Monterey – my top 100 cars for sale – by order of desirability – #21 – #40
#21 – Miller TNT 1919 #8M8 US$750,000+ My pick $1,000,000.00 SOLD US$1.21 mil.
Formerly the Property of the Harrah Collection and Bob Sutherland 1919 Miller TNT
ENGINE NO. 8M8
*Please note that this car is sold on a Bill of Sale.
$750,000 – $900,000
■Sole Remaining Example
■Groundbreaking Forebear of the Legendary Miller Indy Cars
■Unique Cast-Alloy Body
■Restored and Raced by Marque Experts
■$200,000 Restoration Completed in 2008
■Presented at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
■Eligible for the Most Prestigious Historic Racing Events
183 CID DOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Miller Engine
Four Miller Dual-Throat Updraft Carburetors
125 BHP at 4,000 RPM
3-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
Front and Rear Solid-Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf SpringsMiller
Considered one of racing’s greatest engineers, Harry A. Miller is well known to Indianapolis 500 historians for his command of the Brickyard during the 1920s and 1930s. Miller- powered cars won the American race eleven times between 1922 and 1938, with six of those cars utilizing Miller chassis as well. So successful were Miller’s race-bred inline eight-cylinder engines that various derivatives of the motor were still in use as late as 1981.
Starting as a driver in the early 1900s, Miller founded a machine shop in Los Angeles, California, in 1907, soon making a name for himself with the patent of an unusual new carburetor. Experimenting with cast-alloys for fuel pumps and pistons, Miller produced parts that became increasingly popular with early drivers, including Barney Oldfield and Bob Burman.
In 1913, Miller was approached by a young man in search of a machining job and ended up hiring Fred Offenhauser, who would achieve even greater heights of Indianapolis supremacy. The two men quickly reached a collaborative rapport that resulted in some of early racing’s greatest engines. Their efforts to rebuild the damaged motor of Eddie Rickenbacker’s Peugeot in 1914 led to a similar request from Oldfield to build an entire race car, later dubbed the “Golden Submarine,” which in turn fueled additional interest from the racing community in Miller’s parts, tuning and design.
Following the end of WWI, Miller received an inquiry from Edward Maier, owner of the Maier
Brewing Company, then a large Los Angeles brewery. Maier’s racing concern, the TNT Auto Company, needed a new car so Miller assigned the task to freshly hired draftsman Leo Goossen, another future automotive legend. Goossen helped devise a new 183 cubic inch four-cylinder motor that became Miller’s first dual overhead-camshaft design, a precursor to the highly successful eight-cylinder engines that soon dominated at the Brickyard.
The unusual chassis for the new car combined aluminum sections, reflecting Miller’s growing interest in cast-alloys. A mere two examples were constructed and tested at the Beverly Hills Speedway board track, with driver Frank Elliott eventually campaigning one of the cars in a handful of races. Despite being officially entered in the Indy 500, neither TNT ever made it to the race, presumably withdrawn due to underwhelming performance. According to Goossen, Maier soon lost interest in the project and the TNT’s further development was scrapped.
This TNT, which is believed to be the sole surviving example, was essentially relegated to storage throughout the 1920s, and it is believed that this car’s original four-cylinder engine was donated by the Maier brewery for scrap purposes during WWII-era metal shortages. Acquired by the Harrah Collection by the mid-1970s, this incredibly rare TNT race car was next purchased in 1979 sans motor by Miller enthusiast David Hedrick of Oregon. Mr. Hedrick and the late Miller collector Bob Sutherland saw a unique opportunity to return the TNT to racing by installing a proper Miller 183 eight-cylinder racing engine that Mr. Sutherland had been rebuilding. This motor is notable not only as the foundation of Miller’s incredible pedigree of racing victories, but also as the progenitor of every race-winning engine subsequently built through 1978 by Offy, Drake or Meyer-Drake.
After the completion of the restoration, which also involved updating the brakes to hydraulic units, Mr. Sutherland raced the TNT at the 1983 Monterey Historic Races, with a trip to the Milwaukee Mile racetrack during the 1990s as well as a successful run of the Colorado Grand. In 2000, this incredibly unique Miller was purchased by the consignor, who immediately recognized great potential for further vintage competition. Unfortunately, the engine required new bearings and was eventually diagnosed to be beyond cost-effective repair due to extended racing use. As it was a replacement motor, the owner opted to source another correct Miller 183 and have it painstakingly restored by the renowned Phil Reilly & Company of Corte Madera, California.
Following a period of several years of engine restoration, David Wallace of Phil Reilly & Company substantially overhauled the chassis, checked the mechanicals and installed the rebuilt motor, just in time for the 2008 Monterey Historic Races. From 2008–2010, Wallace continued to provide the consignor track support during the Monterey Historic outings, ensuring that the car remained well prepared and tended to as needed following competition. All told, the consignor invested over $200,000 in the restoration, receipts of which are included in a thick file of documentation.
Presented in the Open-Wheel Racecar Class at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, this groundbreaking early American race car promises continued vintage racing thrills as well as great exhibition potential. The TNT participated in the 2011 and 2012 Milwaukee Mile Miller event, performing faultlessly on both outings, and offering an amazing experience to its lucky drivers and spectators. It is a one-of-a-kind example of the legendary Harry Miller’s engineering genius that offers long-term appreciation and provenance as a legitimate historicalbenchmark. .
Pros: It’s a Miller, its awesome and would be a ticket to any event, anywhere
Cons: Not literally original, and no great competition history
#22 – Mercedes Benz 300SL 1963 Roadster #198.042.10.003228 US$ 1.0 mil. + My pick $1,200,000.00 SOLD US$1.595 mil.
CHASSIS NO. 198.042.10.003228
ENGINE NO. 198.982.10.000188
$1,000,000 – $1,300,000
■A Rare and Sought-After Disc Brake, Alloy Block Roadster
■A Two-Owner Car from New
■Less than 15,000 Total Miles
■An Extremely Authentic Example
■Beautifully Presented Original Interior
■Equipped with Karl Baisch Factory- Fitted Luggage and Optional Hardtop
■The Ultimate Specification 300 SL Roadster
2,996 CC SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
250 BHP at 6,200 RPM
Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Servo-Assisted Disc Brakes
Independent Double-Wishbone Front Suspension
Independent Rear Swing-Axle SuspensionThe 300 SL Roadster
An elite road car, the 300 SL was the street version of the powerful and impressive Mercedes-Benz competition car that won the 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans. When Mercedes- Benz introduced the sleek 300 SL as a “gullwing” coupe in 1954, they captured the attention of the automotive world and, in 1957, Mercedes-Benz followed the dynamic design with the striking roadster model shown here. Between 1957 and 1963, 1,858 300 SL Roadsters were built, each a showcase of Mercedes-Benz’s exceptional engineering, styling and build quality. Throughout production, several upgrades were made including, most notably, the addition of four-wheel disc brakes beginning with chassis no. 2780 and aluminum engine blocks beginning with chassis no. 3049.
During the final months of 300 SL production, the last 210 cars built received the now-legendary lightweight alloy engine block, which offered a substantial weight savings over the steel block fitted to earlier 300 SLs. About 50 lbs. of weight was saved through the use of the alloy block engine; that weight reduction over the front axle improved steering and handling response and provided for a more even front-to-rear weight distribution.
After taking a short ride in one of the 300 SLs on display at the San Francisco Auto Show in the early 1960s, the current owner set a goal to one day own a roadster just like that one.
In the late 1970s, working with renowned East Coast Mercedes-Benz specialist Bob Platz, the
consignor began a search for the finest 300 SL Roadster available. After more than a year of following leads, Mr. Platz located this very late- production Roadster, which was being stored in the Washington, D.C. area in 1979. Under the ownership of Arthur Avignon, the 300 SL had been parked for nine of the 16 years since it left the factory, and it was clear that this car was already considered something very special. With the car showing just 4,711 miles on the odometer, Mr. Platz was able to broker a sale for the outrageous sum of $29,000 – in those days double the going rate for a good roadster.
Once the 300 SL Roadster arrived at the consignor’s home in Northern California, it assumed the role of occasional weekend driver; it has accrued less than 10,000 additional miles in the 33 years of his ownership. This 300 SL’s modernized disc brakes and improved handling were perfect for the scenic roads of Marin County that surround the consignor’s home. In the early years of the current caretaker’s ownership, the car was repainted in DB 50 White, a shade subtly lighter than its original DB 608 Cream. He also acquired and installed a desirable original signed Nardi steering wheel as well as European headlight assemblies. A copy of the factory build record confirms that this 300 SL retains its original aluminum block engine, and the car comes complete with its hardtop, soft top and jack.
A real rarity among 300 SL Roadsters is this car’s two-piece set of color-matched, fitted luggage. Unlike the gullwing, which carried its luggage on a parcel shelf in the passenger compartment, the roadster luggage set was designed for maximum volume within the confines of the trunk. The gently worn appearance of the red leather luggage complements the factory- original red interior perfectly and has attracted many enthusiasts at Mercedes-Benz shows. Inside the luggage, the familiar tartan lining, white packing straps and all-important riveted aluminum Karl Baisch identification tag are wonderfully intact. To underscore their rarity, there have been reports of similar luggage sets selling to 300 SL collectors for as much as $30,000.
Another accompanying item of particular note is an extremely rare 300 SL brochure that the factory circulated, which announces the disc brakes and alloy engine as standard equipment, a combination that applies to a scant 210 cars.
There is no question that this car is one of the most exciting 300 SL Roadsters to be offered at public sale in many years. It is built in the final and most desirable specification, and is one of the lowest mileage examples known to exist. Additionally its hardtop, fitted luggage and beautifully preserved original interior set it even further apart from others. The car retains the rare characteristics of a factory assembly, preserving its original high build quality. In largely undisturbed, original condition, this is a car that can be enjoyed just as it presents today.
A majority of the remaining alloy block roadsters reside in permanent collections and with veteran Gull Wing Group members where they are not likely to change hands in the foreseeable future, which makes this truly outstanding example an opportunity worthy of serious consideration.
Pros: Low milage 300SL’s are pretty rare, ultimate spec. helps
Cons: Nothing really.
#23 – Mercedes Benz 300SL 1960 Roadster #198.042.10.002573 US$750,000+ My pick $1,250,000.00 SOLD US$847,000
CHASSIS NO. 198.042.10.002573
ENGINE NO. 198.980.10.002642
*Please note that since the time of cataloging marque specialist Paul Russell and Company has successfully run the engine of this car.
$750,000 – $950,000
■Striking Original Color Combination
■Single-Family Ownership Since 1964
■Original Finishes and Matching Numbers
■Just Over 25,000 Miles from New
■Outstanding Candidate for Preservation Display
EMAIL A SPECIALIST
PRINT THIS PAGE
2,996 CC SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection
250 BHP at 6,200 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Servo-Assisted Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Double-Wishbone Front Suspension
Independent Rear Swing-Axle SuspensionThis Car
Unveiled to the American public at the 1954 New York International Auto Show, the new 300 SL caught the attention of countless individuals who were awestruck by the world’s most iconic supercar. Generations of aspiring SL owners were soon to follow.
Inevitably drawn to the Mercedes-Benz stand at that New York show was a New Jersey resident and former serviceman during the Second World War. The gentleman’s post-war engineering education no doubt played a role in the intrigue of the highly advanced 300 SL. From that moment on, it was his desire to own one.
It was not until 1964, a lengthy 10 years later, that an opportunity to acquire a 300 SL would present itself. On March 21st, the engineer, his wife and their two children climbed into the family car to visit the recently widowed Mrs. Young. In her late husband’s garage stood a 1960 300 SL Roadster. Among the steady stream of visitors to the adhoc estate auction, the family inspected the SL.
The car had been bought new by Francis Young of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Finished in Graphite Gray with red leather, the 300 SL was further outfitted with a Becker Mexico radio, Sport wheels and Continental Super Record whitewall tires. During his short four- year ownership, Mr. Young proved a fastidious steward of the Mercedes-Benz sports car and covered a mere 5,900 miles. The Roadster spent the majority of its early life in a padded garage seeing only dry, sunny days.
At the tender age of 10, the son vividly remembers the 1964 visit: “When you looked at it from the side with that stunning color combination and those wide whitewall tires on the chromed wheels, there just weren’t any words to explain what a cool car you were looking at!” That evening, the son further remembers a conversation between his mother and father planning the possible purchase. His father had asked how much he could bid for the car, to which his mother responded, “Whatever you think you need in order to get it.”
The statement reflected the engineer’s 1954 aspirations, and within days the 300 SL joined the family. Soon after the purchase, an MG Mitten package appeared on the family’s doorstep; the boy’s mother had bought her husband a fitted car cover. Early memories of the car’s use recount occasional outings if good weather prevailed. The son was a frequent passenger, and in exchange for the occasional test of performance he was tasked with standing guard should they find themselves in a “standard” parking lot.
The SL Roadster was lovingly cared for and maintained during the 1960s. However on one particular day of misfortune, the car was bumped in the back, then several hours later bumped in the front. The minor damage was repaired, and the car remained in use until approximately 1970. With successive children in college, the 300 SL was stabled in favor of tuition.
The car remained in the family garage throughout the following decades, carefully set aside and awaiting a return to the road. After the subsequent passing of both parents, the car, now owned by their son, was moved from their family home to the consignor’s garage around 1990. For the last 20 or so years, the 300 SL has remained with the family, carefully stored under the MG Mitten car cover.
Today, offered from a 48-year ownership, the 25,000-mile Roadster is in impeccable original condition. Although the minor 1966 paint repairs are evident, the car otherwise boasts original finishes inside and out. Furthermore, the car retains the original wide whitewall tires affixed to the chrome Sport wheels. Although not currently in running order, the engine is free to turn over and a cold compression test, performed by Paul Russell and Company, has provided even, positive results. Accompanying the car is a set of tools, manuals, a logbook of maintenance and an account of the car’s life from the consignor, which captures the boy’s utter joy in growing up with a 300 SL. .”
Pros: Absolutely original, low milage, unrestored 300SL’s don’t come along often.
Cons: Not much
#24 – Mercedes 300SL 1955 #5500080 US$950,000+ My pick $1,000,000.00 SOLD US$1.171 mil.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ Coupe
Chassis No. 198 040 4500080
Engine No. 198 98 4500093
To be auctioned on
Saturday, August 18, 2012
215 hp, 2,996 cc single overhead cam inline six-cylinder engine, Bosch mechanical fuel injection, four-speed manual gearbox, coil spring independent front suspension, coil spring swing-axle rear suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5″”
• Immaculate concours restoration by Gullwing expert Rudi Koniczek
• Four owners from new
• Outstanding color combination
• Mercedes’ most revered postwar sports car
Few sports cars in the history of automobile manufacturing have attained the iconic status of the revered Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe, which combines a peerless racing pedigree with a truly innovative design. First appearing in 1952 as a racing sports car intended to return Mercedes to competition relevance, the 300SL was notable for its innovative lightweight space-frame chassis and a retuned version of engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut’s inline six-cylinder engine, which was already employed in the 300 sedans. Of course the most notable physical features of Sindelfingen designer Karl Wilfert’s beautiful coachwork were the roof-hinged doors, which were necessitated by the chassis’s high waist, thus giving the model its eventual nickname, the Gullwing.
Dominating nearly every race it entered, the 1952 300SL attained legendary status with wins at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana, a cachet that was not lost on groundbreaking U.S. importer Max Hoffman. Since renowned for his savvy of the emerging American market for European sports cars during the 1950s, Hoffman made considerable efforts to convince Mercedes that a strong market existed for a roadgoing series-production version of the 300SL race car. His plea did not fall on deaf ears; at the 1954 International Motor Sports Show in New York, Mercedes debuted its answer to Hoffman’s requests: a luxurious new take on the racing Gullwing.
In addition to a more luxurious cabin upholstered in leather, the 300SL coupe featured a number of improvements over its racing forebear, including doors that were cut substantially lower for easier entry and exit. The road car also significantly improved on the race car’s power output by employing mechanical fuel injection, good for 44 hp more than the racer, and is notable as the first production automobile to feature the since widely-employed method of fuel induction. Produced in a modest quantity of 1,374 examples over a three-year production run, the 300SL Gullwing has since been elevated to a near-mythical height almost unequaled in postwar collectible sports cars.
Embodying all of the sensational qualities that make the 300SL Gullwing such an iconic car, this beautiful example boasts a mere four owners from new and the expert attention of one of the 300SL niche’s leading names. According to factory records, this strapping Gullwing completed assembly on November 18, 1954 and was shipped to New York City one day later. Subsequently, it was initially purchased in early-1955 by a resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan, this car is one of just 167 examples constructed between August and December of 1954.
Within time passing to a second owner in the Ann Arbor area, this car eventually came into the custody of Rudi Koniczek, a renowned restorer of 300SL models based in Victoria, British Colombia, Canada. Trained by Mercedes-Benz technicians, Mr. Koniczek has been in the business of restoring Gullwings for over 40 years, and many of his restorations have gone on to draw national recognition from venues as sophisticated as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and 300SL National Conventions. Mr. Koniczek soon treated this wonderful Gullwing to a rotisserie restoration that left no stone unturned. Every mechanical and cosmetic component was fastidiously restored to original factory standards or replaced with correct new-original stock parts. Likewise, the exterior was painstakingly refinished in a resplendently deep coat of black paint, complemented with an interior of dark green vinyl and plaid seats, both correct colors included in Mercedes-Benz 1954 livery offerings.
In early-2011, this car was acquired by its current owner, a bi-coastal enthusiast who maintains a fine collection of vintage automobiles at his estate in Montecito, California. Since then, the immaculately restored Gullwing has been maintained and tended as needed by Jack Bianchi, a well-known veteran of the area’s motorsports community and a respected sports car and race car mechanic. Mr. Bianchi attests that he has seldom seen a nicer 300SL Gullwing than this example, which he adds has accrued no more than 400 miles during current ownership. Used once to drive to the annual August collector car events of the Monterey Peninsula in California, this car has otherwise been garaged in a well-maintained state of storage, ever prepared for the possibility of its owner’s occasional arrivals and bouts of use.
The strength of Mr. Koniczek’s award winning restoration work continues to characterize this stunning Gullwing. The car’s magnificent exterior condition is matched by a beautifully detailed interior, engine compartment, and trunk, as well as the overwhelmingly authentic level of presentation in every mechanical part used. Further enriched by the presence of a matching set of luggage, a complete toolkit, photo-documentation of the restoration process, and a set of owners manuals, this arresting 300SL Gullwing lacks for nothing. It is a show-ready example that invites future ownership to make a competitive run at national-level concours d’elegance and Mercedes-Benz club events. It is among the finest examples available in today’s market and will doubtlessly draw the attention of any serious collector looking to acquire a premium-level early Gullwing.
Pros: The most stunning 300SL, great colours, good history
Cons: Original ? (Who cares ?)
#25 – Mercedes Benz Mercedes 50HP 7 Pass Touring 1914 #12526 US$600,000+ My pick $1,000,000.00 SOLD US$528,500
1914 Mercedes 50 HP Seven-Passenger Touring
by Carrosserie Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft [CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS]
Chassis No. 12526
Engine No. 15509
To be auctioned on
Friday, August 17, 2012
50 hp, 7,240 cc T-head inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs and double chain drive, and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes.
• Delivered new to Argentina
• Recent touring entries
• Older, very well-preserved body-off restoration
German-built, raised in Argentina, and named for the daughter of an Austrian-born French auto dealer, this Mercedes is as cosmopolitan as they come, even before its immigration to the United States.
Gottlieb Daimler was a talented but conservative engineer, his financial partners more conservative still. The backers felt their new company, Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, should concentrate on stationary engines. However, Daimler and his colleague Wilhelm Maybach continued experimenting with automobiles and by 1895, were able to put several models into production. They had five different engines, each available with several types of bodies, but none of them could reasonably be called “sporting.”
Enter Emile Jellinek, an Austrian-born entrepreneur and Daimler agent, who delighted in racing cars and lent much to the company’s development. Having raced a Daimler in the 1900 Nice Automobile Week, Jellinek came away disappointed and wanted a faster car. He badgered the factory to build him what could be called an early muscle car, a light chassis powered by a 35 horsepower engine. In order to provide incentive to the company, he undertook to order 36 such cars if he were given the exclusive sales franchise for Austro-Hungary, France, Belgium, and America—and further, that the cars be named for his eleven-year-old daughter Mercédes. It was a deal that Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft decided not to refuse.
Mercedes cars were of front-engine, chain drive design, a concept adopted at the insistence of Jellinek, and powerful, with engines of six to nine liters, giving 40 to 60 Pferdestärke (German horsepower, literally “horse strength,” abbreviated PS), although smaller 1,760 cc, 8 PS cars were available. In 1905, the 15/20 PS became the first Mercedes to use shaft drive, an architecture that gained wider use across the range, although the large sporting cars continued to use chains. These sports models were made in sizes to 100 PS. The Daimler factory scored big in 1908, when Christian Lautenschlager won the French Grand Prix in a new 140 hp Mercedes.
Mercedes cars were equally suitable for the boulevard. By 1908, several European heads of state had adopted them for official travel. These included Kaiser Wilhelm II and King Leopold, of Belgium. England’s Edward VII used British Daimlers at home but kept a Mercedes for his Continental journeys.
This car was delivered new to Argentina, as noted by the badge for Robert, Pusterla y Cia., the sole Buenos-Aires agent. The body, however, is not from a local South American coachbuilder but from Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft’s own Carrosserie in Untertürkeheim. Mercedes-Benz factory coachwork is well-known from the time that it moved to new quarters in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart. It became sufficiently renowned that today the single word “Sindefingen” ranks with the best of German coachbuilders. Sindelfingen, however, comprised a continuation of coachbuilding carried on in the Untertürkheim works, as evidenced on this car.
The car was restored several decades ago for an owner in Wisconsin, possibly before winning an AACA National First Prize in 1978, the plaque for which adorns the radiator. A full, body-off project, it has held up very well, through much use. Although there are a few blemishes to the paint and brightwork, the overall effect is very nice, and the brown leather interior shows some age but minimal wear. The steering wheel is highly varnished wood, complemented tastefully by varnished wood ribs on the toeboard for the front seat. Brass lighting is by Ducellier, of Paris. A new top was recently fitted.
The car completed a Brass and Gas Tour within the last year and reportedly performs very well. Forthright and handsome, it will be a welcome addition to any brass car collection. With its 50 hp engine, the new owner will surely delight in participating in many future touring events.
Pros: Excellent car, stately Mercedes with the big 50HP engine, a real Brass era auto that can be entered for any event anywhere.
Cons: Is it original?
#26 – McLaren F1 GTR 1996 #028R My pick $4,000,000.00 NOT SOLD OR SOLD for US$4 million – UNKNOWN
The Ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff – the final example produced
1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe
Chassis no. 028R
* 6.1-liter BMW V12
* 6-speed sequential gearbox
* Carbon-fiber monocoque
* The final, ultimate F1 GTR
* FIA GT points-scoring example
* Stunning, iconic Gulf livery
* First time ever offered publicly
* A Gordon Murray concept
Following in the wheel tracks of such charismatic designs as the Ferrari 250 GTO, the Ford GTs and the Porsche 917s, in recent years the McLaren F1 GTR has become absolutely the most desirable endurance racing collectors’ car from the 1990s.
The compact Gordon Murray-designed all-composite construction three-seat road car design, with its totally distinctive centerline driving position and utterly majestic 6.1-liter 4-cam fuel-injected V12 engine by BMW, emerged as the ‘ultracar’ with everything. Its active aerodynamics and 550-plus horsepower succeeded in achieving the McLaren company’s aim of producing “”the greatest driver’s car there has ever been, or is ever likely to be”” – and it is a measure of the initial production car’s 240mph capabilities that once subjected to the restrictions of racing regulations – the resultant F1 GTR actually had to be de-tuned to be acceptable!
The 1995 Le Mans 24-Hours race-winning McLaren merely set the foundation for an entire family of more dedicated racing Coupes to follow. The gleaming example we are now privileged to offer here is actually the last example made of the ultimate variant of the entire McLaren F1 series. It is the tenth and last of the 1997-season McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ endurance racing Coupes. It is one of the cars campaigned that year by the McLaren F1 GTR racing program’s most attractively-liveried and most charismatic teams – the GTC Motorsport Gulf Team Davidoff operation. And with its legendary Gulf racing-blue finish it is a latter-day successor to the revered bloodline of Gulf-Mirage, Gulf-Ford GT40, Gulf-Porsche 917 and 908/3 cars which remain such enduring landmarks of motor racing history.
McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ ’28R’ offered here is a veteran of no fewer than eight premier-league FIA GT World Championship-qualifying races – in which it achieved two points-scoring sixth place finishes.
It would have been easy for McLaren Cars Ltd to bask in the simple afterglow of its technical achievement in producing what they intended to be the finest “”driver’s car”” ever manufactured in the one hundred yearlong history of the motor industry. But no high-performance car manufacturer can expect to build such a world-beater, without one or two prominent and enthusiastic customers becoming keen to prove its capabilities ‘in anger’ on the race tracks of the world.
Despite design – now Professor – Gordon Murray – having concentrated totally upon producing nothing other than a purebred street car, enthusiastic customers began to persuade McLaren to change their minds through the summer of 1994. McLaren principal Ron Dennis made it quite clear that if some customers wished to go racing then McLaren Cars Ltd would offer the most comprehensive factory back-up and support possible – and would not run a works car against them.
Into 1995 the first race-modified McLaren F1 GTR cars emerged. Three made the model’s debut in the February, 1995, Jerez 4-Hours race in Spain, and Ray Bellm/Maurizio Sandro Sala won in the former’s GTC racing team entry. The same pairing followed up with another victory in the Paul Ricard 4-Hour race in France, then Thomas Bscher/John Neilsen’s West-sponsored McLaren made it three in a row for the new GTRs at Monza, Italy. No fewer than seven McLaren F1 GTRs started the 1995 Le Mans 24-Hour race, and five finished, in first, third, fourth, fifth and 13th places. The winning Ueno Clinic-sponsored car was co-driven by J.J.Lehto/Yannick Dalmas/Masanori Sekiya. For McLaren Cars, Le Mans ’95 marked the greatest Le Mans race debut in depth ever achieved, by any manufacturer…ever. Not too shabby for a detuned road car!
Through the first half of 1996, in its second season of racing, the McLaren F1 GTR maintained its glittering record of success, mainly in the face of Ferrari F40 variants. But the emergence of an all-new tailor-made purebred racing Porsche GT1 and – more controversially – its acceptance in late-season BPR Global Endurance Championship racing, caused little less than shock, disbelief and frustrated dismay amongst the McLaren teams.
Amidst considerable grumbling that “”Porsche built a racing car and forced us to do it””, the McLaren F1 GTR underwent the major revision during the winter of 1996-97 which produced the ‘Longtail’ model as now offered here. Gordon Murray explained that: “”Our pure-bred road-going production-based cars with their long-travel, high camber-change suspension and limited downforce had been leapfrogged by the Porsche GT1. They got away with running Rose-jointed proper-geometry true road-racing suspension on a car which we felt was not genuinely available for sale. We didn’t like what had happened, because we didn’t feel it was at all within the regulations, but we had to face up to it.
“”To comply with the regulations as written we had to build a new road car, sell one a month before the first race, have dealers, brochures and parts back-up for it. I went to Ron for a budget to do just that, and actually started the wind tunnel program before I’d got the go-ahead.
“”We needed big overhangs at nose and tail to achieve competitive downforce and downforce/drag proportions, and really had to re-write our total winter program. Now we had to develop not only a new racing car, but first a new road car model to legalize it! We were determined to do it all precisely to the letter of the regulations, in the spirit their original authors had plainly intended.””
The frontier-technology all moulded carbon-composite monocoque shell remained absolutely as production while the longer nose and tail were carefully shaped, profiled, under-floored and proven in the moving-ground wind tunnel. Three road-going McLaren F1 GT (Longtail) cars were to be built while the racing ‘Longtail’ variants were rushed out in parallel.
The first was the development chassis – serial ’19R’ – destined for Team Lark in Japan, completed on November 18, 1996. The GTC Motorsport team – headed by engineer Michael Cane and backed by Ray Bellm – now combined Gulf Oil Livery with David Classic – brought in by German banker and BPR Champion driver Thomas Bscher – to cover a regular three-car entry. The operation became known as McLaren’s””British team”” – a private entry operation.
In Germany Team Schnitzer became the chosen ‘BMW Motorsport’ operation, fielding what came to be regarded as ‘works car’ with Fina oil brand sponsorship. Nine ‘Longtail’ F1 GTR cars followed that 1997 prototype car, including this one now offered here – chassis ’28R’ – initially as a spare supplied to GTC Motorsport in support of their three race cars, chassis ’20’, ’22’ and ’26R’. This car, ‘028R’, actually began life plated as ’27R’ but was damaged in a shake-down testing accident and was replated with its ultimate identity after repair.
The FIA GT Championship season of 1997 comprised 11 qualifying rounds, and reached its pulsating climax in the USA, initially at Sebring, Florida, and then one week later at Laguna Seca, California. Two titles were to be awarded, one for the new World Champion GT Team/Constructor, and the other for Driver Pairing.
What developed during that year was the closest and most ferociously hard-fought endurance racing World Championship for several decades. These 1997 ‘Longtail’ McLaren F1 GTRs were absolutely the ultimate development of the Woking marque’s sophisticated and civilized original road car. They were confronted most ominously by the brand-new, late-announced tailor-made circuit racing Mercedes-Benz AMG projectiles.
The ‘Longtail’ McLarens began the new year’s World Championship season with a 1-2-3 defeat of Mercedes-Benz upon home German soil at Hockenheim that April. The McLarens won again at Helsinki, Finland, and – just – at Silverstone in England. AMG Mercedes missed Le Mans to prepare for the Nurburgring 4-Hours in June, where they finally outpaced the ‘Longtail’ McLarens to finish first and second. An epic race at Spa in Belgium then saw a narrow McLaren victory over AMG Mercedes-Benz, but the three GTC Gulf-Davidoff GTRs were all eliminated in a multiple collision on the opening lap…
At the A1-Ring in Austria Mercedes dominated while Karl-Heinz Kalbfell of BMW – manufacturer of the entirely bespoke McLaren F1 GTR’s engines – remarked to one journalist “”Well, BMW is winning the GT race!”” – underlining the Munich company’s increasing exasperation with the GT Championship eligibility situation.
Mercedes again finished 1-2 in the following Championship race at Suzuka, Japan, showing a performance advantage which was magnified at Donington Park, in England, where the Stuttgart team won again. The ‘Longtails’ fought back to win at Mugello in Italy, with just the final American rounds to be run. Mercedes took full points at Sebring, McLaren now had to win at Laguna to take the World title. It was not to be, retirements and collisions ceding the Championship at the last gasp – to Mercedes-Benz. McLaren versus Mercedes-Benz – this is the true measure of these cars’ significance, and the level at which they were raced as new.
This startlingly handsome Gulf Team Davidoff car was called into action during the second half of the 1997 FIA GT Championship season, in which it was co-driven most often by the experienced and capable pairing of Briton Geoff Lees and Swede Anders Olofsson.
‘Longtail’ McLaren F1 GTR ’28R’ made its racing debut on June 29, 1997 in the FIA GT Championship-qualifying Nurburgring 4-Hour race in Germany. It was co-driven there by Britain’s Andrew Gilbert-Scott and Anders Olofsson as race number ‘1’ but was sidelined by accident damage and did not finish. At Spa on July 20 – shared by the same pairing – ’28R’ was involved in the opening lap team collision and again retired. A wheel problem caused withdrawal from the A1-Ring 4-Hours in Austria where Geoff Lees joined Gilbert-Scott and Olofsson in the driver team, but on August 4 in Japan’s grueling Suzuka 1,000 Kilometer race Andrew Gilbert-Scott/Geoff Lees/John Nielsen qualified ’28R’ offered here seventh fastest overall, and finished sixth. Back home in England on September 14th, Anders Olofsson/Geoff Lees drove the car to finish seventh in the FIA GT Championship Donington Park 4-Hours, and the same pairing followed up with eighth place at Mugello, Italy. In the penultimate round at Sebring they finished tenth, and in the deciding round at Laguna Seca on October 6 they helped salvage McLaren pride by bringing ‘028R’ home into another sixth place overall.
We understand from the vendor that the car remained with GTC after its active FIA career, upon which it made its way back to the McLaren Works in Woking. The car was preserved for several years, and was reportedly sold through McLaren to the Jim Gainer Racing operation in Japan in 2004. According to the vendor, it was imported to Japan in factory-restored condition, reportedly being prepared to Suzuka circuit specification prior to delivery. In 2006, ’28R’ was acquired by the current owner, who has had the car started and run annually since that time, though to our knowledge it has not been track-tested. We are advised that the engine was run as recently as this past January. Most significantly, McLaren has offered to undertake a full technical inspection of the car free of charge for the new owner following this Sale.
In recent years market perception of the McLaren F1 production cars – and their more glamorous F1 GTR racing sisters such as ’28R’ offered here – has grown with fantastic rapidity. So many superlatives have been justifiably heaped upon this street car design that went racing, that we can hardly add more. The McLaren F1 GTR is the production-based racing model that won Le Mans, and then in its more sophisticated racing iterations – as offered here in this ultimate ‘Longtail’ variant – took on the giants of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche on unequal terms…and sometimes beat them.
Add the extra cachet of Gulf racing heritage, these fabulously futuristic good looks and that simply magnificent bespoke BMW V12 engine – absolutely tailored to McLaren requirements – and the very special nature of this remarkably significant artifact can be fully appreciated.
Refer to department
Pros: It is a McLaren F1 and as such one of the greatest cars ever, certainly the only TRUE post 1970 classic. Good condition, history and race career.
Cons: It is not the sort of car that you would drive on the road, CAN you road register it ? thus limiting its value.
#27 – Jaguar C – Type 1953 #XKC050 Est. $4,000,000.00+ My pick US$5 million SOLD US$3.725 mil.
The Joe Kelly and Jack Fairman1953 Jaguar C-Type
CHASSIS NO. XKC-050
ENGINE NO. E1049/8 (Rebuilt on Engine Stand)
Engine No. W6162-8S (Installed)
Body No. K-1050
$4,000,000 – $5,500,000
■The Last Production C-Type
■Two-Time Irish Tourist Trophy Participant
■Podium Finishes at Several Period Irish Events
■Single Ownership for Nearly 30 Years
■Restoration and Race Preparation by Premier Specialists
■A Successful and Well-Campaigned Historic Race Car
EMAIL A SPECIALIST
PRINT THIS PAGE
3,442 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Triple Weber 40MM Carburetors
225 BHP at 5,250 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Lockheed Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent-Wishbone and Torsion-Bar Front Suspension
Solid Rear Axle with Transverse Torsion Bar SpringsThis Car
In the immediate post-war era, Jaguar proved to the international motorsport community that their sports car was a serious contender. The debut of the XK120 was met with resounding acclaim, but it was the C-Type that put Jaguar on the map as a winning manufacturer. Although competition at the Mille Miglia went to Ferrari, Jaguar was victorious at Le Mans in both 1951 and 1953 with the C-Type, beginning their domination of the event. The C-Type was a pure sports car in every respect. It was well-balanced and fast, not to mention exceptionally pretty.
With the works C-Types battling for glory, the production C-Type, of which just 50 were built, were snapped up by enthusiastic privateers across the globe. The C-Type saw success in the hands of both professional and amateur drivers at events throughout Europe and the US. The Jaguar C-Type was an “over- the-counter” racing weapon and additionally a hair-raising road car.
Joe Kelly, the proprietor of a car dealership in Dublin, Ireland, began racing in 1949 when he entered the British Racing Drivers’ Club International Trophy meeting at Silverstone Circuit in his Maserati 6CM. Kelly additionally raced other sports cars, including a Ferrari Monza, at several tracks through England and Ireland. He was well known and liked at one circuit in particular – The Curragh – where he set the track record twice.
As a motor-sport participant throughout the UK in the early 1950s, Kelly came to know and respect Jaguar as a formidable racing car. Many XK120s found success in Ireland in the hands of amateur drivers, but it was the C-Type that proved ultimately victorious on Irish ground. At the 1951 Tourist Trophy, Stirling Moss piloted his works C-Type to an outright win, followed by Peter Walker and his C-Type in 2nd, with the final Jaguar team car in 4th. When Kelly made the decision to purchase a new car, the choice was obvious. On August 18, 1953, he purchased XKC-050 – the last production-built C-Type and the only one delivered to Ireland – through Frank Cavey & Sons.
Finished in British Racing Green, XKC-050 was fitted with body K-1050 and engine E1049/8. The car received registration ZU 2357, and just a month later it was entered in the 1953 Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, a World Sports Car Championship event. On September 5th, Kelly and Jack Fairman piloted XKC-050 to a fantastic result against a field which included two other privately entered C-Types and two Jaguar team cars. In its first outing, the team managed 2nd in Class and 7th overall.
Just a short six days later, Kelly entered the C-Type in a more familiar setting, the Irish circuit known as The Curragh. For the running of the Wakefield Trophy, the Jaguar performed well and Kelly found himself finishing in 2nd place overall. The following day’s running of the O’Boyle Trophy Handicap resulted in 5th overall for the 3.4-litre car.
For Kelly and XKC-050, the 1954 season began in July with the Leinster Trophy event held at Wicklow. In a field of mostly British-built sports cars, Kelly finished in 2nd place overall. The following weekend the pair raced at Carrigrohane in Cork, Ireland, and brought home a 3rd place finish. In August, both car and driver returned to The Curragh to compete, replicating their 2nd place finish in the Wakefield Trophy and achieving a bettered result of 3rd place overall in the O’Boyle Trophy Handicap event.
As a consistent front-runner, XKC-050 was entrusted to Joe Flynn and Torrie Large for the 1954 running of the Tourist Trophy in Dundrod. The Jaguar works team was present with their new D-Types, as was Scuderia Ferrari with the 750 Monza, Aston Martin with the DB3S, Lancia with the D24 and Maserati with the ACGCS. The list of professional drivers was equally as impressive and needless to say, competition was fierce. With many significantly advanced sports racing cars on track, XKC-050 battled to a fantastic 13th overall.
In 1955, the C-Type was entered in its first race outside of Ireland and made its way to Oulton Park in Cheshire, England, for the British Empire Trophy. For the July 9th event, Kelly chose to pilot XKC-050 himself in a grid full of other C- and D-Type Jaguars. Also present were a number of Aston Martin DB3Ss to compete with the handful of Listers. Kelly was off to a good start but Bob Berry, following in his lightweight XK120, was putting on quite a bit of pressure. In heat, Berry put his XK120 into the back of Kelly, forcing a rather severe accident. Fortunately, Kelly was not seriously injured and XKC-050 suffered predominantly coachwork damage.
With Kelly’s retirement from racing, the C-Type was sold to Paul Emery, a Formula 3 driver who would soon compete in Formula 1; C. Unsworth is further noted as a mid-1950s owner. During this time, the car was rebuilt and refinished in bright red. The Jaguar then made its way to the Wayside Garage in Rusper, West Sussex, run by Alan Mann and Roy Pierpoint. The gentlemen were weekend racers who would later play a critical role in Ford’s famous racing program. It is known that Alan Mann raced a C-type early on in his career, and it is likely XKC-050 is that very car.
In 1959, Keith Jeans purchased XKC-050 from the Wayside Garage and registered the car as 333 GMT. Jeans was intent on campaigning the C-Type in club racing, sprints and hill climbs, although it saw frequent road use as well. Keith’s son Simon Jeans recounted, “As one did in those days, he drove to and from meetings and enjoyed it to the full on the roads. I even got taken to and from school in it occasionally.”
Jeans raced the C-Type at Wiscombe, Brighton and Weston-Super-Mare with some success, receiving multiple class wins. However, the big-displacement sports car was not as nimble as the majority of competitors on the circuit, and Jeans began looking to buy a Lotus XI. Having paid £1,000 for the Jaguar, Jeans managed to sell it a year later for just £750 to David Harvey of Surrey, England. Harvey, the driving force behind the Jaguar Driver’s Club, retained the car until 1965 when it was sold to Jeremy Broad of Warwickshire, England, before being passed to Bryan Corser of Shrewsbury.
Mr. Corser commenced a two-year rebuild of the C-Type, and upon its completion the car was actively used wearing registration SVM 737. In 1970 for the British Grand Prix, Mr. Corser organized a driver’s parade to celebrate “twenty- one XK years.” Driven by Jaguar’s Managing Director Lofty England with Ronnie Peterson as riding dignitary, XKC-050 led the parade of several C-Type, D-Type and XK-SS Jaguars. After more than a decade of pleasurable ownership, Mr. Corser sold XKC-050. In 1983, XKC-050 was offered for sale by DK Engineering, at which time Bob Baker of Omaha, Nebraska, purchased the car. The car was restored prior to its arrival in the US. In 1984, the C-Type was bought by its current owner, a noted vintage racing authority and collector.
In 1985 the Jaguar was entrusted to Phil Reilly & Company for complete restoration as needed. Once finished, the C-Type returned to the track and immediately saw use at the Kansas City Grand Prix with David Love behind the wheel. The car went on to compete at the St. Louis Grand Prix and the Monterey Historics. The car was run in the Mille Miglia in 1986 and 1987 before returning to the Monterey Historics in 1987 and then to the Mille Miglia again in 1989.
In addition to numerous runnings at the Montery Historics, XKC-050 has competed at the Coronado Festival of Speed, Lime Rock Historic Festival, Wine Country Classic, Goodwood Revival Meeting and Monaco Historique Grand Prix. The car has additionally participated in numerous Colorado Grands, Copperstate 1000s, California Milles and the Japan Mille Miglia, not to mention the exclusive C- and D-Type Jaguar Tours. Phil Reilly & Company and later John Anderson Racing in Sonoma, California, regularly maintained the car during its vintage racing use.
To preserve the purity of the C-Type, the original engine was carefully removed from the car in 1997 and immediately rebuilt by Intrepid Motorcar Co. in Sparks, Nevada. The engine was fitted with the standard dual SU carburetor set up and placed on a display stand. Fitted today is a proper type motor, specified for racing with the triple Weber combination, built in 2011 by John Anderson Racing. The C-Type was the recipient of a 2010 complete chassis overhaul by Thomas Vintage Motors of Boulder, Colorado.
In contemporary racing, XKC-050 has remained a front-runner and in several cases an outright winner. C-Types as historic racing mounts have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their competitiveness; they have been winning races and finishing ahead of D-Types and even 300S Maseratis at international events including the Monaco Historique Grand Prix and the Le Mans Classic.
Chassis XKC-050 remains a highly regarded example of the legendary C-Type and the last production car built. The Jaguar was a championed private entry in period competition and remains as one of the few non-works cars to have competed at the Tourist Trophy – the only example to race there twice. Known ownership and a successful contemporary motorsport career additionally place XKC-050 as a noteworthy C-Type. Most importantly, XKC- 050 is accompanied by its original engine, E1049/8 with the head 1024. Furthermore, the original chassis, engine, gearbox and body numbers appear correctly throughout the various components.
As one of the greatest sports cars of the 1950s, the C-Type remains a very usable road or race car. To some purists, the C-Type is the greatest Jaguar ever built. Eligible for countless events, including the C- and D-Type Tour, XKC-050 is an opportunity of note; a C-Type with such purity is rarely seen in today’s market. .
Pros: Nice C – Type, very original, nice car
Cons: Fairly commong, no amazing race history.
#28 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8AS 1930 #1591 US$1.75 mil. + My pick $2,000,000.00 NOT SOLD @ US$1.35 mil.
1930 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8AS Boattail Cabriolet
by Carrozzeria Castagna
Chassis No. 1581
Engine No. 1599
To be auctioned on
Saturday, August 18, 2012
120 bhp, 7,370 cc L-head eight, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-floating rear axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear, and four-wheel Dewandre vacuum servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 146″”
• Pebble Beach Second in Class winner
• Ex-Sergio Franchi Collection
• Recent concours quality restoration
The Eight-Cylinder Isotta-Fraschini
Società Milanese Automobili Isotta, Fraschini & C. was founded on January 27, 1900. The firm was focused on the assembly of Renaults before advancing to production of its own namesake automobile. Early production focused on high horsepower cars: veritable fire-breathers that achieved celebrity in the crucible of racing. Of early note is Isotta’s victory in the 1908 Targa Florio. In 1919, the firm established itself as a luxury manufacturer with the introduction of the Tipo, or Type 8, which became the first production car to feature a straight-eight engine. The successor to the 5.9-Liter Tipo 8 was the 8A, which had a 7.3-liter straight-eight that put out a respectful 80 horsepower.
The next step in the development of the larger eight liter was the 120 horsepower Tipo 8AS, with the ‘S’ denoting a tuned engine. The true answer to understanding the 8AS is slightly more involved. According to Angelo Tito Anselmi’s groundbreaking reference on the marque, “Until the spring of 1927, the Spinto or tuned versions of the 8 and 8A were made sporadically and resulted from a combination, optional to a certain degree, of three ingredients: short wheelbase chassis, engine with high compression ratio, and a somewhat high numerical final-drive ratio. The fourth ingredient was lightweight coachwork, which Isotta-Fraschini advised but which was left to the client’s taste.” Chassis length on the 8AS was also negotiable, and many clients preferred the longer 146-inch wheelbase, which allowed for better body lines.
Like other luxury marques, the Isotta-Fraschini was offered as a rolling chassis that would be sent off to be clothed with coachwork produced by the finest craftsmen of the day. The length of the massive 8A engine lent itself to a long hood and cowl that became signatures for the model. Carrozzeria Castagna gained serious traction after it began producing automobile bodies in the early-1900s and soon, bodies by Castagna were frequently finding their way onto the most exclusive chassis of the day, including the Alfa Romeo 8C, Mercedes-Benz, and of course, Isotta-Fraschini. The relationship between the two was so successful that it could be said that Castagna was to Isotta-Fraschini what Murphy was to Duesenberg. There were a number of other Italian coachbuilders who collectively provided the majority of the bodies for the various eight-cylinder Isotta chassis, but few are considered more exceptional than the drophead Castagnas.
Chassis 1581: “The Grey Goddess”
Chassis 1581 was acquired sometime in the late-1970s or early 1980s, by world renowned actor and opera tenor Sergio Franchi. A photo of Franchi with the fully intact 8AS Castagna Cabriolet appears as if it had just been woken from a long slumber. By 1983, the car was restored and displayed at Pebble Beach and remained identified with Franchi until being acquired by the current connoisseur nearly two decades later.
Given that the restoration was a quarter century old, the new owner commissioned Byron Libbey, of Libbey Restorations in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, to enable the car to return to Pebble Beach. The car was running and driving well prior to disassembly, and a set of photographs that document the restoration will be supplied with the car. The chassis, suspension, and undercarriage shield are finished in a deep, even black, which was given as much attention as the exterior sheet metal of any outstanding concours restoration. The engine was lightly torn down, found to be in excellent working order, and cosmetically furnished to proper surface finishes, including the abundance of polished aluminum, as it originally appeared, and the lengthy painted red 7.3-liter block. The steering box, transmission, and rear end were fully rebuilt, and the only modification made was to use a close gear ratio in the steering box, which improved handling.
The coachwork is entirely original and constructed of aluminum, with the sheer size of the fully assembled body and its individual panels belied by exceptional proportioning of its entire sculpted length. The solidity of the body is especially impressive, due to the metal choice, and demonstrates the inherent Italian ability to incorporate sound structural support into some of the most voluptuous forms. Finished in a green-grey similar to the livery it previously wore, a lighter green belt molding is accented by a delicate forest green pinstripe that runs down its length. The long flowing front fenders make an impressively crafted turn so they may conform to and append to the side of the chassis rail and continue rearward. Adoring the front passenger-side fender is a single parking light with a green cut glass lens on the front and a red jewel on the rear, which is mimicked by the cut red glass of the taillight.
Next are dual teardrop-shaped step plates, which double as toolboxes and are accessed via the varnished wood lid, which is adorned with chrome ribs. The teardrop-shaped profiles are also finished with varnished wood and followed by the rear arches, which arc up and over the rear wheels. Mounted on the driver’s side are the three wooden rumble seat step plates trimmed with chrome ribs and framing.
The body continues to the rumble seat lid, which is opened via an internal handle. The absence of exterior hardware minimizes distraction when the lid is lowered, as does the lack of handles on the dual golf bag doors. Following the rear compartment is the boattail, punctuated by two rear-mounted wire spares. Close inspection of the wheel knockoffs shows that they are inscribed with Isotta’s intricate logo, as well as the words sinistro and destro, to denote the threads as being left- or right-handed. Even the license plate is lit by a lamp of the same quality of that used on the interior, and an artistic chromed exhaust tip fans out three dimensionally in a diamond shape.
All of the chrome on the exterior was re-plated, including the six wire wheels, period accessory Stephen Grebel headlights with stone guards, the Grebel spotlight, bumpers, and the distinctive radiator stone guard, which has an artistic representation of the sun’s rays depicting them as electric lightning bolts with arrow tips on the ends of the rays. The many other excellently plated elements include the window and windshield frames, the Bosch wiper motor, handles, knobs, and other minor fitments and fixtures down to the frame of the Isotta-Fraschini Owner’s Association badge adorning the front bumper.
The exterior of the dark green cloth convertible top is fresh and clean, while its grey upholstered headliner is taught and unblemished. The interior of the very sound convertible top is accented by two oval courtesy lights, which have frosted, etched glass covers. Other features include dual locking glove boxes and intricate wooden inlay, which utilized multiple types of wood and features an artistic usage of grained and burled wood, which is matched by the finish and materials used in the rumble seat, down to the dual locking glove boxes. Highlighting the interior is the engine turned dash, which is fitted with fine instrumentation illuminated by dual lights, and the split windshield frames, which can be folded out for better ventilation. The quality of accoutrement also applies to the delicate dual glass ashtrays with wooden covers and the solid multiple inlay work around the door panel upholstery, which utilizes dark green leather piped with green-grey. Even the tubular door pulls are of quality, made of two-tone interwoven leather strips.
A single front bench seat is actually two independent seats that can be individually adjusted on tracks; behind the driver’s seat is a crank that will adjust the seat back to fine tune the comfort for a driver of most any size. A piano-hinged chrome strip lays on top of the doors when the windows are lowered and glides up when it is raised. This feature completes the crisp look created when the top is down, and the B-pillars have been removed and stowed in the rear compartment. Sitting behind the wheel, one is reminded of the power of the Isotta-Fraschini brand. The whole car is European in every sense of style and presentation, yet in the middle of the steering wheel are the labels that mark the spark and throttle control levers, which are printed in both Italian and English. A dash plaque also indicates that this car was delivered through Isotta Motors Inc. in New York City. Both features remind the viewer that nearly 30% of new cars produced by the Milanese firm were delivered new to the motoring elite in the United States.
Libbey’s three decades of restoration experience paid off with a Second in Class at Pebble Beach in 2009, as well as Best of Show at the Newport Concours d’Elegance. Accompanying this desirable Isotta-Fraschini 8AS are photographs depicting the car prior to and during restoration. The coachwork adorning chassis 1581 is of exceptional beauty and quality of presentation, from its entire overall balance down to the smallest orders of magnitude. Its ‘spinto’ tuned, 120 horsepower 7.3-liter eight, coupled with the other desirable elements that define the 8AS, including the lightweight, open aluminum boattail coachwork by Carrozzeria Castagna, are representative of the pinnacle of Classic Era European styling elegance.
Pros: Beautiful car in absolutely fantastic condition and could be a concours entry anywhere
Cons: Already been at Pebble
Horch 853A Special Roadster #854275 US$6 mil. + My pick $5,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$5.17 mil.
1938 Horch 853A Special Roadster
by Erdmann & Rossi
Chassis No. 854275
Engine No. 852006
To be auctioned on
Friday, August 17, 2012
120 bhp, 4,944 cc inline overhead cam eight-cylinder engine, four-speed sliding gear synchromesh transmission with overdrive, independent front suspension via upper A-arms and lower twin transverse leaf springs and chassis lubrication system, fully independent rear suspension with half shafts and leaf springs, four-wheel vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes, and centrally controlled four-wheel hydraulic jacking system. Wheelbase: 135.8″”
Titled as 1939.
• Pebble Beach Best of Show winner, with multiple other Best of Show wins
• One of five built and three surviving of its kind
• From the Collection of Joseph & Margie Cassini
In the spring of 1896, 28-year-old August Horch saw his first motor car, a Benz, and immediately wrote Benz & Cie to inquire if the company might be able to utilize someone with his engineering and manufacturing experience. The reply was a positive one, and shortly thereafter, Horch was the plant manager, with 70 employees under him. Driven to accomplish more, he found independent financial backing and in 1899, founded A. Horch & Cie. His namesake vehicles were known for quality, even in their earliest days, and utilized the latest innovations, such as the new spray-jet carburetor, a transmission design with constant-mesh gears, and a two-cylinder engine of his own design.
Horch cars participated in a number of reliability runs and races, acquiring quite a good reputation early on. By 1910, the company, however, was suffering from lagging sales and issues with malfunctions on cars entered in touring events. Horch found himself scapegoated and was forced out of his namesake company. Like Ransom Olds in the United States, Horch no longer had the right to use his name for another business concern and settled on the Latin translation of his name, Audi, which means “to listen,” for his new firm.
The motor cars constructed by Audi Automobilwerk, m.g.H. had a good reputation and even outperformed the Horch in competition. However, a focus on only expensive, high-quality automobiles left the company in financial trouble, and Horch exited by 1920. The postwar financial crisis left most of the country’s manufacturing concern in disarray, and in 1932, four struggling auto companies from Saxony, Horch, DKW, Wanderer, and Audi, joined forces to become Auto Union, with four interlocking rings used as the logo. Shortly thereafter, in 1933, August Horch was reinstated as the head of the Horchwerke.
Horch continued as a luxury car manufacturer; it had produced its first eight in 1927 and a twelve by 1930. In 1933, Horch launched the Type 830, followed by the 850 in 1934. The top Horch models were based on the fully-developed straight eight-cylinder engines and reached the absolute pinnacle between 1937 and 1940, with the type 853 and 951. The engine was now of five-liter capacity, and the 853 employed double-jointed rear axle shafts pioneered on the Porsche-designed Auto Union racing cars, providing fully independent De Dion rear type suspension. Front suspension consisted of an upper A-arm with the lower hub carried by a pair of transverse leaf springs. Vacuum-assisted hydraulic brakes were standard, as was a four-speed transmission with a lever-actuated overdrive that was usable in all four gears. The result was a highly advanced chassis for the time, and one that would not be matched by most other car manufacturers until well into the postwar years.
Just as they were competitors on the track, with their team cars collectively known as the “Silver Arrows,” Horch and Mercedes-Benz also competed in the luxury market, and Horch decided to respond directly to the 540K. A design concept began, and a wooden model was built to assess the Horch Special Roadster. The decision was made to go ahead, and the construction of the car was undertaken by the factory works in Malan, Germany. The car was shown briefly but not initially sold, as plans to supercharge the car were contemplated. Ultimately, the straight eight engine was deemed sufficient for the car, and plans to supercharge it were abandoned. Although not supercharged like its rivals, the 853 models do have overdrive, which closes the performance gap.
A second car was then produced. Built to the same model, it was similar in appearance to the first car, but the body of this car was built by prominent Berlin coachbuilders Erdmann and Rossi, established in 1898. These first two cars are considered the “First Series” cars. They are both based closely on the design concept and are virtually identical to each other, with both surviving in long-term ownership.
The “Second Series” of cars built had more modern coachwork, with elegant flowing lines and pontoon-shaped wings. Five of these cars were built, three of which are known to survive today.
The first example was built for Herman Göring and was fitted with a bulletproof windscreen, but at the same time, Mercedes-Benz built a 540K Special Roadster for Göring, fitted with bulletproof doors and glass, as well as the windscreen. The self-preservationist Göring chose the Mercedes and his semi-bulletproof Horch was ordered to be dismantled. Another example, probably the last built of the Second Series, remains unaccounted for, leaving just three cars surviving.
Detail is important to consider when comparing the Horch Special Roadsters to their competition from Sindelfingen. Although the 540K Special Roadsters were considered one-off examples, the variance in detail between the approximately 25 examples built is minimal, and the coachwork was supplied by the factory. Conversely, only eight Horch Special Roadsters of all types were built. The prototype was factory bodied, but subsequent examples were clothed by independent coachbuilders Erdmann & Rossi and, in the case of the last example, Glaser.
Although three examples of the Second Series Special Roadsters survive, each one is truly unique. Some have the “sweep panel” in the body sides; at least two were built with the beautiful louvered rear fender skirts, while others had no skirts at all. At least two cars had the blade style bumpers seen on this car, while others had traditional Horch 853 style bumpers. Similarly, at least three different interior patterns exist; all of this is documented in original photographs, many of which are found in Rupert Stuhlemmer’s book The Coachwork of Erdmann & Rossi.
Due to the bespoke nature of these cars, the purchase price of a Horch Special Roadster was significantly higher than the cost of a production 540K Special Roadster. Additionally, Horch was extremely selective in allowing clients to buy its products; having payment in full did not guarantee a prospective one of these automobiles. The background and place in society of the prospective purchaser was considered, and it was required that the purchaser demonstrate that they had a minimum of 100,000 Deutschmarks in the bank, making these cars not only extremely rare in period, but probably the most difficult of any car to acquire new.
Offered from the collection of Joseph and Margie Cassini is the most prominent of the three remaining Second Series Special Roadsters, commission number 3164. This car was brought to the United States after the Second World War by a returning serviceman, who opened a filling station in Cleveland, Ohio. He began dismantling the car with the intention of restoring it and like so many similar instances, the dream was never realized. In the late-1960s, collector Herbert von Fragstein began seeking one of the Special Roadsters and learned of the existence of 3164. After several years of letter writing and visits, he was successful in acquiring the car in 1973.
Like the gentleman before him, von Fragstein did not commence the restoration; although, he did manage to acquire a number of original parts, which were to aid its eventual refurbishment. The Horch was acquired in 2001 by noted collector Joseph Cassini. When reflecting on the opportunity to acquire the car he relates, “I was familiar with the Special Roadster owned by Dr. Charles Key in Texas. It was a beautiful car, and I saw this example as an opportunity to take a diamond in the rough and realize its true potential.” He commissioned RM Auto Restoration to return the car to concours condition, which was the start of a two-year journey.
The restoration began with a thorough inventory and dismantling, which proved the car to be remarkably complete. It was stripped down to the bare chassis, where every component was disassembled, inspected, cleaned, and refastened all the way down to the hydraulic jacking system. Even the wooden frame was totally taken apart, and again, each piece was inspected and cleaned. Although some of the ash framing in the lower portions required replacement, a remarkable amount of the original wood was saved. Restoration specialist Don McLellan notes the many hours of research that was conducted to make sure all aspects of the project were completed correctly. He also notes, “As we disassembled each component, you could really see the quality of engineering that whet into every piece. The chassis itself is massive and strong, as it was intended to be.”
The steel and aluminum alloy body was, overall, in very good shape. Some areas required repair, and great pains were taken to save as much of the original coachwork as possible. The drivetrain was complete and thoroughly rebuilt. The fit and finish of every mechanical and cosmetic component was painstakingly researched, and two separate trips were made to Germany to photograph other original examples. McLellan also notes that previous owner von Fragstein was a huge help, because he had a lot of technical knowledge, had acquired many parts over the years, and had many contacts familiar with the marque.
When it came time to choose livery, Cassini relates, “Making the final decisions regarding paint and interior were the most difficult. We went over a number of color combinations and spray outs before making a final decision.” The colors ultimately chosen were this period-correct shade of silver accented with a subtle grey two-tone. By the time the car was prepared for display, over 12,000 hours had been invested in perfection.
No volume of words can adequately convey the emotion stirred at the sight of this spectacular Special Roadster. When closely observing this rolling sculpture, it is amazing to consider the delicate balance of the myriad of fine details. The use of chrome is restrained, led by the single blade-style bumper, which is followed by the radiator surround and a delicate latticework of trim that adorns the peaks of the fenders and also runs down the length of the center and sides of the hood, accenting the endless array of louvers. The hood trim continues to the cowl and into the windshield frame, while another piece continues down the length of the body, under the wide, low-slung belt molding on the doors, and wraps around the rear of the body. At the same time, a subtle sweep panel emerges from the cowl and gently tapers down towards the rear of the door. Everywhere, the mastery of the craftsmen at Erdmann and Rossi can be seen, as there is hardly any piece of sheet metal that does not have a hand-hammered compound curve.
Other fine elements include the chromed bezels that surround the holes where the bumper mounts through to the front sheet metal, as well as the ornamental fluted louvers on the fender skirts, which have a chromed deco Horch logo at the center. A look at the passenger compartment lends the impression that it was designed and crafted by a jeweler instead of an automobile firm. The leather and alligator upholstery is complemented with deeply varnished Circassian burled walnut veneer on the door trim and dash, and it is interesting to note that the natural grain of the wood elegantly wraps around the centrally located speedometer, in addition to the fully fitted headliner in the convertible top, which was only available in the finest luxury automobiles. Again, all of the smaller pieces are adorned by a small amount of chrome, including handles, bezels, and even the cast pedals, which are also imprinted with the Horch logo.
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is unquestionably regarded as the most prestigious automotive gathering in the world. Joseph and Margie Cassini knew they had a special car, but assumptions regarding the outcome of that August day in 2004 were restrained. When class awards were announced, it dawned on everyone involved that the coveted Best of Show was within reach. The Cassinis were elated, as was the entire RM restoration team. McLellan notes the strong relationship that had been formed by the RM staff with the Cassinis throughout the two year endeavor, “The Pebble Beach win was very special because of the relationship that had been built during the restoration. It was like a family collaboration.”
Says Judge Cassini, who has owned over 50 examples of the best marques on the planet, “I’ve had some really outstanding cars—but the Horch is at the top of the pile, and it is also very functional.” He notes that when returning from the Meadow Brook tour with his wife, it was an extremely hot day, and they decided to take the interstate back instead of back roads. The Horch performed wonderfully and kept up with the fast pace of traffic effortlessly. Subsequent concours wins include the New York City Concours in 2005, Meadow Brook in 2006, the Glenmore Gathering in 2008, Ault Park in 2009, and most recently, Greenwich in 2012. The Cassinis have fully completed a decade-long journey and thoughtfully chosen to share their example with a new caretaker. It is, arguably, not only the best example of the marque but also one of the finest European cars of the period.
Pros:Extremely glamorous, VERY hand built, and very rare
Cons: Not a Mercedes, and what would you do with it, has been shown everywhere.
#30 – Ferrari 250 GT TDF #0585 1956 My pick $4,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$6.71 mil.
1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’
by Carrozzeria Scaglietti
Chassis No. 0585GT
Engine No. 0585GT
Available Upon Request
To be auctioned on
Saturday, August 18, 2012
240 bhp, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine with three Weber carburetors, four-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and parallel trailing arms, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm
• Very first of the second series 14-louver design
• One of nine examples built
• Featured in the Hollywood Classic, The Love Bug
• Matching numbers, extensively documented, and complete with full Ferrari Classiche certification
• Received a class award at the 2011 Quail Motorsports Gathering
• Single ownership for 14 years and offered for the first time ever at auction
• Pristine example of Ferrari’s most revered berlinetta
The tragic accident at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans that claimed the lives of one driver and 79 spectators had a profound effect on the shape of racing, one that ultimately led to the creation of one of Ferrari’s most celebrated models. Racing enthusiasts and competitors alike agreed that the crash was ultimately the result of the increasingly potent powertrains of the Le Mans sports cars, and in order to prevent further disaster, new regulations would be required to veer from the path of these thinly veiled race cars, which were essentially grand prix cars packaged with two-seater bodies.
The following year, the FIA responded by creating new gran turismo classes that not only prioritized safety, but also re-established the concept of competitively racing a road-based production car. Ferrari, of course, was well prepared for the challenge, having just debuted its new series-production 250 GT at the Geneva Motor Show of 1956. While the coupe on display featured an elegant body that would go on to be produced in quantity by Boano, thus providing necessary homologation, the underlying chassis proved to be the basis for the competition car, or berlinetta, that Ferrari sought to enter into the FIA’s new racing classifications. Pininfarina designed a new lightweight body that was built by Scaglietti, using thin-gauge aluminum and Perspex windows and a minimally upholstered cabin. The finished car, then known officially as the 250 GT Berlinetta, was ultimately made in a sparing quantity of 77 examples that are further sub-divided by subtle differences in coachwork over the model’s four-year production run.
Ferrari’s hopes for competitive success were quickly realized when Olivier Gendebien and Jacques Washer co-drove the very first car, chassis number 0503 GT, to a First in Class and Fourth Overall at the Giro di Sicilia in April 1956, with a Fifth Overall (First in Class) at the Mille Miglia later that month. But the model’s defining success didn’t occur until September, during the 1956 Tour de France Automobile, a grueling 3,600 mile, week-long contest that combined six circuit races, two hill climbs, and a drag race. The Marquis Alfonso de Portago, a Spanish aristocrat and privateer racer, drove chassis number 0557 GT to a dominating victory that sealed the dynamic model’s reputation. Enzo Ferrari was so pleased with the outcome that the 250 GT Berlinetta was subsequently and internally, though never officially, referred to as the Tour de France. The moniker proved to be quite fitting, as Gendebien took First Overall at the 1957, 1958, and 1959 installments of the French race, as well as a Third Overall at the 1957 Mille Miglia, a triumph that witnessed the defeat of many more purpose-built sports racers.
With the introduction of a short-wheelbase 250 GT in late-1959, the outgoing platform became retrospectively labeled as the long-wheelbase version, though the original car’s designation of 250 GT LWB Berlinetta is now largely simplified with the name ‘Tour de France.’ Through its brief production run, the TdF underwent several external body modifications, ultimately resulting in four different series-produced body styles (not including a handful of Zagato-bodied cars). The alterations in appearance are most easily recognizable in the so-called sail panels, the rear ¾-panels of the c-pillar that adjoin the roof. Initially produced with no louvers at all, these panels featured 14 louvers in the second-series cars, followed by a series with just three louvers, and ending with a series that featured just one sail-panel louver. Of all of these series, the 14-louver cars are the rarest, with only nine examples produced, and are judged by many enthusiasts to be the handsomest of the group.
This fabulous, early Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France is the very first example constructed of the second series design that featured 14-louver sail-panels. On November 15, 1956, the stunning TdF was purchased by Tony Parravano, the Italian national and Southern California building construction magnate who is better known among 1950s racing enthusiasts for the numerous Italian sports cars that he campaigned in the area’s SCCA circuit. 0585 GT was entered for the Palm Springs road races in early April of 1957, before being disqualified because the sanctioning body did not recognize it as a production car. Changing hands among a couple of Los Angeles-based owners during the early-1960s, 0585 GT eventually came into the possession of Walt Disney Studios for use in the 1966 film The Love Bug, the celebrated Disney classic about “Herbie,” the racing VW Beetle with a soul.
Following its memorable Hollywood turn, this important 250 GT fell on hard times, passing through the Schaub family, of Los Angeles, before reportedly being abandoned on the side of the Hollywood freeway. Records indicate two more owners during the 1970s and 1980s. In September 1994, the car surfaced and was offered for sale in an unrestored state by David Cottingham’s DK Engineering in Watford, England. Unable to sell 0585 GT for its true value, DK, in late-1996, elected to totally restore the historically significant Tour de France, a freshening that debuted to overwhelming acclaim at Coy’s International Historic Festival at Silverstone in July 1997. The festival proved to be a perfect stage for the immaculate car, as it was sold the following October to its current owner, a well-respected Southern California-based collector who has a 40-year history of collecting and caring for some of the most recognizable and important Ferrari cars ever built.
Registered under license plate “MY 56 TDF,” 0585 GT was soon campaigned in a number of vintage rallies, including the Tour Auto of April 1998, as well as the Mille Miglia of the following May. The car also participated in the Tour Auto in 1999 and 2000, and placed 39th Overall at the 2000 Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge at Le Mans. 0585 GT returned to the Tour Auto in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2006 and was displayed at Car Classic: Freedom of Motion, the 2010 exhibition held at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. The following August, 0585 GT’s extreme quality and rarity were confirmed with the ultimate in exhibitive recognition, a class award at the 2011 Quail Motorsports Gathering in Carmel, California, where the car won “The Great Ferraris” class, honoring some of the marque’s earliest and important sports and racing cars.
In addition to all of these awards and racing achievements, 0585 GT has also gone under the scrutiny of the Ferrari factory’s certification program and easily received the full “Red Book” certification through Newport Beach Ferrari specialist, John Amette. For the certification process, the original gearbox was put in the car; however, the current owner has since removed it and put a more user-friendly synchromesh gearbox in the car for much better drivability purposes. It must be noted that the original unit will be supplied with the sale of this car. A full set of original tools and a jack will also be included, as well as a booklet of documentation and various trophies and awards that the car has received over the years. In preparation for the sale, 0585 GT has also just been completely detailed and sorted at well-respected Junior’s House of Color in Long Beach, California, so it will look stunning in presentation.
On a recent track drive in preparation for RM’s video and photography efforts, the car performed flawlessly, handling directly and powering through all of the gears with ease. As the RM specialist describes, “The four-wheel drum brakes and skinny tyres can sometimes provide a different driving experience for those familiar with later cars fitted with disk brakes and wider stances; however, it allows the pilot to become much more intimate with the driving experience and to engage the engine in a much different way, creating a completely different awareness of timing and speed…The most beautiful thing about these early TDs is what most Ferraristi will attest to, and that is the sound of the exhaust note when the car breaches 3500 rpm. As you power out of the corners, there is that point when the car just feels and sounds right! All the noises, the vibrations, and the elements of speed come together to create a symphonic harmony that is unlike anything else. Moreover, the sound is not too overpowering and is pleasurable for extended periods of time, which cannot be said for many other race-bred cars. It is the ultimate dual-purpose Ferrari!”
Impeccably cared for and stunningly restored, 0585 GT is a beautiful and rare example of the second series 14-louver Tour de France, one of Ferrari’s greatest sports cars of all time. This car’s next owner can look forward to continued warm receptions at the world’s finest automotive events, including rallies such as the Tour Auto and Mille Miglia, and premium exhibitive venues, such as Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, and the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic. It is a truly unique representative of one of Ferrari’s most revered models, and in many ways, it is the ultimate symbol of Ferrari’s long pursuit of dual-purpose sports cars that can be seriously campaigned as easily as they can be road driven. Given their extremely low production numbers and desirability, these cars rarely come to the market. The availability of 0585 GT after 14-years of single ownership offers an unbeatable chance to acquire one of the most storied machines to emerge from Maranello’s legendary motoring lore.
Pros: Nice Tour de France, no competition history, but was a movie star
Cons: If there is such a thing, it is just another Tour de France
#31 – Ferrari 500TRC #0672 1957 US$3.75 mil. + My pick $4,000,000.00 SOLD US$4.73 mil.
From the Sherman M. Wolf Collection, Formerly the Property of John Von Neumann, Frank Becker and Thor Thorson1957 Ferrari 500 TRC
Coachwork by Scaglietti
CHASSIS NO. 0662 MDTR
ENGINE NO. 0662 MDTR
Internal No. 62 C
$3,750,000 – $4,500,000
■One of the Most Beautiful Italian Sports Cars of the 1950s
■Among the First of Just 19 Examples Built
■Illustrious US Racing History with Several Wins
■Displayed at the 1980 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
■Part of the Sherman M. Wolf Collection Since 1988
■Colorado Grand and Monterey Historics Veteran
■Featured in Phil Hill’s Ferrari: A Champion’s View
■Complete with Matching-Numbers Engine
■Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini
1,985 CC Tipo 131 C DOHC Alloy Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Twin Weber 40 DCO/3 Carburetors
190 BHP at 7,400 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Double-Wishbone Front Suspension
Live Rear Axle with Coil SpringsThis Car
One of the most beautiful sports racing cars ever conceived, the 500 TRC was actively campaigned by well-connected privateers and gained great acclaim in the US, winning its class at Sebring and dominating the E-Modified category of the SCCA.
The outstanding 500 TRC presented here, chassis 0662 MDTR, is the third of just 19 examples built and was constructed at the Ferrari factory in February 1957. Like many of the Scaglietti-bodied sports racers, this 500 TRC was finished in a two- tone livery that highlighted its sinuous appearance and competition bloodline.
Soon after completion, 0662 MDTR was sold to John von Neumann, Ferrari’s official West Coast distributor. Von Neumann was well aware that sales were dependent upon the success of Ferrari’s small-displacement, four-cylinder sports racers and he always made sure to place the latest offerings in the hands of leading drivers. As 0662 MDTR was one of the first 500 TRCs to arrive in the US, von Neumann staged a series of publicity photos with famed California driver Richie Ginther beside the brand-new Ferrari.
Between late February and early March, 0662 MDTR was sold to Luigi Chinetti’s main financial backer, George Arents. After the Ferrari made the trip across the US, it was entered in the Boca Raton races on March 10th. Driven by David Cunningham, an up-and-coming 20-year-old driver, the 500 TRC won the E-Modified Class. From there, Cunningham campaigned 0662 MDTR at the 3rd Annual Frostbite Races at Eagle Mountain Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 13th and 14th.
On May 19th, Cunningham and Arents raced the 500 TRC at Cumberland but failed to finish due to mechanical troubles. In a later heat, the Ferrari was loaned to Southern California driver Bruce Kessler, who finished with an impressive 3rd place result. On June 23, 1957, von Neumann was reacquainted with the Ferrari and entered it in the SCCA Nationals at Road America. In the second heat, he captured a 3rd place finish.
In January 1958, Washington driver Pete Lovely returned his 500 TR, 0650 MDTR, to von Neumann in Los Angeles, California, and noticed the race-proven 500 TRC in the shop. As Lovely and his Seattle, Washington, business partner Fred Armbruster were looking for a new car for the 1958 season, Lovely worked out a deal with von Neumann whereby he traded their 500 TR and $2,000 cash for the much-improved TRC.
In March 1958, Lovely drove the 500 TRC at the SCCA event at Shelton Airport in Washington but failed to finish the race. Shortly after its appearance at Shelton, 0662 MDTR was sold to Dr. Leon Frank Becker, a dentist living in Mercer Island, Washington.
Becker immediately found success with the two-liter Ferrari. In his first outing at Deer Park Airport, he finished 2nd in the Formula Libre race and 4th in the Modified race. From there, Becker entered the 500 TRC in the Seafair Sports Car Trophy races at Shelton and finished 2nd in Class. Becker only raced 0662 MDTR on two other occasions during the 1958 season: at California’s Riverside Grand Prix in October and Laguna Seca SCCA races in November.
During the Winter of 1958 and 1959, the 500 TRC made an appearance at the Seattle Auto Show and was prepared for a busy schedule of racing.
The 1959 season began in March with back- to-back appearances at Shelton, the latter event resulting in a 3rd overall and 1st in E-Modified. On June 14th, 0662 MDTR was entered in the Goldendale Hill Climb and set the class-winning time. Becker spent much of July campaigning the car in major SCCA events and seemed to improve with each race. After finishing 9th at Buckley Field and 6th at Riverside, Becker returned to the Northwest and won the preliminary event at Westwood in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Following a 4th place finish at Shelton, Becker rounded out the season with a win at Deer Park and major victories at Westwood, placing 1st in the main event as well as the race for C- through E-Modified.
Becker’s racing activities in 1960 were much more limited. Although the Ferrari was raced at Pomona and Riverside, California, its best result was a 3rd place finish in the Northwest Sports Car News Grand Prix in Kent, Washington. Over the next few years, the 500 TRC was reserved for occasional outings and track events, but its days of serious racing had ended.
In May 1962, the 500 TRC was transported over a mountain pass in freezing conditions and, as the coolant system contained no antifreeze, the block was frozen. Rather than repair the engine, the Ferrari four-cylinder was substituted for a Chevrolet small-block V-8. For the next several years, the TRC was stored at Dale Dyer’s shop in Seattle, Washington, and saw little, if any, use. Finally in 1968, 0662 MDTR was sold to Contemporary Classics, a sports car dealership on Pike Street.
In 1969, a law student named Phillip “Wink” Davis purchased the V-8 powered Ferrari sports racer. Over the Summer months, Mr. Davis drove around Kent raceways and toured Montana and Idaho before returning to Colorado in the Fall for school. No longer able to enjoy the Ferrari as he once had, Mr. Davis put the TRC into storage in Nederland, Colorado.
In 1973, Mr. Davis, who by then was a practicing attorney in Boulder, Colorado decided he would rather move to Montana and work as a cowboy. Consequently, a racing Ferrari no longer seemed a practical possession. After coming to this realization, Mr. Davis called his friend Thor Thorson and offered him the Ferrari. All Mr. Thorson had to pay for the TRC was Mr. Davis’ cost basis – roughly $5,800 – and his Alfa Romeo GTV. It was a done deal.
At this point, Mike Dopudja picked up the car from its storage location – under tarps in a dilapidated barn – and trailered it to Denver for restoration. Fortunately, the body and frame were in good shape and the restoration proved to be a straightforward affair. In fact, the bodywork was so correct and original that it later served as a template for three subsequent TRC restorations. Mr. Thorson, meanwhile, found a 750 Monza engine, which he then traded for a more appropriate 500 TR engine and gearbox that were sourced through Chinetti Motors.
After the restoration was completed in 1979, initial testing was undertaken at Riverside Raceway in preparation for the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca in August. The following year, the 500 TRC once again ran at Laguna Seca and was invited to take part in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was displayed in Class L (Postwar European Open Cars). After racing 0662 MDTR at the 1981 Monterey Historics, Mr. Thorson sold the Ferrari to Gary Snell, an attorney living near Big Sur, California.
The Ferrari was eventually sold to Erb & Klin of Germany and displayed at Jo Vonlanthen’s Racing Car Show in the Spreitenbach-Zürich Shopping Center. In 1983, 0662 MDTR returned to California where it was sold to Walt McCune’s Modena Imports in West Hollywood. From there, the Ferrari joined the collection of Don Walker in Dallas, Texas.
In December 1988, Sherman M. Wolf purchased the 500 TRC from George Shelley of Miami, Florida. Although Mr. Wolf was impressed with the engineering and performance of the TRC, he felt the car was in need of a general overhaul and commissioned David Cottingham’s DK Engineering in the UK to perform a comprehensive restoration. The quality of this work is manifested in the accuracy of the car’s presentation today. While he ran 0662 MDTR for several years with the earlier 500 TR engine, Mr. Wolf discovered the correct, matching- numbers engine in 1994 and, following a complete rebuild, reunited it with his prized TRC.
Over the past 24 years, 0662 MDTR has benefitted from Mr. Wolf’s consistent attention and care. He was especially fond of Ferrari competition cars and the TRC, with its beautiful two-liter Lampredi engine and rich racing history, was among his favorites. Described by Mr. Wolf as “a quick and tight handling car,” the TRC was enjoyed at organized rallies such as the Colorado Grand and made the occasional appearance at local concours. Chassis 0662 MDTR was even displayed in the Tutto Italiano exhibition at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts, and featured in the pages of Phil Hill’s Ferrari: A Champion’s View.
Today, 0662 MDTR remains a first-class example of the legendary 500 TRC. Historically, it is among the most successful examples to race in the US and was campaigned at leading venues by George Arents, John von Neumann, Pete Lovely and Dr. Fred Becker. Beautifully restored by top Ferrari specialists in the US and the UK, the 500 TRC has a lovely appearance throughout and, most significantly, retains its original factory-delivered engine. Eligible for the best historic events, chassis 0662 MDTR offers the opportunity to appreciate firsthand the incredible, dynamic experience of an important 1950s Ferrari sports racer.
The exceptional pedigree of this 500 TRC is also a credit to the passion and stewardship of Sherman M. Wolf. Having spent nearly 25 years in the hands of one of the most admired Ferrari collectors, this 500 TRC reflects Mr. Wolf’s appreciation for quality engineering and devoted attention. The fortunate new caretaker of 0662 MDTR will be acquiring a competition Ferrari of exceptional pedigree and undisputed aesthetic brilliance. ”
Pros: Good car, excellent clear history, won some SCCA events
Cons: A wee bit common compared to other Ferraris
#32 – Ferrari 750 Monza #0462 1954 My pick $3,000,000.00 NOT SOLD @ US$2.8 mil.
Model 750 Monza Spyder
Lot S97 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza Spyder Scaglietti
S/N 0462MD: The Second Monza 750 Built
Monterey, CA The Daytime Auction
August 16-18, 2012
This Lot scheduled to be sold SAT 1:30PM
– The second Monza 750 built
– S/N 0462 MD, Chassis: Tipo 501
– Equipped with 3.0 Liter 4 cylinder racing engine maintained for years by GTO Engineering
– Gearbox: Tipo 501/279 No. 8 MD
– Original matching number engine and rebuilt spare gearbox included
– Designed by Dino Ferrari and built by Scaglietti
– Significant racing and complete known owner history back to original owner, Joe Kelly
– Purchased by Jaguar in 1955 to determine why the 750 Monza was so competitive against the Jaguar D-Type then later sold to driver Peter Whitehead
– Sir Jack Brabham acquired the car from Whitehead and imported it to Austrailia where it was raced until 1959
– Formerly part of the Engelbert Stieger, Brandon Wang, Walter Burani and Roberto Crippa Collections
– Campaigned for many years at vintage racing events including recently at the Mille Miglia, the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco and the Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge
– First time S/N 0462 MD will be offered at auction DESCRIPTION
Perhaps the biggest factor in Ferrari’s early success was his practice of designing and building engines that could be adapted to various applications across the spectrum of Grand Prix, sports racing and roadgoing grand touring cars. It was this principle that led Ferrari in 1951 to experiment with Aurielio Lampredi’s inline 4-cylinder engine, originally designed for the 2-liter Formula 2 and the coming change to the 2.5 liter Formula 1 scheduled for 1954.
In winter 1953/54 Lampredi began developing a new 4-cylinder engine derived from the Tipo 555 Grand Prix car for what would become the new Monza 750 sports racer. Like most of Lampredi’s designs, the new unit used cast alloy for the cylinder head and block assembly, sump and crankcase, and iron cylinder liners screwed into the block to minimize compression loss. The new engine displaced 3 liters and used a wide-angle dual overhead cam arrangement, twin Weber 58mm sidedraft carburetors and 8.6:1 compression to produce 260 HP at 6,000 RPM. A 5-speed transaxle was integrated with the differential.
Approximately 30 750 Monzas were produced, all using Scaglietti coachwork designed by Ferrari’s son Dino. The Monza 750 was built on a conventional oval steel tube chassis with fully independent A-arm suspension up front and a DeDion rear axle with radius rods; oversized drum brakes were used at all four corners. Graced with strong torque and brute power, the car won its first time out at the Monza ‘Gran Premio Supercortemaggiore’ race driven by Froilan Gonzalez and Maurice Trintignant, that first victory prompting the car’s name.
The second Ferrari 750 Monza built, 0462M was purchased by Joe Kelly of Dublin, who co-drove the car in the September 11 Tourist Trophy race at Dundrod with Desmond Titterington, where it retired with gearbox trouble. Victory followed a week later at Leinster with Titterington again at the wheel, followed by a DNF at Goodwood by future World Champion Mike Hawthorn. Kelly then sold the car to the Jaguar Car Company, where it was back-engineered to determine why it was so competitive against the Jaguar D-Type sports racer. It was then purchased by Jaguar team driver and 1951 Le Mans winner Peter Whitehead. In 1955 ace Formula 1 driver Jack Brabham imported the car to Australia, where it was raced until 1959.
By turns part of the Engelbert Stieger, Brando Wang, Walter Burani and Roberto Crippa collections, 0462M has been campaigned extensively for many years at the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco, the Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, the Monterey Historic Races and the Mille Miglia rally.
Bearing chassis number Tipo 501, 0462M is currently equipped with a 3.0 L 4-cylinder racing engine and gearbox, maintained for years by GTO Engineering in the UK. The original numbers matching engine and a rebuilt spare gearbox will accompany the car at auction. It has a charming patina that serves as testament to its extensive racing career. It is always welcome at prestigious events around the world and remains very competitive in its vintage class.
0462M will be offered at auction for the very first time in its fully-documented history at the Mecum Monterey Daytime Auction on August 18, 2012.
Pros: An excellent history, all the right parts, clear with no questions, was it a 735S (very rare, only 4 made)?, looks good.
Cons: Not truly special.
#33 – Bugatti Type 57 1938 Stelvio Gangloff #57-677 $1.3 mil. + My pick $2,000,000.00 SOLD US$1.292 mil.
Formerly the Property of Prince Louis Napoléon Bonaparte and David Tunick1938 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio
Coachwork by Gangloff
CHASSIS NO. 57677
ENGINE NO. 31C
*Please note that, in addition to the final bid price and Buyer’s premium, the Buyer of this lot will be responsible for paying an additional 2.5% of the final bid price to cover duties paid on the import of the vehicle into the US.
$1,300,000 – $1,600,000
■An Extremely Rare and Authentic Type 57C
■Late-Production Chassis with Desirable Factory Options
■Beautifully Proportioned Gangloff Coachwork
■Genuine Example with Original Chassis, Engine and Body
■Documented by David Sewell
■A Well-Known and Highly Regarded Bugatti
3,257 CC DOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Single Twin-Choke Stromberg UUR2 Carburetor
160 HP at 5,000 RPM
4-Speed Cotal Gearbox
4-Wheel Bugatti-Lockheed Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Live-Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Front Leaf Springs
Reversed Quarter-Elliptical Rear Leaf Springs and Houdaile Shock AbsorbersThe Type 57
By the age of 30, Jean Bugatti had already established himself as one of the great minds in the automobile industry and the only individual capable of carrying on the legacy of his father, Ettore. Jean’s untimely death in 1939 at the wheel of one of his experimental race cars robbed automotive history of one of its brightest young stars. Despite his brief career, Jean Bugatti left the world the Type 57 – perhaps the most celebrated non-racing Bugatti.
The long-stroke, inline eight-cylinder engine delivered smooth, seamless performance and was an aesthetic marvel – the very epitome of elegant engineering. Like the sporting Bugattis that preceded it, the Type 57 handled with finesse and possessed a delicate feel that is a unique characteristic of these magnificent automobiles. Graceful, beautifully made and incredibly exclusive, the Type 57 was instantly recognized as a conveyance of the finest quality and highest performance.
The history of this splendid Bugatti begins on February 22, 1938, when Molsheim received an order for a 57C Stelvio from Swiss concessionaire Jean Séchard of Geneva. At a cost approaching 90,000 francs, a supercharged Type 57 with open coachwork was among the most expensive French automobiles of its era. The privileged few who could afford such a car were almost exclusively members of Europe’s elite.
Jean Séchard’s client, recorded as Louis de Montfort, was in fact 24-year-old Prince Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, a direct descendent of Emperor Napoléon I. Born in Brussels in 1914, Prince Napoléon was the son of Prince Victor Napoléon and Princess Clémentine of Belgium, the daughter of King Leopold II.
According to various sources, Prince Napoléon acquired his first Bugatti in 1934 and reportedly owned a number of them during his lifetime. An established sportsman, the young prince often campaigned his thoroughbred Bugattis, taking part in races at Bremgarten and contesting Swiss hill climbs.
In response to this noteworthy order, Bugatti constructed chassis 57677, which was equipped with a supercharged 3.3-liter engine, number 31C. Completed in May 1938, this late-build 57C featured a number of significant chassis improvements introduced throughout the production run, such as rubber engine mounts, a stiffened frame and revised engine timing.
With this sophisticated platform as a foundation, 57677 was further specified with the recently introduced Bugatti-Lockheed hydraulic drum brakes and an optional Cotal gearbox. Together, these rare and desirable features considerably improved the overall performance and comfort of what is generally thought to be one of the finest all-around touring cars built in the 1930s.
On May 10th, the completed 57C chassis was delivered to Carrosserie Gangloff of Colmar, France, to be fitted with coachwork. Gangloff custom tailored a lovely Stelvio body with very attractive sloping doors and a beautifully integrated top line. When compared with the earliest Stelvio bodies, which date from 1934, this late variation is both technically and aesthetically superior. Considered from all perspectives, the coachwork designed for 57677 is far more stylish and refined than virtually every other Stelvio.
Once Gangloff had completed the work, the 57C Stelvio returned to Bugatti at Molsheim for final preparations in anticipation of delivery.
On September 28, 1938, the Bugatti was exported to Switzerland via Lausanne and, from there, delivered to the prince’s residence at the
Villa de Prangins on the shores of Lake Geneva.
This remarkable 57C proved to be the last Bugatti purchased by Prince Napoléon before the onset of WWII. Throughout the conflict, the prince served under pseudonyms in the French army and the Resistance, and subsequently received awards for gallantry, culminating with the Legion d’Honneur. Although it cannot be confirmed, it is probable that Prince Napoléon retained 57677 for the duration of the war, as he did his Type 57SC.
Following WWII, the 57C Stelvio was exported to the United States, where it eventually found a home with Robert Fergus, an engineer living in New York. The next known owner, L.S. Juillerat of New York, is recorded in Hugh Conway’s 1962 Bugatti Register.
Years later, David Tunick of Greenwich, Connecticut, acquired the Stelvio for his growing stable. A pioneering collector and automotive enthusiast, Mr. Tunick owned many fine cars over the years, yet always maintained a preference for supercharged pre-war cars of outstanding pedigree and performance. At its height, the Tunick Collection included some of the finest sporting machines of the 1920s and 1930s, from a magnificent Mercedes-Benz SS to a lovely Zagato-bodied 6C 1750 Gran Sport.
In 1979, Maine resident Lou Hilton became the next caretaker of Prince Napoléon’s supercharged Stelvio. Throughout his 36-year ownership, Mr. Hilton treated the Bugatti with the greatest care and, for approximately two decades, entrusted Paul Russell and Company to perform regular service and maintenance work.
Thanks to decades of responsible stewardship, 57677 remains a remarkably genuine example of Bugatti’s legendary 57C. During a recent inspection by noted Bugatti authority David Sewell, the Stelvio was found to retain all of its major original components including the frame (288), engine (31C), front axle (31C), rear axle (31C) and supercharger (31).
Significantly, the crankcase is stamped on its front face with the proper assembly number (291), which is repeated directly below on the sump, confirming the two castings as an original matched pair. This number (291) can also be found stamped into each cam box. In addition to these important components, the Stelvio retains its distinctive Cotal gearbox, Chausson radiator and original Bas Rhin-style chassis plate.
Elegantly finished in dark blue over ivory, the Stelvio is outfitted with wheel discs, rear spats and the full complement of Marchal and Scintilla accessories. In keeping with the Bugatti’s lovely outward appearance, the cockpit is upholstered in dark blue leather and the polished wooden dashboard is equipped with correct Jaeger instrumentation. Overall, the Stelvio is in outstanding cosmetic condition and is ideally suited for either show or touring purposes. Beyond its lovely appearance, 57677 has been mechanically maintained to a very high standard and benefits from a recent supercharger rebuild by Gentry Restorations, one of the foremost marque specialists in the UK.
Having led a quiet, secluded existence in the hands of appreciative collectors, this exceptional 57C is being offered at auction for the first time. It is not surprising that this car has been so carefully guarded, as it has all the qualities that collectors admire: beauty, rarity, authenticity and pedigree.
Of the 21 surviving supercharged Stelvios, 57677 is, without question, among the most attractive. Its status as an original, matching-numbers 57C is also of particular distinction, as less than 20% of all Type 57s left the factory with a supercharger. Combine these attributes with unique factory options, a fascinating, unblemished history and superior presentation, and you have one very special Type 57C.
Those with an appreciation for classic automobiles of the highest quality are sure to be impressed with Prince Napoléon’s exquisite Bugatti. .”
Pros: A beautiful car in great condition with an excellent story and provenance, THE tour car.
Cons: Not an 57S – Type
#34 – Bugatti Type 57C 1936 Atalante Roll Top #57-401 US$1.5 mil. + My pick $1,500,000.00 SOLD US$1.485 mil.
Formerly the Property of George Rand and Dr. Sam Scher1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante
CHASSIS NO. 57401
ENGINE NO. 54C
*Please note that in addition to the final bid price and Buyer’s premium, the Buyer of this lot will be responsible for paying an additional 2.5% of the final bid rice to cover duties paid on the import of the vehicle into the US.
$1,500,000 – $2,000,000
■One of Two Type 57 Atalantes Originally Delivered to the US
■Very Desirable Original Coachwork with Roll-Top Roof and Art Deco Detailing
■Documented History from New
■Period Upgrade to Supercharged Type 57C Engine
■Recent Improvements Such as Hydraulic Brakes and Discreet Overdrive
■Superb Original Factory Livery
3,257 CC DOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Engine with Roots Supercharger
Stromberg Updraft Carburetor
180 BHP at 5,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox with Overdrive
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
Front Beam-Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Rear Live Axle with Quarter-Elliptical Leaf SpringsThis Car
It is difficult to overstate the significance of Jean Bugatti’s Type 57 Atalante, which not only utilized the company’s race-bred dual overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine but also fitted the thoroughbred road car chassis with exceptionally beautiful coachwork. The model continues to be one of the most revered designs of all time.
As official Bugatti S.A.S. company historian Julius Kruta notes, no more than 34 examples of the factory-bodied Type 57 Atalante were produced, and this car is one of just 10 examples that featured the ingenious and desirable roll-top roof. Considered by most Bugatti connoisseurs to be the best Atalante variation, the roll-top offers the open-air thrills of a convertible plus added headroom, but retains the structural integrity of a coupe and the Atalante’s dramatic profile.
This Bugatti completed assembly on April 30, 1936, finished in Noir/Jaune paint (black with yellow accents) with an interior appointed in Havana leather upholstery. As no two Atalantes are precisely alike, 57401 possesses several rakish features that distinguish it, such as the rear wheel spats, low-clearance windscreen, Art Deco-styled door handles and freestanding rather than faired-in headlamps.
On May 1st, the car was invoiced to E.C. George Rand of New York City, the official Bugatti agent of the Eastern United States and a contemporary racing driver who was one of the first Americans to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The spitting image of an aristocratically dashing playboy, Mr. Rand was a friend of the Collier brothers and Briggs Cunningham, and helped establish America’s post-war racing scene. Chassis 57401 is notable in that Bugatti records indicate it is one of just two Type 57 Atalantes that were originally delivered to the United States.
Acquired circa 1945 by Bugattist Walter Gerner of New York, 57401 was soon after purchased by pioneering collector Dr. Sam Scher. To automotive enthusiasts, Dr. Scher was better known as the SCCA New York region president as well as a Bugatti fanatic. Dr. Scher retained Dick Simonek, a renowned Indianapolis racing mechanic, to rebuild the Atalante for him, and proceeded to use the car as the daily driver for his 30-mile commute. Dr. Scher discusses his experience with the Atalante in his article in the January/February 1953 edition of Sports Car magazine. During this period, 57401 also garnered Best in Show at a concours d’elegance staged at Watkin’s Glen, held during one of the famed racetrack’s first years of existence.
Around 1949, 57401 was sold via dealer Quentin Craft to Dr. Ivan Hartwell of Sandwich, Massachusetts, who used the car mostly for house calls while fitting an original Type 57C supercharged engine and adding distinctive horizontal slots to the rear spats. Thus 57401 features the improved torque and power of the Type 57C, though the modification should be considered authentic, as the motor is an original factory engine and was installed early in 57401’s life. Automotive historian Karl Ludvigsen recalls photographing the Atalante in 1953 during Dr. Hartwell’s ownership at a classic car gathering at the estate of Larz Andersen near Boston, Massachusetts.
Following Dr. Hartwell’s passing in 1954, this well-known Bugatti went to R. Lewis in Houston, Texas, and was subsequently acquired in the 1960s by Andre Surmain, a New York-based French car enthusiast and owner of Lutèce, the once-famed French restaurant in Manhattan often featured in TV’s Mad Men. In 1969, 57401 then passed to collector Vittorio Serventi, a resident of Rome who imported the car to Italy. During a period of over 20 years of ownership, Mr. Serventi retained Salvatore Diomante of Turin to conduct some cosmetic work while expert Gianni Torelli of Reggio Emilia addressed mechanical maintenance, and the car was notably displayed at the Turin Motor Show in 1980.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Serventi traded 57401 to longtime collector Alfredo Celli of Forli. Service receipts indicate that in mid-1994 Mr. Celli had renowned coachbuilder and restorer Dino Cognolato conduct some cosmetic work, while additional receipts dating from January 1995 to February 2006 reflect continued mechanical service by Mr. Torelli. Rare appearances during this period include winning its class at the Louis Vuitton Classic Concours in the Parc de Bagatelle, France, in the late 1990s; participation in the 2001 Mille Miglia; and exhibition on the Bugatti S.A.S. stand during the 2009 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
Acquired in April 2010 by its current owner, a renowned enthusiast from a family that had previously ordered new Bugattis from Ettore himself, this Atalante has since been treated to a thorough mechanical “going through” by British Bugatti expert Ivan Dutton that included rebuilding the gearbox and rear axle, and installing a light-pressure clutch mechanism and a switch-activated overdrive. Conducted between July 2010 and February 2012, this work cost £37,000 and is fully documented. Additionally, the magneto has been rebuilt by Leonardo Sordi in Italy, where new wheels were sourced from Borrani. Attention has also been paid to cosmetics, including replacing the modified fender skirts with original-type ones and commissioning a lowered driver’s-seat cushion to accommodate a 6’4″” driver. Both the old skirts, wheels and seat cushion remain with the car.
In this ravishing condition, 57401 was the subject of a feature in the February 2012 issue of British magazine Octane, in which editor Robert Coucher described an epic high-speed tour from London to Switzerland driving the Bugatti and a Mercedes-Benz Gullwing. Discussing the supercharged engine, Mr. Coucher wrote, “the straight-eight spins up instantly and has lashings of torque,” adding, “a thumbing of the electric overdrive button under the dash gets the Bugatti into that wonderful long-legged stride of the very best grandees routières.” It is no small reflection of 57401’s outstanding design and fastidious care that the well-driven editor preferred the Atalante’s performance to the far more modern German car. Describing the pre-war car’s performance as “immensely impressive,” Mr. Coucher concluded, “The Gullwing is as good as I hoped it would be, but the Bugatti is even better.” Inspected and certified by FIVA, this rare and highly desirable supercharged roll-top Type 57 offers a nearly unprecedented opportunity to acquire what Mr. Kruta refers to as, “one of the 4 most desirable Atalantes surviving.
Pros: Great looking Bug, excellent history, clear title to major components (apart from engine), original bodywork, looks great in that colour.
Cons: Not an S – Type, non – original engine, worth US$2 million ?
#35 – Aston DB3S SB3S-118 US$3.75 mil.+ My pick $4,000,000.00 SOLD US$3.685 mil.
1955 Aston Martin DB3S Sports Racing Car
Chassis No. DB3S/118
Engine No. VB6K/118
To be auctioned on
Saturday, August 18, 2012
210 bhp at 5,500 rpm, 2992 cc inline six-cylinder engine, twin overhead camshafts, triple sidedraft Weber carburetors, four-speed David Brown close-ratio gearbox, independent front suspension with trailing links, torsion bar springing and lever shock absorbers, De Dion rear suspension located by parallel trailing links and Panhard rod, torsion bar springing and telescopic shock absorbers, and four-wheel Alfin drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2210 mm
• Original chassis, numbered engine, and bodywork
• Delivered new to Holland
• Outstanding provenance with known ownership and documentation from new
• In the hands of two well-known Aston Martin collectors for the past 48 years
• Only privateer car fitted with a twin plug head at the factory
God bless David Brown. Brown (later, Sir David) ran the family tractor and gear manufacturer business, producing products under his own name, and bought out both Aston Martin and Lagonda from receivership in 1948, after the devastation of the war years. Aston was acquired for its modern chassis and sporting heritage, while Lagonda appealed for its W.O. Bentley-designed twin-cam, 2.6-litre, six cylinder engine, first appearing in the Aston Martin DB2. Brown was committed to motorsport competition from the get-go, famously entering one of the first-ever postwar Astons in the 1948 Spa 24 Hours and began racing DB2s at Le Mans in 1949. Within two years, DB2s finished First, Second, and Third in Class at the 1951 Le Mans 24 Hours and Third Overall against the likes of Jaguar’s formidable C-Type sports racers, which was a remarkable achievement.
Nevertheless, an overall victory at Le Mans was in Brown’s sights, and he fielded a factory team there each year from 1950 through 1959, when he achieved his greatest competition success: First and Second Overall at Le Mans with the iconic DBR1. That year, Aston also won the coveted World Sportscar Championship, the first British manufacturer to do so since Bentley in the prewar years, and the smallest manufacturer to ever do so, before or since. However, Brown first required a purpose-built racing car to fulfill his mighty aspirations.
DB3 and DB3S
Launched in 1952, the first Aston sports racer was the DB3. Developed for Aston Martin by Eberan von Eberhorst, a former Auto Union racing engineer from the prewar era, the DB3 featured an all-new, tubular chassis using De Dion rear architecture, with a purposeful, chunky, slab-sided body.
Competition victory proved elusive for the DB3, however, and its performance was hampered by reliability issues never suffered by the DB2 effort. So, Brown commissioned A. G. “William” Watson to engineer an improved car. In May 1953, a new prototype appeared at Charterhill, UK, called the DB3S. This car was a significant redevelopment of the DB3 and featured a lighter chassis with a reduced wheelbase, as well as many other modifications, which significantly altered the essence of the original Eberhorst conception. Most importantly, the Salisbury hypoid-bevel final drive was replaced with a David Brown spiral-bevel version. It was the hypoid spiral drive that retired two DB3s at Le Mans in 1952. Other changes included new rear suspension geometry.
Most impressive of all, perhaps, was the svelte, almost feline new body figure rendered characteristically in aluminum by Frank Feeley, designer of the DB2 for Aston Martin, which is considered today to be his masterpiece. Featuring the classic cutaway section behind the front wheels, it presaged the style of the famous pontoon-fendered Ferrari 250TRs by several years. The DB3S raised eyebrows, as well as expectations, for success. This design was also the first to refine the “humped oval” grille theme, which has become the trademark identifier of Aston Martin production cars through the present day.
It was, therefore, the DB3S that came to represent the quantum leap towards international conquest that Brown so intently craved. At its Charterhill debut, a DB3S driven by Reg Parnell beat out an Ecurie Ecosse C-Type for an overall victory. Shortly thereafter, however, three DB3Ss raced at Le Mans with little triumph. Ironically, this was the only race that Aston Martin lost in 1953. During the Tourist Trophy, Goodwood Nine Hours, and British Empire Trophy, Aston Martin took overall victory against all comers. With this newfound mastery, Brown was emboldened.
For the 1954 season, David Brown introduced a new 12-cylinder sports racer, reviving the Lagonda name in competition. The engine, a 4.5-liter unit developed by Watson, was essentially conceived as two of the standard VB6J Aston engines combined and mated to a common crankshaft. To counterbalance for the weight penalty, both the block and crankcase were rendered in aluminum. This required a whole new range of compensatory solutions to the workings of the engine internals, including tighter bearings, which resulted in problems at start and low temperatures until the engine was running up full temperature. Though based upon the DB3S shape, the appearance of the Lagonda could be described as “corpulent” in comparison to the graceful DB3S. Overall, the Lagonda was plagued with problems and proved a frustrating distraction from continued development of the parallel DB3S program until the Lagonda sports racer was abandoned in 1955.
Meanwhile, by 1955, the DB3S was to benefit from the three-litre limitation on engine capacity in the sports car championship. Victory was seen at Silverstone with a Second Place Overall at Le Mans, with drivers Peter Collins and Paul Frere fiercely tracking the winning new Jaguar D-Type piloted by Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb. This was the best overall Le Mans result Aston Martin achieved to date. Subsequently, the DB3S went on to demolish the Jaguar competition at the British GP and to win the Goodwood Nine Hours for the third time.
In 1956, the DB3S repeated its prior year performance at Le Mans, finishing with a Second Place Overall result, with Stirling Moss and Peter Collins at the wheel.
Through all phases of design, development, and racing, the DB3S was able to achieve significantly greater success than the DB3. Though still falling short of Brown’s dream of achieving overall victory at Le Mans, the DB3S was established as a force to be reckoned with, finishing their last two seasons in the top five Marque Championship points.
The “Customer” Cars and Chassis 118
Ten Works examples of the DB3S were completed by the factory to this point, while demand was growing for a production version for sale to privateer competitors. Thus, a second series of DB3Ss were built, commencing in 1955, to become known as the “customer” cars (easily identifiable by their three-digit chassis numbers). Eschewing the complex twin-plug head used in the Works cars, the customer cars were fitted with an upgraded version of the production VB6J engine with a high compression head featuring larger valves and competition camshafts, with the addition of triple, dual-throat, sidedraft Weber carburetors. In addition, the connecting rods were to competition specifications, and the main bearing housings became of the solid type. This engine version was designated the VB6K. In all, 20 customer cars were produced, many of which went on to distinguish themselves in international competition, adding to the DB3S mystique.
The 1955 Aston Martin DB3S we have the pleasure of offering here is chassis 118, ordered new by Dutch racing car driver Hans Davids and finished in the appropriate national racing livery of “Dutch Racing Orange.” As legend would have it, Davids made his debut at the Goodwood circuit on April 14th, 1956, arriving in style behind the wheel of a white Chrysler 300 with his bright orange Aston in tow in an orange trailer. Quite the entrance!
After a Third Place finish in the car’s debut race, he managed a 17th place a month later at Silverstone. Davids continued to campaign the car for the duration of the season, with his greatest success coming in his final race at Zandvoort, where he not only set the fastest lap record but also finished First Overall. It would be a fitting and appropriate way to end the season and, ultimately, was his last race as a professional. Notably, while in Davids’ ownership, it was returned to the factory for the installation of the “Works competition” twin-plug head it retains to this day.
Later that same year, Davids sold DB3S/118 to Paul Hyatt, a captain in the U.S. Merchant Navy. Hyatt brought the car to the United States, where it was immediately successful, winning its class at Bridgehampton in 1958. Several other racing successes followed in the U.S, and the car was then acquired by Aston enthusiast Joe Lubin, a “gentleman racer” who entered 118 at Pomona in 1958. There, Bob Oker dueled with Richie Ginther, who was behind the wheel of a 500 TR, until he was forced to retire with mechanical problems. During that race, it is reported that the Aston suffered front end bodywork damage but certainly nothing of major consequence.
Following the repairs, Lubin retained the Aston until 1964, when he sold it to Richard Felt. Felt would remain the caretaker of s/n 118 for almost 30 years, during which time he began the restoration process on the Aston.
In 1985, another Aston enthusiast and well-known collector, Chris Salyer, who expressed great interest in the car, visited with Richard Felt, who was not yet ready to part with the car. It would not be until 1992 that Mr. Salyer finally acquired the car, in partially restored condition with the bodywork in unpainted, bare metal. Salyer opted to leave the car this way when he first acquired the DB3S and even showed the car at events in its unpainted state. It was subsequently refinished in white with blue racing stripes and shown in that livery on several occasions, including at Laguna Seca and competitively at Pebble Beach, where it received a Second in Class.
Within the last several years, Mr. Salyer opted to honor the car’s Dutch racing heritage and refinished it in the distinctive national race team livery. Since that time, it has not been shown but only been carefully maintained by his staff of mechanics and is ready to be shown in its historic livery with its next enthusiast owner.
The car is complete with an extensive history file that contains the original Aston Martin paperwork, as well period photography at various races, documentation of the original restoration with Felt, as well as the most recent work with its current owner. The original paperwork included with the car indicate its original configuration, including the air box, open exhaust, Borrani wire wheels, unique rev counter, tonneau cover, MS-3 brake lining, 3.9 axle ratio, and twin-plug head (indicating this paperwork may have been supplied following Davids’ return for the twin-plug head fitment later that year).
Generally regarded as one of the more correct and original Aston Martin sports racers, it is important to note that this car still retains its original chassis with all numbers intact, and the body is also highly original, having only required minor repairs throughout its entire racing life.
Without question, the Aston Martin DB3S is one of the most attractive and elegantly designed sports racing cars of the postwar period. Its design incorporates engineering and aerodynamics with unqualified success. The DB3S offered here is a rare example of one such car with outstanding provenance and mechanical and cosmetic condition, offering its next owners the unique opportunity to debut s/n 118 at events around the world.
Pros: Very original, has been successfully raced in period, good looking. Works spec engine.
Cons: Minor racing only.
#36 – S.P.O. Raceabout 1911 #111 US$500,000+ My pick $750,000.00 NOT SOLD @ US$350,000
Formerly the Property of James Melton, Winthrop Rockefeller and William Harrah1911 S.P.O. Raceabout
CHASSIS NO. 111
$500,000 – $650,000
■The Only S.P.O. Automobile Known to Exist
■Unbroken Provenance with Distinguished Collectors
■Extremely High-Quality Automobile with Wonderful Detailing
■Featured in Automobile Quarterly and Bright Wheels Rolling
■Participant in the Rolex Monterey Historic Races
■Proven Veteran of Several Brass Era Tours
■Lively Performance and Sporting Character
■A Unique Piece of French Motoring History
260 CID L-Head Inline 4-Cylinder Engine Single Juhasz Barrel-Valve Carburetor
24 HP (Rated)
3-Speed Manual Gearbox
2-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes with Driveshaft Brake
Solid Front Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Live-Axle Suspension with Three-Quarter-Elliptical SpringsThe S.P.O.
Despite its profound influence on early motoring, few are aware of the important contributions made by S.P.O.
S.P.O., an acronym for Société Francaise de Petite Outillage, was an automobile component manufacturer based in the Paris suburb of Clichy. According to a listing in the 1910 Paris Salon catalogue, S.P.O. offered a wide range of products, from precision engineered gearboxes to complete motorcars. S.P.O. first marketed a car in 1898; 10 years later the firm offered a 24 hp town car and a 16 hp taxicab.
Keen to establish a foothold in New York City’s booming market for French automobiles, S.P.O. appointed race car driver Stefan Kjeldsen as the general manager of the company’s American branch, headquartered at 1595 Broadway Avenue. After witnessing the success of European brands such as Fiat, Renault and Mercedes, Kjeldsen encouraged S.P.O. to build a sporting light car on their 24 hp chassis and generate sales and publicity through racing successes.
In August 1909, two years before Mercer ever used the term, S.P.O. advertised their 65 mph light car as a “Raceabout.”
Some historians believe that the S.P.O. served as an inspiration to the early Mercer and a direct comparison of the two cars supports the validity of such a claim. Both the S.P.O. and the Mercer were high-quality sports cars of modest displacement that were equipped with removable fenders and minimal coachwork. The Mercer weighed in at 2,200 lbs. and the featherweight S.P.O. weighed just 1,950 lbs. The Trenton-built Mercer cost $2,600, while the Parisian import commanded a substantial $3,250.
Like its American counterpart, the S.P.O. Raceabout also had a fine racing career.
S.P.O.s were seen racing at Brighton Beach and in the Savannah Vanderbilt Light Car Race as early as 1908. Although Phillip Adams’ Raceabout broke the world’s light car record at the Jamaica Speed Trials in 1909, it was the following year that the French marque really made a name for itself.
During Summer 1910, S.P.O.s won a series of five- and 10-mile races at the Atlanta Speedway, with famed driver Louis Strang defeating future Indy winner Ray Harroun in his famous Marmon. At the Brighton Beach races in August, an S.P.O. Raceabout driven by John Juhasz and Spencer Wishart not only won the 10 Mile Race and the 10 Mile Pursuit Race, it also set a new lap record in the final event, averaging 59 mph. Also in 1910, an S.P.O. ran in the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes with Juhasz behind the wheel.
By the end of the 1911 season, S.P.O. Race- abouts were entered in just a few select races. A crippling 40% import tax levied on European imports slowed sales considerably and many American car manufacturers had begun to offer sporty light cars. The very cars that S.P.O. had inspired were, in many ways, responsible for the firm’s demise.
Were it not for this lovely French Blue Raceabout, nothing at all would remain of S.P.O.’s brief but brilliant legacy.
Unlike many sporting antiques, the history of this delightful motorcar can be traced to its original owner, Barend van Gerbig of New Canaan, Connecticut, who purchased the S.P.O. from Kjeldsen in New York City. Considering Mr. van Gerbig’s elevated status in turn-of- the-century Manhattan society and the fact that the S.P.O. Automobile Company of New York displayed an identical Raceabout at the 1911 Importer’s Exhibition at the Astor Hotel, it is quite possible that this is the very car offered on the New York show stand.
Either just prior to or immediately following its sale to Mr. van Gerbig, it is believed that this S.P.O. was driven by Dean Gahs at the 1911 Old Orchard Beach Races in Maine.
In 1938, Mr. van Gerbig’s dashing S.P.O. attracted the interest of “America’s Favorite Tenor” James Melton. Having gained fame as an operatic singer and recording artist, Mr. Melton established himself as a pioneer in the burgeoning old car hobby. A passionate collector, Mr. Melton recognized antique automobiles not only as an important part of America’s history but also as works of art.
In his 1954 book Bright Wheels Rolling, co- authored with legendary automotive journalist Ken Purdy, Melton recalls the acquisition of the S.P.O. This charming passage offers a wonderful insight into a long-lost era in automobile collecting:
“This Société Francaise and so forth was one of the first antique cars I ever saw. It was in New Canaan, Connecticut, and owned by a wonderful man, Barend von Gerbig. I tried everything I knew to get the car, but Mr. von Gerbig wouldn’t let it out of his sight. I went around to see it three or four times a year for many years after 1937, when I first learned about it. Finally one day I drove up in my White and rang the bell and then jumped back into the White. Mr. von Gerbig came to the door and I guess he was so impressed with the impeccable condition of the White that he ￼￼decided he might safely entrust the S.P.O. to me. I got it on the proviso that it be used for exhibit and always maintained in fully restored condition. It will be.”
Not only was the S.P.O. Raceabout immortalized in Bright Wheels Rolling, it was also pictured with its owner in Life magazine on July 27, 1942, as part of the feature article “James Melton’s Antique Autos.”
In 1961, Winthrop Rockefeller purchased a collection of fine antique and classic cars from the James Melton Museum in Hypoluxo, Florida. To house his growing collection, Rockefeller constructed the Museum of Automobiles atop Petit Jean Mountain in Conway County, Arkansas. When Mr. Rockefeller’s museum opened to the public on October 18, 1964, the S.P.O. Raceabout was included in the 33-car display.
After Mr. Rockefeller’s Museum of Automobiles closed in 1975, the remaining cars were sold to Harrah’s Automobile Collection in Reno, Nevada. The S.P.O. remained a fixture at Harrah’s until the collection was dissolved in the 1980s.
The current owner, a Southern California collector with a passion for high-quality vintage machinery, purchased the S.P.O. at the Harrah’s auction.
Over the past 25 years, this one-of-a-kind French jewel completed a number of Brass Era tours, graced the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach and participated in the 1987 Monterey Historic Races, where it competed in the early car class. Most recently, the S.P.O. successfully participated in the prestigious and demanding Paso Robles Tour.
Having experienced the S.P.O. in a wide variety of events, the consignor reports that it offers a delightful driving experience, very similar to that of a T-Head Mercer, with light steering, a precise gearbox and ample power.
Finished in a fitting livery of French Blue, the Raceabout is outfitted with sporting canvas fenders, French-made brass lamps, its full set of original Jante-Vinot quick-demountable racing wheels and a rare high-performance Juhasz carburetor, designed and built by the great S.P.O. driver. Overall, the Raceabout remains in lovely condition, a proud testament to the quality of the restoration it received during its years in the Rockefeller collection and the conscientious upkeep it has since enjoyed.
This singular piece of motoring history represents a juncture of two important forces that shaped the early days of the automobile: the introduction of innovative French imports to American markets and the advent of the Brass Era raceabout – the ancestor of the modern sports car.
With its unique combination of American and European characteristics, the S.P.O. is equally at home among high-quality French antiques and Brass and Nickel Era sports cars. Recognized and appreciated by connoisseurs, this S.P.O. maintains an intimate connection to the great names in early car collecting: Melton, Rockefeller and Harrah.
Presented here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a remarkable antique raceabout and the last vestige of a significant French marque. .
Pros: Very cool, original, A Raceabout before any other, would be a good tour car and great value compared to Mercers, stutz etc.
Cons: Not much, it is the only 1, so not famous, parts availablity LOL
#37 – Rolls-Royce Phantom II ‘Continental’ Touring Saloon 1931 HJM #64GX US$180,000+ My pick $300,000.00 SOLD @ US$179,500
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II ‘Continental’ Touring Saloon
Coachwork by H.J. Mulliner & Co.
Chassis no. 64GX
Engine no. FF75
* 7.7-liter straight six cylinder
* Four-speed manual transmission
* Desirable ‘Continental’ specification
* Well documented history
* Retains the original H.J.Mulliner coachwork
* Unique flared wings and dual rear-mounted spare tires.
* Eligible for major Concours d’Elegance events
The Phantom II was introduced in 1929 as a successor to the New Phantom (retrospectively Phantom I) with deliveries commencing in September of that year. Unlike its predecessor, which inherited its underpinnings from the preceding 40/50hp model, the Silver Ghost, the Phantom II employed an entirely new chassis laid out along the lines of that of the smaller 20hp Rolls-Royce. Built in two wheelbase lengths – 144″” and 150″” – this new low-slung frame, with its radiator set well back, enabled coachbuilders to body the car in the modern idiom, creating sleeker designs than the upright ones of the past.
The 7,668cc engine too had come in for extensive revision. The PI’s cylinder dimensions and basic layout – two blocks of three cylinders with an aluminium cylinder head common to both blocks – were retained but the combustion chambers had been redesigned and the ‘head was now of the cross-flow type, with inlet and exhaust manifolds on opposite sides.
The result of these engine changes was greatly enhanced performance, particularly of the Continental model, and the ability to accommodate weightier coachwork. Designed around the short (144″”) Phantom II chassis and introduced in 1930, the Continental was conceived as ‘an enthusiastic owner driver’s car’ and featured revised rear suspension, higher axle ratio and lowered steering column. By the end of production the magnificent Phantom II Continental was good for 95mph. ‘Powerful, docile, delightfully easy to control and a thoroughbred, it behaves in a manner which is difficult to convey without seeming to over-praise,’ opined The Motor after testing a PII Continental in March 1934.
Produced in very limited numbers, with only 281 examples ever completed, the Phantom II Continental’s wealthy owners included such famous names as the racing drivers Sir Malcolm Campbell and Woolf Barnato, Prince Ali Khan, Princess Alexis Midvani, the Prince of Nepal, the Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Roseberry, Lord Doverdale, the Maharajah of Jodhpur and Noel Coward.
Favored by all the fashionable coachbuilders of the era, the Phantom II chassis provided the platform for some of the truly outstanding designs and this particular Touring Saloon is no exception, being the work of famed coachbuilders H.J. Mulliner and Co. A striking design, notable features include uniquely flared wings, dual rear mounted spare tyres, blind quarters, painted disc wheel covers and side hood louvers extending to the cowl.
Off-test in April of 1931, ’64GX’ comes with copy chassis cards recording it was sold new via CH Martin Ltd. of Cliff Bridge, Lewes, delivered in early June 1931 to its commissioning owner, Mr. H Asa Thomas, Esq. Mr. Thomas was the long-time friend and attorney of wealthy American philanthropist and millionaire art collector Edward Perry Warren. Upon Warren’s death in late 1928 Thomas inherited his entire estate, including an immense art collection, (that housed Rodin’s The Kiss among dozens of other notable pieces) and the historic Lewes House and Gardens. It’s assumed that Warren’s funds cleared probate some time in 1930, prompting Mr. Thomas to purchase a number of fine things with his new-found wealth, including ’64GX’.
Mr. Thomas’ ownership extended for nearly three decades, the first change of ownership (according to a copy of the car’s British Excise Act Registration Book records) occurring in November 1958 to a Mr. Bernard Geoffrey Collings of Okehampton. The chassis cards list various subsequent owners including a Mr. S.E.L. Sturgeon of Surrey (whom commissioned a thorough restoration in October 1967) and a Mr. W.B. St. John Montagu of London (whom commissioned a comprehensive mechanical rebuild in June 1971). The car was exported to the United States in January 1977 and would remain with one owner for 35 years until his death in 2011.
We are advised that ’64GX’ has covered only 50,175 miles to date, documented by various service invoices, sales agreements, registration listings and a hand written mileage and maintenance journal that are all on file. Since the consignor’s purchase of the car in 2011, a sympathetic restoration began with the aim to preserve the original structure, retaining as many original components as possible and refurbishing where necessary. Following complete disassembly of the wings, running boards, doors, mudguards, under-wing components and all interior trim, the coachwork was taken to bare metal and refinished in black, the car’s original color, with silver pinstriping. The oxblood red Connolly leather seats have been complimented by completely new Wilton wool carpeting, a refurbished headliner and freshly polished original walnut interior wood accents. The original wheels are fitted with proper color-matched discs and shod with six matching Denman tyres. The car has received over $25,000 in mechanical work by marque experts D&D Restorations of Covington, Ohio and Roger Ford of Beaumont, California, allowing for a smooth and sporting drive quality, as originally intended. Labor included, but was not limited to work on the cam followers, new pistons and liners and an overhaul of the radiator and water pump (bills on file). Matching chassis, engine and body numbers attest to a very original car, beautifully presented and ready for its next proud owner’s enjoyment.
Estimate:US$ 190,000 – 240,000
£120,000 – 150,000
€150,000 – 190,000
Pros: Great spec., looks good, a cheap tour car that would be accepted anywhere
Cons: Not much
#38 – Mercedes 300SL 1956 #5500707 US$850,000+ My pick $1,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$875,000
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “”Gullwing”” Coupe
Chassis No. 198.0405500707
Engine No. 198.9805500751
Body No. 198.040.5500687
To be auctioned on
Friday, August 17, 2012
215 bhp (DIN), 240 bhp (SAE), 2,996 cc OHC inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection and dry-sump oiling, four-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox, independent front suspension with double wishbones, coil springs, and anti-roll bar, independent high-pivot swing-axle rear suspension with radius arms and coil springs, and servo-assisted, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400 mm
• Only two owners from new
• Upgraded in period with rare “Sport” engine and 4.11 rear end
• Rare, extensive, and detailed original documentation
• Original Rudge wheels and belly pans
As with many of the most important sports cars, the development of the roadgoing Mercedes-Benz 300SL and its subsequent importation into the crucial United States market would not have been possible without Mercedes-Benz’s American distributor, the formidable Max Hoffman. While attending a 1954 meeting of the Daimler-Benz board of directors, Hoffman argued passionately for a production version of the 300SL racing car. According to legend, despite initial objections, the determined Hoffman prevailed and left Germany with a commitment for the construction of 1,000 SLs.
Introduced in 1954 to thrilled crowds in New York, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL was essentially a supercar with a price tag well in excess of $7,000. Despite the high price, the immediate and long-term success of the 300SL was due in large part to the growing American fascination with smaller, more nimble European sports cars.
The production 300SL capably incorporated the technological advancements that resulted from Mercedes-Benz’s racing program. Regarding the car’s nomenclature, 300, of course, represented the engine’s displacement of three-liters, while “SL” denoted Sport Leicht (light). A key factor in the car’s sparkling performance was the car’s extremely rigid yet light tubular frame, designed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut, which was truly a triumph of design and engineering. Based on an intricate network of many thin tubes, Uhlenhaut’s frame design provided incredible strength yet weighed just 82 kilograms!
The sleek body design was a classic case of form following function. The attractive bulges over the wheel openings, for instance, actually improved high-speed stability, and the two longitudinal hood bulges and distinctive grillwork on both front wings removed excessive heat from the engine bay while reducing interior noise. In addition, lightweight aluminum was used extensively for the bodywork, particularly for the doors, bonnet, boot lid, and interior sheet metal. While the rest of the car utilized steel panels for the bodywork, the entire car, in ready-to-drive form, including the spare wheel, tool kit, and fuel, tipped the scales at just 1,295 kilograms (2,855 pounds). Designed for high-speed, cross-country travel, the 300SL was equipped with a large 130-liter fuel tank.
Compared to competitive sports cars of its time, the 300SL gained a formidable reputation not only for high performance but also for its exceptional build quality and advanced design. Contemporary sports cars featured carburetors, solid rear axles, and pushrod engines, but the 300SL, by comparison, offered precise Bosch fuel injection, independent rear suspension, and an overhead camshaft, to name but a few of its many engineering advancements. Ultimately, just 1,400 ‘Gullwing’ coupes were built through 1957.
The 300SL offered here is a unique example with a known, continuous ownership from new. The Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Register indicates that this car was originally imported to Puerto Rico and was painted Fire Engine Red (DB 534) with Natural leather interior (1066). According to the Gullwing Register, its first owner was Mr. Alfredo Haeussler de Anca, of San Juan. As a racing enthusiast himself, he opted to immediately utilize the car for competitive events on the island, as evidenced by the period photographs of the car at the Puerto Rico airstrip in preparation for racing.
In 1961, under the direction of Mercedes-Benz importer H.V. Grosch and the car’s owner, Mr. Haeussler, it was decided to return the car to the Mercedes-Benz factory in Germany, where it would essentially be mechanically upgraded to the “Sport” specifications that some of the new 300SL roadsters were being built to. It was shipped back to Germany, where it was upgraded with the highly desirable and costly engine, the corresponding camshafts, “Sport” shock absorbers and suspension, a 4.11 rear end, the newer M-B braking system, Rudge wheels, as well as the replacement of any and all parts that had been worn down or needed refurbishment from the competitive racing it had enjoyed in Puerto Rico. Amazingly, all the original invoices from the factory for this work still exist and will accompany the car in its sale.
Following the completion of the extensive upgrades on the car, it was sent back to Puerto Rico, where it remained in the care of its first racing enthusiast owner. After a number of years, he put the car into storage, where it would remain for some time, until it was then sold to its most recent owner.
Shortly after the second owner acquired the Mercedes-Benz, a full restoration was executed with his close supervision. As a mechanical engineer and seasoned collector, he knew precisely what to look for throughout the process. Following completion, the Mercedes-Benz was shown at several AACA events, where it immediately garnered a Junior and Senior National First Prize and was appropriately presented with a Grand National Award in 2008, all of which clearly attesting to the quality of the professional restoration. Today, the car remains highly detailed and notably still retains the original Rudge wheels and belly pans, after having benefitted from storage in its own climate controlled environment.
An amazing assortment of documents are included in the sale of this car, beginning with the original Bill of Sale and including a large selection of original Mercedes-Benz 300SL booklets, brochures, manuals, and instruction sheets (many in both Spanish and English), as well as documentation related to its transport from Germany to Puerto Rico, dealer invoices, and assorted government documents relating to the importation of the car.
As part of the dossier of information, there is a large amount of correspondence related to the work executed at the factory, including payment receipts and work order acknowledgements, which are bookended with the return shipping information from Germany to Puerto Rico. Additionally, it is within this very important documentation that one can see the upgraded engine installation with “Sport” camshafts for a cost in excess of $4,000, as well as the 4.11 rear end and all other work done to upgrade the car for racing.
This 300SL Gullwing is a highly unique example amongst its peers that has routinely benefited from thoughtful care and maintenance and remains in show quality condition. Resplendent in its original Fire Engine Red with Natural leather interior and its rare and distinctive “Sport” powerplant, along with other higher performance upgrades, this particular 300SL coupe is worthy of close inspection. It is, unquestionably, one of the finest examples of an already legendary breed.
Pros: One great 300Sl, with various rare spec. mods.
Cons: Not much really
#39 – Ferrari 340 MM 1953 Vignale Spider #0350M US$4.5 mil. + My pick $3,500,000.00 SOLD @ US$4.51 mil.
From the Sherman M. Wolf Collection, Formerly the Property of Sterling Edwards and Tom Bamford1953 Ferrari 340 MM Spider
Coachwork by Vignale
CHASSIS NO. 0350 AM
ENGINE NO. 0350 AM
$4,500,000 – $6,500,000
■An Important Ferrari Competition Car
■The Last of 10 Ferrari 340 MMs Built
■Exceptionally Stylish Vignale Coachwork
■A Significant Racing History Including Wins at Pebble Beach, Palm Springs and Seafair
■Known, Continuous Ownership Chain from New
■Part of the Sherman M. Wolf Collection for 28 Years
■Successful Mille Miglia Storica and Colorado Grand Participant
■Accompanied by Unrestored, Matching-Numbers Engine
■Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini
4,101 CC SOHC 60 ̊ Alloy V-12 Engine
Three Weber 40 IF4C Carburetors
300 BHP at 6,600 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Front Suspension with Unequal-Length A-Arms, Transverse Leaf Springs and Houdaille Shock Absorbers
Live Rear Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs, Trailing Arms and Houdaille Shock AbsorbersThe 340 MM
In the early days of Ferrari, the development of the exotic V-12 engine was the firm’s raison d’etre. Beginning with the 166 of 1948, 12-cylinder Ferraris continued to take on ever- greater displacement, reaching new heights with the introduction of the 340 series two years later. Significantly, the 340’s impressive 4.1-liter V-12 engine was derived from Grand Prix use and marked the first instance of Aurelio Lampredi’s long block in a Ferrari production sports car.
In 1953, after producing the 340 America and the 340 Mexico, Ferrari unveiled the ultimate 340 variant – the MM. With magneto ignition, four-choke Weber carburetors, a four-speed synchromesh gearbox and a ZF limited-slip differential, the devastatingly fast 340 MM was constructed on a unique chassis and designed specifically to dominate long-distance road events like the Mille Miglia.
As intended, Scuderia Ferrari won the 1953 Mille Miglia with 340 MMs dominating the 575-car field, finishing 1st, 4th and 9th. The 340 MMs were a force to be reckoned with throughout the season: Villoresi won the Tour of Sicily, Hawthorn won at Silverstone and Ascari won at the Nürburgring 1,000 km with a specially prepared 4.5-liter version.
In total, Ferrari built just 10 examples of the hugely successful 340 MM before the model was replaced by the 4.5-liter 375 MM.
The remarkable history of this Ferrari 340 MM, chassis 0350 AM, begins with California industrialist and distinguished sportsman Sterling Edwards.
One of the leading figures in the early years of West Coast sports car racing, Sterling Edwards’ passion for high-performance machinery developed from his many years as an Air Corps training instructor and early exposure to the finest European automobiles.
In 1948, while skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Edwards caught a glimpse of the new Pinin Farina-designed Cisitalia. Inspired by the car’s exquisite lines and sprightly performance, Edwards returned to California and set to work on his very own sports car. By 1950, he had created the Edwards R-26. With a tubular chassis designed by Phil Remington, lightweight bodywork built by Emil Diedt and Ford V-8 power, the R-26 was one of the most advanced specials of its day.
By the end of the 1952 racing season, Edwards realized that his custom-made sports car could no longer compete with the latest offerings from Jaguar and Allard. For the 1953 season, he purchased a Jaguar C-Type, the most popular choice of well-heeled privateer racers. After finding success in early outings, Edwards entered his Jaguar in the Pebble Beach Road Races. As the General Chairman of the Pebble Beach Road Race Committee, Edwards entered the event as a serious contender and looked to continue his remarkable string of success at the famed racecourse.
Even with his brand-new Jaguar, the race proved to be an eye-opener. Phil Hill took an uncontested victory in his 212 Export, and Bill Spear finished a close 2nd in his 340 Mexico. The best that Edwards could manage was a 5th place finish.
Having been trounced by the exotic Italian machines, Edwards immediately set out to buy a Ferrari. He approached North American distributor Luigi Chinetti and ordered a 340 MM, the most powerful Ferrari available. Unlike British sports cars, a Ferrari was never a bargain. The price for the 340 MM, including transportation to San Francisco, was $18,000 – a staggering figure at the time and three times the asking price of a new C-Type.
The Ferrari Edwards purchased was 0350 AM, the last of the ten 340 MM chassis. According to factory build sheets, 0350 AM was constructed in June 1953 and incorporated subtle suspension and driveline improvements developed from experiences at endurance events, such as Spa 24 Hours and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Upon completion, the Ferrari chassis was sent to Torino, Italy, where it became the fifth and last 340 MM to receive coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale. The splendid body created in the famed Torinese workshop is a prime example of the coachbuilder’s singular style – dramatic use of detail and exceptional craftsmanship. Although the five 340 MM Vignale Spiders shared general form and design cues, each example carried distinguishing characteristics. Featuring a gaping eggcrate grille, three ovoid portholes, triangular cutaway extractors in the rear fenders, outboard headlamps and a closed hood blister, this Vignale Spider shares many similarities with 0324 AM, the 340 MM Spider delivered to American racer Bill Spear.
As the 340 MM was nearing completion, Edwards married Marian Miller and began to make arrangements for their honeymoon. As it turns out, Edwards’ honeymoon was focused on his new Ferrari as much as it was on his new bride. Soon after the wedding, the glamorous American couple travelled to Europe with plans to explore the Italian countryside from the vantage point of Edwards’ latest sports car.
After a Pan Am strike forced a stopover in England, the Edwardses took a boat across the channel and travelled by rail to Italy. Following several days of shopping and a side trip to Venice, Sterling and Marian Edwards met Luigi Chinetti in Milan. Driven to Modena by Chinetti, Edwards was informed that his 340 MM was unavailable, as it was still being completed at Vignale.
Eager to see his new Ferrari, Edwards made the journey to Torino and arrived in time to witness craftsmen putting the finishing touches on his 340 MM. In honor of Edwards’ nationality, the splendid coachwork was finished in American racing colors, with dark blue flanks and fenders highlighted by white trim on top and bottom.
When 0350 AM finally arrived at the factory service center, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards collected the new Ferrari and carried out some preliminary testing at the nearby Aerautodroma di Modena. Apparently, Mrs. Edwards was less than pleased with the ride of the stiffly sprung 340 MM and noted that it had a rather frightening tendency to jump and buck at speed.
Nevertheless, the Edwardses completed a 10-day, 1,000-mile tour in the 340 MM Spider, roughly following the route of the Mille Miglia circuit. Beginning in Modena, the couple set out on their journey with no hotel reservations and a single suitcase between them. As the trunk was
filled with a spare tire and a massive 48-gallon fuel tank, the deck lid was propped open and secured by bungee cords to accommodate their minimal luggage.
For a portion of their Italian tour, the Edwardses were joined by Marian’s brother, Bob Miller, and his wife in their Aston Martin DB2. While in Rome, Edwards and Miller started an impromptu race through a park section of the city that was abruptly brought to an end by the presence of local police. Although the two reckless enthusiasts warranted multiple citations, the Italian officers were so enamored with Edwards’ Ferrari that they were let off with a simple warning.
Throughout the adventurous high-speed trip, the 340 MM proved to be utterly reliable. When Edwards returned to the factory, the service center merely changed the plugs and rear ring- and-pinion assembly. Following the Edwardses’ return to the US, the Ferrari was shipped by boat from Livorno to New York and then airfreighted to their home in San Francisco.
The day after the 340 MM arrived in San Francisco, it was trailered to Reno, Nevada, to take part in its first competitive outing – the SCCA races held at Stead Air Force Base. Once prepared by Edwards’ trusted mechanic Phil Remington, the Ferrari 340 MM was ready to take on a competitive grid that included Hill in a 250 MM Vignale Spider, Bill Devin in a 250 MM Berlinetta and Masten Gregory in the Golden Gate Park-winning C-Type.
The main event, a 2.5-hour race, included the fastest drivers in cars of all classes. After the flag dropped, Edwards took an immediate lead and held off Hill and Gregory for the entire race, finishing in 1st place. Even though Edwards had given a brilliant performance, he was certainly aided by the unmatched performance of the new Ferrari, which clocked 139 mph on the straightaway – the highest speed of the day.
About a week after his victory at Reno, Edwards received a telegram from Ferrari congratulating him on his first victory with the 340 MM. As Ferrari rarely acknowledged the efforts of American privateers, this was a tremendous compliment to Edwards and paid dividends toward his ongoing relationship with the factory.
In early November, with the 1953 season winding to a close, Edwards campaigned the 340 MM at the March AFB races in Riverside, California. Unfortunately, mechanical trouble forced an early retirement.
The 1954 racing season began on February 7th, at the Palm Springs Road Races organized by the California Sports Car Club. As the season opener was always popular with leading Southern California drivers, Edwards prevailed against stiff competition, taking home an overall win in the main event. From there, Edwards entered his 340 MM in the inaugural Bakersfield Sports Car Races at Minter Field, but failed to finish when he lost the oil-sump plug.
The most important event of the season, not only for Edwards but also for many American drivers, was the prestigious Pebble Beach Road Races, which took place on April 11, 1954. The world famous event attracted the best cars and drivers in the US as well as 35,000 eager spectators.
Following a promising practice session, Edwards’ 340 MM was meticulously prepared by Remington and lined up for the main event – the Del Monte Trophy race. In the first lap excitement, Edwards spun the Ferrari but quickly managed to climb his way through the field, methodically passing car after car. On lap 10, Edwards moved into third position behind Bill Stroppe’s Kurtis and Tom Bamford’s Cad-Allard. When Bamford’s Cad-Allard retired on lap 20, Edwards closed in on Stroppe. On lap 28, the Mercury-powered Kurtis gave up and Edwards went on to take the checkered flag.
On June 6th, Edwards entered the 340 MM in the Golden Gate Park races in San Francisco. One of the favorites for victory in the 100-mile Guardsmen’s Trophy Race, Edwards drove the Ferrari to an impressive 2nd place finish behind Jack McAfee in Tony Parravano’s mighty 375 MM Pinin Farina Spider.
The Ferrari’s next appearance was at the Seafair SCCA races at Shelton Airport near Seattle, Washington, on August 8th. In its first and only race in the Pacific Northwest, the 340 MM proved victorious, taking an overall win in the main event.
Edwards’ final race with 0350 AM took place on November 7, 1954, at March Air Force Base in Riverside. Pitted against some of the best racers in Southern California, the powerful 340 MM managed a 4th place finish.
In eight races, the 340 MM earned Edwards four overall wins. As a result, he finished the 1954 SCCA National Class C-Modified points standings in 3rd place, just behind Bill Spear and Jim Kimberly, who were both driving the latest 4.5-liter 375 MMs.
Following its outing in Riverside, Edwards Engineering Co. in South San Francisco advertised the 340 MM for sale, asking just $8,000. The fact that Sterling Edwards was willing to take a $10,000 loss for four wins and an exciting honeymoon in Italy supports the notion that racing was never for the faint of heart or wallet.
In 1955, Jim Pauley purchased the 340 MM, cut a hole in the hood blister for better air intake and sold the car to Ernie McAfee of Los Angeles. McAfee, in turn, sold the Ferrari to Tom Bamford of Woodland Hills, the successful racer who had spent much of the 1954 season playing catch-up with the 4.1-liter Ferrari.
Bamford repainted the Ferrari Spider red for a fresh new look and began his racing career with 0350 AM in the Summer months of 1955. In June, Bamford entered the Los Angeles Sports Car Road Races at Hansen Dam in the San Fernando Valley. Like Edwards, Bamford soon found success with the 340 MM, placing 2nd overall in the main event. From there, he entered it into two major Southern California races – the National Torrey Pines Road Races in July and the Palm Springs Road Races in February 1956.
In 1958, Bamford sold the Ferrari to Sabu Dastagir, an Indian actor best known for his roles in Elephant Boy, The Thief of Bagdad, Jungle Book and Black Narcissus. In December 1963, Mr. Dastagir died of a heart attack at age 39 and his Ferrari was left to languish while the details of the estate were settled.
By 1969, Johnny Aldridge Johnson and Ernest D. Mendicki had purchased the 340 MM and returned it to Northern California. In 1975, Harley E. Cluxton III, then the youngest authorized Ferrari dealer, acquired the 340 MM and sold it to Donald Dethlefsen of Lake Forest, Illinois.
In 1979, English collector Peter Agg purchased 0350 AM and sold it the following year to David Cottingham of DK Engineering. Having always yearned for a Lampredi-engine V-12 Ferrari, Mr. Cottingham seized the opportunity to acquire the well-preserved competition car and return it to its former splendor.
Throughout 1980 and 1981, 0350 AM was restored to its original appearance. Relatively little bodywork necessitated repairs. The original engine had become worn, so Mr. Cottingham elected to run the car with a purpose-built race motor, preserving the original unit for posterity. Significantly, the unrestored matching-numbers engine remains with the car today and is offered with the sale.
The restoration of the 340 MM was completed in Fall 1981, just in time to take part in the Autumn Sprint at Goodwood and the Club Ferrari France meeting at Mas du Clos. In February 1982, the freshly restored 340 MM graced the cover of Thoroughbred & Classic Cars magazine and was the subject of a feature story and test drive.
Two years later, 0350 AM caught the attention of Sherman M. Wolf. A connoisseur of fine engineering, it is only fitting that Mr. Wolf would appreciate the remarkable performance and unique character of an early Lampredi-engine Ferrari. As soon as the 340 MM joined Mr. Wolf’s stable, it was repainted red, registered on distinctive New Hampshire plates reading “340 MM” and put to good use.
In 1984, Mr. Wolf displayed his Vignale- bodied 340 MM at the 21st Annual Ferrari Club of America Meet at Road Atlanta and the FCA International Concours d’Elegance in Carmel Valley, California. Two years later, the Ferrari was shipped to Italy to take part in the Mille Miglia Storica. Mr. Wolf enjoyed the experience so much that he returned to Italy with 0350 AM in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990.
After refinishing the Vignale coachwork in its original color scheme, Mr. Wolf continued to drive the 340 MM and participated in the Colorado Grand in 1990 and 1998. Although his passion lay more in driving his cars, Mr. Wolf was encouraged to display the beautifully presented Ferrari at prestigious gatherings, including the Annual FCA International Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California and Ron Spangler’s Prancing Horse Farm Invitational in Maryland. As a testament to its historical significance and outstanding condition, the 340 MM was invited to the 2000 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was displayed with pride alongside some of the most important examples of the marque.
Thanks to its enthusiastic use and distinctive appearance, Mr. Wolf’s 340 MM attracted a great deal of attention from the classic car community and has been the subject of feature articles in Cavallino, Automobile Quarterly and Vintage Racer. Beyond these publications, this magnificent 1950s sports racer has appeared in countless books on Ferraris, Vignale and sports car racing in Southern California.
During Mr. Wolf’s 28-year ownership, 0350 AM became one of his most prized possessions. Although he believed that this car offered the greatest challenge to his driving abilities, he relished the opportunity to take full advantage of its tremendous performance and could drift it through corners with incredible skill and style.
Exceptionally fast, dramatically styled and historically significant, the 340 MM is one of the most charismatic sports racing cars of the 1950s and, as an early, even-serial-numbered Ferrari, will always maintain an important place in the history of the marque. Not only does 0350 AM possess a distinguished racing pedigree, sensational Vignale coachwork and a rich, well-documented provenance, it also benefits from the long-term stewardship of Sherman M. Wolf, among the most respected and admired Ferrari enthusiasts. Consistently cherished and maintained, the 340 MM continues to show evidence of Mr. Wolf’s hands-on care and exemplary attention to detail.
While any 340 MM is a car of immense appeal, 0350 AM, one of the most successful early Ferraris to race in the US, is a truly special prize for discerning collectors. ”
Pros: A very historic, quite original, 4.1 Litre ferrari with a decent racing history, quite rare
Cons: Not exactly pretty, early Ferraris not valued as highly as others.
#40 – Delage D8S 1933 Freestone & Webb Coupe #38220 US$550,000+ My pick $600,000.00 SOLD US$525,000
1933 Delage D8S Coupe
Coachwork by Freestone & Webb
CHASSIS NO. 38220
$550,000 – $650,000
■One of Just 99 D8S Models Produced
■Believed to Be the Only D8S Bodied by British Coachbuilder Freestone & Webb
■Sporty French Gran Tourer in Elegant Coupe Form
■Short-Chassis, High-Output D8S Model
■Featured in Automobile Quarterly
4,061 CC OHV Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
120 HP at 3,800 RPM
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Front Beam Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Live Rear Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf SpringsThe Delage
The origins of the aphorism that one drives an Alfa Romeo, is driven in a Rolls-Royce but gives only a Delage to his favorite mistress remains unknown. The “Car with a Reputation” was among the firm’s actual slogans, as was “Gained by Performance.” In 1905, Louis Delage started his automobile company in Courbevoie, France, on the Seine and he began racing within a year. Victories were many and the firm’s reputation assured. Delage became obsessed with winning the European Grand Prix Championship, which he did in 1927 by building race cars of milestone design. His dream realized, he closed his race department, sold off his race cars and returned to the manufacture of automobiles.
The D8 series was introduced in 1929, powered by a straight eight with a price tag of $3,125 for the chassis; competitors wondered how Delage could sell such a superb motorcar for the price – half that of a Hispano-Suiza. Louis Delage proudly claimed that his cars won more awards at concours d’elegances of the time than any other marque, giving rise to the company moniker, La Belle Voiture Francaise (“The Beautiful French Car”). By 1935, competitors had their answer. Delage was financially devastated and had to sell to archrival company Delahaye, which continued production at $5,220 for a bare chassis – a nearly $2,000 increase.
Delage announced a special sports version of the D8, the D8S in 1931. Built on a shorter 130” chassis lowered 3.1″” compared to the standard model, its four-liter overhead valve inline eight- cylinder engine featured higher compression and a revised camshaft profile, boosting horsepower from 105 to 120. Unfortunately, the worldwide economic depression was unfolding and production would be limited to just 99 units.
While most Delages typically wore flamboyant coachwork by French designers, this car’s first owner the Earl of Stradbroke, commissioned renowned British coachbuilder Freestone & Webb to body this D8S. Founded in 1923, the firm was most often associated throughout its history with Bentley and Rolls-Royce, offering elegant designs on limousines and saloons. The firm was one of the first to take out a Weymann license and later developed a relationship with Mercedes-Benz that lasted until the end of the 1930s. Occasionally, the firm would produce more intimate bodies such as this remarkable Delage D8S Coupe, the only one known to have been bodied by the Northwest London concern. It is fitted with central lubrication, Marchal head- lamps and driving lights, a pillar-mounted spot-light, Andre adjustable shock absorbers and a radiator-mounted Delage Auto Thermometer.
The Delage was acquired in 2002 by the noted Milhous Brothers of Boca Raton, Florida, known for collecting only the best examples of automobiles available. It remained a part of their discriminating collection until early 2012 when it was purchased by its current owner. Painted a sinister black with contrasting tan leather interior and carpets, the Delage presents beautifully. The dashboard is fitted with Jaeger instrumentation calibrated in Imperial units, providing evidence that the car was intended for initial use in the British Isles. This is further confirmed by its London registration, ALT753, issued in September 1933, and it is known that the car remained in the UK until the 1950s. Despite being an older restoration, the quality of the workmanship was most recently validated when the car received the prestigious Hotel Hershey Award at The Elegance at Hershey on June 10, 2012. You’ll no doubt agree with the words “elegant and adventurous” used to describe this car as pictured in Automobile Quarterly. La Belle Voiture Francaise, indeed.
Pros: Great Coupe, very much hand built, Great provenance and would make an ideal tour car.
Cons: Not the best looking Delage, second time on the market this year.