Offered by Bonhams | Brussels, Belgium | May 13, 2023
Jean Rondeau raced at Le Mans a few times before he decided he could do better designing, building, and competing in his own cars. The first Rondeau cars arrived at Le Sarthe in 1976, although they were branded as Inalteras due to their sponsorship with the wallpaper company.
The Rondeau M378 was the first Rondeau-branded car at the race, and the last would be this: the 1983 M482. It had power in-period from a 3.9-liter Cosworth V8. There is currently no engine installed, but a Cosworth DFV V8 accompanies the car. The competition history for this chassis, #003, includes:
1983 24 Hours of Le Mans – 48th, DNF (with Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Philippe Streiff)
1985 24 Hours of Le Mans – 46th, DNF (with Christian Bussi, Jack Griffin, and Marion L. Speer)
Only three M482s were built. And they did not do well at Le Mans in 1983. So bad, in fact, that Rondeau has to file for bankruptcy, which is how this car ended up in the hands of a privateer in 1985. Successful or not, the car carries a pre-sale estimate of $275,000-$390,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 2, 2022
1983 Renault RE40
First up is Renault’s 1983 entrant, the RE40. It led them to second place in the constructor’s championship that season, with drivers Eddie Cheever and Alain Prost, the latter of whom drove this car. And won a race in it.
The powerplant is a turbocharged 1.5-liter Renault-Gordini V6 that made about 640 horsepower. The competition history for this chassis, #3, includes:
1983 San Marino Grand Prix – 2nd (with Alain Prost)
1983 Monaco Grand Prix – 3rd (with Prost)
1983 Belgian Grand Prix – 1st (with Prost)
1983 U.S. Grand Prix – 8th (with Prost)
1983 Italian Grand Prix – 19th, DNF (with Prost)
It was also used as a test car for both drivers during the season. It was restored in 1995 and is now being offered directly from Renault’s collection. The estimate is $850,000-$1,250,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Not sold/withdrawn
1986 Tyrrell-Renault 015
Tyrrell Racing was actually around for quite a while, debuting in 1971 and lasting through 1998. That puts this car sort of right in the middle of their existence. The 015 was designed by Maurice Philippe and featured power from Renault.
The Renault-Gordini engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter V6, which this chassis, #3, retains. Its competition history is not described, but the teams driver’s were Martin Brundle and Philippe Streiff, the latter of whom kept this car at the end of the season. He traded it to Renault in 1994 for a 1984 Renault F1 car.
Renault is now selling it, with an estimate $160,000-$260,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Not sold/withdrawn.
1993 Williams-Renault FW15
Williams‘ FW15 was the team’s car for 1993. It was designed by a who’s who of F1: Patrick Head, Adrian Newey, Paddy Lowe, and Eghbal Hamidy. A Renault 3.5-liter V10 was stuffed out back, and the combination proved super successful: Williams won the constructor’s championship, with driver Alain Prost taking the driver’s championship. The team’s other driver was Damon Hill.
Unfortunately, this is not a race chassis and has never had an engine in it. It’s purely a display car and has been retained by “the constructor” since new. Renault is selling other cars, so it’s unclear if this is coming from Renault or Williams, but I’d assume Renault. The estimate is $42,000-$84,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $54,696.
1997 Benetton B197
Benetton’s 1997 car was the B197, designed under technical director Pat Symonds. It featured power from a 3.0-liter Renault V10 capable of up to 755 horsepower. Unfortunately, this is a pure display car as well, so it’s never even had an engine mounted in it. That said, the body is a real ex-F1 car body, complete with Mild Seven livery.
Benetton utilized Jean Alesi for the entire season along with Gerhard Berger, who was replaced by Alexander Wurz for three races mid-season due to health issues. Berger won a race upon his return, proof that someone else in your seat makes you step up your game. The estimate here is $42,000-$84,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Northamptonshire, U.K. | May 28, 2022
We’ve covered the history of the Talbot marque before, and it’s very confusing. We’ll pick up the trail in 1935 when the Rootes Group had both Talbot and Sunbeam under their ownership. Sunbeam-Talbot was a marque that existed from 1935 through 1954, when the cars just became Sunbeams. This was because Talbot-Lago was operating in France and it was confusing. Still is.
Well Talbot-Lago only lasted five more years after that. The dormant Talbot name was then sold to Simca, which became part of Chrysler Europe in 1970. In 1977, Chrysler introduced the Chrysler Sunbeam model. It was a three-door hatchback. It was not very exciting.
However, Chrysler dumped Chrysler Europe on PSA (Peugeot/Citroen) in 1978 for $1. PSA in turn dumped the Chrysler name, rebranding all Chryslers in Europe as Talbots. So now, a few decades removed from Sunbeam-Talbot, there was a Talbot Sunbeam on sale in Europe. Around this time, they also wanted to make the Sunbeam (the model) more exciting.
The hot-hatch Ti variant was introduced in 1978. Chrysler had already been in talks with Lotus to build a rally version of the Sunbeam to take on the Ford Escort RS. Thus, the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus was born, and it went on sale in 1979. It was one of the best hot hatches of the ’70s/’80s.
Power is from a 2.2-liter high-compression version of the Lotus 907 inline-four. Road cars were rated at 150 horsepower. Rally cars were able to get up to 250 horsepower out of the engine. There were also suspension and exhaust tweaks. The car was responsible for Talbot winning the WRC manufacturer’s championship in 1981.
Only 1,184 right-hand-drive examples were made before production ceased due to the fact that they were more expensive to make than they could sell them for. Fifty-six of them were taken by Ladbroke Avon Coachworks to be turned into “Limited Edition” cars that featured the paint scheme seen here.
This limited-edition Sunbeam Lotus carries a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$37,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 2, 2022
Ferrari’s 1970s/80s 2+2 line consisted of the 365 GT4 2+2, the 400, and the 412. They all looked pretty much the same but gradually evolved between 1972 and 1989. If you look closely, you can tell that this one-off car, built for a member of the Saudi royal family, started out as a 1983 400i.
The car was re-styled by Giovanni Michelotti, and it was the last Ferrari he ever worked on. Power is from a fuel-injected 4.8-liter V12 rated at 306 horsepower when new. Top speed was 149 mph. Just 883 automatic-transmission 400is were built. But this is the only one styled like this.
It underwent a quarter-of-a-million Euro restoration by Ferrari Classiche in 2010 and is now offered via RM’s Paris sale out of Dubai. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The A112 is probably Autobianchi’s most famous model aside from the Bianchina. It was produced between 1969 and 1980 and carried styling by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. The car was actually produced in eight different series, and this car is a Series VI, which was offered between 1982 and 1984.
The Abarth version of the A112 was a hot little hatch in its day. These are largely the best preserved A112s, and this particular example is powered by a 1,050cc inline-four rated at 70 horsepower.
As Aguttes points out, the end of the Series VI A112 Abarth marked the end of Carlo Abarth’s involvement with the model, which fizzled out as Autobianchi tried to move on from the A112. This Belgian example actually looks pretty nice, and it carries a pre-sale estimate of $14,000-$19,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | August 14, 2020
Grid Motor Racing of Leamington, England, went Group C racing with this Porsche-powered prototype in the early 1980s. Grid stood for Giuseppe Rise and Ian Dawson, the two men behind the project, and they built two sports racing prototypes, with this being the second.
This car is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.2-liter Porsche flat-six good for 500 horsepower, and the body is made of glass-reinforced plastic. It’s hung over a monocoque featuring aluminum honeycomb panels. Though listed as a 1983, the car made its racing debut in 1984, and it’s competition history includes:
1984 24 Hours of Le Mans – 53rd, DNF (with Dudley Wood, John Cooper, and Barry Robinson)
It was dead last at Le Mans, having covered just 10 laps. Fortunately, that’s enough to grant you access to nearly any historic event you want to participate in. And it did have more successful outings later that season.
The current owner bought it in 2012 and listed it on Bring a Trailer late last year where it was bid to $200,000. Seemed like a good price, but they seem to think that can get $275,000-$325,000 at Bonhams. It will be interesting to see what the result ends up being. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The World Sportscar Championship produced some pretty awesome race cars in the 1980s, including this, the Lancia LC2. Group C was where all the big dogs played during this era. The LC2 was Lancia’s factory-backed entry between 1983 and 1986.
The fun part about this car is that it is actually Ferrari-powered. It’s got a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V8 that can be boosted to over 800 horsepower. Group C cars are not for the faint of heart. Only seven LC2s were built, six of which wore a factory Martini livery like this one. The competition history for this chassis, which was the first one built, includes:
1983 24 Hours of Le Mans – 34th, DNF (with Alessandro Nannini, Paolo Barilla, and Jean-Claude Andruet
This is the LC2 that later spent time in the Blackhawk Museum. It’s now available by Girardo & Co. with a price available upon request. You can read more about it here.
Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | March 7, 2020
The Bristol Type 603 was introduced in 1976 as one of the replacements for the 411. It was a pretty big step, style-wise, for little Bristol, especially considering how their designs had evolved up to that point. The third series of the 603 was called the Britannia, and an upgraded version of that car was sold simultaneously as the Brigand.
The Brigand name was lifted from a Bristol ground attack plane from the 1940s, which is pretty cool. In car form, it was powered by a turbocharged 5.9-liter Chrysler V8. That turbo, and its associated hood bulge, is what set it apart from the Britannia. Top speed was 150 mph.
By the time this car was built, Bristol had ceased publishing production figures, so the true number of Brigand examples built is unknown. It was available from 1982 through 1994, and for a long period of that time, they sold approximately three of these. Per year. So yeah, they’re rare. Still, this car is estimated at $29,000-$34,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2020
Ferrari’s 126 series of F1 cars were used between the 1981 and 1984 Formula One seasons. The 126 C3 was one of two cars used by the Scuderia for the 1983 season. The first was the 126 C2B, which was essentially their 1982 car with a flat bottom.
The C3 was a lighter version of the 126 C2B and used a carbon/kevlar shell. A 600-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter V6 provided the power. The car debuted halfway through the season, and four chassis were built. The competition history for this car includes:
1983 Austrian Grand Prix – 2nd (with Rene Arnoux)
1983 Dutch Grand Prix – 1st (with Arnoux)
The car fell back into reserve car status and was sold at the end of the season to the French Ferrari importer. But this car helped Ferrari win the constructor’s title for the 1983 season. It should now bring between $666,600-$1,111,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | November 27, 2019
Up until sometime in the 1990s, car companies would produce all sorts of body style variations of their cars. This was especially popular in Europe, where sedans could also be had in wagon, van, and even pickup forms. They would all wear the same model nameplate.
The Morris Ital was only built by British Leyland between 1980 and 1984. It was available as… well, a sedan, wagon, van, and pickup. This example is powered by a 1.3-liter inline-four good for 61 horsepower.
But what draws us to this example is the sheer rarity of it. The Ital was the final model to wear the Morris badge and only 37 are still registered in Britain, with another 145 or so extant but not roadworthy. Only six of that combined number are said to be pickups. And this one looks great. It should sell for between $3,800-$5,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Brightwells.