Hughes-Kircher Special

1953 Hughes-Kircher Special

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The 1950s were a great time for one-off road racing specials. Returning soldiers saw the light in Europe with their lightweight sports cars and came back with an increased technical know-how to get it done. And that’s what we have here.

Charles Hughes and Kurt Kircher teamed up to build this very pretty special. Kircher was an ex-GM man who helped develop the Powerglide transmission. Hughes was an ex-G.I. who happened to buy a Jaguar XK120. He took it to Kircher, now in Colorado, and used the XK120 engine, a tube-frame chassis, and an MG steering rack to create the first version of the Hughes-Kircher Special. The body was done in aluminum.

After a few years, the car ceased to be competitive. Somehow, the duo got their hands on a Mille Miglia-prepped 300SL race engine and plopped it under the hood. Later, that engine was swapped for a 240 horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six from a “standard” 300SL. It still has such an engine, just a different one, as the second straight-six was eventually reunited with its factory Gullwing chassis.

This car has raced all over the world and has been in some major collections. It’s been restored and looks as good as any period Ferrari. But it’ll be much cheaper – between $300,000-$400,000 will take it home. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $304,200.

Cunningham V-7

1928 Cunningham V-7 Sedan

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 15, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

James Cunningham founded a carriage-building business with his songs in Rochester, New York in 1882 and then died in 1886. His son Joseph ran things from then on, and by 1911 they were in the automobile business. By 1916 they were selling V8-powered cars. Never inexpensive, the Cunningham car disappeared after 1929, with a few leftovers completed during the 1930s.

Cunningham also had a very confusing naming convention for their cars. It started innocently enough, but when the five-year-old Series V gave way to the V-4 in 1922, things got weird. All powered by the firm’s V8 engine, the models would be named V-4, V-5, V-6, V-7, and apparently even V-8. Things started to make sense just in time to go out of business.

The engine in this car is a 7.2-liter V8 rated at 106 horsepower when new. It likely would’ve cost its new owner in the neighborhood of $8,500 in 1928 – quite a sum. Later, this car was owned by Bill Harrah and remained in his collection until his death. The restoration is fresh as of 2016, and the car should now bring between $150,000-$220,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $80,000.

340 America Vignale Coupe

1951 Ferrari 340 America Coupe Speciale by Vignale

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The 340 was the first in Ferrari’s line of America cars that sort of culminated in the ultra-rare 365 California. Produced between 1950 and 1952, the 340 was intended as a grand tourer, but, being Ferraris, that didn’t stop some from being pressed into racing duty. In 1951, a 340 America won the Mille Miglia.

Power is from a 4.1-liter V12 making 220 horsepower. The engine was actually derived from Ferrari’s Grand Prix motor. Only 23 examples of the 340 America were produced, with two of those actually being cars converted from earlier 275 S models. Eleven of them were bodied by Vignale.

Five of those 11 were coupes, including this one. At a cost of $25,000 when new, the car was kept around Southern California in its early years before being acquired by the current owning family in the late 1950s. It’s remarkably untouched after 60+ years, with chipping paint and great patina. If only all old Ferraris looked this authentic. No estimate is available, but you can read more here and see more from Bonhams here.

Update: Sold $3,635,000.

July 2019 Auction Highlights

We shifting gears a little bit now. From here out, our monthly auction rundowns will only cover auctions from which we actually featured cars. Sorry all others, I don’t have the time. Life is busy. That also means it will be a straight-shot chronologically (well, based on when the results are published anyway). Previous rundowns used to be broken up a little bit, as we’d only feature one result from any particular auction house per highlight post. Not anymore!

We start this time around with Bonhams in Goodwood, where the top seller, by some margin, was the Williams F1 car we featured. It sold for $3,385,271, while the other F1 car – the Toyota roller – brought $86,416. Rounding it out was the Lister Storm for $583,311. Most Interesting goes to this 1956 Cooper T39 that sold for $151,228. Click here for more results.

Photo – Bonhams

Next up is Brightwells’ Leominster Classic & Vintage sale. This 1961 Jaguar XK150S coupe was the top sale at $134,401.

Photo – Brightwells

Cars we featured included the Maudslay ($74,264), the Mitsuoka Roadster ($26,130), and the Dennis flatbed (not sold). Final results can be found here.

Historics held a sale at Brooklands in July, and this 1981 Porsche 911 Turbo took top sale honors, selling for $114,822.

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

All three of our feature cars sold, with the Jensen bringing the most: $84,016. The Bristol 411 sold for $49,708, and the Healey $22,404. Click here for complete results.

Aguttes’ all-Citroen sale saw the Coupe Concorde we featured fail to find a new home. The Citela concept car we featured a while back also failed to sell here. Top money went to this 1968 Citroen DS 21 Cabriolet for $238,579.

Photo – Aguttes

Two other previously-featured concept cars did manage to sell here. The Eco 2000 SA 109 went for $1,137 and the Tubyk $7,156 – both way down from what they brought not all that long ago at a different sale. More results are available here.

Finally, we have Silverstone Auctions. Fresh feature cars in this sale consisted of the Renault 5 Turbo 2, which sold for $100,258. The top sale was $1,030,431 for this 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

A previously-featured AC Aceca sold here for $167,096. Final results are available here and here.

De Tomaso P70

1965 De Tomaso P70

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

There were a lot of cooks in the kitchen when it came to getting this car built. And that’s probably a big part of the reason only an example or two were ever completed. Let’s start with the backstory: Carroll Shelby was killing it with his Cobras, including the legendary Daytona Coupes. But there were rumblings that McLaren was about to drop a huge 7.0-liter monster on the Cam-Am and USRRC circuits.

To hedge his bets while he waiting to find out if he would be taking over Ford’s GT40 program, Shelby teamed up with Alejandro de Tomaso to one-up McLaren before they got too far ahead. The car was engineered by de Tomaso and the body was designed by Peter Brock, who had also designed the Daytona Coupe. The body was then constructed by Fantuzzi in Italy.

Already featuring adjustable aerodynamics, Ol’ Shel wanted a lightweight powerplant. But it never got that far. Shelby got the GT40 gig and bolted from this project, and De Tomaso ended up showing the car at the 1965 Turin Auto Show as the “Ghia de Tomaso.”

Then it went into storage, staying put long after de Tomaso was gone. In 2004, the car’s body panels were discovered, and a very rough version of the car won awards at the 2005 Quail Motorsports Gathering. It was then restored and is now fitted with a 350 horsepower, 4.7-liter Gurney-Weslake V8. It’s expected to fetch between $2,000,000-$3,000,000 – which is a lot for a historic racing car with no racing heritage to speak of. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Siata Berlinetta

1952 Siata 208 CS 2+2 Berlinetta by Bertone

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Though Siata could trace their roots back to 1926, they didn’t actually begin producing their own cars until 1948. Their great, sporty, Italian cars were a flash in the pan, however, and they disappeared by 1975 after spending nearly a decade producing a not-sporty, retro-styled convertible called the Spring.

Perhaps the most desirable car produced by the firm was the 208, which was offered in two forms including the S (roadster) and CS (coupe). They were built between 1952 and 1955 in small quantities, and fewer than 20 examples of the CS were built. Some of 208 S examples looked like an AC Ace, but every one of them was coachbuilt. A 125 horsepower, 2.0-liter V8 provides the oomph.

This Bertone-bodied coupe was ordered new by Stanley Arnolt (who was closely associated with the carrozzeria). It was also displayed at the 1952 Paris Auto Show. Fifty years later, it was restored, and it is now offered with a pre-sale estimate of $850,000-$950,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Duesenberg J-555

1934 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Phaeton

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Duesenbergs have a fairly high survival rate when compared to other cars of a certain age. That’s thanks in large part to pioneering collectors who realized the importance of cars like this and saved them. But not every part of every car can be saved.

This car retains its 6.9-liter, 265 horsepower straight-eight engine and its factory chassis. The body, however, is not original. Initially equipped with a Willoughby sedan body – not the most desirable look – the car was re-bodied before WWII as a convertible sedan.

This Brunn-style dual-cowl torpedo phaeton body was built by Fran Roxas in Chicago sometime in the late-1980s. The car bounced around the auction circuit in the 1990s before being purchased by its late owner in 2006. It’s been in Britain for over 10 years and should bring between $600,000-$800,000 in California in a few weeks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $478,000.

June 2019 Auction Highlights

We pick up well into June with Osenat. The Bugatti Type 35B was the only car we featured and it was easily the top seller at $455,822, therefore we shall award Most Interesting to this 1950 Hotchkiss Type 686 S. It brought $65,638. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Osenat

We’ll stay in Europe for our second sale, which was from H&H Classics in Duxford. $284,358 took home this 1957 AC Ace-Bristol, besting all other lots in terms of price. The Stanley Steamer we featured didn’t meet its reserve. More results can be found here.

Photo – H&H Classics

Onward to Mecum in Portland where this 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 was the top seller at $275,000. You can find more results here.

Photo – Mecum

Next up: Barrett-Jacksons’ Northeast sale, and we didn’t have any feature cars from this sale either. Someone paid $2.7 million for the final Corvette Z06 – a car that hasn’t even been built yet. With that dumb bit of news out of the way, the top-selling car that actually existed was $280,500 paid for this 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster. More results are available here.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

Finally, we have Bonhams’ Chantilly sale where a rough sell-through rate saw our featured Gordini take home top sale honors at $779,769. The Arnolt-Bristol and Alfa 6C both failed to sell, but a previously-featured Salmson found a new home for $57,183. Most Interesting goes to this 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale that sold for $98,770. Click here for final results.

Photo – Bonhams

May 2019 Auction Highlights, Pt. II

We’ll start with Historics at Brooklands, who originally had an old Maxim fire truck in their catalog that mysteriously disappeared (from the catalog). The top sale was this 1968 Aston Martin DB6 Volante that brought $787,534.

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

The awesome (and purple) TVR Cerbera we featured sold for $20,648. Mark my words: when these are eligible for U.S. importation, these prices are going to go way up. Click here for more results from this sale.

Next up is Aste Bolaffi’s sale in Milan. If you ever wanted to own a Siata (that isn’t a Spring) but didn’t want to spend a ton of money, this was the place to be. The 1500 TS we featured sold for $25,774. The biggest money was paid for this 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT. It sold for $369,814. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Aste Bolaffi

We move to RM Sotheby’s in Auburn, Indiana for their spring sale at that location. The top automotive lot was this 1930 Cord L-29 Convertible Phaeton Sedan for $157,300.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Hupmobile Skylark we featured sold for $15,400 and the Haynes Touring went for only $10,560, a figure that made me nauseous, as do most of the results, as there were quite a few I would’ve stepped up to buy had I been there.

Onward to Bonhams in Greenwich. The top sale was $417,500 paid for this 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport Cabriolet by Pinin Farina.

Photo – Bonhams

The Dodge Brothers touring car we featured failed to sell, but the Arnolt-MG managed to bring $64,960, and the Stutz Roadster $44,800. Full results can be found here.

Finally, we move to Artcurial’s sale on June 17. Amid a pretty tough sell-through rate, this 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB stole the show at $2,175,046.

Photo – Artcurial

Speaking of a tough sell-through rate, the Alpine A310 we featured, along with a previously-featured Hommell coupe, failed to find new owners. The good news is that the CG 1300 sold for $64,454, and the BMW Z1 brought $41,626. The rest of the results can be found here.

2004 Toyota F1 Roller

2004 Toyota TF104B

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | July 5, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Toyota leaped into the wild world of Formula One in 2002. After untold millions were spent – and without a single victory to show for it – the company bolted after the 2009 season. They didn’t even really sell the team to anyone else as is F1 fashion. They just left.

The TF104 was campaigned during the 2004 season, and an updated “B” variant was introduced mid-season. The team’s lineup started with Christiano da Matta and Olivier Panis – neither of which finished the season with the team. Instead, Ricardo Zonta and Jarno Trulli rounded out the last few races.

In all, 11 chassis were built for the 2004 season, two of which were used solely as test cars, including this one. Normally powered by a 3.0-liter Toyota V10, this car had its mechanicals removed before it was purchased by its current, private owner. Still, it should sell for between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $86,416.