1963 Town & Country

1963 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country

Offered by Mecum | Louisville, Kentucky | September 20, 2019

Photo – Mecum

The Chrysler New Yorker nameplate dates back to 1940, and the Town & Country model was introduced in 1941. For a while, Town & Country models could be had in all manner of body styles, including a very attractive convertible. But by the time the 50s rolled around, they became the station wagon versions of other Chrysler cars.

And that’s what we have here. The sixth-generation New Yorker went on sale in 1960, and by 1962 those wild rear fins had disappeared. This nine-passenger Town & Country is one of just 1,244 built in 1963. It is powered by a 6.8-liter V8 capable of 340 horsepower.

So why is it notable? Well, there was the limited production, but how many of these actually survived? And in this condition at that? This car retailed for $4,815 when new. It should certainly bring more than that later this month. We’ll have to wait and see just how much more. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

August 2019 Auction Highlights

We’ll start in August with Mecum’s Harrisburg sale, where an insane thing happened: the Plymouth Superbird we featured (that also happened to be Richard Petty’s former race car), failed to sell… for $3,500,000. Yeesh. The overall top seller was this 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Sox & Martin drag car for $429,000. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Mecum

Now we move to Monterey, and we’ll start with Bonhams Quail Lodge sale. The top sale was the Ferrari 340 America we featured. It brought $3,635,000. No-sales among our feature cars included the Shelby/De Tomaso racer, the Siata 208 CS, and, I’m pretty sure, this Stutz Monte Carlo. Most Interesting is awarded to this 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Galibier sedan by Gangloff that went for $246,400.

Photo – Bonhams

Other highlights here included the Fran Roxas-bodied Duesenberg for just $478,000, the Hughes-Kircher Special for $304,200, the 1928 Cunningham for $80,000, and a previously-featured 12-seater Delahaye for $86,800. Click here for complete results.

Pivoting back to Mecum for their Monterey sale, we find that the top seller was this 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 that sold for $2,750,000.

Photo – Mecum

The Ferrari 250 Monza was a no-sale at $20,000,000 – which just means that they had exceedingly high expectations for a car they didn’t seem too sure what it was. Other no-sales included the Delahaye Narval and previously-features cars such as this Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, a Talbot-Lago, the Lamborghini Centenario, a Corvette ZR2 convertible, and the Dragonsnake Cobra. The Gerhardt-Offy and Lola-Menard also failed to sell.

But, Arie Luyendyk’s ’97-winning car went for $440,000. Other sales included the Mercedes Alpine racer for $330,000 and a previously-featured McLaren 675LT Spider for $253,000. Click here for the rest of the results.

Next up is Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach sale. We’ll start with the no-sales, which included the Alfa Superflow, Jaguar XJR-10, and, I think, a previously-featured OSCA. The biggest seller was this 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider that sold for $9,905,000.

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Ferrari we featured, the Niki Lauda F1 car, sold for $6,000,000. Other Italian sales included the Alfa 256 for $2,755,000 and the Isotta Indy car for $2,645,000.

And our other feature cars, in decreasing order, were the Duesenberg Sport Berline for $2,040,000, the Studebaker Indy car for $1,105,000, and the Tatra for $412,000. Click here for more results.

And to wrap this post up, RM Sotheby’s much-talked-about sale, where the expected star, the 1939 Porsche, failed to sell after mass confusion. They did manage to set a record for a McLaren at auction, selling this 1994 McLaren F1 “LM-Spec” car sold for $19,805,000. These cars are not done appreciating.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Other no-sales included the Ferrari 196 SP, the Ferrari 375MM, the Vector M12, a Duesenberg, and a previously-featured Maserati. On the “cheap” side of things, we have the 1990s Pantera for $240,800, the Jaguar Pirana for $324,000, and a previously-featured Rolls-Royce for $665,000.

Seven-figure cars included the Lincoln Indianapolis Concept at $1,105,000, the Aston DB5 wagon for $1,765,000, the Ferrari FXX for $3,520,000, and the GT40 Roadster for $7,650,000. Click here for final results.

Ferrari 250 Monza

1954 Ferrari 250 Monza by Scaglietti

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo – Mecum

It’s a little amusing how much the Mecum catalog is hedging on the description of this car. It is in the catalog as “1954/1959 Ferrari 0432M.” Which is useless info. This car has a nuanced history, that’s for sure. I guess when you own the auction house you want to lay out the facts and let others draw their own conclusions – which I will now do. This car was born in 1954 as a Pinin Farina-bodied 250 Monza Spider.

Only four examples of the 250 Monza were built and they were essentially the 750 Monza with a 3.0-liter V12 instead of a 3.0-liter inline-four. Output was 260 horsepower. This particular car won the 1954 12 Hours of Hyeres with Maurice Trintignant and Luigi Piotti.

Sometime in 1956 or 1957, the car returned to Ferrari, who had it re-bodied by Scaglietti with the pontoon fender-style body you see here. The interesting bit is that this was done at approximately the same time Scaglietti was designing the 250 Testa Rossa. Maybe it’s like a proto-Testa Rossa?

In 1959, it arrived at Luigi Chinetti’s place in New York, and it was shown at the 1959 New York Auto Show. From there it’s had a few owners, including Dana Mecum who had the car restored in 2014. The catalog makes this car seem mysterious. But old cars changed bodies here and there. No big deal. It’s a factory-re-body of a 250 Monza. And it’s wonderful. I look forward to your hate mail telling me why my assumptions are wrong. Check out more info on this car here, and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $20,000,000.

170VS Gelandesport

1938 Mercedes-Benz 170VS Gelandesport

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo – Mecum

The Mercedes-Benz 170V went on sale in 1935 and quickly became the marque’s most popular model up through the outbreak of WWII. The 170S was introduced in 1949 and was built through 1952 and was slightly larger than the earlier V (which also remained in production into the 1950s).

What we have here is the sole survivor of the 10 170VS examples built – a car known as the Gelandesport. It was specially-built by Mercedes-Benz to compete in the 1938 Deutsche Alpenfahrt, a three-day rally that took drivers through the Alps from Munich to Vienna.

Power is from a 1.9-liter inline-four capable of 65 horsepower. It was discovered by an American in Germany in 1950 and was purchased in 1990 by the current owner, who began a restoration in 1995. That work completed in 2018, and the car is now a highlight of an already-packed Mecum Monterey catalog. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $330,000.

Three Open Wheel Cars in Monterey

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019


1997 G-Force-Oldsmobile GF01

Photo – Mecum

We’re starting here with Arie Luyendyk’s 1997 Indy 500-winning car. I have an unpopular opinion (influenced heavily by nostalgia) that the 1996-1998 Indy 500s were the greatest. I was up there for Fan Fest (or whatever it was called) as a kid and fell in love this era of open wheel cars. Between Arie and Buddy Lazier, I’m not sure who had a more profound impact on my love for the 500.

G-Force was founded in 1991 by Chip Ganassi and Ken Anderson, and they began building cars for the Indy Racing League in 1997. The car above was the very first GF01 constructed. And it was a beast. Powered by a 4.0-liter Oldsmobile Aurora V8, this GF01 took pole and the win at Indy in 1997 (other GF01s swept the podium). The competition history for this ex-Treadway Racing chassis includes:

  • 1997 Indianapolis 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
  • 1997 Texas 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
  • 1998 Las Vegas 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
  • 1999 Las Vegas 500 – 1st (with Sam Schmidt)

The car was restored by Treadway Racing in its ’97 500 racing livery and is just missing onboard telemetry and an ECU to make it functional. Indy 500-winning cars don’t change hands often, which makes this pretty special. Oh, by the way, the second-place car from ’97 is also offered at this sale. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $440,000.


1995 Lola-Menard T95/00

Photo – Mecum

In 1995, the Indy 500 was still part of the CART season. We’ve actually featured another Lola T95/00 with Indy history, but it was Cosworth-powered. This car is “Menard”-powered, which mostly means it features a turbocharged 3.6-liter Buick V6 built by-and-for Team Menard.

This Menard-entry in 1996 ended up winning the pole with Scott Brayton behind the wheel. Unfortunately, he was killed testing a back-up car in practice a few days after securing pole. Menard pulled Danny Ongais out of a nine-year retirement to run the car. He was 53-years-old on race day. This car’s competition history includes:

  • 1996 Indianapolis 500 – 7th (with Danny Ongais)

Both of Brayton’s pole-winning cars (1995 and 1996) are being offered at this sale. I chose this one because of its amazing Glidden/Menards livery (and Campbell Hausfeld, a company local to me)… although the other Quaker State/Menards car is quite attractive (and a photo of a similar-liveried car hung on my bedroom wall as a kid). Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $150,000.


1967 Gerhardt-Ford

Photo – Mecum

Here’s something a little older. Fred Gerhardt’s Fresno, California-built open-wheelers were all over the USAC circuit in the late 1960s. They were a competitive chassis that ran many races between about 1965 and 1971. Somehow, it is said that Gerhardt only built 11 examples. I think the “in 1967” part of that sentence was missing from the catalog.

This example is powered by a rear-mounted Ford 4.2-liter DOHC V8. It was purchased new by Walter Weir, who entered the car in the ’67 500 for F1 driver Lorenzo Bandini, who died at Monaco a few weeks before Indy. Thus, the competition history for this car includes:

  • 1967 Indianapolis 500 – 28th, DNF (with Al Miller)
  • 1968 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (driver unknown)
  • 1969 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (driver unknown)
  • 1971 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (with Bill Puterbaugh)

It has had several owners since and has been restored. It’s eligible for historic events and can now be yours! Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $115,000.

June 2019 Auction Highlights

We pick up well into June with Osenat. The Bugatti Type 35B was the only car we featured and it was easily the top seller at $455,822, therefore we shall award Most Interesting to this 1950 Hotchkiss Type 686 S. It brought $65,638. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Osenat

We’ll stay in Europe for our second sale, which was from H&H Classics in Duxford. $284,358 took home this 1957 AC Ace-Bristol, besting all other lots in terms of price. The Stanley Steamer we featured didn’t meet its reserve. More results can be found here.

Photo – H&H Classics

Onward to Mecum in Portland where this 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 was the top seller at $275,000. You can find more results here.

Photo – Mecum

Next up: Barrett-Jacksons’ Northeast sale, and we didn’t have any feature cars from this sale either. Someone paid $2.7 million for the final Corvette Z06 – a car that hasn’t even been built yet. With that dumb bit of news out of the way, the top-selling car that actually existed was $280,500 paid for this 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster. More results are available here.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

Finally, we have Bonhams’ Chantilly sale where a rough sell-through rate saw our featured Gordini take home top sale honors at $779,769. The Arnolt-Bristol and Alfa 6C both failed to sell, but a previously-featured Salmson found a new home for $57,183. Most Interesting goes to this 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale that sold for $98,770. Click here for final results.

Photo – Bonhams

Figoni et Falaschi Narval

1947 Delahaye 135MS Narval Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo – Mecum

If this car were to be built today, it would ride about four inches lower. At least. That upside-down bathtub styling just looks right at home sucking on the ground. But the roads were different in 1947. Especially in France. And who am I to nitpick a Figoni et Falaschi design?

The Delahaye 135MS is powered by a 3.6-liter inline-six probably making about 145 horsepower. These cars were produced both before and after the war, technically from about 1938 through the end of Delahaye production in 1954.

The “Narval” name, if you haven’t figured it out, alludes to the car’s somewhat narwhal-like appearance. Only seven such Delahayes were bodied like this, and this one has been in the same hands for the last 50 years. It’s a million-dollar car, no doubt. You can see more about it here and more from Mecum’s Monterey sale here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $2,600,000.

Wright Special

1953 Wright Special

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019

Photo – Mecum

One-off racing specials were commonplace in the U.S. in the 1950s. Enterprising individuals would take some off the shelf components, drive down the street to the local fiberglass fabricator, and get their self-designed body produced.

Then they’d tear up the tracks in SCCA events for a couple of years. Surely, countless examples of these pieces of mechanical creativity have been lost to time. But a good number remain, including this one, which was originally constructed by George Kopecky using a pre-war Maserati chassis and an aluminum body.

The history thereafter is a little hazy. The catalog description says that the body was bought by Johnny Wright in 1954 and that an upgraded frame was also built. It’s powered by a 5.4-liter V8 from a 1957 Corvette and was clocked at 143 mph in 1957. It’s an interesting build and very of-the-era. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum here.

Richard Petty’s Superbird

1970 Plymouth Superbird NASCAR

Offered by Mecum | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | July 13-August 3, 2019

Photo – Mecum

Well here’s something you don’t see every day: an actual ex-Richard Petty be-winged Superbird. Plymouth built the Superbird in the hopes of dominating NASCAR. Also, it had the intended effect of luring Richard Petty back to driving Chrysler products, as he had jumped ship in 1968 to go run Fords.

This Superbird was restored by the Pettys and has apparently been authenticated as the real deal, though he likely ran multiple cars throughout the season as this is described as the superspeedway and large oval car. Petty won 18 races in 1970, leading to the huge wing and other aero effects being quickly banned from competition.

Power is from a 426ci Hemi V8 that was built by Petty Enterprises, which means it is probably producing more than the 425 horsepower quoted by the factory. The top speed of these cars is over 190 mph, which is pretty impressive if you consider the gearing the street cars had.

This piece of NASCAR history should draw inspired bidding. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $3,500,000.

May 2019 Auction Highlights

We pick up where we left off last time: with Silverstone Auctions. This time it was their sale of British marques, where the Jaguar XJ220 we featured was the overall top sale at $429,230. The AC Aceca was withdrawn.

The Railton Claremont sold for $85,846, and we’ll award Most Interesting to 1952 Allard Palm Beach Mk 2 that sold for $100,153. Click here for the rest of this sale’s results.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Now we move on to Brightwells’ Leominster sale. No withdrawn AC cars here as this 1962 AC Greyhound took home top sale honors at $104,923.

Photo – Brightwells

The Jaguar XJS Monaco we featured previously failed to sell here again. And the Quantum 2+2 sold for $1,678. Click here for more results.

We’ll stay in the U.K. for the annual all-Aston Martin sale from Bonhams. Naturally, the one we featured (a Virage Volante) failed to find a new home. But the biggest money car of the day was $1,097,622 paid for this 1964 Aston Martin DB5. Final results can be found here.

Photo – Bonhams

Mecum’s giant Indianapolis sale was held in May. This 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C brought home the bacon, selling for $2,860,000.

Photo – Mecum

The Twister Special Mustang we featured failed to sell at $180,000, and the AAR ‘Cuda brought $53,900. Click here for more results.

The RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale featured a couple of no-sales among the offerings we highlighted, including the Hispano-Suiza sedan and the Ferrari 330 Zagato. Another Ferrari, this 1954 500 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina, was the top sale at $4,156,350.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The coachbuilt Alfa Romeo 4C sold for $186,434, while the Delahaye brought $320,041. More results can be found here.