Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019
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.
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.
Next up is Brightwells’ Leominster Classic & Vintage sale. This 1961 Jaguar XK150S coupe was the top sale at $134,401.
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.
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Essen, Germany | April 11, 2019
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.
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.
1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet B by Sindelfingen
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally, we have Worldwide Auctioneers’ Scottsdale sale where this 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster was the overall top sale at $990,000.
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.
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.