1978 Mex 52
Offered by Historics at Brooklands | May 20, 2017
The era of the Special – a unique, one-off automobile based around something else – is long gone. People just don’t do it anymore. Today, if someone wants a custom car they either customize a car they’ve purchased but leave it largely intact, start a company in hopes of building a supercar, or build a kit car. But Russell Mexone is one of very few people who just build their own cars.
He had already constructed two other specials before building this one in the early 1990s. He took a 1978 Jaguar (hence the car’s year listed above) and made a body for it. The 5.3-liter V-12 (yes, this is a 12-cylinder car) made 265 horsepower when new in 1978.
The car was made street legal prior to it being sold to its second owner sometime around 2010. The aluminium body was handcrafted thereafter by a Scottish company. A lot of money has been put into this and it is expected to bring between $23,000-$28,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.
1932 McEvoy Special Model 60
Offered by Brightwells | Bicester, U.K. | April 5, 2017
Photo – Brightwells
Michael McEvoy was an engineer who founded McEvoy Motorcycles in Derby in 1925. The company produced very fast motorcycles through 1929, when the money behind the company was killed racing on the Isle of Man. McEvoy moved on but eventually came back around to motorized transport and produced this, the McEvoy Special.
Based on the Wolseley Star/Morris Minor of the late 1920s/early 1930s, the McEvoy Special shared those cars’ mechanicals but sported a body from Jensen. This seemingly tiny car will seat four and cost £149 when new.
This particular Special is based on a 1932 Morris Minor and is powered by that car’s 847cc straight-four that made 20 horsepower in Morris form. McEvoys could be had as a standard “Model 60” or, when fitted with an upgraded carburetor, a “Model 70.”
This car has known history back to 1962. The owner put it in a museum in 1973 where it underwent a 16 year restoration. It exited the museum in 1989 and has been used extensively since. Coming out of 55 year ownership, this car – one of about 60 built – should bring between $18,000-$22,000. Oh, and after WWII, McEvoy found himself in Germany where he played an active part in saving Volkswagen’s factory from destruction and ensuring the marque’s future. No big deal. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $28,566.
1935 Armstrong Siddeley Special Mk II Touring Limousine
Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | March 29, 2017
Photo – H&H Classics
Armstrong Siddeley was a company that came together when two other companies merged. Those companies were Armstrong Whitworth and Siddeley-Deasy. Each of those companies were the result of a merger of two other companies. Basically Armstrong Siddeley was the culmination of four different, earlier, automotive companies.
Armstrong Siddeley began in 1919 and produced cars until 1960. From that point on, they focused on aircraft and aircraft engines. Through a series of mergers, they are now part of Rolls-Royce (the aircraft company).
This Special is one of the rarest Armstrong Siddeleys ever built. It was introduced in 1932 and went on sale for 1933, being sold through 1937. Only 253 were built. It’s powered by a 5.0-liter straight-six that offered pretty good performance for its day. This would’ve been their attempt to compete with the likes of Rolls-Royce.
This particular car was a factory demonstrator and is one of about 30 cars that are still in existence. Recently, it was owned by the a trustee of the National Motor Museum and the head of the Armstrong Siddeley Heritage Trust. It runs and drives, but needs a little work to be roadworthy. It will sell at no reserve and you can find more about it here (and more from H&H Classics here).
Update: Sold $28,777.
1933 Vale Special
Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | October 29, 2016
Photo – Coys
This is not an MG, nor is it a Morgan. It’s not even a one-off special, if you can believe it. The Vale Engineering Co. LTD. of London was in existence only briefly, from 1932 to 1936. It was founded by Pownoll Pellew who later in life became a Viscount.
The first cars were based around Triumph mechanicals and this car, like many, is powered by a Triumph-sourced 832cc straight-four which likely produced somewhere around eight taxable horsepower. Thing was, they weren’t powerful or quick enough (top speed was 65 mph) for sports car racing and didn’t offer enough ground clearance for trials racing – but they were good, sporty road cars that exhibited great handling.
Later cars could be had with larger engines, but by then it was too late. In total, 103 Vales were produced and less than 30 survive today. No estimate is provided, likely because they don’t trade hands often enough, but look for it to bring much more than its as-new price of £192. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Sold $29,230.
1938 Buick Special Series 40 Town Car by Brewster
Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Las Vegas, Nevada | October 13-15, 2016
Photo – Barrett-Jackson
The first Buick Special was introduced in 1930. For 1936, it was redesigned and gained more of the look of the car you see here – except that this is a very rare, specially-bodied car by Brewster of Long Island. The Special would continue in Buick’s lineup (taking a few years off here and there) until 1969.
The 1938 Series 40 Special is powered by a 107 horsepower 4.1-liter straight-eight. With the Special being a full-size car, it was still Buick’s entry-level model. The cheapest 4-door Series 40 cost $1,022 in 1938 – but you can bet this car cost a lot more.
It’s always interesting to see the chassis people chose to have a coachbuilt body applied to. In this case, it was a popular one and the beautiful end result makes for a very special Special. You can read more about this car here and check out some other no reserve cars from Barrett-Jackson here.
Update: Sold $42,900.
1957 Frick Special GT Coupe
Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 5, 2016
Photo – Bonhams
Bill Frick found his automotive niche prepping and modifying race cars in the 1950s and 60s. He worked in NASCAR and had his own shop in New York. Before the War, Frick got his start swapping engines and he returned to his origins in the 50s when Cadillac introduced a new V-8.
In 1953 Frick created a car called the “Studillac” which had a Cadillac V-8 stuffed into a 1953 Studebaker. He got the car bodied by Vignale and set up shop to offer them for sale. But ultimately only three were built – the original “Studillac” prototype, a convertible and this coupe.
The engine is a 5.4-liter Cadillac V-8 making a very solid 270 horsepower. The body, designed by Michelotti and built by Vignale, resembles other Vignale cars of the era, specifically those from Ferrari. This car cost $9,000 when new and was first sold in Michigan.
The current owner acquired it in 1989 and the car is all original (though, it has been repainted). It has a tick over 40,000 miles and known ownership history from new. It’s the only one like it and should bring between $180,000-$220,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.
1913 DFP 10/12HP Special Sports by R Harrison & Son
Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | March 20, 2016
Photo – Bonhams
Doriot, Flandrin & Parant, based in Courbevoie, was a French automaker that was around between 1908 and 1926. From 1906 until 1908, the company was simply known as Doriot-Flandrin. When Jules-René Parant came on board and the company took off.
The 10/12 was produced between 1911 and 1914 and is powered by a 1.6-liter straight-four. It was the smallest car the company offered at the time. DFP exported some cars to the U.K. where the official importer was none other than brothers Horace and Walter Owen Bentley.
The Bentleys were responsible for finishing the cars – getting bodies made, etc. W.O. Bentley tuned some of them and entered them into competition events like hillclimbs and speed trials. This car was actually used by the Bentleys and was later purchased by a museum. The engine has been rebuilt and other bits restored. It is usable and is noted as being the “Oldest car in the world with a Bentley plate.” It’s sort of a part of Bentley history and you can read more about it here. It should sell for between $63,000-$91,000. Click here for more from this sale.
Update: Sold $66,641.
1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster by Sindelfingen
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 28-29, 2016
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
You’re looking at what might be the biggest dollar car sold at this year’s Arizona auctions. It’s certainly among the most beautiful (okay it is the most beautiful). This is the Benz of the 1930s. The 540K was introduced at the 1936 Paris Motor Show, an evolution of the 500K.
The 540K is powered by a 5.4-liter straight-eight that makes 115 horsepower in normal operating mode and a sporty 180 horsepower when the supercharger was engaged via matting the pedal. 540Ks usually wear Cabriolet A, B, or C bodies by Sindelfingen. But the ultimate topless version was the Special Roadster.
This example is one of the earliest 540Ks known to exist and it was sold new in the United States and kept by the original owner up until the late 1950s. The current owner acquired the car in 1989, it having been restored prior to that acquisition. It is believed to have 10,277 original miles.
Not many of these were built but it is thought that only six remain in this specific style today. They never come up for sale. The pre-sale estimate of $10,000,000-$13,000,000 underscores how special these are. Don’t miss it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Sold $9,900,000.
1954 Sorrell-Manning Special
Offered by Auctions America | Santa Monica, California | July 18, 2015
Photo – Auctions America
Sorrell Engineering was a company based in Inglewood, California, in the 1950s and 1960s. Run by Bob Sorrell and his father, they fabricated bodies for a variety of different automobiles – all types of racing cars and even some show cars and customs.
Bob designed a sleek fiberglass body in 1953 that he fitted to a Kurtis Kraft chassis. He called it the SR-100 and he actually ended up building seven of them for customers. But the final one, this one, never made it into a customer’s hands. The chassis was built by Chuck Manning, an aerospace engineer who built customs and racing specials on the side.
Sorrell retained this car until his passing in 2003, despite numerous offers to buy. The car was restored by the current owners and is powered by a Chrysler Hemi V-8, which the whole body lifts up – funny car-style – to reveal. This car is known as the Sorrell-Manning Special, but it is also known as a 1954 Sorrell SR-100. It is expected to sell for between $175,000-$225,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold, high bid of $125,000.
1959 Hagemann-Sutton Special
For sale at Fantasy Junction | Emeryville, California
Photo – Fantasy Junction
Ah, the great American road-racing specials of the 1950s – the golden era of American road racing. The Hagemann-Sutton Special was one such car. It was built by Jack Hagemann in California at the request of a racer named Wally Taylor who was unable to secure a brand new Scarab.
Hagemann started building the car, but Taylor couldn’t afford to complete it. So he had and a chassis and engine. It wasn’t until 1978 that he would acquire a body – one built in the 1950s by Jack Sutton. It was originally fitted to a customized Talbot-Lago. In the 1980s, the chassis, body, and engine combination found their way to another racer, Butch Gilbert, who restored the car in 2005.
The original 283 Chevy V-8 was bored and stroked to 5.4-liters. It’s a great car to take vintage racing and to the Monterey Historics in particular. It is for sale for $650,000. Click here for more info.