Brough Superior V-12

1938 Brough Superior 4½-Litre V-12 Sports Saloon

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | July 13, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

George Brough built some of the best motorcycles the world has ever seen. They were overbuilt masterpieces of engineering that are highly sought after today and remain one of the most expensive motorcycles you can buy in today’s world. Between 1935 and 1939 Brough built a very select few four-wheeled automobiles as well.

Originally he offered a 3.5-liter six and a 4.0-liter eight. Only about 20 eight-cylinder cars were built (it used a chassis from Hudson, much like the Railton, which was a Brough automotive competitor, and Railton sued and it became a thing so Hudson stopped supplying the chassis). So Brough only had a six-cylinder car left after that. George  then decided to build a large twelve-cylinder car, using an engine from a Lincoln-Zephyr. This car is powered by that silky-smooth, 4.4-liter, 110 horsepower V-12.

Unfortunately, it was 1938 and introducing an expensive V-12 road car probably wasn’t the best financial move, especially as this car would’ve retailed for £1,250 with the body (for comparison, a ’37 Ford Model Y would’ve run only £100). Only one car was completed, this one. The sports saloon coachwork is by Charlesworth, the main coachbuilder of Brough Superior’s chief car rival, Alvis. This one-off has been in storage for 25 years but will be a hot show item when restored. It should bring between $20,000-$34,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Cadillac V-12 Phaeton

1934 Cadillac V-12 Series 370D All-Weather Phaeton by Fleetwood

Offered by Mecum | Dallas, Texas | September 6-9, 2017

Photo – Mecum

Mecum has actually sold this car (at least) twice before. They sold it out of a collection in 2012 for $200,000 and in Houston 2014 for $165,000. And they’re offering it again, this time in Dallas. We’ll see what it brings, but it makes you wonder why no one wants to continue to own this gorgeous four-door V-12 convertible.

The Series 370D was the 1934 version of Cadillac’s V-12 model that dated back to the 1931 370A. The 370B was for 1932, the 370C for 1933, and the 370D was for ’34. Actually, they sold the 370D again in 1935… low sales counts probably contributed to G.M. not slightly re-engineering an “E” variant. Twelve cylinder Cadillacs could be had through 1937.

That luscious, silky-smooth V-12 is a 6.0-liter unit that makes 133 horsepower. This car rides on the 146 inch wheelbase and the body is by Fleetwood, which by this point was a GM subsidiary. This is quite a rare body style, with only three examples built. V-12 Caddys from 1934 and 1935 are very rare in general, with only 1,098 examples built between the two years in total. Based on previous sales history of this chassis, it will likely sell for about $150,000, if the owner doesn’t have too high a reserve on it. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Mecum’s auction lineup.

Update: Sold $130,000.

Four Fire Trucks from France

Four Fire Trucks in France

Offered by Osenat | Puiseux-Pontoise, France | May 14, 2017


1942 American LaFrance V-12 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

American LaFrance is one of the biggest names in fire trucks. Tracing their roots to 1832, the company built their first motorized vehicle in 1907. In 1995 they were bought by Freightliner, part of Daimler, who dumped them on an investment firm in 2005. They went through bankruptcy in 2008 and closed up shop in 2014.

People love fire trucks, and this wartime example is powered by a big Lycoming V-12 engine, something they only did for a brief period of time. This particular model (whose name I cannot find) was only produced in 1942. These are all coming out of a museum and this one should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $9,329.


1951 Laffly BSS163 Fire Van

Photo – Osenat

Laffly, which sounds like a comedy club, was actually a French manufacturer of commercial vehicles that was founded back in 1849. Their first automobiles were produced in 1912 and they went out of business in the 1950s.

Their specialty were military vehicles and fire trucks. The BSS163 was the “Standardized Fire Van” and it went into production in 1946. It’s a large van and it’s powered by an 80 horsepower straight-six from Delahaye. This particular van was restored by the owner of this collection. There are two other Laffly fire vans at this sale, but this is the nicest. It should bring between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1952 Seagrave V-12 Roadster

Photo – Osenat

A couple of things… first, there is no model year listed for this truck. A quick search online revealed (as you can probably surmise by just looking at it) that this Seagrave fire truck is from the early 1950s, thus why I’ve called it a 1952. I also don’t have a model name, but it is V-12 powered and it does sport Roadster body work.

Like American LaFrance, Seagrave is among the biggest names in American fire trucks. Founded in 1881, the company built their first motorized fire truck in 1907. They were acquired by FWD in 1963 and have been based in Wisconsin since. This is a spectacular design and it can be yours for between $11,000-$16,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1927 Delahaye Type 83 Fire Truck

Photo – Osenat

The last fire truck we’ll feature today is from Delahaye, builder of some of France’s most beautiful cars. In fact, Delahaye built a lot of commercial vehicles over the years, including many fire trucks. They are quite rare today because, like Pierce-Arrow and Packard in the U.S., people acquired the commercial vehicles and stripped the bodies off of them and applied sexy passenger car bodies instead.

This fire truck has had a complete restoration and looks very nice. It has one large improvement over the previous generation of heavy trucks: inflatable tires. If you were to drive this back-to-back with a truck on solid rubber tires you’d notice a world of difference. This one should bring between $16,500-$22,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Marmon Two-Door Prototype

1932 Marmon HCM V-12 2-Door Sedan Prototype

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2013

1932 Marmon HCM V-12 2-Door Sedan Prototype

Remember: this car is from 1932. It’s a full-bodied car – there aren’t any running boards and yeah, the front wheels kind of have their own fenders – but for the most part, this thing looks way ahead of its time. But it’s pretty advanced under that strange, tan bodywork too.

The engine is a 151 horsepower 6.0-liter V-12 (Marmon had just started production on their V-16 powered car. This was essentially a V-16 minus four of the cylinders). The suspension set-up was different from most production cars of the day, ending in low un-sprung weight. The body was designed by an M.I.T. student and the car cost Howard Marmon about $160,000 of his personal fortune to build. His company went bankrupt the following year.

So Marmon shopped the prototype around, hoping someone else would put it into production, but no one took the bait. So he brought it home and packed it away. Marmon died in 1943. It passed through a few hands before it was given to Brooks Stevens, who painted it blue. It was purchased (with money, for the first time in the car’s history) in 1999 and completely restored in 2001. This car is one of one and failed to sell at an RM Auction in 2011 for $475,000. I guess the owner wants more than that if it is to sell this time around. Click here for more info and here for more from RM at Amelia Island.

Update: Sold $407,000.

Update II: Sold, RM Sotheby’s, Amelia Island 2015, $429,000.