Zagato Raptor

1996 Zagato Raptor Concept

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. | November 30, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Sometimes design houses will build concept cars on behalf of a manufacturer. ItalDesign used to do it, along with Pininfarina and even Zagato, as was the case here. It was built in conjunction with Lamborghini and was ultimately intended to slot in Lambo’s model lineup below the Diablo.

Only one functional prototype was built (this car), and it borrows the Diablo VT‘s chassis and all-wheel-drive system. Power is from a 5.7-liter V12, and the car weighed significantly less than the one it was based on, thanks to carbon-fiber bodywork and a lack of doors. That’s right, the entire front section, windshield included, flips forward to allow entrance to the two-seat cabin.

It debuted at the 1996 Geneva Motor Show and was acquired by its current owner in 2000. The car was last shown and driven in 2008. You can see more about it here, and see more from RM here.

Fordson Truck

1926 Fordson Prototype

Offered by Mecum | Davenport, Iowa | November 7, 2019

Photo – Mecum

Early Ford trucks were based on the Model T. They usually had a dually rear axle and some other changes, but the relation to the T was pretty obvious. They were even called the TT. The vehicle you see here was the first Ford heavy-duty truck. It’s a two-ton chassis, and it was built under the Fordson brand.

Fordson was a brand of tractors marketed by the Ford Motor Company between 1917 and 1964. The name also appeared on some light commercial vehicles in the U.K. The truck is powered by a Fordson tractor engine and transmission. The way it is packaged makes it looks like it completely lacks an engine, with the radiator mounted behind the front axle.

This was the only example of the Fordson two-ton truck that was actually delivered to a customer. It eventually made its way to the Harrah Collection and has been privately owned since 1983. Mecum has been making a big deal of it, which is the star of the show at this sale. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $90,750.

A.B.F. Prototype

1923 A.B.F. Boattail Prototype

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

If you were to say “there are zero automakers that can claim a 100% survivability rate among their cars (one-offs notwithstanding),” I think it would be easy to agree. And then A.B.F. comes along. Albert Ford was born in Canada but resided in England when he tried to get a company called All-British Ford off the ground in the 1920s.

It didn’t go great, but he did manage to complete two cars. Both of which still survive. This was the first of the two examples, and it is powered by a 1.2-liter V4. The body was actually purchased by Ford from the owner of a racing Alvis who was looking for something different. A.B.F. closed down shortly after, as the owner changed course to hospital furniture manufacturing.

Both cars were rescued from Mr. Ford’s garage after WWII. This one was restored in the 1950s and again in the late 1970s. It’s a pretty cool little car with great period bodywork. It is expected to bring between $75,000-$125,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Ruger Prototype

1970 Ruger Sports Tourer Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is the second of two prototypes built by William B. Ruger that bore his name. Powered by a 7.0-liter Ford V8, the cars are built in the style of old Bentleys, etc., and this one very much has some Bugatti looks to it.

According to the auction catalog, the development of the prototypes cost $800,000 in 1969. They were too expensive to ever put into production, but the Ruger family really didn’t need a car company as they were making a killing selling guns.

You’d be hard-pressed to notice that this car was built in 1970 and not 1929. The details are great, and it’s covered almost 15,000 miles since it was built. It’s like if someone tried to build the best 1970-model-year car today with all of the new engine and chassis technology available (oh wait, that’s what Dodge has been doing for the last decade #burn). This isn’t a replica or a neo-classic. It’s a brand-new 1930 Bentley-style tourer. It just happened to be built in 1970.

This car was featured in Motor Trend in 1970. It’s the first time either of the Ruger-branded cars has ever been offered for sale, as the family has retained them since new. It’s being sold without reserve. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $44,000.

Five Cars from Indiana

1905 De Tamble-Miller High-Wheel Runabout Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Edward De Tamble‘s earliest cars were highwheelers. Series production didn’t start until 1908 in Indianapolis (and later, Anderson, Indiana), and this car predates that time. It carries a stamp calling it a De Tamble & Miller, but not much is really known about it.

Mostly original, it is thought that this was the prototype De Tamble, and it uses parts from the era, including the gearbox from a Ford Model F. It’s a one-off piece of early automotive history, and you can read more about it here.

Update: Sold $26,400.


1907 Kiblinger Model D High-Wheel Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

If you’re noticing a trend, yes, Indiana liked their highwheelers before 1910. The Kiblinger was a product of Auburn, Indiana, where they were built between 1907 and 1909. There are a few of them on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum. And this car was once on display there too.

The Model D was one of six models produced by the company, and it’s powered by a 10 horsepower, two-cylinder engine that is shared with similar cars from Sears. Speaking of similar cars, company president W.H. McIntyre shut down and re-branded the company as the McIntyre after they were sued for patent infringement by Success. You can read more about this car here.

Update: Sold $28,600.


1908 Mier Model A Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The short-lived Mier was built by the Mier Carriage and Buggy Company of Ligonier, Indiana in 1908 and 1909. Solomon Mier, and his son A.B., built about 100 cars during that time before returning to the horse-drawn buggy industry, where they managed to stay in business into the 1920s.

This Model A Runabout was one of two models offered in 1908. Power is from a 10 horsepower inline-twin. Of the 100 built, only two remain, making this a great chance to get your hands on a truly rare car. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1917 Elcar Model E Cloverleaf Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Elcar actually traces its roots back to Pratt-Elkhart, which was one of Indiana’s highest-quality early cars. That company later became Pratt, which was quickly reformed as the Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company in 1915. They built the Elcar through 1931.

This was the only model available in 1917, and it is one of four body styles offered. The Cloverleaf Roadster retailed for $845 and is powered by a 34 horsepower, Lycoming inline-four. Prediction: this car sells for what would appear to be a great deal. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,400.


1931 Auburn Model 8-98A Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Somehow we’ve only featured one Auburn car prior to this. Indiana was a force in the early days of the automobile industry, and Auburn was one of its star products, which were offered between 1900 and 1937. They built some pretty fantastic cars in the mid-1930s, but everyone seems to forget that they built “normal”-looking cars like this alongside those wild boattail speedsters.

The 8-98 and the 8-98A were the only models offered in 1931. They were powered by a 98 horsepower straight-eight. Various body styles were available, and this sedan would’ve cost its new owner $1,195. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $19,800.

1966 Duesenberg

1966 Duesenberg Model D Concept

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | August 29-September 1, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

What’s rarer than a Model J Duesenberg? A Model D, of course. The Duesenberg name – and its associated automobiles – have retained such an aura around them since the company originally went out of business in the 1930s that it’s no wonder there have been multiple attempts to restart it. Someone built a “Duesenberg” in 1959 using a Model J engine and a Packard chassis.

In the 1960s, Augie Duesenberg‘s son arranged financing (which ultimately fell apart) to restart the company with serial production. This prototype was conceived and it. Is. Lavish. Boasting features that wouldn’t be standard for another 30+ years, the car is powered by a 425 horsepower, 7.2-liter Chrysler V8.

The body was styled by Virgil Exner and crafted by Ghia in Italy. Yes, it evokes the Stutz reboot that occurred just a few years after this car debuted. And there’s a good reason: Exner styled that one as well.

Apparently, the company received around 50 orders before it all went wrong. This car stayed in the ACD Museum in Auburn for over three decades before joining a prominent collection. It’s more-or-less as it was the day it was built, with just 800 miles on the clock. RM estimates $300,000-$350,000 to take it home, which still means it’s cheaper than the comparatively-common Model J. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Surlesmobile Streamliner

1945 Surlesmobile Streamliner

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | August 31, 2019

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

This bubble was designed by Don Surles in the 1930s and was built in the Tokyo Bus Works. So it is technically Japanese. The prototype was built to showcase innovative features such as doors that split in the middle, sliding up and down to allow entry. It also has bench seating that folds into a bed, shatter-proof glass, and a shape that would allow the car to roll over in an accident with a “90% chance” that it lands back on its wheels.

It features four-wheel-drive and is powered by a 50 horsepower, 1.5-liter Continental inline-four. Within hours of its arrival in San Francisco, it was hit while driving. It was later repaired and was last repainted in 1966.

The car has resided in a museum since 1966 and is now being sold at no reserve. Looking it at, the only place I can imagine it ending up is in the Lane Motor Museum. We’ll see in a week or so. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $30,800.

Serenissima Ghia GT

1968 Serenissima Ghia GT

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

Photo – Artcurial

Here is another Serenissima road car that never got beyond the prototype stage. This unregistered car was shown at the 1968 Turin, Geneva, and New York motor shows. It looks eerily reminiscent of a De Tomaso Mangusta, but with bits of other cars of the era sprinkled in that you just can’t put your finger on.

The design was done by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia. Interestingly enough, Giovanni Volpi, who owned Serenissima, was good friends with Alejandro de Tomaso, who owned Ghia at the time. They joined forces to build this car, which is perhaps why it has that Mangusta DNA in its blood.

Power is from a 3.5-liter V8 that was good for 320 horsepower. This car is still owned by Volpi, who has not used it in a long time. It will require a recommissioning before use, but it is the only example built. Therefore, it should command between $450,000-$675,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $513,883.

Vector Avtech Roadster

1993 Vector Avtech WX-3R Roadster Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

A week ago we featured the coupe version of this car, the Vector Avtech WX-3. This is the topless form, the WX-3R Roadster. Nothing says over-the-top supercar quite like a rear-engined V-12 roadster with no roof, scissor doors, and headrests that appear to be taller than the ridiculously-raked windshield.

This car debuted alongside the coupe at Geneva in 1993 and is powered by a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V8 and a GM automatic transmission that could take this thing to over 200 mph. Series production never occurred, and this remains a one-off, fantastically 90s, supercar prototype. I literally had a poster of this car on my bedroom wall as a kid.

This is the first time this car has ever been for sale publicly, as it is being sold from company founder Jerry Wiegert‘s personal collection. It should bring between $450,000-$550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $500,000.

The First 275 GTB

1964 Ferrari 275 GTB Prototype

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Ferrari 250 series of cars went on sale in the early-1950s. Ferrari iterated on them for over a decade, but by 1964 they were pretty long-in-the-tooth. So when the 275 GTB was introduced, it was a revelation.

This was the first example they built, and it – like all of the other examples that followed – used technology brought about by Ferrari’s 275P Le Mans program. Power is from a 3.3-liter V-12 making 265 horsepower.

Ferrari kept the car through 1965, using it as a workhorse and revising it until they got it where they liked. Even the coachwork changed from its initial debut. It now wears a long-nose body style.

The car was entered by its first owner in the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally. Ferrari provided support, which is why this car is equipped with front rally lighting, three windshield wipers, and more. It’s had a string of known owners since and was acquired by the current collection in 1994.

It hasn’t been shown publicly in 25 years and is said to be in need of some serious service before use. Still, it should bring between $6,000,000-$8,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Not sold.