Alco Tourer

1912 Alco 40HP Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Newport, Rhode Island | October 1, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

The American Locomotive Company (ALCO) was founded in 1901 when seven smaller companies merged together. Based in Schenectady, New York, the company branched out into automobiles in 1909 and remained in the space through 1913. In that time they built some very high-quality automobiles out of their Providence, Rhode Island, factory. Walter Chrysler was the plant manager. Early cars were French Berliets produced under license.

Early on, Alco boasted that 19 months were required to churn out a car. The 40HP was produced between 1909 and 1912, and it’s powered by a 454! Well, it is 454 cubic inches – or 7.4 liters – but it’s an inline-four, not a V8. So the engine is, in a word, gigantic. It produced about 60 horsepower.

This example has had two owners since 1966. Alco built about 5,000 cars and lost money on each of them, thus the company’s short existence. This one is expected to bring between $350,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Duesenberg J-434

1931 Duesenberg Model J Roadster by Packard

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is kind of an odd combination, a Packard-built body on a Duesenberg. Sure, many old cars had their bodies swapped around. It was usually sedans being rebodied as more desirable convertibles once they became objects of pleasure instead of daily transportation.

But in this case, this Model J was fitted with a period Packard roadster body… in period. By Duesenberg. The story is that a Duesenberg branch purchased a brand new roadster body from Packard before it could be installed on one of their cars and fitted it to a J chassis in 1931. It’s said to be one of very few true roadsters on a Model J chassis. And probably the only Packard-bodied car.

The engine is a 265-horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight, and this particular engine was fitted in this chassis in 1989. The pre-sale estimate is $1,400,000-$1,800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

The Last Ol’ Yaller

1963 Ol’ Yaller Mark IX

Offered by Bonhams | Newport, Rhode Island | October 1, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Max Balchowsky opened a shop in Hollywood in the late 1940s and soon found himself modifying European cars with big American V8s. In the early 1950s he was on track in SCCA events. In the mid-to-late ’50s, he built two Old Yeller race cars that were mostly junkyard specials. Disney told him to change the name, so all following cars were called “Ol’ Yaller”s.

This car, number nine, was the final such special built. It features a custom tubular steel space frame and a 6.6-liter Buick V8 rated at 310 horsepower. It was apparently raced by Ronnie Bucknum at some point, and was later crashed.

It was subsequently restored to its original spec. One of the Ol’ Yallers appeared in the Elvis movie Viva Las Vegas (which has some pretty excellent 1950s car spotting scenes). These really never change hands – and this one is being offered out of the Petersen Museum collection. It is expected to fetch $150,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Excalibur Sedan

1988 Excalibur Series V Sedan

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | September 25, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

Excalibur sort of invented the neo classic. The first Excaliburs were actually produced in 1952 and looked nothing like this. They were sports cars based on a Henry J chassis. The whole endeavor was a series of false starts. The ones we all know first went on sale in the mid-1960s, and they remained in production under a few different corporate umbrellas up until about 1990. They spawned countless look-a-likes, such as Zimmer, Clenet, Tiffany, and more.

Styling was originally reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz SSK and was penned by Brooks Stevens for Studebaker. Studebaker went out of business, so SS Automobiles was set up in Milwaukee in 1965. That company gave way to Excalibur Automobile Corporation in 1986 after a bankruptcy. It was owned by the Stevens family, and that’s where the Series V came from. It was offered as a sedan and limousine.

This car is powered by a V8, likely from Ford. Excaliburs aren’t something you see everyday, but the sedan versions are especially uncommon. This one is expected to sell for between $25,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Silver Ghost London-Edinburgh

1913 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost London-to-Edinburgh Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Newport, Rhode Island | October 1, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

The Silver Ghost was the first giant Rolls-Royce. It’s the car that put them at the top of the heap when it came to luxury and engineering. It was produced between 1907 and 1926, and the company churned out 7,874 examples in that time.

This car is powered by a 7.4-liter inline-six rated at 40/50 horsepower. 1913 was the first year that a four-speed manual transmission was offered. The “London to Edinburgh” name is tied to a test the company undertook in ~1907 when they drove a 40/50HP (before the Silver Ghost name came about) from London to Edinburgh in top gear the whole way, stopping at Brooklands on the way back to hit 78 mph.

The London-Edinburgh model specified an enlarged fuel tank and radiator, lightweight pistons, and an increased compression ratio. Rolls-Royce sold 188 examples in this spec, and this is one of very few with a four-speed gearbox.

The original coachwork (a Torpedo Tourer by Connaught) was removed during WWI and replaced by a wagon body for use during the war. The car was sold at a military surplus auction at the end of the war. It later made its way to Australia where it was rebodied as a tourer. Later in the decade, the car was used as a tow truck before being purchased by a Silver Ghost collector, who rebodied it in 1964 with the current body, which was originally fitted to a Sunbeam.

It was restored between 2001 and 2017 and now looks pretty menacing. The solid black disc covers over the black wire wheels are the best touch of them all. The pre-sale estimate is $1,450,000-$1,850,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Sunbeam Alpine Mk I

1954 Sunbeam Alpine Mk I

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | September 16, 2021

1954 Sunbeam Alpine Mk I

The first Alpine was sort of a sporty two-door roadster version of the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 sedan. It was introduced in 1953, and a Mk III version was also produced before production wrapped in 1955. No, there was not a Mk II. The Alpine was reintroduced in 1959, and the V8 version of that car would be known as the Tiger.

This Mk I is powered by a 2.3-liter inline-four that produced 97 horsepower when new. The bodies were by Thrupp & Maberly, and just 1,582 were produced between the Mk I and III (1,192 were Mk I). Of that grand total, 961 were exported to North America.

This example has been restored since 2006 and now carries a pre-sale estimate of $59,000-$63,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $59,077.

Lagonda 2-Litre

1929 Lagonda 2-Litre Low-Chassis Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 18, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Lagonda was acquired by Aston Martin in 1947. But prior to that, the company produced some fairly sporty cars, starting with 1925’s 2-Litre model. A Lagonda won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1935.

The 2-Litre was updated in 1927 and could later be had with a supercharger. Yes, this green tourer looks pretty much just like a period Bentley, but it is in fact a Lagonda. Shockingly, Bonhams has four nearly identical cars all up for auction the same day. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four that was tweaked in period for racing use.

This particular car is one of the four prepped by Fox & Nicholl for the 1929 endurance racing season. The competition history for this chassis includes:

  • 1929 Brooklands Double 12 – 18th (with Frank King and Howard Wolfe)
  • 1929 24 Hours of Le Mans – 18th, DNF (with Tim Rose-Richard and Brian Lewis)

It’s been part of the same collection since 1960, and it has the highest pre-sale estimate of the four Fox & Nicholl-prepped Lagondas in this sale at $410,000-$550,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Tatra 603 II

1974 Tatra 603 II

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot Racecourse, U.K. | September 25, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

The Tatra 603 was introduced in 1956 as a more modern take on the company’s streamlined cars of earlier decades. That car was supplanted by the 2-603 in 1962, and the second generation of that car, the 603 II arrived in 1968. It lasted through 1975.

It’s powered by a rear-mounted, air-cooled 2.5-liter V8. Other updates for this model included four-wheel disc brakes and a seating re-arrangement to hold five people. Most of these were sold to officials in countries friendly with Czechoslovakia. You know, all of the ones the U.S. didn’t get along with.

Production totals are unclear, but this car was once owned by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. It was rebuilt by the Tatra factory in the 1990s and is now expected to sell for between $38,000-$52,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

La Dawri Conquest

1962 La Dawri Conquest

Offered by Mecum | Dallas, Texas | September 8-11, 2021

Photo – Mecum

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.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $25,000.

Stafford Special

1936 Stafford Single Seater

Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Duxford, U.K. | September 8, 2021

Photo – H&H Auctioneers

This one-off single-seater special is sort of like the British version of an early-1930s “junk formula” Indy car. Except that instead of having history at Indianapolis, this car has history at Brooklands. But first, the story of its creation.

It was built by Rodney Stafford between 1936 and 1938 utilizing a specially built Blaker Engineering Company chassis and a supercharged 1.5-liter Meadows inline-four. The aluminum body work was shaped in the aerodynamics of the day and is pure function.

It competed at Brooklands, before the war broke out, against the likes of Bugattis, Maseratis, and Altas. Its competition history picked back up after the war and continued throughout the 1940s. This one-of-one period race car carries a pre-sale estimate of $90,000-$115,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.