Duesenberg J-143

1932 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, bodied more Duesenberg Model Js than any other coachbuilder, and their most popular body style was this, the convertible coupe. While only 25 were built with a convertible soft top, that was enough to make it the top seller among a very limited production run.

Power, of course, is from a 6.9-liter straight-eight good for 265 horsepower. This car is apparently one of a few Duesenbergs owned by gangster Jake the Barber. It was restored in 1995 and was purchased by the current owner, Keith Crain, about 16 years ago.

Crain is dumping a few classics at this sale, all at no reserve… which is interesting. You can see more about this car here and see more from this sale here.

January 2020 Auction Highlights

We kick off in January with RM Sotheby’s in Arizona where the top sale was this 2018 Pagani Huayra Roadster that sold for $2,370,000.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

All of our feature cars sold, with the V-16 Cadillac leading the way at $1,105,000. Following that was the Hispano-Suiza at $445,000 and the Shelby Series I at $91,840. Other sales included the Chalmers for $61,600, the Locomobile for $58,240, and the Kaiser for $10,080. Click here for complete results.

Next up, Gooding & Company, also in Arizona. This auction proved that bedroom wall car posters are key indicators of what’s going to skyrocket in value. In this case, it was a 1995 Ferrari F50 that outsold a Tucker at $3,222,500. It also way outsold the 250 GT Cabriolet that brought $1,462,500.

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual-Cowl Phaeton sold for $2,425,000. The Model A Duesenberg, and a previously-featured Model J, both failed to sell. More results are available here.

We move on to Barrett-Jackson, where the top sale was a charity lot: the first mid-engine Corvette. A 2020 Stingray that hasn’t even been built yet. This red pre-production car crossed the block, but the actual first one will be black.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

I couldn’t even tell you what their overall top sale was that wasn’t a charity lot because the results page isn’t sortable :(. I have strong feelings on these moonshot charity auctions, but I will keep them to myself.

Every car we featured sold, which is no surprise because this entire sale is 99.9% reserve-free. The Superbird brought $313,500, the L88 Corvette $330,000, and the Kuzma-Offy $165,000. The Aerocar went for a lot less than I anticipated, bringing only $275,000. I think, had it sold 15 years ago, it would’ve gone for much more.

On the other side of things were the Lawil at $12,100 and the Bremen Sebring at $7,700. Click here for all of the results.

Across town was Russo & Steele, who managed to move this 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster for $1,045,000. The Rambler Marlin we featured went for $8,800. A great buy. Final results can be found here.

Photo – Russo & Steele

Finally, we have Bonhams at Retromobile. The top overall sale was this 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Supersport that sold for $5,045,740.

Photo – Bonhams

Other big-dollar sales among our feature cars included the Pegaso for $782,089, a previously-featured Delahaye for $227,058, a previously-featured Talbot racer for $964,997 (less than half of what it sold for in 2014), and a BMW-Glas prototype for $229,581.

Other sales included the Devin D for $100,914 and the Toyota F1 roller for $90,823. No sales were the Bugatti 39, Zagato Mostro, and the previously-featured Miller Shooting Brake and Brasier saloon. More results can be found here.

Nash-Healey Coupe

1953 Nash-Healey Le Mans Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Nash-Healey was one of America’s first post-war sports cars, beating competitors like the Chevrolet Corvette to market by a number of years. The first Nash-Healeys went on sale in 1951 and were only available as convertibles.

The cars were restyled for 1952 to more closely resemble what you see here, and a hardtop model was introduced in 1953. Named the “Le Mans” coupe, the hardtop commemorated Nash-Healey’s podium finish at Le Mans. It cost twice as much as a 1953 Corvette when new and features a body penned by Pininfarina.

Power in this car is from a 4.1-liter inline-six from Nash capable of 140 horsepower. Only 62 coupes were built for 1953, and only 30 are thought to survive. This one was restored in 1994 and is now being sold at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Amelia Island.

Muntz Jet

1952 Muntz Jet

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Earl “Madman” Muntz was a businessman in Glendale, California, who acquired the rights to the Kurtis Sports, a car designed and produced by Frank Kurtis. Only 16 examples were built by Kurtis until Muntz took over production.

Production shifted to Illinois, and the design was tweaked somewhat to make the car longer. It’s still aluminum-bodied, and various engines were used during the course of the model’s 1950-1954 run. This car has a triple-carbureted V8 under the hood, but the catalog makes zero mention of the engine’s origin or displacement. Sad face.

The purple finish over a white iguana skin interior is quite striking. It also comes with a black Carson top. Only about 198 of these were built, and Muntz lost $1,000 on each of them. This one is selling at no reserve. You can see more photos here and see more from this sale here.

Duesenberg J-490

1932 Duesenberg Model J Stationary Victoria by Rollston

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

A few weeks ago we featured a Model J Duesenberg with engine number J-490X. The X is said to denote a factory rebuild and restamp. Why they would’ve restamped it with a number of an engine that was already out there in another car is beyond me.

This car is said to retain its original chassis, body, and 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight engine. The body is by Rollston, and it is a one-off creation that was specially ordered to resemble Rollston’s convertible victoria – but in fixed-roof fashion.

It has known ownership history since new and was “cosmetically restored” at some point in the past. I think that’s another way of saying a body-on restoration. You can see more about this car here and more from this sale here.

Spyker C8 Laviolette

2008 Spyker C8 Laviolette

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

A silver Spyker with an orange leather interior. Yep. I’ll take two. The Laviolette version of Spyker’s C8 was introduced in 2001, a year after the original Spyder was released. What differentiated the cars were their roofs.

The Laviolette features a fixed roof with a built-in air intake to feed the rear-mounted 4.2-liter Audi V8. Power was rated at 395 horsepower. The original short-wheelbase Laviolette was produced up until 2009, and this is one of the final examples of the model.

It was also an ex-factory demonstrator. With three owners since new, including Spyker themselves, this one will hopefully find a new home at RM’s Paris sale. More info can be found here, and more from this sale is available here. Also, just because it is so damned pretty, the interior of this car:

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Update: Sold $267,386.

Gemballa Mirage

2005 Gemballa Mirage GT

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Okay, so maybe labeling this car as a Gemballa and not a Porsche is giving Gemballa a little too much credit. It’s a Porsche Carrera GT… with some subtle mods and some not-so-subtle paint. Visual modifications include Gemballa wheels, a roof-mounted air intake, and relocation of the reverse lights.

Mechanical modifications aren’t all that extreme considering what some people do to supercars. A freer-flowing exhaust system, a revised intake system, an adjustable coil-over suspension, and a Gemballa clutch were also added. These things added 40 horsepower to the output of the 5.7-liter V10 for a new rating of 645 horsepower.

This is one of three “Gold Edition” Mirages, and I think what that means is pretty self-explanatory. Only 25 Mirage GTs were built. That accounts for 2% of all Carrera GT production. It’s had just one owner, who also happens to be an Olympic gold medal-winning soccer player. You can see more here and more from RM in Paris here.

Update: Not sold.

Hispano-Suiza Alfonso XIII

1913 Hispano-Suiza Alfonso XIII Boattail

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Hispano-Suiza had only been around for about eight years when they introduced the Alfonso XIII in 1912. Named for the King of Spain (who enjoyed and purchased their cars), the Alfonso is considered to be one of the first sports cars. Not all of them were sporty, however.

Power is supplied by a 3.6-liter inline-four good for 64 horsepower. This car rides on the long-wheelbase chassis and carries a reproduction boattail body. A two-seater body dating back to at least the 1920s accompanies the car and is believed to be the car’s original.

Ownership history is known back to the early 1920s, when it was bought by a university student in England, who would own the car until his death in 1978. It’s only had three owners since. This is one of the best cars of its era, and it’s rare to see such a fine example changing hands. You can see more about it here and more from RM in Paris here.

Update: Not sold.

Shelby Series I Prototype

1999 Shelby Series I Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Shelby Series 1 was a legitimate, home-grown American sports car. It was the first Shelby-branded car to start from a clean-sheet design. They managed to produce just 249 examples – all in 1999.

Power is from a 4.0-liter Oldsmobile Aurora V8. That may sound lame, but remember that engine was also the basis for Olds’ Indy car engine around this time. Power in the Series 1 production cars was rated at 320 horsepower, and a top speed of 170 mph was reported.

This is actually a pre-production prototype and demonstration car. A couple of these prototypes were built. Later on, after the Series 1 program went bust, a Series II was introduced, but never advanced beyond the prototype stage. At no reserve, this car is expected to fetch $120,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $91,840.

Dyna-Veritas

1952 Dyna-Veritas Cabriolet

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Veritas was a sports car manufacturer that was founded in the wake of WWII in West Germany. They got their start by modifying BMW 328s. That eventually gave way to building sports cars and even single-seat race cars. They definitely caught the racing bug, and soon realized it was expensive.

In order to fund their racing program, they started producing this road car. Called the Dyna-Veritas, the car is powered by a Panhard Dyna-sourced 745cc flat-twin that produced 38 horsepower. Coupe and convertible body styles were offered.

The front-wheel-drive convertible was bodied by Baur, and only 176 examples of the Dyna-Veritas were built. This is one of 10 surviving examples and is selling without reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $75,978.