The Fabulous Hudson Hornet

1952 Hudson Hornet 6 NASCAR

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Shipshewana, Indiana | August 4, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Worldwide Auctioneers is liquidating the greatest collection of Hudson motorcars in the world. And after studying the catalog, I’m pretty sure this is the crown jewel (Italia included). Hudson’s Hornets dominated NASCAR in the early 1950s with legendary drivers like Marshall Teague, Tim Flock, Dick Rathmann, Buck Baker, and Herb Thomas. This was Herb Thomas’ actual race car from 1952 and 1953.

The Hornets were an underdog car that quickly rose to the top. They were six-cylinder cars in an eight-cylinder world. But their chassis design made the cars quick and nimble. Documents show this car was sold to Herb Thomas in July of 1952 to replace a wrecked Hornet. Driven to 15 victories, this very car led Thomas to the 1953 NASCAR championship. After the ’53 season, this chassis was retired and sold to a private owner who used it as a normal road car.

A different owner acquired it in the 1970s hoping to get it roadworthy. That never happened but by this point its racing heritage had been forgotten. It wasn’t until that owner sold the car to a former Hudson dealer and then-current parts supplier that the history of this car was uncovered. A sympathetic restoration followed, leaving the interior mostly intact.

The engine is a 5.0-liter straight-six with Hudson’s “Twin H-Power” intake system – all good for 170 horsepower (up from 145 from a car off the showroom floor). This is the only surviving example of the “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” racing program of the 1950s. Its legacy cemented by Paul Newman’s character in the Pixar movie Cars and a truly legendary NASCAR racer, this will remain collectible forever. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.

Dover Mail Truck

1929 Dover Super-Six Mail Truck

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Shipshewana, Indiana | August 4, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Dover was a short-lived brand of commercial vehicles introduced by Hudson in the summer of 1929. Not great timing. On the plus side, they were based on their Essex line of entry-level cars. So at least they were affordable.

The light-duty trucks were all Essex-based, so they used the same running gear, chassis, and bodywork from the firewall forward. The radiators were different and the commercial bodies were built by Biddle and Smart of Amesbury, Massachusetts. Dover scored a big sales win when the U.S. Postal Service ordered 500 examples for use as mail trucks. They were well-built enough that the USPS was still using some of them into the 1950s.

This example is powered by a 55 horsepower, 2.6-liter straight-six. It was discovered in Wyoming in the 1970s and purchased by the Harrah Collection (and then restored). It has spent time on display at NATMUS in Auburn, Indiana, and since then has been on display in the Hostetler Hudson Museum. Dovers were pulled from the market in late 1930 or early 1931 and they are extraordinarily rare today. Click here for more info and here for more Hudsons.

May 2018 Auction Highlights

We’ll start with one from April: Worldwide Auctioneers in Houston, Texas. The one car we featured, the Ford Prodigy Prototype, sold for $2,200. The top sale was this 1965 Shelby GT350 that brought $363,000. Click here for full results.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Osenat held a sale on May 1st and there was a collection of Bugattis that crossed the block. This Bugatti, a 1925 Type 35B, sold for $625,084 – the most of any car at the sale.

Photo – Osenat

We featured two of the other Bugattis and they both sold. The Type 46 Coupe De Ville sold for $459,937 and the Type 57 Galibier Sedan brought $516,615. The Porsche 914/6 Prototype and a previously-featured Talbot Sedan failed to sell. More results can be found here.

Off to Monaco where there were three sales this year. The first was from Bonhams and the ex-Aryton Senna McLaren Formula 1 car was the top seller going for $5,009,296. The other ex-Senna F1 car, the Toleman TG184 brought $1,921,374. The two Ferraris we featured, the 625 TF and the F1/87, both failed to sell. We’ll award most-interesting to this 1955 Jaguar XK140 SE with a special one-off body by Michelotti.

Photo – Bonhams

It was essentially a barn find project. They had an estimate of around $50,000 on this car and it blew that out of the water, selling for charity at $425,447. Well sold! Click here for more results from this sale.

Next up in Monaco, RM Sotheby’s. The top sale was this 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB for about $2,526,125.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Our biggest dollar feature car was the Benetton B192 that brought $960,929 (the sales numbers from this sale are all estimates as I’m doing currency conversion a week late. Sorry. I went on vacation). The other F1 car from this sale, the Jordan 199, brought $284,447. The Ferrari Sergio would’ve been the biggest dollar car here, but it failed to sell. As did the Gilco. Another Ferrari, our previously-featured 328 Conciso, sold here for $128,811. Click here for more results.

Keeping with the Ferrari theme, Silverstone Auctions held an all-Ferrari sale the day before their May Sale. We featured a 550 Barchetta and it’s been listed as “Result to Follow” for a week now, so we’re calling it “maybe sold maybe not but we’ve got to ‘go to press,’ as it were.” Otherwise, the top seller was this 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona for $721,929. Check out complete results here.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Ford Prodigy P2000 Concept

2000 Ford Prodigy P2000 Concept

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Arlington, Texas | April 21, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

The basic approach we take when combing through auction catalogs to find feature cars is: what have we never seen before and what are we unlikely to see again? Concept cars are usually shoo-ins and this is no exception.

The initial Ford Prodigy concept debuted at the 2000 North American International Auto Show. It’s thing was efficiency and with a low drag coefficient and a small engine it was said to be capable of 80 mpg. The styling on that original Prodigy Concept is a little different from this roller (sometimes car companies build one driveable concept and a few rollers for different auto shows). This car has a small electric motor to help move it around, but it’s not a driver. The body is steel and it’s mounted to a wooden frame. There’s a bench seat and prototype dashboard, but otherwise no interior.

It’s hard to believe that this car goes back to 2000, as the styling looks a little more modern. Some cues are easily found on the first generation Ford Fusion and Ford Five Hundred. If you want something unique, here you go. Last time this changed hands it brought $4,400. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,200.

January 2018 Auction Highlights, Pt. II

Starting off this post with more from Arizona in January. First: Bonhams. The top sale here cleared everything else they had to offer by a few million dollars. It was this 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder (and my new desktop wallpaper) for $5,170,000.

Photo – Bonhams

Our three feature cars all sold. The Knox Touring brought $145,000. The one-off Molzon Concept Corsa sold for $41,800. and the Sabra was right behind it at $40,700. Click here for the rest of their results.

Far away from Arizona, Osenat held a sale the same weekend as the Scottsdale madness. We didn’t feature anything, but this 1952 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport in mid-restoration condition was the top sale at $206,616. Click here for more lots and results.

Photo – Osenat

Back to Scottsdale with Worldwide Auctioneers. They had, perhaps, the most looked-forward-to car (and definitely the most interesting) of the entire week: Hitler’s Mercedes. Unfortunately, the high bid of $7,000,000 wasn’t enough to take it home. The 1907 Cadillac we featured brought $93,500 and the Kurtis Indy Roadster $308,000. The top sale overall was $420,000 for this 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet. Click here for more results.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Onward to Russo & Steele where this 1967 Cheetah was the top seller at $660,000.

Photo – Russo & Steele

The ASA Spider we featured sold for $67,100 and you can see the rest of the results here.

Finally, in the U.K., we have the first sale of the year from Brightwells, their Modern Classics sale. We didn’t feature anything, but the top sale was this 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300SL for $26,127. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Brightwells

Cadillac Model M

1907 Cadillac Model M Touring

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Early Cadillacs were actually designed by Henry Leland, as he had yet to sell the company to General Motors (which would happen in 1909). So this early Caddy is one from their brief independent era. The Model M was introduced in 1906 and lasted through 1908, though the models from the final year were sold as delivery vans only.

Cadillac offered two different one-cylinder cars in 1907: the Model K and Model M. The M differed from the K in that the wheelbase was an inch longer and you could purchase a few additional body styles. The engine was the same: a 1.6-liter single-cylinder, mounted horizontally that made an advertised 10 horsepower.

When new, this would have been a $1,000 car. Today, it should bring between $80,000-$100,000. The restoration is so fresh that the car has yet to be shown at any major shows. It’s an interesting – and rare – model from Cadillac’s pioneering era. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $93,500.

Hitler’s Mercedes

1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Worldwide Auctioneers is calling this “the most historically significant automobile ever offered for public sale.” And they aren’t likely wrong. Yes, this is the touring limousine ordered by and built for Adolf Hitler. And while that may be an unpopular association to have with any item, let’s keep in mind that this is a piece of history – and one of the finest examples of pre-WWII automotive engineering extant.

The 770 was an extremely rare and expensive car when new. Introduced in 1930, it was built through 1943. In that span of time, only 205 examples left the factory in two different series. This is a Series II car, the series which was available beginning in 1938 and only 88 were built.

The 770K is powered by a 7.7-liter straight-eight engine fitted with a supercharger that, once engaged, produced 230 horsepower. Capable of speeds of 100 mph or more, the 770K was Germany’s answer to big American cars from Packard, Marmon, Cadillac, and Duesenberg as well as some of Europe’s finest from Hispano-Suiza, Bugatti, Horch, Maybach, and Isotta Fraschini. It was the best Mercedes had to offer.

This car sports an Open Tourer body by in-house coachbuilder Sindelfingen. It has bullet-resistant glass and the body is armor-plated. There’s seating for six (at least) and it was used by Hitler in various parades around Europe during the war.

In 1943 it was sent back to Mercedes for maintenance and it saw little use after that. The car was taken by the American military and was used by the military police in France. Because the car was so magnificent, several service members tried to export it back to the U.S. A Belgian owner succeeded in getting it to the U.S. in 1946 to its new owner in North Carolina.

That owner donated it to the local VFW and they used it in parades, too. It was discovered in storage in 1976, purchased, and restored. It was thought at that time to have been Himmler’s car, but research indicated that it was one of Hitler’s four cars. In the 1980s it became part of the Imperial Palace Collection in Las Vegas and, no doubt, became a tourist draw.

In 2004 it found its way back into Europe as part of a massive Mercedes-Benz collection. Only five 770K Offener Tourenwagens still exist and this is one of three in private hands. Add to it the infamy of its original owner and you have what I consider to be the first car truly worthy of the “Estimate Available Upon Request” tag so often seen with big money cars. It’s a real question what it will sell for. As a piece of automotive magnificance and as an historical artifact, its price could be monumental. But will its close association with Hitler and Nazi Germany hold it back? There’s only one way to find out: head to Worldwide’s sale in Scottsdale next month. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Update: Not sold, high bid of $7,000,000.

Kurtis Kraft 500G

1957 Kurtis 500G

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Indy roadsters, as this style of race car is often called, are the coolest cars that ever raced at Indianapolis. These were driven by men who muscled them around the track, two hands on a steering wheel that looked like it came out of a bus. Frank Kurtis’ cars – when equipped with that Offy underhood – were unstoppable in the 500.

The KK 500G was an evolution of earlier Kurtis 500 cars but with upgraded aerodynamics. This particular chassis was at one point owned by Smokey Yunick – his first “major league” open-wheel race car. It’s competition history includes:

  • 1957 Indianapolis 500 – 5th (with Andy Linden)
  • 1958 Indianapolis 500 – 30th, DNF (with Paul Goldsmith)

After it’s brief history on the Championship circuit, it was used a supermodified car before being rescued by a major Indy roadster collector and restored to the condition you see here. It’s still powered by the legendary 4.2-liter Offenhauser straight-four. Only 14 Kurtis-Kraft 500Gs were built and they’re one of the best-looking of their type. This one should bring between $300,000-$375,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $308,000.

September 2017 Auction Highlights

We’re going to start (for the second recap in a row) with a sale from Worldwide Auctioneers. The Cadillac “Die Valkyrie” was sold for an undisclosed amount (which is kind of lame). The top (reported) sale was $539,000 for this 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

A previously-featured Stoddard-Dayton sold here as well, bringing $118,800. Now let’s talk about this sale. The Auburn sales are usually a buyer’s paradise. In fact, this year was the closest I’ve yet come to registering as a bidder and attempting to buy a car. I had my eye on this 1921 Packard Single Six Sedan.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

It had a pre-sale estimate of, I think, $20,000-$30,000 or something in that ballpark. I had a gut feeling that it would go low, as it was selling at no reserve. With buyer’s premium, I was willing to pay $15,000. The final bid? $14,850. Instead of being there, I was in the hospital, having a child. I’d say I did just fine on the weekend. Other cars will come along. Oh, you can check out more results here.

The other Auburn sale for September was that of Auctions America. The top two sales were both Duesenbergs that we featured. The SJ Sweep Panel Phaeton was #1, bringing $2,300,000. The other, Fleetwood-bodied Model J, sold for $990,000. A distant-relative of the Duesenbergs was the Buehrig Carriage-Roof Coupe that sold here for $25,850. We award Most Interesting to this 1974 AMC Hornet Hatchback. Seriously? Yes, this was the car from The Man With the Golden Gun that performed one of the greatest car stunts in movie history. It sold for $110,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Photo – Auctions America

Let’s hop to RM Sotheby’s London sale. Two of the cars that sold here have been featured on this site previously. They are this Marlboro Steam car (which sold for about $12,146) and this De Tomaso Nuovo Pantera mockup for about $25,348. The top sale was this 2004 Ferrari Enzo that brought approximately $2,383,042.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Hispano-Suiza K6 failed to sell and complete results can be found here.

Dragone Auctions held a sale in Lime Rock, Connecticut in early September. We featured an early Cadillac that brought $80,940. The top sale was another Caddy, this one a rakish 1931 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Victoria by Lancefield for $577,500. Check out full results here.

Photo – Dragone Auctions

Finally, Bonhams’ second Goodwood sale of the year. We only featured one car from this sale, the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Fastback, and it failed to sell. The top sale, however, was this 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona for $801,151. Check out more results here.

Photo – Bonhams

August 2017 Auction Results, Pt. II

We’re going to pick up again in Monterey with Worldwide Auctioneers. The Benz Tourer we featured sold for $121,000. The top sale was $605,000 paid for this beautiful 1940 BMW 328 Roadster. Click here for more results.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Next up, Russo & Steele in Monterey. Their top sale was a 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa for $1,155,000. The rest of their results can be found here.

Photo – Russo & Steele

Let’s hop across the Atlantic for a few European sales, beginning with Bonhams’ Beaulieu sale. The top sale was this 1921 Napier “Blue Bird” Homage for $342,679.

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a few old cars from this sale but the Sheffield-Simplex and Bayliss-Thomas failed to sell. The Vauxhall was a big seller, bringing $277,432. The Fiat Berlina sold for $25,309, the Daimler Tourer $22,331, the Vermorel $25,681, and the Calcott $23,820. And the Invicta Black Prince Wagon sold for $21,438 – which is probably the cheapest you’re going to find one of those. Click here for complete results.

Silverstone Auctions held The Salon Privé Sale in early September. We didn’t get to feature anything, but the top sale was this 1989 Porsche 911 (930) Turbo SE Flachbau Cabriolet in a pretty awesome shade of blue for $317,880. Click here for the rest of the results.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

And finally, H&H Classics’ early September sale held at the National Motorcycle Museum. We didn’t get to feature anything from this sale either, but in a sea of sub-$10,000 cars, this 1975 Jaguar XJ-S 5.3 Coupe stood out, bringing $50,306. Click here to see everything else.

Photo – H&H Classics