Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 2, 2022
It’s pretty amazing how many early BMWs this auction house manages to round up for sale. This is a derivative of BMW first car, the 3/15. First sold as the Dixi 3/15, the 3/15 would be sold in a few series under the BMW marque.
The DA-3 Wartburg was sold in 1930 and 1931. It was only offered as a roadster, making it BMW’s first “sports car.” BMW used a front drop axle to lower the frame, and the aluminum body featured boattail styling. Power is from a 747cc inline-four that got increased compression in the Wartburg for a rated output of 17 horsepower.
Only 150 of these were built, with 100 in the first year and 50 in the second. This one was restored about 20 years ago and now has an estimate of $58,000-$79,000. Click here for more info.
Power is from a 6.9-liter inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. Model Js had a three-speed manual transmission. But all that power and favorable gearing means that this beast can do almost 90 mph in second gear.
This car was originally owned by an heir to a Chicago department store fortune. Ownership history is more or less known, and the car was restored by RM with work completing around 2000. The current owner bought it in 2010. Price estimates? More than a limo but less than a dual-cowl phaeton. Click here for more info.
Gio. Ansaldo & C. was founded in 1853 and became a big player in the Italian railway manufacturing market before branching out into automobiles in 1921. The experiment lasted just 10 years, with production wrapping in 1931.
The Type 15 GS was introduced in 1928 as the company was bleeding money. It was a follow-up to the earlier 15, which was not at all a success. The 15 GS used a double overhead cam inline-four that made 60 horsepower.
This car wears lightweight four-door coachwork by Liotti of Florence that features a skin over a steel frame, whereas many contemporary coachbuilders still utilized wood frames. It was restored in the late 1980s/early 1990s and now carries an estimate of $42,500-$64,000. Click here for more info.
1930 Mercedes-Benz 770K Four-Door Three-Position Cabriolet by Voll & Ruhrbeck
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | January/February 2022
The first comment on this auction was to the effect of “This is BaT at a completely different level.” And they ain’t kidding. The 770K was not only extremely exclusive when new, but also ultra rare. And they trade hands (at least publicly) very infrequently. The W07, which was the first generation of the 770 range, went on sale in 1930, making this an early example, in terms of timing. It would be replaced by the W150 in 1938.
They were very expensive cars, intended for high-ranking government officials. The (second-generation) 770K is largely remembered for being the choice cars of Nazi officials. But this car was produced before the Nazis were even in power. And it was sold new to the King of Iraq, remaining in his family until the 1950s.
Power is from a supercharged 7.7-liter inline-eight that made 200 horsepower with the supercharger engaged. Mercedes built 205 examples of the 770 in total, with 117 being the first-gen style. This one was bodied by Voll & Ruhrbeck of Berlin as an imposing, intimidating car. Which was probably the desired effect considering the type of people who owned them.
The car has about 10 days left at auction by the time this posts, and bidding was up to $600,000 at the time of this writing. The cheaper of the two 770Ks we’ve featured in the past sold for $2.5 million, with the other one not selling at a bid of $7 million. Click here for more info.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2022
Another great Duesenberg. RM calls this “one of the finest restored examples.” We recently featured another Murphy Convertible Sedan, and this one is finished in classic black. Approximately 45 such cars were bodied by Murphy.
This one was delivered new in New York City, and RM traces the ownership through quite a few owners of the years. Work is also noted, including a mechanical overhaul in 1957 and a 20-year restoration that started in 1985. Power is from a 6.9-liter inline-eight capable of 265 horsepower.
It won its class at Pebble Beach and is offered with a second set of wire wheels mounted with whitewall tires. The catalog does not yet list a pre-sale estimate, but this is quite a good car, so it should bring quite the sum. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 6-16, 2022
So, no, this is not a Ford Model A. It’s a Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes’ W11 was produced as a few different model names between 1929 and 1934. The Stuttgart was offered in a variety of factory bodies as well as a bare chassis for coachbuilders.
This car features “factory” Cabriolet C coachwork that was actually built by Reutter. The 2.6-liter inline-six made about 49 horsepower when new. Top speed was 56 mph.
During production, the factory churned out 6,757 standard-wheelbase units. This one was brought to the U.S. by a servicemember in the 1950s. It’s being offered from 70 years of family ownership. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
For Sale by Hyman Ltd | St. Louis, Missouri
As far as Model Js go – especially four-door examples – this is a pretty great one. The two-tone burgundy paintwork and non-supercharged (internal) exhaust makes for a very clean, elegant look. A body by the Walter M. Murphy Company on a long-wheelbase chassis certainly doesn’t hurt.
Power is from a 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. The car was purchased new by Lew Wallace Jr., grandson of the author of Ben-Hur. Interestingly, Hyman refers to this as the “Ben-Hur Duesenberg.” Imagine being defined by a book your grandfather wrote. Apparently such extravagances were not doing the Wallace family any favors, as they had to sell the Duesenberg for a ’32 Ford sedan during the Depression.
This chassis retains its original engine, body, and firewall. The engine was rebuilt in the late 1990s, and the paintwork dates to the 1950s. The car is for sale in St. Louis with a listed price between $1.4 and $1.5 million. Click here for more info.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021
Here’s another Model J up for grabs in Monterey this year. This one is bodied by Murphy, the most prolific of all Model J coachbuilders. Their work resided on 140 of the ~481 Model Js built when new. Some of them have been rebodied or lost over the years, but this car retains its original body.
Only two Murphy Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupes features dual spare wheels mounted at the rear instead of on the front fenders. The car is powered by a 265-horsepower 6.9-liter inline-eight.
This car was delivered new to an heir of a department store fortune (were they all delivered to heirs of some fortune?) and remained with her until 1934. It was acquired by Duesenberg historian Randy Ema in 2016 and restored. No pre-sale estimate is available, but this is probably one of the more desirable Duesenberg body styles with one of the freshest restorations around. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1930 Bucciali TAV-30 La Marie Torpedo Type Cannes by Saoutchik
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 13, 2021
The Bucciali brothers, Angelo and Paul-Albert, were two engineers who set up shop in Courbevoie in France in the mid-1920s. Their first prototype, the TAV-6, debuted in 1926 and two would end up being built. Both were deconstructed in 1929. But the car was merely a demonstration of their front-wheel-drive design. The TAV-8 followed in 1929, and in 1930, the company showed the TAV-30 at the New York Auto Show.
Their presence in New York was really to show other manufacturers their unique designs and to try and license their many patents. The chassis underneath this very car was dubbed “La Marie” and initially served as the chassis for the TAV-3 prototype. It was under this guise that the car was shown to many American automotive manufacturers to try and get some of that sweet license money. It didn’t really work.
So the car returned to France where it was upgraded to TAV-30 spec. It’s fitted with a 5.3-liter Continental inline-eight rated at 114 horsepower. It has a transverse four-speed manual transaxle mounted ahead of the front axle. It also features a four-wheel independent suspension. This thing was way ahead of its time, and its existence is still felt in cars we drive today. For example, Paul-Albert Bucciali showed this car to engineers at Willys, who passed on licensing the patent. After WWII, Bucciali sued, claiming that Willys had essentially stolen his designs, which they pretty much did. But it was all brushed under the rug by the French government and he didn’t get a dime.
Only about eight Bucciali cars were ever built, but they did reuse chassis from earlier models. So maybe five true examples by the time it was all said and done? Only three TAV-30s were made, and this is said to by the only original surviving chassis. A few other Buccialis do still exist, and they are pretty much the holy grail of exotic pre-war French cars. This particular one carries a Saoutchik body that had previously been fitted to a Mercedes 680S. It was mounted during a restoration in the 1970s.
This car famously spent time in the Blackhawk Collection beginning in 1985. Bonhams is expecting big results from this car while at the same time having no idea what to expect. The market is red hot right now, fueled in part by recent inflation. But I’m also pretty sure none of these have ever changed hands publicly. Let’s see what happens… Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Dorotheum | Salzburg, Austria | October 17, 2020
The Dixi was an Austin Seven built under license in Germany beginning in 1928. In late 1928, Dixi was overtaken by BMW, and in 1929, the cars were re-badged as the BMW Dixi 3/15 DA-2. This model was produced from 1929 through 1931. Two more versions of the 3/15 would be produced through 1932, but the DA-2 was the last to carry the Dixi name.
Power is from a 747cc inline-four good for 15 horsepower. You could get a two-door sedan, a delivery van, or a convertible like the one you see here. Only 300 examples of the convertible were produced, and I’d bet there are very, very few left today.
For perspective, the 300 convertibles were out of an entire DA-2 production run of 12,318. This one has been restored and is expected to bring between $14,000-$21,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.