Phantom III Pillarless Saloon

1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Pillarless Saloon by Vesters & Neirinck

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 18-19, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

By definition, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III was not a sporty automobile. It was a huge car, introduced by Rolls in 1936 and it lasted through 1939. The bare chassis alone weighed in at just over two tons. It featured a big, 7.3-liter V-12 making about 160 horsepower, which was a decent amount of power, but not enough to scoot the pure massiveness of this car along at any decent clip.

But, I suppose, that has never been the point of a Rolls-Royce, V-12 or otherwise (the Phantom III was the first V-12 RR and the last one until 1998). Because these were sold as bare chassis, it was kind of up to the coachbuilder of your choice to make it seem sporty and that is where Vesters & Neirinck of Brussels succeeded wildly with this car. The low, extremely solid-looking roof, swoopy fenders and two-tone paint really do make this car look sporty. And the fact that it lacks B-pillars is icing on that design cake.

Now let’s talk about this car’s downright bizarre ownership history. It is said that during WWII this car was used by the King of Belgium and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. In the late 1950s the car was in Germany and a decade later it was in the U.S. where it had a series of owners. Then, in the 1980s, it was purchased by G. Gordon Liddy (of Watergate infamy). He sold it to Charles Nelson Reilly, who, because he was way before my time, became known to me thanks to Alec Baldwin’s not-as-over-the-top-as-you-might-think impression of him on Saturday Night Live.

Restored between 1992 and 1994, this car won its class at Pebble Beach and has been in the same collection for nearly 20 years. Only 727 Phantom IIIs were built and this is, so far, the best-looking example I’ve seen (though we featured another wild one a few weeks ago). It should bring between $550,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $593,500.

One-off Austin Sheerline

1949 Austin Sheerline A.125 Cabriolet by Vesters & Neirinck

Offered by Bonhams | Knokke-Heist, Belgium | October 11, 2013

1949 Austin Sheerline A.125 Cabriolet by Vesters & Neirinck

Photo – Bonhams

When World War II ended, Austin decided to build a car to try and rival Bentley. They introduced the Sheerline (originally in A.110 form) in 1947. After only 12 of those were sold, they shifted to the A.125 – the difference being displacement.

The cars looked a little like Bentleys and a little like Jaguars – in that they were stately, boxy sedans. All were four-door cars offered as sedans or limousines. The engine in the A.125 was a 4.0-liter straight-six making 125 horsepower.

This particular car was delivered new to Belgium and given a custom coachbuilt body by a local Belgian coachbuilder. When I saw this car in the auction catalog, I thought “Oh, a Saoutchik Delahaye!” Boy was I wrong and boy is that a huge compliment to the body on this car. It really is nice looking. The fact that it is also a convertible is a plus as well.

This car is being sold by only its second owner. The mechanicals and interior have been completely restored but the body and paint are entirely original. This is the only example like this built (of the 7,851 A.125s built) and it is a cheap entry into major concours events worldwide. It is expected to sell for between $54,000-$81,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Belgium.

Update: Sold for significantly less than the lower end of the estimate. The person who bought it has asked that the price not be displayed here. In a couple of months, after he has flipped the car, the price will be posted here again.