Kurtis 500E

1956 Kurtis 500E

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Frank Kurtis built quite a few race cars in his day, but he only built one 500E. In fact, he only built three cars in 1956 in total, two of which were Novi-powered 500Fs. The E was produced for the Federal Engineering race team, and it was an evolution of the earlier 500D, except the engine was tilted to the left and the fuel cap shifted places on the tail.

The engine would’ve been an Offenhauser inline-four. The car currently houses a mock-up of an Offy, but it’s not actually powered. The competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1956 Indianapolis 500 – 7th (with Bob Veith)
  • 1957 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ (with Billy Garrett)
  • 1958 Indianapolis 500 – 14th, DNF (with Bob Christie)
  • 1959 Indianapolis 500 – 14th, (with Jimmy Daywalt)
  • 1960 Indianapolis 500 – 17th (with Shorty Templeman)
  • 1961 Indianapolis 500 – 10th (with Norm Hall)
  • 1962 Indianapolis 500 – 21st, DNF (with Chuck Hulse)
  • 1964 Indianapolis 500 – Never arrived

Yeah, it was raced at Indy, a lot. It was supposed to go back in ’64, but they never ended up preparing it. The car’s trail went cold, until John Snowberger, went on the hunt for his dad’s old race cars (his father, Russ, was Federal Engineering’s crew chief for many of those Indy appearances). He found a rusty old frame in a Detroit-area shop, which later turned out to be the remains of the 500E. It has been semi-restored, and is now expected to bring between $90,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $68,200.

Epperly Indy Roadster

1961 Epperly-Offenhauser Indianapolis

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Quin Epperly is another legendary mid-century name associated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His cars first showed up at the 500 in 1955 and would continue to run there until the mid-engined revolution took hold.

This car is another Offy-powered roadster, originally equipped with a 255ci inline-four. The competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1961 Indianapolis 500 – 33rd, DNF (with Don Branson)
  • 1962 Indianapolis 500 – 5th (with Bobby Marshman)
  • 1963 Indianapolis 500 – 28th, DNF (with Bud Tingelstad)

Like so many other Indy roadsters, it was once part of the Bob McConnell collection for a number of years. It has been restored to its 1962 500 livery. It really looks the part of bad-ass Indy roadster, doesn’t it? The pre-sale estimate is $350,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $407,000.

Kurtis 500B

1953 Kurtis 500B

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Frank Kurtis was a legendary race car designer, and his 500B was an iteration of his earlier 500/500A cars. They first hit the track in about 1953, and they would be competitive for a few years thereafter, although they would eventually be topped by later, greater cars.

It’s powered by an Offenhauser inline-four, and the competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1953 Indianapolis 500 – 10th (with Jimmy Davies)
  • 1954 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ (with Davies)
  • 1955 Indianapolis 500 – 3rd (with Davies)
  • 1956 Indianapolis 500 – 28th, DNF (with Al Herman)

This car was formerly part of the Bob McConnell collection, and it wears its 1955/1956 “Bardahl Special” livery. Only eight examples of the 500B were built, and this was the last. It’s an Indy podium finisher and is expected to bring between $350,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $550,000.

Grid-Porsche

1983 Grid-Porsche S2

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | August 14, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

Grid Motor Racing of Leamington, England, went Group C racing with this Porsche-powered prototype in the early 1980s. Grid stood for Giuseppe Rise and Ian Dawson, the two men behind the project, and they built two sports racing prototypes, with this being the second.

This car is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.2-liter Porsche flat-six good for 500 horsepower, and the body is made of glass-reinforced plastic. It’s hung over a monocoque featuring aluminum honeycomb panels. Though listed as a 1983, the car made its racing debut in 1984, and it’s competition history includes:

  • 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans – 53rd, DNF (with Dudley Wood, John Cooper, and Barry Robinson)

It was dead last at Le Mans, having covered just 10 laps. Fortunately, that’s enough to grant you access to nearly any historic event you want to participate in. And it did have more successful outings later that season.

The current owner bought it in 2012 and listed it on Bring a Trailer late last year where it was bid to $200,000. Seemed like a good price, but they seem to think that can get $275,000-$325,000 at Bonhams. It will be interesting to see what the result ends up being. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

RA4 Vanguard

1954 RA4 Vanguard

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Online | July 31-August 2, 2020

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

So no, this isn’t an Auto Union Grand Prix car, despite its looks. In fact, it was built a full 20 years after those cars dominated the European Grand Prix circuit. The “RA” cars were racing specials built by Hector Green and Jack Brewer in New Zealand between the end of WWII and the mid-1950s. Their first car kept evolving, and in 1951 they decided to replace it.

The RA4 Vanguard was the replacement, and its design and construction were heavily influenced by the pre-war Auto Unions. That’s because its builders consulted a then-declassified British intelligence document that investigated the construction of the German Grand Prix cars of the 1930s. Intriguing stuff.

Power is from a rear-mounted 2.1-liter inline-four from a Standard Vanguard that was supercharged and fitted with dual SU carburetors. Horsepower, when the car was running on methanol, was approximately 200. Wow.

The car competed regularly in New Zealand beginning in 1951 through about 1954. It’s been invited to the Goodwood Revival and has been owned by its current caretakers since 2017. Only five or six RA specials were built. You can read more about this one here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Inaltera GTP

1976 Inaltera-Cosworth GTP

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | July 14-22, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Jean Rondeau was a racing driver that drove open-wheel and saloon cars before moving on to sports racing prototypes in 1976 when he joined the Inaltera team. Inaltera was a wallpaper company, an industry whose natural extension is prototype sports cars to contest Le Mans.

This example, the first of three built, was the team’s test car. It is powered by a 3.0-liter Cosworth V8. Though it did not compete at Le Mans in 1976, it would enter the race the following year. It’s competition history includes:

  • 1977 24 Hours of Le Mans – 4th (3rd in Class), with Jean Rondeau and Jean Ragnotti

After that, Inaltera pulled out of motor racing. Rondeau ventured on, building similar cars under his own name. He would later become the only person to win Le Mans with a car bearing his own name.

This car went to Switzerland after the 1977 season along with the other two Inaltera chassis. The current owner acquired all three later that year and sold the other two, keeping this one. It is now offered with an estimate between $510,000-$625,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $440,902.

GT350R Prototype

1965 Shelby GT350R Prototype

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | July 10-18, 2020

Photo – Mecum

The GT350 was the most badass 1965 Mustang. But how do you take that up a notch? You turn it into a factory race car, of course. That’s what Shelby did with 34-ish of their launch-year GT350s. The R was built for SCCA B-Production competition.

This car is the first GT350R built and was used by Shelby American as a factory race car, racking up 10 B-Production victories in 1965, along with the national championship – the latter with driver Jerry Titus. It was also the test mule for Shelby before they built the 34 customer cars.

Famed drivers Ken Miles, Bob Bondurant, Chuck Cantwell, and Peter Brock all also drove this car in period. It’s been restored and retains a 4.7-liter 289 V8 that made somewhere north of 300 horsepower. Mecum bills this as the “most historically significant Shelby Mustang in the world” which might be a little much. In any case, it’s likely to be among the most expensive. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,850,000.

Lola T296

1976 Lola T296

For Sale by Girardo & Co.

Photo – Girardo & Co.

Eric Broadley’s Lola Cars was a long-time race car manufacturer based out of the U.K. They built open-wheel and sports cars between 1958 and 2012. In the 1970s, one of their big focuses was prototype sports cars, which included fantastic-looking racers like this one.

The T290 series was introduced in 1972 and was produced for a few years in six different variants. In all, 108 examples of the series were built, including this T296, which was made for the 1976 season. It features an aluminum monocoque and was built to accept four-cylinder engines.

This was the first of eight T296 examples produced and was purchased new by Mader Racing Components. It’s competition history includes:

  • 1977 24 Hours of Le Mans – 52nd, DNF (with Georges Morand, Christian Blanc, and Frederic Alliot)
  • 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans – 40th, DNF (with Morand, Blanc, and Eric Vaugnat)
  • 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans – 48th, DNF (with Vaugnat, Daniel Laurent, and Jacques Boillat)

It’s competitive career ended after the 1980 season, but before the decade was out, the car was active again on the historic circuit. It featured a Ford-Cosworth engine in-period, but is now powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter BMW M12 inline-four. This car a green card into almost any historic automotive event, and it can now be yours. Click here for more info.

Richard Petty’s ’71 NASCAR

1971 Plymouth Road Runner NASCAR

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | July 10-18, 2020

Photo – Mecum

Richard Petty drove a Ford in 1969 and was lured back into a Chrysler product in 1970 with the fantastic Plymouth Superbird. After it dominated the 1970 season, NASCAR tweaked the rules out of the be-winged cars’ favor, so Chrysler decided to put Petty in a redesigned 1971 Road Runner for the next season.

The second-generation Road Runner debuted in 1971, which was also the final season that a car won the Cup championship “using a production-based body and engine” per Mecum’s lot description. It’s powered by a 426ci Hemi V8.

Petty won his third championship in this car (and 21 races that year). The following season would begin NASCAR’s “modern era,” making this car the last of its kind. It was also the final season for the all-Petty Blue livery. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $450,000.

1949 Indy 500 Winner

1947 Diedt-Offenhauser

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | July 10-18, 2020

Photo – Mecum

Emil Diedt was a California-based fabricator whose name is closely associated with post-war racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This car, the Blue Crown Spark Plugs Special, competed at Indy in four consecutive years, from 1947 through 1950. It’s results were:

  • 1947 Indianapolis 500 – 2nd (with Bill Holland)
  • 1948 Indianapolis 500 – 2nd (with Holland)
  • 1949 Indianapolis 500 – 1st (with Holland)
  • 1950 Indianapolis 500 – 2nd (with Holland)

That’s the mark of a pretty dominant car. It’s powered by a 270ci Offenhauser inline-four that drives the front wheels, thus pulling the car through corners instead of pushing it. This car wears its Indy-winning livery and has spent time in the IMS museum, where it ultimately belongs.

But instead, you can go out and buy it. It’s one of the not-all-that-many 500-winning cars in private hands. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $4,000,000.