“Die Valkyrie”

1955 Cadillac Die Valkyrie Concept Car by Spohn

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 2, 2017

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Yesterday we featured a car owned by Brooks Stevens. Today we feature a car designed by Brooks Stevens. Stevens was an industrial designer best remembered in automobile circles for designing some great cars. In the 1950s he wanted to build a nice ride in the European tradition at a time when there were a lot of European-American cars coming out from American manufacturers.

So he took a 1954 Cadillac chassis and penned an original body for it. There’s a swooping “V” at the front, a long hood, and a removable hardtop for open air driving. The body was built by Spohn of Germany and the engine is an all-American 5.4-liter V-8 making 230 horsepower.

Dubbed “Die Valkyrie” after the Wagner opera, you can just imagine that famous piece of music emanating from this car as it stalks up behind you, that big V at the front trying to root you off the road.

This car was shown at the 1954 Paris Auto Salon and the 1955 New York Auto Show. Stevens bought the car for his wife from the financial backer who funded the project. It remained in his stewardship until 1997 when the current owner acquired it. It’s a one-of-one custom GM Concept Car and should bring big money when it goes under the hammer in Auburn. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Maybach SW38

1938 Maybach SW38 Roadster by Spohn

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Want to know how you can tell that Maybachs are great cars? They never come up for sale – that’s how you know. If you’re lucky enough to snag one, you keep it. In the five years or so since this site has been live, I can only recall three of them coming up for auction, this car included. We featured one of them and the car you see here had been on sale at Fantasy Junction in California for at least a few years with a price tag of $3,300,000.

Wilhelm Maybach’s company and its success up to the outbreak of WWII are a direct result of flawless engineering. These were some of the best-built cars money could buy in the 1930s. The competitors for the SW38 included the Mercedes-Benz 540K and the Horch 853A. The SW38 was the short-wheelbase Maybach and it made more power than the other two cars (you know, until you matted the accelerator in the 540K and the supercharger kicked in). This is powered by a 140 horsepower, 3.8-liter straight-six.

With an unparalleled body by Spohn, this car was sold new in Germany and came stateside in 1961. It’s had a number of interesting American owners since and has been restored. The current owner acquired the car in 1999. Only 520 SW38s were built and 152 still exist – only a few are this sporty (in fact, this is one of two SW38 Disappearing Top Roadsters by Spohn). It’s a big money car, and deservedly so. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $1,072,500.

Veritas Scorpion

1949 Veritas Scorpion Cabriolet by Spohn

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 14, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Veritas cars were built in the aftermath of WWII in Germany by Ernst Loof, Georg Meier and Lorenz Dietrich based on pre-war BMW machinery, namely the BMW 328 – a car they all worked with prior to the war at BMW. The 2.0-liter BMW 328 straight-six powers this car, making 100 horsepower.

Veritas introduced three road models in 1949, the Scorpion among them. The Scorpion was a convertible and the bodies were outsourced to Spohn of Ravensburg (I wanted to say “Spohn, based near Berlin” or some such thing but Ravensburg is in the middle of nowhere. So much for that).

The funding behind Veritas dried up in 1953 and BMW swallowed them whole in a sort of I-brought-you-into-this-world-and-I’m-going-to-take-you-out sort of way. Ownership history on this car goes back to its first American owner in the early-1960s. Only two Scorpions are known in the U.S. with less than a handful in Europe. In all, Veritas built about 78 cars, so anything from them is considered a rarity. This one just happens to be magnificent. It is also one of a few cars not associated with a pre-sale estimate at Bonhams’ sale, which makes it big. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $907,500.