Morgan Grand Prix

1919 Morgan Grand Prix

Offered by Aguttes | Paris, France | March 2024

Photo – Aguttes

H.F.S. Morgan had his own automobile dealership and service center by 1904 and ended up building himself his own car five years later. The next year, he was producing them for sale, and the Morgan Motor Company was born.

He used his cars early on in competition settings, including the 1913 Cyclecar Grand Prix, in which a Morgan won. The car that won was the basis for the company’s Grand Prix model that followed, which is what is shown here. It has a Motosacoche Acacias Geneve engine of 1.1 liters in capacity (a V-twin). This car has one of two known remaining engines of the type.

The Grand Prix model was offered from 1913 through 1926. And the three-wheeled design it pioneered and started to perfect would be the basis for three-wheeled Morgans for decades to come. This TT model is pretty stripped down, and it has an estimate of $65,000-$100,000. More info can be found here.

Lorraine-Dietrich Grand Prix

1909 Lorraine-Dietrich 16.4-Liter Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2023

Photo – Bonhams

Well, there’s no replacement for displacement. Back in the early days of competition motoring, companies just put bigger and bigger engines on their relatively simple chassis and hoped for the best. The crazy part is they rarely ever added cylinders. They just made them bigger. Coffee cans that you can count rev.

But! This car is not from 1909. Maybe a few of the components are, but this car was assembled much more recently. It started as a rolling 1909 Lorraine-Dietrich chassis that was fitted with an actual chain-driven Lorraine-Dietrich gearbox and a custom-built giant motor.

It’s a 16.4-liter inline-four that develops 200 horsepower and a crazy 850 lb-ft of torque, the latter at 1,500 rpm. Here’s an old car that can easily keep up with modern traffic. It has a pre-sale estimate of $600,000-$800,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $1,270,000.

Delage D6 Grand Prix

1939 Delage D6 3-Litre Grand Prix

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 17-19, 2023

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The D6 was a long-lived line of Delage cars that started in 1930, took a break during the war, and returned to production afterward and on through 1953 or 1954. The D6 3-Litre road model went on sale in 1946 and lasted until the end of D6 production. It was powered by a… 3-liter inline-six. But so were other, earlier D6s.

This pre-war grand prix car is one of two constructed in preparation for the 1939 season. It’s got a 150-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six and was campaigned in the following:

  • 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2nd (with Louis Gerard and Georges Monneret)
  • 1940 Mille Miglia – DNF (with Gianfranco Comotti and Archimede Rosa)

This car was damaged during the race and was left behind in Italy. The disassembled chassis later found its way into the reserve collection of the horrible Schlumpf brothers, remaining there until 1966. The car was returned to the state you see here by a later owner in the 1990s.

It’s now got an estimate of $600,000-$750,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Sunbeam Grand Prix

1922 Sunbeam Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 17, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Something I did not know: according to Bonhams, Sunbeam was Britain’s most successful Grand Prix entrant during the period in which this car was built. I don’t know what the means in terms of wins, but it sounds nice. The first Sunbeam cars were built in 1901, and they got pretty heavily into racing after WWI.

Four Grand Prix racers like this were built in 1922. It was designed to compete under the 2.0-liter rule with it’s inline-four displacing just that and making 88 horsepower. Two-seater body work was required, as was a tail that could extend beyond the rear axle by no more than 1.5 meters.

This is the prototype of the four 1922 Sunbeam GP cars and was initially road registered by driver Jean Chassagne before being put to use on track. It was raced as late as 1938 and was re-bodied by John Wyer in 1942. In 1973, it was restored. It now has an estimate of $805,000-$920,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $686,929.

Delage Grand Prix

1927 Delage 15-S-8 Grand Prix

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Delage is probably best remembered for some of their swoopy coachbuilt models of the 1930s. But as early as 1908, the company was involved in grand prix racing. They introduced an impressive grand prix car in 1914 that would go on to win the Indianapolis 500 that year.

They took the war off, as well as the following five years, before returning to the track. New rules in 1926 led Delage to design the 15-S-8, a car powered by a supercharged 1.5-liter inline-eight. It was an engineering feat, with twin-cam heads and two-stage blower. Horsepower was about 170 at a screaming 8,000 rpm. That’s a lot of revs for 1927.

For 1927, they company took their 1926 cars and tweaked them a bit. Four 1927 examples were produced, with this being the last. Changes included relocating the exhaust and shifter. The competition history for this car includes:

  • 1927 Grand Prix of ACF Montlhery – 3rd (with Andre Morel)
  • 1927 Spanish Grand Prix – DNF (with Morel)
  • 1927 British Grand Prix at Brooklands – 3rd (with Albert Divo)
  • 1929 Indianapolis 500 – 7th (with Louis Chiron)
  • 1930 French Grand Prix – 6th (with Robert Senechal)
  • 1931 Italian Grand Prix – 9th (with Senechal)
  • 1931 French Grand Prix – 5th (with Senechal)
  • 1933 Eifelrennen – 1st in class (with Earl Howe)
  • 1933 Avusrennen – 3rd (with Howe)

That’s a pretty impressive resume, mostly because was competitive for nearly a decade (it saw regular competitive use through 1935). After WWII, two of the four Delage 15-S-8 race cars were acquired by the same guy who also bought some spares. He ended up assembling three complete cars by mixing and matching parts. This car’s history since is described in more detail here. You can read more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $1,000,000.

Grand Prix 2+2

1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 Richard Petty Edition

Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | November 20-21, 2020

Photo – Mecum

The Pontiac Grand Prix debuted in 1962 and was produced in seven different generations until they killed off the nameplate in 2008. This example is from the fourth generation, which was produced from 1977 through 1987. The Grand Prix was Pontiac’s NASCAR entry for 1986, so they introduced a homologation variant called the 2+2 (the Chevy version was called the Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe) that essentially had a glass fastback. It was supposed to gain an aerodynamic advantage on track.

The 2+2 was supposed to be equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 making 165 horsepower when new. Mecum lists this car as having a 3.8-liter V6. The 2+2 ended up being a 1986-model-year-only variant. It’s a weird product of the times.

Richard Petty raced a NASCAR version of this car, hence the special edition and “Richard Petty” graphics on the doors. Apparently only 2,000 such examples were produced. This one has some weird options, like radio delete and the addition of air conditioning (why?). Anyway, you can see more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $11,500.

Bugatti Type 39 Grand Prix

1925 Bugatti Type 39 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 6, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

The Bugatti Type 39 is part of the Type 35 series and is very similar to the Type 35C. The main exception was the engine, which in this car was a 1.5-liter straight-eight. The cars were successful in competition upon their debut, taking the top four spots in their first race (this one was third).

This particular car was a factory racer that went to Australia under a privateer banner in 1926. It suffered a series of engine failures in the 1920s and then bounced between a number of owners leading up to and after WWII. It has since been completely restored.

I’ve always thought that Grand Prix Bugattis were too cheap. This car carries an estimate of $1,200,000-$1,600,000… which is a little less inexpensive. After all, only 10 Type 39s were built. You can see more about this one here, and see more from Bonhams here.

Update: Not sold.

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.


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.