Marmon Sixteen Limousine

1931 Marmon Sixteen Limousine by LeBaron

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022

Photo – Mecum

Howard Marmon’s Marmon Motor Car Company was in trouble in 1931 when they launched the Sixteen, which had been in development since 1927. The timing was certainly bad, but the company found the resources to produce the Sixteen for three years before production of cars stopped.

The 8.0-liter V16 was rated at 200 horsepower and made the car one of the best American cars you could buy in 1931. Right there with V16 Cadillacs, big Packards, and Duesenbergs. This car wears limousine coachwork by LeBaron with seating for seven. It’s said to be the only limo example with dividing privacy glass left.

Less than 400 Sixteens were built across three years of production. This car has been a part of a few big collections over the years, and you can read more about it here.

Duesenberg J-448

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 27, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It is known that eight Derham Toursters were built on the Duesenberg Model J chassis. This is the fourth that we have featured in the last decade. There have been three other Tourster-style rebodies up for sale in that time as well. So with this car coming to market, you could have had eight in your stable.

The Model J is powered by a 265-horsepower, 6.9-liter inline-eight. The Derham coachwork was styled by Gordon Buehrig, who described it as his favorite Model J. It’s essentially a five-passenger touring car with rear suicide doors and a secondary roll-down windscreen for the rear-seat passengers.

These are sought after cars, even among the Model J crowd. This one was once owned by Andy Granatelli and was restored by RM. It’s been in a private collection for the last 20 years. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $3,415,000.

BMW 3/15 Sports

1931 BMW 3/15 Ihle Sports

Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | December 11, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

So we’ve talked about Dixi before and how it was an Austin Seven built under license in Germany. BMW purchased Dixi in late 1928, and Dixis were re-branded as BMWs the following year. They still called them BMW Dixi, although they’d drop the Dixi name sometime around 1930.

This post-Dixi 3/15 was produced in 1931 and was actually coach-built by Gebruder Ihle Karrosseriebau of Bruschal, Germany. It’s a sporty, light two-seater with BMW’s signature twin (not-quite-kidney) grilles.

Power is from a 747cc inline-four, but the power rating is uncertain, as it is not clear if this coachbuilt example was based on a DA-2/4 chassis (15 horsepower) or DA-3 Wartburg chassis (17 horsepower). The DA-3 was the sports version of the 3/15, but a coachbuilt example could’ve come from any model. At any rate, this is a great little early BMW, and for $13,000-$20,000, it seems like a historic bargain. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $37,726.

Duesenberg J-434

1931 Duesenberg Model J Roadster by Packard

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is kind of an odd combination, a Packard-built body on a Duesenberg. Sure, many old cars had their bodies swapped around. It was usually sedans being rebodied as more desirable convertibles once they became objects of pleasure instead of daily transportation.

But in this case, this Model J was fitted with a period Packard roadster body… in period. By Duesenberg. The story is that a Duesenberg branch purchased a brand new roadster body from Packard before it could be installed on one of their cars and fitted it to a J chassis in 1931. It’s said to be one of very few true roadsters on a Model J chassis. And probably the only Packard-bodied car.

The engine is a 265-horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight, and this particular engine was fitted in this chassis in 1989. The pre-sale estimate is $1,400,000-$1,800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,650,000.

8 Litre Bentley

1931 Bentley 8 Litre Pointed-Tail Two-Seater

Offered by Gooding & Company | Online | January 28-February 5, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

The 8-Litre was the best (and final) model produced by Bentley before being taken over by Rolls-Royce. Just 100 examples were produced between 1930 and 1932, and only 78 are known to still exist. And this is one of them.

It was originally fitted with a Weymann close-coupled saloon body, but that was removed and replaced in the early 1960s. The chassis was shortened at this time, and coachbuilders Hoffman & Burton were enlisted to build a sporting body. They came up with this striking pointed-tail two-seater.

Aside from the rarity, the powerplant is the big story here. As the model’s name suggests, the inline-six displaces eight liters and produced 220 horsepower. This one appears to have known history since new and carries an estimate of $550,000-$825,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Co.

Update: Sold $861,215.

Auburn 8-98A Sedan

1931 Auburn Model 8-98A Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Somehow we’ve only featured one Auburn car prior to this. Indiana was a force in the early days of the automobile industry, and Auburn was one of its star products, which were offered between 1900 and 1937. They built some pretty fantastic cars in the mid-1930s, but everyone seems to forget that they built “normal”-looking cars like this alongside those wild boattail speedsters.

The 8-98 and the 8-98A were the only models offered in 1931. They were powered by a 98 horsepower straight-eight. Various body styles were available, and this sedan would’ve cost its new owner $1,195. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $19,800.

Five Cars from Indiana

1905 De Tamble-Miller High-Wheel Runabout Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Edward De Tamble‘s earliest cars were highwheelers. Series production didn’t start until 1908 in Indianapolis (and later, Anderson, Indiana), and this car predates that time. It carries a stamp calling it a De Tamble & Miller, but not much is really known about it.

Mostly original, it is thought that this was the prototype De Tamble, and it uses parts from the era, including the gearbox from a Ford Model F. It’s a one-off piece of early automotive history, and you can read more about it here.

Update: Sold $26,400.


1907 Kiblinger Model D High-Wheel Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

If you’re noticing a trend, yes, Indiana liked their highwheelers before 1910. The Kiblinger was a product of Auburn, Indiana, where they were built between 1907 and 1909. There are a few of them on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum. And this car was once on display there too.

The Model D was one of six models produced by the company, and it’s powered by a 10 horsepower, two-cylinder engine that is shared with similar cars from Sears. Speaking of similar cars, company president W.H. McIntyre shut down and re-branded the company as the McIntyre after they were sued for patent infringement by Success. You can read more about this car here.

Update: Sold $28,600.


1908 Mier Model A Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The short-lived Mier was built by the Mier Carriage and Buggy Company of Ligonier, Indiana in 1908 and 1909. Solomon Mier, and his son A.B., built about 100 cars during that time before returning to the horse-drawn buggy industry, where they managed to stay in business into the 1920s.

This Model A Runabout was one of two models offered in 1908. Power is from a 10 horsepower inline-twin. Of the 100 built, only two remain, making this a great chance to get your hands on a truly rare car. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1917 Elcar Model E Cloverleaf Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Elcar actually traces its roots back to Pratt-Elkhart, which was one of Indiana’s highest-quality early cars. That company later became Pratt, which was quickly reformed as the Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company in 1915. They built the Elcar through 1931.

This was the only model available in 1917, and it is one of four body styles offered. The Cloverleaf Roadster retailed for $845 and is powered by a 34 horsepower, Lycoming inline-four. Prediction: this car sells for what would appear to be a great deal. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,400.


1931 Auburn Model 8-98A Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Somehow we’ve only featured one Auburn car prior to this. Indiana was a force in the early days of the automobile industry, and Auburn was one of its star products, which were offered between 1900 and 1937. They built some pretty fantastic cars in the mid-1930s, but everyone seems to forget that they built “normal”-looking cars like this alongside those wild boattail speedsters.

The 8-98 and the 8-98A were the only models offered in 1931. They were powered by a 98 horsepower straight-eight. Various body styles were available, and this sedan would’ve cost its new owner $1,195. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $19,800.

Rigling-Studebaker

1931 Rigling-Studebaker

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 17, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

WWI ace Eddie Rickenbacker became the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1927. For 1930 he introduced a new set of rules that required a riding mechanic and also increased the allowable engine displacement. The result was an influx of off-the-shelf parts used on cars, many of which were just heavily modified versions of street cars.

This car was built by Studebaker’s head of testing, George Hunt, in collaboration with land speed racer Ab Jenkins. The chassis was purchased from fabricator Rigling and Henning, and a Studebaker President 336ci straight-eight was stuffed under the custom aluminum bodywork. It features four Winfield carburetors and produces 205 horsepower. It’s competition history includes:

  • 1931 Indianapolis 500 – 18th, DNF (with Tony Gulotta)
  • 1931 Pikes Peak Hill Climb – 1st (with Chuck Myers)
  • 1932 Indianapolis 500 – 6th (with Zeke Meyer)
  • 1933 Indianapolis 500 – 12th (with L.L. Corum)

After 1933, the car was run by Jenkins on the Bonneville Salt Flats and was later used by his son as a road car. The restoration was completed in the early 1980s, and it is now expected to bring between $500,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Sold $1,105,000.

Two Old Cars from Bonhams

1921 Wasp Model 211 Rickshaw Victoria

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Karl Martin was at first an oil man, then a coachbuilder, and then, in 1919 when he ended up in Bennington, Vermont, an automobile manufacturer. The Martin Wasp Corporation built cars from 1920 through 1924. Not very long. The catalog has this listed as a “Martin Wasp” but the cars were sold under the “Wasp” name.

They were powered by relatively ordinary 72 horsepower, 5.8-liter Wisconsin inline-fours (and later sixes), but the styling was quite unique. These were long, low cars that wore touring coachwork Martin described as “rickshaw phaetons.” Douglas Fairbanks bought one as a gift for his wife, Mary Pickford.

The cars were very expensive – this one would’ve cost $5,000 when new. Only 14 four-cylinder – and three six-cylinder – cars were built. The one you see here was actually assembled in the 1940s from leftover unused new parts that Martin retained after the factory had closed. Still, with only two other “real” Wasps in existence, it is pretty special. It should bring between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $51,520.


1931 Detroit Electric Model 99 Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Electric cars have always had this weird “science fair project” look about them. Even from the beginning. Part of it is because of packaging – they have different things they have to carry, necessitating different designs. Part of it is function – modern cars are trying to show they are eco-friendly with weird hubcaps, etc.

But this looks like a Ford Model A coupe. Or, as it was bodied by Fisher, a period Chevrolet. You would have no idea it was powered by a 15 horsepower DC electric motor if it didn’t say “electric” in the name.

It was part of the Harrah collection for many years and remains in original condition. The company only built 131 cars in 1931, and this is the only survivor. It may be the “newest” Detroit Electric in existence, as production petered out pretty dramatically after 1932. It should bring between $30,000-$60,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $67,200.

Duesenberg J-348

1931 Duesenberg Model J Custom Berline by Judkins

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 16, 2019

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Classic cars don’t always make for great drivers. They can be pretty, historical, or just fun to say you own, but not everyone takes them out and drives them. The great part – well one of many – about a Duesenberg Model J is that it has enough performance to keep pace with today’s traffic, though I suspect the brakes aren’t quite what you’re used to.

This Model J is a long-wheelbase example carrying its original Custom Berline sedan body by Judkins. The car has never been restored, just serviced as-needed to keep it roadworthy. The engine is a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight, and, strangely, the auction listing makes not one note of which engine this car carries. A little internet sleuthing reveals it is most likely J-348.

It was delivered new to the daughter of Billy Durant, and was purchased by the current owner in 2001. Being sold without reserve, it’s a great opportunity to acquire an all-original Model J… that you can still go out and enjoy. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $506,000.