Toyota’s first production car was called the AA, and it was built in small numbers from 1936 to 1943. In fact, just 1,404 sedans were made. In 1996, still in a weird phase of Japanese-market retro-styled vehicles, Toyota decided to honor the AA with this, the Classic.
Produced just in 1996, the sedan, which actually borrows its rear-wheel-drive frame from the Hilux pickup truck, is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four that was rated at 96 horsepower. So yeah, it’s bigger than a Nissan Pao but just as quick/slow. All Classics wore the same black/red paint scheme.
They were also only sold in Japan, and just 100 were built. This one was brought to the U.S. earlier this year. Bidding ends today, and the price was approaching $20,000 as of this writing. Click here for more info.
1930 Mercedes-Benz 770K Four-Door Three-Position Cabriolet by Voll & Ruhrbeck
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | January/February 2022
The first comment on this auction was to the effect of “This is BaT at a completely different level.” And they ain’t kidding. The 770K was not only extremely exclusive when new, but also ultra rare. And they trade hands (at least publicly) very infrequently. The W07, which was the first generation of the 770 range, went on sale in 1930, making this an early example, in terms of timing. It would be replaced by the W150 in 1938.
They were very expensive cars, intended for high-ranking government officials. The (second-generation) 770K is largely remembered for being the choice cars of Nazi officials. But this car was produced before the Nazis were even in power. And it was sold new to the King of Iraq, remaining in his family until the 1950s.
Power is from a supercharged 7.7-liter inline-eight that made 200 horsepower with the supercharger engaged. Mercedes built 205 examples of the 770 in total, with 117 being the first-gen style. This one was bodied by Voll & Ruhrbeck of Berlin as an imposing, intimidating car. Which was probably the desired effect considering the type of people who owned them.
The car has about 10 days left at auction by the time this posts, and bidding was up to $600,000 at the time of this writing. The cheaper of the two 770Ks we’ve featured in the past sold for $2.5 million, with the other one not selling at a bid of $7 million. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | January 2022
Kudzu was a racing car constructor that debuted in the late 1980s. The cars competed in IMSA’s GTP prototype category and came from racer Jim Downing’s shop. One of Downing’s race engineers was John Evans, who decided to try his hand at building prototype-style road cars.
Evans Automobiles was founded in the late 1980s as well, and this, I think, was their first offering. It’s based on a Kudzu chassis (or so the name implies) and features composite bodywork. Power is from a mid-mounted 5.7-liter Chevrolet V8 rated at 300 horsepower. Top speed was said to be 178 mph. This was a homegrown American supercar in 1989.
Only two road-going Series I GTs were built, with this being the first, and it remaining with Evans until 2006. There were a few other Evans cars built in the 1990s as well. This is neat stuff – find another one. And it’s no kit car either. It was a ground-up build meant to be a limited-run car. You can read more about it here.
Alvaro Krotz founded the Krotz Manufacturing Company in Springfield, Ohio, in 1903. The company built electric cars under the Krotz Electric brand until the following year. After that venture failed, Krotz relocated to Chicago, where he apparently built this prototype high-wheeler. The story is that he showed it to Sears, who eventually went on to build similar cars. Krotz was also credited with designing the Sears to some degree, but he was gone before production started.
Krotz returned to Ohio, where the Krotz Gas-Electric hybrid was produced in small numbers by the Krotz-Defiance Auto Buggy Company. It would appear that the car above is the only surviving Krotz automobile, and it wasn’t built by either of his to automotive concerns.
The engine is a flat-twin, apparently a Panhard design of unknown displacement or origin. The car has a friction-disc transmission and was restored by its late owner. A note in the photo gallery says that the car can do 50 mph. 50! In this thing. If you’re a big Sears collector (the one or two of you out there) this is sort of a must-have. At any rate, the auction ends tomorrow. Click here for more info.
1935 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Sedan by Rollston
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | Online | June 2021
It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve featured a Model J. This Duesenberg is a late one, and it’s one of 10 “JN” models built in 1935. All 10 were bodied by Rollston, and this car is one of three that was built as a convertible sedan. It was restored in the late 1990s and has spent the last two decades in the collection of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Power comes from a 420ci Lycoming straight-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. There were a number of four-door convertible body styles on Duesenbergs. The “convertible sedan” features folding B-pillars and a single front windshield. The top boot out back sticks up like a big spoiler in the air.
This is the fifth JN we’ve featured. I believe all still exist, meaning half of them have come up for public sale since 2012. This one has a week left to bid on, and you can find out more about it here.
The BMW 502 was the V8-powered version of BMW’s six-cylinder 501. The 501 went on sale in 1951 and the 502 in 1954. Confusingly, there was also a “501 V8” model sold, with a detuned version of the 502’s.
The 502 was also better appointed than the 501, which made it expensive. They only sold 190 in the first sales year. The standard body style was a sedan, but Baur-built coupes and cabriolets were also available. This car is one of 57 cabriolet examples.
This one is powered by a 3.2-liter V8 sourced from a later BMW 3200L. The 502 was Germany’s first post-war V8-powered car. With a single carburetor, this engine was rated at 140 horsepower when new. The removed factory 2.6-liter V8 is included with the car.
This car was restored between 2011 and 2013, and it looks pretty fantastic. It’s been at Pebble Beach and is being offered out of a museum. The bidding is already at $125,000 as of this writing, and it is scheduled to end two days from this posting. Click here for more info.
The Canda Manufacturing Company was based in Cartaret, New Jersey, and they produced railroad hand carts. In 1896 they acquired the rights to the Duryea Brothers gasoline engine. But Charles Duryea bailed on the partnership shortly thereafter, so Canda decided to go it alone.
Their first car was produced in 1900, and it looked like this. The Auto-Quadricycle was a four-wheeled forecar with a single-cylinder engine. Production continued through 1902, but they offered a more traditional “Spider” runabout in 1901, which probably meant that the Quadricycle was phased out before 1902, when Canda folded.
This car features a De Dion-Bouton single-cylinder engine rated at 1¾ horsepower when new. It’s been part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum since 1957. You can read more about it here.
It’s not every day you get the chance to buy a race car directly from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. This USAC midget was raced Bev Griffis in 1986 to the first female USAC regional victory. Which is pretty awesome. Not sure about the sponsor she had to put up with while doing it though.
The car was built by Don Edumunds of Edmunds Autoresearch, a race car constructor based out of Anaheim, California. He built about 400 of these of various styles between 1963 and 1981. The car spent time in New Zealand back in the ’70s before returning stateside.
Power is from a 2.2-liter Volkswagen flat-four. The car does two things: it goes or it doesn’t. It has direct drive – no shifting here. Just fire it up and give it a push. It’s a compact little historic thing, but it’ll need a little work to get running. Bidding is underway, and the auction ends this weekend. Click here for more info.
This series of the Cadillac Series 75 was produced in 1936 and 1937. Most of them were bodied by Fisher or Fleetwood, but a few escaped GM as bare chassis, including this car, which wears Town Car bodywork by Brunn. This means that the driver’s compartment can be “open” or closed, while the rear passenger compartment is always closed.
Two of these were built for the same guy, but the other one was lost in a fire in the 1950s. In 1966, this, the surviving example of the two, was purchased by its current owner… who was only 16 at the time. Imagine driving a used coachbuilt American classic as your first car.
Power is from a 5.7-liter V8 that was rated at 135 horsepower when new. The car was restored over a period of 50 years. I guess that makes it a “labor of love” because I couldn’t imagine tinkering on the same car for 50 years. At any rate, this one ends on Saturday. Click here for more info.
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.