1953 RGS Atalanta

1953 RGS Atalanta

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

Photo – Bonhams

Atalanta Motors Ltd was active in Middlesex, England, from 1937 through 1939. They built less than 20 cars in that time, but they were held in very high regard. After WWII, the company was purchased by Richard G. Shattock, a former army member and race car driver.

He built a run of specials – 11 apparently – using the Atalanta marque and his initials. They were raced, and some were sold as standalone bodies. This was the third example produced and features aluminum bodywork. The powerplant is a 3.4-liter Jaguar inline-six good for 160 horsepower.

Clues as to the car’s early history indicate that it was probably raced before it was registered for street use. It arrived in the U.S. in 1970 as a pure racing car and was purchased by the current owner in the late 1980s. The current restoration was performed thereafter, but it has been on static display for some time. No pre-sale estimate is available. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Dodge M37

1953 Dodge M37

Offered by Mecum | Glendale, Arizona | March 18-20, 2021

Photo – Mecum

There is no way this truck was this pretty when it was new. I mean, it is clean. Dodge’s M37 was a follow-up to the WC series of trucks and command cars the company built during World War II. The M37 was produced in various forms between 1951 and 1968 and was used by the U.S. during the Korean War and Vietnam. They were also exported and used by other countries, mainly in Southeast Asia and Latin America, the former, presumably, being U.S. military leftovers from Vietnam.

Power is from a 3.8-liter inline-six rated at 78 horsepower. The engine was actually shared with the WC trucks, as well as the civilian Power Wagon. This is a 3/4-ton truck with four-wheel drive, a canvas soft top, and a lot of military-style add-ons.

About 63,000 examples of the M37 and its variants were produced between 1951 and 1954 before other versions took over. You can read more about this well-restored example here. Check out more from Mecum here.

Update: Sold $66,000.

Alvis TC 21 by Graber

1953 Alvis TC 21 Cabriolet by Graber

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

Photo – Bonhams

In the line of Alvis cars, the TC 21 slots in between the TA 21 and the TC 108G. The TC 21 was produced between 1953 and 1955. The standard body was a four-door sedan, and the factory did not offer a convertible like they did with the TA and would do so later on with the TD and TE.

Power is from a 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 100 horsepower, and that six could push this car to 90 mph. Only 757 examples of the TC 21 were produced, and just six of those were bodied as cabriolets by Swiss coachbuilder Graber. This particular car was displayed on Graber’s stand at the 1953 Geneva Motor Show.

Sold new in Switzerland, this car has been with its current owner in the U.K. for 35 years. This is not a car that comes up for sale often, as evidenced by the long-term ownership of this one, which should sell for between $160,000-$190,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $188,358.

B.A.T. 5

1953 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | October 28, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Alfa Romeo Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars of the mid-1950s are some of the most wildly stylish prototypes ever built. Each was bodied by Franco Scaglione at Bertone as an attempt to research the effects of aerodynamic drag on a car. Thus, the swoopy, be-winged designs.

This is the first of the three coupes produced (no, I don’t know why they started with “5”). It debuted at the 1953 Turin Motor Show and is powered by a twin-cam inline-four that supposedly made somewhere between 75 and 100 horsepower. The car’s styling resulted in a drag coefficient of just 0.23. That enabled the tiny engine to push the car to over 120 mph.

Stanley Arnolt was the first private owner, and it has known history since then. RM Sotheby’s is now offering all three B.A.T. concept cars as one lot. It’s an easy eight-figure sale, should it meet the astronomical reserve. Click here for more info.

Update: All three B.A.T. cars sold as a single lot for $14,840,000.

Kurtis 500B

1953 Kurtis 500B

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Frank Kurtis was a legendary race car designer, and his 500B was an iteration of his earlier 500/500A cars. They first hit the track in about 1953, and they would be competitive for a few years thereafter, although they would eventually be topped by later, greater cars.

It’s powered by an Offenhauser inline-four, and the competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1953 Indianapolis 500 – 10th (with Jimmy Davies)
  • 1954 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ (with Davies)
  • 1955 Indianapolis 500 – 3rd (with Davies)
  • 1956 Indianapolis 500 – 28th, DNF (with Al Herman)

This car was formerly part of the Bob McConnell collection, and it wears its 1955/1956 “Bardahl Special” livery. Only eight examples of the 500B were built, and this was the last. It’s an Indy podium finisher and is expected to bring between $350,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $550,000.

Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | July 10-18, 2020

Photo – Mecum

I always forget how rare these are. 1953 was the first year for Cadillac’s new halo car, the Eldorado. It was actually the top-of-the-line model of the Series 62 range and was intended as a limited-production specialty car. Only 532 examples were produced.

It’s powered by a 5.4-liter V8 rated at 210 horsepower. It was very expensive when new, running $7,750. A four-door Series 62 sedan would’ve run you $3,666, and a ’53 Chevy 150 Business Coupe cost $1,524. So yeah, not cheap. But oh so pretty.

The model was redesigned for 1954 and production really started to ramp up, leaving these launch cars as rare, special things. This one is about perfect in Azure Blue with a matching interior. I’d say “it can now be yours,” but I want it. So go away. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $200,000.

Nash-Healey Coupe

1953 Nash-Healey Le Mans Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Nash-Healey was one of America’s first post-war sports cars, beating competitors like the Chevrolet Corvette to market by a number of years. The first Nash-Healeys went on sale in 1951 and were only available as convertibles.

The cars were restyled for 1952 to more closely resemble what you see here, and a hardtop model was introduced in 1953. Named the “Le Mans” coupe, the hardtop commemorated Nash-Healey’s podium finish at Le Mans. It cost twice as much as a 1953 Corvette when new and features a body penned by Pininfarina.

Power in this car is from a 4.1-liter inline-six from Nash capable of 140 horsepower. Only 62 coupes were built for 1953, and only 30 are thought to survive. This one was restored in 1994 and is now being sold at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Amelia Island.

Update: Sold $89,600.

Vignale Aurelia B52 Spider

1953 Lancia Aurelia B52 Spider by Vignale

For sale by Girardo & Co.

Photo – Girardo & Co.

The Aurelia is a very historic nameplate in Lancia’s past, yet it was produced in fairly limited numbers between 1950 and 1958. Only 18,201 were built in total across all body styles. They revised the chassis over the years during the various series of Aurelias built.

The B50 was the less-pedestrian version, and they make up a very small percentage of Aurelia production. Offered as a bare chassis to coachbuilders, B50s would turn up with some fantastic coachwork. In 1952, Lancia updated the chassis to B52 specification, and they built 98 examples through 1953.

Power is provided by a 1.8-liter V6 – the Aurelia was the first mass-produced car with a V6. This example was bodied by Vignale and debuted at the Brussels Motor Show, where it may have caught the eye of the Belgian royal family…

It remained in Belgium through 2007 and was later restored to its motor show stand-livery. It was shown at Villa d’Este in 2016 where let’s be honest, a car like this absolutely belongs. This right-hand drive example is one of 12 B52s built in 1953. You can read more about it here.

Hughes-Kircher Special

1953 Hughes-Kircher Special

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The 1950s were a great time for one-off road racing specials. Returning soldiers saw the light in Europe with their lightweight sports cars and came back with an increased technical know-how to get it done. And that’s what we have here.

Charles Hughes and Kurt Kircher teamed up to build this very pretty special. Kircher was an ex-GM man who helped develop the Powerglide transmission. Hughes was an ex-G.I. who happened to buy a Jaguar XK120. He took it to Kircher, now in Colorado, and used the XK120 engine, a tube-frame chassis, and an MG steering rack to create the first version of the Hughes-Kircher Special. The body was done in aluminum.

After a few years, the car ceased to be competitive. Somehow, the duo got their hands on a Mille Miglia-prepped 300SL race engine and plopped it under the hood. Later, that engine was swapped for a 240 horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six from a “standard” 300SL. It still has such an engine, just a different one, as the second straight-six was eventually reunited with its factory Gullwing chassis.

This car has raced all over the world and has been in some major collections. It’s been restored and looks as good as any period Ferrari. But it’ll be much cheaper – between $300,000-$400,000 will take it home. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $304,200.

Alfa Superflow IV

1953 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV by Pinin Farina

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

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Alfa Romeo 6C was first introduced in 1927. That it was still in production in 1954 is kind of crazy, but in Alfa’s defense, the model went through quite a few rounds of changes before it was discontinued. The last iteration of the model was the 6C 3000, which was introduced in 1948.

Three passenger car prototypes were built before Alfa focused the model exclusively on racing. The first racing car was a one-off, and then the company moved to the production of the CM, or Competizione Maggiorata. The engine is a 275 horsepower, 3.5-liter inline-six. Only six were built.

This car began life as a Colli-bodied Berlinetta. After its use as a Le Mans test car, it was shipped to Pinin Farina and re-debuted at the 1956 Turin Motor Show as the “Superflow.” The car was re-bodied in quick succession as the Superflow II and the Super Spider before it culminated, in 1960, as the Superflow IV design you see here.

Passing through a few private owners, it later wore a replica of the Super Spider body before it was restored with its original Superflow IV body in 2013. This is the first time it’s ever been to auction, and it’s one of those cars you never see trade hands publicly. It is expected to sell for between $6,000,000-$8,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.