Austin EXP1 Prototype

1917 Austin 20 EXP1 Prototype

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | November 15, 2017

Photo – H&H Classics

Coming out of the First World War, the Austin Motor Company of England needed to get back into the swing of automobile production. So they built this four-door tourer in 1917. Austin’s test driver drove it all over the U.K. hyping Austin’s new car that is based on this: the 20.

The first generation of the 20 was available from 1919 through 1929. This car is powered by a 3.6-liter straight-four making 20 horsepower and it’s capable of 60 mph. By the time production started in 1919, their test driver had raised over £6 million in pre-orders for the 20, making his tour a wild success, especially because Austin beat many competitors to market after the war.

This car was discovered as a rolling chassis and was pulled out of a hedge and restored about 15 years ago. There aren’t a lot of automobile prototypes still around from this era, making this a rare treat. As a piece of British automotive history, this car should bring between $60,000-$75,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Lightspeed Magenta

1966 Lightspeed Magenta Runabout

Offered by RM Auctions | Phoenix, Arizona | January 15-16, 2015

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

There are so many Mini-based cars that have been built since the 1960s. Seriously, a ton. But this is one that isn’t quite as familiar as say a Mini Marcos or Deep Sanderson. In fact, the Magenta pre-dates Lightspeed. Originally, the Magenta was built around an MG 1100.

But Lightspeed Panels bought the rights to the Magenta in 1972 and the branding changed. Most Magentas are based around Minis – this one is actually based around a 1966 Austin Mini 850, but has since been upgraded to a 1,275cc straight-four making 75 horsepower from a Cooper S. It’s probably also down some weight (because, you know, the roof is gone) – which will likely make it quicker than a Mini of similar vintage and specification.

It is thought that about 500 Magentas were sold into the early 1980s. It may be a kit car, but I bet it’s a head-turner. This one came to the U.S. in 2005 and had been restored in 2001. The end result of this car comes from one of four factory prototype kits. So it’s sort of a prototype. If you want to buy it, it will likely be one of the more affordable cars at RM’s auction in Arizona this year. Check out more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $16,500.

One-off Austin Sheerline

1949 Austin Sheerline A.125 Cabriolet by Vesters & Neirinck

Offered by Bonhams | Knokke-Heist, Belgium | October 11, 2013

1949 Austin Sheerline A.125 Cabriolet by Vesters & Neirinck

Photo – Bonhams

When World War II ended, Austin decided to build a car to try and rival Bentley. They introduced the Sheerline (originally in A.110 form) in 1947. After only 12 of those were sold, they shifted to the A.125 – the difference being displacement.

The cars looked a little like Bentleys and a little like Jaguars – in that they were stately, boxy sedans. All were four-door cars offered as sedans or limousines. The engine in the A.125 was a 4.0-liter straight-six making 125 horsepower.

This particular car was delivered new to Belgium and given a custom coachbuilt body by a local Belgian coachbuilder. When I saw this car in the auction catalog, I thought “Oh, a Saoutchik Delahaye!” Boy was I wrong and boy is that a huge compliment to the body on this car. It really is nice looking. The fact that it is also a convertible is a plus as well.

This car is being sold by only its second owner. The mechanicals and interior have been completely restored but the body and paint are entirely original. This is the only example like this built (of the 7,851 A.125s built) and it is a cheap entry into major concours events worldwide. It is expected to sell for between $54,000-$81,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Belgium.

Update: Sold for significantly less than the lower end of the estimate. The person who bought it has asked that the price not be displayed here. In a couple of months, after he has flipped the car, the price will be posted here again.

September Results II

Our second post covering auctions for September starts with RM’s big London sale. They had a huge collection of Mercedes-Benzes cross the block, but the top sale actually went to our featured Maserati 250S for $3,340,000. Our featured Jaguar D-Type failed to sell. As did our featured Mercedes 500K Cabriolet C. The top-selling Benz was this 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B for $1,287,400.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B

Our featured 1932 Mercedes-Benz 370 S sold for $1,208,900. On top of the “interesting cars pile” was the Lotus Esprit Submarine from the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. It sold for $967,000.

1977 Lotus Esprit Submarine

Another cool car was this 1975 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 12 which brought $527,000.

1975 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 12

Our featured Mercedes 290 Cabriolet A brought $435,000. And our featured Benz Doctor’s Cabriolet sold for $83,500. Other interesting cars include this 1948 Austin VM 30 Cabriolet for only $12,300.

1948 Austin VM 30 Cabriolet

I can’t pick just two or three cool Mercedes’ from this sale to highlight because so many of them are the more mundane road cars that you just don’t see anymore (which I find fascinating). These are restored examples of cars that they built a ton of, but it would probably be easier to find a 540K today. You really have to check out the full results here, but I’ll tease you with this 1952 Mercedes-Benz 170 Da Pick Up. It sold for $77,300.

1952 Mercedes-Benz 170 Da Pick Up

Bonhams held a sale during the Goodwood Revival. The top sale here was our featured Alfa Romeo 8C-35 Grand Prix car for $9,511,542. It was kind of a no-brainer that this would be the top sale, as Bonhams has been killing it lately with competition cars bringing huge sums. Apparently they currently hold world records for 11 different marques at auction, which is pretty impressive (they probably hold more, but don’t want to look up all of the smaller marques over the years).

Cool cars start with this 1936 Invicta 4.5-Litre S-Type Low-Chassis Tourer which sold for $307,413. Our featured Invicta did not sell.

1936 Invicta 4.5-Litre S-Type 'Low Chassis' Tourer

Our featured Connaught did not sell either. But this 1934 Singer 1.5-Litre Le Mans did. It actually raced in the 1934 24 Hours of Le Mans. It sold for $136,966.

1934 Singer 1.5-Litre Le Mans

Two other interesting cars: first this 1951 Jaguar XK120 Competition Roadster which brought a big $228,277.

1951 Jaguar XK120 3.8-Litre Competition Roadster

And this super-cool 1985 Audi Quattro SWB Coupe. A very rare rally car for the road, it brought $185,409.

1985 Audi Quattro Sport SWB Coupe

And finally, let’s go to our featured Jaguar XJR-8 race car. It sold – but that’s all the information that was provided. Bonhams didn’t provide a final amount – but I will refer to it as a “mysterious sum in the neighborhood of $1.4 million.” Anyway, you can check out the full results here.

Austin (the American one) Touring Car

1909 Austin Model 60 Touring

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2013

1909 Austin Model 60 Touring

There are a couple of old automobile manufacturers that went by the name “Austin.” There is the well-known British Austin – the one who built the Seven and the Mini and died slowly during the decades-long BMC/Leyland “let’s ruin the British auto industry” debacle. Then there was “American Austin” which became American Bantam in the 1930s. But before these, there was the Austin Automobile Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was founded in 1901 – five years before Austin of England.

The Model 60 was the flagship Austin model when it was introduced. It’s a very large, imposing car and the competitive set in the day included Packard and Pierce-Arrow. They were well-engineered and basically overbuilt. The engine is a massive 12.8-liter straight-six making a then very impressive 90 horsepower. This particular car was featured on the Austin stand at the 1909 Chicago Auto Show.

The first owner bought it off the auto show stand for $5,000 and kept it for 38 years. It was then sold to Barney Pollard who maintained the car throughout his ownership. It spent 30 years in a museum during this time before the current owner bought it in 1983. The car has been restored, but because it was cared for its entire life, it has many (if not most) of its original parts. This is the only Model 60 in existence and the finest Austin there is. It is expected to sell for between $500,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s lineup at Amelia Island.

Update: Sold $379,500.

December Auction Roundup

All of December’s big auctions happened early in the month. The very first one occurred on December 1st in North Palm Beach, Florida. It was the sale of John Staluppi’s “Cars of Dreams” Museum. Every car sold at no reserve and the top sale was actually a giant carousel – but the top selling car was this 1956 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible.

1956 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible

Our featured cars were the entire Chrysler 300 Letter Series. Their sales breakdown is as follows:

  • 1955 Chrysler C-300 – $88,000
  • 1956 Chrysler 300B – $115,500
  • 1957 Chrysler 300C Convertible – $154,000
  • 1958 Chrysler 300D Convertible – $198,000
  • 1959 Chrysler 300E Convertible – $176,000
  • 1960 Chrysler 300F Convertible – $170,500
  • 1961 Chrysler 300G Convertible – $137,500
  • 1962 Chrysler 300H Convertible – $74,250
  • 1963 Chrysler 300 Sport Series Convertible – $71,500

For complete results, click here. Next up was Bonhams sale at Mercedes-Benz World Brooklands in Weybridge. The top sale was this 1931 Invicta 4.25-litre S-Type Low-Chassis Tourer for $750,000.

1931 Invicta 4½-Litre S-Type Low-Chassis Tourer

Our featured Pagani Zonda failed to sell. Our featured SS 100 was the fourth highest-selling car at $402,800. The Fiat 1500 with beautiful cabriolet Ghia coachwork sold for $128,600. And our final feature car, the 1904 Winton, sold for $218,800. Other interesting cars included an early 1913 Austin 10hp Coquette for $44,444.

1913 Austin 10hp Coquette

There was also this 1924 Frazer-Nash 1.5-Litre Super Sports Roadster for $107,000.

1924 Frazer Nash 1½-Litre Super Sports

And finally, one for the weird, this 1963 Hillman Imp “Flatmobile.” It is the World’s Lowest Car. It was one of a handful of weird one-offs in this sale. It’s only 19 inches high… and would be one of the last vehicles I would ever want to ride in. It sold for $15,700. For complete results, click here.

1963 Hillman Imp 'The Flatmobile'

H&H’s December 5th sale at Newbury Racecourse had this 1965 Aston Martin DB5 as its top sale. It went for $431,000. Our featured Allard P2 Safari failed to sell.

1965 Aston Martin DB5

The second-highest selling car was this 1925 Vauxhall 30/98 OE-Type Tourer. It sold for $287,000.

1925 Vauxhall 30/98 OE-Type Tourer

Then there was this 1980 MG B Roadster that was styled by Aston Martin. It’s one-of-a-kind and was sold for $17,900. For complete results, click here.

1980 MG B by Aston Martin

Mecum’s December Kansas City auction had quite a number of cars cross the block. The only one we featured, a Mark II Sunbeam Tiger failed to sell. A car we featured from when it was for sale in St. Louis, a Vespa 400, sold at this sale for $22,500, $9,000 less than the asking price at the dealership. Top sale was a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro COPO factory drag car for $140,000.

2012 Chevrolet COPO Camaro

Actually, it was co-top sale. The other $140,000 sale was this pretty awesome 1970 Ford Mustang Mach I Twister Edition. It is one of only 48 made.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach I Twister Edition

Another cool muscle car was this awesome-in-green 1971 Pontiac GTO “Judge” that sold for $92,500.

The other two “interesting” cars were a pair of Buicks. First this 1928 Master Six Opera Coupe that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time at the same dealership that the Vespa came from. It also sold for $22,500. Mmmm, wood-rimmed wheels.

1928 Buick Master Six Opera Coupe

Then there was this 1985 Century Convertible. It’s a V6 car – and Buick never built a Century convertible in this bodystyle, so it’s an aftermarket job. Maybe it’s just because I owned a ’92 Century that I was drawn to this thing, but it was also the cheapest car in the sale and it looks like it’s in really good shape. It sold for $1,250. Complete results can be found here.

1985 Buick Century Convertible

The coolest auction of the month was Auctions America’s sale of some WWII vehicles from (what was) Dean Kruse’s National Military History Center in Auburn, Indiana. There were some seriously cool trucks on offer. The top sale went to one of our featured half-tracks. They sold as follows:

  • 1945 Daimler-Benz DB10 Sd.Kfz. 8 – $200,000
  • 1940 Hanomag S.P.W. Ausf. C Sd.Kfz. 251/1 – $160,000
  • 1942 Borgward H kl 6 – $145,000
  • 1944 White M16 – $95,000
  • 1944 Auto Union Hl kl 6p – $75,000
  • 1943 Opel Maultier – $65,000
  • 1943 Opel Maultier Panzer-Werfer 42 Rocket Launcher – $60,000
  • 1943 Ford Maultier – $42,500
  • 1941 Autocar M3 – $38,000
  • 1939 Unic Kegresse P107/U304(f) – $20,000

Then we featured five cool trucks available at this sale, they sold as follows:

  • 1942 GMC DUKW-353 – $97,000
  • 1940 Humber Hexonaut GS 6×6 Amphibious Prototype – $47,500
  • 1940 Breda 40 4×4 Artillery Tractor – $37,000
  • 1942 Mercedes-Benz L3000S – $32,000
  • 1939 Latil M2TL6 4×4 Tractor – $10,000

Other interesting vehicles included this 1944 Phanomen-Granit 1500A 4×4 Kfz. 70 personnel car for $72,500.

1944 Phanomen Granit 1500A 4x4 Kfz 70 Personnel Car

Next up, a 1944 Steyr 1500A/01 4×4 Kfz. command car that was hammered away for $130,000.

And the final” thing” (some of these looked like cars built on truck chassis and some of them didn’t have wheels at all… these aren’t typical vehicles) from this sale, an awesome 1940 Horch Type EFm 4×4 cross-country personnel car that sold for $150,000. Complete results can be found here.

And, finally, Osenat’s December 9th sale was the latest held in the month. Top sale was a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster for $117,000.

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster

The most interesting vehicle, by a landslide, was our featured 1908 Doriot-Flandrin Type E, but it failed to meet it’s reserve and did not sell. The most interesting car that did sell was this 1929 Chenard & Walcker 1550 Grand Sport Torpedo that brought $108,000. For complete results, click here.

1929 Chenard & Walcker 1500 Grand Sport Torpedo

Local Car Show Revue – July 2012

I was able to hit up a few local car shows during July (as of this writing July still has more than a week left, so hopefully I can hit up more). Here’s a quick rundown:

July 15 was the date of the British Car show put on by the British Car Club of Greater Cincinnati. The setting was nice but the weather was uncooperative. I had to hand it to some of the owners, embracing the spirit – and weather – of British motoring. I saw a guy in an MGA driving in – sans roof – during a downpour. Many of the cars received impromptu plastic coverings, but some were open to the elements. It was both sad and awesome to see. Sad because you hate to see the interiors of these restored cars get wet – awesome because it means the ones that did get some rain probably also get some regular use. And I’m all about cars being driven regularly – flawless paint isn’t as attractive as paint that shows it is being enjoyed.

Photos are sparse due to the heavy rain and the fact I treat my camera as if it were my child. Here are some highlights:

My favorite of the show came down to two cars, first this Daimler SP250 “Dart.”  This was the first Dart I’ve ever actually seen in person. The side view (below) shows it better, but I had two people tell me how Daimler had the styling so right… until they got to the front. Either way it’s a great looking car with a Chrysler Hemi V8 underhood. It’s also a lot longer than most of its contemporaries.

The other car I loved very much wasn’t even British – it was a Saab Sonett II. Many of these cars simply fell apart over time but this one was glorious. And it had, if I remember correctly, the three-cylinder two-stroke engine.

Some other cars: Jaguar Mark 2 (white), 1959 MG Magnette (black), 1970 Austin America (bluish-green), and a DeLorean DMC-12 (silver, obviously).

Another show was the 2012 edition of Rollin’ on the River (held on July 22). It is a properly big show with cars just rolling in one after the other. Again, I failed to take a plethora of photos (although the weather was brilliant) as I spent the early part of the day watching – and more so listening – to the cars roll in. The afternoon was spent chatting up some of the owners and unfortunately, no one offered to just give me their car.

This show had something for everybody, from customs:

To muscle cars:

And Corvettes:

The two directly above I really liked. One is an obvious “work in progress” and the one with the black wheels looks racy and mean. I love it.

And there were cars for everything in between. My favorites included a super rare Pontiac Trans Am Tojan and a 1912 Ford Model T Town Car. This Viper was perhaps the most exotic supercar there. It was listed and displayed as a 1997 Viper GTS-R. The window sticker didn’t mention an “R” (which was mostly an aero package that would be duplicated in 1998 for the GT2). I’m guessing it was all dealer-added post-sale. But whatever, it’s still fast.

(Don’t worry about this one, once it got a little speed it fired right up).