The Best BMW 335

1940 BMW 335 Four-Door Cabriolet by Autenrieth

For sale at Fantasy Junction | Emeryville, California

Photo – Fantasy Junction

The modern BMW 335 is a six-cylinder car and a member of BMW’s 3-Series lineup. It’s a popular model, but it sits sort of near the bottom of the BMW range. But in 1940 the 335 was as good as it got (unless you hopped up to the sports car-only 328). Introduced in 1939, this model didn’t really get a fair shot with the war about to break out. It was produced into 1941 before passenger car production was halted.

This car is powered by a 90 horsepower, 3.5-liter straight-six (hey look at that, BMW’s model name numbering system used to make sense!). Top speed, dependent on body style, was up to 90 mph. This model could be had as a four-door sedan, two-door cabriolet, or, as you see here, a stately four-door cabriolet.

It seems like Mercedes-Benz (and even Horch to a lesser extent) always gets all of the spotlight when it comes to these Reich-era open-top Autobahn cruisers. Pre-war, BMW rarely enters the conversation unless you’re talking about the 328. Part of the reason is scarcity. Only 415 examples of the 335 were built. Only five four-door cabriolets still exist (of the 40 built by this coachbuilder). Compare that to some of the Mercedes survival numbers and it’s easy to see why the Benzes always show up in films.

This example was restored in 2007 and it still looks fresh. You have to wonder who was in a position to buy such an extravagant car in 1939 and what life it lived during the war. It was brought to the U.S. by a member of the military and it remained here pretty much ever since. This car marked a high point for BMW that they wouldn’t equal for quite some time. It’s currently for sale in California for $495,000. Click here for more info.

Four-Door Rolls-Royce Convertible

1971 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Four-Door Cabriolet by Frua & Royle Cars

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

If the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI wasn’t rare enough (only 374 were built between 1968 and 1990 – an eternity as far as single model production goes), this Rolls-Royce is a one-off, four-door convertible.

The Phantom VI was the final version of the numerical Phantoms that began all the way back in 1925 with the Phantom I. A VI was actually Queen Elizabeth’s official state car until 2002. It’s powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 engine making 220 horsepower. VIs were sold as bare chassis and most were bodied by Mulliner Park Ward. This car was sold as a bare chassis to an Englishman who sent it to Frua in Italy for a Sedanca de Ville body to be fitted.

It never was and the chassis changed hands, this time to an American. It wasn’t until 1977 that the body you see here was designed. But it wouldn’t actually be completed until 1993 – after Pietro Frua had died and after the American owner’s collection had been sold. The new owner had Royle Cars Ltd. complete the Frua design and it was done just in time for the 1993 Geneva Auto Show, which makes this the final Phantom VI to be completed.

It also makes this practically a brand new car. It has covered only 72 miles in its life. It’s a Rolls-Royce, so the car’s interior is way off the end of the luxury scale, with a dizzying amount of details scattered throughout. It’s also one of the rarest bodystyles in the world: a four-door convertible. Not many people are crazy enough to build such a car. Only two Phantom VI convertibles were built, here is the other one. This one should bring between $800,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017, $385,000.

Rockne Sedan

1932 Rockne Model 65 Four-Door Sedan

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | May 7, 2016

1932 Rockne Model 65 Four-Door Sedan

Photo – Auctions America

When one thinks of Studebaker, they don’t necessarily recall that Studebaker launched multiple sub-brands during its lifetime. Rockne was one such brand. It was introduced in 1932 – shortly after giving legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne a job as “Promotional Manager” (both Studebaker and Notre Dame hail from South Bend, Indiana). Rockne died in a plane crash in 1931, less than two weeks after accepting his new position.

The Rockne was marketed as an inexpensive but solid budget car. Two models were available at launch with this, the Model 65, being the entry-level model. It is powered by a 66 horsepower 3.1-liter straight-six. There were five body styles offered on the Model 65, with the Four-Door Sedan being mid-range, price-wise, costing $635 when new.

This is an ex-museum car and is very nice. Only 23,201 Rocknes were ever built, as the brand was shuttered before the halfway point of 1933. It’s a rare piece of American motoring history and should bring between $12,000 and $16,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $9,625.