It featured an updated exhaust system and and an increased compression ratio over the initial model. The engine was a 3.0-liter inline-six that made 100 horsepower initially, but with the changes, the updated model could hit 100 mph.
Only 11 TC 21/100s were bodied by Graber (only five of them were coupes), and this one was sold new in Switzerland. It was restored in the last few years and has an estimate of $90,000-$110,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | March 15, 2023
The Triumph 1800/2000 Roadster was a two-door convertible produced by Triumph after the war. But it was a little frumpy, as if they were trying to design a Rolls-Royce sports car. That model left production in 1949. In 1953, they followed it up with this, the TR2. It was much more along the lines of a sports car. And it started a sports car dynasty that lasted for decades – through the TR8 in 1981.
Between 1953 and 1955, just 8,636 examples of the TR2 were produced. This one was sold new in South Africa. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four that was rated at 90 horsepower, which was enough for a top speed of 107 mph.
It remained in South Africa until 2005, at which time it was relocated to the Netherlands and later made its way to England. It’s now offered there at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Glendale, California | March 28-April 1, 2023
The Nomad remains the most iconic 1950s American station wagon. Descended from a GM Motorama show car from the year before, the Nomad was a two-door wagon version of the Bel Air, sharing its forward styling paired with forward-angled B-pillars and rear glass. It’s hot stuff.
Their exclusive pricing (they were just $500 less than a new Corvette) helped ensure their rarity. Just 6,103 were produced for the model’s initial model year in 1955. They would remain a two-door wagon only through 1957 before going the four-door route in 1958.
This restored example has been fitted with about every possible option and is powered by a 4.3-liter (265ci) V8 that made 162 horsepower when new. Power could be bumped to 180 with an optional four-barrel carburetor. Click here for more info.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 2-3, 2023
Alfa Romeo’s 1900 model was built between 1950 and 1959. Berlina sedans, Sprint coupes, and coachbuilt cabriolets were all available. So were a slew of other sub-models, including this, the “SSZ.”
Power here is from a 2.0-liter DOHC inline-four fitted with twin Solex carburetors for a rated output of 115 horsepower. This 1900C (C for “Corto” – denoting a short wheelbase) was bodied by Zagato in SSZ form. Just 39 such examples were completed, with all but 10 of those known to exist.
This car competed in two Mille Miglias: 1955 and 1956. It was most recently restored in 2017 and has since been shown at Pebble Beach. It now has an estimate of $1,500,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 6, 2023
Tasty. And not just because of the dessert-y paint job. The Caribbean (or “Carribean” as Mecum calls it) was the sort of halo car for Packard from 1953 through 1956. The models were restyled for 1955 (which carried over to ’56), and looked just like this. Convertibles were the only body style offered for three of the years, and a hardtop joined for the final model year.
Two-tone paint was an option in 1954, and two- and three-tone paint jobs were offered in 1955 and 1956. It’s an iconic look. The 1955 Packard Caribbean is one of the most slyly iconic and fantastic American cars of the 1950s.
Just 500 were built for 1955, all of which were powered by a 275-horsepower, 5.8-liter V8. This one was restored 30 years ago, and you can read more about it here.
Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 27, 2023
This Mistral sports special race car is sort of a descendant of the Microplas Mistral, which was a fiberglass body that was sold to re-body old British Ford sedans or even Triumphs. The Mistral body was licensed by Sports Car Engineering of Los Angeles in 1956 before they sold their company in 1958.
After this, the molds for the Mistral body were sold to Weltrex Plastics Limited in New Zealand. They produced about 10 Mistral bodies before winding up. This particular car was discovered in New Zealand a few years ago and restored in the US.
It’s powered by a 4.6-liter Chevrolet V8 making about 400 horsepower. It’s been outfitted with modern safety equipment in hopes of actually using it in modern historic events. Mistrals of any creation are rare birds, and this New Zealand edition is known to have been rare from the beginning. It has an estimate of $90,000-$120,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
Enzo Ferrari wanted a car that could win the Carrera Panamericana in 1955. The company developed a new sports car chassis and fitted it with the 5.0-liter V12 from the 410 Superamerica. The twin-plug racing engine produced 400 horsepower, which was 40 more than the two single-plug customer cars that Ferrari delivered to some independent drivers.
Two twin-plug cars were built, with this being one of them. The Carrera was cancelled, so this car was saved for the 1956 World Sportscar Championship. This chassis, #0598, was driven by Fangio at the 1000 km of Buenos Aires before being sold into privateer hands.
From there, it was used at a variety of hillclimbs and SCCA events in the U.S., with wins racked up by Carroll Shelby. Other drivers in period included Phil Hill, Richie Ginther, Masten Gregory, Jo Bonnier, Jim Rathmann, and Fireball Roberts.
The full history of this car is pretty interesting and can be read here. Other notable events include decades under ownership of Luigi Chinetti. It was cosmetically refreshed in the 1980s, and the engine was rebuilt in 2012. With only four produced, and only two in this specification, this is a monster among golden-era Ferrari sports racing cars. RM won’t even publish an estimate.
Sold by RM Sotheby’s | Stuttgart, Germany | May 5, 2022
We rarely feature a car after it sells, but this one sort of snuck up on everybody. The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart owned both examples of the “Uhlenhaut” coupe until recently, when they decided to part with one of the two. Why? Who knows. Maybe Daimler is cash-strapped. It’s kind of a weird situation when a well-funded museum decides to do a quick cash grab for a priceless piece of automotive history. Supposedly there were conditions on this private auction, like that the new owner isn’t allowed to re-sell it.
Anyway, a little history. This is not a 300SL Gullwing coupe. The 300 SLR was a full-fendered open-cockpit racing car based on the W196 Formula One car. The SLR was the company’s entry into the World Sportscar Championship. The cars won the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio before the program was quickly shuttered after the 1955 Le Mans disaster.
Meanwhile, motorsport chief Rudolf Uhlenhaut designed a road-going coupe version of the SLR, later dubbed the Uhlhenhaut coupes. Two were built. The engine was a 3.0-liter straight-eight that made about 305 horsepower. This coupe could do 180 mph. In 1955.
This one was the second one built and has been owned by Mercedes-Benz since new. It was restored in the 1980s and has been displayed and demonstrated on various occasions over the years. So how did it fare?
Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 3, 2022
This is the third Jaguar XK120 we’ve featured, and all three have been coachbuilt cars with bodies that would not have come from the Jaguar factory. The XK120 launched in 1948 at the London Motor Show. Roadsters came first, and coupes and drophead coupes followed thereafter.
This coupe is the only XK120 bodied by Pinin Farina. It was at shows in 1955, which would’ve been after the XK140 entered production. It is an SE, or Special Equipment, model, meaning that the 3.4-liter inline-six was modified with higher-lift camshafts and a dual-exit exhaust for a horsepower bump to 180.
This car came to the U.S. via Max Hoffman, and a restoration was carried out in 2015. The result was a second-in-class at Pebble Beach in 2017. This one-off Jag has an estimate of $900,000-$1,300,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | March 18, 2022
Here’s another Bandini, one that seems somehow even smaller than the others. The 750 GT was not a model that ever entered “production” by Bandini and was instead a one-off. It features aluminum Zagato coachwork over a elliptical tube chassis that supposedly only weighs about 60 pounds.
Power is from a twin-cam 750cc inline-four rated at 67 horsepower when new. The car made its way to the U.S. by 1959, when it started upon a sports car racing career that included:
1960 12 Hours of Sebring – DNF (with Victor Lukens)
There were a few class victories sprinkled in during the 1960 season as well. The car was purchased by Ilario Bandini’s nephew in 1998, returned to Italy, and restored. It’s now offered from his collection with an estimate of $450,000-$700,000. Click here for more info.