Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 6, 2022
The American Austin. The original cute microcar. Okay, so it’s actually a license-built version of England’s Austin Seven, which was originally introduced in 1923. American Austin was set up in Delaware in 1929, with production beginning the following year in Butler, Pennsylvania. The company eventually went bankrupt, and production ceased in 1935. The company was reformed in 1938 as American Bantam, who would go on to design the original Jeep.
Three different types of coupes were sold by American Austin in 1934 (the company also offered pickups and vans). I have no idea which one this is, but prices ranged from $295 to $385 when new. Coachwork is from the Hayes Body Corporation, hence why the American versions were more stylish than their British counterparts. Power is from a 747cc inline-four good for 15 horsepower.
This one has four-wheel drum brakes and was restored in 2012. Check out more about it here and see more from Mecum here.
However, that popularity faded into the 1920s. As time wore on, sales plummeted while styling became more mainstream. Bankruptcy occurred in the early 1930s, and the last production Detroit Electrics were sold in 1935. After that, they were available on a per-order basis. Only a “handful” (as if they can fit in your hand) were sold between 1936 and 1939. The company advertised up until 1942.
This is one of the last examples produced, and by this point, the company wasn’t even producing its own bodies anymore. This is a Willys coupe with a Dodge front end. Yes, there is a grille and hood louvers… even though there is not an engine. Late Detroit Electrics were five-horsepower cars, and they even retained the very early cars’ tiller steering! Check out more about this one here and see more from this sale here.
1963 Abarth-Simca 1300 GT Coupe by Sibona & Basano
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Le Castellet, France | November 19, 2021
Abarth used cars from many different manufacturers as base cars for their wild creations. In this case, the base car is a Simca 1000, which was a small, rear-engined sedan produced by the French marque between 1961 and 1978.
Confusingly, there were Simca-Abarth variants of the 1000, which were really just hot sedans. What we have here is an Abarth-Simca. It’s a GT car that Simca wanted Abarth to build that they could take racing.
It’s got a Simca 1000 floor pan, an Abarth-tuned 1.3-liter twin-cam inline-four, and a Simca 1000 four-speed manual gearbox. The cars were eventually homologated for FIA competition, and they were successful in European road racing events.
This car was sold new in Italy, where it was campaigned successfully. From there, it has kind of a complicated ownership history, and frankly it’s too late in the day for me to make much sense of it. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here. The pre-sale estimate is $405,000-$500,000.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 13-14, 2021
Walter Glockler was a Volkswagen and Porsche dealer based in Germany. He had a number of Porsche-based specials built between the late 1940s and mid-1950s. This is actually the last of the six of them. In 1954, he acquired a replacement 356 Pre-A chassis to build his only coupe-bodied special.
It is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cam flat-four (from a Porsche 550 Spyder… a car that owes its existence to a Glockler special) that was fitted in the 2000s. This car was originally intended to compete in the 1954 Mille Miglia, but was not finished in time. Instead it took part in a French/Italian road rally.
It later spent time at the Porsche factory before being exported to the U.S. It went back to Germany in the 90s and was restored the following decade (when the engine was swapped). This is an interesting piece (it even has Glockler-Porsche badging), and should bring a decent sum. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | July 9, 2021
Ferrari’s 250 GT line of cars spawned many sub-models, beginning with 1954’s GT Europa. In 1955, Ferrari introduced the 250 GT Coupe, which could initially be had as a Boano or Ellena variant. The cars were named after their respective coachbuilders, even though both were from the same family. Felice Mario Boano’s namesake company was only around from 1954 through 1957, at which time he renamed the company Carrozzeria Ellena after his son-in-law, who took over the business that would last through 1966.
The two coupes are distinct from each other, but both share the same 3.0-liter Colombo V12 good for 237 horsepower. Only 50 examples of the 250 GT Ellena were built between 1957 and 1958. This one, like others, features a wonderful two-tone paint scheme with a maroon lower body and a silver roof.
This car, #25, was first registered in Rome and made its way to the U.S. in the 1970s. It spent over two decades in a private New York collection and was restored in the U.K. in 2005. It now carries an estimate of $970,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021
A few weeks ago we featured a Nash Metropolitan, which is what this car is usually referred to as. But, it was actually built under four different brands including Nash, Hudson, Metropolitan, and Austin. The easy way to identify an Austin is the right-hand-drive layout.
Actually, Austin built them all and then shipped most of them to the States for sale by Nash/Hudson/AMC. Metropolitans aren’t uncommon in the US (I love them), but the Austin version sure is. This one is still in England though.
Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-four (sourced from the Austin A50 Cambridge) that made about 68 horsepower. While the Metropolitan launched in the US in 1953, they didn’t go on sale in the UK until the very end of 1956, making this a very early UK model. Austin-branded production continued through 1959. There were no ’60 models in the UK, and 1961 cars were just known as “Metropolitans” as they were in the US. Both coupes and convertibles were available.
This one looks good and should bring between $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | March/April 2021
Piero Dusio got rich making uniforms during WWII and parlayed that cash into a small company he founded called Cisitalia. They built racing cars, and eventually road cars. But racing is expensive, and eventually, he ran out of money, forcing him to relocate to Argentina.
Cisitalia collaborated with Abarth (Carlo Abarth was Austrian by birth) here and there, and after the company moved to South America, the two got together for one last fling. Abarth had a car out there called the Fiat-Abarth 850 Allemano. This car is essentially a badge-engineered version of Carlo’s 850. It features an 847cc inline-four that was rated at 55 horsepower when new.
Fewer than 200 Fiat-Abarth models were produced, and about the same (or less) of these were also made. It is not really related to the similarly-named Abarth Scorpione. This one has obviously been restored and is up for bidding now. The auction ends tomorrow. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | March 20, 2021
ETV is an acronym for Extra-Terrestrial Vehicle, and this car was built by Mike Vetter of MTV Concepts in some altered state of mind, somewhere in the US. It looks like something from Minority Report.
It has batwing-style doors, two a 2+2 seating arrangement, and some wild styling. The big scoops behind the doors are a little misleading because this thing is front-engined. That’s right, a 1.6-liter inline-four from a Chevrolet Aveo is stuffed up front under the dashboard.
I have no idea what is in back or how you even get to the tiny rear seats. The photos aren’t much help. Apparently it has front and rear parking cameras and an air ride suspension – neither of which work because it’s been on museum display for some time.
A quick search will return a few photos of the ETV in different colors, which would lead you to believe there are a couple of them out there. This one is expected to sell for between $11,000-$17,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | March 3, 2021
Over the last five years or so, there has been this trend of coachbuilders and styling houses going out on their own to build limited-run cars. Such cars are then branded by the company that designed them. For instance, instead of “Maserati GranTurismo by Touring,” the company just called it a Touring Sciadipersia. Oh wait, that’s the car we have here.
It is based on Maserati’s GranTurismo and even retains Maser’s trident badging. But the body has been reworked, apparently in an attempt to mimic the Qvale Mangusta (how have we not featured a Qvale Mangusta!?). Anyway, this car shares the same 454-horsepower, 4.7-liter V8 with the GranTurismo Sport. It hits 60 in 4.8 seconds on the way to a 186-mph top end.
Touring planned to build 15 of these, but only one coupe and one convertible were ever completed, which makes this one of one. Pricing was never released when they were new, but this one is expected to bring between $460,000-$700,000 now. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by BH Auction | Osaka, Japan | December 20, 2020
A few weeks ago we featured Honda’s first sports car (and second-ever automobile), the Honda S500. Well, the S500 was replaced in 1964 by this, the S600. The car launched as a roadster, much like the S500 before it, and in early 1965, the coupe variant was introduced.
Power is from a 606cc inline-four that still featured Keihin motorcycle carburetors (four of them). The water-cooled, DOHC unit powered the rear wheels via chain drive and produced 57 horsepower from the factory. Top speed was about 90 mph.
The S600 was produced until 1966 when it was replaced by the S800, which was also available in coupe and roadster form. Only 1,800 S600 coupes were built in two model years, making it much rarer than the convertible (of which over 11,000 were built).
This car is listed as a 1967, and it is apparently one of just eight built after S600 production officially wrapped in 1966. There’s got to be more to that story, but I don’t have it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.