Jaguar Pirana

1967 Jaguar Pirana by Bertone

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

What we have here is a one-off sports car financed and built for the motoring department at a British newspaper in the late 1960s. It used off-the-shelf components and a very nice exterior design from Marcello Gandini at Bertone. The bodywork clearly foreshadows the Lamborghini Espada.

Power is from a Jaguar 4.2-liter inline-six, and the car uses an E-Type 2+2 frame and chassis as well. It also carries Jaguar badging, even if Jaguar didn’t officially have much to do with the final product. The car debuted at the 1967 Earl’s Court Motor Show and was first sold at auction in 1968. It stayed in the US for a long time and was purchased by its current owner in 2011.

The auction catalog makes a big deal of the fact that the car is called a “Pirana” – without the “H” – and how it was Bertone’s personal choice to spell it that way. It then goes on to say that the car was restored to its Earl’s Court specification. Photos clearly show “Piranha” badging on the rear. What’s the deal with that? At any rate, it will sell at no reserve this August. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Healey Sportsmobile

1949 Healey Sportsmobile

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 13, 2019

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Here’s a rare bird. While Donald Healey might be best remembered for his affiliation with the Austin-Healey and Nash-Healey, he also built cars under his own name between 1946 and 1954.

The Sportsmobile is kind of a porky-looking thing for carrying such a sporty name, and it is powered by a 2.4-liter twin-cam inline-four from Riley. It was built in extremely limited numbers between 1948 and 1950 and was the third model introduced by the company after the Westland and Elliott.

Only 23 were built, making it the rarest of all Healey-branded automobiles. Only three are known to still exist, and this one looks mostly original. It would be a great addition to any collection of British sports cars and should sell for between $25,000-$32,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Willys Interlagos

1963 Willys Interlagos Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alcacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Alpine was an independent French sports car producer that was eventually absorbed by Renault. Their cars were Renault-based, including the A108, which was a fiberglass-bodied, rear-engined sports car that was produced between 1958 and 1965.

But the most interesting Alpine ever built was not even built by Alpine. Or even in France. In 1962, Willys-Overland of Brazil – who already had an alliance with Renault – was chosen by Alpine founder Jean Redele as a partner to build the A108 under license. The result was the Willys Interlagos, which was produced in Brazil between 1962 and 1966.

I’ve actually seen one of these in person and they have a cool factor that goes well beyond the “tiny French sports car” look. The sheer rarity of the surviving Brazilian models sets them apart. Only 822 examples were built in Brazil and not many escaped. They actually even offered two additional body styles. Power is from a four-cylinder engine, and this car is selling without reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

R5T2

1985 Renault 5 Turbo 2 Evolution

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Silverstone, U.K. | July 27-28, 2019

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Very few car companies can claim that they built their coolest products in the 1980s. Buick can. Renault can too (unless you’re like me and consider the Sport Spider the “coolest” Renault product).

The Renault 5 Turbo was based on a boring front-wheel-drive hatchback offered by the company (and sold as the Le Car in the U.S.). They went full-bonkers in 1980, introducing a mid-rear-engined version called the Turbo. In 1985, they took it one step further with the Turbo 2 Evolution. This was the car used to homologate the 5 Maxi Turbo for Group 4 racing.

Power is from a 180 horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four stuffed behind the front seats (practically in the cabin save for a cheap board covering the engine). Only 200 Evolution models were produced and they are highly sought after today. This one should bring between $95,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

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.

HRG Aerodynamic

1947 H.R.G. Aerodynamic by Fox & Nicholl

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alcacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

HRG Engineering was founded in 1936 by Edward Halford, Guy Robins, and Henry Ronald Godfrey, whose initials comprise the company’s name. Godfrey’s experience included stints at GN and Frazer Nash.

HRG‘s output was low – only 241 cars produced between 1935 and 1956. Six models were offered, including the 1945-1949 Aerodynamic as seen here. It’s powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four from Singer and wears bodywork from Fox & Nicholls.

The car was discovered by the current owner in 1989 and restored. Prior to that, it had Portuguese race history in the 1940s and 50s. Only 45 examples of the Aerodynamic were produced, and with an active HRG owners group, they don’t change hands that often. Click here for more info and here for more from this collection.

Duesenberg J-287

1930 Duesenberg Model J Sport Berline by Murphy

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16-17, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

To be a Duesenberg customer during the age of the Model J, you had to be wealthy. A bare chassis, engine, and firewall would run you about $9,500 at the dawn of the Great Depression. Then you had to go have a body built by one of the world’s leading coachbuilders. And they didn’t come cheap, either.

But to purchase seven such cars requires a certain kind of wealth that only someone like, oh say the son of the founder of Pacific Gas & Electric could possess. Enter George Whittell Jr. He had $50 million in the stock market and liquidated all of it just weeks before it crashed. So yeah, he could afford the seven Dueseys.

Powered by a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight, this car wears “Sport Berline” coachwork by Murphy. I would agree with their marketing lingo that the car is indeed sportier than the average sedan from 1930. It was previously owned by J.B. Nethercutt and Bill Harrah. It’ll be one of many special cars to cross the block in Monterey later this year. Check out more here and see more from Gooding’s sale here.

Williams FW14B

1992 Williams-Renault FW14B

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

Photo – Bonhams

Williams was a star in F1 in the early 1990s. Part of that had to do with the fact that Adrian Newey was designing their cars. The Williams FW14 was for 1991 season and was updated to FW14B-spec for 1992. And it was a beast.

Team drivers Riccardo Patrese and Nigel Mansell managed to win the constructors championship while utilizing the six “B” chassis built for the season. This was the first car designed by Newey and it rocked. It’s probably the best car Williams has ever fielded.

Power is from a 3.5-liter V10 capable of 760 horsepower – at 14,500 rpm! Usually publicly-owned F1 cars have replacement engines, but this one is the real deal, carrying the motor Mansell used to win the opening round of the championship. The competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1992 South African Grand Prix – 1st (with Nigel Mansell)
  • 1992 Mexican Grand Prix – 1st (with Mansell)
  • 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix – 1st (with Mansell)
  • 1992 Spanish Grand Prix – 1st (with Mansell)
  • 1992 San Marino Grand Prix – 1st (with Mansell)
  • 1992 Monaco Grand Prix – 2nd (with Mansell)
  • 1992 Canadian Grand Prix – 23rd, DNF (with Mansell)
  • 1992 British Grand Prix – 2nd (with Riccardo Patrese)
  • 1992 German Grand Prix – 8th (with Patrese)
  • 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix – 13th, DNF (with Patrese)
  • 1992 Belgian Grand Prix – 3rd (with Patrese)
  • 1992 Italian Grand Prix – 5th (with Patrese)
  • 1992 Portuguese Grand Prix – 19th, DNF (with Patrese)

The car was then mostly destroyed in an airborne accident at Estoril when Patrese hit Gerhard Berger wheel-to-wheel at speed. Mansell went on to be World Champion later that year.

It’s obviously since been restored. Championship-winning F1 cars don’t trade hands publicly often, and Bonhams is mum on a reserve. Check back in a few weeks to see if it sold – and for how much. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

De Tamble Roadster

1911 De Tamble Model G Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The De Tamble Motor Company got its start in Indianapolis in 1908 when Edward De Tamble began building cars. They moved to Anderson, Indiana the following year and the company went through many rounds of managerial and ownership changes in its short life. By 1913 the company was bankrupt and the president, Charles H. Walters, was in jail.

The 1911 model year offered five models, including a two-cylinder roadster, which was the company’s initial offering. The sporty Model G Runabout (yes, De Tamble did have a little competition history in their blood) was only sold in this year and is powered by a 36 horsepower inline-four. It cost $1,000 when new, the second cheapest car the company sold after the twin.

Only about 2,000 De Tamble automobiles were built in six years of production, and this is the first one I can recall coming up for sale in the last nine or so years. And it’s in Portugal of all places. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Figoni et Falaschi Narval

1947 Delahaye 135MS Narval Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo – Mecum

If this car were to be built today, it would ride about four inches lower. At least. That upside-down bathtub styling just looks right at home sucking on the ground. But the roads were different in 1947. Especially in France. And who am I to nitpick a Figoni et Falaschi design?

The Delahaye 135MS is powered by a 3.6-liter inline-six probably making about 145 horsepower. These cars were produced both before and after the war, technically from about 1938 through the end of Delahaye production in 1954.

The “Narval” name, if you haven’t figured it out, alludes to the car’s somewhat narwhal-like appearance. Only seven such Delahayes were bodied like this, and this one has been in the same hands for the last 50 years. It’s a million dollar car, no doubt. You can see more about it here and more from Mecum’s Monterey sale here.