Belgian “Can-Am” Car

1967 Méan Can-Am

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | March 7, 2020

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

Méan Motor Engineering was a Belgian company that produced some race cars and some road cars. It was founded by Jacques D’Heur in Liege in 1966. The company’s name changed in 1971, and it closed up in 1974.

This race car was built in 1967 and is powered by a 1.2-liter NSU inline-four. It’s called a “Can-Am” but there is no evidence that the car actually competed in the Can-Am series in North America. It does have FIA papers and is eligible for historic events.

Méan road cars are exceptionally rare, and their racers even more so. This fiberglass road race car should bring between $36,000-$44,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $36,928.

Wolverine Can-Am

1965 Wolverine-Chevrolet LD65

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 14, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Can-Am’s debut season was 1966. But it wasn’t a surprise. Driver Jerry Hansen knew it was coming and got together with two engineers from GM to design and build a race car for him for the ’66 season.

Lee Dykstra (for whom the car appears to be named) and George Anderson designed this, the Wolverine. It has a tube spaceframe chassis and a small-block Chevrolet V8. An aluminum body was constructed, but over time the rear section has been replaced with fiberglass.

Hansen entered the car in the first Can-Am race, where he finished 20th. It also ran in SCCA events that year, but for 1967, Hansen upgraded to a McLaren. The Wolverine passed between a few other owners and was entered in Can-Am races through 1970.

They intended to build three of these, but only one was completed. The current owner bought the car in a series of boxes and had it completely rebuilt since 2010. It’s been at the Goodwood Revival and Monterey Motorsports Reunion. It should now sell for between $98,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $99,254.

Two Shelby Prototypes

Two Shelby Prototypes

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 3, 2018

1997 Shelby Aurora V-8 Can-Am

Photo – Bonhams

The Shelby Can-Am was a racing series that used purpose-built race cars from Carroll Shelby. All cars were identical and powered by 255 horsepower V-6 engines. The series – which was open to amateurs – ran from 1991 through 1996 in the U.S.

Originally, Shelby wanted to offer a bigger, badder version of the car. He only built one prototype – and this is it. It’s powered by the then-popular 4.0-liter Oldsmobile Aurora V-8. It was tuned to make 500 horsepower and was the same engine used in the Series 1 sports car. This is the only example built and it ran some test laps at Willow Springs but otherwise has been sitting in Ol’ Shel’s personal collection since. This would be a fun track day toy for someone and it should cost them between $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $100,800.

1983 Dodge Shelby Ram Prototype

Photo – Bonhams

The first generation of the Dodge Ram was produced from 1981 through 1993. The beginning of production coincided time-wise with Chrysler’s relationship with Carroll Shelby. You might think it’s weird to have Shelby’s name on a truck, but hey, he built a Dakota and a Durango.

This one-off Ram was partly a styling exercise (to mimic the styling of the recently introduced Shelby Charger). But because Shelby couldn’t help himself, the motor was spruced up as well: it’s a 300 horsepower, 5.9-liter V-8. It’s a pretty decked out truck all around. This is coming from Carroll’s personal collection where he maintained this 11,000 mile truck since new. It should sell for between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $33,040.

McKee Can-Am Racer

1965 McKee Mk IV

Offered by Russo & Steele | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 15-19, 2014

1965 McKee Mk IV

Can-Am was the coolest of race series. The rules were essentially: it must have two seats and four fenders. Other than that, anything goes. Unlike most racing series today, innovation was the key driver that bred some of the best race cars of all time (and ultimately killed the series).

McKee Engineering of Palantine, Illinois, was founded by Bob McKee. The company was one of very few in America producing road-racing sports prototypes in the 1960s. This car came about because NASCAR banned Chrysler’s Hemi engine for 1965 and Chrysler decided to sit Richard Petty out of NASCAR that year. They also figured that their Hemi would work well in a sports car, so they commissioned McKee to build this car for Petty to race in the coming Can-Am series.

Well the car was built but wasn’t ready to race until the end of 1965. Petty went back to NASCAR in ’66 and Phoenix, Arizona, Chrysler-dealer Bob Montana was given the responsibility to campaign this 7.0-liter V-8 powered monster. He raced it in USRRC and Can-Am between 1965 through 1967. In 1968, it competed in SCCA events and in 1969 it was retired.

It was parked for 35 years and restored in 2004 and the car has been invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Monterey Historics since. This is a really cool race car with a pretty interesting history. You can see more here and check out more from Russo & Steele here.

Update: Sold $260,000.

The Only 1962 Davies Special

1962 Davies Special

Offered by Bonhams | Francorchamps, Belgium | May 25, 2013

1962 Davies Special

Can-Am was one of the most interesting race series ever devised. The rules were essentially “anything goes” when it came to car construction – something that leads to innovation, unlike most of the “spec” series that operate in the U.S. today. The lot description calls this a “Cam-Am” Special but Can-Am didn’t start until 1966. This car was likely intended for the USRRC, which was also innovative and interesting.

Fred Davies was a race car engineer who worked for Bill Sadler (who built cars that looked similar to this in Canada). In 1961 he left Sadler and moved to California to build cars under his own name and design. He built one car – this one – with the intention of entering it into American road races.

The engine is a Chevrolet V-8 (displacement unknown, although I know it’s big) and the body is aluminium. The gearbox is by Huffaker – a name heavily associated with road racing back in the day. But Davies never ended up racing it. In fact, he used is as a road car for a few years before parking it. In 1975 he sold it to a dealer overseas who sold it three years later to a Belgian – who had no idea what it was. He registered it with the FIA as a Huffaker Genie – a car it resembles.

He restored it once and raced it until he sold it in 1983 to a Swedish amateur driver. It was raced in Sweden until 2004 when the current Belgian owner acquired it. This is a one-off race car and the only “Davies” out there. It is entirely raceable and can be yours for $120,000-$160,000. Click here for more and here for more from Bonhams at Spa.

Update: Did not sell.

1972 Can-Am Champion Porsche 917/10

1972 Porsche 917/10 Spyder

Offered by Mecum Auctions | Monterey, California | August 18, 2012

Can-Am was an amazing race series with innovation and pure power and speed being the most important things. There were few rules and the cars were over the top. Porsche had little success in 1970 with its underpowered 908 and 917PA models (they won a single race with a privateer team). In 1971, with factory backing, the 917/10 was introduced into the series, as the hardtop 917 was not eligible. The engine was a flat-12, but it didn’t make enough power.

So for 1972, Porsche strapped two turbochargers to the engine of 5.0-liters (this car was upgraded to 5.4-liters mid-1973), and with enough boost they could crank the power up over 1150. The wins came about as quick as this cars 0-60mph sprint of 2.9 seconds. This Penske-prepped car won the 1972 Can Am Championship. Here is a breakdown of chassis #003’s competition history:

  • 1972 Road Atlanta Can-Am – 1st (with George Follmer, who drove in all following races)
  • 1972 Watkins Glen Can-Am – 5th
  • 1972 Buckeye Can-Am (Mid-Ohio) – 1st
  • 1972 Road America Can-Am – 1st
  • 1972 Minneapolis Tribune Grand Prix (Donnybrooke) – 4th
  • 1972 Klondike 200 (Edmonton) – 3rd
  • 1972 Monterey Castrol GTX Grand Prix (Laguna Seca) – 1st
  • 1972 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix (Riverside) – 1st
  • 1972 Can-Am Championship – 1st
  • 1973 Interserie Nürburgring 300km – 17th, DNF
  • 1973 Interserie Imola  – 11th, DNF
  • 1973 Labatt’s Blue Trophy (Mosport) – 13th, DNF
  • 1973 Watkins Glen Can-Am – 20th, DNF
  • 1973 Buckeye Cup (Mid-Ohio) – 2nd
  • 1973 Road America Can-Am – 3rd
  • 1973 Molson Cup (Edmonton) – 2nd
  • 1973 Monterey Castrol Grand Prix (Laguna Seca) – 11th, DNF
  • 1973 Los Angeles Tims Grand Prix (Riverside) – 20th, DNF
  • 1973 Can-Am Championship – 2nd

As you can see, this car was only raced by one guy, George Follmer, and he was no slouch behind the wheel. The car didn’t stand a chance in the 1973 championship, as it was competing with the mighty 917/30 driven by Mark Donohue. But second place that year is kind of like a win.  The car was destroyed in a testing crash in late 1973 and that was the end of its brief career.

Obviously, it is back to as-new/as-raced condition. With this being only one of 18 cars built, and the fact that it is an ex-Penske Can-Cam Championship-winning car, it is quite valuable. Mecum does not publish estimates, but the Sunoco-liveried 917/30 sold for $4.4 million. I think this would bring less as it isn’t iconic, but it certainly has provenance. But what do I know? For more information, click here. And for more on Mecum in Monterey, click here.

Update: Sold $5,500,000.

Porsche 917-30

1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder

Offered by Gooding & Company, Amelia Island, Florida, March 9, 2012

Photo – Gooding & Company

Every once in a while a car comes up for sale that, basically, makes you yell “Holy crap!” and drop your sandwich and the plate it sat on. The plate falls in slow-motion and shatters on the floor. Complete spit-take. Like a car that you think only the manufacturer owns and sits in their private museum and will never be sold. Except that it’s apparently up for sale. This is one such car.

This is the “Can-Am Killer” – a car so dominant that it drove the series in which it competed into extinction. Nothing could keep pace with this monster of a race car. It is the most powerful road-racing car ever built. Its 5.4-liter twin-turbocharged Flat-12 produced about 1,200 horsepower. During qualifying sessions in the 1973 season, the turbos were turned up to full boost, pushing power output closer to 1,600. It weighed 1,800 lbs – so we’re talking sub-2.0 second 0-60 mph times. The car’s dominance, in conjunction with other factors, led to the demise of the Can-Am series.

This particular car (chassis #004) is painted in period-correct Penske Sunoco livery, although it was not one of the cars campaigned by Roger Penkse in the Can-Am series. It was supposed to be, however. In fact, Mark Donohue was supposed to drive this car in 1974 but because Can-Am more or less banned the 917/30 from competition (through rules changes), the car’s build was halted but eventually completed and sold new to Alan Hamilton, the Australian Porsche importer. Porsche then later re-acquired the car for somewhere around $2 million in 1991.

This is one of six (6) Porsche 917/30s built. Two of them are owned by Porsche. It is the most dominate of all racing cars and the ultimate version of the 917, which itself was a line of super-successful racing cars. It’s pre-sale estimate is $3,250,000-$4,000,000. What a rare opportunity. The complete catalog description can be found here and the entire Gooding catalog can be seen here.

As a side note, I recently learned (via a 30 minute TV comedy) that you’re supposed to wear blue and yellow on Leap Day, so this car is quite appropriate. Happy Leap Day!

Update: Sold $4,400,000.

Update II: Sold, Gooding & Company Amelia Island 2016, $3,000,000.