Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
The Pantera was in production by De Tomaso for what seemed like a lifetime. Introduced in 1971, the cars carried wedge-shaped styling by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia. Ford powerplants were standard, and the styling was updated in the 1980s to make it boxier and, well, more “80s.”
By the time 1990 rolled around, the car was extremely long in the tooth. Marcello Gandini was brought in to freshen the design up, and here is what he came up with. The car also received a partial chassis redesign and a new suspension setup. The old Ford 351 was replaced by a 302ci, 5.0-liter V8.
Only 41 were built – 38 of which were sold to the public – before De Tomaso shifted gears and moved on to the Guara after 1992. I’ve never seen one of these offered for public sale – not in the last 10 years anyway. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 10, 2019
We’re breaking one of our own rules on this one: never feature a car that is still in production. But because Mitsuoka is such a low-volume automobile manufacturer that is practically unknown in the west, I thought we’d feature this rare sighting of one of their cars.
The Himiko (which is what it is known as in Japan) went on sale in 2010 and is sold in the U.K. as the Mitsuoka Roadster. It carries classic-style looks and I can kind of see some Morgan up front, some BMW Z4 in the sides, and some Plymouth Prowler around the cabin. Power is actually from a 160 horsepower, 2.0-liter Mazda inline-four.
These are hand-built fiberglass cars based on Mazda Miata mechanicals. So they should be relatively reliable and will get you looks everywhere you go. This one has covered less than 10,000 miles and should bring between $30,000-$35,000. Click here for more from Brightwells.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | June 17, 2019
While Alpine was affiliated with Renault for most of their existence, they weren’t taken over by the company until 1973, which makes the A310 the final product introduced by an independent Alpine.
The cars used a tubular steel chassis with fiberglass bodywork and a rear-mounted engine, and the early models were all four-cylinder cars. In 1976, an update was released which saw the introduction of a 2.7-liter V6 good for 148 horsepower. Top speed was 137 mph.
This car comes from the A310’s best sales year: 1979, when 1,381 of these were sold. In all, 9,276 V6-powered A310s were built, with an additional 2,340 four-cylinder models. This car is selling at no reserve with a pre-sale estimate of $39,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | June 17, 2019
By the late-1980s, BMW wasn’t producing a two-door sports car. Sure, they had the M3 but that was an extension of the 3-Series lineup, and not its own thing. Then in 1989, the Z1 was introduced. It featured vertically-sliding doors that disappear into the door sills – a kind of bizarre feature that you aren’t really likely to find on any other cars.
Power is from a 2.5-liter inline-six making 168 horsepower. Although designed in the 1980s, the car appears more modern, like something to come out of the wild 90s. And since then, the design has held up well. While production only lasted through 1991, the Z1 was eventually succeeded by the Z3 in 1996.
Only 8,000 of these were made, and they were not sold new in the US. In fact, they didn’t really start appearing over here until the 25-year rule ran its course. This car, selling at no reserve, is expected to fetch between $45,000-$67,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Wormsley, U.K. | May 19, 2019
In 1989, Aston Martin was barely an automotive manufacturer. Their production had dwindled dramatically, and they debuted a new model that year: the Virage. And they managed to build just over 400 of those in 12 years.
The Virage Volante – Aston-speak for convertible – debuted in 1992. Featuring 2+2 seating, the car is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 making 330 horsepower. This variation of the convertible was only produced through 1996, and 233 of them were made. A longer-wheelbase V8 Volante supplanted the model and was produced in limited numbers through 2000.
This quite rare, 150-mph luxury droptop is from an exclusive era of Aston production and those classic lines. It can now be yours for between $91,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ all-Aston sale.
I will not hide the fact that the Cerbera is one of my favorite cars of the 90s. It is great looking and, as TVRs tend to be, completely bonkers, unnecessary, and irrational. And this one is purple!
The 4.0L Speed Six model was the “base model” of the Cerbera and is powered by a 4.0-liter inline-six making 350 horsepower. With that naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine, it could hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and topped out at 170 mph. Not bad. Later models only got more powerful and faster.
This example received a replacement factory chassis in 2005 as well as a factory engine rebuild. Only about 1,500 Cerberas were produced between 1996 and 2003, with the six-cylinder model being the rarest. The craziest part about these cars is that, despite all of their power, performance, style, exotic-ness, and rarity… they are cheap. This one is expected to sell for between $19,500-$25,000. Just wait until you can start importing them into the US… Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Mole Costruzione Artigianale 001
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Villa Erba, Italy | May 25, 2019
There are few design firms out there willing to take what some consider to be an attractive sports car and try and improve upon it. As to the name of this car, it is kind of a mess – as is the company that built it. Their website has quite a few different names on it. They call themselves Mole Automobiles, Umberto Palermo Design, and Mole Costruzione Arttigianale 001… which sounds more like the name of a model of car than a brand.
But sure enough, that moniker is given to a range of cars on their website. This design is a one-off based on a 40k-kilometer 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C coupe, which was actually the final year for the hardtop version of the car. It is still powered by the same turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four mounted behind the driver, but the styling has been altered to give the car a much more aggressive look.
I like it. The interior has been upgraded too. It was shown at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show and now can head home to your garage. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | May 15, 2019
Quantum Sports Cars was founded in 1987 by Mark and Harvey Wooldridge. Almost all of their cars have been based around different variations of the Ford Fiesta. This car, the 2+2 Convertible was introduced in 1993 and is based on the Fiesta Mk 2.
It is powered by a 96 horsepower, 1.6-liter inline-four and features fiberglass bodywork and a cloth soft top. The car has a somewhat Geo-like appearance, but maybe that’s because the wheels appear to be about 5″ in diameter. The tacked-on fender flares are doing it no favors either.
They built 431 of these, and this one was no kit – it was factory-assembled. The 1987 model year denotes the donor Fiesta, which, fun fact, is listed as “damaged/stolen” in the UK. It is being offered at no reserve. You can see more from Brightwells here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | March 29-30, 2019
This is the best Lotus. Okay, well it’s at least my favorite Lotus. And it’s in the best color, with the best wheels. The Esprit debuted in 1975 for the ’76 model year, and the above car is a Series 4 example – which was actually the fifth iteration of the model.
The S4 was built between 1993 and 2004, and damn if they aren’t just great-looking sports cars – especially in Yellow Pearl. In 1996, the company decided to stop screwing around with lousy four-cylinder engines and finally stuffed a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 in there. It was good for 350 horsepower. It could do 175 mph.
This 37,000-mile example carries a pre-sale estimate of $60,000-$70,000 – which seems steep – and it is one of 1,237 V8 models built. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The second sale of the Retromobile week was held by Bonhams, and we featured a lot of cars from this event. On the extreme one end of the spectrum was the Red Bug buckboard we featured. It sold for $4,958. Now a quick rundown of no-sales from this auction: the Clement-Bayard, the beautiful Darracq, the 1911 Renault, the Bellanger, and a previously-featured Horch. The overall top sale was this 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A for $1,794,086.