Mercury Speedster

1927 Mercury Speedster

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Uncasville, Connecticut | June 20-23, 2018

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

Kit cars took off after WWII. When fiberglass arrived, the boom really started. The idea was simple. Step 1: buy a cheap, common car. Step 2: buy a body from a different manufacturer. Step 3: combine the best of both cars to create a new vehicle, usually called whatever the body manufacturer has decided it should be called.

And that’s pretty much what we have here, except this occurred after WWI. And what was the easiest common car to get a hold of at that time? Well, a Model T of course. The Mercury Speedster was a racy body produced by the Louisville, Kentucky-based Mercury Body Corporation between 1920 and 1926 (they also built some for Chevrolet chassis).

The sold about 1,600 of these and less than 100 are known to still exist. This one is presumably based on a ’27 T, meaning it’s powered by a 20 horsepower, 2.9-liter straight-four. Note, this “Mercury” is not in any way associated with any of the other Mercury factory-built cars (especially the ones actually built by Ford beginning in 1939).

It’s an interesting car with an interesting history and it will sell at No Reserve at Barrett-Jackson’s Northeast sale in a few weeks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Porsche 959 Speedster

1987 Porsche 959 Speedster

Offered by Coys | Essen, Germany | April 8, 2017

Photo – Coys

If we consider the dawn of the supercar to begin sometime between the Lamborghini Miura and the Ferrari 288 GTO, then the Porsche 959 is among the more grandfatherly supercars in existence. What most older supercars have in common is this: they were all hard tops. Drop top supercars didn’t gain much traction until the Lamborghini Diablo Roadster and the Ferrari F50.

The 959 was the most technologically advanced motorcar available for purchase when it debuted in 1986. It was the fastest car in the world too, topping out at 197 mph. It is powered by a 2.8-liter twin-turbo flat-6 making 444 horsepower. With a complex all-wheel drive setup and active suspension, this car was years ahead of its time.

So we come back to the elephant in the room. What’s with the drop top? Porsche never built one… so what is this? Well, Porsche sold one of the 337 959s to racing driver Jürgen Lässig who, well, had a slight incident in this car while racing down the Autobahn. He sold what was left of it to Auto Becker, a German used car company. They meticulously rebuilt the car but decided, since it wasn’t original anymore anyway, to make it into a convertible. It’s pretty crazy and pretty cool. Sure, it’ll never be as valuable as a traditional 959, but it is rarer… and sunshinier. Yes, that’s now a word. A removable hardtop is included as well.

This wonderful piece of someone’s imagination is estimated to bring between $1,300,000-$1,600,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from Coys.

Update: Sold, approximately $1,450,000.

Edsel Ford Speedster

1932 Ford Model 18 Edsel Ford Speedster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 12, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Ford Model A went out of production after 1931 and the ’32 Fords carried either the Model 18 or Model B moniker. The Model 18 was a 1932-only model that would give way to the Model 40 for 1933. This Model 18 carries a 3.6-liter V-8 making 85 horsepower.

Edsel Ford was Henry’s son and he ran FoMoCo until he died in 1943. While Henry was a penny-pincher, Edsel liked style and design (see: the Lincoln-Zephyr). Edsel opened Ford’s first styling department in 1935 and it was headed by Bob Gregorie. Gregorie, who used to work for Harley Earl and Brewster, first worked with Edsel a few years earlier when they co-designed a Speedster – this car.

It’s an aluminium-bodied boattail speedster that Edsel had modeled after European sports cars of the day. But it wasn’t racy enough, so he sold it and they built another one. This car was wrecked long ago and for a long time, thought lost. Someone in Connecticut had it for 50 years before they figured out what it was.

The current owner acquired it and restored it to how it looked when it was first built, matching the color to an original spot of paint found on some of the original body panels. Three custom Speedsters were built by Edsel and Gregorie. This was the first. The second is on display at the Ford property in Grosse Pointe and the third remains missing. This is the only one you’ll ever be able to buy. Good luck, the price should skyrocket quickly. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $770,000.

Five Cars from the 1920s

1927 Whippet Model 96 Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

General Motors wasn’t the only American automaker expanding its brands in the 1920s. Willys-Overland was one of a number of other companies to get in on the game. Whippet was a marque introduced for the 1926 model year. It didn’t last long – it was gone after 1930 – but it did have an impact: boosting Willys into third place in the U.S.

The Model 96 was the smaller option in the Whippet line and was produced in every model year. It is powered by a 30 horsepower 2.2-liter straight-four. This car looks great. It was formerly part of the AACA Museum and has been used in Boardwalk Empire – which is something we’ve talked about in other posts. Interesting. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $23,100.


1929 Roosevelt Eight Sedan by Hayes

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Roosevelt is a very rare American automobile make. It was built by Marmon and introduced in 1929 – great timing. It was a smaller version of the larger Marmons and was the first American car with a straight-eight engine to be offered for sale for less than $1,000. The engine is actually a 3.3-liter straight-eight, making 77 horsepower.

The Eight (Roosevelt’s only model) was offered in four body styles with the Sedan being the cheapest and least fanciful. Named for Teddy Roosevelt, this rare survivor would be an awesome addition to a collection. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $10,450.


1924 Oldsmobile Model 30-B Turtle Deck Speedster by Schutte

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The 1924 Oldsmobile line consisted of a single model offered in a range of factory body styles and apparently coachbuilt ones as well. The engine is a 2.8-liter straight-six making 42 horsepower.

The story here is this awesome bod. The aluminium radiator looks like it was milled out of a solid block of metal. The solid metal wheels are amazing. The car only has a single door – on the passenger side of the car. It is full of special one-off features with an unusual body style from a smaller coachbuilder. It is thought that less than 10 Schutte-bodied cars exist and we’ve now featured two of them. Check out more on RM’s site.

Update: Sold $71,500.


1923 Wills Sainte Claire B-68 Gray Goose Special

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Like Roosevelt, Wills Sainte Claire was another short-lived American automobile manufacturer of respectable quality. This car, which is all-original, is a 68-series car. The variations of the Model 68 were built from 1922 through 1926. 1927 was the only year it wasn’t built.

It was Wills Sainte Claire’s largest model, using a 4.4-liter V-8 making 67 horsepower. In 1924, the Model 68 was offered in a bunch of body styles with the most interesting being the Gray Goose Special seen here (which is essentially a four-door touring car). This one has known ownership history from new and has only been owned by two different families in that time. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $57,200.


1920 Rauch & Lang Electric Model C-45 Dual Drive Coach

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Rauch & Lang traces its history back to Jacob Rauch, a blacksmith in Cleveland who opened his shop in 1853. Charles Lang was a real estate man from nearby and moved the company toward wagon building. In 1905, they turned to electric cars and became one of America’s premier electric car builders in the early days of automobiles.

They built cars through 1928 and this 1920 Model C-45 is how most of them looked. The company moved from Cleveland to Massachusetts in 1920 (after having merged with Baker Electric in 1917) and this car was the final example produced in Cleveland. It uses a three horsepower electric motor. This car can be driven from the left hand seat either in the front or rear, which is pretty interesting. Try that in your Buick. Click here to see more about this car.

Update: Sold $66,000.

Cadillac Speedster

1914 Cadillac Four Speedster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Cadillac offered only one model line in 1914 – the Four, so named because of it’s mighty 6.0-liter straight-four engine that pumped out 40/50 horsepower. The Four was offered in a variety of body styles (seven to be exact), none of which was a Speedster

This car was sold new in Jersey City, New Jersey and has known history back to 1979 when its then-owner fitted this racy two-passenger Speedster body on it. The car looks quite sporting and rather imposing. The body is described as “Mercer-style,” but if I were to hazard a guess I would say that if this car were bearing down on you, you would notice it is quite a bit larger than a comparable Mercer. It needs a quick mechanical freshening to go motoring but is otherwise excellent. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $46,750.

Five Pre-1920 Cars from RM’s Hershey Sale

1911 Stanley Model 63 Toy Tonneau

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

It’s everyone’s favorite steam car – the Stanley steamer. The company’s 1911 range was robust, with the Model 63 being one of two 10 horsepower models offered. It was available only in this body style with seating for five.

It is powered by a two-cylinder steam engine making 10 horsepower. The 60-Series cars from Stanley were in production from 1910 through 1913. In all, 1,165 were built with 219 of those being the Toy Tonneau. Steam cars aren’t everyone’s thing as they take special dedication and know-how to operate. But those that love them really love them. This car sort of defines early steam motoring and it has been fully restored. Check out more info here.

Update: Sold $115,500.


1907 Procter Two-Passenger Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Procter is a marque that doesn’t appear in most automotive history books (and if it does it is often misspelled as “Proctor”). That’s because the company was more of a person than an actual company. And Albert Procter only built one car. This one.

Originally fitted with a single-cylinder engine, the car was later upgraded to use 1.6-liter twin-cylinder engine from a 1903/4 Ford Model A. It produces eight horsepower. Procter built the car for himself, instead of purchasing another man’s product. He only ever wanted to build one car. So that’s what he did.

Procter’s daughter sold the car before WWII and the engine was stripped out of it. But the car survived and passed between collections before finally being given a new engine. It’s not road-worthy as it is all-original, but it could be made to run. Click here for more information.

Update: Sold $18,700.


1914 Cadillac Four Speedster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Cadillac offered only one model line in 1914 – the Four, so named because of it’s mighty 6.0-liter straight-four engine that pumped out 40/50 horsepower. The Four was offered in a variety of body styles (seven to be exact), none of which was a Speedster

This car was sold new in Jersey City, New Jersey and has known history back to 1979 when its then-owner fitted this racy two-passenger Speedster body on it. The car looks quite sporting and rather imposing. The body is described as “Mercer-style,” but if I were to hazard a guess I would say that if this car were bearing down on you, you would notice it is quite a bit larger than a comparable Mercer. It needs a quick mechanical freshening to go motoring but is otherwise excellent. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $46,750.


1910 Cameron Model 24 Open-Back Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Cameron was one of what has to be quite a limited number of automobile manufacturers to set up shop in Rhode Island. They operated there from 1902 through 1906 before moving to Massachusetts (before finally settling on Connecticut until they went out of business in 1920). The company was founded by the Everett and Forrest Cameron.

Early cars had twin-cylinder engines, but a large number of four-cylinder models would be offered – and even some sixes. This car is powered by a 2.9-liter straight-four making 24 horsepower. The Model 24 was only offered in this basic body style and only for one model year (which may have been 1911). This example is in great shape and is ready to go. Click here for more information.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1915 Studebaker Model SD-4 Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Studebaker was one of America’s great companies. With roots back to the 1850s, the company adapted and lasted through 1967 when times just got too rough. But back in earlier, happier days, their products were sought-after by the masses. And that’s why I like this car so much. If you’ve ever seen footage shot in a big city, like New York, sometime around 1920, give or take, you may have noticed the abundance of automobiles swarming the streets. And they all look more or less the same from a distance. Quite a large number of them are probably Model T Fords. But then you have to realize that some of them are very rare cars today.

This Studebaker looks like it could’ve been used in an episode of Boardwalk Empire or something. It’s generic enough without being too generic. This was an everyday car. And that’s why it’s so interesting. The SD-4 was powered by a 3.2-liter straight-four making 30 horsepower. Studebaker’s four-cylinder model was renamed with every year, so the SD-4 was for 1915 only. It was available as a two-passenger Roadster or a this four-passenger Touring. You know this was somebody’s family sedan – 100 years ago. Think of the stories… and check out more here from RM.

Update: Sold $16,500.

Falcon-Knight Speedster

1927 Falcon-Knight Model 10 Speedster

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | May 31, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Falcon-Knight was a company that fell under John North Willys’ corporate umbrella. He founded the company to fill a price gap below the Willys-Knight. Both used the then-prolific Knight sleeve-valve engine.

That engine is a valveless 2.6-liter straight-six making 46 horsepower. The cars were produced in the former Garford truck plant in Elyria, Ohio. Even though they were supposed to be the sort of baby Willys-Knight, the cars were nearly identical to the Whippet, albeit with a different engine.

1927 was the first year for Falcon-Knights and the Model 10 was the only model available. This car features unique, special-ordered Speedster body and it is believed to be the only one like it. The company built cars in 1928 (and a few in 1929) before calling it quits. This one has known ownership history from new. Only 11,041 Falcon-Knights of all body styles were ever built. This one should cost between $18,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $28,600.

One Awesome Stutz

1932 Stutz DV32 Tonneau Cowl Four-Passenger Speedster by LeBaron

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 14, 2015

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

LeBaron bodied some beautiful cars. The Stutz you see here has a very Duesenberg Model J look about it, and that’s probably because some of LeBaron’s Duesenberg designs are absolute classics.

Another Duesenberg link is the impressive engine under the hood of this car. The 5.3-liter straight-eight powerplant was designed by Fred Duesenberg himself. The 32-valve engine makes 156 horsepower. It was Stutz’s crown jewel and their most powerful model.

This is called a Four-Passenger Speedster, but most would classify it as a Dual Cowl Phaeton. It’s definitely sporty. Only about 200 DV32s were built before Stutz closed up shop in 1935. This was the only Dual Cowl Phaeton body style that Stutz sold on a DV32 chassis. There are three Four-Passenger Speedsters known today and two have the tonneau cowl.

The current owner acquired this car in 1990 and it was restored in 1995. It would be an incredible car to add to your collection. There are few cars that would be better to have. You can read more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $522,500.

Marmon “Pace Car” Speedster

1923 Marmon Model 34B Speedster

Offered by H&H Auctions | Duxford, U.K. | April 24, 2014

Photo - H&H Auctions

Photo – H&H Auctions

Marmon is one of the great pre-war American automobile marques. Their association with the Indianapolis 500 alone makes them legendary, having won the inaugural race. The company was actually based in Indianapolis as well.

The Model 34 was introduced in 1916 – amidst the looming backdrop of world war. The model would last through 1923 – making the Speedster you see here from the last year of manufacture. The car uses a 34 horsepower 5.5-liter straight-six. The body was modeled after the Barney Oldfield-driven 1920 Indy 500 pace car. A Model 34 was also driven coast-to-coast by Erwin “Cannonball” Baker as a publicity stunt.

This car presents well as an older restoration and was used in two different British television series. It actually looks like something that would be fun to drive – not to mention it would surprise people that it is something as rare as a Marmon. It should sell for between $46,500-$58,000. Click here for more info and here for more from H&H Auctions.

Update: Sold $90,300.

Here’s video of a similar car:

1909 Locomobile Speedster

1909 Locomobile Model 30-L Speedster

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2014

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

These early speedsters (usually built before 1915) are some of the most incredible cars to see in person – especially if they’ve been restored. There is no dashboard. It’s more of a dashboard/floorboard/firewall that slops upward at your feet. It’s usually polished wood with gorgeous brass gauges. This car fits that description.

The Model 30-L uses a 4.7-liter straight-four making 30 horsepower. Locomobiles made big power and they started racing in 1905 but never sold their racing speedsters to the public. So all Locomobiles with racy bodywork have all been customized by their owners (meaning this isn’t a factory body but isn’t necessarily new, either).

This car has known history going back 60 years. The engine and chassis are correct and the body is period-correct (although likely not from the period). It would certainly be a fun car to use at very historical events as it does have usable power. It should sell for between $140,000-$170,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s Amelia Island lineup.

Update: Sold $126,500.