Duesenberg J-546

1932 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Berline by Rollston

Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 15-17, 2018

Photo – Mecum

Rollston was a coachbuilder based in New York City between 1921 and 1938. It was founded by Harry Lonschein, Sam Blotkin, and Julius Veghso. So what’s with the name? Well Lonschein was a former Brewster employee, a company strongly associated with Rolls-Royce of America. So he named his new company after Rolls-Royce. Fun fact.

This Model J is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight engine that makes 265 horsepower. A 3-speed manual transmission sends power rearward, and this car wears a one-off convertible sedan body by Rollston. It was restored in the 1990s.

This car has known ownership history from new, as it was purchased new by a member of the Vanderbilt family. Other owners included Dean Kruse from 1998 to 2007, John O’Quinn from 2007 until 2010, and the Academy of Art University Collection since 2010. It’s an immaculately-clean example and should bring about a million bucks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Bugatti 57 Torpedo

1935 Bugatti Type 57 Torpedo Tourist Trophy

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 8, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

The Type 57 was sort of the ultimate Bugatti. Produced between 1934 and 1940, it would be the final model the company produced before shutting down due to the war and really, considering their brief attempted comeback after the war, the last true Bugatti production car.

There were some hotted-up versions of the Type 57 that came after this, including the Type 57T, 57C, 57S, and 57SC, but this is the original, the plain-old Type 57. It is powered by a 3.3-liter straight-eight engine making 135 horsepower, which was the same engine that Bugatti used in their Type 59 Grand Prix cars – so the racing heritage was present even if most Type 57s were not destined for the track.

This car, however, did see track use – and has for most of its life. When new, it competed in the Ulster Tourist Trophy race in the U.K. The next owner DNF’d the car at the 1936 24 Hours of Spa. By 1939 the car was in Australia, where it would spend the next 75+ years. The car had been modified over time but the consignor, who bought the car in the 1970s, spent until 2010 restoring the car to its 1935 specification.

Only 630 examples of the Type 57 were built and this one has pretty decent race history (with Earl Howe and Pierre Levegh at the wheel no less). It should bring between $950,000-$1,600,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $873,567.

4 Pre-WWI Minervas

Pre-WWI Minervas

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 8, 2018


1907 Minerva Type K 40HP Transformable Open-Drive Limousine Torpedo

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams managed to snag an unreal collection of Minerva automobiles for their Rétromobile sale. This is the oldest of the bunch, dating to 1907 – which was just five years after the Belgian firm built their first cars.

The Type K features a 40 horsepower 6.2-liter straight-six. This car was aimed squarely at the top of the market – right at Rolls-Royce. It’s a gigantic car, with an open (or covered) driver’s compartment and an enclosed limousine rear (but also with a removable top… which I guess makes this entire car technically a convertible). The body is by Belvallette et Cie. It was purchased new off of Minvera’s stand at the 1907 Paris Auto Salon.

It was discovered in 1966 and immediately placed in a museum. In 1981 it changed hands again and the collection it is coming out of acquired it in 1995. Did I mention that this 111-year-old car is entirely original? It’s been expertly preserved and it should bring between $420,000-$550,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $744,906.


1910 Minerva Model S 26HP Open-Drive Landaulette

Photo – Bonhams

The 1910 Minerva range consisted of three models, the entry-level 16HP, the top-of-the-line 38HP, and this, the mid-range 26HP Model S. The engine is a Knight sleeve-valve 4.1-liter straight-four. The body looks extremely complicated with a retractable top out back and a removable hardtop for the driver, which when both are down, leaves a little piece of roof sticking up in the middle.

This car was delivered new to France and returned to Belgium in 1918. The current collection acquired the car in 1999 and there was a restoration, but no one seems to know when it was performed. At any rate, it’s aged nicely and should bring between $110,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $205,736.


1911 Minerva Model Z 38HP Open-Drive Limousine

Photo – Bonhams

This Minerva looks a little bit newer than 1911, which I guess is a testament to its great design. The Model Z was the “big” Minerva for 1911, powered by a 6.3-liter Knight sleeve-valve straight-four making 38 horsepower. The body almost has a “C-Cab” look to the driver’s compartment, which is very stylish. Unfortunately, the coachbuilder is unknown.

This car was delivered new to Spain and entered the current collection more than 30 years ago. It’s thought to be mostly original, but it will require some freshening as it’s been sitting for a few years. Compared to some of the other Minervas in this sale, this car is on the cheap side, with a pre-sale estimate of $55,000-$67,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $87,969.


1912 Minerva Model CC 38HP Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

Just like in 1910 and 1911, the 1912 Minerva line consisted of three models of differing power outputs with this, the 38HP model being the largest. It’s powered by a sleeve-valve 7.2-liter straight-four rated at 38 horsepower. That large displacement coupled with the Knight engine made for exceptionally smooth running.

This is a big touring car equipped with a second windshield for the rear passengers. Delivered new to the U.K., this car was pulled from a Scottish barn in the 1960s and restored as-needed before the end of the 1970s. It’s been on static display in this collection for up to the last 15 years, which means it’ll need a little TLC if you want to take it out on the road. It should sell for between $55,000-$67,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $156,075.

Panhard by Vanvooren

1912 Panhard et Levassor X14 20CV Torpedo by Vanvooren

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Artcurial is offering a collection of Vanvooren-bodied automobiles at their Rétromobile sale. It’s one of the most packed auction catalogs I’ve ever seen and we will be featuring more cars from this sale than just about any other sale in the past seven years.

This big, beautiful Panhard is a Type 14, which was introduced in 1911. It features a 4.4-liter straight-four which was rated at 20 taxable horsepower. It’s a big Torpedo tourer and one of the earliest Vanvooren-bodied cars in the world.

Sold new to a customer in Buenos Aires, this car later made it’s way back to Europe. Unbelievably, it is 100% original (the up-close patina is incredible) and since 1995, it has been either in large private collections or museums. Because of it’s museum stints, it has not seen the road in quite some time and will require a little work to get it roadworthy. It should bring between $215,000-$315,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $365,050.

Vermorel Tourer

1913 Vermorel 12/16HP Model L Torpedo Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The French Vermorel company (officially, Établissements V. Vermorel) traces its roots back to 1850, when it was founded as an engineering firm in Villefranche-sur-Saône, France. They built their first car in 1899, but series production didn’t being until 1908.

Production took off until the outbreak of World War One and resumed immediately upon the war’s conclusion. The last Vermorel passenger car rolled off the line 1930 and heavy trucks were built through 1932. The company soldiered on in other arenas until 1965.

This particular example was discovered in a barn in France in 1968. It had two owners until 1990 when the current owner bought it. It is likely powered by a 2.3-liter straight-four making 12/16 horsepower and the body is by Henri Gauthier & Cie. Vermorel is a rare marque these days and this is believed to be the only example in the U.K. It should sell for between $26,000-$39,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $25,681.

Bugatti Brescia Modifie

1923 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia Modifie Torpedo by Lavocat et Marsaud

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, England | June 30, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bugatti Brescias are so tiny. They’re like pocket-sized exotics. The “Brescia” name was applied to post-WWI Bugatti Type 13s. The Type 13 entered production in 1910 and went on hiatus for the First World War. Post-war, it soldiered on through 1926.

In 1920, Bugatti debuted the Type 23 Brescia, which had a longer-wheelbase. It’s powered by a 1.5-liter straight-four that made enough power to propel this car to approximately 70 mph (!). The body is a racy torpedo from coachbuilders Lavocat et Marsaud. It’s such a tiny car that the two seats contained within are offset, so the passenger sits slightly behind the driver.

Remarkably, this car retains its original bodywork and most of its original components, something that not many Brescias do (mostly because many of the Type 23 cars were later shortened to Type 13 configuration). The third (and most recent) restoration was completed in 2010. Only about 200 of these were built and only 19 are known to remain, with this being among the most original. It should bring between $710,000-$840,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Delahaye Torpedo

1923 Delahaye Type 87 Torpedo

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

Photo – Coys

Known for their exotic coachbuilt cars of the 1930s and 40s, Delahaye cars date back to the 1890s and up until the 1930s, they resembled many other large, well-built cars. Take, for example, this Type 87 Torpedo. Looking at it in near-profile, it’s pretty hard to distinguish it from a Hispano-Suiza, Mercedes, or any number of large American touring cars also built in 1923.

The Type 87 was introduced at the 1921 Paris Auto Salon and was one of the first new Delahayes introduced after WWI. It’s powered by a 1.8-liter straight-four and it was sold in the 10CV class. This model was produced through 1926 and in total about 3,800 were built.

This particular example was discovered in the south of France in 1989. It has since undergone a complete restoration and is a solid driver, having participated in quite a few historic car driving events. It should bring between $48,500-$70,250. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Coys’ lineup.

Update: Sold, approximately $53,800.

Bugatti Brescia Torpedo

1923 Bugatti Type 27 Brescia Torpedo

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Bugatti Brescia was the marque’s first true road car. It was introduced as the Type 13 in 1910. More “Types” would follow, such as the Type 15, 17, 22, and 23. Production of the Brescia lasted through 1926 and their racing counterparts scored victories across Europe, lending some real credibility to the Bugatti brand.

The little-seen Type 27 was a development of the Types 22 and 23 (which different only slightly from earlier cars). The engine in the Type 27 is a 1.5-liter straight-four making 50 horsepower. The sporty Torpedo coachwork is thought to be the work of coachbuilders Lavocat et Marsaud.

This example had eight owners in its first three years! In the 1930s, it is said that it was used as a getaway car for robberies in Paris. Most of its ownership history is known and the famous automotive hoarders known as the Schlumpf brothers attempted to purchase this car in 1959. Luckily for enthusiasts everywhere, they were rebuffed. This car was mechanically restored in 2006 and is ready to drive. It should bring between $410,000-$580,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $541,015.

SCAT Torpedo

1914 SCAT Tipo 14-1 Torpedo by Solaro

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monaco | May 14, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Ceirano Brothers were pretty big players in the early days of the Italian automobile industry. They were responsible for the birth of the following brands: Ceirano, S.T.A.R., Itala, S.P.A., Fiat (technically), and SCAT. Societa Ceirano Automobili Torino (SCAT) was founded in 1906 by Giovanni Ceirano. It lasted through 1929.

They built a solid reputation for sportiness and power: between 1911 and 1914 the company won the Targa Florio twice. This is a Model 18/30 HP and it was built between 1914 and 1916. It is powered by a 38 horsepower, 3.6-liter straight-four. The car is a Torpedo tourer with seating for five, six, or seven.

It is not original but whatever work has been done (including the paint) was done long ago. It still looks great and would likely be a lot of fun. It has serious pedigree and is from a mostly forgotten manufacturer. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $48,135.

Phantom II Torpedo Sports

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Torpedo Sports by Barker

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 28-29, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

When you think of 1930s streamlined automobiles, you probably think of those Art Deco French beauties. Well here is an English example. It’s a Rolls-Royce Phantom II, which was produced between 1929 and 1936.

It is powered by a 120 horsepower 7.7-liter straight-six. Barker & Co. of London was one of the more common coachbuilders for Rolls-Royce. Most of their designs were relatively traditional – sedans and the like. But obviously not all of their designs were stodgy. This Torpedo Sports looks like something from the late 1930s, not the dawn of the decade.

Built for a man in New York (but never delivered), this car has windswept fenders, rear wheel covers, and the upper part of the rear decklid comes to a boattail-like point. The first owner isn’t actually known for sure (it is thought to be a Maharaja), but from the second owner on, the history of this car is known. The current owner bought it in the early 1990s and it has since been restored.

Only 1,402 Phantom IIs were built and this is the only one quite like this. It’s also one of the sportiest Phantom IIs, too. If you want to see more, click here. And find the rest of RM’s catalog here.

Update: Not sold.