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.

Frazer Vagabond

1951 Frazer Vagabond

Offered by Mecum | Chicago, Illinois | October 21-23, 2021

Photo – Mecum

Frazer had a short existence as a marque: just five years from 1947 through 1951. The brand was supposed to be an upmarket Kaiser, with prices just a few hundred dollars more than their Kaiser counterparts. Joseph Frazer left the company in 1949, and Kaiser Motors didn’t find the marque to be all that profitable, so it was shuttered after 1951. The final model year consisted of leftover bodies from the ’49 and ’50 model years.

As sort of homely and 1950s-American-generic as this car may look, it is actually spectacular. The Vagabond is one of the coolest American cars of the 1950s. Why? Well it isn’t the 115-horsepower 3.7-liter inline-six. It’s the fact that it is five-door hatchback, or utility sedan, as it was called.

Photo – Mecum

Look at that. The Vagabond (Kaiser made one too) featured two rows of bench seating. The rear folded flat and was lined with wood slats on the rear to match the cargo area floor, which is accessed via a folding tailgate and an upper rear hatch. The left-rear door is blocked by the spare tire. Funky.

Only 2,951 Vagabonds were built by Frazer for 1951. And this one looks great. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

SSC Ultimate Aero

2007 SSC Ultimate Aero TT

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo – Mecum

If you’ve haven’t been following the drama of SSC’s current Tuatara supercar we’ll fill you in: there was a video online in 2020 of the car purportedly breaking the 300-mph barrier. People called it bogus, and very recently SSC admitted it did not actually happen. The company’s first model was the Aero, which debuted in 2004. We featured the second one of those that was built before it was withdrawn from a previous auction.

The upped the Aero to the Ultimate Aero in 2005 and continued piling power on with 2007’s Ultimate Aero TT. This is the first of those built. It is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.3-liter V8 that was rated at 1,183 horsepower. The top speed was 257 mph, which made it the fastest “production” car at the time.

Mecum notes that 24 were produced between 2006 and 2007. I’m not sure what model(s) that number covers, or even if it is true. Remember that they announced the Tuatara in 2011 but it is unclear if customer deliveries have begun as of 2021.

All that said, this is a pretty cool American supercar. It’s like a 21st Century Vector. It is expected to sell for between $600,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $400,000.

Duesenberg J-225

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo – Mecum

The Convertible Sedan produced by the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, seems like one of the most common Duesenberg Model J body styles. But they only actually made 31 of them. Although… I guess that is a lot, considering the limited production of the Model J.

The Model J, of course, is powered by a 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. This example was delivered new to the president of Hammermill Paper in Pennsylvania, and it was next owned by a Sears executive. The car was on museum display as early as 1973.

Although the pictures don’t really show it, the car is finished in dark green, and it is excellent. You can read more about this seven-figure car here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $2,365,000.

Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo – Mecum

This is a pretty iconic concept car from the 2000s. Or really from any time period. In 2004, retro-inspired design was all the rage, and Ford was hitting it hard with the likes of the 2005 Mustang and the GT revival. Although Ford was not the original manufacturer of the Shelby Cobra, they decided to reimagine the Cobra for the 21st century anyway. And that said, it did supply the engines and had a close relationship with Carroll Shelby himself.

Carroll Shelby was also involved with this project, although to what degree I do not know. The styling does look vaguely Cobra-ish. The aluminum chassis was derived from that of the GT, and power is from a 6.4-liter V10 rated at 645 horsepower. Ford only produced four of these engines. So don’t break it.

The car is said to be capable of 207 mph but is limited to 100 mph. It was 100% intended for production. In fact, this car was so ready to go that this, the only prototype built, is plated for the street. It was purchased by its current owner, a former Ford VP of product development, in 2017. No pre-sale estimate is available, but this should be one of the stars of the show at Mecum Monterey. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,640,000.

BMW Z8

2001 BMW Z8

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 14, 2021

Photo – Mecum

The Z8 was BMW’s retro-inspired halo car that was sold between 2000 and 2002, with a revised Alpina Roadster available for 2003. The car was styled after BMW’s legendary 507 (one of, if not the first, car this site featured was a 507).

Power is from a 4.9-liter V8 rated at 395 horsepower. It could hit 60 in 4.2 seconds and was limited to a 155-mph top end. This car retains its factory body-color hardtop and is one of 62 built finished in red over Crema leather. A total of 5,703 Z8s were produced. While they are sought after today, their $128,000 base price when new did not move them off of dealer lots quickly 20 years ago.

That said, good luck picking one up for under $150,000 today. They’ve aged pretty well and are certainly a future classic. Click here for more info on this one, and here for more from Mecum in Monterey.

Update: Sold $247,500.

1947 Kaiser

1947 Kaiser Custom

Offered by Mecum | Tulsa, Oklahoma | June 11-12, 2021

Photo – Mecum

Henry J. Kaiser had many successful businesses before getting into automobiles, including a construction company that built the Hoover Dam along with Kaiser Shipyards, Kaiser Aluminum, and Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser-Frazer Motors’ first year of production was 1947, and two models were offered on the Kaiser side of things: the Special and Custom.

These models were some of the first fresh post-war designs, and the higher-spec Custom retailed for $2,301. It’s powered by a 3.7-liter inline-six rated at 100 horsepower when new. The Custom was much rarer than the Special, with only 5,412 produced (compared to over 65,000 Specials).

This one is said to be largely original. Kaiser ran into financial problems in 1949 and everything declined thereafter, although some of their designs were still quite solid. This launch-year Kaiser looked pretty sharp when it was new (they were styled by Howard “Dutch” Darrin, after all). And they are still pretty interesting. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $10,450.

Nash Metropolitan

1957 Nash Metropolitan

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 14-22, 2021

Photo – Mecum

Here is a car I adore. Partly because it is adorable, but also because it is affordable. The car was designed by Nash in the U.S. with the aim of offering a less expensive and economical alternative to the big behemoths rolling out of Detroit. But the cars were actually produced in England by Austin.

Series I examples were introduced in 1953, and this Series III hardtop would’ve sold for $1,527 when new. Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-four that was factory rated at 52 horsepower. Metropolitans were sold as Austins in the U.K. and under the Nash brand in the U.S. through 1957. Hudson-branded models were also offered until Nash and Hudson were phased out in ’57. From 1958 through 1962, Metropolitan was a standalone marque.

This restored example is finished in teal and white (excellent) and features houndstooth upholstery. Affordable when new, they remain an inexpensive way to get into 1950s American (or British, depending on your perspective) cars. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $17,600.

Duesenberg J-586

1936 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline by Rollston

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 14-22, 2021

Photo – Mecum

The 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight that powers this Model J Duesenberg is the third-to-last “J” engine by number. Only J-587 and J-588 are later. This is the final Rollston-bodied Model J, and Mecum states that it was the last completed car to leave the Duesenberg showroom. It was shown at the 1936 New York Auto Show with a price tag of $17,000.

The 265-horsepower car rides on a long-wheelbase chassis and was purchased new by the then-president of Coca-Cola. It was later owned by jazz musician Charles Kyner for 46 years. The restoration was completed in 1990.

These later Model Js have such different bodywork than the earlier cars. It seemed like there was more “freedom” for the designers to rework the area forward of the cowl. This one is striking from the head-on view, and the interior looks like a nice place to be. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $2,800,000.

Lada 2107

1989 Lada 2107

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 8-10, 2021

Photo – Mecum

Here is a car that was around forever. The Lada, which is what the cars were known as in the U.K. and much of mainland Europe, were actually produced by VAZ in the Soviet Union and, later, Russia from 1980 through 2012. 2012! Inside of Russia they were known as VAZ (with various model designations hyphenated thereafter) or Zhiguli.

They were actually based on the Fiat 124 platform, which was licensed like crazy all over Eastern Europe. That car debuted in 1966. And VAZ was still making versions of it in 2012. 2012!

The 2107 model was in production in various forms beginning in 1982, and it was the “Deluxe Sedan,” which means it had a big chrome front grille. This is sort of the base deluxe model, which is powered by a carbureted 1.5-liter inline-four. It’s bare-bones proletariat transportation. But it’s a pretty rare sight in the U.S. (or anywhere in this condition). Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $8,000.