Offered by Bonhams | Abu Dhabi, UAE | November 25, 2023
Well, F1 cars don’t come much more famous or significant than this. Bonhams has littered their listing with superlatives and a lot of words, so let’s try to distill it down a bit. The Type 79 was developed in late 1977 and would debut midway through 1978, dominating and being carried over for the 1979 season as well.
The car was advanced for its time, with the aerodynamics taking advantage of “ground effects”, sucking the car to the road in the corners. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 that made about 475 horsepower. The competition history for this chassis, 79/4, includes:
1978 Dutch Grand Prix – 1st (with Mario Andretti)
1978 Italian Grand Prix – 6th (with Andretti)
1978 Canadian Grand Prix – 8th (with Andretti)
1979 Argentine Grand Prix – 5th (with Andretti)
1979 Brazilian Grand Prix – 23rd, DNF (with Andretti)
1979 French Grand Prix – 13th (with Carlos Reutemann)
1979 British Grand Prix – 23rd, DNF (with Andretti)
1979 Austrian Grand Prix – 18th, DNF (with Reutemann)
1979 Dutch Grand Prix – 22nd, DNF (with Reutemann)
1979 Italian Grand Prix – 7th (with Reutemann)
A few other notes. For 1978, the team ran the cars in the John Player Special livery, but the 1979 paint scheme was Martini. This car was also used in Mario Andretti’s 1978 championship season (in which he won the driver’s championship and Lotus the constructor’s).
Lotus kept the car until selling it in 1983. It suffered a big crash in a vintage event in 1989. Later rebuilt, the car changed hands next in 1999, when the current owner bought it. This car has an estimate of $6,500,000-$9,500,000 – the high end of which is short of RM’s low estimate on their modern Mercedes F1 car. Which seems backwards. Click here for more info.
Offered by Oldtimer Galerie | Toffen, Switzerland | October 14, 2023
Innocenti was founded in 1947 and is most famous for producing the Lambretta scooter. Beginning in the 1960s, they started manufacturing cars before they were taken over by Alejandro de Tomaso in 1976. Fiat gained control in 1990 and phased the marque out by 1996.
Innocenti actually sold Minis under license in the 1960s and ’70s. In 1974, they sort of continued, but sold Minis that had been redesigned by Bertone. They were branded “Innocenti Mini” and looked quite different than the ones coming out of England. The Mini de Tomaso was shown at the 1976 Turin Motor Show featuring a sportier appearance than the stock cars.
Power was up too, with the 1.3-liter inline-four outputting 78 horsepower by 1978. Outside of the Cooper S, this was the most “hot hatch” the original Mini ever was. The estimate is $20,000-$24,000. More info can be found here.
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | December 2022
Functional. That’s what the design of this screams. Volkswagen developed the EA489 Basistransporter for “developing markets,” which I think is code for “third-world countries.” It was produced as a knock-down kit in West Germany and sold under a few names. Versions produced in Mexico between 1977 and 1979 were called the Hormiga.
The engine is a 1.6-liter flat-four located under the cabin. The air intake sprouts out of the roof like a bathroom vent, and the thing is front-wheel drive. Power for Mexican-market models was rated at 50 horsepower, and it was rated to carry about 2,200 pounds.
Never seen one of these? Hardly surprising, just 3,600 were built in Mexico, and even the limited number of examples produced for other markets were all used up and thrown away. This one has obviously been redone. You can read more about it here.
Offered by Shannons | Melbourne, Australia | February 23, 2021
Dorky watermark alert. So what do we have here? First, Shannons’ write-up says that the Leyland Mini dropped the Clubman name after 1973. Yet they list this 1978 model as a Mini Clubman. I left it off.
What we do know for sure is that Leyland is the marque. The original Mini was sold under a number of different marques throughout the world, including Austin, Morris, Innocenti, Authi, Mini, and, down under, Leyland. The Leyland Mini was produced in Australia between 1973 and 1978.
This one is powered by a 1,275cc inline-four sourced from a European Cooper S model. This isn’t a version of the Mini seen very often, especially outside of Australia, where this one is located. It should sell for between $9,000-$11,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The Porsche 935 was a factory racing version of the 911 Turbo, aka the 930. It was built for competition in the FIA’s Group 5 category, hence the 935 designation. Porsche launched it with the 935/76 in 1976, followed by the 935/77, which included customer cars.
Porsche updated it one more time in 1978 before moving on to other projects. Fortunately, for those still interested in a car that continued to dominate, Kremer Racing was building their own versions of Porsche’s 935 Evolution models. The K2, K3, and K4 versions of the 935 were available from Kremer 1977 through about 1980. A K3 like this one won Le Mans outright in 1979.
This car started life as one of about 24 factory 935s built for customers. It was delivered in the US in 1978 and raced for a few years before being upgraded to Kremer K3 specification later on. K3 spec normally meant a twin-turbocharged 3.2-liter flat-six capable of more than 740 horsepower. The competition history for this chassis includes:
For sale at Galantica Collection | Crans-Montana, Switzerland
Photo – Galantica Collection
American cars of the late-1970s weren’t great. There were some that were okay, but why Peter Monteverdi chose the Plymouth Valiant as a base for his new boutique luxury car, the Sierra, I’m not really sure. He must’ve gotten a hell of a deal.
The Sierra was sold primarily as a sedan and somewhere between 20 and 50 of those were built. He also built a very limited Cabriolet – so limited that only two were built. These were based on the Dodge Diplomat of the era. The cabriolet has a 178 horsepower, 5.9-liter V-8. Styling was by Fissore and it helped turn the dud of a Dodge into something resembling a nice Fiat.
The era of the Special – a unique, one-off automobile based around something else – is long gone. People just don’t do it anymore. Today, if someone wants a custom car they either customize a car they’ve purchased but leave it largely intact, start a company in hopes of building a supercar, or build a kit car. But Russell Mexone is one of very few people who just build their own cars.
He had already constructed two other specials before building this one in the early 1990s. He took a 1978 Jaguar (hence the car’s year listed above) and made a body for it. The 5.3-liter V-12 (yes, this is a 12-cylinder car) made 265 horsepower when new in 1978.
The car was made street legal prior to it being sold to its second owner sometime around 2010. The aluminium body was handcrafted thereafter by a Scottish company. A lot of money has been put into this and it is expected to bring between $23,000-$28,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 13, 2016
Photo – Brightwells
The Silurian (named after a Welsh tribe) is a surprisingly attractive touring car from the 1970s. I say “surprisingly” because most replica makes from the 1970s all look a little off. This car looks believably 1930s – if you didn’t know better, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for an actual Lagonda or Bentley. It was built from scratch by a master restorer.
The chassis is an original (an impressive feat on its own), but the suspension is from a period Jaguar XJ6 as is the 3.4-liter straight-six making 210 horsepower and most of the running gear. The car actually has four-doors, even though at first glance it looks like a 2+2 two-door. It is very nicely done.
It’s a one-off car (complete with its own unique badging) and would be a head turner wherever it goes. It’s fantastic to see that in an age where tribute cars and replicas all look sort of bulky and wrong, that someone was able to nail it. It is expected to sell for between $35,000-$45,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
For sale at The Gallery Brummen | Brummen, Netherlands
Photo – The Gallery Brummen
Peter Monteverdi’s Swiss car company built cars between 1967 and 1984. They built all kinds of things: SUVs, sedans, coupes, supercars… you name it. This, the Sierra, was available between 1977 and 1982. Strangely, it was based on the fairly-lame Plymouth Volare but had pretty features thanks to Carrozzeria Fissore.
The engine is a 5.2-liter V-8 making 160 horsepower. Three body styles were offered: sedan, cabriolet, and station wagon (this, the sedan, was the one actually sold to the public). No one is quite sure just how many were built, but it is believed to be between 20 and 50.
This car is in great shape and if you’re a collector of American cars or European cars, it should appeal to you. Alongside most Monteverdi vehicles, the Sierra is a model you almost never see. The price on this one? $50,192. Click here for more information.
Offered by Oldtimer Galerie Toffen | Toffen, Switzerland | November 29, 2014
Photo – Oldtimer Galerie Toffen
Peter Monteverdi founded one of Switzerland’s few automobile companies. He began it in 1967 and it went out of business in 1984. They built some serious luxury supercars in the early years but by 1976 the cars were history and the company looked way into the future: luxury SUVs.
The Monteverdi Safari was their second SUV, behind the Sahara. It was a re-styled International Scout designed by Carrozzeria Fissore. Three engines were offered: a 5.7-liter International V-8 (165hp) or the choice between two Chrysler V-8s, a 7.2-liter (305hp) or a 5.2-liter (152hp). This one has the 5.7-liter International engine with 165 horsepower.
The Safari was built between 1976 and 1982 and sold well in Europe and the Middle East. About 1,000 SUVs were built in total between the base Sahara and the upscale Safari. The price probably won’t be that outrageous compared to when it was new. You can read more here and see more from this sale here.