Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | January 2022
Kudzu was a racing car constructor that debuted in the late 1980s. The cars competed in IMSA’s GTP prototype category and came from racer Jim Downing’s shop. One of Downing’s race engineers was John Evans, who decided to try his hand at building prototype-style road cars.
Evans Automobiles was founded in the late 1980s as well, and this, I think, was their first offering. It’s based on a Kudzu chassis (or so the name implies) and features composite bodywork. Power is from a mid-mounted 5.7-liter Chevrolet V8 rated at 300 horsepower. Top speed was said to be 178 mph. This was a homegrown American supercar in 1989.
Only two road-going Series I GTs were built, with this being the first, and it remaining with Evans until 2006. There were a few other Evans cars built in the 1990s as well. This is neat stuff – find another one. And it’s no kit car either. It was a ground-up build meant to be a limited-run car. You can read more about it here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Elkhart, Indiana | October 23-24, 2020
The Grifo GL is a Bertone-styled Italian muscle car. It was designed by Giotto Bizzarrini and styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro. It was introduced in 1963, and a racing variant, the Grifo A3/C, debuted alongside
The grand touring Grifo was slightly restyled before entering production as the Grifo GL. Meanwhile, Bizzarrini got irritated, took the A3/C, and went and produced it as the Bizzarrini 5300 GT.
The Grifo GL road car soldiered on under the Iso marque. Early examples were powered by 5.4-liter V8 from a 327 Corvette that made 350 horsepower. That’s what this car originally had. But later Grifos received a 7.0-liter Corvette 427 V8 advertised at 435 horsepower. It’s what this car currently has under that mean hood with a very serious-looking vent.
This car received a six-digit restoration in 2005 and is now offered at no reserve. Check out more about it here and more from RM here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 17, 2020
The Shelby Series 1 was a legitimate, home-grown American sports car. It was the first Shelby-branded car to start from a clean-sheet design. They managed to produce just 249 examples – all in 1999.
Power is from a 4.0-liter Oldsmobile Aurora V8. That may sound lame, but remember that engine was also the basis for Olds’ Indy car engine around this time. Power in the Series 1 production cars was rated at 320 horsepower, and a top speed of 170 mph was reported.
This is actually a pre-production prototype and demonstration car. A couple of these prototypes were built. Later on, after the Series 1 program went bust, a Series II was introduced, but never advanced beyond the prototype stage. At no reserve, this car is expected to fetch $120,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 2, 2017
The Bristol 411 was the replacement for the short lived 410. It debuted in 1969 and was built in five distinct series until 1976. We’ve previously featured a Series II car and what you see here is a Series I, which was built between 1969 and 1970.
The engine in the 411 was a 6.3-liter Chrysler V-8 making 335 horsepower. Top speed was 140 mph. For the Series II, Bristol added a self-leveling suspension. The styling would get an update for the Series III. Only about 50 examples of the Series I were produced, out of a total production run of 287 cars. This 77,000 mile example should bring between $79,000-$92,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | April 20, 2016
Photo – H&H Classics
Jaguar offered two special race car versions of the E-Type: the Low Drag Coupe and the Lightweight. This is neither of those things, even if it is a factory race car. By the time the E-Type arrived in 1961, Jaguar had ceased their factory racing program and, because they still understood the marketing value of one, they offered seven of the first eight (not the very first car, but the next seven) E-Types as race cars.
What that meant was that select people would be sold these cars to take racing as privateers. This car is one of two that went to John Coombs. It was on the track by March of 1961. The engine is the Series I 3.8-liter straight-six which made 265 horsepower in road car form, but these seven racers had a higher compression ratio and competition gearbox, among other special items.
This car has a couple of huge things going for it: first, it’s a fantastically early example of the E-Type (it carries chassis #850007). It’s one of the first eight E-Types built. Additionally it has period race history as a factory-built (but not campaigned) racer – a thing not many E-Types can say. And: it’s one of only seven such E-Types built – and some of those (including the sister John Coombs car) were later reworked into Lightweights. And some of these first seven cars are now just road cars. It’s amazing! And it should be no lightweight at auction, with a pre-sale estimate between $1,000,000-$1,300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1931 Mercedes-Benz 770K Series I Cabriolet D by Sindelfingen
Offered by Bonhams | Stuttgart, Germany | March 28, 2015
Photo – Bonhams
Here it is. The biggest Benz of the era. The 770 was introduced in 1930 at the Paris Motor Show and was produced in two series until 1943 (Series I cars produced into 1938 before Series II cars came about). And yes, this was produced well into World War II. Why? One reason, perhaps, is that these were the favored machines of top Nazi officials.
The engine is a massive 7.7-liter straight-eight making 150 horsepower. This kompressor “K” (or “supercharged) model makes 200 horsepower. An overwhelming majority of 770s were supercharged (only 13 of the 205 total built were not). Torque was impressive: 395 lb/ft at a lowly 1500rpm – that’s a lot of low-end grunt. Imagine what fun these cars are when you put the power down.
This Cabriolet D is one of 18 produced and was sold new to a German actor in Berlin. When he fled Germany in 1933 after the rise of Hitler, he brought this beautiful Benz with him to Hollywood. It spent much of the rest of its life in the U.S., including time in the Blackhawk Collection. It returned to Germany in 2004 where it was restored for a second time.
This early 770K is an amazing car. It is not a model that comes up for sale often at all, so this is a unique chance. To get your hands on it, it will run you between $2,500,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The Birmingham Small Arms Company began motorized vehicle production in 1907 with some prototype cars. Motorcycles arrived in 1910 and would become the company’s signature product through the 1960s and into the 1970s. BSA motorcycles are some of the most classic British bikes from the era.
Early BSA cars were kind of a mess and it wasn’t until their fourth attempt at automobile production that they finally got it right (or as close to right as they would before realizing that maybe they should stick with motorcycles). The Scout was introduced in 1935 and used a 1.1-liter straight-four engine making 9 (RAC) horsepower (which I think is around 30hp in today’s terms).
The Scout was available in six series through 1939 and established BSA as a builder of reliable automobiles. Unfortunately the War killed any hopes of them continuing after the Scout ceased production. It’s a small, light car with really good looks. This one was a basket case when it was found in the 1970s and eventually restored to great condition. It’s a cool little car from a company better known for their two-wheelers. It should sell for between $10,000-$13,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ Oxford sale.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet by Pinin Farina
Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2014
The Ferrari 250 GT line of cars is not only one of the longest model runs in Ferrari history – but also the most legendary. What started with the 250 Europa GT in 1954 would cycle through a number of well-known road and race models. The 250 GT Cabriolet by Pinin Farina would be the first one to lose its top.
New for 1957, the Series I Cabriolet from Pinin Farina went head-to-head against the California Spider (which was from rival design house Scaglietti). This car cost almost $15,000 in 1958 – strangely about $3,000 more than a California Spider. The California is worth more than twice as much today.
There are differences between the two cars. This one is a little bit softer, the nose a little lower and more aerodynamic. A quick glance at it might fool the unsuspecting, but it is clearly not a California Spider. The engine is still a 3.0-liter Colombo V-12 making 240 horsepower.
This car has had just four owners from new and is one of only 40 Series I Cabriolets built (Pinin Farina would build about 200 more “Series II” Cabriolets after Series I production ended in 1959). This car has a pre-sale estimate of $4,000,000-$5,000,000 which is a nice price when compared to a California Spider. And I have to say, I think this car just might be prettier. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Co.
1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Series I by Pinin Farina
Offered by RM Auctions | Monterey, California | August 16-17, 2013
We featured a Ferrari 750 Monza a few weeks back. Well this car, even though it’s called a “Mondial,” is part of that family of cars. In fact, it directly preceded the 750 Monza. The 500 Mondial was built for 1954 only.
Ferrari began building four-cylinder engines for Formula Two in 1952 and walked away with the championship in ’52 and ’53. Back in these days, the Scuderia would transfer those race engines directly into other cars – many of which were sold to customers (imagine Ferrari or McLaren doing that today). In this case, the 2.0-liter Lampredi straight-four was dropped into the 500 Mondial sports racing car. It makes 170 horsepower.
This was one of four cars entered by Ferrari in the 1954 Mille Miglia – but because the organizers of that race kept such poor records, nobody knows for sure who drove it or where it finished. It was sold upon completion of that race and used by a privateer in Italy before making its way to its second owner in Venezuela the following year.
It entered American ownership in 1964 and it was restored for the first time in 1987 and again 10 years later in 1997. Only 20 Series I cars were built, with an additional 10 Series II cars – making there just 30 examples of the 500 Mondial built. This is car #6. It has Scuderia Ferrari team history and Mille Miglia history. And it’s one of those great cars that is perfect for classic car rallies and tours. It is expected to sell for between $2,750,000-$3,250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.
For Sale at Oldtimer Galerie International | Toffen, Switzerland
This car is beautiful! It seems that whenever I come across really obscure old cars for sale, they’ve usually been restored by someone who has had the car in their family for 100 years. They don’t necessarily have the know-how to do it right and parts are usually impossible to find. But this thing looks brand new.
Societe des Automobiles Diederichs was founded by Charles Diederichs near Lyon, France. He built a steam tricycle in 1878 and, with his sons, experimented with gasoline automobiles in 1899 and 1900. The company was actually founded in 1912 to produce road cars. It folded two years later in 1914.
Their cars used 2.1-liter straight-fours making 10 to 12 horsepower. They also used round grilles and engine compartments, much like the Delaunay-Bellevilles of the time. Only about 60 cars were produced by this company before they folded. It is likely (although not certain) that this is the only one left. This one has been owned by the same person for 68 years! The price is listed as “upon request” – the most annoying of all prices. Click here for more info.