Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Munich, Germany | November 25, 2023
The Mercedes-Benz W124 was the first generation of Merc marketed as the E-Class. The C124 was the coupe version, and that’s what this car here is based on. Hartmut Boschert founded his tuning company in the 1980s and began modifying Benzes thereafter.
In 1989, he took a 300CE coupe and grafted an R129 SL-Class front end onto it. He also added gullwing doors – a Mercedes legacy. R129 seats also came along, and the standard 300CE 3.0-liter inline-six was fitted with two turbochargers to make 283 horsepower.
The plan was to make 300 of these after it debuted at the 1989 Frankfurt International Motor Show. But that never happened, and this was the only one built. It’s been with it’s current owner for almost 20 years and now has an estimate of $265,000-$320,000. More info can be found here.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | February 11, 2023
Smith Electric Vehicles was founded in 1920 in England. They moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 2011 and were out of business by 2017. Their main product over the years were electric delivery vans.
Which is what we have here. Basically, this is the electric, 1980s British version of a Divco milk truck. It doesn’t look all that interesting, and it probably isn’t too interesting to drive. Even Brightwells couldn’t come up with more than a sentence for a lot description. And that description ends with a question mark. It may as well just say “Well, why not?” (Can we also talk about how fresh milk deliveries are still happening in England?)
What I find interesting about this truck is that it comes from a manufacturer of commercial vehicles that most people have never heard of. And here is someone’s opportunity to have a relatively low-maintenance “historic commercial vehicle” for very little cost: just $3,000-$4,000. Click here for more info. Or less info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Moritz, Switzerland | September 9, 2022
For 1988, Williams returned to naturally aspirated power for their FW12. The car transformed into the FW12C for 12 of 1989’s 16 races. During the ’89 season, Williams employed drivers Riccardo Patrese and Thierry Boutsen.
The engine was a 3.5-liter Renault V10 that made about 650 horsepower. This car, chassis #10, was initially used as a spare car before being used in competition. It’s race history includes:
1989 French Grand Prix – 3rd (with Riccardo Patrese)
1989 German Grand Prix – 4th (with Patrese)
1989 Hungarian Grand Prix – 16th, DNF (with Patrese, from pole)
1989 Belgian Grand Prix – 19th, DNF (with Patrese)
The car was later purchased directly from Williams. It has its engine still, though it is said to be incomplete. You can read more about it here.
Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 2, 2022
The Citroen Mehari was a weird recreational pickup thing that was produced from 1968 through the late 1980s. Think about how much cars changed in that time. Well the Mehari held strong to its 2CV underpinnings.
Meanwhile, Renault wanted to compete and hired Teilhol of Courpiere, France, to design and build just such a competitor. That was the Renault Rodeo. When the Mehari went out of production, Teilhol started building this, the Tangara. It had 2CV mechanicals and pre-dyed fiberglass-reinforced-plastic body panels.
Power is from a flat-twin of unstated displacement. Only about 1,100 of these were built from 1988 through about 1990. This one has a pre-sale estimate of $8,000-$12,000. Click here for more info.
Isdera, the elusive German boutique carmaker, has been around since the early 1980s. They have not produced many cars since then, but the ones they have are all pretty outrageous and striking. The Spyder was their first model, going on sale in 1982.
The first Spyders were 033i variants with 1.8-liter Mercedes-Benz inline-fours. Then came the 033-16, with a 2.3-liter engine. In 1987, they launched the 036i, which featured a 3.0-liter Mercedes inline-six making 217 horsepower. Only 14 Spyders total are believed to have been built, which each one taking 12 months to complete.
This car was modified and updated by Isdera in 2011, basically restored in different colors and fitted with a 276-horsepower, 3.6-liter AMG inline-six. Isderas rarely change hands, especially at auction. You can read more about this one here.
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | January 2022
Kudzu was a racing car constructor that debuted in the late 1980s. The cars competed in IMSA’s GTP prototype category and came from racer Jim Downing’s shop. One of Downing’s race engineers was John Evans, who decided to try his hand at building prototype-style road cars.
Evans Automobiles was founded in the late 1980s as well, and this, I think, was their first offering. It’s based on a Kudzu chassis (or so the name implies) and features composite bodywork. Power is from a mid-mounted 5.7-liter Chevrolet V8 rated at 300 horsepower. Top speed was said to be 178 mph. This was a homegrown American supercar in 1989.
Only two road-going Series I GTs were built, with this being the first, and it remaining with Evans until 2006. There were a few other Evans cars built in the 1990s as well. This is neat stuff – find another one. And it’s no kit car either. It was a ground-up build meant to be a limited-run car. You can read more about it here.
The March Racing Team was a Formula One constructor founded by Max Mosley, Alan Rees, Graham Coaker, and Robin Herd in 1969. They built race cars for F1, F2, F3, IMSA, and IndyCar. This CG891 was their F1 car for the 1989 season.
The 1989 season was also the year March’s fortunes in F1 would come undone. Their financial situation deteriorated to the point where the team was taken over by their primary sponsor, Leyton House (a Japanese real estate company), mid-season.
Leyton House Racing was an F1 constructor (although more of a re-branded March team) in 1990 and 1991. It was purchased by someone else and renamed back to March for 1992 before disappearing forever. The CG891 was one of the first F1 cars designed by Adrian Newey and is powered by a 3.5-liter Judd V8 making 610 horsepower. The competition history for this chassis (02) includes:
1989 Monaco Grand Prix – 11th, DNF (with Ivan Capelli)
1989 United States Grand Prix – 21st, DNF (with Capelli)
1989 French Grand Prix – 14th (with Mauricio Gugelmin)
1989 Hungarian Grand Prix – 22nd, DNF (with Capelli)
This car retains its race engine and largely looks like it did when it pulled off the track for the last time. It’s been static for a while, so it’s gonna need some work. RM is offering it for about $522,500. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 8-10, 2021
Here is a car that was around forever. The Lada, which is what the cars were known as in the U.K. and much of mainland Europe, were actually produced by VAZ in the Soviet Union and, later, Russia from 1980 through 2012. 2012! Inside of Russia they were known as VAZ (with various model designations hyphenated thereafter) or Zhiguli.
They were actually based on the Fiat 124 platform, which was licensed like crazy all over Eastern Europe. That car debuted in 1966. And VAZ was still making versions of it in 2012. 2012!
The 2107 model was in production in various forms beginning in 1982, and it was the “Deluxe Sedan,” which means it had a big chrome front grille. This is sort of the base deluxe model, which is powered by a carbureted 1.5-liter inline-four. It’s bare-bones proletariat transportation. But it’s a pretty rare sight in the U.S. (or anywhere in this condition). Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.
Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Duxford, U.K. | October 14, 2020
Mitsubishi is sort of hanging on by a thread in the U.S. right now. But remember 25-30 years ago when they made awesome stuff? Between the Starion, the 3000GT, and the Eclipse, Mitsubishi was hot in the 90s. And through a weird bade-engineering agreement, all three of those cars were offered as Chrysler products in the U.S.
The Starion was offered between 1983 and 1989, and was also used as a successful rally car in the late 1980s. While always a hatchback, the Starion was offered in two body styles: narrow or wide-body. This is a widebody example with boxed fender flares. It’s awesome.
All Starions were turbocharged, although two different engines were offered. This one is powered by the smaller 2.0-liter turbo inline-four that was rated at 178 horsepower. The EX was the luxury model in the European market. North American trim levels were completely different. The pre-sale estimate is $17,000-$19,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Knokke-Heist, Belgium | October 11, 2019
The first Ferrari “supercar” was the 288 GTO. But let’s be honest, it looks like a 308 GTB. The F40 is truly the first balls-to-the-wall Ferrari supercar. And it’s about time we featured one.
Only 1,311 examples were produced between 1987 and 1992, and it was one of the final cars approved by Enzo himself, which is part of the reason it is so special. As time has gone on, these cars have become more appreciated, more expensive, and sadly, much less used.
Some of that is due to it being a not super-friendly road car. Power is from a rear/mid-mounted twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V8 rated at 471 horsepower. The Pininfarina-designed body is made of composite materials and aluminum. It’s light. Sixty arrived in about four and a half seconds, and the car topped out just shy of 200 mph at 197. Unlike many of its F-car supercar brethren, there were racing versions.
This Italian-delivery example should bring between $870,000-$1,100,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.