The Indianapolis-based Cole Motor Car Company existed between 1909 and 1925. Their claim to fame is that they were an early adopter of the V8 engine, which was actually introduced with this model, 1916’s 8-50 (which was more or less identical to 1917’s Series 860).
A handful of body styles were offered, including this three-seat roadster. That’s right, three seats. It’s practically a McLaren F1, except that the driver and front-passenger seats are split apart, with a narrow pathway to the rear bench that has a backrest for someone to sit in the middle.
The V8 engine, curiously, was actually produced by a then-division of General Motors. It’s a 5.7-liter V8 and it was made by Northway. The factory rating was 39 horsepower. This car is listed as a project, but the seller (the Indy Motor Speedway Museum) has a video of it driving around. Bidding is up to $8,500 at the time of this writing, and the car will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 16, 2021
I think we all know at this point that the Mercedes-Benz 300SL is one of the poster children for “collector cars.” The Gullwing coupe version is probably in the dictionary next to the phrase. The roadster was introduced in 1957 when the coupe was discontinued. It would be built through 1963.
Power is from a fuel-injected 3.0-liter inline-six. Output was rated at 240 horsepower when new. Also, keep in mind that fuel injection was no common sight in 1960. Or even 1970. The 300SL was really a landmark car and deserves its reputation as an amazing machine.
With its extended production run, the roadster was more common than the coupe, with 1,858 built. This restored example is finished in Silver Gray Metallic over red leather. It’s good-lookin’ stuff. A little over a decade ago, these were $500,000 cars. They’ve been trading right at about a million dollars now for the last five years or so. This one carries an estimate of $1,100,000-$1,300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Online | December 7-10, 2020
The MGC was a short-lived relative of the long-running MGB, the latter of which went on sale in 1962 and was produced through 1980. The B lost its chrome bumpers in 1975 and gained big rubber units, which made the earlier cars seem a lot prettier. This 1968 C is pretty much indistinguishable from the chrome-bumper MGB, with the exception of a subtle hood bulge.
Why the bulge? Well, the C was powered by a 145-horsepower, 2.9-liter inline-six. That’s two cylinders and 50 horsepower more than the B. The MGC was only produced between 1967 and 1969. It’s just a blip on the map of MGB production.
The car was supposed to be a replacement for the Austin-Healey 3000 (but it really wasn’t), and the heavier six-cylinder engine threw off the car’s handling. It was not a success, and only about 4,500 roadster variants ended up being built. This one was restored 30 years ago and is now expected to bring between $28,000-$31,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | December 12, 2020
Jaguar’s XK140 replaced their XK120 in 1954. It would be produced for three years and cover multiple body styles and a few sub-models, including the Special Equipment (SE) model, which was sold as the “MC” in the United States. The range was supplanted by the XK150 in 1957.
One body style was the Roadster, as shown here with a disappearing soft top. XK140s could also be had as fixed-head and drophead coupes, the latter saw the soft top pile up behind the seats when stowed. All XK140s were powered by a 3.4-liter inline-six, and in SE spec with a C-Type cylinder head, power was upped from 190 to 210 horsepower.
This restored example was a U.S.-spec car originally and has returned to the U.K. So I guess that makes it an SE by way of an MC. It should sell for between $90,000-$115,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2020
I’m not a huge fan of featuring project cars (this one is described as 80% complete), but the car itself is interesting – and rare – enough that I had to. The Woods Motor Vehicle Company was founded in Chicago in 1899. They produced electric vehicles through 1916, though they did sell gas-powered cars under the Woods Electric brand for a few years.
In 1917, the company rebranded as Woods Dual Power, a new marque that would last only through 1918. The new cars had an inline-four gas engine rated at 14 horsepower, in addition to an electric motor. Below 15 mph, the car drove on electricity (though the gas engine was still idling). After it hit 15, the gas motor would take over, pushing the car up to 35 mph. It was essentially a very early hybrid.
Only 1,900 examples were produced, and only four are known to survive. Three are in museums, and this example was restored in the 1980s. It was later present in a private German collection when a fire swept through and a beam landed on the Woods, crushing it. The current owner straightened the chassis, sourced a replacement gas engine, and rebuilt the electrics to roughly mimic the original running procedure. It now carries a roadster body and still needs some additional touches to be complete. In this state, it should sell for between $41,000-$45,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by The Vault | Online | October 1-14, 2020
The Little Motor Car Company was founded by William Little and Billy Durant after Durant was forced out of GM. He went out and bought the Flint Wagon Works and set up Little and another marque, Mason. The company launched in 1911, and in 1912 Durant set up Republic Motors as Little’s corporate parent.
Republic also controlled the newly-formed Chevrolet, and some early Chevys were just re-badged Littles. Eventually, the Little plant starting building Chevrolets, which were more or less identical. Because the Chevrolet name was more marketable, Little was shut down by the end of 1913.
This four-cylinder roadster was built in 1912 and made 30 horsepower. It wears an older restoration, and it’s one of about 3,500 Littles produced. It is selling at no reserve. More info is available here, and more from this sale can be viewed here.
Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 12-14, 2020
The Datsun Fairlady (or Sports) was a series of sports cars that preceded the “Z” line of cars that remains in production today. The series began in 1959 with the ultra-rare Sports 1000 and continued in rarefied form until the 1965 launch of the 1600 Roadster. This was when they started appearing in the United States.
In 1967, the 1600 was replaced with the 2000 Roadster, which was the pinnacle of this line of cars. It would eventually be dropped in favor of the 240Z in 1970. Power is from a 2.0-liter U20 inline-four generating 133 horsepower.
These are great little cars, and affordable too. I chose this one because I feel this is how they are supposed to look: with color-matched steel wheels wearing polished hubcaps. The tan soft top doesn’t hurt either. I feel like this one was transported here from a Yokohama back road from 50 years ago. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Online | July 31-August 1, 2020
Zenos Cars was founded in 2012 by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards in Norfolk in the United Kingdom. They announced their first car, the E10, in 2013, and it was a lightweight mid-engine sports car. Production started in 2015, but the following year the company had some financial problems and everything stopped by 2017.
There was a base E10, the turbocharged S model, and the even-more-powerful R model. This is an example of the latter, and it is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter Ford EcoBoost inline-four that was rated at 350 horsepower. That engine went into a car that weighed about 1,600 pounds dry. That combo was good for a sprint to 60 mph in about three seconds, and it topped out around 150 mph.
Silverstone is offered two Zenos cars at this sale: this car and a base roadster. Neither car has ever been registered, and they are essentially brand new. Due to the company’s financial problems, I sort of want to think that these were two leftovers or demonstrators that are being liquidated. But that’s just conjecture. What is cool is that Zenos built over 100 examples of the E10, making it a legitimate production sports car. Here’s your chance to get one of the last new examples. It will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The XK150, which was produced from 1957 through 1961, was the final iteration of Jaguar’s first post-war sports car, the XK120. The XK120 of 1948 featured a 3.4-liter straight-six designed by William Heynes, and that engine remained in various production vehicles through 1992 (!).
The XK150, like the cars before it, was offered in three body-style configurations: coupe, drophead coupe, or roadster. It could also be had in base, SE, or S form. The S and SE cars were either powered by a 3.4-liter inline-six or a larger 3.8-liter inline-six. This car has the latter, which was rated at 265 horsepower with triple SU carburetors – the most of any XK120/140/150 variant.
This roadster, or OTS (open two-seater) in Jaguar parlance, is finished in cream over red and was restored in 1998. This is best of all of the early XKs, and it’s now offered by private sale. Click here for more info.
The J1 was built between 1946 and 1947 and was quickly followed by the J2, which was a two-seat aluminum-bodied roadster with inboard rear brakes, a coil-sprung front suspension, and a big American V8. Engines from different manufacturers were used, and this car has a 5.4-liter Cadillac V8. This combo made for quite the performer. J2s raced at Le Mans. One of their drivers happened to be Zora Arkus-Duntov.
Only 90 were produced between 1950 and 1952. This particular car was the final example produced before Allard moved on to the J2X. It was driven in a few SCCA events by an aspiring young racer named Carroll Shelby who would go on to do other things. This car has been restored and is now offered by Mecum. Click here for more info.