1911 Delaunay-Belleville Phaeton

1911 Delaunay-Belleville HB4 22CV Phaeton

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | November 4, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Yes, please. What’s not to love about a round grille, pre-WWI French touring car? Especially one that is finished in red, green, wood, and brass. Delaunay-Belleville was founded in 1903 and they quickly became a premier French luxury marque. They were the choice cars for some of Europe’s top kings of the time.

Power is from a 4.8-liter straight-four rated at 22 taxable horsepower when new. It’s a big tourer, but the French weren’t exactly known for stuffing big engines in their cars (then or now). Gotta love a car whose windshield doesn’t extend up to meet the top, so the top is instead anchored to the front fenders with leather straps.

Only about 100 HB4 cars were produced by the factory and only a handful remain. This one has known history back to the 1970s. Delaunay-Belleville actually lasted until the late 1940s, but cars from this pre-WWI era were their finest work. This one should bring between $105,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Three Pre-War Cars from Bonhams

Three Pre-War Cars from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 24, 2018


1934 BMW 315/1 Roadster

Photo – Bonhams

Mercedes-Benz (and more specifically, Daimler) have been around for a long time, and have been a major producer of automobiles for essentially that entire time. Not so with BMW. It seems like the only Pre-War Bimmers that are any sort of common are 327/8/9s. Have you ever seen a 315?

This model was introduced in 1934 to replace the four-cylinder 303. The base 315 was a two-door sedan, cabriolet, or tourer. The 315/1 was the sports car variant. Built between 1934 and 1937, it shared the sedan’s chassis but had a slightly tuned engine. The 1.5-liter straight-six made 40 horsepower in this form. But, this particular car actually has an 80 horsepower, 2.0-liter straight-six from the similar 319/1 Roadster. A swap was made at some point in the past.

Only 242 examples of the 315/1 Roadster were made – perhaps most people haven’t seen them. This car has been more or less dormant for 30 years, so some work is needed. Regardless, it should still command between $125,000-$175,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $134,400.


1915 Simplex Crane Model 5 Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

The Crane, Simplex, Crane-Simplex, and Simplex Crane is one confusing mess of marques. Henry Middlebrook Crane started his own car company in 1912 and it lasted through 1914. It was acquired by Simplex and in 1915 they merged the Crane line of cars into their own, as a separate model. From 1915 through the end of the company, the cars were branded as Simplexes and the model was the “Crane Model 5” which Crane introduced back in 1914. When Simplex went under, Henry Crane bought the remnants and sold the Crane-Simplex (as a marque) for about a year in 1922. CONFUSED YET?

What we have here is a Simplex Crane Model 5. It’s powered by a ridiculous 110 horsepower, 9.2-liter straight-six with a four-speed transmission. The two-seater sports tourer body is not original but is nice. Less than 500 Crane Model 5s were produced, making this quite rare today. It should bring between $175,000-$225,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1913 Mercedes 28/60HP Phaeton

Photo – Bonhams

Daimler built some pretty impressive Mercedes-branded automobiles in the pre-Benz years. The 1913 28/60 was a development of the 28/50, which was introduced in 1910. Production of the 28/60 would continue until 1920 and power comes from a 60 horsepower, 7.2-liter straight-four.

This car has been in the same family for the last 40 years and was restored in 2008. It’s been actively toured, a testament to the usability of early Mercedes cars, despite their sometimes immense size. It’s well-outfitted in period accessories and should bring between $800,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Carmel.

Update: Not sold.

Roadmaster Sport Phaeton

1939 Buick Roadmaster Model 80C Sport Phaeton

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | April 7, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Roadmaster is one of the most storied models in Buick’s history. First introduced in 1936 as their second-most luxurious offering, the Roadmaster would be produced uninterrupted (except for the war) through 1958. It made a brief reappearance from 1991 through 1996. The second generation of the model was sold in 1938 and 1939 only.

This model of Roadmaster was powered by a 141 horsepower, 5.2-liter Fireball straight-eight. Five body styles were offered and the 80C was the four-door, six-passenger Sport Phaeton. When new, it cost $1,938 – the most expensive Roadmaster. Unfortunately, Buick only found three customers for this car. That’s right, only three were built, making this far and away the rarest 1939 Buick. One of those three was used as the pace car for the 1939 Indianapolis 500.

It’s unclear if this was that car, likely not, as it was restored in the 1990s to look like the car that did lead the field to the green flag in May of 1939. It’s a large and striking automobile that has been shown here and there. This is your chance to acquire one of the rarest Buicks ever built. It should cost between $65,000-$75,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Florida.

Update: Sold $56,100.

Duesenberg J-510

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Sweep Panel Phaeton by LaGrande

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 2, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

When one of the most powerful cars on the market isn’t quick enough for you, what do you do? Well you buy the supercharged version, of course! The Model SJ Duesenberg was seriously powerful. Its 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight, when supercharged, makes 320 horsepower. That’s what entry-level luxury sports sedans make today.

Top speed on these beasts is said to be about 140 mph. But if you’re not brave enough to take a car with 1920s-era brakes to 140 mph, your best bet is to buy one that has a custom body (as they all did) that looks like it’s already moving quickly. And in this case, that is a LaGrande “Sweep Panel” Phaeton. Only 11 of this body style were produced and only three of those were supercharged. Of those three, only this one is not a Dual Cowl Phaeton, as the rear passenger compartment does not have a second cowl, just a folding windshield.

This car was sold new in New York but it spent many years in Mexico. It was restored by an American owner in 1974 and has been fastidiously maintained since. This is one of only 36 original SJs, making it extremely valuable, as the price reflects: $2,500,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,300,000.

Duesenberg J-237

1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 14-22, 2017

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The Model J Duesenberg has always been a collectible car. People started buying these up when they were just 10-year-old cars and hoarding them. This action saved many of them and they have a fantastic survival rate for their age. Prices have undergone fluctuations, as this car sold in 2011 for just $363,000.

They were powerful cars in their day, with a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight providing the motivation. All sorts of body styles were offered by coachbuilders (as Duesenberg only sold the bare chassis/engine combination… you had to provide your own body). Among the most popular bodies was the Dual Cowl Phaeton seen here.

This car is far from original, unfortunately. It’s composed of original, period parts, but it was more or less assembled that way. For instance, it rides on a replacement chassis, the body was crafted in the style of LaGrande – but the engine is real. At any rate, it is wonderfully presented and should top the price it brought five years ago. Click here for more info and here for more from Barrett-Jackson.

Update: $880,000.

Duesenberg Model Y

1927 Duesenberg Model Y Phaeton Prototype by McFarlan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6-7, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Never heard of the Duesenberg Model Y? Well it’s a very important car – and as we here are Duesenberg fanatics, it is a brilliantly exciting one as well. The Model Y was the prototype for the legendary Model J. Two were produced and only this one survives (the other one was actually sold to Frank Morgan of The Wizard of Oz and subsequently lost to time).

This prototype originally used a 6.8-liter straight-eight engine that reportedly put out about 200 horsepower. This engine was based on the Model A’s 88 horsepower, 4.2-liter straight-eight (which this car is now powered by). This car was given to August Duesenberg and he was told he had to destroy the chassis. So he put the engine in a race car and put the body (which was styled and built by McFarlan, the automobile company that shut down around the time this car was built) on a Model A chassis and sold it to a local businessman.

This amazing car has been in the ownership of the same family since 1957. It was last restored prior to their purchase and has been on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum for a long time. This is the first time it has been offered for sale in six decades. It’s a milestone automobile and the price it brings will be very interesting. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $340,000.

Horch 930V Phaeton

1939 Horch 930V Phaeton

For sale at The Auto Collections | Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo - The Auto Collections

Photo – The Auto Collections

The Horch 930V was part of the 830 line of cars that August’s company built between 1933 and 1940. Here is a quick breakdown of the different models in this line: 830 (1933-1934), 830 B (1935), 830 BL (1935-1940), 830 Bk (1936), 930V (1937-1940).

The late 1938 through 1940 930V was powered by a 3.8-liter V-8 making 92 horsepower (a 10 horsepower and 300cc bump over the 1937/early ’38 model). Most of these cars were built as a four-door sedan, two-door convertible, and two-door roadster. Only three four-door Phaeton convertibles were built. Two still survive.

It’s a stately car, for sure, but not one really associated with the Nazis (which is a good thing, but it also makes it a little less well known). This car was restored in 1982 and is currently owned by a Guatemalan, but is for sale in Las Vegas for $375,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold, Bonhams Carmel 2017, $102,300.

One Expensive Adler

1914 Adler 35/80HP Phaeton

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 4, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Adler was a German car and motorcycle manufacturer that really hit their stride in the 1930s with the small front-wheel-drive car they called the Trumpf. But the company started 30 years earlier built a bunch of other stuff along the way.

For example, in 1911 they introduced this, the 35/80HP that features a massive 9.1-liter straight-four engine making 80 horsepower. It was their largest car and one of the most expensive cars – or things – you could buy in Germany at that time. Top speed is 71 mph.

But WWI came trundling along and production ceased. Remarkably, in a four year span, it is believed that only four of these were made. Economies of scale need not apply. This is the only survivor of the model. It was used by the German military during the Great War and has spent many decades in a Swiss museum. All original and mostly unmolested, it should bring between $140,000-$170,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Mercedes 28/95 Phaeton

1914 Mercedes 28/95 Phaeton

Offered by Bonhams | Ebeltoft, Denmark | September 26, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

No single photo can sum up the amazing look and detail of this fine, 100-year-old automobile. The Mercedes 28/95 PS was introduced in 1914 and it lasted through 1924. Only 590 were built in that ten year span – although half of that time was a world war. In fact, only 25 examples were sold during the first year. It was the flagship for Mercedes in 1914.

The car makes an impressive 95 horsepower from its 7.3-liter straight-six. I mean this thing was serious in its day. Dating this particular example is a bit tough, however. The chassis was ordered – and cancelled – twice, with the first one in 1914. The war didn’t help. It is known that this car was was shipped to New York City in 1920 as a bare chassis – and a Sindelfingen tourer was shipped separately.

This is not that body. The plaque on this body dates it to around 1910 and it was applied sometime after arriving in New York, but no one knows when. Anyway, this car magically survived unrestored in some major collections including that of Tom Barrett (of Barrett-Jackson). Fortunately, it was acquired in 1993 by a major Mercedes collector and he recognized how great this car is and decided to preserve it. So he soaked the wooden skiff body in linseed oil – for three years! It worked. This thing is all original and it’s incredible.

It should bring between $1,500,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,401,031.

Duesenberg SJ-528

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Riviera Phaeton by Brunn

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 14-15, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The big-time auctions in Monterey are a little over a month away and there are plenty of big dollar cars already announced, including this SJ Phaeton. SJ Duesenbergs are sought after by all types of collectors. This is a factory-supercharged SJ, not one that had a supercharger bolted on decades later.

With that supercharger, the 6.9-liter straight-eight makes 320 horsepower. The original owner of this car was Jacob Schick, of razor fame. The Brunn body is simple and elegant and it takes more than a quick glance to realize that it does indeed have four doors and is not a Disappearing Top Roadster.

Only 36 Model Js were factory-upgraded to SJ specification and this is one of only three Brunn Riviera Phaetons built. The car has had many owners over the years but does have known ownership history since new. It has also had multiple restorations: 1950, 1983, and ca.2003 (the last of these was by Fran Roxas). This car was sold out of the John O’Quinn collection in 2010 when it brought $1.43 million. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,595,000.