Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 26, 2023
The 501 was BMW’s first new post-war car, as everything it sold up to this point was based on pre-war designs. Amazingly, this first fresh post-war car went on sale in late 1952. It was produced for a decade (although six-cylinder cars were only available through 1958) and in a few different body styles, including as a sedan, coupe, and cabriolet.
There were also various variants, including versions marketed as the BMW 2.6, 2600, and 501 V8. The 502 went on sale in 1954, just after the introduction of this, the 501 V8.
The 501 V8 was powered by a 2.6-liter V8. The difference between this model and the similarly powered 502 was that the 502 was a more luxurious car. Otherwise, they were mostly the same. Just 5,914 examples of the 501 V8/501 2.6/501 2600 were built through 1962. This restored example is expected to fetch between $90,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 4-15, 2022
The DeSoto marque was founded by Walter Chrysler shortly after he took over Maxwell and founded Chrysler. DeSoto was set to compete with the likes of Pontiac and Willys in the mid-price range. Well, they did so for the next 30 years, but the brand was wound up in 1961.
In the late 1950s, Chrysler’s brands were competing against each other, which was a major reason DeSoto was axed. DeSoto introduced a few upmarket, expensive cars during that time, including the Firedome and Fireflite. DeSoto’s 1957-1959 styling was one of Chrysler’s great ideas of the 1950s. In 1958, The Firedome was powered by a 5.9-liter V8 rated at 295 horsepower. The Firedome slotted in the lineup below the Fireflite and Adventurer.
Convertible production in 1958 totaled just 519 units for the Firedome, making the body style rarer on this platform than in the upmarket Fireflite. This one is finished in a lovely ’50s two-tone green paint scheme with a matching interior. You can check out more about it here.
Gian Paolo Volpini joined forces with Egidio Arzani in 1954 to form Arzani-Volpini. They intent was to make the Formula One grid, which they did for once race in 1955 with driver Luigi Piotti in a modified, used Maserati.
Eventually Scuderia Volpini dropped the name of engine builder Arzani and stuck to the lower open-wheel rungs. This Formula Junior single-seater is powered by a 1.1-liter Fiat inline-four that has been tuned to put out 90 horsepower.
This car had a long history in the U.S., with one of its more recent owners campaigning it at historic events over the last 20-ish years. It’s now offered at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | July 9, 2021
Ferrari’s 250 GT line of cars spawned many sub-models, beginning with 1954’s GT Europa. In 1955, Ferrari introduced the 250 GT Coupe, which could initially be had as a Boano or Ellena variant. The cars were named after their respective coachbuilders, even though both were from the same family. Felice Mario Boano’s namesake company was only around from 1954 through 1957, at which time he renamed the company Carrozzeria Ellena after his son-in-law, who took over the business that would last through 1966.
The two coupes are distinct from each other, but both share the same 3.0-liter Colombo V12 good for 237 horsepower. Only 50 examples of the 250 GT Ellena were built between 1957 and 1958. This one, like others, features a wonderful two-tone paint scheme with a maroon lower body and a silver roof.
This car, #25, was first registered in Rome and made its way to the U.S. in the 1970s. It spent over two decades in a private New York collection and was restored in the U.K. in 2005. It now carries an estimate of $970,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | February 19-26, 2021
Gino De Sanctis was a Fiat dealer in Rome who decided in the late 1950s that he wanted to start building race cars. This decision coincided with the launch of the Formula Junior class in 1958. It was an entry-level open-wheel class using parts from regular production cars.
In this case, De Sanctis used a 1.1-liter Fiat inline-four from an 1100/103. Power was rated at 72 horsepower, and the engine was mounted behind the driver. The car features a tubular spaceframe, a four-speed manual gearbox, and a coil-sprung front suspension.
This is the fifth De Sanctis car built, and it was used by its first owner for two seasons of the Italian Junior Championship before heading to a racing school until 1973, when it was purchased by the current owner. The final De Sanctis cars were built in 1970. You can read more about this one here and see more from this auction here.
Offered by Bonhams | Knokke-Heist, Belgium | October 11, 2020
In the mid-1950s, BMW had yet to have a real hit. They were still pushing Isettas on the German people, and alongside that, they were offering the ultra-exclusive 507 Roadster. Meanwhile, they were trying their hand at a luxury 2+2 with this, the 503.
Produced between 1956 and 1959, the 503 was powered by a 3.2-liter V8 that made 140 horsepower. The car could be had as a coupe or a convertible, and they all had four seats. This is a Series II example, the type of which was introduced in 1957. It featured a floor shifter for the four-speed manual transmission.
Only 413 examples of the 503 were built, and just 138 of those were drop-tops. This example was restored in 2002 and is certain to be its next owner’s ticket to any major car event worldwide. It is expected to bring between $410,000-$530,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | September 20, 2020
The Comet was a model of heavy truck produced by Leyland Trucks over a series of generations between 1947 and 2015. That’s quite the nameplate heritage. They were produced in every conceivable truck variant: flatbeds, box trucks, tankers, and more.
The third generation Comet was available between 1958 and 1963. During this run, the Super Comet was introduced, which was of an even heavier-duty variety. This particular truck is finished in a bright yellow National Benzole livery. This very truck was used to produce a toy version, which is kind of cool.
The 6.2-liter diesel inline-six makes 110 horsepower. The truck has been offered by Bonhams before, and it’s now back with an estimate of $13,000-$20,000. That’s a lot of vehicle for the money. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | August 14-15, 2020
Well get to this car’s name in a second, but first: the 1950s were kind of a weird time, as it turns out. American car companies wanted their cars to look Italian, and Italian car companies, apparently, wanted their cars to look American. Look at this car’s styling. It’s like they bolted a Fiat front clip onto a Packard Hawk.
The Fiat 1200 was built in sedan and convertible form between 1957 and 1961. Power is from a 1.2-liter inline-four that made 54 horsepower. This car was styled by Michelotti, and, sure enough, it says “Wonderful” on the fenders. Kind of amusing. The coolest part is that it’s a targa. The roof panel pops off, like so:
It’s thought that as few as three of these were made. You can read more about this restored example here, and see more from RM Sotheby’s here.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 12-17, 2020
Frank Kurtis built some spectacular race cars in the 1950s, including this 500H. It was from the later years of Kurtis Indy Roadster production. I’m not really sure how many were produced, but if there were multiple, they were probably built between 1958 and 1960. That’s when they were campaigned.
This car is powered by a 252ci (4.1-liter) Offenhauser inline-four. The Kurtis-Offy was a nearly unbeatable combo at the Brickyard in the ’50s. The competition history for this car includes:
1958 Indy 500 – 23rd, DNF (with Johnny Tomson)
1959 Indy 500 – 7th (with Duane Carter)
1960 Indy 500 – 22nd, DNF (with Don Freeland)
Looking at a bunch of old Indy box scores, it’s possible that this was the only “H” example built. It appears to be the only one to run the 500. You can see more about this car here and more from Mecum here.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 6, 2020
Bill Devin’s Devin Enterprises operated out of California between 1955 and 1964 and specialized in fiberglass kit cars. During their brief existence, they also sold some actual cars. One such model that was available as a complete, turn-key car was the D, which was introduced in 1958.
While it was also available as a kit, the Devin D was offered by the company ready to go with the option of two different engines: one from VW and one from Porsche. It used a custom ladder frame and a fiberglass body. This car is powered by a 100 horsepower, 1.8-liter Porsche flat-four.