Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | November 30, 2023
“Well hang on a minute,” you’re saying, “this is no collector car. Nor is it interesting.” Well, depends who you ask. This car, despite being old model-year older and sans chrome rear luggage rack, is a dead ringer for my first car. And I never thought I’d see the day where it rolled across a collector car auction block.
Buick launched the Century name in 1936 on their Series 60, as it was capable of 100 mph. Sadly, the speedometer on this bad boy only goes to 85. How times change. This is a Century Custom, which was the middle trim, and a sedan from this range would’ve had a base price of $13,685 in 1991. Power is provided by a 3.3-liter V6, which was optional, and made 160 horsepower.
Somehow this car only has 346 miles on it. I kind of want it. Buick built 102,435 Century sedans in 1991, with 1,600 coupes and 6,500 wagons also made. I wonder if this car, like mine, pulls the right-rear suspension down when you slam the brakes, among other odd behavior it exhibited. Click here for more info.
Offered by Dorotheum | Salzburg, Austria | October 21, 2023
The auction catalog compares Peugeot’s 402 to Chrysler’s Airflow, which debuted a year prior than the 402. It had a streamlined design, with the headlights set in the center of the car behind the grille. The basic 402 was a sedan, but more exotic versions, like the Darl’mat were also available.
For 1937, the engine was a 2.0-liter inline-four that was rated at 55 horsepower. The engine would be increased in size the following year, with a power bump alongside. This particular car is one of just 835 delivered with a Cotal pre-selector gearbox.
It was hidden in Algeria during WWII and retrieved by its German owner after the war was over. The car has received a freshened interior and an engine rebuild in the last 15 years. There were 75,000 of these built, but they are not common today. This one has an estimate of $25,000-$32,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Brussels, Belgium | May 13, 2023
Not a Volkswagen. But not all that different. Mercedes-Benz introduced the W23 130H in 1934. It was their smallest car to date. The related W28 170H debuted in 1936 and was produced as the rear-engined alternative to the front-engined 170 V.
The 170 models shared an engine: a 1.7-liter inline-four that was rated at about 37 horsepower. The 170H was produced until 1939, with just 1,507 built – only 250 of which were made in 1938. Low demand was due mostly to the fact that it cost more than the 170 V but had less room and was altogether a worse car.
The restoration on this convertible version was completed in 2020. These rear-engined Mercs are a rare sight, and this one is about as good as they come. The estimate is $66,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 3, 2023
Hispano-Suiza’s French arm opened as a remote factory in 1911, and by the end of WWI, it was their main production facility, especially for their largest, most expensive cars. In 1931, the company took over Ballot, and with that, they introduced a model called the Ballot HS26, except that the departing Ernest Ballot objected to his name being used. So the Hispano-Suiza HS26 was born.
Also referred to, at least in Artcurial’s catalog, as the “Junior”, it was smaller than the company’s concurrent models in 1931: the J12 and T56. Power is from a 4.6-liter inline-six good for 96 horsepower. Just 124 examples were built through 1934.
This car was bodied as a four-seat, four-door pillarless sedan by French coachbuilder Vanvooren. Its interior was upholstered by its first owner, a leather company. The car was hidden during WWII and wasn’t really recommissioned until the 1960s. Only 13 HS26s are known to still exist, and despite their “junior” status, their still command a big price. In this case: $305,000-$395,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 26, 2023
The 501 was BMW’s first new post-war car, as everything it sold up to this point was based on pre-war designs. Amazingly, this first fresh post-war car went on sale in late 1952. It was produced for a decade (although six-cylinder cars were only available through 1958) and in a few different body styles, including as a sedan, coupe, and cabriolet.
There were also various variants, including versions marketed as the BMW 2.6, 2600, and 501 V8. The 502 went on sale in 1954, just after the introduction of this, the 501 V8.
The 501 V8 was powered by a 2.6-liter V8. The difference between this model and the similarly powered 502 was that the 502 was a more luxurious car. Otherwise, they were mostly the same. Just 5,914 examples of the 501 V8/501 2.6/501 2600 were built through 1962. This restored example is expected to fetch between $90,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | December 3, 2022
The Lancia Augusta was a small car produced by the company between 1933 and 1936. Offered mainly as a four-door sedan, the car was also built at Lancia’s French factory. French-built cars were called the Belna and could be had with fancy coachbuilt bodies.
Power is from a 1.2-liter V4 rated at 35 horsepower. In all, 17,217 Augustas were built before the model was replaced by the Ardea. Despite its entry-level-ness, the Augusta never really took off in Italy, and it’s sales numbers were dwarfed by the Fiat 508 Balilla.
This one was restored in the 1970s and has known history dating back to the ’60s. Another mechanical refresh was carried out in 2012, though the car is said to need a little recommissioning before use. It has an estimate of $14,000-$17,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 4-15, 2022
E.L. Cord’s 810 (for 1936 and 812 for 1937) remains a pretty remarkable car. An early front-wheel-drive car, it featured an independent front suspension and was offered in a variety of body styles. Superchargers were also an option.
This naturally aspirated sedan is powered by a 4.7-liter Lycoming V8 that was rated at 125 horsepower. Shifting is through a four-speed pre-selector transaxle where you select the gear you want and then hit the clutch, which completes an electrical circuit, which then completes the shift. Fancy stuff.
The Westchester sedan was the most common version of the 810/812. It featured a fastback body style. There was also a Beverly sedan, which featured a bustle back trunk. The auction catalog calls this a Westchester, but it has a bustle back trunk. So it’s a Beverly… unless it’s a Westchester that has been modified later on. But it also seems to have a Westchester’s interior. At any rate, you can read more about it here.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2022
There have been some great Duesenberg sedans coming out of the woodwork this year. This four-door sedan features blind rear quarters (no rearward side windows), which was sometimes called a Club Sedan. Derham called theirs the “Arlington,” which sounds much more dignified.
Five Derham Arlington sedans were built, four of them on the short-wheelbase Model J chassis like this one. And power came from a 6.9-liter inline-eight rated at 265 horsepower. This one was purchased new by a Peruvian singer who likely kept it at his New York home before taking it to other countries. It later spent time under ownership in Paris and Cairo. Exotic.
The car came back to the U.S. in 1957. It has not been restored but was apparently repainted at least once, though it isn’t made all that clear in the catalog when that happened. No estimate is available, but you can read more here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
The front-wheel-drive Ruxton was designed by William Muller at Budd. A board member of Budd, a coachbuilding company, was also on the Hupmobile board. But no one else at Hupp wanted any part of the car. So that board member, Archie Andrews, set up New Era Motors, which traded the rights to the design for a controlling interest in Moon. Then Muller was installed as Moon chairman.
Moon then went out business, and next came down Kissel. And before long, the Ruxton was gone. The cars were powered by a 4.4-liter Continental inline-eight that made 100 horsepower. This example is said to be the first sedan built by the company and was used as a promo car. It features the well-known graduated/rainbow paint scheme. It also has Woodlite headlights. So major bonus points there.
Most Ruxtons are known as Model Cs. Why this one is a Model A is not laid out in the catalog, but maybe because it was the first one. It’s got an estimate of $200,000-$275,000. Click here for more info.
1941 American Bantam Model 65 Riviera Convertible Sedan
Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 2, 2022
The Austin Seven is the car that put Britain on wheels. It was licensed in different parts of the world, including by Rosengart in France and the less-creatively named American Austin in… America. American Austin launched in 1929, with the first cars sold as 1930 models. So, not great timing, even though they were relatively cheap.
Bankruptcy followed in 1935. Three years later the company relaunched as American Bantam with revised streamlined styling. Bantam sales continued through 1941, with finances being tight the whole time. American Bantam designed the original Jeep prototype, although they didn’t survive long enough to actually produce it. And today Willys gets all the credit.
Power is from a 747cc inline-four rated at 22 horsepower. The Riviera Convertible Sedan was offered in 1940 and 1941 only and retailed for $525. This restored example is one of about 6,000-7,000 American Bantams produced in total. Click here for more info.