Rochdale GT

1957 Rochdale GT Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 14, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering was founded in 1948 by Frank Butterworth and Harry Smith. They got their start producing automobiles in 1954, which were technically just fiberglass shells used by customers to re-body Austin Sevens.

The GT was the third such product launched by the company, and it went on sale in 1957. They had the Ford Popular in mind as a base, but by 1960 you could get it on Rochdale’s own frame, as the company had moved to produce its own cars outright with the introduction of the Olympic in 1959.

This example is based on a Ford Popular frame and is powered by a 1.5-liter Coventry-Climax inline-four producing 140 horsepower. The GT was far and away Rochdale’s largest success, with about 1,350 built in total. Rochdale closed its doors in 1973, and it is thought that only about 80 GTs survive. This one has been restored and is eligible for historic racing events. It should bring between $36,000-$49,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $31,194.

Alfa 256 Touring Coupe

1939 Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 Coupe by Touring

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

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Tipo 256 is a very rare pre-war Alfa based on the 6C 2500. It was a racing car that was introduced in 1939. A few things differentiate the 256 from other racing variants of the 6C, one of them being that the Tipo 256 was actually prepared by Scuderia Ferrari in Modena, and not by Alfa themselves.

Power is from a 125 horsepower, 2.5-liter inline-six. Other features include a shortened frame, larger fuel tank, lowered radiator, three Weber carburetors, and a stiffer suspension. This car was originally built as a Spider Siluro and it’s competition history includes:

  • 1940 Mille Miglia – 36th, 7th in class (with Giovanni Maria Cornaggia Medici and B. Gavazzoni)

It competed in a number of other Italian road races in 1939 and 1940, when production of the 256 ceased. In all, it is believed that 20 examples were built. This one, like at least a few others, was re-bodied after its racing career ended. This Touring body you see above was fitted in 1941.

It remained in Italian hands until coming to Washington state in 2012. This marks the first time this chassis has ever been offered for public sale, and it is expected to fetch between $2,750,000-$3,500,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,755,000.

375 MM Speciale by Ghia

1955 Ferrari 375 MM Coupe Speciale by Ghia

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Ferrari 375 MM was a race car. The MM stood for Mille Miglia, the famed Italian road race. That’s what the 26 examples of the 375 MM were destined for, along with the Carrera Panamericana and other similar events.

But sometimes exclusive Ferrari clientele convinced Enzo that his latest race car would make their perfect road car. Such was the case with this car, which was purchased by early Ferrari fan Bob Wilke. It’s powered by a 340 horsepower, 4.5-liter V12 and was the second-to-last 375 MM built.

It carries a striking body by Ghia and was the final Ferrari bodied by that particular carrozzeria. The paint scheme is spot on and compliments the Borrani wire wheels and the overall stance of the car exceptionally well. Debuting at the 1955 Turin Motor Show, the car was retained by Wilke’s family until 1974. It was never restored but has been repainted. It’s one of RM’s “big money Ferraris” and you can read more about it here. Check out more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Bristol 411 Series III

1972 Bristol 411 Series III Coupe

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 13, 2019

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

The Bristol 411 was produced in five different series between 1969 and 1976. Series III cars went on sale in 1972 and were succeeded in 1974 by the Series IV. The main difference from the Series II was some revised styling, including a shift to four headlights and that kind of cool front grille treatment.

The 6.3-liter Chrysler V8 also received a lower compression ratio for 1972. Series II features, including a self-leveling suspension, were retained. Still though, after seven years and five different iterations, Bristol only made 287 examples of the 411.

This one was restored in 2012 and purchased by the consignor in 2017. It should sell for between $45,000-$54,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $49,708.

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.

Update: Sold $39,125.

Arnolt-MG

1953 Arnolt-MG Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 2, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Stanley Arnolt began importing cars into the US from Europe in the 1950s and was later a manufacturer in his own right, based out of Chicago. When he was on a business trip in 1952 he ran into the folks from Bertone at an auto show and struck up a deal.

The deal was that Bertone would design bodies for Arnolt to fit on the chassis of other European cars. The first collaboration was the Arnolt-MG, which was offered as a coupe and convertible. Power is from a 54 horsepower, 1.3-liter inline-four. The mechanicals and chassis were from an MG TD.

Only 65 coupes were built before MG moved on to the TF, leaving Arnolt to find a new base car, which he did from the likes of Bristol, Jaguar, and Aston Martin. This car has been restored and looks as if it came from an entirely different decade than the MG TD on which it is based. It should sell for between $75,000-$125,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $64,960.

Two Old Cars from Bonhams

1921 Wasp Model 211 Rickshaw Victoria

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Karl Martin was at first an oil man, then a coachbuilder, and then, in 1919 when he ended up in Bennington, Vermont, an automobile manufacturer. The Martin Wasp Corporation built cars from 1920 through 1924. Not very long. The catalog has this listed as a “Martin Wasp” but the cars were sold under the “Wasp” name.

They were powered by relatively ordinary 72 horsepower, 5.8-liter Wisconsin inline-fours (and later sixes), but the styling was quite unique. These were long, low cars that wore touring coachwork Martin described as “rickshaw phaetons.” Douglas Fairbanks bought one as a gift for his wife, Mary Pickford.

The cars were very expensive – this one would’ve cost $5,000 when new. Only 14 four-cylinder – and three six-cylinder – cars were built. The one you see here was actually assembled in the 1940s from leftover unused new parts that Martin retained after the factory had closed. Still, with only two other “real” Wasps in existence, it is pretty special. It should bring between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $51,520.


1931 Detroit Electric Model 99 Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Electric cars have always had this weird “science fair project” look about them. Even from the beginning. Part of it is because of packaging – they have different things they have to carry, necessitating different designs. Part of it is function – modern cars are trying to show they are eco-friendly with weird hubcaps, etc.

But this looks like a Ford Model A coupe. Or, as it was bodied by Fisher, a period Chevrolet. You would have no idea it was powered by a 15 horsepower DC electric motor if it didn’t say “electric” in the name.

It was part of the Harrah collection for many years and remains in original condition. The company only built 131 cars in 1931, and this is the only survivor. It may be the “newest” Detroit Electric in existence, as production petered out pretty dramatically after 1932. It should bring between $30,000-$60,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $67,200.

250 GT Speciale

1957 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale by Pinin Farina

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 18, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Pinin Farina was responsible for what we’ll call the “base” Ferrari 250 GT Coupe. Produced from 1958 through 1961, these cars were the volume-leader model among so many special, limited-edition 250 GTs.

The car pictured here is about the farthest possible thing from a “base” model. This particular car was built specially for a Belgian Princess by Pinin Farina and has known ownership history from new. A restoration was completed in 1997 and it’s been on the show field at Pebble Beach.

Somehow, RM’s catalog entry is completely devoid of any technical information on the car. Power is likely from a 3.0-liter V-12, and this is thought to be one of four Coupe Speciales bodied by Pinin Farina, though the coachwork is unique. It should sell for between $11,000,000-$13,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Apollo 3500 GT

1963 Apollo 3500 GT Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17-18, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This sleek Italian-styled sports car from the early 1960s was actually built in Oakland, California, by International Motor Cars. The body was technically built in Italy by Intermeccanica, then shipped to Oakland for final assembly, where it would be mated to an American engine.

In this case, that American engine is a 3.5-liter Buick V8 making 225 horsepower. A more powerful variant, the 5000 GT, would receive a larger 4.9-liter unit. It has the styling of a contemporary Ferrari, and it’s probably much cheaper to maintain.

Production numbers are really weird for these. Initially, Apollo only built 42 cars (combined between both engine options), and then the design was sold and the car was sold as the Vetta Ventura. After that venture ended, Apollo sprang back up and built a few more cars. RM says this is one of 90. I’ll take their word for it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

S/N: 1004

Update: Sold $134,400.

Update: Not sold, Mecum Phoenix 2019, high bid of $130,000.

Bentley Empress II

1991 Bentley Turbo RL Empress II Coupe by Hooper

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17-18, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Before we get into the coachbuilt rareness of this car, let’s start with a little model background. The Bentley Turbo R was a sedan introduced in 1985 and was produced in several iterations through 1999. It was sold in two wheelbases initially, long and short. An updated model went on sale in 1995, and the limited-edition Turbo S was sold in 1995.

In 1996, the short-wheelbase cars ended production. Prior to that, long-wheelbase cars were sold as the Bentley Turbo RL. After 1996, they were all long-wheelbase and the “L” was dropped. That’s a long-winded way to tell you that the car presented here is a long-wheelbase Turbo R. But (intrigue!) it’s a coupe. Bentley ever only sold it as a sedan.

That’s where Hooper comes in. The coachbuilder, with a longtime association with Bentley and favored car-crafting masters of the British Royal family, built this two-door aluminum-bodied coupe. Still powered by a 296 horsepower, 6.75-liter turbocharged V8, the car features streamlined coachwork and a bespoke interior. Only five were built, and this car – the fourth built – was used in Hooper’s advertising. It’s one of two left-hand-drive examples and is being sold from the Calumet Collection. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $128,800.