Delta S4 Stradale

1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 27, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Ah, the sweet, overpowered world of homologation specials, specifically, Group B homologation specials. You see, Group B was the most intense and scariest form of rallying of all time and it occurred from 1982 through 1986. The cars were required to be based off of road-legal cars so manufacturers designed super sophisticated rally cars, and then added the barest of passenger niceties to sell a few hundred “road cars” to make their rally cars legal. But to be fair, the interior here is pretty nice.

There are a bunch of Lancia Delta special editions, such as the successor to this car, the HF Integrale of the late 1980s and early 1990s. But this was the Mack Daddy. It was an evolution of the supercar-esque Lancia 037 that preceded it. The Delta S4 rally car raced only in 1985 and 1986, the same years that Lancia built the Stradale road cars.

They are four-wheel drive, mid-engined rockets. Where the later HF Integrales were four-doors, these sported two. And the engine is a supercharged and turbocharged 1.8-liter straight-four making 300 horsepower. Top speed was 140 mph and 60 arrived in about six seconds. That’s serious mid-80s performance from a sub-2.0-liter four-cylinder car.

Lancia only built 200 of these and they don’t change hands often. This one should bring in the neighborhood of $490,000-$600,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

May 2017 Auction Highlights, Pt. I

Starting off our recap of May’s auction activity we have Brightwells’ second April sale, Modern Classic Cars and Motorcycles. We featured a Lotus Excel that sold for a reasonable $7,818. The top seller off an overall low sell-through rate was this 1982 Mercedes-Benz 280SL for $15,636. Click here to see the rest of what sold.

Photo – Brightwells

Next, we have one of two Osenat sales held in May. Two feature cars failed to sell, the Roamer and the Lorraine-Dietrich. The top sale was this 1927 Bugatti Type 40 that sold for $380,346.

Photo – Osenat

The Talbot sedan we featured brought $24,263 and you can see the rest of Osenat’s results here.

Bonhams has a pair of sales in May as well, the first being their Aston Martin sale. The V8 Vantage Zagato we featured failed to sell, but the top sale was this 1964 Aston Martin DB5 for $721,955. Click here for more Astons.

Photo – Bonhams

We’ll keep it in the U.K. for Silverstone Auctions’ May Sale. We featured a Farbio GTS, but it failed to meet its reserve. The #1 sale at this auction was this 1993 Porsche 911 Turbo S “Leichtbau” for an impressive $717,756. Those Porsche prices don’t quit! Click here for more from Silverstone Auctions.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Finally, for this post, Auctions America’s Auburn Spring sale. Top sale honors went to this 2012 Ferrari 458 GTD Race Car for $462,000.

Photo – Auctions America

The Buick Hellcat tank we featured was near the top, selling for $247,500. There were a couple other military vehicles that we’ve featured before that went across the block in Auburn again. Leading the way was this White Half-Track for $82,500. Next came the GMC “Duck” for $49,500. And finally, this tracked Opel rocket launcher for $41,500.

The two other feature cars both sold for decent sums with the Cunningham Hearse bringing $137,500 and the HPD ARX $110,000. Click here for complete results, including some absolute bargains that prove Auctions America is still a hidden enough gem that makes it a buyer’s paradise.

Rickenbacker Model B

1923 Rickenbacker Model B6 Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 4, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Recently I was able to spend some time at America’s Packard Museum in Dayton, Ohio, and, in their really cool building, they’ve restored a Packard sales manager’s office as it would’ve looked in the 1920s. Within the office sits a book – the actual Dayton, Ohio, automobile register from 1923(ish), open to a random page. I was reading it, looking at the different marques of cars registered in the area that year, and among the many Fords and Maxwells was a lone Rickenbacker. And it blew my mind.

There were so many auto manufacturers operating in America in the 1920s (not to mention the oddball import). They were around. They aren’t nearly as rare as they are today. They were just another car. But the odds of seeing one in Dayton, Ohio, seems really small. Just think, maybe people in 60 years will wonder “what did America’s roads look like when they were populated with Merkurs and Geos?”

Anyway, it was mind-blowing because Eddie Rickenbacker, man among men, had a little car company that only existed between 1922 and 1927. His cars were excellent but not well received (Eddie’s competition did their best to shut him down). This car is powered by a 58 horsepower, 3.6-liter straight-six. It has four-wheel brakes – the Rickenbacker was the first car in its class with this now-standard feature.

This example has been restored and is probably the only Rickenbacker currently on the market, as they are quite sought after. It should bring between $60,000-$80,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Venturi Coupe 200

1988 Venturi Coupe 200

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | May 20, 2017

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Venturi cars are so cool! I hope you like them, because there were quite a different number of models in the early days and I plan to feature each one of them as they come up for sale around Europe. These cars went on sale in 1987 and they were originally called the MVS Venturi before being renamed the Venturi Coupe.

The auction catalog lists this one as an MVS Venturi but I can’t find anywhere that lists the year the name switched over. It’s powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter V-6 making 200 horsepower. The car was luxurious and sporty for its day.

The Coupe 200 was replaced after the 1990 model year. Only 194 were built – 104 of those were from 1988 alone. This was the most common of all Venturi automobiles, so that should say something about their rarity. This nearly 24,000 mile car should bring between $15,500-$19,500. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Historics’ May catalog.

Update: Sold $20,376.

WRE-Maserati

1959 W.R.E.-Maserati

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 27, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Full disclosure: when I first saw this car posted by RM Sotheby’s I, first, did not recognize it as I had never heard of the WRE-Maseratis. Secondly, based on the photographs, I thought it was a 2/3 scale Maserati children’s car. I was wrong.

W.R.E. – or World Racing Enterprises – was basically just a shop that built a handful of race cars at the end of the 1950s. Due to the technical regulations of the era, the 2.0-liter Maserati straight-four was an in-demand engine in sports car racing and a couple of different cars utilized it. American Tony Settember had Briton John Wadsworth help him build the first WRE-Maserati.

When they went racing – and beat up everyone else on track – Italians Luigi Bellucci and Mannato Boffa wanted in. Bellucci oversaw the construction of two more cars (as Settember left the program). This is the second of just three examples of the W.R.E.-Maserati ever built. It has a successful racing debut but was soon not competitive enough to keep up with factory entrants and Bellucci ditched it for a true Maserati, a Tipo 61 Birdcage.

This car was restored in the late 1970s or early 1980s and has been in possession of its current Swiss owner since 1987. It’s an interesting Italian example of a 1950s sports car racing special. It should bring between $820,000-$1,050,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

F355 Challenge

1996 Ferrari F355 Challenge

Offered by Bonhams | Francorchamps, Belgium | May 21, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Fun! As far as Ferrari race cars go, this is among my favorites. Yes, it certainly has something to do with three screen Sega arcade game that shared this car’s name in the late 90s/early 2000s. This is one of a long line of one-make (or one-model) racing cars produced by Ferrari (which actually started in 1993 with the 348 Challenge). You could take these racing against your friends in identical cars.

The F355 was produced for the 1995-1999 model years and the Challenge (which was only available as a coupe with a big rear wing out back) launched in 1995 as well. Challenge events were held throughout the model’s production run and this car competed in the Ferrari Challenge Series in 1996, 1997, and 1998. It’s powered by a 3.5-liter V-8 making 370 horsepower.

When new, you could order an F355 Challenge direct from the factory, or buy an F355 coupe and spend $30,000 on a dealer-installed kit. Ferrari managed to build 108 of these before they switched to the 360 Challenge. This one was delivered new to Belgium and has covered approximately 8,300 miles. It should bring between $160,000-$220,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $178,426.

Fiat 750 Vignale

1963 Fiat 750 Vignale Coupe

Offered by Coys | London, England | May 18, 2017

Photo – Coys

Fiat never built a car called the “750” but they did build one called the 600. Produced from 1955 through 1969, it was visually similar to the classic 500, but with a larger engine. There was also the van-like Multipla version, which was the basis for some wild designs. The normal 600 was also used as the basis for some cool coachbuilt cars. Fun fact, there was a version of the 600 called the “750” – but it was only produced by Zastava in Yugoslavia.

Vignale took the sort of tiny, round 600 and enlarged the engine to 750cc. In this guise, the straight-four probably made more power than the original 633cc engine. The body is the star here, though. It’s very stylish, sort of a mini-coupe that doesn’t resemble the base car at all. Vignale also built a two-door sedan and a convertible.

As far as production numbers go, there may have been as many as 40,000 750 Vignales built. That seems like quite a few, but then again Fiat built 2,695,197 600s in total, so it’s kind of a drop in the bucket. This one shows nice and it is completely usable. It should bring between $13,000-$15,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

V8 Vantage Zagato Volante

1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato Volante

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 27, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

We recently featured the closed-top Coupe version of this car. RM is also selling a Coupe – and Bonhams, who is selling the Coupe I just linked to, is also selling a Volante. It’s a good time to be in the market for the rarest Aston Martins.

The V8 Vantage Zagato was produced in limited quantities between 1986 and 1990. They’re powered by a 430 horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8. That’s a lot of power for 1989 – so much so that the hood is fitted with a “power bulge” – a term that I’ll just go ahead and leave alone for now. Try finding a faster convertible from that year. It’s not going to happen.

Or one that’s rarer. Aston only built 37 convertibles of this type and this is the only left-hand-drive example. The bright yellow paint is the best indicator that you’ve got a supercar here. Zagato’s boxy styling was great for the era but now it just screams of the era, which isn’t a bad thing as things tend to come back around. Aston ended the 80s on a high note with this car and the price reflects it. This should bring between $490,000-$600,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Mex 52

1978 Mex 52

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | May 20, 2017

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.

Update: Not sold.

Four Fire Trucks from France

Four Fire Trucks in France

Offered by Osenat | Puiseux-Pontoise, France | May 14, 2017


1942 American LaFrance V-12 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

American LaFrance is one of the biggest names in fire trucks. Tracing their roots to 1832, the company built their first motorized vehicle in 1907. In 1995 they were bought by Freightliner, part of Daimler, who dumped them on an investment firm in 2005. They went through bankruptcy in 2008 and closed up shop in 2014.

People love fire trucks, and this wartime example is powered by a big Lycoming V-12 engine, something they only did for a brief period of time. This particular model (whose name I cannot find) was only produced in 1942. These are all coming out of a museum and this one should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $9,329.


1951 Laffly BSS163 Fire Van

Photo – Osenat

Laffly, which sounds like a comedy club, was actually a French manufacturer of commercial vehicles that was founded back in 1849. Their first automobiles were produced in 1912 and they went out of business in the 1950s.

Their specialty were military vehicles and fire trucks. The BSS163 was the “Standardized Fire Van” and it went into production in 1946. It’s a large van and it’s powered by an 80 horsepower straight-six from Delahaye. This particular van was restored by the owner of this collection. There are two other Laffly fire vans at this sale, but this is the nicest. It should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1952 Seagrave V-12 Roadster

Photo – Osenat

A couple of things… first, there is no model year listed for this truck. A quick search online revealed (as you can probably surmise by just looking at it) that this Seagrave fire truck is from the early 1950s, thus why I’ve called it a 1952. I also don’t have a model name, but it is V-12 powered and it does sport Roadster body work.

Like American LaFrance, Seagrave is among the biggest names in American fire trucks. Founded in 1881, the company built their first motorized fire truck in 1907. They were acquired by FWD in 1963 and have been based in Wisconsin since. This is a spectacular design and it can be yours for between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1927 Delahaye Type 83 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

The last fire truck we’ll feature today is from Delahaye, builder of some of France’s most beautiful cars. In fact, Delahaye built a lot of commercial vehicles over the years, including many fire trucks. They are quite rare today because, like Pierce-Arrow and Packard in the U.S., people acquired the commercial vehicles and stripped the bodies off of them and applied sexy passenger car bodies instead.

This fire truck has had a complete restoration and looks very nice. It has one large improvement over the previous generation of heavy trucks: inflatable tires. If you were to drive this back-to-back with a truck on solid rubber tires you’d notice a world of difference. This one should bring between $16,500-$22,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.