it might not be an “actual” XKSS from 1957, but it’s still a Jaguar product. It’s almost certainly more authentic than any “continuation” Cobra out there.
When Jaguar announced this program, they noted that they were going to charge over $1 million for them. And they sold. But this is the first time one of the “new” ones has come up for sale. An XKSS from the ’50s will run you over $10 million. This one, which was built in 2017 and has 51 miles on it, will sell without reserve. So we’re all about to find out its real value. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Oldtimer Galerie | Gstaad, Switzerland | December 29, 2019
The Alvis TC21 was a sedan and convertible produced by Alvis in the early 1950s and it carried a very old-school-style body. Swiss coachbuilder Graber designed an updated body for the TC21 that was very different and much more modern than what Alvis was offering. Alvis liked it so much that they decided to make it its own model.
Just 35 examples were produced between 1956 and 1958. Power is from a 3.0-liter inline-six that made 104 horsepower. Though the body was designed by Graber, Alvis outsourced some of the production to Willowbrook of Loughborough, though 19 of the cars were still bodied by Graber.
The entire ordeal was just too expensive, hence the low build number. Alvis canceled the Willowbrook contract and pivoted to Park Ward, who tweaked the design, which was then built as the TD21. You can read more about this Graber-bodied coupe here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 14, 2019
Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering was founded in 1948 by Frank Butterworth and Harry Smith. They got their start producing automobiles in 1954, which were technically just fiberglass shells used by customers to re-body Austin Sevens.
The GT was the third such product launched by the company, and it went on sale in 1957. They had the Ford Popular in mind as a base, but by 1960 you could get it on Rochdale’s own frame, as the company had moved to produce its own cars outright with the introduction of the Olympic in 1959.
This example is based on a Ford Popular frame and is powered by a 1.5-liter Coventry-Climax inline-four producing 140 horsepower. The GT was far and away Rochdale’s largest success, with about 1,350 built in total. Rochdale closed its doors in 1973, and it is thought that only about 80 GTs survive. This one has been restored and is eligible for historic racing events. It should bring between $36,000-$49,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 13, 2019
The Jensen Interceptor was a grand touring car built between 1966 and 1976. It’s probably Jensen’s most well-known product. But before they churned out over 6,400 of those, there was another Interceptor. This one. It was the second car introduced by Jensen after WWII, and it went on sale in 1950.
Three body styles were offered, all two doors: a sedan, a convertible, and a sort of targa model. The 4.0-liter inline-six was from Austin and made 125 horsepower, good enough to push the car to 95 mph.
A grand total of 88 examples were built through 1957, and only 32 of those were convertibles. That makes this quite a rare car today. It should sell for between $83,000-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale by Pinin Farina
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 18, 2019
Pinin Farina was responsible for what we’ll call the “base” Ferrari 250 GT Coupe. Produced from 1958 through 1961, these cars were the volume-leader model among so many special, limited-edition 250 GTs.
The car pictured here is about the farthest possible thing from a “base” model. This particular car was built specially for a Belgian Princess by Pinin Farina and has known ownership history from new. A restoration was completed in 1997 and it’s been on the show field at Pebble Beach.
Somehow, RM’s catalog entry is completely devoid of any technical information on the car. Power is likely from a 3.0-liter V-12, and this is thought to be one of four Coupe Speciales bodied by Pinin Farina, though the coachwork is unique. It should sell for between $11,000,000-$13,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Oldtimer Galerie | Zurich, Switzerland | June 16, 2018
Photo – Oldtimer Galerie
In 1953, Packard was acquired by Studebaker. It was a bid for survival for both marques that ultimately worked out better for Studebaker (but not by much). The last two years of Packard production were 1957 and 1958 and the cars they churned out in these model years were essentially just re-badged Studebakers.
For 1957, the Packard model line consisted of a lone model: the Clipper. Two body styles were offered: a four-door sedan and a four-door wagon. Interestingly, the 1958 model year had twice the offerings.
This six-passenger Country Sedan station wagon was one of just 869 examples built. It’s powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 rated at 275 horsepower. It was restored by a marque specialist and is finished in pretty lilac and white. Imported into Switzerland in 2010, this rare American wagon would be at home in any collection worldwide. It should bring between $55,000-$70,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.
Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Ft. Lauderdale 2019, $56,100.