320 Cabriolet F

1942 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet F

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 7, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This wartime Mercedes-Benz might look big and imposing (and it is), not unlike a certain other large Mercedes touring sedan we recently featured, but it is, in fact, the smaller 320 model (W142, in internal MB-speak). The 320 was the replacement for the 290, which it took over duties for in 1937. It lasted through 1942, when Germany was forced to focus all of its production might on military needs.

The 320 was offered in two wheelbases, short and long. This is a long wheelbase car and it could’ve been had with a variety of bodywork, including bodies from outside coachbuilders. The base model was a four-door limousine, but there were four convertible versions offered from in-house coachbuilder Sindelfingen as well: Cabriolets A, B, D, and this, the seven-seater Pullman Cabriolet F.

The other thing this car has going for it is that it is equipped with the optional (beginning in 1938) engine with increased cylinder bore. It’s a 3.4-liter straight-six that makes 77 horsepower (which is actually the same rating the smaller, standard engine offered). This car, which looks very much like an Indiana Jones chase vehicle, has an older restoration. Mercedes pushed out 7,017 320s in total and I’m not sure how many carried this rare body style. It should bring between $130,000-$155,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Hitler’s Mercedes

1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Worldwide Auctioneers is calling this “the most historically significant automobile ever offered for public sale.” And they aren’t likely wrong. Yes, this is the touring limousine ordered by and built for Adolf Hitler. And while that may be an unpopular association to have with any item, let’s keep in mind that this is a piece of history – and one of the finest examples of pre-WWII automotive engineering extant.

The 770 was an extremely rare and expensive car when new. Introduced in 1930, it was built through 1943. In that span of time, only 205 examples left the factory in two different series. This is a Series II car, the series which was available beginning in 1938 and only 88 were built.

The 770K is powered by a 7.7-liter straight-eight engine fitted with a supercharger that, once engaged, produced 230 horsepower. Capable of speeds of 100 mph or more, the 770K was Germany’s answer to big American cars from Packard, Marmon, Cadillac, and Duesenberg as well as some of Europe’s finest from Hispano-Suiza, Bugatti, Horch, Maybach, and Isotta Fraschini. It was the best Mercedes had to offer.

This car sports an Open Tourer body by in-house coachbuilder Sindelfingen. It has bullet-resistant glass and the body is armor-plated. There’s seating for six (at least) and it was used by Hitler in various parades around Europe during the war.

In 1943 it was sent back to Mercedes for maintenance and it saw little use after that. The car was taken by the American military and was used by the military police in France. Because the car was so magnificent, several service members tried to export it back to the U.S. A Belgian owner succeeded in getting it to the U.S. in 1946 to its new owner in North Carolina.

That owner donated it to the local VFW and they used it in parades, too. It was discovered in storage in 1976, purchased, and restored. It was thought at that time to have been Himmler’s car, but research indicated that it was one of Hitler’s four cars. In the 1980s it became part of the Imperial Palace Collection in Las Vegas and, no doubt, became a tourist draw.

In 2004 it found its way back into Europe as part of a massive Mercedes-Benz collection. Only five 770K Offener Tourenwagens still exist and this is one of three in private hands. Add to it the infamy of its original owner and you have what I consider to be the first car truly worthy of the “Estimate Available Upon Request” tag so often seen with big money cars. It’s a real question what it will sell for. As a piece of automotive magnificance and as an historical artifact, its price could be monumental. But will its close association with Hitler and Nazi Germany hold it back? There’s only one way to find out: head to Worldwide’s sale in Scottsdale next month. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Update: Not sold, high bid of $7,000,000.

October 2017 Auction Highlights, Pt. III

October was a busy month. This is our third results rundown and we start with Barrett-Jackson in Las Vegas. There wasn’t any time to feature anything from this sale, but the biggest money went to this 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder for $1,760,000. Click here for more results.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

Across the ocean we go to our next sale, Osenat in France. We didn’t get to feature anything, but the top sale was this 1968 Lancia Flaminia Coupe for $97,518. Click here to see the rest of their lots.

Photo – Osenat

Let’s stay in France for Leclere’s Parisian motorcars sale. Again, we lacked a feature car here but the biggest money went to this 1982 Renault 5 Turbo privateer rally car for $197,358. The rest of their sales can be found here.

Photo – Leclere

Brightwell’s Bicester Classic & Vintage Cars sale was held in October and we were able to feature three cars from this one. Of those three, the Autovia sedan brought the most at $98,463. The top sale overall was $160,167 for this 1976 Ferrari 308 GTB.

Photo – Brightwells

The Friswell we featured sold for $31,508 and the Calthorpe beat its estimate, bringing $27,569. Everything else can be found here.

And finally, Bonhams in Padua, Italy. Our lone feature car, the Abarth Monomille GT, sold for $120,111. The top sale overall? This 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster for $1,040,968. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Bonhams

October 2017 Auction Highlights, Pt. II

We’re leading off with another Bonhams sale. This one, The Zoute Sale, was held in Belgium. The top sale was the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet for $1,404,840 (and the Aston Martin DB AR1 failed to meet its reserve). We’ll give Most Interesting to this 1928 Rally ABC Sports that sold for $168,288. Click here for more results.

Photo – Bonhams

Next up, another sale from Mecum, this time from Chicago. The top sale here was a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/400 Convertible that brought $115,000.

Photo – Mecum

A previously-featured Stellite sold here for a frustrating $3,500 (frustrating because I should’ve bought it. Attention new owner: I’ve give you $4,500 for it). Click here for everything else.

Artcurial held an all-Mercedes-Benz sale (or at least, an all-Daimler AG sale) at the Mercedes-Benz Center in Rueil-Malmaison, France. The ’68 600 Pullman Limousine we featured failed to sell. The top sale was this 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster for $1,670,228. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Artcurial

Next up, Brightwells’ Modern Classics sale. We featured an Evante Mk II that failed to sell. The top sale was this 1987 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth for $51,304. All of their other lots can be found here.

Photo – Brightwells

Finally, Silverstone Auctions’ Porsche sale. We didn’t get to feature anything from this sale, but this 1998 Porsche 911 Turbo S brought the most money: $333,913. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

MB 600 Pullman

1968 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Limousine

Offered by Artcurial | Rueil-Malmaison, France | October 15, 2017

Photo – Artcurial

The 600 (which sported the internal Mercedes code name of W100) was the replacement for the Mercedes-Benz 300 Adenauer. Introduced in 1963, the 600 was offered through 1981, which is quite a long time as the cars sold in the 80s still sported late-60s Mercedes styling. Mercedes didn’t build a true replacement for this car until the 2015 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class (though I guess the Maybachs of the 2000s kind of count).

All 600s were powered by a 250 horsepower, 6.3-liter V-8. It pushed a lot of mass around – especially on this long-wheelbase version (the “short” wheelbase sedan was the standard model). The much-sought-after long-wheelbase Pullman Limousine that you see here seats eight and has six doors (three on each side). An even more extravagant Landaulet (which sported a convertible top for the rear passengers) was also available.

This particular car was one of three purchased by the government of the Congo. Two were sent to Africa while this one remained in Germany to be used by embassy staff. Many governments bought 600 Pullmans – in fact, it was the car to have if you were a dictator. These were the favored cars of such beloved dignitaries as Saddam Hussein, Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, and even Pablo Escobar. Oh, the Pope had one too, I guess. Intensely restored, this car – one of just 428 LWB examples built – should bring between $475,000-$595,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

September 2017 Auction Highlights

We’re going to start (for the second recap in a row) with a sale from Worldwide Auctioneers. The Cadillac “Die Valkyrie” was sold for an undisclosed amount (which is kind of lame). The top (reported) sale was $539,000 for this 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

A previously-featured Stoddard-Dayton sold here as well, bringing $118,800. Now let’s talk about this sale. The Auburn sales are usually a buyer’s paradise. In fact, this year was the closest I’ve yet come to registering as a bidder and attempting to buy a car. I had my eye on this 1921 Packard Single Six Sedan.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

It had a pre-sale estimate of, I think, $20,000-$30,000 or something in that ballpark. I had a gut feeling that it would go low, as it was selling at no reserve. With buyer’s premium, I was willing to pay $15,000. The final bid? $14,850. Instead of being there, I was in the hospital, having a child. I’d say I did just fine on the weekend. Other cars will come along. Oh, you can check out more results here.

The other Auburn sale for September was that of Auctions America. The top two sales were both Duesenbergs that we featured. The SJ Sweep Panel Phaeton was #1, bringing $2,300,000. The other, Fleetwood-bodied Model J, sold for $990,000. A distant-relative of the Duesenbergs was the Buehrig Carriage-Roof Coupe that sold here for $25,850. We award Most Interesting to this 1974 AMC Hornet Hatchback. Seriously? Yes, this was the car from The Man With the Golden Gun that performed one of the greatest car stunts in movie history. It sold for $110,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Photo – Auctions America

Let’s hop to RM Sotheby’s London sale. Two of the cars that sold here have been featured on this site previously. They are this Marlboro Steam car (which sold for about $12,146) and this De Tomaso Nuovo Pantera mockup for about $25,348. The top sale was this 2004 Ferrari Enzo that brought approximately $2,383,042.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Hispano-Suiza K6 failed to sell and complete results can be found here.

Dragone Auctions held a sale in Lime Rock, Connecticut in early September. We featured an early Cadillac that brought $80,940. The top sale was another Caddy, this one a rakish 1931 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Victoria by Lancefield for $577,500. Check out full results here.

Photo – Dragone Auctions

Finally, Bonhams’ second Goodwood sale of the year. We only featured one car from this sale, the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Fastback, and it failed to sell. The top sale, however, was this 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona for $801,151. Check out more results here.

Photo – Bonhams

Al Jolson’s Mercedes

1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/120/180 Sports 4 by Sindelfingen

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

I know we featured a similar-looking Mercedes-Benz S-Type just a week ago but this… this is one of my favorite cars of all time. This is Al Jolson’s Mercedes and it is wonderful. The S-Type was sort of the entry-level model of Mercedes-Benz’s first halo car, introduced in 1926. The cars only get better as they added letters: the SS, the SSK, and the SSKL.

Under that long hood is a 6.8-liter straight-six. Under normal operating conditions, it makes 120 horsepower – but there is a supercharger strapped to the motor that, when engaged, pushes the power to 180. The body is a two-door, four-seat tourer by Mercedes’ in-house coachbuilder, Sindelfingen. The cream exterior with red interior is a great combo and the low-slung dramatic stance this car has is just incredible.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

We never use more than one photo of a car, but it’s impossible not to here. I’d use all of them, but RM Sotheby’s would probably get angry, so just go check out the rest of them here on their site.

According to its third owner, famed American designer Brooks Stevens, this car was given to Mercedes-Benz factory racing driver Rudolf Caracciola when new. But it’s first traceable owner was none other than Al Jolson, one of the biggest stars of stage and screen (and radio) in the 1920s. He owned the car until 1947 when Stevens bought it. Stevens owned the car until 1990 when he sold it (and then the new owner restored it).

About 10 years ago (give or take) this car was offered at the Auto Collections (or the Blackhawk Collection, I can’t quite recall which, but aren’t they essentially the same thing?). It was there for a while and that’s when it became my “lottery car.” It’s a spectacular looking example of one of the finest pre-war sporting tourers money could buy. And imagining it being manhandled around Jazz Age Hollywood by one of its top stars just adds to its appeal.

RM Sotheby’s is estimating that it will bring $3,500,000-$4,000,000. On a related note, can anyone lend me $4 million? You can see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Mercedes-Benz S-Type Sports

1928 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sports Tourer by Glaser

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 19, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Mercedes-Benz S-Type is one of Mercedes’ most impressive vehicles. It was the foundation for the legendary SSK and SSKL racing cars. Consider it the Jazz Age equivalent of the current Mercedes-AMG GT – you know, if the GT could be had with two or four doors and was, you know, gorgeous.

Built between 1927 and 1933, the S-Type was a performer in its day. It’s powered by a supercharged 6.8-liter straight-six that makes 180 horsepower with the supercharger activated. The body here is a one-off by Glaser and it was white with red interior much earlier in its life.

The current family that owns this car acquired it in 1964 (!) and it was first restored in the mid-1960s to the color scheme it now carries. A second restoration was completed in 2013. The auction catalog states that 146 S-Types were built and only 58 remain. A few have changed hands in the last few years, but they are rarely attainable. It’s a pretty awesome machine that will grab everyone’s attention wherever you take it… if you can afford the $5,000,000-$6,000,000 price tag. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Not sold.

June 2017 Auction Highlights, Pt. II

We’re back with more from June, starting with H&H Classics’ second June sale, this one held at Woodcote Park. The top seller was this 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage, featuring the world’s tallest antenna, which brought $317,992.

Photo – H&H Classics

The Tojeiro-Climax we featured failed to meet its reserve. More results can be found here.

We move across the Channel to Osenat’s June sale. The Tracta we featured brought big money ($786,394) – but it wasn’t enough to dethrone this 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Cabriolet by Gangloff from the top of the sale sheet. It brought $1,414,979.

Photo – Osenat

Both of our other feature cars sold, with the other Bugatti in the sale bringing $321,130 and the Turcat-Mery $120,423. Click here for complete results.

Back to the U.K. for Brightwells’ Modern Classics sale. We weren’t able to feature anything from this sale, but the top sale was $97,257 for this 1995 Porsche 911 Turbo. More results from Brightwells can be found on their site here.

Photo – Brightwells

Next up: Barrett-Jackson’s “Northeast” sale. The top sale here was a basically brand new 2017 Ferrari 488 Spider that sold for $434,500 – which was definitely not a great deal for the buyer, as you can buy one of these off the lot for less (even with the same options). Someone got caught up in the auction fervor…

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The Tiffany neo-classic we featured brought $13,200. You can see the rest of the results here.

Finally, we have Auctions America on the West Coast in Santa Monica. The top sale was this 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster that sold for $1,100,000.

Photo – Auctions America

The Ferrari 599 GTO we featured failed to sell, but the Duesenberg brought $880,000. And the spacey Tatra 603 sold for $41,800. Click here for complete results.

June 2017 Auction Highlights, Pt. I

We kick of June’s results with one from May, RM Sotheby’s in Villa Erba, Italy. The top sale was the Talbot-Lago Teardrop Coupe we featured. It sold for $3,757,824. The Talbot-Lago T26 we featured was also a million dollar seller, bringing $1,252,608. Would-be million dollar sales that failed to hit their reserves included the McLaren P1 GTR and a previously-featured, Pebble Beach-winning Mercedes-Benz 680 Torpedo Roadster. We’ll give Most Interesting to this 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Prototype that brought $3,382,041.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Our other four feature cars all sold, with the WRE-Maserati leading the way at $814,195. The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato brought $513,569 and the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale a similar $551,147. The other Lancia we featured came in at $313,152. Click here for all of the results from this sale.

H&H Classics is holding two sales in June, the first of which was at the National Motorcycle Museum. The Rover we featured sold for $7,464. As is seemingly always the case, the top seller at this H&H sale was an E-Type, specifically a 1971 Jaguar E-Type Series III Coupe for $67,456. Click here for more results.

Photo – H&H Classics

Now we move to Bonhams Greenwich sale where two of our feature cars failed to sell: the Rickenbacker and Pierce-Arrow. The Rambler we featured sold for $73,700. The Bugatti was a strong seller, bringing $676,000, but it wasn’t enough to be the top sale, which went to this 1990 Ferrari F40 for $877,250 (which, compared the recent F40 prices, was kind of a steal). Complete results can be found here.

Photo – Bonhams

Next up, Aguttes in Lyon. The top sale was this 1993 Mercedes-Benz E60 AMG that brought an impressive $156,885.

Photo – Aguttes

The Venturi we featured failed to sell. Check out complete results here.

Finally: Mecum in Portland. The top sale was this 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko for $395,000.

Photo – Mecum

The Plymouth Savoy we featured failed to sell. Mecum’s site has the rest of the results.