Austin EXP1 Prototype

1917 Austin 20 EXP1 Prototype

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | November 15, 2017

Photo – H&H Classics

Coming out of the First World War, the Austin Motor Company of England needed to get back into the swing of automobile production. So they built this four-door tourer in 1917. Austin’s test driver drove it all over the U.K. hyping Austin’s new car that is based on this: the 20.

The first generation of the 20 was available from 1919 through 1929. This car is powered by a 3.6-liter straight-four making 20 horsepower and it’s capable of 60 mph. By the time production started in 1919, their test driver had raised over £6 million in pre-orders for the 20, making his tour a wild success, especially because Austin beat many competitors to market after the war.

This car was discovered as a rolling chassis and was pulled out of a hedge and restored about 15 years ago. There aren’t a lot of automobile prototypes still around from this era, making this a rare treat. As a piece of British automotive history, this car should bring between $60,000-$75,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

TVR Tina

1967 TVR Tina Prototype by Fissore

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Birmingham, U.K. | November 11-12, 2017

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Few car companies have undergone more corporate ownership changes than TVR. In 1965 the company was purchased by Arthur Lilley and his son. It took a while for production to get going again on previous models but the demand really wasn’t that strong. So the new TVR commissioned Fissore to build a prototype two-door sports car. Fissore returned with this, the Tina (named for the daughter of Gerry Marshall, a British racing driver and associate of the TVR owners).

Unveiled at the 1966 Turin Auto Show, the Tina was shown as both coupe and convertible. They were based on the Hillman Imp, so the 55 horsepower 875cc straight-four is located in the rear. TVR lacked the funds to get this project off the ground and in 1967, once the Griffith had been put out the pasture, TVR went with the new Tuscan instead.

Tina Marshall, this car’s namesake, inherited it when her father passed in 2005. It was restored to the condition you see here. The Tina Convertible Prototype is still out there, but here’s your chance to acquire the coupe. It should bring between $40,000-$52,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

The First DB4GT

1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Asrton Martin DB4, DB5, and DB6 are the best looking of all the classic Astons (though I will forever maintain that the DB7 is the best looking period, especially the convertible). The DB4 was built between 1958 and 1963 until the DB5 took its place.

Among the most sought-after DB4s were the DB4GTs. These were lightweight, short-wheelbase, near-racing spec cars. Nineteen of them sported bodies by Zagato. One of them received a Jet Age body from Bertone. In all, 75 DB4GTs were built – but this is the first.

The GT came with an upgraded engine, a 302 horsepower 3.7-liter straight-six to be exact. Top speed was 151 mph – pretty stout for something pre-1960. The story of this car is that program manager John Wyer took an early DB4 chassis, shortened it, and wrapped it in aluminium to save weight. They tested it at Le Mans and actually entered in the 1959 race. Here’s how it fared:

  • 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans – 52nd (of 53), DNF (with Hubert Patthey and Renaud Calderari)

So maybe that race entrance was a little premature. After Le Mans, Aston converted this car to road spec and pushed it into service as a press car. The first real owner came in 1961 and it turned out to be a relative of the Royal family. The current owner acquired the car in 1986 and had the factory restore it in 1989. Between their original acquisition and now, the car was at one point owned by actor Rowan Atkinson.

At the time of writing, RM has not yet published an estimate for this car. It won’t come cheap, and rightly so. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $6,765,000.

Shelby Series II

2007 Shelby Series II Prototype

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 16-19, 2017

Photo – Mecum

Cars bearing Carroll Shelby’s name first appeared in 1962. It’s been more a less a steady stream of different cars since, from his long association with Ford, to his brief stint with Chrysler in the 80s. The thing almost all Shelby cars have in common is that they are hopped up versions of already existing vehicles, from the AC Ace to the Ford Mustang to the Dodge Omni.

But in 1998 Shelby American introduced a car called the Series 1. It was a clean-sheet design and the company built 249 of them in 1999, all fully road legal and ready to go. While the cars were being built, however, Shelby American was acquired by another company (they got everything, including the Series 1, except for the Cobra “continuation” business). When that company went bankrupt on an unrelated matter, Carroll Shelby bought the Series 1 rights back. He built a handful of additional Series 1 cars in 2005.

In 2006, Shelby found some new backers who wanted to put the Series 1 back into production. The car was slightly restyled and rechristened the Series II. Three Series II Prototypes were built, with this being the only one in black (they were largely based on some of the leftover Series 1 cars that Shelby built, as this car was actually constructed in 2005). It is powered by a supercharged 4.0-liter Oldsmobile Aurora V-8 making 550 horsepower. If it sounds weird that you’d built a raw American sports car powered by an engine from an Oldsmobile sedan, remember they used that V-8 in IndyCar, too. $225,000 was to be the going rate, but some federal emissions laws changed and the project was cancelled.

This pristine example has only 22 miles on it. Shelby cars are still super collectible, so if you want one of the newest – and rarest – look no further. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum in Monterey.

S/N # CSX5505

Update: Not sold, high bid of $400,000.

Lambretta Mink

1968 Lambretta Mink Prototype

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 8, 2017

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Primarily known for their scooters, Lambretta was a brand name owned by Innocenti. They operated out of Milan between 1947 (the height of scooter-mania in Italy) and 1972 (when both brands were sold to British Leyland – a death sentence).

Lambretta did try their hand at vehicles other than scooters, but their products apparently never progressed beyond three wheels. There were commercial vehicles, and this prototype microcar. This car was not built by the Lambretta factory but was constructed by the UK Lambretta importer. Production never began and this was the only example made.

Top speed of this Lambretta scooter-powered (200cc, single-cylinder) microcar is 30 mph. It’s a one-off, 4,000-mile car and it should bring between $11,500-$16,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $15,866.

HPD ARX-03

2012 HPD ARX-03

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | May 11-13, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

Everyone has heard the saying “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” – meaning, if your race cars run up front, it does wonders for your brand. So Honda, for some reason, decided to build race-winning LMP prototype sportscars, but, not under their own name. Or even Acura’s. But under the “Honda Performance Development” brand – and then abbreviate it so no one knows “Honda” is even building these.

The program started in 2007 with the HPD ARX-01 (which, to be fair, was branded as an Acura for the first few seasons). The car was very good. The ARX-03, the most recent car, debuted in 2012. This one is powered by a Honda HPD twin-turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6. With the V-6, this car is spec’d to compete in the international LMP2 (or P2) class. It ran in the ALMS and was eligible for FIA World Endurance Championship races.

This car is an ex-Level 5 Motorsports car, the race team founded by Scott Tucker whose assets were seized by the government when Tucker was indicted on RICO charges. The race history or this chassis includes:

  • 2012 12 Hours of Sebring – 4th, 1st in Class (with Scott Tucker, João Barbosa, and Christophe Bouchut)
  • 2012 Petit Le Mans – 2nd, 1st in Class (with Tucker, Bouchut, and Luis Díaz)
  • 2012 ALMS P2 Team Champion
  • 2012 ALMS P2 Drivers Champion (Tucker and Bouchut)
  • 2013 12 Hours of Sebring – 6th, 1st in Class (with Tucker, Marino Franchitti, and Ryan Briscoe)
  • 2013 ALMS P2 Team Champion
  • 2013 ALMS P2 Drivers Champion (Tucker)

That’s a pretty impressive resume for a five-year old car. And it’s had some big names from the current era of sports car racing behind the wheel. The HPD LMP program was wound down for 2017 when Acura went GT racing with its new NSX. As the years go by, these HPD prototypes will probably be forgotten about by most people and will eventually be popular on the historic circuit. This well-raced example should bring between $75,000-$100,000 – a steal. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

S/N # ARX-03/02

Update: Sold $110,000.

The First Porsche 917/10

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 8, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Porsche 917 is one of the most legendary series of race cars ever built. It began with cars like this on tracks like the Nurburgring, Le Mans, and Spa. It culminated in the mighty 917/30 dominated the Can-Am Series right out of existence.

There were 53 of the original 917s built beginning in 1969. At the end of 1970, Porsche had updated the car, dubbing it the “917/10.” This is the first 917/10 built, the prototype used for developing 917/10s that came after it. Wind tunnel testing began in 1971 and during that testing this car sported five different bodies. Over the years it has also been fitted with several different engines. It is currently restored to “1971 wind tunnel specification” with a 5.0-liter flat-12 making about 630 horsepower providing the oomph.

During testing, the car was driven by drivers such as Jo Siffert and Mark Donohue. After testing was completed, it was sold to a privateer who campaigned the car around Europe, the U.S. and South America. Between the end of the 1973 racing season and 1997, the car sat in storage.

Restored between 1998 and 2000, the car then entered the historic circuit. It was then restored again to the condition you see here, which is very interesting. Only about 14 917/10s were ever built. This one should bring between $4,850,000-$5,800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Porsche 901 Cabriolet

1964 Porsche 901 Cabriolet Prototype by Karmann

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 8, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Porsches are hot right now. Like really, really hot – especially anything that is air-cooled. The first generation of the 911 went on sale in 1964 and the prices for this generation have gone through the roof. Let’s also remember that Porsche originally wanted to call the 911 the 901, but Peugeot objected on copyright grounds, so they added a “1.” But Porsche had already built 82 cars with “901” badging and some of them are still out there.

The first true 911 Cabriolet didn’t go one sale until 1982, so this car is extraordinarily special in that regard. Sure, there was the Targa that showed up in 1966, but it had that pesky rear window and roll-over hoop. This is the only drop-top 911 from this era – and what makes it even better is that it is from the prototype line of 901 cars. It is the second-earliest 901 Prototype known to exist and most of the 13 Prototype Coupes were destroyed back in the day.

The engine is a 130 horsepower, 2.0-liter flat-six and the convertible work was carried out by Karmann, a longtime Volkswagen collaborator. Porsche parted ways with this car in 1967, selling it to a German racing driver who wanted to save it. An American collector acquired it directly from him in 2001 and rebuilt the engine, making the car roadworthy. But the body and interior are all-original. The current British owner is selling the car at auction – the first time it has ever been available for public sale. If you thought Porsche prices were high already, wait for the hammer price on this one. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $692,337.

Melling Wildcat

2008 Melling Wildcat Prototype

Offered by Coys | Birmingham, U.K. | January 14, 2017

Photo – Coys

Al Melling worked at TVR and was responsible for co-designing the TVR-produced engine that was used in the Cerbera. His work spread across to motorcycles, Formula One, and other supercar manufacturers. He set up a shop in Rochdale, England, called Al Melling Sports Cars to produce this, the Wildcat.

It looks like something that would’ve come out of England, specifically like something from TVR or Marcos. This was the first example built and it is powered by a 5.7-liter Chevrolet V-8 tuned to make 450 horsepower (other engines are an option if you buy one new). Top speed is 180 mph and 60 arrives in just 3.5 seconds.

As of 2014, only seven Wildcats had been produced, with this being the first, the Prototype (which was assembled in just nine months). The car has been in the Melling family since it was built and they are the ones offering it for sale here. Click here for more info and here for more from Coys.

Update: Sold (about) $22,375

AMC AMX/3

1969 AMC AMX/3

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 21, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

The AMX was American Motors’ foray into the muscle and sports car arena. The AMX was among the coolest cars AMC ever built and it was also the basis for a series of concept cars that the company funded. The third such car was dubbed the AMX/3 and it was nothing like the front-engine, rear-wheel drive coupe it shared its name with.

One of the designers of this mid-engined car was Giotto Bizzarrini and the body was done by ItalDesign. AMC was quite taken with the result and initially thought they could sell 1,000 examples, but reality sank in pretty quickly and the final order was for 26 cars to be constructed in Italy by Bizzarrini. But only five were ever built (though Bizzarrini did built one more from spare parts after the fact).

Power comes from a 340 horsepower 6.4-liter V-8 and it was quick. This particular example was tested at Monza and it exceeded 160 mph. It was sold just two years later to a native of Indianapolis. The second restoration was performed at the expense of the current European owner in 2014. This is one of the rarest, most exotic American cars ever built – and it came from a company known primarily for the Gremlin. It should sell for between $900,000-$1,300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $891,000.