Derby Roadster

1928 Derby Type GSEH Sports Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Derby (pronounced dar-bee, because, you know, France) was an automobile manufacturer based in Courbevoie, France, between 1921 and 1936. It is not to be confused with the “Derby Bentleys” – which were Bentleys produced at a factory in Derby, England. This French company was founded by Bertrand Montet and the first cars were powered by v-twin motorcycle engines.

This car is powered by a four-cylinder engine and was sold alongside at least three other models, some of which featured six cylinders. Bertrand Montet died in 1928 and the company stood on shaky ground thereafter. Toward the end they were producing V-8 powered front-wheel drive cars.

Production never gained enough steam to build any significant amount of cars. The company’s biggest years were in 1925 and 1926 when they built around 200 cars annually. Only about 50 survive worldwide today, with only a handful in the U.S. This sporty roadster is an comparatively affordable alternative to racy French cars from the likes of Bugatti, Rally, B.N.C., and Amilcar. To see more, click here. And to see more from RM Sotheby’s, click here.

Gardner 140

1930 Gardner 140 Sport Roadster

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

Russell Gardner founded the Gardner Motor Company in St. Louis in 1920. The company did pretty well right off the bat, moving nearly 4,000 cars in 1921 and more than double that the year after. They began with four-cylinder cars and expanded to six and eight-cylinder engines later on.

In 1930 the company offered three models: the Model 136, Model 140, and Model 150. The mid-level Model 140 is powered by a 90 horsepower, 4.1-liter Lycoming straight-eight. It was an evolution of 1929’s Model 125 (not to be confused with the 120).

The 140 could be had in eight body styles, with this Sport Roadster among the least expensive options, priced at $1,645 when new. Restored in 2016, this ex-Harrah car is one of about 1,100 Gardners produced in 1930 (the company folded after 1931). It’s also one of two Model 140 Sport Roadsters known to exist. It should sell for between $200,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $132,000.

Adams Roadster

1985 Adams Roadster

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | July 26, 2017

Photo – H&H Classics

Dennis Adams worked at Lister Cars and Marcos at different points in his career and also he built a few cars of his own. Perhaps the most famous is the Probe 16, also known as the Durango 95 from A Clockwork Orange. In the 1980s he designed this Jaguar-based Roadster with a very neoclassic-like look.

Originally powered by a 2.8-liter engine, this car now boasts a 4.2-liter Jaguar straight-six with three carburettors. Depending on which era the engine came from (it was around a while), this car probably makes somewhere between 168 and 265 horsepower. Top speed is claimed to be over 100 mph.

The Adams Roadster was built between 1985 and 1999 and only 17 were ever constructed. The green paint is somewhat striking and the interior looks like it’s definitely been used but still shows nice with no noticeable cracks or tears. This rare Jaguar-powered machine should bring between $25,500-$38,250. Click here for more info and here for more from H&H Classics.

Update: Sold $22,900.

Bugatti Type 49 Roadster

1932 Bugatti Type 49 Roadster by Labourdette

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 4, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

In 1922, Bugatti introduced the eight-cylinder Type 30. It would evolve through a number of other models, all eight-cylinder cars, that culminated in the 1930-1934 Type 49. This model is considered to be one of the finest of Ettore’s creations, with a decade of development used to really perfect it.

The Type 49 is powered by a 3.3-liter straight-eight making 85 horsepower. The body is by Labourdette, one of the oldest French coachbuilders of its day. It’s sleek and simple, with a rear-mounted spare that is inset into the body, making the car appear quite aerodynamic when viewed from behind.

The first few owners of this car were all French, but in the 1970s it was exported to the U.K. It arrived in the U.S. in 1983 by way of Japan and the current owner acquired it in 1995. Restored over a number of years, it is fresh, pretty, and ready for showing and going. Bugatti built 470 examples of the Type 49 and just 76 are thought to exist. This one has not been bestowed with a pre-sale estimate, so bring a blank check. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $676,500.

Four Fire Trucks from France

Four Fire Trucks in France

Offered by Osenat | Puiseux-Pontoise, France | May 14, 2017


1942 American LaFrance V-12 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

American LaFrance is one of the biggest names in fire trucks. Tracing their roots to 1832, the company built their first motorized vehicle in 1907. In 1995 they were bought by Freightliner, part of Daimler, who dumped them on an investment firm in 2005. They went through bankruptcy in 2008 and closed up shop in 2014.

People love fire trucks, and this wartime example is powered by a big Lycoming V-12 engine, something they only did for a brief period of time. This particular model (whose name I cannot find) was only produced in 1942. These are all coming out of a museum and this one should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $9,329.


1951 Laffly BSS163 Fire Van

Photo – Osenat

Laffly, which sounds like a comedy club, was actually a French manufacturer of commercial vehicles that was founded back in 1849. Their first automobiles were produced in 1912 and they went out of business in the 1950s.

Their specialty were military vehicles and fire trucks. The BSS163 was the “Standardized Fire Van” and it went into production in 1946. It’s a large van and it’s powered by an 80 horsepower straight-six from Delahaye. This particular van was restored by the owner of this collection. There are two other Laffly fire vans at this sale, but this is the nicest. It should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1952 Seagrave V-12 Roadster

Photo – Osenat

A couple of things… first, there is no model year listed for this truck. A quick search online revealed (as you can probably surmise by just looking at it) that this Seagrave fire truck is from the early 1950s, thus why I’ve called it a 1952. I also don’t have a model name, but it is V-12 powered and it does sport Roadster body work.

Like American LaFrance, Seagrave is among the biggest names in American fire trucks. Founded in 1881, the company built their first motorized fire truck in 1907. They were acquired by FWD in 1963 and have been based in Wisconsin since. This is a spectacular design and it can be yours for between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1927 Delahaye Type 83 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

The last fire truck we’ll feature today is from Delahaye, builder of some of France’s most beautiful cars. In fact, Delahaye built a lot of commercial vehicles over the years, including many fire trucks. They are quite rare today because, like Pierce-Arrow and Packard in the U.S., people acquired the commercial vehicles and stripped the bodies off of them and applied sexy passenger car bodies instead.

This fire truck has had a complete restoration and looks very nice. It has one large improvement over the previous generation of heavy trucks: inflatable tires. If you were to drive this back-to-back with a truck on solid rubber tires you’d notice a world of difference. This one should bring between $16,500-$22,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Roamer Roadster

1916 Roamer Six Roadster

Offered by Osenat | Obenheim, France | May 1, 2017

Photo – Osenat

Roamer has an interesting backstory. The New York distributor of the Rauch & Lang electric car (Cloyd Kenworthy) wanted a gasoline car to sell because electrics weren’t as popular as they had once been. He teamed up with a designer (Karl Martin) and Albert Barley, the owner of the Halladay marque. They called their new car “Roamer,” named after a popular race horse. On a related note, “Seabiscuit” is not a great name for a car.

Roamers went on sale in 1916 – making this a launch-year model (though I can’t find a record of a two-door Roadster being available that year). It’s powered by a 23 horsepower, 5.0-liter Continental straight-six. It’s looks are sportier than its actual performance. Some people referred to them as the “Poor Man’s Rolls-Royce.” They certainly looked the part, but were just a lot cheaper. I like Roamers – they are very Gatsby-esque.

This car has done a lot of travelling, as it was delivered new to Australia, later imported to Uruguay, and then to Italy. Not to mention it was built in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The final Roamers were sold in 1930 and they aren’t particularly well-remembered today, though their designs have held up well. This one should bring between $58,000-$80,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Stutz Speedway Four

1923 Stutz Speedway Four Roadster

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 6-8, 2017

Photo – Mecum

The Speedway Four was a model produced by Stutz in 1923 and 1924. This car is titled as a 1922 and is listed in the catalog as such, but Stutz’s 1922 line consisted solely of the 80 horsepower Series K.

Stutz produced two Speedway models – the Four and the Six. Which one do you think was larger and more powerful? You’re wrong, it’s the Four. It’s powered by a 5.9-liter straight-four making 88 horsepower and rides on a 130″ wheelbase. That compares to the Six’s 70 horses and 120″ wheelbase.

Eight body styles were offered and this Roadster looks the part of the performance car it was – and still is. Stutz motorcars are sought after for their power, build quality, and modern day usability. This well restored car is coming out of a decent-sized collection and you can find out more here. And for more from Mecum, click here.

Update: Sold $35,000.

Update: Not sold, Mecum Harrisburg 2017, high bid of $80,000.

Georges Irat Roadster

1936 Georges Irat Roadster

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | March 19, 2017

Photo – Osenat

Georges Irat was a car company founded by, guess who, Georges Irat. He started out building engines but turned to full automobile production in 1921. Production continued up to the outbreak of the war and after the war they introduced a few prototypes but they never entered production. They closed their doors in 1953.

One of the company’s more popular pre-war models was the sporty Roadster. It was powered by a Ruby 1.1-liter straight-four, an engine produced by the company’s new corporate overload, Godefroy et Leveque. Right before production ended, a larger engine became available.

About 1,500 of these 6CV rated cars were produced between 1935 and 1939. This sporty, rare, front-wheel drive French Roadster was restored in 1998 and should bring between $21,000-$31,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $32,430.

Zimmerli Roadster

1948 Vauxhall-Zimmerli 18-6 Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10-11, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

In the U.S., auto production resumed more or less immediately following the end of World War II. In most of Europe, especially Germany and France, it took a little longer to get going again. And when it did, the cars in high demand were functional vehicles. But that didn’t stop two enterprising brothers from Switzerland for attempting to build a sports car around 1950.

Switzerland has never really had an active automobile industry anyway, so for the car to spring up there is weirder still. Werner and Fritz Zimmerli (who sold Chevys and Vauxhalls in their native town) designed a pretty roadster based on the Vauxhall Velox. The car uses a custom chassis and frame, but the running gear is all Velox: a 54 horsepower, 2.3-liter straight-six and a three-speed transmission move it down the road. The body is aluminium (with steel doors).

The finished product wasn’t complete until 1950 and the Zimmerlis kept the car until 1968. The current owner acquired the car in 2008 and performed a beautiful restoration. It is technically titled as a 1949 Vauxhall, thus its hyphenated name above, but it is a one-off, and a really cool one at that. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $71,500.

Willys Silver Streak

1932 Willys 6-90 Silver Streak Rumble Seat Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 3, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

In 1930, Willys started selling cars under the “Willys” brand again for the first time in ten years (the Willys-Knight continued through 1933). In the 1920s, the company had introduced a sub-brand called Whippet that went out of production in 1931. So for 1932, what was the Whippet became the Willys Silver Streak. Two different models were offered, with this, the 6-90, being the base.

Powered by a 3.2-liter straight-six making 65 horsepower, the Rumble Seat Roadster cost $545 when new. The styling is very nice and will probably be mistaken for a Model A Ford at your local cruise in.

The restoration is over 20 years old and it has spent time in a museum. This would be a fun alternative to the seemingly standard Ford and Chevys of the era – it’s much rarer for sure. The final price will likely be between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams lineup.

Update: Sold $45,100.