Frazer Nash Le Mans

1955 Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Chicester, England | March 21, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Archibald Frazer-Nash built some really cool cars under his own name (he also imported and attached his name to some BMWs). One such car was the Frazer Nash Targia Florio, a sleek convertible built between 1952 and 1954. The company experimented with putting a hard top on one of the Targa Florios and the Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupe was born (not to be confused with the Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica).

The Le Mans Coupe was built between 1953 and 1956. It was the first Frazer Nash closed-top car offered and it featured a 2.0-liter straight-six making 100 or 140 horsepower. This car was actually prepped for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and competed there in 1959. It was driven by William Wilks and John Dashwood, who crashed the car and they were a DNF in 47th place. It was the final race for Frazer Nash at Le Mans.

The car was repaired and has had a number of owners of the years. It is in great condition and is very rare in that only nine were built and this is one of three to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It should sell for between $850,000-$1,00,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $695,854.


1959 DB Panhard HBR5 Coupe

Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 5, 2014

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

Charles Deutsch and Rene Bonnet began building cars together in 1938. Based near Paris, the 24 Hours of Le Mans became their goal, and in the 1950s, their cars competed there numerous times. This very car raced there three different years.

Their HBR series of cars were produced between 1954 and 1959 and they built several hundred of them with different engines available. This car has a very unique – almost aircraft-like – two-panel windscreen. It had a few engines over the years (depending on which class it was competing in at Le Mans) and was last raced with an 848cc flat-twin. It’s competition history includes:

  • 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans – 31st, DNF (with Alejandro de Tomaso and Colin Davis)
  • 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans – 19th (with Robert Bourharde and Jean-Francois Jaeger)
  • 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans – 21st (with Edgar Rollin and Rene Bartholoni)

This is a three-time factory entry at the 24 Hours. It was active in hillclimbs until 1970 and has been restored to its distinctive “Vitrine” two-windshield configuration. It should sell for between $165,000-$215,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $160,860.

Rene Bonnet Le Mans

1963 Rene Bonnet Le Mans Grand Luxe

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | March 16, 2014

Photo - Osenat

Photo – Osenat

French sports cars in the 1950s were from a limited number of companies. And for whatever reason, a couple of them ended up as Rene Bonnet-branded cars. Rene Bonnet was a race car driver who started building his own cars in 1936. In 1946, he co-founded Deutsch et Bonnet (aka DB). In 1961, Charles Deutsch went his separate way and Automobiles Rene Bonnet was formed.

The Le Mans was a sports model introduced by DB in 1959. From 1962 through 1963 (production actually ended in 1962), the Le Mans was marketed as a Rene Bonnet. His version used a 1.1-liter straight-four making 70 horsepower – the most powerful version of the Le Mans ever offered.

The Le Mans was built as a convertible or a coupe and the Grand Luxe was the expensive, loaded version with a removable hard top – which this car has. Only 232 Le Mans’ were built between both manufacturers. This could be one of as few as 59 built under the Bonnet name. It should sell for between $35,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Osenat’s sale.

Update: Not sold.

Silk Cut Jaguar

1987 Jaguar XJR-8

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 14, 2013

1987 Jaguar XJR-8

The XJR-line of Jaguar sports racing cars was a nine-year program that Jaguar initiated (with the help of the race car specialists at Tom Walkinshaw Racing) with the aim of dominating both the World Sportscar Championship and the IMSA Camel GTP Series. The cars were impressive – winning Le Mans twice – and the experience led Jaguar to produce two other-worldly road-going supercars: the XJ220 and XJR-15.

The XJR-8 was the fourth iteration and it was focused solely on the WSC. The Silk Cut livery began in 1986 and was a staple of Jaguar endurance cars through the early 1990s. The difference between and XJR-6 and the XJR-8 is mostly engine-related, as they share the same basic structure underneath. The engine is a 7.0-liter V-12 making in the neighborhood of 750 horsepower.

The racing resume of this car includes:

  • 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans – 5th (with Eddie Cheever, Raul Boesel, and Jan Lammers)
  • 1987 1000km Spa – 1st (with Martin Brundle, Johnny Dumfries, & Boesel)

Raul Boesel would go on to win the 1987 WSC Driver’s championship, with TWR-Jaguar winning the Teams Championship. After it’s racing career, the car was acquired from the TWR team by an unnamed racing driver who has owned it since. It has been freshened and is ready to run. Apparently, only four were built (or at least run by this team that had factory support). It should sell for between $1,400,000-$1,900,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams at Goodwood.

Update: Sold for a mysterious sum of less than $1.4 million.

S/N: 3.87

The 6th Austin-Healey Built

1953 Austin-Healey 100 Special Test Car

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | July 12, 2013

1953 Austin-Healey 100 Special Test Car

You’re looking at one of the first Austin-Healeys built. It was the sixth Austin-Healey built and it was one of several pre-production cars that were to be used “testing” on famous race tracks all over Europe. They are referred to as Special Test Cars and, while they look nearly identical to production cars, they were lighter (thanks to a lot of aluminium) and faster on the track. Only four Special Test Cars were built. The first three were eventually road-registered. This car has always remained in race/testing guise.

The engine began life in Austin’s “experimental shop.” The 2.7-liter straight-four received a special camshaft, a lighter flywheel and spruced up carburetors. Power was more than the production car’s 90 horses – it was rated at 103 for Le Mans. This car also has a significant competition history:

  • 1953 Mille Miglia – 417th (seriously), DNF (with Bert Hadley and Bertie Mercer – yes, two people named Bert shared this car. The 1950s were a different time)
  • 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans – 12th overall, 2nd in class (with Maurice Gatsonides and Johnny Lockett)

After Le Mans, the car had its appearance changed to that of a road car and was used in testing for the media (although they didn’t know they were testing a lightweight racing special all gussied up to look like a road car). Later, it was used to test new braking systems for future Healey models and it was also used as a personal car by the Healey family. The first private owner acquired the car in 1962.

It passed through many owners before it was restored in the mid-1990s in Australia. That restoration was “refreshed” in 2009 and was painted to look like it did at Le Mans in 1953 – and it’s a wonderful color. This is the only Special Test Car that looks anything like it did in 1953 – it has almost all of its original bodywork and parts. It has never been molested, wrecked or altered. It is super rare and very important in the world of Healeys and it should command it in price with an estimate between $780,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ Goodwood sale lineup.

Update: Sold $1,186,763.

Austin-Healey Le Mans Prototype

1966 Austin-Healey Le Mans Prototype

Offered by Coys | Ascot, U.K. | April 27, 2013

1966 Austin-Healey Le Mans Prototype

Donald Healey remained involved with Austin-Healey until 1968 while the company continued to produce cars until 1972. In 1965, Mr. Healey wanted to go racing at Le Mans, so he envisioned, designed and constructed this Prototype race car to do just that.

The car doesn’t really resemble other Healeys although it was based upon the Austin-Healey Sprite (or so says the Le Mans results from the year in which Healey took on the famous 24 Hours with a two car effort). The engine is a 1.3-liter straight-four from the BMC parts bin that has been tuned for all-out performance and puts out 140 horsepower.

Its race history includes:

  • 1966 12 Hours of Sebring – 18th overall, 1st in class (with Paul Hawkins and Timo Makinen)
  • 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans – 18th, DNF (with Paddy Hopkirk and Andrew Hedges)
  • 1970 24 Hours of Daytona – 34th, DNF (with Williams Harris and Robert Lewis)

During it’s post-competition life, the car has been restored and re-painted in its 1966 Sebring color: DayGlo orange. It has also been brought up to current FIA specification as to make itself eligible for historic racing events. This is one of two such models built and it is expected to bring between $300,000-$335,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Coys at Ascot Racecourse.

Gulf GT40

1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight

Offered by RM Auctions | Monterey California | August 17, 2012

The genesis of the Ford GT40 is a well-known story. Henry Ford II wanted Ferrari. Enzo said no. Ford set out to destroy them on the track – and succeeded brilliantly. The Gulf-Mirage story isn’t quite as popular, but it’s just as interesting.

While the GT40 was conceived and designed in Dearborn, it was built in England by Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV). After the 1967 season, Ford cancelled the project, effectively ending FAV. A number of road-going models (as well as race cars) had already been produced.

The head of FAV was John Wyer, a former race engineer and team manager. He was actually the team owner of the winning 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans team – when Carroll Shelby, head of the GT40 race team, was driving. Anyway, when FAV was scuttled, Wyer stepped up and reformed it as John Wyer Automotive Engineering (JWAE).

One of the customers of the road-going cars happened to be Grady Davis, Vice-President of Gulf Oil. He liked the car and thought it might be a good platform to carry the Gulf Oil name in competition. He funded JWAE to build race cars specifically for the purpose. These cars were badged as “Mirage”s.

Wyer based the first Mirage prototype (the M1) very closely on the, unsuccessful in competition, Mk I GT40. The car you see here was the third of three lightweight Mirage M1 race cars built. The Mirage M1 was competing against the very successful Ford’s Mk II and Mk IV GT40s in 1967. When the 1968 rules were announced, Ford pulled out of the GT40 project and it was left to privateer teams. Wyer found a curious loophole: prototypes would be limited to 3.0-liters while sportscars (with at least 50 road version having been constructed) were allowed 5.0-liters. Wyer took the Mirage M1 cars back to Slough, where JWAE was based, and converted two of them to GT40s.

Now Wyer had quite a car on his hands. These “Mk I” GT40s (built after the Mk II, III and IVs) won the 1968 and 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans. The competition history of this car, Mirage M.10003/Ford GT40 P/1074, is as follows:

  • 1967 1000km Spa (as a Mirage M1) – 1st (with Jacky Ickx and Dick Thompson)
  • 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans – 47th, DNF (with Ickx and Brian Muir)
  • 1967 BOAC 500 (Brands Hatch) – DNF (with Thompson and Pedro Rodríguez)
  • 1967 1000km Paris at Montlhéry – 1st (with Ickx and Thompson)
  • 1968 Daytona 24 Hours (as GT40) – 33rd, DNF (with Paul Hawkins and David Hobbs)
  • 1968 12 Hours of Sebring – 28th (with Hawkins and Hobbs)
  • 1968 1000km Monza – 1st (with Hawkins and Hobbs)
  • 1968 1000km Nürburgring – 6th (with Hobbs and Brian Redman)
  • 1968 Six Hours of Watkins Glen – 2nd (with Hawkins and Hobbs)
  • 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans – 34th, DNF (with Hawkins and Hobbs)
  • 1968 1000km of Paris at Montlhéry – 8th (with Jean Blaton & Hughes de Fierlandt)
  • 1969 BOAC 500 (Brands Hatch) – 5th (with Hobbs and Mike Hailwood)

Perhaps, one of this car’s more interesting assignments was that of camera car for the 1971 film Le Mans starring Steve McQueen. The roof was cut away and heavy 1960s-era 35mm cameras were installed. The car was driven at speeds up to 150 mph with a daring camera operator in the passenger seat. The car made runs of the pit lane prior to the start of the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans for filming. Whether or not it ran during the race, however, is unknown.

The car passed through a few hands, being reconstructed as a GT40 in the 1970s and restored again in 1983. The most recent restoration was completed in 2002. Behind the driver sits a 440 horsepower Ford 289 V8. And all around the driver shines the brilliant blue/marigold Gulf colors that gives this car away as something truly special. The original Mirage M1 bodywork is included with the car.

If a Ford GT40 is a car you feel you must own, there is perhaps no other example, save for the Le Mans-winning Mk IV sitting in the Henry Ford Museum, that you should rather have than this. RM listed the estimate as “available upon request” – hinting that if you need even inquire, it is out of your reach. Expect it to go for millions. For the complete description, click here. And for more from RM in Monterey, click here.

Update: Sold $11,000,000.

Peugeot 905 Evo

1991 Peugeot 905 Evo 1B

Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 7, 2012

Photo – Artcurial

Earlier this week we talked about Audi’s rivalry with the Peugeot 908. Say hello to the 908’s older brother: the Peugeot 905. Built to the World Sportscar Championship’s new-for-1991 rules, the 905 was a little slow at first, being beaten regularly by Jaguar’s mighty XJR-14. It also suffered from reliability problems. And it was ugly.

For 1992, Peugeot made some revisions and the car was much more competitive (and attractive) – sweeping the podium at Le Mans and winning the WSC outright. Unfortunately for Peugeot (you know, because of all that money invested), the WSC ceased to exist in 1993. But that didn’t stop them from sweeping the podium at the 24 Hours yet again.

This car, chassis EV13, debuted in 1991 and was upgraded to Evo 1B specifications later on. It has a 3.5-liter V10 making something like 715 horsepower at a screaming 12,500 rpm. The carbon fiber chassis was produced by aircraft manufacturer Dassault. Eight of these machines were built. Here is the competition history for this one:

  • 1991 430km of Suzuka – 1st (with Mauro Baldi and Philippe Alliot)
  • 1991 430km of Monza – 11th, DNF (with Keke Rosberg and Yannick Dalmas)
  • 1991 430km of Silverstone – 6th (with Baldi and Alliot)
  • 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans – 36th, DNF (with Baldi, Alliot and Jean-Pierre Jabouille)
  • 1991 430km of Nurburgring – 11th, DNF (with Baldi and Alliot)
  • 1991 430km of Magny-Cours – 2nd (with Baldi and Alliot)
  • 1991 430km of Mexico City – 2nd (with Baldi and Alliot)
  • 1991 430km of Autopolis – 4th (with Baldi and Alliot)
  • 1992 500km of Silverstone – 8th, DNF (with Baldi and Alliot)
  • 1992 24 Hours of Le Mans – 3rd (with Baldi, Alliot and Jabouille)
  • 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans – 3rd (with Baldi, Alliot and Jabouille)

This was an awesome race car in the early 1990s. And it would be an awesome race car to take on the historical circuit today. You can do it – for somewhere between $875,000-$1,500,000. For more information click here. And for more from Artcurial at Le Mans, click here.

Update: Sold $833,855.

Ligier JS2

1974 Ligier JS2

Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 7, 2012

Guy Ligier began his career as a rugby player before he went sportscar racing in the 1960s, which led to a brief Formula One ride with a privateer team. He moved on to his own race team but after his partner and friend, Jo Schlesser, was killed racing one of their Honda F1 cars, Ligier retired from driving and focused on building cars instead. The “JS” prefix is so named for Schlesser.

The JS2 was the second model made by the company and it was introduced in 1971. They were produced for both the road and the track – with racing being the focus (the Ligier name would appear on Formula One cars for 20 years). Only 280 copies of the JS2 were built. The one you see here is a race car – and an important one.

I like the “competition history” format we’ve used on other posts, so I’m doing it here again, too – even though the history is somewhat short:

  • 1974 Tour de France Automobile – 1st (with Gérard Larrousse, Jean-Pierre Nicolas and Johnny Rives)
  • 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans – 2nd (with Jean-Louis Lafosse and Guy Chasseuil)

The engine in this car is a 3.0-liter Cosworth DFV V8 making 460 horsepower and is one of only three factory JS2 race cars built and raced by Ligier. Only two survive and this one has more competition success than the other. However, it has been a while since this car was last used. As such, it is being sold “in need of an overhaul” and comes with a variety of spares.

There are other rare Ligers at this sale – you can find them here. This one is expected to bring between $935,000-$1,350,000. For more information, click here.

Update: Did not sell.

Audi R10 TDI

2007 Audi R10 TDI

Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 7, 2012

Oh boy. This is one of my all-time favorite cars. A few months ago we featured this car’s largest rival – the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. The Peugeot is very pretty and very fast. But it did not dominate everything quite like the Audi R10 did. That Peugeot was the first 908 to come up for public sale and this is the first Audi R10 to come up for auction.

The R10 TDI was introduced to replace the other-worldly Audi R8 (a car that only lost 16 races in seven years. It never lost at Le Mans with factory backing). What was shocking, was that the R10 was diesel-powered. Only a handful of diesel-powered cars had ever competed at Le Mans (1949, 1950 and 2004 all saw one diesel entry). But for a powerhouse team to switch its power plant after being so dominant? How would it play out?

Splendidly. The R10 never lost a race at Le Mans before it was replaced by its successor, the R15. The engine is a 5.5-liter diesel V12 making somewhere around 650 horsepower. Torque is monstrous at 811 lb/ft. The R10 was capable of great things in the right hands. It was the first diesel to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring. One particular memory of these cars occurred at the 2008 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, when Allan McNish wrecked the car on the warmup lap on the way to the grid. The team had to replace most of the front end of the car. It basically started the race two laps down. Co-drivers Emanuele Pirro and Dindo Capello put in solid drives throughout the 1000km event. But a determined drive by McNish in the final stint gave the team the win. It was one of the most incredible performances from a driver I’ve ever seen. McNish is a god among men in Audi prototypes. But I have to admit the car probably had something to do with it.

Anyway, the competition history of this car (chassis #201) is as follows:

  • 2007 Grand Prix of Mosport – 4th (with Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro)
  • 2007 Petit Le Mans – 17th (with Lucas Luhr and Werner)
  • 2007 Monterey Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca – 3rd (with Mike Rockenfeller and Werner)
  • 2008 12 Hours of Sebring – 3rd, and 1st in class (with Rinaldo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen)
  • 2008 1000km of Nurburgring – 3rd (with Alexandre Prémat and Rockenfeller)
  • 2008 1000km of Silverstone – 4th (with Prémat and Rockenfeller)
  • 2009 1000km of Catalunya – 27th (with Michael Krumm, Charles Zwolsman Jr. and Andrew Meyrick)
  • 2009 1000km of Spa – 6th (with Narain Karthikeyan, Meyrick and Zwolsman)
  • 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans – 7th (with Karthikeyan, Zwolsman and André Lotterer)
  • 2009 1000km of Algarve – 27th, DNF (with Karthikeyan, Meyrick and Zwolsman)
  • 2009 1000km of Nurburgring – 4th (with Karthikeyan, Meyrick and Zwolsman)
  • 2009 1000km of Silverstone – 6th (with Karthikeyan, Meyrick and Zwolsman)
  • 2009 1000km of Okayama – 5th in race one and 6th in race two (with Christijan Albers, Matteo Cressoni and Hideki Noda)
  • 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans – 32nd, DNF (with Christian Bakkerud, Oliver Jarvis and Albers)

Yeah, that’s quite the history. The list of names that have driven this car is amazing – legends of contemporary motorsport. I really wanted that Peugeot 908 when it went up for auction. But my want for this car exceeds the Peugeot by a factor so big I can’t even describe it. These are amazing machines. And they don’t come cheap. The pre-sale estimate for this car is $1,625,000-$2,000,000 – which is nothing as it cost Audi about $15 million per year to operate this team. For more information, click here. And for more from Artcurial at Le Mans, click here.

Update: Did not sell.