The Hupp Comet

1932 Snowberger-Hupmobile

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2016

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Russ Snowberger is a name that has been associated with the Indianapolis 500 since the 1920s. Snowberger was a very talented mechanic and engineer – but he was also a skilled driver. He competed in the Indy 500 15 times from 1928 through 1947. His best finish was 5th (twice) – one of those was in this very car.

Snowberger was interesting in that he built his own cars. Not very many drivers have entered a car at Indy with a chassis bearing their own name. Not even Louis or Gaston Chevrolet. All of the Snowberger chassis that competed in Indy were Studebaker powered. Except one. This one.

Hupmobile made a sponsorship deal with Snowberger to use a Hupp engine at Indy. This was the only Hupmobile-powered car to ever run the 500 as the company ran out of marketing dollars and Snowberger had to return the engine (which later made its way in a Bonneville land speed car). John Snowberger, Russ’ son, later acquired the engine and restored the “Hupp Comet” to as you see it today.

This is a rare chance to acquire a famous Indy 500 race car from one of the race’s early legends and owner/drivers. You can read more about it on Mecum’s site here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $310,000.

Update: Not sold, Mecum Kissimmee 2017, high bid of $270,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Indianapolis 2017, $205,000.

Mercury Comet 202

1967 Mercury Comet 202 R-Code Sedan

Offered by Mecum | Austin, Texas | December 13, 2014

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

The Mercury Comet began in 1960 as Mercury’s compact model. It was originally going to be an Edsel model, but the Edsel marque was killed off before it ever had the chance to exist. In fact, for the first two years, they weren’t even branded as Mercurys… just “Comet”s.

The third generation Comet was built in 1966 and 1967 and was actually bumped up to Ford’s mid-size Fairlane chassis. Actually, for 1967, the Comet sub-models became their own models (the Capri, Cyclone, Caliente, etc.) and the only Comet-badged cars were the base Comet 202, which was available as a two (as seen here) or four-door sedan.

This car is actually one of only 22 Comets to receive the R-Code 7.0-liter V-8 making 425 horsepower. Only six are known to still exist. This thing is a true sleeper. It is also in excellent, unrestored condition having covered only 2,004 miles in its lifetime. It can be yours now. Check out Mecum’s site for more info and click here for more from Mecum in Austin.

Update: Sold $169,000.

Two Mercury Factory Drag Cars

1964 Mercury Comet A/FX Caliente

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 17, 2014

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

What was awesome about drag racing in the 1960s is that major automobile manufacturers were getting involved, building ridiculous specials utilizing everything they knew about how to make cars go fast. And they looked just like the stuff you could buy off the showroom floor.

In this case, the second generation Mercury Comet in top-trim Caliente form. Not that trim levels matter when the car is stripped bare and has numerous special bits bolted on. The engine is a 7.0-liter 427 “High Riser” V-8 rated at 425 horsepower.

This car competed in Southern Drag (as NASCAR-sponsored series) racing events. There are examples with better pedigree, but it is estimated that only 15 out the 21 A/FX Comets built in 1964 remain. This one should sell for between $275,000-$325,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $200,000.


1965 Mercury Comet B/FX Cyclone

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 17, 2014

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

The A/FX class had been dominated in 1964 by the likes of the Comets seen at the top of this post. So in 1965, Mercury dropped down a level to see if they could broaden their dominance. Enter, the B/FX Comet.

The engines were smaller in this class, and this car has a 4.7-liter 289 with Weber carbs, putting out nearly 400 horsepower. That’s right, the Cobra engine.

Competition history on this particular example is unknown, but it is known that only nine of the original 15 B/FX Comets built still exist. This one should bring between $220,000-$300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum in Indy.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $170,000.

Mercury Comet A/FX

1964 Mercury Comet A/FX Caliente

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 17, 2014

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

What was awesome about drag racing in the 1960s is that major automobile manufacturers were getting involved, building ridiculous specials utilizing everything they knew about how to make cars go fast. And they looked just like the stuff you could buy off the showroom floor.

In this case, the second generation Mercury Comet in top-trim Caliente form. Not that trim levels matter when the car is stripped bare and has numerous special bits bolted on. The engine is a 7.0-liter 427 “High Riser” V-8 rated at 425 horsepower.

This car competed in Southern Drag (as NASCAR-sponsored series) racing events. There are examples with better pedigree, but it is estimated that only 15 out the 21 A/FX Comets built in 1964 remain. This one should sell for between $275,000-$325,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $200,000.

Mercury Comet B/FX

1965 Mercury Comet B/FX Cyclone

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 17, 2014

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

The A/FX class had been dominated in 1964 by the likes of the Comets seen at the top of this post. So in 1965, Mercury dropped down a level to see if they could broaden their dominance. Enter, the B/FX Comet.

The engines were smaller in this class, and this car has a 4.7-liter 289 with Weber carbs, putting out nearly 400 horsepower. That’s right, the Cobra engine.

Competition history on this particular example is unknown, but it is known that only nine of the original 15 B/FX Comets built still exist. This one should bring between $220,000-$300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum in Indy.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $170,000.

America’s First Post-War Sports Car

1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet

For sale at Vintage Motors of Sarasota | Sarasota, Florida

1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet

Frank Kurtis is an important name in the history of American sports cars. In the late-1930s he built his first midget dirt-track car. Just prior to WWII, he designed a car that would eventually go into (short-lived) production as the Davis Divan.

Kurtis Kraft would be he racing car business. He built five Indianapolis 500 winning cars and nearly 2,000 Kurtis Kraft cars would be built, 120 of which would actually compete in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. He even built a short run of sports cars for the road (and those were also produced as the Muntz Jet).

The car you see here is often billed as “America’s first Post-War sports car.” It was designed by Frank Kurtis and Paul Omohundro, a man who had worked for Kurtis fabricating race car bodies. The Comet was built around a 1940 Ford chassis and the two men planned to put the car into limited production on donor Ford chassis (it never happened).

The engine was a 1946 Mercury flathead V-8 making about 100 horsepower (it was swapped out years later for a 1949 engine). Omohundro was able to build a lightweight aluminium body that made the car capable of over 100 mph. The car bounced around between owners, garnering little use until it was parked in 1986 and forgotten.

When it was finally rediscovered, a restoration was undertaken and completed in 2007. It has been shown and won awards at multiple prestigious concours’ and while its claim of America’s “first Post-War sports car” can be disputed, it is considered the first documented American “coachbuilt car after the war.”

This isn’t a car that you can find a duplicate of – as it was the only one built. It’s also in the best shape it has ever been in. You can buy it from one of America’s coolest car dealerships in Sarasota, Florida for $390,000. Click here for more info.

A French Ford

1954 Ford Comète Monte Carlo

Offered by Osenat | Lyon, France | November 10, 2013

1954 Ford Comete

Ford of Europe was founded in 1967 after the merger of Ford of Britain (founded 1909 in the U.K.) and Ford-Werke (founded 1925 in Germany). The company currently calls Germany home. There was another European Ford company active in the first half of the 20th Century that didn’t make it into the fold: Ford SAF.

The head of Ford of Britain founded the French subsidiary in 1916 and it was completely absorbed by Simca in the mid-1950s. The Comete (or Comet) was introduced in 1951 and it is beautiful. It has to be one of the best-looking Fords ever built. It is a four-seat sports car that uses a 4.0-liter V-8 (from a Ford truck) making 105 horsepower. The Monte Carlo trim line was available in 1953 and 1954 only (you could buy a Simca-branded Comete in 1954 as well).

Less than 700 Monte Carlo-trimmed Cometes were built. The body was designed by Pininfarina and built by Facel (later of Facel-Vega). I think it is exceptionally attractive. It should bring between $62,000-$76,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Osenat’s lineup.

Update: Sold $74,250.

A British Star

1931 Star Comet Fourteen Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Harrogate, U.K. | November 13, 2013

1931 Star Comet Fourteen Coupe

This is not to be confused with the American car company also called Star that operated between 1922 and 1928 (there were other as well, but this was the biggest) and was part of Billy Durant’s little empire. This Star was actually founded in 1898 in Wolverhampton by Edward Lisle and William Sharratt who owned the Star Cycle Company since the 1870s.

Cars were sold under the Star, Starling, and Stuart brand names over the years. Star found new owners around 1932 but the economy was tanking and the company, which had become known for their well-appointed and well-made cars, didn’t have a model in the entry-level segment. The Comet Fourteen was introduced near the end of 1931 and it was luxurious and too expensive to make – and even harder to sell in tough economic times. Star folded in 1932 and their leftover cars were sold through 1935.

The Comet Fourteen used a 2.1-liter straight-six making 14 horsepower. Very few were made and even fewer survive. They were available with two or four doors and even though this one has four, Bonhams still lists it as a “coupe.” I don’t know. Anyway, it should sell for between $13,000-$16,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ Harrogate sale.

Update: Sold $12,857.

1954 Cramer Comet

1954 Cramer Comet

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2012

Photo – Bonhams

If this car looks massive it’s because it is – in every way. At 5200 pounds it’s not exactly a Lotus. But under the hood there’s a whole lot of power: 1350 horses.

Conceived, designed and built by Omaha native Tom Cramer in the early 1950s, the Cramer Comet features a number of weird innovative design aspects. First is the chassis which is built out of nickel-steel refrigerator tubing. Then he popped in a 1350hp Allison V12 aircraft engine.

The body is styled after a number of standard 1950s designs. Oldsmobile, Buick, Lincoln, and Studebaker design cues can be seen in this car. What I found most interesting is that the windshield is actually the rear window from a DeSoto.

The interior of the car isn’t exactly glamorous but it’s certainly intriguing with the aero-theme continuing onto the dash.

Photo – Bonhams

It looks to have come straight out of a WWII-era aircraft with function trumping form. The dials on flat, plain-looking black metal. I wonder if it has an attitude-indicator. The car is one-of-a-kind and is being offered for sale from a private collection – the only other owner save for the Cramer family.

Pre-sale estimates range from $100,000-$150,000. Here’s your chance to own something completely unique that will blow a Bugatti Veyron away on a dyno. More info can be found here and the rest of Bonhams’ catalog here.

Update: Sold $122,500.