Fiat 850 Beach Car

1969 Fiat 850 Spiaggetta by Michelotti

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Coral Gables, Florida | March 2024

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Italians would’ve built a beach car out of anything in the 1960s. What started out as 500/600-based Jollys evolved into all manner of open cars based on the 600 and, apparently, its successor, the Fiat 850.

Rear-engined, the 850 was available as a two-door coupe and, perhaps more famously, the Spider. The 850 was offered with three different inline-fours ranging from 817 to 903cc. It is unclear what this one has.

But what it does have is looks. Styled by Giovanni Michelotti, the Spiaggetta, which was also known as the Shellette, was a limited-run beach car. It was a step up from a Jolly in that it doesn’t have a wicker interior. Just 80 were built, and RM says it’s good for use as yacht tender. They also say it’s worth $50,000-$60,000. More info can be found here.

Bond Equipe

1969 Bond Equipe 2-Litre Mk II Convertible

Offered by Oldtimer Galerie | Toffen, Switzerland | October 14, 2023

Photo – Oldtimer Galerie

The Equipe was the coolest car offered by Bond Cars Ltd. It was also their only four-wheeled vehicle, as they are mostly remembered for the Bug and the Minicar, both three-wheelers. Five different Equipe models were sold between 1963 and 1970, and the 2-Litre Mk II was the last.

This model was offered as a two-door sedan or a convertible. Just 841 were built between the two, and about half of them were drop-tops. Power is provided by a 2.0-liter inline-four that made about 95 horsepower. And it could hit 100 mph! The 2-Litre was based on a Triumph Vitesse chassis and wore a fiberglass body.

This car was purchased new by an Olympic gold medalist and has remained in her family since new. It now has an estimate of $16,000-$21,000. Click here for more info.

TVR Vixen

1969 TVR Vixen S2

Offered by Iconic Auctioneers | Silverstone, U.K. | August 26, 2023

Photo – Iconic Auctioneers

Well look at that, Silverstone Auctions changed their name. Now they are “Iconic Auctioneers,” which is a tad self congratulatory. But anyway, they are still offering some pretty cool cars, including this TVR Vixen.

All early TVRs pretty much look the same, and the Vixen was the company’s four-cylinder (and later six-cylinder) car. It replaced the similar-looking Grantura in 1967 and was offered across four series and a few sub-models. V8-powered cars were called the Tuscan.

This S2 is one of 438 such cars built and is powered by a 1.6-liter Ford Kent crossflow inline-four. The body is fiberglass and the whole package is pretty light. They’re quick, but not quite as insane as a Tuscan. This one has been owned by the same guy for 50 years and should sell for between $22,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.

Unipower GT

1969 Unipower GT

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | July 14, 2023

Photo – Bonhams

It’s hard to come by cars for sale that begin with the letter “U”. So far, our feature cars with this characteristic are limited to those built by Unic in France. The Unipower GT project was championed by Ernie Unger, who had previously worked at Lotus and Elva as well as at the Rootes Group, where he was an engineer on the rear-engined Hillman Imp.

Eventually Unger got his idea for a well-handling British sports car off the ground, with the help of some other folks, including financial backing of Tim Powell and his company, Universal Power Drives, which sold equipment under the Unipower brand.

The GT launched in 1966 with power from a buyer’s choice of Mini engines. The last GT was delivered in early 1970, and in all, just about 75 were built. Only about 40 are known today.

This one is set up for competition use and is powered by a 1.3-liter inline-four Cooper S engine. It’s eligible for historic racing and has a pre-sale estimate of $65,000-$90,000. Click here for more info.

Renault 8 Gordini

1969 Renault 8 Gordini 1300

Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | June 20, 2023

Photo – Artcurial

The Renault 8 was the successor to the Dauphine and was produced exclusively as a four-door sedan. The base car was not super powerful, but when the Gordini-tweaked variant went on sale in 1964, two years after the initial 8 launch, things got a little spicier.

Gordini cars initially got a 1.1-liter inline-four that resulted in a power bump over the stock car. Later Gordinis also could be had with a 1.3-liter unit that made about 89 horsepower – roughly double the stock 8.

These were fun rear-engined sports sedans. This one competed in the Gordini Cup in 1969 and later resided in the Renault Classic Collection. It’s a relatively low-mile, real-deal Gordini with recent historic event activity. The estimate is $43,000-$65,000. Click here for more info

Hemi GTX Convertible

1969 Plymouth GTX Hemi Convertible

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | May 2023

Photo – Bring a Trailer Auctions

The GTX was the “fancy” muscle car. Or the “gentleman’s muscle car.” Basically, it was a better-equipped Road Runner. It was a good-looking car and was only offered as a two-door hardtop or a convertible.

And the convertibles were rare: just 700 were made in 1969. Of those there were 16 Hemi-powered cars, five of which went to Canada (including this car). That 426 (7.0-liter) Hemi V8 was rated at 425 horsepower. As this was a gentleman’s car, it also has a TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

This car was restored around 2015 and is finished in a very 1969 color combination of bronze and black over a tan interior. This is one of the better muscle cars – and one of the top convertibles of the era. You can check out more about this car here.

Update: Sold $155,000.

ZL1 Corvette

1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL1 Convertible

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 26, 2023

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It can be tough to remember which Corvettes are supposed to be the king of them all. Around this time you had L88s, ZR1s, ZR2s, and ZL1s. The ZL1 was sort of a step up from the L88. It designated an aluminum-block 7.0-liter V8 with a aluminum cylinder heads, a redesigned crankshaft, improved connecting rods, revised pistons, and larger exhaust valves.

It required that you order a base Corvette – which was about $4,400 for a 1969 convertible. Then you had to add on the L88 option, which was just over $1,000. The ZL1 option could then be had on top of that for another $3,000. And that blacked out the options for A/C, power steering, a radio, a heater, and power windows. Pay more, get less.

But you also got more, horsepower anyway. Output was somewhere around 460 horsepower. Apparently only two were ever ordered, with this one being the only one delivered to a retail customer. RM estimates this one will bring between $2,6000,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,140,000.

Lola T70 MK.3B Coupe

1969 Lola T70 Mk.3B Coupe

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | November 2022

Photo – Bring a Trailer Auctions

Imagine this thing in your rearview mirror on a race track. Pretty scary. Now imagine it sneaking up behind you on the highway. Either is possible: it’s got a license plate mounted out back.

Let’s start at the beginning: the first T70 debuted in the mid-1960s as an open-top sports racing prototype. The Mk II Spyder came later and preceded the Mk 3 coupe. A slightly revised Mk.3B debuted in 1969 and featured front-hinged doors instead of the gullwing doors of the regular Mk 3.

Some of the Mk.3Bs were actually converted to road cars by Sbarro, who would soon after produce a run of replicas. That’s where things start getting confusing. This car was converted to road spec by Sbarro prior to their production of replicas, apparently. Funnily enough, there is another car with this same chassis number floating around (RM sold it in Paris 2014). That auction catalog initially advertised it as a Lola Mk.3B and laid out the early history of this yellow car. Then, shortly before the auction, they added a line that said “After further research it has come to light that this Lola T70 was built by Sbarro; it is very unlikely that this car was ever raced by Chuck Parsons” – which negated the entire history of their car they had written after it.

This car was reconstructed by Lola guru Mac McClendon in the 2010s. It’s powered by a 5.7-liter Chevrolet V8. The comments on the Bring a Trailer auction seem to be full of reading comprehension issues. Yeah, this car has had pretty much everything on it rebuilt or replaced (as has pretty much every race car of this era), but as someone wise said over there “a continuous history as being a particular car is what makes it original… more than the parts currently on the car.” Not to mention, if Mac McClendon says it’s the real deal… who are you to argue.

The other great bit of wisdom from a BaT commenter on thinking about cars like this: “The idea of the car is what matters; each replacement part occupies the same space as the original, and so to our mind the car is original even if none of the component parts are — the car has occupied the same space since 1969, and therefore remains the original car.

Think about what this represents from 1969. It’s right there with a Miura or McLaren M6GT in terms of late 1960s supercars. It might not be as pretty as a Miura, but it’s more purposeful, and probably faster.

Bidding ends in a few days. You can read more about it here.

Update: Sold $275,000.

Zink Z-8

1969 Zink-Volkswagen Z-8 Daytona Prototype

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 19-20, 2022

Photo – Gooding & Company

Ed Zink is most remembered for his Formula Vee open-wheel race cars, but in the 1960s, it was hard not to get caught up in prototype sports car racing, apparently. The Z-8 featured a space-frame chassis wrapped in fiberglass bodywork.

For power, project cheerleader and idea man Hugh Heishman (a Virginia Volkswagen dealer) turned to VW for their new Type 3E fuel-injected flat-four. The 1.9-liter unit is carbureted now and is estimated to make about 150 horsepower. The car was run in period, including:

  • 1969 24 Hours of Daytona – 18th, 3rd in class (with Bill Scott, Jim McDaniel, and Steve Pieper)
  • 1969 12 Hours of Sebring – 68th, DNF (with Scott, McDaniel, and Pieper)

It went SCCA racing in privateer hands after that, eventually being stored in a disassembled state. A restoration that completed in 2017 brought it to its current condition. Gooding estimates a price of $150,000-$200,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $75,000.

Monteverdi 375S

1969 Monteverdi 375S Coupe by Frua

Offered by Bonhams | Gstaad, Switzerland | July 3, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

It’s always interesting when auctions take place outside of the “normal” locations of the U.S., the U.K., or France. Places like Switzerland usually bring out some real weirdos, car-wise. And this Swiss-built Monteverdi is the perfect example as to why more auctions should take place in otherwise less-often-visited countries.

The Monteverdi High Speed was a series of coupes, convertibles, and sedans that were attractively styled and powered by big American V8s. The first model was the 375S, of which we have an example here. These were styled by Frua and look very Maserati-ish. Power is from a 7.2-liter Chrysler V8 that was rated at 450 horsepower.

This one was sold new in the U.S. and was owned by Jay Leno for a time prior to the consignor’s purchase. Between 10 and 12 of these were built over a six-month span. The pre-sale estimate here is $70,000-$110,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $234,427.