Sunbeam Alpine Mk I

1954 Sunbeam Alpine Mk I

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | September 16, 2021

1954 Sunbeam Alpine Mk I

The first Alpine was sort of a sporty two-door roadster version of the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 sedan. It was introduced in 1953, and a Mk III version was also produced before production wrapped in 1955. No, there was not a Mk II. The Alpine was reintroduced in 1959, and the V8 version of that car would be known as the Tiger.

This Mk I is powered by a 2.3-liter inline-four that produced 97 horsepower when new. The bodies were by Thrupp & Maberly, and just 1,582 were produced between the Mk I and III (1,192 were Mk I). Of that grand total, 961 were exported to North America.

This example has been restored since 2006 and now carries a pre-sale estimate of $59,000-$63,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $59,077.

Glockler-Porsche

1954 Glockler-Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Walter Glockler was a Volkswagen and Porsche dealer based in Germany. He had a number of Porsche-based specials built between the late 1940s and mid-1950s. This is actually the last of the six of them. In 1954, he acquired a replacement 356 Pre-A chassis to build his only coupe-bodied special.

It is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cam flat-four (from a Porsche 550 Spyder… a car that owes its existence to a Glockler special) that was fitted in the 2000s. This car was originally intended to compete in the 1954 Mille Miglia, but was not finished in time. Instead it took part in a French/Italian road rally.

It later spent time at the Porsche factory before being exported to the U.S. It went back to Germany in the 90s and was restored the following decade (when the engine was swapped). This is an interesting piece (it even has Glockler-Porsche badging), and should bring a decent sum. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Moretti Alger-Le Cap

1954 Moretti 750 Alger-Le Cap

Offered by Finarte | Online | June 14-28, 2021

Photo – Finarte

Moretti S.p.A. was technically an automobile manufacturer. But maybe they could be better described as a boutique automobile manufacturer. It’s unclear if they built more cars of their own design, or modified more cars built by others.

That said, in the beginning, the company offered a couple of homegrown models, each powered by a Moretti-developed inline-four engine. The 71-horsepower, 750cc variant powers this car, which is named for its displacement. The 750 was available in limited numbers in a variety of body styles. This Alger-Le Cap is a two-door fastback.

The auction catalog states this is one of five known surviving examples of 200 built. It’s unclear if that’s of this body style or 750 production in total. Anyway, it’s rare. And the estimate is $73,000-$91,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Kaiser Darrin

1954 Kaiser Darrin

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | February 19-27, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This car is what, almost 70 years old? It still looks like a concept car today. It was designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin and produced by Kaiser, a company generally known for staid sedans produced on a shoestring budget. This car had the potential to raise Kaiser above other companies with pure style. But it wasn’t to be.

The Darrin was based on the compact Henry J frame and was powered by a 2.6-liter Willys inline-six rated at 90 horsepower. Not exactly supercar territory, but it was light. The concept car debuted in 1952, and it was America’s first fiberglass sports car, even though production didn’t start until 1954 – the only model year the car was offered.

Kaiser’s finances were a mess at this point, so it never really stood a chance. Only 435 examples were built, the last 50 of which were sold by Darrin himself with different engines or superchargers (this car was later retrofitted with a supercharger). The cars have doors that slide on tracks into the fender wells. How cool is that!? This one also has a rare hardtop. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $125,000.

Bertone DB2/4 Drophead Coupe

1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe by Bertone

Offered by Gooding & Company | Online | January 18-22, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

The DB2/4 was the follow-up to Aston Martin’s earlier DB2 model. It was succeeded by the DB Mk III, and yeah, Aston’s early naming scheme didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Anyway, the DB2/4 was built in two series between 1953 and 1957. The base car was a 2+2 hatchback, but both fixed head and drophead coupes were also offered, some with fancy coachbuilt bodies.

This 1954 example is one of 565 Series I cars (out of a total run of 764 units). Of those 565, 102 were drophead coupes. Just two of those wear beautiful Bertone coachwork like this. It is recognizable as an Aston if you look at it, but it could easily be confused for something Italian.

Power is from a 2.6-liter inline-six making 125 horsepower. This car is good for 120 mph, and cars built shortly after this example began receiving the 140-horsepower 2.9-liter engine. Bonhams sold this car for over $800,000 in 2011, and now Gooding is offering it without an estimate. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $968,000.

Fiat 1100 Charmant Coupe

1954 Fiat 1100/103 TV Charmant Coupe by Vignale

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 21, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

The Fiat 1100 was a small family car built between 1953 and 1969. At the 1953 Paris Motor Show, they introduced the TV, or Turismo Veloce, variant (and for some reason, Bonhams insists on spelling it out, even though it was called the TV. I guess it sounds sexier spelled out like it’s some rare sports car… which it isn’t).

The TV did receive an upgraded engine: a sporty 1.1-liter inline-four good for 57 horsepower. There were also styling tweaks that were done in-house. This car, however, is one of 12 bodied by Vignale as a “Charmant Coupe.” Styling was actually penned by Michelotti.

The standard 1100, or even the TV, did not have fastback styling, Borrani wire wheels, or an Abarth intake manifold. This one was stored for a long time and supposedly has very few miles on it. No estimate is available yet, but you can read more about it here. Check out more from Bonhams here.

Update: Sold $190,400.

B.A.T. 7

1954 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 7

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is the second of the three Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept cars that RM Sotheby’s is offering as a single lot later this week in New York. It was also styled by Franco Scaglione at Bertone and carries a similar look as BAT 5, except that those rear wings are pulled so far inward they look like the spiraling vapor trails off the end of a plane’s wing.

The driveline was sourced from Alfa’s 1900, meaning that this car has a 115-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four. Designed without the aid of computers (and likely little-to-no windtunnel time), the BAT 7 boasts a drag coefficient of 0.19. That’s better than a Prius, a car designed specifically to slip through the air.

This car debuted at the 1954 Turin Motor Show and was later sent to the U.S. by Alfa Romeo. It even ran in SCCA races in 1955. The rear wings were removed at one point before being re-installed during a late-1980s cosmetic restoration. Click here for more info.

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

Edwards America Convertible

1954 Edwards America Convertible

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | August 14-15, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Sterling Edwards’ eponymous car company managed to produce just six-ish cars during its short run. But they were pretty. The America was available as a coupe and convertible. Two coupes were made, three convertibles were completed, and the sixth body was stolen and likely scrapped.

This is car number one. It was constructed using the frame from a Henry J and an Oldsmobile Rocket V8 engine. The body is fiberglass, and other parts were sourced from existing cars of the era, including Studebaker headlight rings and Mercury taillights.

When new, this car was said to cost $4,995. Not cheap in the day – almost two grand more than a Corvette. This example received a mechanical restoration in 2003 and was purchased by the consignor in 2013. It can now be yours, as it’s selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $148,500.

RA4 Vanguard

1954 RA4 Vanguard

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Online | July 31-August 2, 2020

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

So no, this isn’t an Auto Union Grand Prix car, despite its looks. In fact, it was built a full 20 years after those cars dominated the European Grand Prix circuit. The “RA” cars were racing specials built by Hector Green and Jack Brewer in New Zealand between the end of WWII and the mid-1950s. Their first car kept evolving, and in 1951 they decided to replace it.

The RA4 Vanguard was the replacement, and its design and construction were heavily influenced by the pre-war Auto Unions. That’s because its builders consulted a then-declassified British intelligence document that investigated the construction of the German Grand Prix cars of the 1930s. Intriguing stuff.

Power is from a rear-mounted 2.1-liter inline-four from a Standard Vanguard that was supercharged and fitted with dual SU carburetors. Horsepower, when the car was running on methanol, was approximately 200. Wow.

The car competed regularly in New Zealand beginning in 1951 through about 1954. It’s been invited to the Goodwood Revival and has been owned by its current caretakers since 2017. Only five or six RA specials were built. You can read more about this one here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Sold, Bonhams Goodwood 2021, $57,739.

Autobleu 750 MM

1954 Autobleu 750 MM

For Sale by Very Superior Old Cars | Sassenheim, Netherlands

Photo – Very Superior Old Cars

Maurice Mestivier and Roger Lepeytre’s Autobleu was founded in 1950 as a tuning company focused on Renault 4CVs. They introduced their own car in 1953 and it was based on, you guessed it, the 4CV. It did reach production, but the company was gone by 1959. A second model was introduced, but it’s unclear how many were made.

Autobleu believed in the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” thing, so they developed a racing prototype to help market the brand. It featured a tubular frame and a 750cc inline-four. The streamliner body was designed by our friend Marcel Riffard.

This car competed in the Mille Miglia in 1954, 1955, and 1956 with driver Jean Bianchi. It competed in other sports car races around France and Belgium during that era as well. It was restored a few years ago and is eligible for historic racing. It’s also a very rare example of a product from this brand. Oh, and if you don’t believe it actually went racing, check out the unbelievable period photo below of it surrounded by Italian cars at the Mille back in the day. You can see more about this car here.

Photo – Very Superior Old Cars