Talbot-Lago T23

1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Cabriolet

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

When Anthony Lago bought out failing Talbot in 1936, he went about turning the company around. A big part of his plan were models like this, the T23. It was one of the first new models introduced, and it was downmarket from the later, extremely grand, models like the T26 and T150C.

Power is from a 4.0-liter inline-six good for 140 horsepower. Dubbed the “Baby Talbot,” the cars still wore fanciful bodies like this one, which was built by the factory but designed in partnership with Figoni.

It wears an older restoration and has a very nice-looking red and wood interior. The bigger Talbot-Lagos command big money. This Baby should bring between $300,000-$400,000… which is still a decent amount. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

1918 Opel Phaeton

1918 Opel 14/38 PS Double Phaeton

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

Adam Opel set up shop in 1862 to make sewing machines. He stuck around through a switch to bicycle manufacturing in 1886, but died before the company built its first car in 1899. Early Opels don’t come up for sale that often, though there are some to be found at classic car dealerships all over Germany. You certainly don’t see them in the U.S. all too often.

This pre-GM 14/38 PS (General Motors took over in 1931) was a model produced between 1913 and 1924. It was a large luxury car that was revised over the years. In 1918, the 3.3-liter inline-four was rated at 38 horsepower.

This one retains its original body and was parked unused in Sweden from 1939 until 1998. It has since been restored and is now expected to fetch between $125,000-$175,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Italdesign Aztec

1988 Italdesign Aztec

Offered Online by Bring a Trailer

Photo – Bring a Trailer

The Aztec was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign as a celebration of the company’s 20th anniversary. It was shown as a prototype at the 1988 Turin Motor Show. Then the company decided to actually build road-going examples. They wanted to make 50 of them, but probably only 18 were actually completed.

It’s an almost-mythical car. They never come up for sale (at least publicly) and this is the first one to hit the auction block in more than a decade (though a quick search will show you zero auction results for the model at all). This one was once in the Shanghai Auto Museum, which seems like a place cars don’t escape from. But it was brought stateside by the Blackhawk Collection (who has a magical way to get some other classics out of China).

The Aztec is powered by a turbocharged 2.2-liter Audi inline-five that made 250 horsepower (if the stickers on the car are to be believed). That’s not exactly supercar territory, power-wise. But, those looks. That’s why this qualifies as a supercar. It looks like it drove off of a Star Wars set. It has a dual-canopy cockpit with gullwing and side-hinged doors. It’s straight out of bizarro land.

And it. Is. Amazing. This is a car I’ve wanted to see come to market for a long time (since I started this site almost a decade ago). And it’s the first one to hit the open market. What’s it worth? That’s the fun part. No one knows… there isn’t a big list of past sales to give us a clue. But if it isn’t a big money car, it deserves to be. Chances are you won’t see another one change hands for quite a while (unless the selling price here knocks it out of the park… then we’ll see a few of them).

Think about all of the wild stuff that came out of the 90s supercar madness. This is like the genesis of that. It’s a bummer this wasn’t a bigger success, then maybe they would’ve put the Nazca C2 into production as well. That could’ve led to even more fun in the 90s (Alfa Romeo Scighera anyone?).

The Aztec is among the wildest designs ever put into production, and it is the precursor to all of the low-run, high-end stuff we are awash in today. Check out more about this car here. But hurry, the auction ends Monday.

Volkswagen’s WWII Effort

1944 Volkswagen Type 166 Schwimmagen

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

The Volkswagen project kicked off in 1937 to build Germany a “people’s car.” Well, that plan sort of got derailed with Germany’s other big passion: taking over the world. So Volkswagen got repurposed to build military vehicles. And they produced three different kinds. Two of them are on offer at this sale.

The Schwimmwagen is the most mass-produced amphibious vehicle in history. In all, 14,265 of them were built between 1942 and 1944. They were used by the Germans throughout the war and could obviously be used on land or water. Power is from a 1.1-liter flat-four good for 25 horsepower. The Schwimmwagen even made an appearance in the Gran Turismo video game series. It was not fast.

The whole military history of this car shouldn’t really deter people from having one. They are probably tons of fun. This one was recently restored and is expected to bring between $100,000-$125,000. Click here for more info.


1944 Volkswagen Type 82 Kubelwagen

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

We said that Volkswagen produced two other military vehicles for Germany during WWII, aside from the Schwimmwagen. This, the Kubelwagen, was another one (there was also a four-wheel-drive version of the Beetle). This is the one the bad guys always drove in WWII video games.

Produced between 1940 and 1945, the Type 82 is powered by a 25 horsepower, 1.1-liter flat-four. Earlier versions had smaller engines. It was the German version of the Jeep. But, unlike the Jeep, this thing is heavily based on Beetle designs and is rear-wheel drive.

That’s right! This thing will go anywhere with just two driven wheels. Part of the trick is that the car is very light, uses portal axles, and has a relatively smooth underside. They built 50,435 examples, and this one has been restored. It should bring between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Duesenberg J-143

1932 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, bodied more Duesenberg Model Js than any other coachbuilder, and their most popular body style was this, the convertible coupe. While only 25 were built with a convertible soft top, that was enough to make it the top seller among a very limited production run.

Power, of course, is from a 6.9-liter straight-eight good for 265 horsepower. This car is apparently one of a few Duesenbergs owned by gangster Jake the Barber. It was restored in 1995 and was purchased by the current owner, Keith Crain, about 16 years ago.

Crain is dumping a few classics at this sale, all at no reserve… which is interesting. You can see more about this car here and see more from this sale here.

January 2020 Auction Highlights

We kick off in January with RM Sotheby’s in Arizona where the top sale was this 2018 Pagani Huayra Roadster that sold for $2,370,000.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

All of our feature cars sold, with the V-16 Cadillac leading the way at $1,105,000. Following that was the Hispano-Suiza at $445,000 and the Shelby Series I at $91,840. Other sales included the Chalmers for $61,600, the Locomobile for $58,240, and the Kaiser for $10,080. Click here for complete results.

Next up, Gooding & Company, also in Arizona. This auction proved that bedroom wall car posters are key indicators of what’s going to skyrocket in value. In this case, it was a 1995 Ferrari F50 that outsold a Tucker at $3,222,500. It also way outsold the 250 GT Cabriolet that brought $1,462,500.

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual-Cowl Phaeton sold for $2,425,000. The Model A Duesenberg, and a previously-featured Model J, both failed to sell. More results are available here.

We move on to Barrett-Jackson, where the top sale was a charity lot: the first mid-engine Corvette. A 2020 Stingray that hasn’t even been built yet. This red pre-production car crossed the block, but the actual first one will be black.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

I couldn’t even tell you what their overall top sale was that wasn’t a charity lot because the results page isn’t sortable :(. I have strong feelings on these moonshot charity auctions, but I will keep them to myself.

Every car we featured sold, which is no surprise because this entire sale is 99.9% reserve-free. The Superbird brought $313,500, the L88 Corvette $330,000, and the Kuzma-Offy $165,000. The Aerocar went for a lot less than I anticipated, bringing only $275,000. I think, had it sold 15 years ago, it would’ve gone for much more.

On the other side of things were the Lawil at $12,100 and the Bremen Sebring at $7,700. Click here for all of the results.

Across town was Russo & Steele, who managed to move this 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster for $1,045,000. The Rambler Marlin we featured went for $8,800. A great buy. Final results can be found here.

Photo – Russo & Steele

Finally, we have Bonhams at Retromobile. The top overall sale was this 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Supersport that sold for $5,045,740.

Photo – Bonhams

Other big-dollar sales among our feature cars included the Pegaso for $782,089, a previously-featured Delahaye for $227,058, a previously-featured Talbot racer for $964,997 (less than half of what it sold for in 2014), and a BMW-Glas prototype for $229,581.

Other sales included the Devin D for $100,914 and the Toyota F1 roller for $90,823. No sales were the Bugatti 39, Zagato Mostro, and the previously-featured Miller Shooting Brake and Brasier saloon. More results can be found here.

Nash-Healey Coupe

1953 Nash-Healey Le Mans Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Nash-Healey was one of America’s first post-war sports cars, beating competitors like the Chevrolet Corvette to market by a number of years. The first Nash-Healeys went on sale in 1951 and were only available as convertibles.

The cars were restyled for 1952 to more closely resemble what you see here, and a hardtop model was introduced in 1953. Named the “Le Mans” coupe, the hardtop commemorated Nash-Healey’s podium finish at Le Mans. It cost twice as much as a 1953 Corvette when new and features a body penned by Pininfarina.

Power in this car is from a 4.1-liter inline-six from Nash capable of 140 horsepower. Only 62 coupes were built for 1953, and only 30 are thought to survive. This one was restored in 1994 and is now being sold at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Amelia Island.

Bugatti Type 59

1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports

Offered by Gooding & Company | London, U.K. | April 1, 2020

Photo – Gooding & Company

After Bugatti’s Type 35 series of cars finished their run as some of the best Grand Prix cars of the era, Bugatti went and introduced the Type 51 in 1931. The development of that car culminated in the Type 59 of 1933, the last pre-war Bugatti Grand Prix car.

It is powered by a 250 horsepower, supercharged 3.3-liter inline-eight. Only eight examples were built. Ralph Lauren has one, but his is restored. This car is as it was in 1938. It’s an ex-factory Bugatti team car, and it’s competition history includes:

  • 1934 Monaco Grand Prix – 3rd (with Rene Dreyfus)
  • 1934 Belgian Grand Prix – 1st (with Dreyfus)

After the 1935 season, the car’s supercharger was removed and it went sports car racing with revised bodywork. In 1938, it was painted in its current black and was acquired by King Leopold III of Belgium. It’s had four owners since and is now estimated to bring “in excess” of $13,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Muntz Jet

1952 Muntz Jet

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Earl “Madman” Muntz was a businessman in Glendale, California, who acquired the rights to the Kurtis Sports, a car designed and produced by Frank Kurtis. Only 16 examples were built by Kurtis until Muntz took over production.

Production shifted to Illinois, and the design was tweaked somewhat to make the car longer. It’s still aluminum-bodied, and various engines were used during the course of the model’s 1950-1954 run. This car has a triple-carbureted V8 under the hood, but the catalog makes zero mention of the engine’s origin or displacement. Sad face.

The purple finish over a white iguana skin interior is quite striking. It also comes with a black Carson top. Only about 198 of these were built, and Muntz lost $1,000 on each of them. This one is selling at no reserve. You can see more photos here and see more from this sale here.

Duesenberg J-490

1932 Duesenberg Model J Stationary Victoria by Rollston

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

A few weeks ago we featured a Model J Duesenberg with engine number J-490X. The X is said to denote a factory rebuild and restamp. Why they would’ve restamped it with a number of an engine that was already out there in another car is beyond me.

This car is said to retain its original chassis, body, and 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight engine. The body is by Rollston, and it is a one-off creation that was specially ordered to resemble Rollston’s convertible victoria – but in fixed-roof fashion.

It has known ownership history since new and was “cosmetically restored” at some point in the past. I think that’s another way of saying a body-on restoration. You can see more about this car here and more from this sale here.