1961 Scarab

1961 Scarab Formula Libre

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It requires a lot of money to successfully to take on the establishment in the world of auto racing. And even then success is not guaranteed. In the case of the Scarab, there was certainly money behind the effort. Lance Reventlow was the sole heir to the Woolworth fortune.

Venice, California, was home to Reventlow Automobiles Incorporated, builder of the Scarabs. There were both Scarab sports cars and open-wheel cars, including one that raced at the 1960 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix. Since that didn’t go so well, and because new rules came about in 1961, Reventlow decided to focus his efforts to less restrictive forms of open wheel racing.

This car was fabricated by Phil Remington based on a design by Eddie Miller, nephew of Harry Miller. It was fitted with a Buick/Oldsmobile 3.0-liter V8 breathing through four Weber carburetors for an output of about 300 horsepower. It took aim squarely at the new Intercontinental Formula rules.

But then the rules changed again, and this car was ineligible. Instead, this Scarab entered a 1962 Formula Libre race in Australia. With driver Chuck Daigh, the car finished fourth after drivers Jack Brabham, John Surtees, and Bruce McLaren – and ahead of Stirling Moss.

It was restored in 1997 and has since participated at both the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Hillclimb. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $196,000.

Alvis TD 21 Saloon

1961 Alvis TD 21 Saloon

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | June 19-23, 2021

Photo – Brightwells

Post-war two-door Alvis cars are very attractive. The TD/E/F range were all good-looking cars. The TD was produced in two series between 1958 and 1963, and this Series I car features two-door saloon coachwork. A drophead coupe version was also available.

This car features a 120-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six and a four-speed manual transmission, the latter of which was sourced from Austin-Healey. Top speed was about 103 mph.

There were 784 examples of the Series I TD 21 produced, but I have no info to present on the breakout between coupes/saloons versus convertibles. Common sense would say that the saloon was more popular, but the drophead coupes seem to pop up for sale more often. This one carries an estimate of $15,000-$20,000. Bidding ends tomorrow. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold (I think?) $10,021.

Chenowth Indianapolis

1961 Chenowth-Chevrolet Indianapolis

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | May 22, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Once upon a time, there was a company called San Diego Steel Products, and they made exhaust headers. It was owned by a guy named Chuck Chenowth, and he wanted to go racing at Indianapolis. He built an Indy roadster and stuffed a 4.2-liter Chevrolet V8 up front in an era when an Offenhauser-powered Anything dominated each race. Bold move.

It’s got Hillborn fuel injection and a Lehman front-drive unit to operate the fuel and water pumps as well as an Offenhauser gearbox and Halibrand wheels. The body was actually designed by Don Kuzma, another legendary name of the period. The Chenowth name is still around, although primarily associated with off-road racing today.

Unfortunately, this car never made a 500. It failed to arrive for the 1960 race and failed to qualify in 1961. It was more successful on the USAC short-track circuit, where it was driven by the likes of Tom Sneva, Mike Magill, and Greg Weld. It was restored near Cincinnati in the 1980s and is now offered with an estimate of $175,000-$225,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $156,800.

Crown Supercoach School Bus

1961 Crown Supercoach A779-11

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | Online

Photo – Bring a Trailer Auctions

This is a school bus. That is probably obvious. But it is from 1961. I’m guessing they built a lot of these, but there are probably very few left. And based on the records shared in the auction listing, there are probably even fewer that have had this kind of money lavished upon them.

The Crown Coach Corporation produced buses (and some fire trucks) in Los Angeles between 1904 and 1991. The final few months were under the control of GE before the brand was phased out. The Supercoach was a product they introduced in 1948 and continued to iterate on until the end of the line in 1991.

This one has a replacement drivetrain. The 7.0-liter Detroit Diesel inline-six is located in the middle of the bus (underneath it). It also has a more modern five-speed automatic transmission instead of the old school five-speed manual with a two-speed rear axle. Remember your bus driver constantly shifting gears? Yeah, this one is easier to drive.

I always love an old bus, and this one is pretty great. The seats have been stripped out of the interior, which is a shame, but it’s still a winner. It was in service with a school district from new until 1999, which is insane. It makes me wonder just how old the back-up buses I rode on as a kid actually were. Click here for more info about this bus.

Update: Sold $27,250.

Mercedes-Benz 300D Adenauer

1961 Mercedes-Benz 300D Adenauer

Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | March 20, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

This four-door Mercedes-Benz luxury car shares its three numerical digits with the legendary 300SL “Gullwing” sports car. But both cars share the “300” with Mercedes’ 1951-1957 W186 300 series, of which the 300D seen here was the successor.

Introduced in 1957, the 300D shared a version of the Gullwing’s fuel-injected 3.0-liter inline-six that, here, produced 178 horsepower (thus the “300” designation for “3 liters”, back when such things made logical sense). The 300D was available as a four-door sedan or a cabriolet. The cars were nicknamed “Adenauer” after Konrad Adenauer, who was the first Chancellor of West Germany and a fan of this series of cars.

Only 3,077 hand-built examples of the 300D sedan were built through 1962. This one isn’t a show winner, but it’s a driveable example of one of Germany’s greatest cars of the 1950s. It is expected to sell for between $68,000-$82,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $74,564.

Epperly Indy Roadster

1961 Epperly-Offenhauser Indianapolis

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Quin Epperly is another legendary mid-century name associated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His cars first showed up at the 500 in 1955 and would continue to run there until the mid-engined revolution took hold.

This car is another Offy-powered roadster, originally equipped with a 255ci inline-four. The competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1961 Indianapolis 500 – 33rd, DNF (with Don Branson)
  • 1962 Indianapolis 500 – 5th (with Bobby Marshman)
  • 1963 Indianapolis 500 – 28th, DNF (with Bud Tingelstad)

Like so many other Indy roadsters, it was once part of the Bob McConnell collection for a number of years. It has been restored to its 1962 500 livery. It really looks the part of bad-ass Indy roadster, doesn’t it? The pre-sale estimate is $350,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $407,000.

Fram-King Fulda

1961 Fram-King Fulda

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 10, 2020

Photo – Dorotheum

History lesson: the Fuldamobil was a microcar built in Fulda, Germany, originally by Elektromaschinenbau Fulda and later by a company whose initials were NWF. The first Fuldamobils went on sale in 1950. Fulda didn’t have the capacity to build that many cars, so they contracted with NWF in 1954 to build them.

NWF built the smaller-engined cars, including some under their own name, while Fulda introduced better versions of theirs. The Fulda S7 debuted in 1957 in Sweden as the Fram-King Fulda, which was built there under license. Power should be from something approximating a 191cc single making just shy of 10 horsepower.

The Fram-King Fulda was built for a short time… until the factory burned down. Production resumed in 1958/1959, and the cars were then sold as the King S-7. So either this car is actually earlier than it is registered as, or it’s really a King (FKF is what many Fuldamobils are known as). Either way, they’re the same car. Click here for more info on this one.

Update: Sold $11,566.

Two Fuldamobils

1961 Fram-King Fulda

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 10, 2020

Photo – Dorotheum

History lesson: the Fuldamobil was a microcar built in Fulda, Germany, originally by Elektromaschinenbau Fulda and later by a company whose initials were NWF. The first Fuldamobils went on sale in 1950. Fulda didn’t have the capacity to build that many cars, so they contracted with NWF in 1954 to build them.

NWF built the smaller-engined cars, including some under their own name, while Fulda introduced better versions of theirs. The Fulda S7 debuted in 1957 in Sweden as the Fram-King Fulda, which was built there under license. Power should be from something approximating a 191cc single making just shy of 10 horsepower.

The Fram-King Fulda was built for a short time… until the factory burned down. Production resumed in 1958/1959, and the cars were then sold as the King S-7. So either this car is actually earlier than it is registered as, or it’s really a King (FKF is what many Fuldamobils are known as). Either way, they’re the same car. Click here for more info on this one.

Update: Sold $11,566.


1968 Alta A200

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 10, 2020

Photo – Dorotheum

Well, we’ve already covered the early history of the Fuldamobil. But, with the exception of Sweden, we didn’t really touch on the export markets or the license-built versions. It was sold as the Nobel in a few markets and was even produced in India.

Two different companies built them in Greece: Attica and Alta. Alta was based in Athens between 1962 and 1978 and built microcars, motorcycles, and light commercial vehicles. The A200 is powered by a Heinkel 200cc single.

It was the last Fuldamobil variant still in production when it was axed in 1974. This is a nice one, and you can read more about it here. More cars from this sale can be viewed here.

Update: Sold $10,778.

TVR Grantura

1961 TVR Grantura Series II

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online/Somewhere in Europe | June 3-11, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Remember the Griffith? That insane short-wheelbase coupe powered by a huge Ford V8? Well, this is the AC Ace to the Griffith’s Cobra. TVR’s Grantura was built in a number of series between 1958 and 1967. No V8s here – these were all four-cylinder-powered.

Series II cars were built between 1960 and 1962, and like other Granturas, they feature a fiberglass body and mechanical parts from other cars on sale at the time. Some cars used bits from Volkswagens, MGs, Triumphs, or Austin-Healeys. This car is powered by a 1.6-liter inline-four from an MGA. That was a factory option.

With this engine, which produced 79 horsepower in the MGA, the Grantura was capable of 98 mph. Approximately 400 Series II cars were built, making it the most popular of all Granturas. This right-hand-drive example should bring between $27,000-$38,000 when it sells at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $19,743.

Emeryson F1

1961 Emeryson 1.5-Litre Formula 1

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | March 29, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

There have been a lot of teams in Formula One over the years. Some have lasted decades, others just a few races. Paul Emery got his start building F3 cars in the early 1950s before building his first F1/F2 car in 1953. As a works team, Emeryson entered a single race in 1956.

They reappeared on the grid twice in 1962. Privateers entered Emeryson cars at least four times in ’61 and ’62. The Emeryson team was acquired by an American teenager in 1961, and the cars were fitted with Coventry-Climax engines. This car, 1004, was used by drivers Mike Spence, Jack Fairman, Tony Settember, and John Campbell-Jones in a number of non-championship Formula One races in 1961 and 1962.

This car’s lone F1 entry was at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, where it DNF’d with Settember, who retained the car himself until 1963. The car was purchased by a collector in 1992 and restored. It retains a 1.5-liter Coventry-Climax inline-four and is the only surviving Emeryson F1 car. It should sell for between $150,000-$200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $211,331.