Hughes-Kircher Special

1953 Hughes-Kircher Special

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The 1950s were a great time for one-off road racing specials. Returning soldiers saw the light in Europe with their lightweight sports cars and came back with an increased technical know-how to get it done. And that’s what we have here.

Charles Hughes and Kurt Kircher teamed up to build this very pretty special. Kircher was an ex-GM man who helped develop the Powerglide transmission. Hughes was an ex-G.I. who happened to buy a Jaguar XK120. He took it to Kircher, now in Colorado, and used the XK120 engine, a tube-frame chassis, and an MG steering rack to create the first version of the Hughes-Kircher Special. The body was done in aluminum.

After a few years, the car ceased to be competitive. Somehow, the duo got their hands on a Mille Miglia-prepped 300SL race engine and plopped it under the hood. Later, that engine was swapped for a 240 horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six from a “standard” 300SL. It still has such an engine, just a different one, as the second straight-six was eventually reunited with its factory Gullwing chassis.

This car has raced all over the world and has been in some major collections. It’s been restored and looks as good as any period Ferrari. But it’ll be much cheaper – between $300,000-$400,000 will take it home. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $304,200.

July 2019 Auction Highlights

We shifting gears a little bit now. From here out, our monthly auction rundowns will only cover auctions from which we actually featured cars. Sorry all others, I don’t have the time. Life is busy. That also means it will be a straight-shot chronologically (well, based on when the results are published anyway). Previous rundowns used to be broken up a little bit, as we’d only feature one result from any particular auction house per highlight post. Not anymore!

We start this time around with Bonhams in Goodwood, where the top seller, by some margin, was the Williams F1 car we featured. It sold for $3,385,271, while the other F1 car – the Toyota roller – brought $86,416. Rounding it out was the Lister Storm for $583,311. Most Interesting goes to this 1956 Cooper T39 that sold for $151,228. Click here for more results.

Photo – Bonhams

Next up is Brightwells’ Leominster Classic & Vintage sale. This 1961 Jaguar XK150S coupe was the top sale at $134,401.

Photo – Brightwells

Cars we featured included the Maudslay ($74,264), the Mitsuoka Roadster ($26,130), and the Dennis flatbed (not sold). Final results can be found here.

Historics held a sale at Brooklands in July, and this 1981 Porsche 911 Turbo took top sale honors, selling for $114,822.

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

All three of our feature cars sold, with the Jensen bringing the most: $84,016. The Bristol 411 sold for $49,708, and the Healey $22,404. Click here for complete results.

Aguttes’ all-Citroen sale saw the Coupe Concorde we featured fail to find a new home. The Citela concept car we featured a while back also failed to sell here. Top money went to this 1968 Citroen DS 21 Cabriolet for $238,579.

Photo – Aguttes

Two other previously-featured concept cars did manage to sell here. The Eco 2000 SA 109 went for $1,137 and the Tubyk $7,156 – both way down from what they brought not all that long ago at a different sale. More results are available here.

Finally, we have Silverstone Auctions. Fresh feature cars in this sale consisted of the Renault 5 Turbo 2, which sold for $100,258. The top sale was $1,030,431 for this 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

A previously-featured AC Aceca sold here for $167,096. Final results are available here and here.

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.

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

April 2019 Auction Highlights

We’re already in April, and we start as we often do: with a leftover from the month before. In this case, it is Leclere-MDV’s sale. We didn’t get to feature anything, but the top sale ended up being this 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster for $248,014. Click here for more results.

Photo – Leclere-MDV

And on into April we move, with Mecum’s Houston sale. This 2014 Ferrari F12berlinetta brought the most money: $203,500. More results are available here.

Photo – Mecum

The top seller at Bonhams’ Goodwood sale was this 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that has been updated to Vantage spec. It sold for $832,103.

Photo – Bonhams

Feature cars that failed to find new homes included the Miller Shooting Brake, the Bristol 403, the Larrousse F1 car, and the Trumbull cyclecar. Those that sold were led by the Columbia Electric Phaeton, which sold for $76,661, while the Adams Two-Seater brought $22,547. Click here for complete results.

Onward to Brightwells’ Bicester sale. No feature cars here, unfortunately, but this 1924 Lancia Lambda Series 3 was the top seller at $146,522. More results can be found here for a time.

Photo – H&H Classics

Finally, we remain in Europe and move to Germany for the RM Sotheby’s Techno Classica sale in Essen. A few no-sales to get out of the way: the Italdesign Zerouno and the Wendler Mercedes. The #1 seller was $2,542,848 paid for this 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Sales included a previously-featured Morgan Aero SuperSports for $99,853 as well as the Voisin for $310,103 and the Monteverdi sedan for $197,113. Click here for everything else.

Wendler-Bodied MB 320

1937 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet by Wendler

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Essen, Germany | April 11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

There are two very interesting things about this car. First, quite obviously, are its looks, as it resembles nothing else Mercedes has ever built. Second is that the looks are very 1950s and the chassis is very 1930s. That’s because it was bodied in the early-1950s by Wendler, the company most famous for building the bodies for the Porsche 550.

The Mercedes W142 was also called the Mercedes Type 320, and it was produced between 1937 and 1942. In all, 7,017 examples were built in a wide variety of body styles. Power is from a 3.2-liter inline-six making 77 horsepower.

The post-war body features three headlights, which is certainly unusual. You could drive this car rather anonymously through a Mercedes-Benz festival and no one would be the wiser. That’s what I love about it – it is uniquely coachbuilt and removes all brand pretense from the equation. Believed to be one of four “Ponton” cabriolets built by Wendler, it is a one-off and should bring between $125,000-$180,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

February 2019 Auction Highlights

We’ll pick up where we left off last time, Scottsdale. This time it’s Russo & Steele, where this 2012 Lexus LFA blew everything else away, selling for $412,500. Complete results can be found here.

Photo – Russo & Steele

Now we’re on to Retromobile in Paris, where RM Sotheby’s led it off with a huge number for this 1987 Ferrari F40 LM: $5,489,215.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Next, a couple of no-sales, which included the Ferrari SP30, the 2015 Morgan, the 1900 Panhard, the OSCA, and a previously-featured Hispano-Suiza. On the other hand, the Jordan 196 F1 car sold for $273,468. Click here for more results.

The second sale of the Retromobile week was held by Bonhams, and we featured a lot of cars from this event. On the extreme one end of the spectrum was the Red Bug buckboard we featured. It sold for $4,958. Now a quick rundown of no-sales from this auction: the Clement-Bayard, the beautiful Darracq, the 1911 Renault, the Bellanger, and a previously-featured Horch. The overall top sale was this 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A for $1,794,086.

Photo – Bonhams

Cars that did sell include the 1909 Sears for $22,181, the 1913 FN also for $22,181, the Berliet for $43,058, the Hanomag for $66,544, the 1912 Hupmobile for $18,267, and the Pilain for $32,619. A pair of previously-featured cars sold here too: the 1971 Bizzarrini 128 Prototype for $110,907 and aPaige-Detroit for $37,838. Final results can be found here.

The final sale from Retromobile was Artcurial’s – and it was a big one. The top sale here was the Alfa 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta we featured for $18,997,883, which is apparently about the going rate for those cars. Other big dollar cars included the Voisin C16 for $128,471, the Panhard X86 Dolomites for $108,186, and all three Serenissimas: the Agena brought $500,360, the Ghia GT $513,883, and the ex-Le Mans Spyder a whopping $4,786,229. We’ll award Most Interesting to this 1948 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet by Letourneur and Marchand that sold for $170,393.

Photo – Artcurial

Cars that failed to sell included the Voisin C11, the Mercedes 500K Cabriolet B, the Citroen Traction Avant Cabriolet, and the Talbot Barquette, while cars that did find new homes were the Voisin C3L for $60,885, the Dick Tricycle for $12,171, and the Rochet-Schneider for $35,160. More results can be found here.

Finally, we have Silverstone Auctions and their Race Retro Classic Car sale. The biggest money was the $381,813 paid for this 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

The Ginetta G4 we featured sold for $40,824, but the De Tomaso Longchamp Spider failed to find a new home on the block. You can see more results from this sale here.

500K Cabriolet B

1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet B by Sindelfingen

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019

Photo – Artcurial

Of the three in-house cabriolets offered on Mercedes’ 500K chassis, the four-seater Cabriolet B is the most common, with 296 examples produced (between the 500K and 540K). Why is it then that this is the first 500K version I can remember coming up for sale? I mean there were more than double the number of these made compared to the Cabriolet A and Cabriolet C – and those are both better-looking cars.

The 500K was built between 1934 and 1936 and is powered by a supercharged 5.0-liter straight-eight capable of 160 horsepower. This particular car was one of the final 500Ks built and was actually equipped from the factory with the 540K’s 5.4-liter, 180 horsepower engine.

This car, which was once owned by Donald Healey, features a rebuilt engine with its original body and interior. It is one of 342 500K examples built and should bring between $675,000-$900,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

January 2019 Auction Highlights

January means one thing: Scottsdale. And we’ll start there with Bonhams where the 1951 Maserati we featured was the top sale at $2,755,000. Most of the other really big money cars all missed the target, which might say something about the top of the market (but we’ll see as the other sales all wrap up). The other Frua-bodied car, the Fiat 1100C, sold for $577,000. We’ll award Most Interesting to this 1956 Lincoln Premiere Convertible – mostly because I really want one. I just don’t have the $50,400 it would’ve required to take this one home.

Photo – Bonhams

A previously-featured Abarth race car sold here for $16,800 – a long way from the $45k+ it brought at multiple previous auctions (weird, it has a different chassis number listed in this sale compared to previous sales, but has the exact same backstory). This car has changed hands multiple times in the last few years. Someone here either got a great deal, or the consignor finally unloaded an albatross at a loss (also, dibs on “Albatross at a Loss” as my next rap album name). Meanwhile, the Stevens-Duryea sold for $72,800. Click here for complete results.

Next up from Arizona is RM Sotheby’s, and there were a couple of cars that failed to meet their reserve, including a previously-featured Hispano-Suiza and the Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale. But another Ferrari was top dog at this sale, specifically this 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO that sold for $3,360,000.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The biggest money feature car we had was the Vector WX-3 at $615,500, with the WX-3R coming up right behind it at a cool $500,000. The Lesovsky-Offy brought $201,600, the Rolls-Royce State Landaulette $190,400, the Hooper Bentley $128,800, the Apollo 3500 GT $134,400, and the Lone Star Touring $44,800. Click here for complete results.

Barrett-Jackson’s catalog is so large that I don’t feel like scrolling through the entire thing trying to find highlights and the top sale. Their user interface leaves a little to be desired, so I’m just going to look through Saturday’s results and assume that the top sale was in their prime time lineup. What I found: the overall top sale was, as it usually is here, a charity lot. The first 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition went for $2,500,000.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

That crazy Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6 sold for $1,210,000, while the Paige Ardmore sold for $16,500 and the Ford Lightning Rod Concept $27,500. All of the results can be found here and you can scroll through them at your leisure if you have a spare five hours.

Next: Gooding & Company, where the 1902 Yale we featured brought $105,280, and the Ferrari 275 Prototype failed to sell. The biggest money was reserved for this 1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta for $7,595,000. Click here for more results.

Photo – Gooding & Company

Finally, we have Worldwide Auctioneers’ Scottsdale sale where this 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster was the overall top sale at $990,000.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Our three Indiana-built feature cars all sold, with the two Duesenbergs falling in “good deal” range. The Duesenberg Tourster sold for $605,000, and the other Duesey brought $506,000. The Auburn Boattail rounds it all out at $291,500. Click here if you want more results from this sale.

The REAL Most Ridiculous Mercedes

2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2019

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

A little over a year ago we chronicled the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet and labeled it “The Most Ridiculous Mercedes.” Well, obviously the vehicle shown above was forgotten about as that post was being written.

This thing is based on the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG, a “normal” four-wheeled SUV. Power is provided by a 536 horsepower, twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 – and that power is sent to all six wheels. It also has portal axles, a deep water-fording depth, and insane ground clearance. Basically, it’s more Unimog than Geländewagen.

These street-legal monsters were built by Magna Steyr in Austria on Daimler’s behalf and were sold between 2013 through 2015. They carried an enormous price tag when new. Over 100 were made and I’m guessing most are in the Middle East. This one will be in Arizona in a few weeks and it can be yours! Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,210,000.