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.

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.

Duesenberg J-414

1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe by Murphy

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

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

We should all know by now that cars don’t get better than Duesenberg Model Js. The Walter M. Murphy Company was the most prolific body supplier for the Model J and their Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe is one of the most popular body styles. But this is a little different.

This is a Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe. That means it is a convertible where the top is completely hidden when retracted and it has a pinched rear end like a boattail speedster. It even has a one-passenger rumble seat. It’s an awesome combination of design. And as this is a Model J, the 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight is standard.

This car originally was fitted with engine number J-178 but that engine was removed from the car at some point (likely in the 1940s as a source for parts). In the 1950s, the new owner acquired engine J-414 and put it in this car – that’s why the engine number is so high and the model year is so early. The body work had slight updates in the late-1930s to the “JN” style.

This car has been with its present owners for over 20 years. It is one of six Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupes ever built and one of four to actually still have their original coachwork. They never come up for sale and it should be pricey. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.

Update: Sold $3,000,000.

Berliet Torpedo

1926 Berliet Type VI Torpedo

Offered by Osenat | Lyon, France | November 8, 2015

Photo - Osenat

Photo – Osenat

Marius Berliet began selling cars in 1900 and his company’s range quickly expanded. In the 1920s, they were building cheap versions of the Dodge in France and it ran the company into the ground. Somehow, they emerged from bankruptcy in 1929 (of all years) and survived the 1930s, ceasing passenger car production in 1939. After the war, they continued to build commercial vehicles up through 1978, when new owner Renault phased out the marque.

The Type VI was offered in a couple of body styles, including this slab-sided torpedo. The engine is a 1.2-liter straight-four making seven to 10 horsepower. The model was new for 1924.

This car was acquired by its present owner in 1977 and stored. He restored it in the early 2000s. It’s got four new tires and is ready to run and should sell for between $12,000-$14,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $11,300.

The 3rd Place Car from the 3rd Race at Le Mans

1925 Lorraine-Dietrich B3-6 Le Mans Torpedo Sport

Offered by Bonhams | Chantilly, France | September 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

At one time, Lorraine-Dietrich shared as many 24 Hours of Le Mans victories as did Bentley (actually, they won it two years in a row, so they had more victories than did Bentley. And Porsche. And Audi. Combined). Sure, that year was 1925, the year in which this car competed – and its sister car won – the famed 24 hour race. It was the event’s third such running. Lorraine-Dietrich could trace its automotive roots back to 1896. Their last cars were made in 1935.

The model is the 15CV B3-6 which uses a 3.5-liter straight-six making somewhere from 85 to 100 horsepower. This was a factory Lorraine-Dietrich race car and its race history includes the following:

  • 1925 24 Hours of Le Mans – 3rd (with Henry Stalter and Edouard Brisson)
  • 1925 24 Hours of Spa – 5th (with Stalter and Brisson)

So, a very successful, early racer that continued racing with the factory through 1926 and was still competitive a decade later in the hands of privateers. Strangely, in 1949, the car was taken apart and used as farm equipment, but thankfully it was rescued and restored.

The restoration was completed in 1997 but it still looks great. Imagine how fun this would be at historic racing events. It’s entirely unassuming – unless you knew, you’d never be able to guess that this thing finished on the podium at Le Mans. It should bring somewhere in the huge range of $650,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Renault 40CV Torpedo

1925 Renault 40CV Torpedo

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Renault began by producing small, De Dion-powered automobiles and even today they’re known primarily for their smaller cars. But for a brief period of time, they built some big fanciful cars, like this the 40CV.

In fact, not only was this Renault’s big car, it was the biggest car on the market at the time (until Bugatti topped them all with the Royale). This car is powered by an absolutely massive 9.1-liter straight-six that makes about 120 horsepower. These were seriously grand cars, rivaling the best from Rolls-Royce and Panhard and other European marques. As proof, between 1920 and 1928, the 40CV was the official car for the French President.

All were custom built to suit. This one carries its original coachwork, although the coachbuilder has never been identified. It was owned by the Nethercutt Collection between 1984 and 2010 and the restoration is over 20 years old.

Although introduced originally in 1911, the 40CV underwent changes over the years and the final “HF” version featuring the 9.1-liter engine was new for 1920. Between 1924 and the end of production in 1928, only 608 were built. Only six are known to survive and only a few of those are in private hands. This is your chance to be one of very few. It should bring between $410,000-$520,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update II: Not sold, Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016, high bid of $357,500.

Update III: Not sold, Auctions America Ft. Lauderdale 2016, high bid of $290,000.