Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 16, 2022
The SLR McLaren was Mercedes-Benz’s halo car produced between 2004 and 2009. It was actually developed in conjunction with McLaren, and various variants were produced after the initial coupe. These included the 722, a high-performance coupe, the Roadster, a drop-top version of the base coupe, and this, the 722 S Roadster, the hot convertible.
It debuted in Frankfurt in 2007, and just 150 were built. Power is provided by a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that made 641 horsepower in 722 spec. Top speed for the roadster was a remarkable-for-a-convertible 208 mph.
This one-owner car has only covered about 60 miles since new. It’s finished in Sienna Pearl and features lightweight wheels, a revised suspension, and some design tweaks over the base car. The pre-sale estimate is $490,000-$735,000. These cars are still very expensive, which, frankly, I don’t quite understand. But anyway. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 26, 2022
The VT Roadster is one of the ultimate cars of the 1990s. RM calls it an example of Lambo’s “first production convertible,” which is kind of a half truth. One, it’s not really a convertible as it’s more of a targa. And Lambo had done targas before, namely the Jalpa and Urraco. But the difference is that the Diablo had an electronically retractable carbon-fiber roof panel, whereas the two earlier cars had a lift-off removable top panel.
At any rate, this facelifted Diablo features faired-in headlights instead of the earlier model’s pop-up units. It’s also powered by a 5.7-liter V12 rated at 529 horsepower. It also has four-wheel drive with front and rear limited-slip differentials.
Something like 100 of these roadsters were made for the facelifted model. The car could hit 200 mph and achieve sixty in under four seconds. As popular as these were 20-25 years ago, they seem few and far between today. Check out more about this one here.
James Scripps Booth was the heir to a publishing fortune, and he hyphenated his last name when he founded the Scripps-Booth Cyclecar Company. A little bit earlier, he also built Detroit’s first V8 engine, before turning to light cyclecars.
More traditional (but still small) cars followed the 1914 tandem-seat Rocket. By the end of 1917, Scripps-Booth had been taken over by Chevrolet, and General Motors would fold the brand after 1922. The 1917-1919 roadster-only Model G was similar to the well-selling 1915-1916 Model C, except that the fuel tank had been relocated to the rear of the car (among a few other small differences). It was a three seater, with a tiny jump seat facing the front passenger seat.
Power was provided by a 22.5-horsepower inline-four. Alongside the G, the company sold the Model D, which was powered by Detroit’s second-ever production V8 engine. The car here hasn’t been started in a few years, but is interesting and will probably be a good deal. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Newport, Rhode Island | September 30, 2022
S.G.V. stood for the last names of company founders Herbert Sternberg, Robert Graham, and Fred Van Tine. The company was based in Reading, Pennsylvania, from 1911 through 1915. Van Tine designed the car, which was based around the ideas of the period Lancia. They were expensive cars in their day and were owned by people with names like Astor and Vanderbilt, not to mention far-flung royalty.
At their peak they were making about 40 cars per month. But not many are left. This one is powered by a 25-horsepower, 3.1-liter inline-four. It’s likely a Model B with some custom coachwork. It has known ownership history since new.
This is the first time, in 110 years, that this car has come up for public sale. It’s got an estimate of $75,000-$125,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 10, 2022
Mors was one of the earlier French automobile manufacturers, having been founded by Emile Mors in 1897. They built quality, if not expensive cars, pretty much right from the outset. Even some of their veteran cars were pretty massive.
They were one of the first to use engines in a V configuration, however, this car is powered by a 2.1-liter inline-four. This car would’ve been made during the time when Mors was led by Andre Citroen, who stepped in as chairman after a 1908 near-bankruptcy.
But Citroen’s leadership wasn’t that benevolent, as he bought the company outright in 1925 and shuttered it so he could have the plant for his own cars. The pre-sale estimate here is $19,500-$25,000. Click here for more info.
1928 Bugatti Type 43 Roadster by Lavocat et Marsaud
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2022
Bugatti had a line of eight-cylinder road cars that started in 1922 with the Type 30. A few years and a few models later, they Type 43 debuted in 1927. The Type 43 gave way to the Type 43A in 1931, and that model remained available through the following year. Just 160 copies of the Type 43 were built.
Power is from a supercharged 2.3-liter inline-eight that was rated at 120 horsepower. This car was initially delivered as a Type 43 Grand Sport. The auction catalog lists this as a Type 43A (which were factory-bodied Roadsters). What I think it is is a re-bodied Type 43 wearing roadster bodywork by Paris-based coachbuilders Lavocat et Marsaud that was installed in 1929. Before the 43A even went on sale.
The engine was swapped later on, which means the car has its original… chassis. Which is about what many of these pre-war Bugattis can claim. But hey, at least its still out there and able to be driven. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 15, 2022
It’s been a while since we’ve featured an obscure neoclassic. So obscure, this one is, that even Mecum didn’t know what they were dealing with at first, labeling it an Excalibur. It’s a BACI, a roadster produced by the Besasie Automotive Company Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Just 14 of these were built between 1993 and 1995, and they were based on the Ford Thunderbird of the era. This car is powered by a fuel-injected 5.0-liter V8 and features Bose audio, a power-retractable soft top, and air conditioning.
Parts of the styling are supposed to be reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz Special Roadster. Maybe from the back? You can read more about this one here, and check out more angles via the photos.
Omega-Six was a car company that operated out of the Paris region of France between 1922 and 1930. They were founded by Jules Daubeck, and the cars were designed by Maurice Gadoux, a former Hispano-Suiza engineer. Production didn’t do much better than about 50 cars a year.
They did have some sporting credentials, running at Le Mans in 1924 and 1925. Their lone victory came in an all-female race with Helle Nice at the wheel in a 3-Litre Competition car, which were unveiled in 1928. The 3.0-liter inline-six featured dual carburetors and carried a factory-advertised rating of 150 horsepower.
This chassis was purchased by Robert de Ganay, who won his class at Le Mans in 1931 under a pseudonym. It is believed to have been re-bodied around 1930 and has only had four owners since new. The car has been rarely shown since the 1970s and is offered with a spare 2.7-liter six. The pre-sale estimate is $425,000-$530,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 3, 2022
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.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 26, 2022
Chalmers-Detroit lost the “-Detroit” suffix beginning in 1911, making this a first-year stand-alone Chalmers automobile. The Model 30 was a carryover from the prior year, but now with updating branding, revised running boards, and a new dashboard.
Power is from a 30-horsepower inline-four. Six body styles were offered, including the $1,500 roadster. Not super cheap, but then again the Chalmers was not an entry-level automobile.
This example was restored as needed over the years, the last 20 or so of which were spent in a private collection. It is now offered at no reserve and without a pre-sale estimate. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.