TVR T440R

2002 TVR T440R

Offered by Iconic Auctioneers | Northamptonshire, England | May 2024

Photo – Iconic Auctioneers

Peter Wheeler bought TVR in 1981 and transitioned the company from wedge-shaped sports cars into a company producing cars that reflected the era… and an era of that no one really saw coming. Cars of the early 90s begat some wild supercars by the year 2000.

The T440R was the second of two prototypes of a car that TVR hoped to homologate so they could race it at Le Mans. The first prototype was destroyed by the factory, leaving this as the sole example. It was initially powered by a 440-horsepower engine (hence the name) but has been restored with a 4.4-liter inline-six.

This car is a good representation of the final stretch of the Wheeler era at TVR: aspirational, wild, and rare. It now has an estimate of $240,000-$285,000. More info can be found here.

Two-Door Lagonda

1986 Aston Martin Virage Coupe Prototype

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | September 9, 2023

Photo – Bonhams

The Aston Martin Virage debuted for 1989 and was produced in its boxy gloriousness through 2000. But it wasn’t this boxy. This prototype wasn’t meant to signal the design language of the company’s upcoming near-supercar, it was just convenient to use a shortened Lagonda as a test mule.

But it also allows us to see the answer to the question “What if they made a two-door Lagonda.” Well, it’s kinda neat. Sure, it definitely looks like its been chopped a bit, but you can also still kind of see the upcoming Virage in its shape and front end.

It was powered by a 5.3-liter V8 and, after testing duty, was parked in the service department, only to be spotted by an Aston customer who wanted to buy it. It was overhauled by the factory and fitted with a contemporary Virage engine in 1993. It’s a pretty neat, one-off thing, and it can be yours for between $315,000-$440,000. Click here for more info.

Kougar Monza

1980 Kougar Monza Roadster Prototype

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2023

Photo – Bonhams

Kougar Cars had only been around about a year when they produced this sports racing prototype. It looks like an Italian racer from the 1950s but is actually based on Ford or Jaguar components. This was the factory prototype for the Monza model, which would end up being less popular than the company’s Sports model.

This example is powered by a 3.0-liter Ford Essex V6. You could fit a Rover V8 in there. Or, if you were insane, a Jaguar V12. The aluminum bodywork features a low-slung front end, a hood scoop, and a headrest fairing for the right-side driver.

It was restored in 2012 and 2013. Only about 40 Monzas were produced, and this one has an estimate of $37,000-$63,000. Click here for more info.

Porsche 550 Coupe

1956 Porsche 550A Coupe Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 17-19, 2023

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM throws out every superlative they can think of in the description for this car. It’s a little much, but the point is taken: this is an important and likely unrepeatable opportunity. Porsche’s 550 Spyder is already a legendary car, for reasons good and bad, and they command seven figures every day.

Porsche built four coupe prototypes of the 550. It’s got a slick fastback profile and is powered by a 1.5-liter flat-four. These were fully prepared race cars developed as a replacement for the 550 RS. The competition history for this chassis, 550A-0104, includes:

  • 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans – 5th, 1st in class (with Wolfgang von Trips and Richard von Frankenburg)
  • 1957 12 Hours of Sebring – 9th (with Ken Miles and Jean-Pierre Kunstle)

It also ran in SCCA races around the U.S. before being tracked down and restored by a Porsche collector in the 2000s. Since then, it’s been shown here and there. It’s got a pre-sale estimate of $5,500,000-$7,500,000, which seems low considering with 550 Spyders go for and the race history this car has. Anyway, you can found out more about it here.

Update: Not sold.

AC MA-200 Prototype

1963 AC MA-200 Roadster Prototype

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | July 14, 2023

Photo – Bonhams

This prototype was designed in-house at AC and looks like a combination of the AC 428, an Intermeccanica, and maybe a little Jensen-Healey. It never went into production, but was used by AC’s general manager for a few years before being sold to its first owner in 1968.

In 2006, the car made its way to Florida and was restored. Power is from a 4.7-liter Ford V8. It’s pretty crazy that this could’ve been the successor to the Ace, but AC was too busy keeping Shelby full of chassis to really put effort behind it.

Not to mention that this Italian-looking body was built in England about five years before Italy started putting bodies like this on its cars. It was recently for sale at a dealer for $950,000 now now has an auction estimate of $570,000-$700,000. So yeah, dealer listed prices are B.S. Especially for classic cars. Read more about this one here.

Update: Sold $473,174.

Zink Z-8

1969 Zink-Volkswagen Z-8 Daytona Prototype

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 19-20, 2022

Photo – Gooding & Company

Ed Zink is most remembered for his Formula Vee open-wheel race cars, but in the 1960s, it was hard not to get caught up in prototype sports car racing, apparently. The Z-8 featured a space-frame chassis wrapped in fiberglass bodywork.

For power, project cheerleader and idea man Hugh Heishman (a Virginia Volkswagen dealer) turned to VW for their new Type 3E fuel-injected flat-four. The 1.9-liter unit is carbureted now and is estimated to make about 150 horsepower. The car was run in period, including:

  • 1969 24 Hours of Daytona – 18th, 3rd in class (with Bill Scott, Jim McDaniel, and Steve Pieper)
  • 1969 12 Hours of Sebring – 68th, DNF (with Scott, McDaniel, and Pieper)

It went SCCA racing in privateer hands after that, eventually being stored in a disassembled state. A restoration that completed in 2017 brought it to its current condition. Gooding estimates a price of $150,000-$200,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $75,000.

AMC AM Van Concept

1977 AMC AM Van Concept

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Highland Park, Illinois | June 1, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Well look at AMC, predicting the minivan yet somehow also treating their futuristic minivan prototype with all of the gaudiness of late-1970s van life culture. This thing is kind of like an inflated Pacer, with some styling cues definitely carried over.

There’s no engine – never was – but it has “Turbo” and “4×4” badging, so they were definitely thinking outside of the box. The body is fiberglass, and those turbine wheels look great with white-letter BFG tires. Oh, and side pipes! On a van!

Too bad it never made it past this prototype roller stage. It’s been part of a concept car collection for the last 35 years. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

LaFerrari Prototype

2012 Ferrari LaFerrari M6 Development Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monaco | May 14, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The LaFerrari was one of the three major hybrid hypercars to debut in the 2010s along with the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder. But each of those cars underwent heavy development cycles, and not all of them were pretty.

What we have here is a “LaFerrari Prototype” that is actually a heavily modified Ferrari 458 Italia that gave its dignity to be fitted with a bunch of test equipment and essentially operate as a development mule. This car was from the first phase of testing and was codenamed the M6.

It has a version of the LaFerrari’s hybrid powertrain stuffed in its modified chassis. It sounds as if it has a version of the Enzo’s 6.0-liter V12 paired with an F1-derived KERS system and an electric motor. Ferrari sold this car, complete with its factory camouflage, to a private owner in 2016.

It’s a runner, but can’t be registered (or apparently used on public race tracks). But for someone with a private Ferrari collection (or a private race track), the purchase could make sense. No pre-sale estimate is available, and you can read more here.

Update: Not sold.

OPAC Piu Prototype

1996 OPAC Piu Roadster Prototype

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 3, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Opac S.r.l. is an Italian company whose services include building prototypes for other manufacturers, hardtop and soft top design and production, and various marine services. In the 1990s, they decided to build a prototype for their own brand.

The Piu is based on a contemporary Peugeot 106 XSi, which means it is powered by an inline-four displacing either 1.4 or 1.6 liters (that catalog description does not state if it’s based on a 1.4 or 1.6 XSi). Power outputs were 94 horsepower for the smaller motor and 102 for the larger.

The interior is a wild combination of yellow and blue suede… on everything. The car debuted at the 1996 Turin Motor Show and features a VHS player and a 10-disc CD changer. The current owner purchased the car, at the time in a state of disuse, directly from Opac. It now carries a pre-sale estimate of $45,000-$68,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,279.

Ascari FGT

1993 Ascari FGT Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | London, U.K. | November 6, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is something you don’t see every day. Or year. Or decade. Ascari Cars was founded by Klaas Zwart and was named for Alberto Ascari. Based in the U.K., they built very limited-run supercars throughout the late 1990s and 2000s. Their former HQ is now home to the Haas F1 team.

The FGT was their first product. The car was actually designed by Lee Noble independently and sold to Zwart, who founded Ascari around the car and produced it as a race car. The FGT competed in the British GT Championship through 1997, after which Ascari produced 17 road-going versions of the car and called them the Ecosse.

This example is the first FGT built (and likely the only true road-going version) – the initial Noble-produced prototype and what would become the first car to wear the Ascari name. It’s powered by a mid-mounted 6.0-liter Chevrolet V8 making 420 horsepower with an upgraded ECU.

It was apparently found by the current owner in a barn after sitting for 13 years. Lee Noble was called in, and the car was restored to as you see it now. Ascari built less than 100 cars in 15 years, and this is the first one. No pre-sale estimate is yet available, but you can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $26,269.