Peugeot L45 Grand Prix

1914 Peugeot L45 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Over the past year I’ve done some (super nerdy) analytical statistician-type stuff around the Indy 500. During the course of that research, I found some interesting things and this car features prominently among them. We’ll get to that in a minute, but first let’s say that yes, this is the coolest Peugeot you’re likely to ever see up for sale.

As one of the oldest car companies in the world, Peugeot has been involved in racing longer than most companies have existed. The L45 was one in a series of purpose-built racing cars that started with the L76 shortly after 1910. It became the L56 for 1913 and those were raced around Europe. For 1914, the car was updated again, this time to the L45 specification you see here. Peugeot built four of them for the 1914 French Grand Prix (three competed and this was the spare).

It features four-wheel brakes, shaft-drive, and a 112 horsepower, 4.5-liter straight-four. While racing in Europe was big business for Peugeot, there was this little race on the other side of the Atlantic that was getting a lot of attention. They sent one of their premier drivers, Jules Goux, there in 1913 and he was the first to take the checkered flag at the third Indianapolis 500. Keeping in mind there were no Indy 500s in 1917 or 1918, the race history for the chassis you see here includes:

  • 1916 Indianapolis 500 – 3rd (with Ralph Mulford)
  • 1919 Indianapolis 500 – 19th, DNF (with Art Klein)
  • 1919 Sheepshead Bay board track race – 4th (with Klein)
  • 1919 Cincinnati board track race – 2nd (with Klein)
  • 1923 AAA dirt championship – 2nd (with Joe Boyer)
  • 1949 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ (with Lindley Bothwell)

Wait, what was that last one? This car was owned by Peugeot and passed to a few owners including Lutcher Brown, Frank Book, Ralph Mulford, Art Klein, and finally to Lindley Bothwell. Bothwell’s legendary collection of early racing cars featured this among others. Feeling sporty, he took the car to the 1949 Indy 500 and bested the qualifying speed that the Peugeots posted in 1916. Unfortunately, it was far too slow to make the race. But it makes for a pretty interesting, if not bizarre story. Imagine someone showing up at the 2019 Indy 500 trying to qualify in Bobby Rahal’s race-winning car from 1986.

Not many of these Peugeot racing cars survive and this is supposedly the only one with Grand Prix history (even if it was a spare car). It is largely original, though the engine has been rebuilt since 2000 – but it is still capable of 100 mph. It’s one of the most interesting cars to come up for sale in some time. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $7,260,000.

Lombardi Grand Prix

1971 Lombardi Grand Prix

Offered by Artcurial | Monaco | July 2, 2017

Photo – Artcurial

So what do we think it says about the design of an automobile if it is produced by a couple of different companies under a couple of different names? Does this mean that the design is solid and popular and so in-demand that a bunch of companies are all clamoring to build it? Or does it mean that one company tried, failed, went out of business and sold the design to someone else?

The Lombardi Grand Prix went on sale in 1968 and was sold through 1972. It was also sold as the OTAS Grand Prix, the Giannini 1000 Grand Prix, and the Abarth Scorpione. The car’s underpinnings are borrowed from the rear-engined Fiat 850, meaning this car is powered by an 843cc straight-four making 43 horsepower. Top speed is 99 mph. It won’t set the world on fire, but it’s small, light, and nimble enough to be loads of fun.

This example has been thoroughly gone through, having been restored about five years ago. They only built a few hundred of these and this one is expected to bring between $33,500-$45,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $27,247.

Aston-Butterworth

1952 Aston-Butterworth Grand Prix Monoposto

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | September 10, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

For starters: no, this car has nothing to do with Aston Martin. The Aston-Butterworth was the project of Bill Aston. He started with a Cooper Mark I chassis and then used an engine from Archie Butterworth to create this Formula 2 racer. Remember, about this time, Formula 2 was the formula used for the World Championship, like modern Formula 1.

Butterworth’s engine is a 2.0-liter flat-four that makes 140 horsepower. Aston raced one of the cars himself, and built a second (this car) for Robin Montgomerie-Charrington who DNF’d at the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix after running in the top 10.

This car passed through a couple of owners before being bought at auction in 1999 and completely restored in 2004. The current owner acquired the car in 2014 and actually got to use it in a few historic events. This car, one of two from a little-known Grand Prix team should bring between $79,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Goodwood.

Update: Not sold.

Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Monterey, California | August 19, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Bugatti Type 35 (and ensuing series) is one of the most famous Grand Prix Bugattis, launching in 1924. For 1931, Bugatti upped the game, introducing the Type 51 (which to the untrained eye looks identical to the earlier cars). The Type 51 would give way to the Type 54 and later, Type 59.

It is powered by a supercharged 2.3-liter straight-eight that makes 160 horsepower and 180 with the supercharger engaged. It was a true race car, and the competition history of this example includes:

  • 1931 Monaco Grand Prix – 11th, DNF (with Earl Howe)
  • 1932 Monaco Grand Prix – 4th (with Howe)
  • 1933 Monaco Grand Prix – 12th, DNF (with Howe)
  • 1933 French Grand Prix – 9th, DNF (with Howe)

It raced through 1937 before being damaged and sidelined. Years later, the current owner acquired it (in 1983). It has been relatively hidden since then – but has recently been freshened so it does run and drive. It is one of the first of 40 built and was raced competitively in period by Earl Howe (and was driven by Tazio Nuvolari at some point, too). The fantastic history of this car leads it to be one of those “inquire for the pre-sale estimate” types. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $4,000,000.

Bugatti Type 35

1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Monaco | May 13, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

There is so much that can be said about this car, starting with the fact that it’s one of the most iconic racing cars of its era. The Type 35 Bugatti was introduced in the latter half of 1924 and spawned multiple later variations including the Type 37.

It is powered by a 2.0-liter straight-eight producing 90 horsepower. It was sold new to someone in London, who picked the car up in France and drove it home. He quickly entered the car in various competitive events, finishing well in some of them.

The car was restored between 2007 and 2009, when an original Type 35 engine was re-installed in the car after decades of running on an Anzani engine. It was repainted to match its original color scheme and it is wearing the best wheels that a Grand Prix Bugatti possibly can. It’s a car that has been extensively used over its life, including post-restoration. Only 96 Type 35s were built, with this being 19th Grand Prix version constructed. It’s a fantastic car and should bring between $1,100,000-$1,700,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,200,618.

Alfetta GTV Grand Prix

1981 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV Grand Prix

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2014

1981 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV Grand Prix

Photo – Artcurial

Here’s the other limited edition Alfetta GTV we’re featuring. It’s a “Grand Prix” special edition. It was built to commemorate Alfa Romeo’s return to Formula One, which occurred in 1981.

Underneath, it’s all Alfetta GTV. The engine is a 2.0-liter straight-four making 128 horsepower. Between 1981 and 1982, only 650 examples were made and this one has low miles. It should sell for between $11,000-$16,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Artcurial’s lineup.

Update: Sold $14,477.

Five Rare Alfas

1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2014

1965 Alfa Romeo Guilia TZ

The Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ was new for 1963 and it was built to replace the Giulietta SZ. The TZ was developed with Autodelta – Alfa’s dedicated competition arm. It features a tubular chassis and sleek wagon-esque bodywork from Zagato – thus the “TZ” for “tubolare Zagato.”

The car uses a 1.6-liter straight-four making 160 horsepower. The car was very light and could do 130+ mph. TZs won their class at all of the big races including Le Mans, the Targa Florio, Sebring and more. The competition history of this car is unknown – if it was used in competition at all.

Only 112 Giulia TZs (sometimes referred to as the TZ1) were built between 1963 and 1965. This one has undergone a comprehensive restoration and is ready for classic car rallies or vintage racing events, depending on what your preference is. This car should sell for between $1,025,000-$1,365,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,289,366

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1966 Alfa Romeo Gran Sport Quattroroute

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2014

1966 Alfa Romeo Gran Sport Quattroroute

Consider that the car you see here is one year newer than the car above. It is essentially a factory-made replica of one of their own cars. It is styled much like the 1750 Gran Sport by Zagato that Alfa built in the 1930s.

It uses the mechanicals from the Giulia 1600 – a 1.6-liter straight-four making 106 horsepower. The body is aluminium (which it wasn’t in the 1930s). There are also likely some creature comforts that the earlier cars lacked as well.

Between 1965 and 1967, only 92 examples of this very rare Alfa Romeo were built (it was not a success in its day). You almost never see them. While not as valuable as a real 1930s 1750 Gran Sport, this car should still likely bring between $47,000-$75,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial’s special second-day all-Alfa sale at Retromobile.

Update: Sold $75,604.

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1986 Alfa Romeo 75 1.8 i.e. Turbo Evoluzione

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2014

1986 Alfa Romeo 75 1.8 i.e. Turbo Evoluzione

The Alfa Romeo 75 was a plaid, boring ol’ mid-size sedan built between 1985 and 1992. A standard 75 – or even some of their upscale, limited-edition trims aren’t collectible. But this Turbo Evoluzione certainly is. In order to meet FIA Group A regulations, Alfa had to build road-going versions of their 75 Group A Touring Car.

This is the result. The engine is a turbocharged 1.8-liter fuel-injected straight-four making 155 horsepower. Top speed was 130 mph and it could hit 60 in 7.5 seconds. This was a pretty badass sedan for 1986.

The cars were only built for a year and only 500 were made – which makes this a very limited edition model considering over 375,000 Alfa 75s were built in total. This car should bring between $20,000-$27,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $38,606

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1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV Turbodelta Coupe

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2014

1979 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV Turbodelta Coupe

Next up we have a pair of Alfetta GTVs. This one is a limited-edition model from 1979 called the “Turbodelta” which was developed by Autodelta, Alfa’s motorsport division. It is a homologation special so Alfa could compete in Group 4 Rally.

It starts with an Alfetta GTV. The engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter straight-four tuned to make 150 horsepower. Top speed was around 130 mph (I’m noticing a pattern among these cars). This is an all-original, low-miles example with known history.

Only 400 examples of the Turbodelta were built. This should sell for between $35,000-$38,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $49,867

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1981 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV Grand Prix

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2014

1981 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV Grand Prix

Here’s the other limited edition Alfetta GTV we’re featuring. It’s a “Grand Prix” special edition. It was built to commemorate Alfa Romeo’s return to Formula One, which occurred in 1981.

Underneath, it’s all Alfetta GTV. The engine is a 2.0-liter straight-four making 128 horsepower. Between 1981 and 1982, only 650 examples were made and this one has low miles. It should sell for between $11,000-$16,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Artcurial’s lineup.

Update: Sold $14,477.

A Scuderia Ferrari Alfa 8C-35 Grand Prix Car

1935 Alfa Romeo 8C-35 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 14, 2013

1935 Alfa Romeo 8C-35 Grand Prix

Before Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren there was Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Auto Union. The 1930s were a thrilling (and scary) time in Grand Prix racing and some of its all-time stars came from that era: Caracciola, Nuvolari, Rosemeyer, Varzi and more. And so did one other man: Enzo Ferrari. Scuderia Ferrari began as a race team in 1929 – becoming the Alfa Romeo factory team. It wasn’t until after the war that he started building his own cars.

This is a special, special car. It’s an 8C-35 – it uses a supercharged 3.8-liter straight-eight engine making 330 horsepower – quite a sum for 1935. This is an actual Scuderia Ferrari team car driven by Nuvolari (and more). The Ferrari-era history of this car is not known, but legend holds that Nuvolari won the 1936 Coppa Ciano with it. Toward the end of 1936, this car was sold to a privateer – Hans Ruesch, who raced it as often as possible. Some of his driving career in the car is as follows (including 3 European Championship – the precursor to Formula One – eligible races in 1937, as noted by asterisk*):

  • 1936 Donington Grand Prix – 1st (with Ruesch and Dick Seaman)
  • 1936 Mountain Championship at Brooklands – 2nd (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 South African Grand Prix – 4th (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Grosvenor Grand Prix – 5th (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Finnish Grand Prix – 1st (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Grand Prix des Frontieres – 1st (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Bucharest Grand Prix – 1st (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 German Grand Prix* – 8th (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Monaco Grand Prix *- 8th (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Swiss Grand Prix* – 15th, DNF (with Ruesch)
  • 1937 Mountain Championship at Brooklands – 1st (with Ruesch)

Ruesch sold the car in 1939 after much success (and a few major repairs). The car came into the hands of Dennis Poore during the war and he maintained the car for 40 years, using it in a fair number of events. It was sold at auction in 1988 and was restored to its 1930s-era look in the late-1990s. The current owner acquired it about 10 years ago and has used it in some historic events as well. This is the only surviving example of an 8C-35 and it should sell for between $8,600,000-$10,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams at Goodwood.

Update: Sold $9,511,542.

S/N: 50013

Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix

1927 Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix

Offered by RM Auctions | Lake Como, Italy | May 25, 2013

1927 Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix

One of the best Bugatti’s ever. The Type 37 was an evolution of the Type 35 – it used the same chassis and body but used a different, smaller engine. That engine is a 1.5-liter straight-four making 80 horsepower.

This car uses the same formula that Colin Chapman would champion (tongue-twister alert) many years later: you don’t need a big engine if your car is lightweight and nimble. Compare a Bugatti like this to a Blower Bentley. The Bentley was huge and heavy and had to use a huge engine with huge power. This didn’t need big power because it’s small and light.

This car was sold new to Malaysia where the first owner kept it for two years before trading up (or down, depending on your perspective) for a Bentley. It was sold to someone in Singapore, who had to disassemble it and hide it during WWII. Years later it was discovered and taken back to England. In 1965, it was sold to German ownership – the current owner acquiring it in 1983.

The car is mostly original (which is mind-blowing) and has been mechanically sorted and its ready to go. Sure, it doesn’t have an awesome race history, but it’s still an awesome car. Only 290 Type 37s were built. It should sell for between $975,000-$1,250,000. Click here for more info and for some glorious photos. And here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Bugatti Type 54 Grand Prix

1931 Bugatti Type 54 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2013

1931 Bugatti Type 54 Grand Prix

Whoa. Bonhams dug up a treasure for their Paris sale this year – this is one of only nine Bugatti Type 54 Grand Prix cars built. The Type 54 was an evolution of the Type 51. It was used for the 1931 Grand Prix season. The engine is a 300 horsepower 4.9-liter supercharged straight eight. It was entered in the “Above 3-Liters” category, which was essentially an “anything goes” class. Most of the important pieces on the Type 54 were sourced from other Bugattis. Essentially, they took the best bits of every car they built until one super machine was finished. This particular car won the 1931 Grand Prix of Monza with Achille Varzi driving.

I’d like to list the entire race history of this car, but Bonham’s catalog description looks like it was written in French and run through a mediocre translator to get the English version. As it is, it is almost unreadable and very vague. If you’re thinking of buying this thing and provenance is important to you, I’d get someone on the phone first to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

This car left the Bugatti team ranks at the end of 1931 and was sold to Prince Georg Christian Lobkowicz of Czechoslovakia. He was a “gentleman driver” so to speak and was unfortunately killed in this car during his first outing in it at AVUS in 1932. The car was given to his teammate, Zdenek Pohl, who had it rebuilt but didn’t really use the car until it was obsolete. So he turned it into a two-seat roadster with beautiful coachwork by Oldrich Uhlik (the body for this new car now resides on another chassis and is owned by a 1930s European car hoarder in California – just kidding, Mr. Mullin!).

The next owner, who acquired the car in 1970, had the roadster body removed and an original-style Grand Prix body was constructed for the car by the Peel coachbuilding company. It was re-bodied again in 2005 by Rod Jolley in painstaking detail back to 1931 Monza race condition. It is being offered as one of four surviving Type 54s of the original nine built and the only one whose original mechanical parts have never been removed/separated from the car. It is expected to sell for between $3,300,000-$4,700,000. Read more here (it’s better if you speak French) and check out the rest of the Bonhams lineup here.

Update: Not sold.