Reliant Scimitar 4×4

1972 Reliant Scimitar GTE Ferguson 4×4 Prototype

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | June 23, 2021

Photo – Brightwells

The Reliant (and later, Middlebridge) Scimitar GTE was a two-door shooting brake wagon/sports car. Initially – in 1964 – there was a two-door Scimitar coupe, but that evolved into the GTE wagon-ish sort of thing in 1968. Production of various models continued through 1990. They were all front-engine and rear-wheel drive.

Except for this one. It still has the same fiberglass body as other Scimitars, but it also has a four-wheel-drive system from FF Developments, a company that worked with developing such systems, including for a Formula One car (via its predecessor company, Ferguson Research).

Power is from a 3.0-liter Ford V6. This car remained with FF Developments until one of the engineers working on it managed to buy it. From there it passed to another owner, eventually ending up in the Jaguar Land Rover collection, cars from which were sold a few years ago (including this one). The current owner bought it then and has brought the thing back to life. It’s now selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Audi Front UW

1933 Audi Front UW Prototype by Glaser

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

The Audi Front was the first front-wheel-drive European car with a six-cylinder engine. The “UW” part was a sort of German abbreviation denoting that this Audi used a Wanderer engine that was flipped 180 degrees to drive the front wheels. The cars were also built in a Horch plant, making it a real Auto Union effort. Two different engines were offered during a production run that lasted from 1933 to 1938.

This car was in Russia during WWII, and it’s owner kept it hidden in his basement to avoid it be confiscated by Soviet authorities. It was purchased by the current owner in 1984 and relocated to Armenia, where it sat in storage until a restoration began in 2012.

Of the two Wanderer engines offered in the Audi Front (220 or 225), this car has neither. It has a 3.0-liter inline-six and some one-off features that have led people to believe it was some kind of prototype fitted with a four-seat, two-door convertible body by Glaser. Historics hypothesize that it was ordered by a high-ranking German military official. The pre-sale estimate is $480,000-$520,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Bowler CSP V8

2016 Bowler CSP V8 Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 13, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Bowler Manufacturing was founded by Andrew Bowler in 1985. Their bread and butter were modifying Land Rovers, and they did so to such a degree that the trucks would be badged as their own thing, not just a “modified Defender.”

They offered a few models based on the Land Rover Defender, including the Wildcat and the Bulldog, the latter of which featured two doors in what looks like a four-door setup along with a pickup bed. The truck pictured above was first assembled as a Bulldog. It features Bowler’s Cross Sector Platform (CSP) chassis that does away with the old-school Defender chassis.

It was later re-worked by the factory as a new prototype, replacing the Bulldog’s 3.0-liter V6 with a supercharged Jaguar 5.0-liter V8 rated at 542 horsepower. These are described as “off-road racing vehicles” which pretty much sums it up.

Andrew Bowler died unexpectedly in 2016, and Jaguar Land Rover purchased the company in late 2019. This truck is one of a few offered at this sale from the collection of the former Bowler Motors director. It is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $145,770

B.A.T. 7

1954 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 7

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | October 28, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is the second of the three Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept cars that RM Sotheby’s is offering as a single lot later this week in New York. It was also styled by Franco Scaglione at Bertone and carries a similar look as BAT 5, except that those rear wings are pulled so far inward they look like the spiraling vapor trails off the end of a plane’s wing.

The driveline was sourced from Alfa’s 1900, meaning that this car has a 115-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four. Designed without the aid of computers (and likely little-to-no windtunnel time), the BAT 7 boasts a drag coefficient of 0.19. That’s better than a Prius, a car designed specifically to slip through the air.

This car debuted at the 1954 Turin Motor Show and was later sent to the U.S. by Alfa Romeo. It even ran in SCCA races in 1955. The rear wings were removed at one point before being re-installed during a late-1980s cosmetic restoration. Click here for more info.

Update: All three B.A.T. cars sold as a single lot for $14,840,000.

B.A.T. 5

1953 Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | October 28, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Alfa Romeo Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars of the mid-1950s are some of the most wildly stylish prototypes ever built. Each was bodied by Franco Scaglione at Bertone as an attempt to research the effects of aerodynamic drag on a car. Thus, the swoopy, be-winged designs.

This is the first of the three coupes produced (no, I don’t know why they started with “5”). It debuted at the 1953 Turin Motor Show and is powered by a twin-cam inline-four that supposedly made somewhere between 75 and 100 horsepower. The car’s styling resulted in a drag coefficient of just 0.23. That enabled the tiny engine to push the car to over 120 mph.

Stanley Arnolt was the first private owner, and it has known history since then. RM Sotheby’s is now offering all three B.A.T. concept cars as one lot. It’s an easy eight-figure sale, should it meet the astronomical reserve. Click here for more info.

Update: All three B.A.T. cars sold as a single lot for $14,840,000.

Citroen Berlingo Calao

1998 Citroen Berlingo Calao by Sbarro

Offered by Aguttes | Sochaux, France | September 20, 2020

Photo – Aguttes

At first, I thought that, after PSA’s acquisition of Opel, the company was shedding itself of part of its heritage collection. Brightwells is selling off part of Vauxhall’s heritage collection, and now we have this sale of Citroen and Peugeot prototypes and old cars, all from Peugeot’s Museee de l’Aventure. That collection houses over 450 vehicles, with just 130 on display. So it appears that they are just thinning the herd.

We’ve actually featured one of Sbarro’s Berlingo-based creations before. This is another. Whatever is under the hood is not stated, but it’s almost certainly an inline-four of between 1.4 and 2.0 liters in displacement.

This prototype is described as a leisure vehicle for windsurfers. Which is a very specific demographic. The interior is bizarre, it has no roof, and it has no doors. Remember when companies made concept cars with no relevant production details? This car carries a pre-sale estimate of $16,500-$21,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $26,256.

Ford Falcon Clan

1963 Ford Falcon Clan by Ghia

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | September 16-25, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Here is another coachbuilt example of something American you wouldn’t expect to have landed in the hands of an Italian design house. Ford and Ghia have partnered on quite a few show cars over the years, and Ford has actually had a stake in Ghia since 1970. But in the 1950s, Ghia was Chrysler’s turf. That all started to change about the time that this fastback Falcon appeared in 1964.

The car was built on a 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint chassis. It retained the Sprint’s 164-horsepower, 4.3-liter (260ci) V8. Ghia added the fastback body style that RM correctly notes as sort of predicting the upcoming Plymouth Barracuda.

It’s a neat-looking thing, but it somehow makes the relatively ho-hum Falcon appear just as ho-hum, yet even more of the period. I would have totally believed this was a factory body style if I didn’t already know it was a one-off. It’s expected to fetch $40,000-$75,000 (in other words, they have no idea what it’s worth). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $23,100.

Faraday Future Prototype

2016 Faraday Future FF 91 Prototype

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 5, 2020

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Faraday Future was (is?) one of quite a few electric vehicle startups that have recently promised big things and, well, have yet to deliver. Electric car companies are to 2020 what exotic supercar startups were to 2005… and 2020. Named for 19th-century scientist Michael Faraday, Faraday Future was founded in Los Angeles in 2014 by Jia Yueting.

The FF 91 was introduced in 2017. I think it’s a crossover. Power is from three electric motors that combine for 1,050 horsepower. Sixty mph was supposed to arrive in 2.4 seconds courtesy of an all-wheel-drive system. Sound too good to be true? Faraday Future has been in the news more for their financial issues than for the creation of tangible products.

Production has been delayed a few times (see financial issues above… it’s like car startups don’t realize the capital involved in bringing an automobile to market… this isn’t 1909). Most recently it was pushed to “late 2020.” The fact that Worldwide is offering not one but two FF 91 prototypes at no reserve does not signal good things.

What it does signal is that this may be your best chance ever to acquire one of these cars, although some of the interior leaves a bit to be desired, like exposed switchgear. No word on if you would be able to road-register this, but probably not. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Withdrawn.

FAM Cabriolet Prototype

1952 FAM Cabriolet Prototype

Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | August 16, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

Giuseppe Benelli, he of later motorcycle fame, joined forced with Giuseppe Beretta, he of gun fame, to move into automobile territory to help rebuild their respective companies. Benelli was actually in the firearm business at that point in time, and both men’s companies suffered after WWII.

Benelli designed the chassis, and the two men teamed up with Viscount Guglielmo Castelbarco Albani to form BBC. Benelli’s design featured a 21-horsepower, 750cc V-twin mounted ahead of the front wheels. It was air-cooled and drove the front wheels. The perfect economy car for a struggling post-war Italian economy. It could hit 63 mph, and that car still exists today in the Beretta museum.

Beretta bailed on the project shortly after it was built to return his focus on guns. Benelli soldiered on and built two more cars under the name FAM (Factory Auto Motoveicoli). The prototype, this car, debuted at the 1952 Turin Motor Show. Both cars still exist – sort of. One is a bare chassis with an engine. It’s in pretty sad shape; one of the wheels is plywood.

The other has no engine but has the body, as shown above. Both are offered here together as part of Bonhams Bicester motorcycle sale. The pre-sale estimate is $10,000-$18,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Withdrawn.

GT350R Prototype

1965 Shelby GT350R Prototype

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | July 10-18, 2020

Photo – Mecum

The GT350 was the most badass 1965 Mustang. But how do you take that up a notch? You turn it into a factory race car, of course. That’s what Shelby did with 34-ish of their launch-year GT350s. The R was built for SCCA B-Production competition.

This car is the first GT350R built and was used by Shelby American as a factory race car, racking up 10 B-Production victories in 1965, along with the national championship – the latter with driver Jerry Titus. It was also the test mule for Shelby before they built the 34 customer cars.

Famed drivers Ken Miles, Bob Bondurant, Chuck Cantwell, and Peter Brock all also drove this car in period. It’s been restored and retains a 4.7-liter 289 V8 that made somewhere north of 300 horsepower. Mecum bills this as the “most historically significant Shelby Mustang in the world” which might be a little much. In any case, it’s likely to be among the most expensive. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,850,000.