Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 14, 2023
The Sports Roadster is the coolest of the Bullet Birds of 1961-1963. Actually, it’s probably the coolest Thunderbird they ever made. The Sports Roadster was introduced in 1962 and was a limited-production version of the standard Thunderbird convertible.
Changes included 48-spoke Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels and a fiberglass tonneau cover over the rear seats that made the car look like a two-seater. Just 1,427 were produced for 1962, and another 455 would be made in 1963
Power here is from a 6.4-liter (390ci) V8 that made 300 horsepower when new. Bullet Birds are among the best-looking of all Thunderbirds, and the Sports Roadster package just takes it up a notch. Black is a classy color for this car, especially over a red interior. Click here for more info.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a TR4 on whitewalls. And I’m not sure what I’m supposed to think (probably that it’s bad?). But I also don’t think I’ve ever seen a TR4 finished in this kind of light blue. The whitewalls are working.
The TR4 was the logical successor to Triumph’s TR3, and it launched in 1961. Production continued on through 1965 before the revised TR4A took over. Power is from a 2.1-liter inline-four that was rated at 105 horsepower when new.
This one has obviously been redone and is fitted with a red interior, a black soft top, and front disc brakes. If I’ve done my math correctly, the bidding on it should end tomorrow. Check out more here.
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Northamptonshire, U.K. | May 28, 2022
The 3500 GT was Maserati’s big grand tourer of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Both 2+2 coupes and two-seat convertibles were offered, with styling by a select few Italian carrozzeria, including Vignale, who bodied this example and most of the model’s convertibles.
In 1960, Maserati introduced the GTI variant, making it Italy’s first fuel-injected production car. The 3.5-liter inline-six got Lucas fuel injection and a power bump to 232 horsepower. Because fuel injection was still relatively new, it could be somewhat troublesome, and more than a few GTI examples were converted back to Weber carburetors later in life. Not this one.
This car was delivered new in London, and from the 80s onward, it spent time in France and Italy before returning within the last decade to London with its current owner. Only 245 Vignale convertibles were built out of a total 3500 production run of 2,226 examples between 1957 and 1964. The pre-sale estimate here is $470,000-$550,000. Click here for more info.
Motor Racing Developments Ltd, aka Brabham, was an F1 team that competed between 1962 and 1992. That makes this car from their first season as a team. Jack Brabham drove for Cooper the few years before this, and his business partner Ron Tauranac designed this car for Brabham to drive in 1962.
Power is from a 1.5-liter Coventry-Climax V8 that made about 157 horsepower in 1962 spec. The competition history for this chassis (F1-1-62) includes:
1962 German Grand Prix (Nurburgring) – 19th, DNF (with Jack Brabham)
1962 U.S. Grand Prix (Watkins Glen) – 4th (with Brabham)
1962 Mexican Grand Prix – 2nd (with Brabham)
1962 South African Grand Prix – 4th (with Brabham)
1963 Monaco Grand Prix – Did not start (with Brabham)
1963 Belgian Grand Prix (Spa) – 15th, DNF (with Brabham)
1963 Austrian Grand Prix – 1st (with Brabham)
1963 Italian Grand Prix – 5th (with Brabham)
1964 British Grand Prix – 17th, DNF (with Ian Raby)
1964 Italian Grand Prix – DNQ (with Raby)
1965 British Grand Prix – 11th (with Raby)
Imagine the same F1 chassis competing in four different seasons today. This car had many other non-championship races and wins (that Austrian GP race was a non-points race). This car spent decades in the Donington Collection before the current owner bought it in the 2000s. This is a pretty remarkable piece of racing history and has a pre-sale estimate of $590,000-$850,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | March 28, 2022
The Bijou is a small French coupe built by Citroen in England for the British market. It’s actually a 2CV underneath, but the 2CV wasn’t selling well there, so they decided to give it a makeover.
But part of the problem is that it was still a 2CV. The 425cc flat-twin made 12 horsepower. It still had the wonky long-travel suspension. The body is plastic, which kept the weight down (way, or weigh, down). It was actually styled by the same guy who did the Lotus Elite. So you know, sporting cred. But it didn’t work.
Only 209 were built: all right-hand drive. Production also spanned from 1959 through 1964. So they were leaving the factory at quite a leisurely pace. Apparently about 40 are still road-registered in the U.K. This one should fetch between $10,000-$16,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 3, 2022
Motor Racing Developments Ltd. is commonly known as Brabham, as that’s the name their vehicles carried. The marque competed in Formula One for 30 years and had their cars entered in a variety of other series, including Indy Car, Formula Two, and Can-Am.
This sports racing prototype is the first of two BT5s built. In fact, Brabham only built 14 sports prototypes in total. The other 12 were BT8s. This one is powered by a Lotus-Ford 1.6-liter inline-four. It won races in England in period with driver Frank Gardner and came to the U.S. in 1963, competing in SCCA events thereafter and winning a championship in ’64.
More recently, the car competed in historic events in Europe and the U.S. It has a pre-sale estimate of $170,000-$200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by H&H Classics | Buxton, U.K. | October 6, 2021
I had the structure for this post all laid out, and then I went and read the H&H Classics catalog description. And it was pretty much the same thing I planned on writing, which was: the post-war sports car boom rode a pretty strong wave for about 15-20 years. Alongside established manufacturers, there were countless upstarts who were offering various forms of sports cars.
One such form was the kit car, or more appropriately at the time this was built, shells that could be bought and fitted to existing running gear. Basically, re-bodying a common car to make it into a sports car. In this case, Martin Plastics Maidstone Ltd offered their fiberglass shells beginning in 1953.
This particular one was purchased as a bare body in 1956 and was fitted to a 1939 Ford Prefect. The completed car was registered in 1962, hence the date listed. Power is from a 1.2-liter Ford inline-four, and the car was restored around 2016. About 500 Martin shells were sold, and only five are known to exist. This one is expected to go cheap with an estimate of $8,000-$11,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Dallas, Texas | September 8-11, 2021
The La Dawri Cavalier was one of the earliest fiberglass specials of the 1950s. It debuted in 1956 and was produced by La Dawri Coachcraft of British Columbia, Canada. The company was founded by Lee Dawes, who moved it to Southern California in 1957. After the move, the Cavalier was renamed the Conquest.
La Dawri had a prolific model range until they closed in 1965, due in part to their 1961 acquisition of Victress. Victress models under then produced under the La Dawri brand. But anyway, this Conquest is powered by a 4.3-liter Chevrolet V8. It has unnecessarily been modified with Torq Thrust-style wheels. It’s a rare enough car that hot-rodding it isn’t needed.
The frame is from a Corvette, as is the suspension. I haven’t seen one of these for sale at an auction in quite some time… and if I recall, the only ones I have seen have been slightly modified as well. I don’t get it. But wheels are easy to change. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | March/April 2021
Piero Dusio got rich making uniforms during WWII and parlayed that cash into a small company he founded called Cisitalia. They built racing cars, and eventually road cars. But racing is expensive, and eventually, he ran out of money, forcing him to relocate to Argentina.
Cisitalia collaborated with Abarth (Carlo Abarth was Austrian by birth) here and there, and after the company moved to South America, the two got together for one last fling. Abarth had a car out there called the Fiat-Abarth 850 Allemano. This car is essentially a badge-engineered version of Carlo’s 850. It features an 847cc inline-four that was rated at 55 horsepower when new.
Fewer than 200 Fiat-Abarth models were produced, and about the same (or less) of these were also made. It is not really related to the similarly-named Abarth Scorpione. This one has obviously been restored and is up for bidding now. The auction ends tomorrow. Click here for more info.
A 237 horsepower, 3.0-liter V12 drives this long-wheelbase car. But none of this is the story here. It’s the fact that this is a police car. And was when it was new. But how? Well, the story is that Armando Spatafora (an Italian cop) was dispatched to a high-performance driving program alongside three other officers.
After he completed the course, he was given this car, siren and all. Ferrari actually built a second example, but it was destroyed after only a few weeks on the job. This one remained with the Polizia for six years. It’s never been restored, just preserved by a series of owners. It’s possibly the coolest 250 GTE there is. You can read more about it here.