The Jet Age was about more than just planes. Jet-inspired styling was all over cars of the era. Different companies even teased jet-powered cars. But none of those companies moved the needle more than Chrysler did with their Turbine Car.
The body was designed by Ghia, and the car was meant to be a public-road test program to study, I guess, the real-world viability of this whacky concept. Kind of like how autonomous Volvos are running over people in Arizona in today’s world.
Power is from a Chrysler-designed turbine engine that weighed 410 pounds and made 130 horsepower at 36,000 rpm (!) and 425 lb-ft of torque. The car could do 120 mph – and it could run on just about any fuel aside from leaded gasoline, including diesel and cooking oil.
They built 55 of these between 1963 and 1964. 50 of those were lent to the general public on three-month leases that wrapped up in 1966. Much like GM did with their EV1, Chrysler had 45 of the cars destroyed at the end of the program. Nine cars ended up being saved, all of which still exist. Only two are in private hands, with this being one of them.
These are cars that don’t change hands often. This one went from Chrysler to the Harrah collection, stopped at Tom Monaghan’s collection, and then to the current collection in the 1980s. It is operational but hasn’t been used much. This is a rare chance to get a car that is impossible. Impossible that it was built. Impossible that it works. And impossible to find. Click here for more info.
1934 Cadillac Series 452D Aerodynamic Coupe by Fleetwood
Offered by Mecum | Glendale, Arizona | March 18-20, 2021
Wow. Cadillac built V16-powered cars for 10 years between 1930 and 1940. The Series 452D was built for 1934, and quite a few body styles were offered, perhaps none more dramatic than this “Aerodynamic Coupe” designed and built by Fleetwood. Mecum refers to this as “the world’s first fastback coupe.”
That’s right, this is a two-door coupe. On a 154″ wheelbase. That’s 20 inches longer than a 2021 Chevrolet Suburban, which has two additional doors. This car does have a spacious rear passenger area, though. But still, ye gods.
The 7.4-liter (452ci) V16 made 169 horsepower, and the car could hit 100 mph. This is one of America’s greatest-ever cars. And this is perhaps its best body style. Not to mention, it’s purple.
So how rare is it? Well, for a combination of 1934 and 1935, Cadillac produced just 150 examples of the V16. Just three Aerodynamic Coupes were built. This one spent a decade in the Blackhawk Collection before being purchased by its current owner in 2007. Mecum is not auctioning this car but is sort of “presenting it for sale” at their Glendale sale. If you have to ask how expensive it is, you cannot afford it. Click here for more info.
This prototype is about as far from a base Lancia Fulvia as you can get, style-wise. Various versions of the Fulvia were built between 1963 and 1976, including a very boxy sedan, a sporty coupe, and a Zagato-bodied Sport model.
This car actually began as a Rallye 1.6 HF model that was later modified, with updated styling by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia. It exists, apparently, by Alejandro de Tomaso wanted Ford to buy Lancia so that de Tomaso could become Lancia’s CEO. In order to do this, he needed to convince Ford that Lancia could be a Ferrari competitor.
No one was going to mistake this car’s 1.6-liter V4 for a Ferrari V12, however. Its modest 113 horsepower was not going to set any speed records, although that didn’t stop the project from setting its eyes on taking this car to Le Mans. But none of that ever happened, as Fiat heard about the plan and scooped up Lancia before anyone else had a chance.
So now this car exists as a one-off “what if” sort of thing. It is being sold through RM’s private sales, with an asking price of about $168,000. Click here for more info.
Well here’s a car I never thought I’d get to feature. Bruce Mohs had his hand in a lot of various ventures, including his namesake seaplane company (though it is unclear if he ever made a seaplane). In 1967, he introduced a wild thing of a car called the Ostentatienne Opera Sedan. It was based on an International truck and was crazy expensive. Only a prototype was built (and it survives).
In 1972, he introduced the Safarikar. It was also based on an International, using a Travelall frame, aluminum panels, and an exterior covered in padded Naugahyde. The radiator surround is cartoonish, and the car features a retractable multi-piece hardtop. The doors just slide straight out (so the people in the car could hunt while moving, thus the safari part of the name). Seating is from three abreast buckets up front and a rear bench that folds into a bed. Power is from a 6.4-liter V8.
Three of these were built, and two are known to survive. The story of this car is that it was found in a parking lot in Georgia. It was later restored over a period of four years. It’s now for sale in St. Louis. The price? Well, it’s less than $350,000 if you were worried about being able to afford it. Click here for more info.
For Sale by Dragone Classic Motorcars | Orange, Connecticut
This is a car with quite a few names. I’ll start at the beginning, and you can draw your own conclusions as to what it should be called (I just went with what the dealership selling the car calls it). The Ghia and Chrysler connection of the 1950s is well documented. Chrysler spent a lot of money designing fanciful show cars in the ’50s, with styling done by Ghia (well, styling by Exner, execution by Ghia).
Ghia showed a prototype dubbed “Gilda” in 1955. Then there was Dart concept was styled by Exner in 1956, and a second version called the Diablo also appeared in ’56. Then, in 1957, Ghia showed another evolution, called the Superdart. It was reportedly created for Chrysler, but there doesn’t appear to be any Chrysler badging on this car.
Power is from a 400 horsepower Hemi V8, and the car rides on a Chrysler 300C chassis. It debuted at the 1957 Turin Motor Show and later ended up in the U.S., where it was purchased by Dual Motors, who showed the car as a Dual-Ghia prototype. Most of the internet seems to just call this car a 1958 Dual-Ghia Prototype. Which is what it was last shown as. But it’s not what it was called originally.
A private owner purchased it shortly after Dual-Ghia’s 1958 New York show appearance and actually put nearly 40,000 miles on it over nearly two decades. It’s said to be original and unrestored. Be it a Chrysler, a Ghia, or a Dual-Ghia, it remains as a fantastic piece of ’50s styling excellence. It’s for sale in Connecticut with no price listed. Click here for more info.
Eric Broadley’s Lola Cars was a long-time race car manufacturer based out of the U.K. They built open-wheel and sports cars between 1958 and 2012. In the 1970s, one of their big focuses was prototype sports cars, which included fantastic-looking racers like this one.
The T290 series was introduced in 1972 and was produced for a few years in six different variants. In all, 108 examples of the series were built, including this T296, which was made for the 1976 season. It features an aluminum monocoque and was built to accept four-cylinder engines.
This was the first of eight T296 examples produced and was purchased new by Mader Racing Components. It’s competition history includes:
1977 24 Hours of Le Mans – 52nd, DNF (with Georges Morand, Christian Blanc, and Frederic Alliot)
1978 24 Hours of Le Mans – 40th, DNF (with Morand, Blanc, and Eric Vaugnat)
1979 24 Hours of Le Mans – 48th, DNF (with Vaugnat, Daniel Laurent, and Jacques Boillat)
It’s competitive career ended after the 1980 season, but before the decade was out, the car was active again on the historic circuit. It featured a Ford-Cosworth engine in-period, but is now powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter BMW M12 inline-four. This car a green card into almost any historic automotive event, and it can now be yours. Click here for more info.
The XK150, which was produced from 1957 through 1961, was the final iteration of Jaguar’s first post-war sports car, the XK120. The XK120 of 1948 featured a 3.4-liter straight-six designed by William Heynes, and that engine remained in various production vehicles through 1992 (!).
The XK150, like the cars before it, was offered in three body-style configurations: coupe, drophead coupe, or roadster. It could also be had in base, SE, or S form. The S and SE cars were either powered by a 3.4-liter inline-six or a larger 3.8-liter inline-six. This car has the latter, which was rated at 265 horsepower with triple SU carburetors – the most of any XK120/140/150 variant.
This roadster, or OTS (open two-seater) in Jaguar parlance, is finished in cream over red and was restored in 1998. This is best of all of the early XKs, and it’s now offered by private sale. Click here for more info.
The World Sportscar Championship was a serious place to be in the 1970s. Some of the most legendary race cars of all time came out of manufacturer desperation to win in this series. Its golden era was roughly between 1966 and 1981, when Group C appeared and everything changed.
So it’s no wonder that Alfa Romeo’s “33” line of endurance racing prototypes was updated fairly frequently between 1966 and 1977. The Tipo 33/3 was introduced in 1967, and by 1969 they realized they could do better. They entered the Tipo 33 TT 3 beginning in 1971.
Differences included a steel space-frame chassis and redesigned cylinder heads for the 3.0-liter V8 that upped output to 440 horsepower (at a shrieking 9,800 rpm). This car was a factory Autodelta racer, and it’s competition history includes:
1972 24 Hours of Le Mans – 4th (with Andrea de Adamich and Nino Vaccarella)
The car was sold in 1974 to a privateer and later passed through a number of collections. It raced at the Le Mans Classic in 2012 and was last on track there in 2018. Alfa shifted to 12-cylinders after this, making the 33 TT 3 the last great V8-powered Alfa prototype racer. It can now be yours, and more info is available here.
AC’s first post-war product was the 2-Litre, a kind of frumpy-looking thing using an engine that dated back to 1922. In 1953, they decided to put a sports car into production that was based on a John Tojeiro design. That same dated 2.0-liter engine was the initial underhood offering, but things soon got more exciting.
Beginning in 1956, AC offered a 2.0-liter inline-six from Bristol that made 120 horsepower. Sadly, this engine was also based on a pre-war design, but it made the car capable of 116 mph, which really upped AC’s sports car cred. They won their class at Le Mans and were popular on the sports car racing circuit. By 1961, a Ford-based 2.6-liter inline-six was offered for a short time. AC also offered a coupe version called the Aceca.
The Ace ceased production in 1963, but by that point, an American called Carroll Shelby had found the car and stuffed a V8 into it and called it the Cobra. The Ace name would also reappear in the 1990s on a different car.
In all, 463 Aces were built with a Bristol powerplant, the most common of the three engines offered. But it’s still rare, and it’s still “one of those cars.” It’s sports car royalty, and it’s for sale by Bonhams for $423,164. Click here for more info.
For Sale by Classic Automobiles Worldwide Ltd | London, U.K.
The Jensen CV8 was one of the fastest four-seat cars of the early 1960s. A two-door grand tourer, the CV8 was produced in three series between 1962 and 1966. Only 500 were produced, all but two of which were hardtop coupes.
The factory produced two non-coupes: a targa-like Sedanca and a single convertible, which is the car you see here. This car started life as a Mark II chassis and received some of the Mark III touches before it was completed.
Power is from a 6.3-liter Chrysler V8 that made 330 horsepower. The car is now offered in London and has a long detailed story that you can read more of here.