Porsche 550A Spyder

1958 Porsche 550A Spyder

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 23-25, 2018

Photo – Mecum

Have you ever seen one of these in person? Or, I guess, have you ever heard one? They’re loud. And it is intoxicating.

The 550 Spyder was a race car (that you could drive to the track) from Porsche that was available from 1953 through 1956. The 550A was an evolution of the original car and was only available in 1956.

The differences included a tubular space frame (as opposed to the normal 550 Spyder’s ladder frame). This increased rigidity and decreased weight. The transmission got an extra gear (up to five) and the wheels lost an inch in diameter. The improvements were designed to increase the car’s competitiveness on track. The 1.5-liter flat-four was a carryover, but made 135 horsepower in this trim.

This car is thought to have originally been owned by the Piech family (they who own 10% of Porsche today) before being sold to its first owner: a famed Austrian concert pianist and composer. And he raced the pants off this car, winning circuit races and hillclimbs in the late 1950s in Austria and Yugoslavia.

After that it went to the U.S. and spent a lot of time in SCCA races. The current owner found the car over 30 years ago and spent most of the time since restoring it. It shows fewer than 600 miles since restoration. Only 39 examples of the lightweight 550A were built, making this a big money car at Mecum in Monterey. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

DB Mk III Drophead Coupe

1958 Aston Martin DB Mk III Drophead Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Reading, U.K. | June 2, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Aston Martin’s model history is pretty straightforward, especially concerning their grand touring cars. Going backward in time, we have the current DB11, the concept-only DB10, the DB9, (strangely no DB8), the beautiful DB7, the DB6, DB5, DB4… and then it gets weird. There was a DB1 and a DB2. But then there was a DB2/4, an evolution of the DB2 that ultimately evolved into this, the DB Mk III. No DB3, though. Got it? Good.

The DB Mk III was updated version of the DB2/4 and it went on sale in 1957 and was available through 1959. The standard powertrain was a 2.9-liter straight-six good for 162 horsepower. This car carries a rare DBD high-output engine that creates 195 horsepower. Only 551 examples of this model were produced and most of those were two-door saloons. Only 85 were Drophead Coupe convertibles and only 14 of those have the 195 horse engine.

This was the first Aston production car to sport their signature grille that their cars still carry today. The body design was by Tickford, who was also responsible for the convertible variant.

This example has known ownership history since new. It spent much of the 1990s being overhauled but the most recent major renovations took place in 2006 and 2007. The current owner acquired the car in 2011. It shows just over 65,000 miles. A beauty and a rarity, this elegant Aston should command between $400,000-$470,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $523,694.

Facel Vega FV4

1958 Facel Vega FV4 Typhoon

Offered by Mecum | Los Angeles, California | February 16-17, 2018

Photo – Mecum

Among the muscle cars, station wagons, and pickup trucks offered at Mecum’s Los Angeles sale is this European beauty. Facel Vega’s first cars were the two-door Coupes of the “FV” line. There were three different models, the 1954-1955 FV, the 1956-1958 FVS, and the 1958-1961 HK500.

This is an FVS, more specifically an FV4 (the FVS was split between FV3, FV3B, and FV4 models). Most FV4s were powered by a 5.8-liter Chrysler V-8. This FV4 is powered by the 6.3-liter Chrysler “Typhoon” V-8 that makes 360 horsepower. This was the same engine from the mighty Chrysler 300B. This is also the engine that powered most of the later HK500s.

Only 36 FVS cars were built with this huge engine – and there were 85 FV4s built in total (1958 was the only year for the FV4). These are highly sought-after cars and this one has had a body-off cosmetic restoration. The interior is brilliant and you could eat off of the engine, it’s that clean. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Sold $214,500.

Three Wagons in L.A.

Three Wagons in L.A.

Offered by Mecum | Los Angeles, California | February 16-17, 2018


1962 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood Wagon

Photo – Mecum

Mecum has become the go-to place for classic wagons and pickup trucks. This sale has some great examples of both, including this 1962 Corvair Wagon. The Corvair was new for 1960 and it was a revolutionary design with its rear-mounted, air-cooled engine. The platform saw cars, vans, and pickup trucks applied to it.

Station wagons were only available in 1961 and 1962, making this the last of the line for Corvair Wagons. In 1962, the wagon was available in two trims: the Lakewood (which was the Series 700 Corvair you see here) and in upmarket Monza trim. The Lakewood only made it through half of the 1962 model year as it was competing against the new Chevy II Wagon.

This car is powered by a 2.4-liter flat-six that would’ve made 80 horsepower when new (though the catalog says it is a “high-output” engine, which may mean it has the 84 horsepower Monza engine). Only 3,716 Lakewoods were produced in 1962 and this one has 93,000 miles on it. Click here for more info.

Update: Withdrawn.


1958 Dodge Suburban Spectator Wagon

Photo – Mecum

Dodge’s 1958 line included, in order of increasing luxury: the Coronet, the Royal,  and the Custom Royal. Their station wagon line was separate and the base wagon was the two-door Suburban – the only two-door wagon they offered in 1958.

It’s powered by a 5.7-liter Ram Fire V-8 good for 295 horsepower. Dodge built about 20,000 wagons in total for 1958, split between this and four other models. This one has been restored and, even though it’s a two-door car, it seats a clown car-like nine passengers. The pink and black color scheme is great. It would be impossible to buy this and not load up your family and trek them to the Grand Canyon. Click here for more info.

Update: Withdrawn.


1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Beauville Wagon

Photo – Mecum

Ah, the ’57 Chevy. The Bel Air was the top Chevrolet for 1957 and 1957 was the final year of the second generation of this model. It is the epitome of 1950s American passenger cars and this wagon is a rare bird. The two-door wagon, the Nomad, is an expensive and sought-after car. But the four-door wagon, the Beauville, was much more common in its day, even if they seem rarer today.

It’s powered by a 4.3-liter V-8 making 170 horsepower. When new this car cost $2,580 and only 27,375 examples were built making this the second-rarest 1957 Bel Air body style behind the Nomad. It’s a 64,000 mile car and it can be yours! Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $13,200.

Update II: Sold, Motostalgia Amelia Island 2018, $19,800.

Tojeiro-Climax Coupe

1958 Tojeiro-Climax Coupe

Offered by H&H Classics | Epsom, U.K. | June 6, 2017

Photo – H&H Classics

Almost every car built by John Tojeiro is a one-off. If he built cars in a series, it was usually a short series. Born in Portugal, Tojeiro built cars in England in the 1950s and 60s. Just about all of them had a race-focused purpose, but some of them were street-legal too.

This diminutive Climax-powered Coupe was built when Tojeiro was asked to build a spaceframe chassis for a performance car by a client. The body was from Wakefield & Sons and the client put some 20,000 miles on it. The engine is a 1.1-liter Climax straight-four. Horsepower could be anything, as those Coventry-Climax engines were produced in so many varieties that I can’t pin this one down based on just displacement alone and who knows how it was tinkered with when the car was assembled.

The current owner acquired this car in 2009 and had it restored to as-new condition. It’s covered just 38,000 miles since its inception and is the only one like it. The pre-sale estimate is between $83,000-$96,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Talbot-Lago America

1958 Talbot-Lago T14 America Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Talbot-Lago presented their “Sport” model at the 1954 Paris Motor Show. Also called the T14, it would be produced in a few forms – all in limited numbers – through 1959. It was the final Talbot-Lago-branded automobile built.

The first run of cars were powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, but it was lackluster and in 1957 Talbot-Lago decided they’d be better off buying an engine from another manufacturer to install in their cars. The resulting cars were called the T14 America and are powered by a BMW-sourced 2.5-liter V-8 making 138 horsepower.

In the three model years the America was offered (1957 through 1959), only a dozen were built. After the brand was taken over by Simca in 1959, they constructed a few more examples, all powered by Simca’s anemic 95 horsepower Ford-based motor.

This BMW-powered example was one of the last cars built before the Simca takeover. The restoration dates to the early 2000s and looks fantastic, with just over 5,500 miles since new. It should sell for between $470,000-$580,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Porsche Hunting Car

1958 Porsche 597 Jagdwagen

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 11, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

Jagdwagen is a German word that roughly means “hunting car” and it was a title applied to a handful of basic German machines built by the like of Isetta and Porsche, among others. After WWII, a couple of German companies vied for government contracts for military vehicles. Ultimately, DKW won out and the Porsche 597 was relegated to obscurity.

Powered by a 1.6-liter flat-four making 50 horsepower, it has four-wheel drive and is amphibious. While the car was intended to be used by the Army, most of the 597s built were for civilian use.

In fact, of the 71 total constructed, 49 were sold to the public, including this one that was bought new in California. The Prototype was built in 1953 and production lasted from 1955 through 1958, with this example being among the latter part of the production run. It is all-original – seat covers, top – everything. Jerry Seinfeld acquired it in 2010 and, thought to be one of 15 remaining, it should bring between $350,000-$425,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $330,000.

Dual-Ghia

1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible

Offered by Russo & Steele | Monterey, California | August 13-15, 2015

Photo - Russo & Steele

Photo – Russo & Steele

You’re looking at one of the most beautiful American cars of all time (yes, even though the body is all Italian). Dual Motors of Detroit was founded by Eugene Casaroll. He bought the rights to the Ghia-designed 1955 Dodge Firebomb concept car and put it into production. He called it the Dual-Ghia. And it’s great.

Dual Motors shipped a Dodge chassis to Turin where Ghia would add this gorgeous body and then ship it back. Once home in Detroit, the cars were fitted with a 5.2-liter Dodge D-500 V-8 making 230 horsepower. The engine sounds fantastic and is throaty enough that if the sleek European body threw you off, the engine would definitely alert you to its inherit American-ness.

The cars were only built in 1957 and 1958 and they were the expensive favorites of celebrities like Frank Sinatra. Around 100 of these were built (some say 117) and 73 remain. They’re crazy rare but come up for sale at a startling rate for their rarity. But that’s not to say that trend will continue. So if you want one, get your hands on it ASAP. They sell in the $300,000-$400,000 range. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $412,500.

Raindrop Caddy

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Raindrop Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Fort Worth, Texas | May 2, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The third generation Cadillac Eldorado was new for 1957. Back in these days, car manufacturers were making styling changes for every model year. It’s when Detroit was king and the money was a-flowin’. This car is a very special Cadillac – not only is it an Eldorado Biarritz, it is a GM factory prototype.

It started life as a 1958 Eldorado Biarritz, the top trim of Cadillac’s halo model. GM updated it with many upcoming 1959 features, including the over-the-top tail fins that made the ’59 Caddy so iconic. The interior is one-of-a-kind but the engine is a standard Series 62 335 horsepower 6.0-liter V-8.

It’s a boat, for sure, but it has a very special feature, dubbed “Raindrop.” The system uses a humidity sensor that detects water in top-down driving. When a few drops trip the sensor, the top of the trunk separates and slides away, allowing the roof to fold up and close automatically. Even the windows roll themselves up. It’s a fascinating piece of engineering.

This car was given to Harley Earl when he retired and he used the car around Florida in his later years. It was subsequently restored and is being offered with a pre-sale estimate of $600,000-$800,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this sale’s lineup.

Update: Sold $324,500.

Westland Aristocrat

1958 Westland Empire Aristocrat Prototype

Offered by Auctions America | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | March 29, 2015

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

There was a proliferation of fiberglass sports cars that went on sale in the 1950s. While many of them were American, this one is British. It was built by the Westland Motor Company of Hereford, England.

The frame was a  custom-built job, but other parts of the car were lifted from cars of the period. The back of the car looks like a Jag XK120 and the front screams “Bugeye Sprite.”

The engine in this is a 948cc straight-four. The car was found in Vermont in the late 1970s, sitting outside exposed to the weather. In 1981 it was finally put in a garage before a restoration was undertaken in 2003. It’s a mysterious one-off British sports prototype and it should sell for between $60,000-$80,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $34,000.