Alvis TA21

1953 Alvis TA21 Drophead Coupe

Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Duxford, U.K. | September 8, 2021

Photo – H&H Auctioneers

We’ve featured a good number of post-war Alvis sports cars. Okay, so they aren’t that sporty. But they were two-door coupes or drophead coupes, which are inherently sportier than sedans. The TA21 was the first of the “21”-suffix cars and was Alvis’s first new post-war car.

The TA21 was produced from 1950 through 1953. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six fitted with a single Solex carburetor for a factory rating of 83 horsepower. Top speed was 88 mph. Two body styles were offered: a sedan and a rarer drophead coupe, the latter of which carried a body by Tickford.

This particular car carries a later engine from a TC21. There were 1,316 TA21s produced, only 302 of which were convertibles. This one is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $38,641.

Kurtis 500C

1953 Kurtis 500C

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

When it comes to classic Indy cars, not much beats a Kurtis-Offenhauser. The 500C was introduced either in late 1953 or early 1954. Only nine were built. Despite their build date, the cars were raced for years at Indianapolis – as late as about 1959.

This particular car is interesting in that it started out as a 500C that debuted at the Speedway in 1954. It ran there through 1957, including:

  • 1956 Indianapolis 500 – 8th (with Rodger Ward)

After 1957, it was sold to a different team, who had Eddie Kuzma cut the car up and update it with Kuzma parts. At that time, the Kurtis chassis was discarded and ultimately purchased by someone who would go on to have it restored in the 1980s to as it was in 1956. So, from that first original car, there are now two cars, one of which is still a Kurtis. Kind of weird, but that’s what happens.

Power is from a 4.2-liter (255ci) Offenhauser inline-four estimate to produce 400 horsepower with Hilborn mechanical fuel injection. The car is expected to sell for between $250,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $257,600.

Siata 208 CS

1953 Siata 208 CS by Balbo

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

Gotta love short-wheelbase coachbuilt Italian sports cars from the 1950s. They all look like the exhaust is dragging the ground and the bodywork is being worn by the driver instead of the, in this case, oval-tube chassis. The bodywork here is by Carrozzeria Successori Balbo, which was located near the suddenly closed Stabilimenti Farina coachworks. When Farina closed, Balbo got the orders for a run of the Siata 208 CS coupes.

The 208 was produced between 1953 and 1955 and is powered by Fiat’s 2.0-liter 8V V8, which was rated at 110 horsepower. The CS version was the closed coupe, nine of which were bodied by Balbo. In all, 35 208 cars were produced.

This car was sold new in Italy and came to the U.S. in 1964. It passed through a few high-profile European collections between the 1980s and 2000s, with the current owner buying the car in 2006. The most recent restoration was completed in 2012, and the car went on to win a Siata class award at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours. It is now expected to sell for between $1,400,000-$1,800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,627,500.

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.

Update: Sold $285,500.

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.