Bugatti 57S

1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet by Vanvooren

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10-11, 2017

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Some of the highest-dollar Bugattis come from the Type 57 family of cars that was produced by the firm between 1934 and 1940. In 1936 they introduced a few updated versions of the model, among them the Type 57S – a lowered variant that gave the car a sportier stance.

It’s powered by a 3.3-liter straight-eight making 170 horsepower. The 57S was successful on the European racing circuit and about half of the cars were bodied by the factory. There were 22 chassis that were unsold by mid-1938, when the 57S was killed off. Most of these ended up in coachbuilders’ hands and this car is one of four Vanvooren Cabriolets built in Paris (three of which are known to still exist).

This car has known ownership history since new and was on long term display. RM has brought the car back to being a runner and driver, but it’s not quite ready for long distance trips. Only 42 Type 57S chassis were built and this is, again, one of just three Vanvooren Cabriolets remaining. It’s a matching-numbers, unrestored car (though it has had certain mechanical elements rebuilt for functional purposes). It’s fantastic. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Amelia Island.

Five Coachbuilt Delahayes

Five Coachbuilt Delahayes

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 11, 2017


1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Court Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Photo – Artcurial

The Delahaye 135 was the first model in a series of cars that would be built from 1935 through 1954 (with some time off for the War, of course). The 135 would be offered in a few different forms, but the Competition Court was the top-of-the-line model. The engine in this car is a 3.8-liter straight-six, which is not original to this car (it would’ve had a 3.5-liter unit when new).

It rides on a Competition chassis (which was sort of discovered by its most recent owner when the car was restored). It originally featured a Faux-Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi, but it was converted to a full cabriolet by the same guy who swapped the engine – but the design stays true to the original. This is one of six 135 Competition Court cars that originally sported a Figoni coupe body (here’s another). It’s a beautiful car with a good story (like how it was hidden from the Nazis) and it should bring between $1,275,000-$1,900,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.


1938 Delahaye 135M Coupe Sport by Chapron

Photo – Artcurial

The 135M was built on both sides of World War II and it was basically a standard 135 with a better engine. In this case, that engine is a 3.5-liter straight-six, which, depending on carburetor setup, put out 90, 105, or 115 horsepower. This car is a 115 horsepower variant. This example was one of two ordered new from Chapron by a man from Algeria and its early history is not known.

It reappeared in Luxembourg sometime before 1986 and passed between owners before being liquidated as part of Evert Louwman’s purchase of the Rosso Bianco collection. Presented as an all-original car with “refreshed paintwork,” this car should sell in the neighborhood of $425,000-$635,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1939 Delahaye 135MS Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Photo – Artcurial

If you didn’t guess it, the Delahaye 135MS was a step up from the 135M. In this case the engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six putting out 160 horsepower. This numbers matching car (body, engine, chassis) was bodied by Figoni & Falaschi in the a highly desirable cabriolet style.

It was originally ordered and owned by a famous French singer and stayed in her family until the late 1940s. The body was modified around 1950 when it was used in a film. Fortunately, the current owner (who has had the car since 2012) restored the car to its original glory, winning two awards at Pebble Beach as a result. This beauty should bring between $1,275,000-$1,700,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1950 Delahaye 148L Coach by Saoutchik

Photo – Artcurial

The Delahaye 148 was a long-wheelbase version of the 135M. It wasn’t as sporty, but that doesn’t mean they still didn’t garner incredibly crafted bodies from France’s finest coachbuilders. Because it is a derivative of the 135M, the 148 is powered by a 3.5-liter straight-six. Power depended on the number of carburetors and this is likely a 115 horsepower car.

Saoutchik built some of the most exotic bodies for old cars and this windswept two-door fastback fits right in with what they’re known for – in fact, it was shown on their stand at the 1950 Paris Motor Show. The current owner has had it since 1970 and while he kept it in running order, he drove it sparingly. It shows just less than 19,000 original miles. It’s all-original and should bring between $750,000-$1,050,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1951 Delahaye 135M Gascogne Coach by Dubos

Photo – Artcurial

With the 135M spanning both sides of the second World War, you see designs that vary pretty wildly between early and late cars – especially since each of them were bodied by a professional coachbuilder. In this case, it is Carrossier Louis Dubos of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. It’s powered by a 3.6-liter straight-six.

Remarkably, this car has been owned by the same family since 1959. The restoration dates to the latter half of the 1990s, and has been driven only a few times since 2000, thus will require a thorough inspection before being declared roadworthy. The other four Delahayes we featured are all quite pricey, but this attractive and usable example will likely sell for between $75,000-$105,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Artcurial’s auction lineup.

Update: Sold $126,297.

Maybach Spezial Cabriolet

1939 Maybach SW38 Spezial Cabriolet by Petera & Söhne

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Maybachs are serious cars. Imagine if a company had their choice to produce any of the pre-war Mercedes-Benz lineup and decided only to build the 500/540/770K cars – the absolute best of the best. That’s sort of how I’d describe Maybach. They didn’t half-ass anything.

The SW38 was introduced in 1936 and it was smaller than the Zeppelin line of cars that came before it – and it’s only smaller in that the Zeppelins were huge and that it has half the cylinders. The SW38 is powered by a 3.8-liter straight-six making 140 horsepower. The body is by Petera & Söhne, a coachbuilder that isn’t too well known. The body is original to this car, but it has been restored.

Only 520 SW chassis were built (which comprised three different models, of which the SW38 is in the middle, displacement-wise). Only 152 are known to exist today and this car is surely one-of-a-kind. It should sell for between $790,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $719,304.

Porsche 901 Cabriolet

1964 Porsche 901 Cabriolet Prototype by Karmann

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 8, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Porsches are hot right now. Like really, really hot – especially anything that is air-cooled. The first generation of the 911 went on sale in 1964 and the prices for this generation have gone through the roof. Let’s also remember that Porsche originally wanted to call the 911 the 901, but Peugeot objected on copyright grounds, so they added a “1.” But Porsche had already built 82 cars with “901” badging and some of them are still out there.

The first true 911 Cabriolet didn’t go one sale until 1982, so this car is extraordinarily special in that regard. Sure, there was the Targa that showed up in 1966, but it had that pesky rear window and roll-over hoop. This is the only drop-top 911 from this era – and what makes it even better is that it is from the prototype line of 901 cars. It is the second-earliest 901 Prototype known to exist and most of the 13 Prototype Coupes were destroyed back in the day.

The engine is a 130 horsepower, 2.0-liter flat-six and the convertible work was carried out by Karmann, a longtime Volkswagen collaborator. Porsche parted ways with this car in 1967, selling it to a German racing driver who wanted to save it. An American collector acquired it directly from him in 2001 and rebuilt the engine, making the car roadworthy. But the body and interior are all-original. The current British owner is selling the car at auction – the first time it has ever been available for public sale. If you thought Porsche prices were high already, wait for the hammer price on this one. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $692,337.

Fiat 1100 by Allemano

1953 Fiat 1100 Cabriolet by Allemano

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 20, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Fiat 1100 was a model that was produced a number of different times, but the car you see here was part of the line that was available between 1953 and 1969 (though light commercial variants were built through 1971). The cars were offered in a few body styles from Fiat, namely a four-door sedan, wagon, and a two-door convertible.

When Fiat introduced the car at the 1953 Geneva Auto Show, it was just sedans. But later that year at the Turin motor show they had a few special versions on the show stand, such as a Michelotti-designed Coupe and Cabriolet, which were both built by Allemano. In all, Allemano is thought to have built two coupes and four convertibles and this is the convertible from the Turin show stand.

Power comes from a 50 horsepower, 1.1-liter straight-four. This car sports single-family ownership for 56 years and its current owner had it restored to its present glory. Only two Allemano-bodied 1100 Cabriolets are known to exist and they are very striking. This one should bring between $275,000-$325,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Not sold.

Cord L-29 Cabriolet

1932 Cord L-29 Cabriolet

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 19-20, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

1929 was a great year of E.L. Cord – well, at least the start of it. His Cord Corporation owned the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg marques. And he took them all upmarket, selling some of the nicest automobiles America had yet known. But then the economy tanked and his little empire fizzled out.

The first Cord-branded automobile was the front-wheel drive L-29, the first mass-produced front-wheel drive passenger automobile sold in the U.S. They were powered by a 125 horsepower 5.3-liter straight-eight from an Auburn. It was definitely underpowered, seeing as it’s sister marque, Duesenberg, was using a 265 horsepower engine for their car. What it lacked for in speed (top end was about 80 mph), it made up for in gorgeous looks. The Cabriolet (in this color at that) is the best-looking factory L-29 variant. The only thing that could make it better would be the addition of those skinny Woodlite headlights.

Only about 20 L-29 Cabriolets were built out of a total L-29 production run of around 4,400 cars and this is thought to be the last Cabriolet built, as the L-29 was only in production between 1929 and 1932. This example was restored years ago, but it still looks nice and has been with its current owner in Arizona for the last 15 years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $236,500.

Métallurgique Cabriolet

1912 Métallurgique 12HP Cabriolet by Vanden Plas

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 7, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Existing companies who decided to get into the burgeoning automobile business around 1900 came from all lines of work: there were a lot of bicycle manufacturers, some buggy companies, and, in the case of SA L’Auto Métallurgique, manufacturers of railway locomotives. Métallurgique built cars in Marchienne-au-Port, Belgium between 1898 and 1928, when they were acquired by Imperia and shut down.

This rare model is powered by a 1.7-liter straight-four engine that drives the rear wheels via a four-speed transmission – the standard for all Métallurgique cars beginning in 1911. The French-looking but Belgian-built body is by Vanden Plas, an offshoot of which would later become part of the Austin Motor Company in the U.K.

Métallurgique sold cars in the U.K. when new, and this vehicle was likely bought new there as it was first registered in England in 1913. It is said that it runs and drives well and is a mix of original and redone parts (for instance, the hood was replaced at some point). It should bring between $27,000-$35,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $46,475.

Delahaye Chapron Cabriolet

1949 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Chapron

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | November 6, 2016

Photo - Osenat

Photo – Osenat

For many automobile companies, World War II was sort of an interruption. The cars they started building in the late 1930s would re-enter production upon the cessation of hostilities in 1945 (or shortly thereafter if their facilities were damaged). For instance, Delahaye’s luxurious 135 was introduced in 1935. It, and it’s successive line of cars including the 138, 148, and 168, would remain in production until 1954.

Introduced in 1936, the 135M was a 135 with a larger engine. In this case, it sported a 3.6-liter straight-six making either 90, 105, or 115 horsepower depending on configuration. This model remained in production until Delahaye closed up shop in 1954.

Henri Chapron started his coachbuilding company in 1919 and he really hit his sweet spot in the 1930s and 40s. Cars like this beautiful Cabriolet are among his most stylish work. Owned by the consignor since 2002, this car was restored in 2003 in a gorgeous two-tone paint scheme. The pre-sale estimate is $160,000-$195,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $261,352.

Matford Cabriolet

1937 Matford V8 Model 72 Cabriolet by Antem

Offered by Artcurial | Château-sur-Epte, France | October 9,  2016

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

Ford Motor Company set up shop all over the world after conquering the United States. They had arms in Brazil, Australia, Germany, Britain, and even France (and for the most part, still do). The history of Ford in France is probably the most unusual – founded in 1916, the original company didn’t fare so well because the cars were too pricey.

Enter Émile Mathis, who started building cars under his own name in 1910. At the onset of the 1930s, his fortunes waned and his company was pretty much finished. But Ford, who was also struggling, partnered with the beleaguered French firm and formed Matford (it was technically a joint venture tilted 60/40 in Ford’s favor). Matford copied British Fords, but were British Fords ever this stylish?

The V8 was a 2.2-liter unit that made 60 horsepower. Matford built cars between 1934 and 1942, with the final two years churning out only a few cars as the Germans controlled the factory and focused on trucks. After the war, Mathis was not invited by the French government to continue production, but Ford reformed its company as Ford SAF and built stylish cars until 1954 when it became part of Simca (which later became part of Chrysler until Chrysler sold its European brands to Peugeot).

This pretty 2/3-seater cabriolet was restored in the 1960s. Ford didn’t offer a cabriolet in 1937, so this car was actually bodied by Antem. It’s a rare style that isn’t seen often but it is well done. It has spent a long time in the present collection and is not roadworthy (and doesn’t even have a battery in it). Slight recommissioning is required before enjoyment. It should bring between $20,250-$27,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $20,010.

Horch 780 B

1934 Horch 780 B Cabriolet by Gläser

Offered by Bonahms | Paris, France | September 3, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Horch’s first eight-cylinder model went on sale in 1926. In 1931, their largest straight-eight was introduced, displacing 4.9-liters. The 780 B was the ultimate version of this series, produced between 1932 and 1935. That engine put out 100 horsepower, which made the car good for 77 mph – the fastest eight-cylinder Horch produced up to that time (the 4.9-liter engine would return in 1937 for the legendary 853 series).

This particular example was bodied by Gläser of Dresden and it’s very attractive. During or after WWII, this car ended up in Belarus, of all places, and it didn’t return to Germany until 2005 when it was finally restored after untold decades in a barn.

The 780 B is one of the rarer Horch models, with only 82 built. While the 853/853A is among the most sought-after models, they tend to appear for sale more often than the likes of this. It’s price reflects its rarity as this car carries a pre-sale estimate of $680,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $712,701.