Bristol’s First Road Car

1949 Bristol 400

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 11, 2018

Photo – Brightwells

The Bristol Aeroplane Company was founded in 1910. It had a different name then, but they produced Bristol-branded airplanes for decades, helping the Allies win WWII in the process. Either in a dig at the defeated Germans (or because it was a great starting point), Bristol decided to build cars after the war and used the BMW 328 as their starting point.

Initially acquiring a license from Frazer Nash to build BMW cars, the first Bristol road car was the 1947 400. It’s powered by BMW’s 2.0-liter straight-six that made 80 horsepower. Built through 1950 (the 401 was introduced in 1948), all factory-built 400s were two-door sedans. At least one coachbuilt convertible was also built.

In all, 487 examples were produced. They were a great first start for one of the world’s most exclusive and private car companies. Painted in a striking shade of blue, this example features a rebuilt engine and a re-trimmed interior. It should bring between $66,000-$74,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $75,385.

Glas Isard

1960 Glas Isard 400 Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Plymouth, Michigan | July 30, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Does this look like another famous microcar to you? Specifically, the Goggomobil? Well, essentially, it is. Hans Glas (whose company ultimately became part of BMW) would start selling cars in 1955. They were originally branded as “Goggomobil” – a marque that existed between 1955 and 1969.

The Glas brand first appeared on a car in 1958. Here’s where it gets really interesting: between 1958 and 1965, Glas produced a car, larger than what you see here, called the Isar. Then there is this, the Isard, with a “d.” The story is that “goggo” was negative French slang, so Glas had to sell the Goggomobil TS in France as the Glas Isard.

So this is technically the same car as a Goggomobil TS400 but with a much more interesting backstory. It’s powered by a rear-engined 20 horsepower, 395cc straight-twin. For comparison, the car we featured yesterday had 800 more horsepower. Fun comes in all shapes and sizes – and in this case, it’s pint sized. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $24,200.

Ferrari 400 SA Cabriolet

1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet by Pinin Farina

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 14, 2015

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

The Ferrari 400 Superamerica is a very underrated Ferrari. Maybe it’s not so much underrated as it is just unknown – only 47 were produced in total (compared to a similar vintage 250 California Spider, which is actually much more common, comparatively). A short-wheelbase cabriolet like this car is much, much rarer.

This beautiful machine is powered by a 4.0-liter V-12 making 340 horsepower. It has a smaller engine than the previous model (the 410 Superamerica) had and other upgrades. The first 400 Superamericas were all short-wheelbase cars – and only six of them were built.

The ownership history has this car bouncing between continents on either side of the Atlantic. More than half of the six SWB cars built were coupes, so this Pinin Farina Cabriolet, in wonderful Verde Bottiglia green paint – is pretty rare. The proceeds for this sale will benefit charity and it is expected to bring between $6,000,000-$7,000,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s Amelia Island lineup.

Update: Sold $6,380,000.

Venturi 400 Trophy

1992 Venturi 400 Trophy

For sale at DPM Motors | Monaco

Photo - DPM Motors

Photo – DPM Motors

If you haven’t noticed, we tend to feature a fair amount of supercars around here. We especially like the low-volume ultra-rare kind you only find squirreled away in Europe somewhere – just like this Venturi 400 Trophy.

Venturi still exists, though their main focus today is more on electrifying existing vehicles today than on supercar production. There were two 400 models: the GT and the Trophy. While the GT was the rarer, road-going version, the 400 Trophy was actually built for a one-make racing series.

The Trophy cars were built between 1992 and 1994, with 73 being created. They are powered by a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 making 400 horsepower. This particular car is fitted with a passenger seat and lacks any sort of decals that mark it as a racing car.  This leads me to believe that it can probably be road-registered in Europe (Venturis were never sold in the States). At any rate, it won’t come cheap. But you can find out more here.

The 1st Ferrari 400 Superamerica

1959 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupe Speciale by Pinin Farina

Offered by Gooding & Company | Monterey, California | August 17-18, 2013

1959 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupe Speciale

If you compare this Ferrari 400 Superamerica to the other one we had featured in the past, you would see that the name “Aerodinamico” is very accurate to describe that car – especially in comparison to this one. This car looks downright boxy by comparison – but it also looks like it has been italicized – like the whole thing is leaning forward, itching to grab a gear and go.

This car was bought new by Gianni Agnelli – then-chairman of Fiat (a company that his family founded). The 400 Superamerica was the follow-up to the 410 Superamerica. It uses a 4.0-liter V-12 making a serious 340 horsepower. This was the first one built.

The styling by Pinin Farina is one-of-a-kind. Agnelli requested that it look like a Ferrari – and it does – but there are custom touches all around. He sold it in 1962 and it quickly became owned by actress Anita Ekberg – who thankfully never drove it through a fountain. It bounced around between owners after 1967 and in the early 1980s was donated to the Harrah Collection. The restoration was completed in 2004 under the care of its current owner.

Only 47 Ferrari 400 Superamericas were built and this is both the first one and the only one with a body like this – not to mention its unique and interesting ownership history. It should sell for between $3,750,000-$4,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more of Gooding & Company’s auction lineup.

Update: Not sold.

S/N: 1517-SA

Superamerica Coupe Aerodinamico

1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico by Pininfarina

Offered by RM Auctions | Lake Como, Italy | May 25, 2013

1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico by Pininfarina

The Ferrari Superamerica line of cars was the top-of-the-line model from an already top-of-the-line manufacturer. They used big V-12 engines and many had custom bodywork. They were intended for Ferrari’s most elite clients.

The 410 Superamerica was a super-fast, super-serious grand tourer. In 1959, Ferrari switched from the 5.0-liter V-12 to the 4.0-liter V-12 and the 400 Superamerica was born. The powerplant in this car makes 340 horsepower. It could do 160 mph and Enzo himself drove one. It was offered in two wheelbase lengths and it was the first Ferrari road car offered with disc brakes.

This car was sold new to the U.S. and features breathtaking bodywork from Pininfarina. The Coupe Aerodinamico body is just awesome. It’s both muscular and sleek – almost like a prototype of the forthcoming 500 Superfast. It passed through a number of owners in a number of different countries before being acquired by its current owner: Skip Barber.

Superamericas are some of the most collectible Ferraris. I’ve seen a few different numbers as far as production goes: I’ve seen “14” for the number of 400 Superamericas with this specific Pininfarina-designed body. RM says this is #12 of 36, but I’m unsure if they are referring to 400 Superamericas total, or just the SWB cars. Why am I unsure? Because I’ve also seen 47 as the number for total models built. Well there you go, the info is in there somewhere for you, make of it what you will. Oh, the price? A very large amount. Like between $2,500,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,839,200.