Zink Z-8

1969 Zink-Volkswagen Z-8 Daytona Prototype

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 19-20, 2022

Photo – Gooding & Company

Ed Zink is most remembered for his Formula Vee open-wheel race cars, but in the 1960s, it was hard not to get caught up in prototype sports car racing, apparently. The Z-8 featured a space-frame chassis wrapped in fiberglass bodywork.

For power, project cheerleader and idea man Hugh Heishman (a Virginia Volkswagen dealer) turned to VW for their new Type 3E fuel-injected flat-four. The 1.9-liter unit is carbureted now and is estimated to make about 150 horsepower. The car was run in period, including:

  • 1969 24 Hours of Daytona – 18th, 3rd in class (with Bill Scott, Jim McDaniel, and Steve Pieper)
  • 1969 12 Hours of Sebring – 68th, DNF (with Scott, McDaniel, and Pieper)

It went SCCA racing in privateer hands after that, eventually being stored in a disassembled state. A restoration that completed in 2017 brought it to its current condition. Gooding estimates a price of $150,000-$200,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $75,000.

AMC AM Van Concept

1977 AMC AM Van Concept

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Highland Park, Illinois | June 1, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Well look at AMC, predicting the minivan yet somehow also treating their futuristic minivan prototype with all of the gaudiness of late-1970s van life culture. This thing is kind of like an inflated Pacer, with some styling cues definitely carried over.

There’s no engine – never was – but it has “Turbo” and “4×4” badging, so they were definitely thinking outside of the box. The body is fiberglass, and those turbine wheels look great with white-letter BFG tires. Oh, and side pipes! On a van!

Too bad it never made it past this prototype roller stage. It’s been part of a concept car collection for the last 35 years. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

LaFerrari Prototype

2012 Ferrari LaFerrari M6 Development Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monaco | May 14, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The LaFerrari was one of the three major hybrid hypercars to debut in the 2010s along with the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder. But each of those cars underwent heavy development cycles, and not all of them were pretty.

What we have here is a “LaFerrari Prototype” that is actually a heavily modified Ferrari 458 Italia that gave its dignity to be fitted with a bunch of test equipment and essentially operate as a development mule. This car was from the first phase of testing and was codenamed the M6.

It has a version of the LaFerrari’s hybrid powertrain stuffed in its modified chassis. It sounds as if it has a version of the Enzo’s 6.0-liter V12 paired with an F1-derived KERS system and an electric motor. Ferrari sold this car, complete with its factory camouflage, to a private owner in 2016.

It’s a runner, but can’t be registered (or apparently used on public race tracks). But for someone with a private Ferrari collection (or a private race track), the purchase could make sense. No pre-sale estimate is available, and you can read more here.

Update: Not sold.

OPAC Piu Prototype

1996 OPAC Piu Roadster Prototype

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 3, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Opac S.r.l. is an Italian company whose services include building prototypes for other manufacturers, hardtop and soft top design and production, and various marine services. In the 1990s, they decided to build a prototype for their own brand.

The Piu is based on a contemporary Peugeot 106 XSi, which means it is powered by an inline-four displacing either 1.4 or 1.6 liters (that catalog description does not state if it’s based on a 1.4 or 1.6 XSi). Power outputs were 94 horsepower for the smaller motor and 102 for the larger.

The interior is a wild combination of yellow and blue suede… on everything. The car debuted at the 1996 Turin Motor Show and features a VHS player and a 10-disc CD changer. The current owner purchased the car, at the time in a state of disuse, directly from Opac. It now carries a pre-sale estimate of $45,000-$68,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,279.

Ascari FGT

1993 Ascari FGT Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | London, U.K. | November 6, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is something you don’t see every day. Or year. Or decade. Ascari Cars was founded by Klaas Zwart and was named for Alberto Ascari. Based in the U.K., they built very limited-run supercars throughout the late 1990s and 2000s. Their former HQ is now home to the Haas F1 team.

The FGT was their first product. The car was actually designed by Lee Noble independently and sold to Zwart, who founded Ascari around the car and produced it as a race car. The FGT competed in the British GT Championship through 1997, after which Ascari produced 17 road-going versions of the car and called them the Ecosse.

This example is the first FGT built (and likely the only true road-going version) – the initial Noble-produced prototype and what would become the first car to wear the Ascari name. It’s powered by a mid-mounted 6.0-liter Chevrolet V8 making 420 horsepower with an upgraded ECU.

It was apparently found by the current owner in a barn after sitting for 13 years. Lee Noble was called in, and the car was restored to as you see it now. Ascari built less than 100 cars in 15 years, and this is the first one. No pre-sale estimate is yet available, but you can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $26,269.

Reliant Scimitar 4×4

1972 Reliant Scimitar GTE Ferguson 4×4 Prototype

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | June 23, 2021

Photo – Brightwells

The Reliant (and later, Middlebridge) Scimitar GTE was a two-door shooting brake wagon/sports car. Initially – in 1964 – there was a two-door Scimitar coupe, but that evolved into the GTE wagon-ish sort of thing in 1968. Production of various models continued through 1990. They were all front-engine and rear-wheel drive.

Except for this one. It still has the same fiberglass body as other Scimitars, but it also has a four-wheel-drive system from FF Developments, a company that worked with developing such systems, including for a Formula One car (via its predecessor company, Ferguson Research).

Power is from a 3.0-liter Ford V6. This car remained with FF Developments until one of the engineers working on it managed to buy it. From there it passed to another owner, eventually ending up in the Jaguar Land Rover collection, cars from which were sold a few years ago (including this one). The current owner bought it then and has brought the thing back to life. It’s now selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $23,498.

Audi Front UW

1933 Audi Front UW Prototype by Glaser

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

The Audi Front was the first front-wheel-drive European car with a six-cylinder engine. The “UW” part was a sort of German abbreviation denoting that this Audi used a Wanderer engine that was flipped 180 degrees to drive the front wheels. The cars were also built in a Horch plant, making it a real Auto Union effort. Two different engines were offered during a production run that lasted from 1933 to 1938.

This car was in Russia during WWII, and it’s owner kept it hidden in his basement to avoid it be confiscated by Soviet authorities. It was purchased by the current owner in 1984 and relocated to Armenia, where it sat in storage until a restoration began in 2012.

Of the two Wanderer engines offered in the Audi Front (220 or 225), this car has neither. It has a 3.0-liter inline-six and some one-off features that have led people to believe it was some kind of prototype fitted with a four-seat, two-door convertible body by Glaser. Historics hypothesize that it was ordered by a high-ranking German military official. The pre-sale estimate is $480,000-$520,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Not sold, Historics Auctioneers, July 2021.

Bowler CSP V8

2016 Bowler CSP V8 Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 13, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Bowler Manufacturing was founded by Andrew Bowler in 1985. Their bread and butter were modifying Land Rovers, and they did so to such a degree that the trucks would be badged as their own thing, not just a “modified Defender.”

They offered a few models based on the Land Rover Defender, including the Wildcat and the Bulldog, the latter of which featured two doors in what looks like a four-door setup along with a pickup bed. The truck pictured above was first assembled as a Bulldog. It features Bowler’s Cross Sector Platform (CSP) chassis that does away with the old-school Defender chassis.

It was later re-worked by the factory as a new prototype, replacing the Bulldog’s 3.0-liter V6 with a supercharged Jaguar 5.0-liter V8 rated at 542 horsepower. These are described as “off-road racing vehicles” which pretty much sums it up.

Andrew Bowler died unexpectedly in 2016, and Jaguar Land Rover purchased the company in late 2019. This truck is one of a few offered at this sale from the collection of the former Bowler Motors director. It is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $145,770

B.A.T. 7

1954 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 7

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | October 28, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is the second of the three Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept cars that RM Sotheby’s is offering as a single lot later this week in New York. It was also styled by Franco Scaglione at Bertone and carries a similar look as BAT 5, except that those rear wings are pulled so far inward they look like the spiraling vapor trails off the end of a plane’s wing.

The driveline was sourced from Alfa’s 1900, meaning that this car has a 115-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four. Designed without the aid of computers (and likely little-to-no windtunnel time), the BAT 7 boasts a drag coefficient of 0.19. That’s better than a Prius, a car designed specifically to slip through the air.

This car debuted at the 1954 Turin Motor Show and was later sent to the U.S. by Alfa Romeo. It even ran in SCCA races in 1955. The rear wings were removed at one point before being re-installed during a late-1980s cosmetic restoration. Click here for more info.

Update: All three B.A.T. cars sold as a single lot for $14,840,000.

B.A.T. 5

1953 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | October 28, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Alfa Romeo Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars of the mid-1950s are some of the most wildly stylish prototypes ever built. Each was bodied by Franco Scaglione at Bertone as an attempt to research the effects of aerodynamic drag on a car. Thus, the swoopy, be-winged designs.

This is the first of the three coupes produced (no, I don’t know why they started with “5”). It debuted at the 1953 Turin Motor Show and is powered by a twin-cam inline-four that supposedly made somewhere between 75 and 100 horsepower. The car’s styling resulted in a drag coefficient of just 0.23. That enabled the tiny engine to push the car to over 120 mph.

Stanley Arnolt was the first private owner, and it has known history since then. RM Sotheby’s is now offering all three B.A.T. concept cars as one lot. It’s an easy eight-figure sale, should it meet the astronomical reserve. Click here for more info.

Update: All three B.A.T. cars sold as a single lot for $14,840,000.