Duesenberg J-475

1931 Duesenberg Model J SWB Sport Convertible Sedan by Derham

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Pacific Grove, California | August 23, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

I’ve said many times before that the Model J is one of the best cars ever built. Want proof? Look at auction catalogs surrounding big auction weekends (like Monterey/Pebble Beach) and what is the one, classic American car that every auction house has? A Model J. They don’t all have Pierce-Arrows, they don’t all have Cadillac V-16s. But they all have a Model J. Or two. This year Worldwide Auctioneers has two. Gooding & Company has two. Mecum has two. They all come out of the woodwork this time of year.

This Model J has engine number 475 and that engine is a 6.9-liter straight-eight developing a mighty 265 horsepower. It’s a four-door Convertible Sedan but it’s also on the “short” Model J wheelbase (still a massive 11, almost 12, feet). Derham built five examples of their Sport Convertible Sedan, and this is one of three that remain.

This car has known ownership history from new and the current owner acquired J-475 in 1974 as what was essentially a project car. It was restored during the mid-1980s and has been on museum duty for the last two years. It’s been serviced and freshened since and can now be yours. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,320,000.

Patriarca 750 Berlina

1949 Fiat-Patriarca 750 Berlina Sport by Faina

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 24-25, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

With its almost-Porsche-like looks, this Patriarca 750 Berlina is one of many specials built on the backs of small Fiat road cars. Post War Italy didn’t have an economy to support a lot of fancy car sales, so companies like Fiat focused on small, affordable cars for the masses.

But that doesn’t mean Italians still didn’t love motorsport. So people like Rodolfo Patriarca and Carlo Abarth took to modifying these cars for sport. This car was based on a Fiat 500C and has an 81 horsepower, 750cc straight-four tuned for racing by Giannini.

Built by Patriarca for gentleman driver Sesto Leonardi, the competition history for this car includes:

  • 1950 Targa Florio – 3rd in class
  • 1950 Mille Miglia – 1st in class

It continued to race through 1953, with at least one more appearance at the Mille Miglia. It’s wonderfully restored and eligible for many historic events. You can read more here and see more from RM here.

Update: Not sold.

Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 24, 2018


1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport Coupe de Ville by Saoutchik

Photo – Bonhams

The T26 Record was a post-war model from French firm Talbot-Lago. The car was launched in 1946 and built through 1953. Along the way, there were steel-bodied two and four-door cars sold by the factory. But there were numerous coachbuilt one-offs built as well. Like the car you see here.

Power is from a 4.5-liter straight-six that produced 190 horsepower. The body is by Saoutchik and is a two-door, four-seat Coupe de Ville. The roof over the rear passengers’ seat is fixed, but the roof over the front seats pops off (and is stored in the rear section). It’s like a 1940s French Targa.

The current owner acquired the car in 2013 in original condition. A full restoration was commissioned in 2014, the result of which you see here. This was the only such car built by Saoutchik and it is presented in its original colors. It should bring between $1,200,000-$1,600,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $962,000.


1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sports Roadster by Mayfair

Photo – Bonhams

The 540K was the highlight of pre-war Mercedes-Benz engineering and style. Factory-bodied cars were beautiful, but sometimes an outside firm could take it just one notch up, like this 540K Sports Roadster from the Mayfair Carriage Company of London.

They took a 540K and among other things, added those rear fender skirts that are sliced to pieces with louvers. It’s rakish and almost looks like a hot rod someone would’ve designed in the last 15 years.

Power comes from a 178 horsepower (with supercharger engaged) 5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight. This car made its way from the U.K. to Canada in 1955 where it was subsequently damaged in a fire. Restored over a period of 20 years, it eventually found its way to the Imperial Palace collection in the 1990s, remaining there until 2002. The current owner acquired it in 2007 and this rival to the factory Special Roadsters can be yours for between $3,500,000-$4,500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,277,500.


1946 Delahaye 135M Coupe by Van Leersum

Photo – Bonhams

This is a classic French design. Swoopy and full of curves, it’s reminiscent of many of the best French coachbuilt classics.

The 135M was part of Delahaye’s 1935-1954 135 line of cars. Introduced in ’36, it was available until the end of 135 production in 1954. The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six good for 113 horsepower. A Dutch car from new, the body was also applied in the Netherlands by Van Leersum of Hilversum, one of the last cars they bodied.

In addition to the Netherlands, this car was known to have been kept by various owners in France and Belgium. Restored and painted to highlight its curves, this car is coming from a large European collection and can be yours for between $450,000-$550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Not sold.

Fina Sport Convertible

1956 Fina Sport Convertible

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 24, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

The Fina Sport was a dramatic and beautiful American-built, Italian-styled, 1950s dreamboat designed and constructed by automotive engineer Perry Fina. Fina gained a lot of knowledge working for Fiat and Isotta Fraschini – both in their early years – before returning home and setting up shop in New York to fine tune other people’s cars.

The first model he built under his own name was a coupe and then he opted for a convertible. Styled by Vignale in Italy, it clearly blends American and Italian lines. Power comes from a 5.4-liter Cadillac V-8 good for 250 horsepower.

Fina only built a few cars and this is the only restored example in existence. The restoration was completed earlier this year and it’s ready and eligible for all the major shows. A rare car from a manufacturer that barely got anything out the door, this convertible should bring between $750,000-$950,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $775,000.

Roadmaster Sport Phaeton

1939 Buick Roadmaster Model 80C Sport Phaeton

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | April 7, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Roadmaster is one of the most storied models in Buick’s history. First introduced in 1936 as their second-most luxurious offering, the Roadmaster would be produced uninterrupted (except for the war) through 1958. It made a brief reappearance from 1991 through 1996. The second generation of the model was sold in 1938 and 1939 only.

This model of Roadmaster was powered by a 141 horsepower, 5.2-liter Fireball straight-eight. Five body styles were offered and the 80C was the four-door, six-passenger Sport Phaeton. When new, it cost $1,938 – the most expensive Roadmaster. Unfortunately, Buick only found three customers for this car. That’s right, only three were built, making this far and away the rarest 1939 Buick. One of those three was used as the pace car for the 1939 Indianapolis 500.

It’s unclear if this was that car, likely not, as it was restored in the 1990s to look like the car that did lead the field to the green flag in May of 1939. It’s a large and striking automobile that has been shown here and there. This is your chance to acquire one of the rarest Buicks ever built. It should cost between $65,000-$75,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Florida.

Update: Sold $56,100.

Sabra Sport

1962 Sabra Sport Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

The Sabra was Israel’s first and only sports car. Built in limited numbers by Autocars Co. Ltd of Haifa, the Sabra Sport was built alongside a few Autocars-branded models that were a little more ordinary-looking. The design of the Sabra was accomplished by Autocars purchasing the rights to the Ashley kit car.

The body is fibgerlass and it was built by Reliant, who actually ended up building the first 122 cars in England. They themselves built a version of the Sabra as the “Sabre” under their own marque. This is one of those “Israel-by-way-of-Tamworth, England” cars. It was delivered new to a Sabra dealer in the U.S.

The engine here is a 1.7-liter Ford straight-four making 61 horsepower. You could buy these in Coupe form as well. Only 379 were built between 1961 and 1968, including both the drop-top and hard-top models. Autocars Ltd actually lasted into the 1980s.

This car was never sold by that Florida dealer and was instead put in storage. It was discovered in 2000 with just 40 miles on it (!). It Completely restored thereafter, it has covered just 650 miles since new. It’s incredible. This example should bring between $50,000-$70,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $40,700.

G.A.R. Cyclecar

1925 G.A.R. Type B1 Bi-place Sport

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | November 5, 2017

Photo – Artcurial

Cyclecars G.A.R. was founded in 1922 to take advantage of a light car craze that took off during the 1920s. Not everyone could afford a Bugatti, but Mr. Gardahaut thought he could do well selling a Bugatti look-a-like that featured a small engine without much weight. Cyclecars qualified for certain tax breaks in France as well, bolstering their popularity.

This car is powered by a Chapuis-Dornier 1.0-liter straight-four. The cars had to weigh under 350kg to qualify for cyclecar status, which this one does. This sporty car was a fairly typical example of such a car.

The current owner acquired this car from a museum a decade ago and the restoration is older, so it will require a re-commissioning before use. The body is wood wrapped in canvas, which really helps on the weight front. If you notice, there aren’t any headlights, so night trips are not recommended! G.A.R. disappeared after 1931 and this rarity should bring between $17,750-$23,500. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Artcurial’s lineup.

Update: Sold $20,750.

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.

Turcat-Mery Sport

1927 Turcat-Mery VG Sport

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | June 18, 2017

Photo – Osenat

Turcat-Mery, the French automaker famous for winning the inaugural Monte Carlo Rally, was based in Marseille and founded by Leon Turcat and Simon Mery in 1899. The story is that Mery’s brother bought a Panhard et Levassor in 1895 but Simon was not satisfied with it. So he grabbed his brother-in-law, Leon, and they decided to build something better.

The VG model was only built from 1926 through the end of the company, which was 1928. It’s powered by a 2.4-liter straight-four, horsepower unknown at time of writing. The body is very sporty, which probably has something to do with the marque’s use of racing to aid development. Even earlier, larger cars still carried some semblance of sportiness.

Always good-looking, but rarely seen (much less available for purchase), Turcat-Merys are sought after by collectors, probably more so in Europe than in North America. This car looks great and is expected to bring between $90,000-$115,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $120,423.

Abarth 1100 Ghia

1953 Abarth 1100 Sport by Ghia

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

In 1949, Carlo Abarth jumped off of the sinking ship that was Cisitalia to start his own business… utilizing the leftovers of Cisitalia. It started with sports cars and today is a trim level of sporty Fiats. Abarth only built cars in limited numbers and the 1100 you see here is a one-off.

There was a car called the Abarth 205 and they took a chassis from that car and fitted Fiat’s new 1100 engine to it. The car was sent to Ghia for this incredible Jet Age body, and voila! Originally, Fiat’s 1.1-liter straight-four made about 35 horsepower. Abarth no doubt increased that figure.

This Ghia masterpiece has all the right little details, not to mention a brilliant blue interior that will blow you away because you just don’t expect the vividness it provides. Exhibited initially by Ghia at the 1953 Turin Salon, this car was later shown at the 1954 New York Auto Show by its first owner, who re-christened it the “Vaughn SS Wildcat,” with V-8 underhood.

The car was rediscovered in 1982 and the current owner had it restored in 2015, correct Fiat engine re-installed. It’s an awesome – and remarkably small – 1950s Italian design. You’ll be the only one with anything like it. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s in Monterey.

Update: Sold $891,000.