Offered by Bonhams | Knokke-Heist, Belgium | October 11, 2020
In the mid-1950s, BMW had yet to have a real hit. They were still pushing Isettas on the German people, and alongside that, they were offering the ultra-exclusive 507 Roadster. Meanwhile, they were trying their hand at a luxury 2+2 with this, the 503.
Produced between 1956 and 1959, the 503 was powered by a 3.2-liter V8 that made 140 horsepower. The car could be had as a coupe or a convertible, and they all had four seats. This is a Series II example, the type of which was introduced in 1957. It featured a floor shifter for the four-speed manual transmission.
Only 413 examples of the 503 were built, and just 138 of those were drop-tops. This example was restored in 2002 and is certain to be its next owner’s ticket to any major car event worldwide. It is expected to bring between $410,000-$530,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | September 20, 2020
The Comet was a model of heavy truck produced by Leyland Trucks over a series of generations between 1947 and 2015. That’s quite the nameplate heritage. They were produced in every conceivable truck variant: flatbeds, box trucks, tankers, and more.
The third generation Comet was available between 1958 and 1963. During this run, the Super Comet was introduced, which was of an even heavier-duty variety. This particular truck is finished in a bright yellow National Benzole livery. This very truck was used to produce a toy version, which is kind of cool.
The 6.2-liter diesel inline-six makes 110 horsepower. The truck has been offered by Bonhams before, and it’s now back with an estimate of $13,000-$20,000. That’s a lot of vehicle for the money. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | August 14-15, 2020
Well get to this car’s name in a second, but first: the 1950s were kind of a weird time, as it turns out. American car companies wanted their cars to look Italian, and Italian car companies, apparently, wanted their cars to look American. Look at this car’s styling. It’s like they bolted a Fiat front clip onto a Packard Hawk.
The Fiat 1200 was built in sedan and convertible form between 1957 and 1961. Power is from a 1.2-liter inline-four that made 54 horsepower. This car was styled by Michelotti, and, sure enough, it says “Wonderful” on the fenders. Kind of amusing. The coolest part is that it’s a targa. The roof panel pops off, like so:
It’s thought that as few as three of these were made. You can read more about this restored example here, and see more from RM Sotheby’s here.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 12-17, 2020
Frank Kurtis built some spectacular race cars in the 1950s, including this 500H. It was from the later years of Kurtis Indy Roadster production. I’m not really sure how many were produced, but if there were multiple, they were probably built between 1958 and 1960. That’s when they were campaigned.
This car is powered by a 252ci (4.1-liter) Offenhauser inline-four. The Kurtis-Offy was a nearly unbeatable combo at the Brickyard in the ’50s. The competition history for this car includes:
1958 Indy 500 – 23rd, DNF (with Johnny Tomson)
1959 Indy 500 – 7th (with Duane Carter)
1960 Indy 500 – 22nd, DNF (with Don Freeland)
Looking at a bunch of old Indy box scores, it’s possible that this was the only “H” example built. It appears to be the only one to run the 500. You can see more about this car here and more from Mecum here.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 6, 2020
Bill Devin’s Devin Enterprises operated out of California between 1955 and 1964 and specialized in fiberglass kit cars. During their brief existence, they also sold some actual cars. One such model that was available as a complete, turn-key car was the D, which was introduced in 1958.
While it was also available as a kit, the Devin D was offered by the company ready to go with the option of two different engines: one from VW and one from Porsche. It used a custom ladder frame and a fiberglass body. This car is powered by a 100 horsepower, 1.8-liter Porsche flat-four.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | March 29-30, 2019
1965 Goggomobil TS300 Cabriolet
The Goggomobil was built by Hans Glas GmbH between 1955 and 1969. There were a number of different models offered, with the TS coupe model available in TS250 or TS300 form.
They are powered by a 15 horsepower, 293cc 2-stroke twin. The cabriolet is very rare, with only seven examples produced. This former museum car carries a pre-sale estimate of $35,000-$45,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $20,350.
1958 Biscuter 200-1 Furgoneta
The Biscuter was a microcar built by Autonacional of Spain. It is a descendant of Gabriel Voisin‘s post-war Biscooter French microcar. Different models were available, including the Pegasin sports car and this Furgoneta commercial van.
Power here is from a 197cc 2-stroke single-cylinder making a whopping nine horsepower. It’s wearing a wrap, which is an interesting thing to do to a classic car. Not many examples remain, and this one sports some pretty awesome wood work. It should bring between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019
Fun fact: Talbot-Lago won Le Mans outright in 1950. Anthony Lago entered two sporty cars again in 1956 but didn’t pull off the victory. So he went back and tried to build some more road cars, though the company would ultimately be taken over in 1958.
A Talbot-designed inline-four was put into a new car called the T14 and it was not very good. So they turned to BMW, who supplied a 138 horsepower, 2.5-liter V8. The steering wheel was moved to the left side, for the first time in company history, as they were aiming to move these cars in North America. They even renamed the export model the America.
When the company was taken over by Simca in 1958, there were some unfinished T14s lying around. Former factory driver Georges Grignard scooped them up – along with some spare engines. With funding from a pair of French brothers, a short run of six Talbot Sports were finished much later on. This car is one of those and it was completed in the 1980s with a hand-crafted bare aluminum body in the style of those 1956 Le Mans-losing racers. It’s road-legal and pretty cool. It should sell for between $160,000-$205,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Not sold.
1954 Panhard X86 Dolomites by Pichon Parat
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019
The Panhard Dyna was not an inherently sporty car. It was a front-wheel drive subcompact powered by a two-cylinder engine. It was very French. But the French love their racing, and the car you see here is proof that anything can become a pretty bad-ass looking race car.
This X86 is based on the Dyna 120 and was built as a Dolomites race car by coachbuilders Pichon and Parat. It was campaigned around France in period and was at one point damaged in an accident. The large front grille opening the car now wears is the result of crash repairs.
The engine was updated by a later owner to an 851cc flat-twin. It’s probably eligible for a bunch of historic events and should sell for between $115,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
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.
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.
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.