Rolls Phantom II Special Brougham

1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Special Brougham by Brewster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Eschen, Liechtenstein | June 19, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Phantom II was Rolls-Royce’s follow-up to the, wait for it, Phantom I. It was the “big” Roller, more powerful and greater in stature than the smaller 20/25 and 25/30 models offered during the 1930s. The Phantom II was sold between 1929 and 1936. Only 1,680 were made.

It is powered by a 7.7-liter inline-six that made approximately 120 horsepower. This particular car carries a one-off body by Brewster featuring an open driver’s compartment with a raked, vee’d windshield as well as a closed passenger’s compartment. A removable roof panel over the driver continues the rake of the windshield for a very aerodynamic front end. Well, a very aerodynamic middle section of the car, because that hood is long.

The rear of the body featured caning on the exterior as well as a sunken floor, gold-plated hardware, and wood trim. It was ordered new by the wife of a wealthy architect and spent time between their Washington D.C. and Newport, Rhode Island, homes. Quite the life.

This magnificent Rolls is estimated to sell for between $1,450,000-$1,950,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,715,671.

Duesenberg J-281

1933 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LaGrande

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | May 20, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

There are quite a few striking Duesenberg Model J bodies that were offered by various coachbuilders. In fact, just about every one of them is pretty striking. But none more so than the in-house dual-cowl phaeton penned by Gordon Buehrig.

The LeBaron dual-cowl phaeton was one of the first body styles introduced on the Model J after its introduction. Buehrig improved it a bit for those produced by LaGrande, which was actually a pseudonym for the Union City Body Company – a Cord subsidiary. They called it LaGrande, I guess because it sounded fancier. The only thing that would make this car better is to change the red to green.

Like other Js, this car is powered by a 6.9-liter inline-eight capable of 265 horsepower. It’s one of 12 such examples built with this bodywork, all of which survive. However, this chassis was originally delivered with engine J-334 and a Murphy convertible sedan body. J-281 was from a Rollston town car and was swapped into this car during original ownership. This body was added later on but is the real deal.

You can read more about this car here and see more from Bonhams here.

Update: Sold $1,655,000.

Audi Front UW

1933 Audi Front UW Prototype by Glaser

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

The Audi Front was the first front-wheel-drive European car with a six-cylinder engine. The “UW” part was a sort of German abbreviation denoting that this Audi used a Wanderer engine that was flipped 180 degrees to drive the front wheels. The cars were also built in a Horch plant, making it a real Auto Union effort. Two different engines were offered during a production run that lasted from 1933 to 1938.

This car was in Russia during WWII, and it’s owner kept it hidden in his basement to avoid it be confiscated by Soviet authorities. It was purchased by the current owner in 1984 and relocated to Armenia, where it sat in storage until a restoration began in 2012.

Of the two Wanderer engines offered in the Audi Front (220 or 225), this car has neither. It has a 3.0-liter inline-six and some one-off features that have led people to believe it was some kind of prototype fitted with a four-seat, two-door convertible body by Glaser. Historics hypothesize that it was ordered by a high-ranking German military official. The pre-sale estimate is $480,000-$520,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Not sold, Historics Auctioneers, July 2021.

La Licorne

1933 La Licorne Type L 760S

Offered by Artcurial | Gibel, France | May 2, 2020

Photo – Artcurial

Jean-Marie Corre began building cars under his own name in 1901. Early in the company’s history, the cars became successful in competition, and one of their drivers used a crest with a unicorn on it. So they adopted the name La Licorne (or unicorn, in French).

So from about 1908 until production ceased in 1939, the cars carried the La Licorne name. When the non-French think of French cars of the 1930s, they usually picture Delahayes and the like, but there were other popular brands churning out cars for the masses that didn’t survive the war. La Licorne was one of them.

The L760 was produced between 1931 and 1935 and is powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four. This “S” model featured a lower suspension. The car was restored many years ago and has been in a museum since 1972. It should now bring between $4,300-6,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $7,136.

Five Cars from RM in Hershey

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


1906 White Model F Touring

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Thomas White‘s sewing machine business gave way to steam cars in 1900. The company was a pioneer in their field, but they ultimately saw the light and phased out steam cars in favor of gas-powered vehicles in 1912.

This 1906 Model F Touring was the second-cheapest car White offered in 1906 after the Model F Runabout. At $2,800, it wasn’t cheap. But the White was one of the more popular – and more well-built – steam cars of their day. This one looks great but would look better with a convertible top. It should bring between $40,000-$60,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $96,250.


1917 Chandler Type 17 Seven-Passenger Touring

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Frederic Chandler worked for Lozier before he jumped ship in 1913 with a few of his fellow employees to form his own company. The Chandler was a hit and lasted through 1929, when it was acquired by Hupmobile and quickly phased out.

There were a lot of cars “in the middle” of the American market in the 1910s and 20s. Chandler was one of the better ones in that class. This 1917 model is powered by a 27 horsepower 4.4-liter inline-six. Five body styles were offered, and the seven-passenger touring sold new for $1,395. This time around it should bring between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $18,700.


1923 Gardner Model 5 Five-Passenger Sedan

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The most interesting thing about this Gardner sedan, to me, is thinking about who purchased it in 1923. No one in 1923 knew that GM, Chrysler, and Ford would still be around 100 years later. But surely someone assumed Gardner would’ve been. After all, it was a well-regarded company from St. Louis that built a fair number of cars. It’s just hard to imagine someone wandering down to their local Gardner dealer and plunking down the cash.

Gardners were built from 1920 through 1931, and the company sort of inched upmarket each year, with their final offerings bordering on luxury cars. Kind of like Chrysler. But back in ’23, they were just another middle-class marque. The Model 5 could be had in a few styles, the sedan selling for $1,365. It kind of looks like a taxi and is powered by a 43 horsepower inline-four. It is expected to bring between $20,000-$30,000. But I bet it goes cheaper than that. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $13,200.


1930 Marquette Model 35 Five-Passenger Phaeton

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

GM’s “companion make” philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s gave us Pontiac and LaSalle. Both of which were relatively successful. In fact, Pontiac was so successful that GM killed off the brand that spawned it, Oakland. So they figured they’d give Buick a companion. And they did: Marquette.

It only lasted for a single model year. Six models were offered, all priced right at about $1,000. All Marquettes are powered by a 3.5-liter inline-six good for 67 horsepower. The Model 35 Phaeton sold for $1,020, and this is one of 889 such cars built.

In all, Marquette production totaled 35,007 before GM killed it off. This rare survivor should bring between $15,000-$25,000, which seems like a steal. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $15,950.


1933 Terraplane Deluxe Six Model KU Sedan

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

I was excited to feature an Essex. But I forgot that Hudson killed off the Essex marque in favor of Terraplane beginning in 1933. So instead of featuring a final-year example from Essex, we’re featuring a launch-year example of the Terraplane.

Terraplane offered six and eight-cylinder cars in 1933 that were essentially down-market Hudsons. A slew of body styles were offered, and the sedan cost $655 when new. A 3.2-liter inline-six good for 70 horsepower provided the oomph. This is a handsome car in good colors. It’s well-trimmed, with chrome bumpers and four suicide doors. The best part is it is usable and is expected to fetch only $15,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,700.

A Spanish Hispano-Suiza

1933 Hispano-Suiza T56 Bis Berline by Fiol

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Cernobbio, Italy | May 25, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Hispano-Suiza was founded in Barcelona by a Spaniard and a Swiss engineer he met in Paris. In 1911, the company opened a factory near Paris, and most of the company’s well-known and lusted-after cars were produced by the French arm of the company, which became a semi-autonomous company in its own right after 1923.

What we have here is a rare example of what is probably the grandest car produced by the Spanish arm, the 1928 through 1936 T56. It is essentially the same chassis as the H6C that was built in Paris, but these were marketed under the T56 name and built in Spain.

It is powered by an 8.0-liter straight-six that developed somewhere in the neighborhood of 190 horsepower. This, a T56 Bis, is one of about 200 produced, a smaller number than the H6C. It was bodied by Fiol in Barcelona and recently restored. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Duesenberg J-510

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Sweep Panel Phaeton by LaGrande

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 2, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

When one of the most powerful cars on the market isn’t quick enough for you, what do you do? Well you buy the supercharged version, of course! The Model SJ Duesenberg was seriously powerful. Its 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight, when supercharged, makes 320 horsepower. That’s what entry-level luxury sports sedans make today.

Top speed on these beasts is said to be about 140 mph. But if you’re not brave enough to take a car with 1920s-era brakes to 140 mph, your best bet is to buy one that has a custom body (as they all did) that looks like it’s already moving quickly. And in this case, that is a LaGrande “Sweep Panel” Phaeton. Only 11 of this body style were produced and only three of those were supercharged. Of those three, only this one is not a Dual Cowl Phaeton, as the rear passenger compartment does not have a second cowl, just a folding windshield.

This car was sold new in New York but it spent many years in Mexico. It was restored by an American owner in 1974 and has been fastidiously maintained since. This is one of only 36 original SJs, making it extremely valuable, as the price reflects: $2,500,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,300,000.

Vale Special

1933 Vale Special

Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | October 29, 2016

Photo - Coys

Photo – Coys

This is not an MG, nor is it a Morgan. It’s not even a one-off special, if you can believe it. The Vale Engineering Co. LTD. of London was in existence only briefly, from 1932 to 1936. It was founded by Pownoll Pellew who later in life became a Viscount.

The first cars were based around Triumph mechanicals and this car, like many, is powered by a Triumph-sourced 832cc straight-four which likely produced somewhere around eight taxable horsepower. Thing was, they weren’t powerful or quick enough (top speed was 65 mph) for sports car racing and didn’t offer enough ground clearance for trials racing – but they were good, sporty road cars that exhibited great handling.

Later cars could be had with larger engines, but by then it was too late. In total, 103 Vales were produced and less than 30 survive today. No estimate is provided, likely because they don’t trade hands often enough, but look for it to bring much more than its as-new price of £192. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $29,230.

Duesenberg J-365

1933 Duesenberg Model J Sunroof Berline by Franay

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2016

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

Many French cars of the 1930s had gorgeous bodies applied to them by the top coachbuilders of France while many American cars of the 1930s had gorgeous bodies applied to them by the top coachbuilders in America. But there was some mixing and matching, like this 1933 Duesenberg Model J with a very rare sedan body that features a sunroof – built by Franay of Paris.

The Model J is powered by a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight. This particular engine, J-365, was originally fitted with a Kellner Town Car. But in late 1931, it was re-bodied (and the Kellner body was applied to J-516). With the new Franay body, J-365 was featured at the 1931 and 1932 Paris Salon.

It’s first owner, a famous socialite, bought the car in 1934 and it remained in Europe until coming to California in 1971 having had two owners since 1988. Only two Model Js were originally fitted with a sunroof and this one should bring between $750,000-$950,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $715,000.

Two Valuable Alfa Romeo 8Cs

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Alfa Romeo 8C was Alfa’s largest, most powerful, pre-war road car. It was available from 1931 through 1939 and came in a few different models, beginning with the 8C 2300 and culminating in the 8C 2900B. They were powerful, fast, and sporty. In fact, RM says that it was sportiest car money could buy in 1939 – on par or above the Bugatti Atlantic.

This car is powered by a 180 horsepower, supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight – enough to allow this car to cruise along at over 100 mph all day long. The Carrozzeria Touring-built body is aluminium and it is beautiful. This is a “Lungo” 8C, meaning it has the longer of the two wheelbases offered.

The earliest known history of this car goes back to 1949, when it was racing in Brazil. The body was separated from the chassis and for the next few decades they remained apart in hands of separate owners. By some miracle, they were reunited in Switzerland in the early 1990s. The restoration was completed by the end of 1997 and, remarkably, the current owners have driven more than 12,000 miles in this car – which is a huge number for a car this rare and valuable.

Only 32 8C 2900 chassis were built and twelve of those are Touring Spiders. Of the 12, only seven are on the long-wheelbase chassis. This is where it gets even more mind-blowing: the pre-sale estimate is between $20,000,000-$25,000,000. Incredible all around. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $19,800,000.


1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 20-21, 2016

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

The 8C 2300 was the initial Alfa Romeo 8C offered and it was introduced in 1931. It was a sports car, through and through, and they were raced heavily in their day – both by the factory and privateers and winning Le Mans four times (in a row!).

The 8C 2300 Monza is a short-chassis model based on a car Alfa ran at Monza in 1931 (basically they just cut some length out of a Spider chassis and put the exhaust down the side of the car). The first Monzas were just shortened Spiders, but for 1932 and 1933, the Monza was a model unto itself. Alfa didn’t build many, but race teams – like Scuderia Ferrari – converted some Spiders into Monzas.

And what we have here is an actual, Alfa Romeo factory-built 8C 2300 Monza. It carries a Brianza-built body and was sold new in Italy. It is one of the last Series 3 Monzas built and is powered by a supercharged 2.9-liter straight-eight making in excess of 180 horsepower (when new, it would’ve have a 2.3-liter engine). Only about 190 8C 2300s were built and very few were factory-build Monzas. This one should bring between $12,000,000-$15,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Sold $11,990,000.