Mercedes-Benz 230 N

1937 Mercedes-Benz 230 N Cabriolet A

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | April 30, 2022

Photo – Bring a Trailer Auctions

The Mercedes-Benz W143 launched in 1936 as the 230. The following year, the 230 N (for Normal) was introduced as a short-wheelbase variant of the 230. It actually shared its wheelbase with 1933’s W21 200 model.

The 230 N was only produced for a single year, with approximately 963 built. Like the standard 230, the N is powered by a 2.2-liter M143 inline-six that was rated at 55 horsepower when new.

This car wears Sindelfingen Cabriolet A coachwork, one of a variety of styles offered on the 230 N. The car looks to have been restored, at least in part, over the years. It’s not a classic Benz that crops up often, and bidding on this one ends in just a few days. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $165,000.

Jawa A-700

1937 Jawa A-700

Silverstone Auctions | London, U.K. | March 5, 2022

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Jawa has primarily been known for their motorcycles since the company’s 1929 founding by Frantisek Janecek in Prague. They continued with bike production for decades, and continue to exist. For a brief time in the 1930s, the company experimented with four-wheel automobiles.

Only three models were ever offered, including the 750 (a very limited-run sports car), the 600 Minor (which is better known as its post-war successor, the Aero Minor), and this, the 700. It features a front-wheel-drive layout and is powered by a 684cc water-cooled two-stroke inline-twin. It was more or less a license-built copy of the DKW F2.

Only 1,002 were produced between 1934 and 1937, at which time it was replaced by the short-lived 600 Minor. It’s pretty amazing that this example exists at all, as Prague was sort of ground zero for “things not surviving WWII.” A restoration was completed sometime in the last two years. Only a handful of these exist, like very few. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $25,679.

1937 Detroit Electric

1937 Detroit Electric Model 99C Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | December 1-8, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Detroit Electric started selling electric cars in 1907. Most of them were fairly stodgy, upright boxes on wheels. They were marketed towards women, and the company was very successful while electric cars remained popular.

However, that popularity faded into the 1920s. As time wore on, sales plummeted while styling became more mainstream. Bankruptcy occurred in the early 1930s, and the last production Detroit Electrics were sold in 1935. After that, they were available on a per-order basis. Only a “handful” (as if they can fit in your hand) were sold between 1936 and 1939. The company advertised up until 1942.

This is one of the last examples produced, and by this point, the company wasn’t even producing its own bodies anymore. This is a Willys coupe with a Dodge front end. Yes, there is a grille and hood louvers… even though there is not an engine. Late Detroit Electrics were five-horsepower cars, and they even retained the very early cars’ tiller steering! Check out more about this one here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Atalanta Sports

1937 Atalanta 2-Litre Sports

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 16, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

The British sports car, exemplified by post-war cars from Triumph, MG, and the like, was not something new that appeared in the 1950s. The British liked the idea for decades before that. Tiny, short-lived marques like Atalanta, Arab, Frazer Nash, and Squire were the forefathers of the TR6, MGB, and Austin-Healey Sprite.

The Atalanta was built between 1937 and 1939 in Middlesex, England. The company was founded by Alfred Gough, an engine-builder for Frazer Nash, as well as Peter Crosby, Peter Whitehead, and Neil Watson. They hand-built their cars, and they were expensive. But look at it. It has all of the style of an SS Jaguar.

Only 20 cars were built in total, and three engines were offered, including a Lincoln-Zephyr V12 in 1938. Most cars had a Gough-designed 1.6- or 2.0-liter inline-four, and this car has the latter. It made 98 horsepower when new. This car is one of only two short-chassis examples produced. It’s also one of only two 2.0L Atalantas built.

This is a great little car and is welcomed at events such as the Le Mans Classic. It is expected to bring between $400,000-$530,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $392,413.

Bugatti 57S Atalante

1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante

Offered by Gooding & Company | London, U.K. | TBD…

Photo – Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company calls this “the most desirable of all road-going Bugattis,” which seems a tad hyperbolic considering some of the other Bugattis out there. The Type 57 S was a lowered version of the already-great Type 57, which was introduced in 1934.

This car was built with a naturally aspirated 3.3-liter inline-eight, but after Bugatti sold a few Type 57 SCs with superchargers, most of the base 57 S cars came back to the factory to get fitted with a supercharger, which this car has (though it was added much later on). Output is rated at 220 horsepower.

Jean Bugatti was company founder Ettore’s son and designed an aluminum body for the 57 S dubbed “Atalante.” It’s a low two-door coupe very similar to the famed Atlantic. Only 17 were built, four of which are locked away in a French museum that I don’t much care for. This one carries a pre-sale estimate “in excess of $8,500,000”. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale, whenever it ends up being held.

Update: Sold $10,016,185.

Cord 812 SC Sportsman

1937 Cord 812 SC Sportsman

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Elkhart, Indiana | October 23-24, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is the ultimate iteration of the Cord 810/812. Introduced in 1936, the front-wheel-drive 810 was styled by Gordon Buehrig and featured an independent front suspension and a design like nothing else in the world at the time. The car was renamed the 812 for 1937, which was more-or-less an attempt to spruce up the fact that they had a lot of leftover 810s from the year before. Supercharging also became an option in 1937.

The supercharger bumped power from the 4.7-liter Lycoming V8 to 170 horsepower. Two different wheelbases were used in ’37, and four body styles were offered on the shorter of the two, including the $2,585 Sportsman two-door cabriolet. The supercharger bumped the price by another $2,000, which is insane. Imagine adding 77% of the car’s price back on as options. Oh wait, you can probably do that on a Porsche.

Reliability issues early in production really put a wet blanket over the initial enthusiasm for the model, which was originally envisioned as a “baby Duesenberg.” About 3,000 examples were built in total, only 64 of which were reportedly SC Sportsmans. This one is now going to sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $257,600.

Wendler-Bodied MB 320

1937 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet by Wendler

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Essen, Germany | April 11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

There are two very interesting things about this car. First, quite obviously, are its looks, as it resembles nothing else Mercedes has ever built. Second is that the looks are very 1950s and the chassis is very 1930s. That’s because it was bodied in the early-1950s by Wendler, the company most famous for building the bodies for the Porsche 550.

The Mercedes W142 was also called the Mercedes Type 320, and it was produced between 1937 and 1942. In all, 7,017 examples were built in a wide variety of body styles. Power is from a 3.2-liter inline-six making 77 horsepower.

The post-war body features three headlights, which is certainly unusual. You could drive this car rather anonymously through a Mercedes-Benz festival and no one would be the wiser. That’s what I love about it – it is uniquely coachbuilt and removes all brand pretense from the equation. Believed to be one of four “Ponton” cabriolets built by Wendler, it is a one-off and should bring between $125,000-$180,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Bugatti 57SC by Corsica

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Type 57S and Type 57C were the ultimate versions of Bugatti’s long-lived Type 57. This marks the second Type 57SC we’ve featured, and both cars look as if they were bodied much more recently with replica coachwork. I guess there’s something just too low and sporty about these cars to believe that they could’ve possibly been designed in the 1930s.

The 57S was the lowered version and the 57C was the supercharged version. Only 40 57S cars were built, and most of them carried closed coachwork. Only 16 were drop-tops, including this one. What isn’t clear is when the supercharger was added to this car’s 3.3-liter straight-eight. What is for sure is that only two cars were built by the factory to 57SC specification. Most owners of 57S cars had superchargers fitted afterward, to bump power to that magical 200 horsepower mark.

Speeds of 120 mph were quoted in the day, making these as quick of cars as money could buy before WWII. This car was supercharged early in its life but was not originally built that way. The body is by Corsica, and it was separated from the chassis for 43 years before it was reunited and restored.

The rarity and beauty factors have the ability to push this car to near eight-figure territory. It’ll be interesting to see where this one ends up… if it sells. Click here for more info and here for the rest of the lineup from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s, Arizona 2021, $4,735,000.

Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Three Coachbuilt Classics from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 24, 2018


1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport Coupe de Ville by Saoutchik

Photo – Bonhams

The T26 Record was a post-war model from French firm Talbot-Lago. The car was launched in 1946 and built through 1953. Along the way, there were steel-bodied two and four-door cars sold by the factory. But there were numerous coachbuilt one-offs built as well. Like the car you see here.

Power is from a 4.5-liter straight-six that produced 190 horsepower. The body is by Saoutchik and is a two-door, four-seat Coupe de Ville. The roof over the rear passengers’ seat is fixed, but the roof over the front seats pops off (and is stored in the rear section). It’s like a 1940s French Targa.

The current owner acquired the car in 2013 in original condition. A full restoration was commissioned in 2014, the result of which you see here. This was the only such car built by Saoutchik and it is presented in its original colors. It should bring between $1,200,000-$1,600,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $962,000.


1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sports Roadster by Mayfair

Photo – Bonhams

The 540K was the highlight of pre-war Mercedes-Benz engineering and style. Factory-bodied cars were beautiful, but sometimes an outside firm could take it just one notch up, like this 540K Sports Roadster from the Mayfair Carriage Company of London.

They took a 540K and among other things, added those rear fender skirts that are sliced to pieces with louvers. It’s rakish and almost looks like a hot rod someone would’ve designed in the last 15 years.

Power comes from a 178 horsepower (with supercharger engaged) 5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight. This car made its way from the U.K. to Canada in 1955 where it was subsequently damaged in a fire. Restored over a period of 20 years, it eventually found its way to the Imperial Palace collection in the 1990s, remaining there until 2002. The current owner acquired it in 2007 and this rival to the factory Special Roadsters can be yours for between $3,500,000-$4,500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,277,500.


1946 Delahaye 135M Coupe by Van Leersum

Photo – Bonhams

This is a classic French design. Swoopy and full of curves, it’s reminiscent of many of the best French coachbuilt classics.

The 135M was part of Delahaye’s 1935-1954 135 line of cars. Introduced in ’36, it was available until the end of 135 production in 1954. The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six good for 113 horsepower. A Dutch car from new, the body was also applied in the Netherlands by Van Leersum of Hilversum, one of the last cars they bodied.

In addition to the Netherlands, this car was known to have been kept by various owners in France and Belgium. Restored and painted to highlight its curves, this car is coming from a large European collection and can be yours for between $450,000-$550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Not sold.

540K by Mayfair

1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sports Roadster by Mayfair

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 24, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

The 540K was the highlight of pre-war Mercedes-Benz engineering and style. Factory-bodied cars were beautiful, but sometimes an outside firm could take it just one notch up, like this 540K Sports Roadster from the Mayfair Carriage Company of London.

They took a 540K and among other things, added those rear fender skirts that are sliced to pieces with louvers. It’s rakish and almost looks like a hot rod someone would’ve designed in the last 15 years.

Power comes from a 178 horsepower (with supercharger engaged) 5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight. This car made its way from the U.K. to Canada in 1955 where it was subsequently damaged in a fire. Restored over a period of 20 years, it eventually found its way to the Imperial Palace collection in the 1990s, remaining there until 2002. The current owner acquired it in 2007 and this rival to the factory Special Roadsters can be yours for between $3,500,000-$4,500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,277,500.