Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 4-15, 2022
The DeSoto marque was founded by Walter Chrysler shortly after he took over Maxwell and founded Chrysler. DeSoto was set to compete with the likes of Pontiac and Willys in the mid-price range. Well, they did so for the next 30 years, but the brand was wound up in 1961.
In the late 1950s, Chrysler’s brands were competing against each other, which was a major reason DeSoto was axed. DeSoto introduced a few upmarket, expensive cars during that time, including the Firedome and Fireflite. DeSoto’s 1957-1959 styling was one of Chrysler’s great ideas of the 1950s. In 1958, The Firedome was powered by a 5.9-liter V8 rated at 295 horsepower. The Firedome slotted in the lineup below the Fireflite and Adventurer.
Convertible production in 1958 totaled just 519 units for the Firedome, making the body style rarer on this platform than in the upmarket Fireflite. This one is finished in a lovely ’50s two-tone green paint scheme with a matching interior. You can check out more about it here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
When Lincoln (well, Ford), spun Continental off as a separate marque for 1956, the new company’s goal was to build the best car in America. And they did. The price reflected it too as the two-door Mark II cost $10,000 when new. In 1956. Which made it the most expensive American car you could get at that point.
Because they were so expensive, the product line made Ford rethink the whole thing pretty quickly. The model was only around for two years, with a combined production of just 3,005 units. And only one of those was a convertible. This one.
Ford sent this Mark II to Derham in Pennsylvania to figure out how to make a drop-top out of the car, as the range was supposed to expand to other body styles. But never did, which is a shame as this car looks GREAT with the top down.
After the show circuit, it became the personal car of Martha Firestone-Ford, wife of Continental head William Clay Ford. Before she received it, the mechanicals were updated to 1957-spec. The unrestored-but-repainted car is powered by a 300-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8.
Post-Ford ownership included a brief stint with a Ford employee before remaining with one family for over 60 years. It’s now offered without reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 18, 2022
The Hudson Deluxe Eight first appeared under that name in 1934 and would continue to be produced through 1938. This first-year model was a Series LU, and nine body styles were offered that year.
Power is from a 4.2-liter inline-eight was rated at 108 horsepower when new. The Convertible Coupe featured a rumble seat and a soft top, and this one is finished in cream with orange accents. Production totals for 1934 were not released.
The age of the restoration here is unknown, but it appears to have held up well. Plus, it’s got mid-1930s artillery-style wheels, which are always a plus. Click here for more info.
1941 American Bantam Model 65 Riviera Convertible Sedan
Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 2, 2022
The Austin Seven is the car that put Britain on wheels. It was licensed in different parts of the world, including by Rosengart in France and the less-creatively named American Austin in… America. American Austin launched in 1929, with the first cars sold as 1930 models. So, not great timing, even though they were relatively cheap.
Bankruptcy followed in 1935. Three years later the company relaunched as American Bantam with revised streamlined styling. Bantam sales continued through 1941, with finances being tight the whole time. American Bantam designed the original Jeep prototype, although they didn’t survive long enough to actually produce it. And today Willys gets all the credit.
Power is from a 747cc inline-four rated at 22 horsepower. The Riviera Convertible Sedan was offered in 1940 and 1941 only and retailed for $525. This restored example is one of about 6,000-7,000 American Bantams produced in total. Click here for more info.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | December 4-9, 2021
In late 1983, the TVR Tasmin 280i was upgraded with a bigger engine and renamed the Tasmin 350i. In 1984, the Tasmin name was dropped and the model became known simply as the 350i. It was offered as a coupe and convertible.
The engine is a 3.5-liter Rover V8 that made 190 horsepower when new, enough to scoot this little wedge to 130 mph. Over 1,000 350is were built, so they aren’t incredibly rare, but the relatively low entry point (price-wise) hasn’t likely leant itself to a spectacular survival rate.
But this one looks pretty nice and benefits from an engine rebuild about 2,000 miles ago. And, yes, it kind of looks like an FC RX-7. It now carries a pre-sale estimate of $12,000-$15,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
For Sale by Hyman Ltd | St. Louis, Missouri
As far as Model Js go – especially four-door examples – this is a pretty great one. The two-tone burgundy paintwork and non-supercharged (internal) exhaust makes for a very clean, elegant look. A body by the Walter M. Murphy Company on a long-wheelbase chassis certainly doesn’t hurt.
Power is from a 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. The car was purchased new by Lew Wallace Jr., grandson of the author of Ben-Hur. Interestingly, Hyman refers to this as the “Ben-Hur Duesenberg.” Imagine being defined by a book your grandfather wrote. Apparently such extravagances were not doing the Wallace family any favors, as they had to sell the Duesenberg for a ’32 Ford sedan during the Depression.
This chassis retains its original engine, body, and firewall. The engine was rebuilt in the late 1990s, and the paintwork dates to the 1950s. The car is for sale in St. Louis with a listed price between $1.4 and $1.5 million. Click here for more info.
Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 3, 2021
Hanomag was a producer of heavy machinery and motorcars that was essentially founded in 1871 by Georg Egestoff as a company with a different name that produced steam engines. Automobile production lasted from 1925 through 1940, although commercial vehicles remained available until the 1970s.
The Type 15 was introduced in 1933 and was offered as a few different submodels, including the Record 15 K, which was produced from 1934 through 1936. Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-four that made 32 horsepower. A few body styles were offered, including a sedan and a convertible with a body from Ambi-Budd. That is what this car has.
They were not very common when new, and they are about as rare as they come today, especially the convertible variant. This one was restored over many years and is expected to sell for between $32,000-$46,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1936 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline by Rollston
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 14-22, 2021
The 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight that powers this Model J Duesenberg is the third-to-last “J” engine by number. Only J-587 and J-588 are later. This is the final Rollston-bodied Model J, and Mecum states that it was the last completed car to leave the Duesenberg showroom. It was shown at the 1936 New York Auto Show with a price tag of $17,000.
The 265-horsepower car rides on a long-wheelbase chassis and was purchased new by the then-president of Coca-Cola. It was later owned by jazz musician Charles Kyner for 46 years. The restoration was completed in 1990.
These later Model Js have such different bodywork than the earlier cars. It seemed like there was more “freedom” for the designers to rework the area forward of the cowl. This one is striking from the head-on view, and the interior looks like a nice place to be. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum here.
Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | April 17, 2021
The XJS was Jaguar’s follow-up to the E-Type. Introduced in 1975, variants of the car would remain in production through 1996. The final generation of the XJS launched in 1991, and two different engines were available: a 4.0-liter inline-six or a 5.3-liter V12.
This car, sadly, has the six, which was rated at 237 horsepower when new. I’ve always felt like if you’re going to buy one of these, you might as well get the overly-complicated and still-not-that-much-more-powerful V12. Bragging rights. So why are we featuring this car? Because it’s a wonderful shade of teal. That’s why.
The Celebration edition, I think, was to celebrate that Jaguar had saved on development costs by not completely redesigning this car after 20 years. They built 115,413 XJS cars in 21 years, which is pretty impressive. This one has about 10,000 original miles and should sell for between $34,800-$41,700. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | March 20, 2021
The Triumph Herald was a small, four-cylinder car built between 1959 and 1971. It was available in just about every two-door configuration imaginable aside from a pickup. But it was not very powerful or very fast. So, in 1962, Triumph decided to offer a different, yet similar model with a bigger engine.
There were 51,212 examples of the Vitesse built through 1971, split between two-door sedans, convertibles, and a very rare wagon across three different series. The first Vitesse models, including this one, were powered by a 1.6-liter inline-six that made 70 horsepower. Giovanni Michelotti styled the Herald, and he tweaked the same design and called it the Vitesse.
This car is one of 8,447 first series convertibles built. It is expected to bring between $18,000-$23,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.