Monterey Top 100 cars being offered – by order of desirability – #1 – #20
All descriptions and photo’s courtesy of auction company
My comments are in bold itallics
1 – Ford GT40 Gulf/ Mirage #1074/M10003 1968 My pick $15,000,000.00 SOLD US$11 million
1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car
Chassis No. P/1074 (M.10003)
Available Upon Request
To be auctioned on
Friday, August 17, 2012
440 bhp at 6,800 rpm, 289 cu in OHV V-8 engine, four 48 IDA Weber carburetors, ZF 5DS25/1 five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and Koni adjustable shock absorbers, independent rear suspension with trailing arms, unequal-length A-arms, and Koni adjustable shock absorbers, and four-wheel stage II Girling ventilated disc brakes. Wheelbase: 95″”
Please note that this vehicle will be sold on a Bill of Sale only.
• Debut win at Spa 1967 with Jacky Ickx and Dr. Dick Thompson
• Extraordinary racing history; ex-David Hobbs, Brian Redman, Mike Hailwood, and Paul Hawkins
• The first win for the famed Gulf/Wyer Partnership
• Only Gulf team car to win both as a Mirage (’67 Spa) and a GT40 (’68 Monza)
• First of three lightweight production GT40s; one of two surviving
• Early use of carbon fiber-reinforced bodywork
• Famous Gulf camera car used in the epic Steve McQueen film, Le Mans
• Distinguished provenance, including Sir Anthony Bamford, Harley Cluxton, and others
• Complete with original 1967 Mirage bodywork
• Countless books, models, awards, and event participations
In March 2013, it will be 50 years since Ford instituted the GT40 program. The purposeful mid-engine sports coupe is the finest Anglo-American supercar of the last century, with four straight victories at the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race between 1966 and ’69. In 1966 alone, it finished 1-2-3 against Ferrari, in one of the most memorable photo finishes in the race’s distinguished history, cementing the car’s place in motorsports history and on the postered walls of teenaged bedrooms the world over.
Its genesis alone is the stuff of legends and the subject of countless books, summarized most succinctly as a failed buy-out of Ferrari by Henry Ford II.
Blank checks were signed in Detroit, engineering and racing heavyweights were hired, and Lolas were modified and readied for testing. GT/101, the first prototype, was assembled in March 1964, in time for testing and the imminent Ford-Ferrari battle at Le Mans in the summer. Undaunted by a lack of wins, Ford regrouped for 1965 with Carroll Shelby—already a veteran with his Cobras—taking over the GT40 MK II program.
He delivered a win at Daytona with Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby in GT/103 and a Second Place at Sebring with Ken Miles and Bruce McLaren in the same car. Shelby also ran the first MK II at Le Mans in June of ’65. Meanwhile, John Wyer continued development of the customer 289 GT40 racing cars.
The stunning GT40 offered here, chassis P/1074, is very well-documented in GT40 history. It began life as Mirage M.10003, and in its debut at Spa, in May 1967, the legendary endurance racer Jacky Ickx and the “Flying Dentist,” Dr. Dick Thompson, finished First Overall. This was also the first win for any car under the fabled powder blue (1125) and marigold (1456) Gulf livery. Such an accomplishment on its own would be sufficient to impress any enthusiast, but it marks only the beginning of P/1074’s storied history. It should be noted that Ickx was only in his early-twenties at the time, had just made his first Grand Prix start the same year, and was on the cusp of beginning one of the great careers in motorsports that, to date, includes an extraordinary six wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 25 podium finishes in Formula One, factory racing for Porsche, and everything in between, not to mention winning the Paris-Dakar Rally and even piloting the famous Ferrari 512S for the Steve McQueen film Le Mans.
Unfortunately, however, this particular car DNF’d later that year at Le Mans and Brands Hatch, and then won at Karlskoga and finished Second at Skarpnack, before finished with a convincing win at Montlhery. Quite the stunning debut for this exceptional racing car!
Following the FIA’s regulation change for the 1968 season, which reduced prototype engine size to three-liters and five-liters for production (Group 4) sports cars, with a limited build of 25 examples, Mirage M.10003 was taken back to J.W.A. in England for its conversion into a Group 4 GT40. The conversion was completed on February 23, 1968, whereupon it became GT40 P/1074, but has since remained complete with its original Mirage bodywork and could easily be returned to that configuration.
It was the first (by serial number) of three lightweight racing GT40’s built for the J.W.A./Gulf team. Its chassis retained the unique Mirage straight substructure forward of the windscreen. Specific to the car were Stage II ventilated disc brakes, a lightweight frame, and a lightened roof.
The body was described as “super lightweight with carbon filament aluminum, fully-vented spare wheel cover, extra wide rear wheel arches, double engine coolers, and rear panel vented (sic) for brake air exit.” The carbon fiber-reinforced bodywork used on the Mirage M1s, now P/1074, P/1075, and P/1076, are reputed to be among the first, if not the very first, uses of carbon fiber panels in race car fabrication.
Currently, P/1074 is fitted with an original, period correct GT40 Ford 289 cubic inch V-8 with Gurney-Weslake cylinder heads, four Weber twin-choke carburetors, and a 351 oil pump with an Aviaid oil pan. During its active career, P/1074 (M.10003) was powered by four other V-8 Ford push-rod engines, including a 289, a 302 (1074), a 305, and a 351 (M.10003). It was painted in powder blue Gulf livery, with a distinctive, constant-width, marigold (orange) center stripe, which instantly identified it as J.W.A’s number two car. On several occasions, it was raced with triangular nose-mounted canard fins to improve downforce. From the outset, 8.5-inch front and 11.0-inch rear BRM Mirage wheels were fitted.
Soon after conversion to a GT40, driven by endurance racing greats David Hobbs and Paul Hawkins, P/1074 raced at Daytona (February 3, 1968), where it was a DNF. This record would soon improve. On March 3, 1968, with the same drivers, it finished 28th at Sebring, then ran at the Le Mans Trials with Jacky Ickx, where it set a 3 minute 35.4-second lap record. Driven again by Hawkins and Hobbs, P/1074 won at the Monza 1000 Kilometre on April 25, 1968. On May 19, 1968, competing at the Nürburgring, David Hobbs and Brian Redman finished in Sixth Place. Hawkins and Hobbs teamed up in P/1074 at Watkins Glen to finish Second. This was the first race that P/1074 was fitted with the larger 302 cubic inch V-8 engine. It DNF’d at Le Mans (September 8, 1968), which was the last race of the season that year, again with Hawkins and Hobbs driving.
In October 1968, P/1074 was loaned to Ecurie Fracorchamps and to a Belgian racer, Jean (Beurlys) Blaton, as a replacement for his P/1079, which had been crashed at Le Mans earlier that year. Beurlys and DeFierlant ran the car at Montlhery on October 13th, achieving an Eighth Place finish. Early in 1969, J.W.A acquired P/1074 again, and in its only race that year, David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood finished Fifth at the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch in April, still running the 302 V-8.
This car’s life was about to change dramatically. In 1970, David Brown, of Tampa, Florida, purchased P/1074 and P/1076 from J.W.A. He in turn leased P/1074 to Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions, of North Hollywood, California, in May of that year. Under the care of J.W.A, it was to be used as a mobile camera car for McQueen’s epic production of the movie Le Mans. Steve McQueen had insisted that the cars be filmed at speed. This necessitated that the camera car be capable of very high performance and keeping up with the “star” cars.
For filming purposes, the entire roof section was removed, which left P/1074 with a windscreen that was just a few inches high. It is believed that this operation rendered the doors inoperable. Period photographs of the car show the doors securely taped shut. At the same time, the car’s fully-vented spare tire cover was removed and replaced with the less aerodynamically-efficient “twin nostril” unit from a road-going Mk III GT40.
The modified GT40 was tested at the Fighting Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (FVRDE) in Surrey England. The radical changes to P/1074 resulted in a race car with adversely impacted aerodynamics and, in the words of Jonathan Williams, “diabolical” handling. During a test, P/1074 ran over a section of tank tread, which punctured one of its racing tires, precipitating an off-road excursion that dented the belly pan in a few places. Its driver, John Horsman, author of Racing in the Rain, and the film’s director, who was accompanying him as a passenger, were unharmed.
P/1074 was employed as a camera car at the start of the 1970 Le Mans 24-Hour race, where its former driver, Jacky Ickx, was coincidentally also in attendance, racing a Ferrari 512S, no less! Its spare tire cover was removed, and a pair of movie cameras were mounted securely in the spare tire well. Several runs were made up and down the pit lanes prior to the race. It’s uncertain as to whether the car actually ran during the race. A gyroscopically-stabilized, compressed air-powered, 180 degree rotating Arriflex camera was mounted on the rear deck, where it could be remotely-controlled by a dashboard-mounted TV screen. A 35 mm manually-rotated camera was securely mounted above the passenger side door. Its operation required intrepid cameraman Alex Barbey to crouch alongside it in a small rotating seat.
But the combination of these heavy cameras, along with the car’s substantially reduced aerodynamics and now less rigid chassis, meant the car was very hard to control at the 150 mph speeds the filming required. At this time, Dutch skid-pad expert Rob Slotemaker replaced a probably very relieved Jonathan Williams as P/1074’s driver. The much-modified GT40 “roadster” was used in its altered configuration for some five months, until the filming of Le Mans was completed. It was still finished in powder blue and marigold.
After the film wrapped production, Harley E. Cluxton III (then of Glenview, Illinois) bought P/1074 from Mr. Brown. He tested the car at the Glenview Naval Air Station and said that crossing the runway arresting cables at speed was what he could only describe as “interesting.” P/1074 was sold to noted collector Sir Anthony Bamford (Staffordshire, England) in 1972. It was subsequently reconstructed by Willie Green, of Derby, England, who did the rework using a new roof structure obtained from Abbey Panels Ltd. The cut-down doors were replaced with early GT40 units, which meant the car was now equipped with early type “rocker” door handles instead of the sliding levers that are found on later J.W.A. racers.
Other body modifications performed at this time included new rear bodywork, fabricated from a “standard” GT40 production unit with widened wheel flares, so the transom lacked the additional outlet vents found on Gulf GT40s, and the rear wheel arches did not have carbon fiber reinforcement. Finally, the number plate location had to be modified to clear the exhaust pipes when the rear section was opened. Willie Green raced the reconstituted P/1074 at several UK racing events. Subsequent ownership history is well-documented and includes Mr. Cluxton’s re-acquisition of the car in 1983, prior to another restoration.
The peripatetic P/1074 was present at the GT40 25th Anniversary Reunion at Watkins Glen in September 1989 and at the 30th Anniversary Reunion in July, 1994. It has appeared in numerous books, on the “Competition Ford GT40” poster, and it’s been replicated in several models, both as the topless Le Mans camera car and in “conventional” Le Mans racing configuration. The current owner bought P/1074, and sent it to Harley Cluxton for a complete restoration in 2002, where it received a straight nose stripe and a fully vented nose cover. The doors were replaced with units featuring the later rocker style handles (as the car’s original sliding lever handles). The infamous cut-down tail section, which was removed when the car was reconstructed, reportedly survives in France. P/1074 has since been fastidiously maintained by its current owner.
In 2003, Jackie Oliver drove P/1074 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Again in 2004, this well-known and highly-respected GT40 reappeared at Goodwood fitted with nose canard fins and an adjustable height rear spoiler. In 2009, it was driven by its original driver, David Hobbs, at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded Best in Class.
For a fortunate bidder, the acquisition of GT40 P/1074 represents a special opportunity. Aside from its current, stunning presentation, the fact that it is one of only two surviving Gulf Mirage M1s, in which form it accumulated much of its racing history, renders it particularly attractive to an enthusiast who now has the option of relatively easily returning the car to this configuration and actively campaigning the car with its remarkable Jacky Ickx provenance.
This car’s impeccable credentials, both as a winning racer and as the camera car for the legendary Steve McQueen film Le Mans, as well as its long documented history of prominent owners and its meticulous restoration in J.W.A./Gulf livery, mark it as one of the most desirable GT40s, and indeed endurance racing cars, ever built.
Please note that a number of spare parts accompany the sale, including 1967 Mirage bodywork. Please consult an RM specialist for further details.
Special thanks to the GT40 Registry, Ronnie Spain, author of GT40: An Individual History and Race Record, and John S. Allen, author of The Ford GT40 and The Ford That Beat Ferrari, for their help and research on this car.
Pros: Race History (won Spa ’67 & Monza ’68) with JWA/ Gulf Oil racing, overall quality, 1 of 3 built so very rare, movie “Le Mans” story, good looking in Blue and marigold. One of the greatest race cars of all time. Deserves to be my #1 pick for most desirable car at Monterey.
Cons: Not much
2 – Ferrari 410S 1955 #0594CM Scaglietti Coupe My pick $10,000,000.00 SOLD US$8.25 mil.
1955 Ferrari 410 S Berlinetta
by Carrozzeria Scaglietti
Chassis No. 0594 CM
Engine No. 0594 CM
Available Upon Request
To be auctioned on
Friday, August 17, 2012
340 bhp 4,962 cc overhead cam V-12 engine with triple Weber 42 DCF/3 Weber carburetors, five-speed manual rear-mounted transaxle, independent front suspension with coil springs, rear De Dion suspension with trailing arms and transverse leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes and tubular steel frame. Wheelbase: 95.3″”
• Striking, one-off Scaglietti Berlinetta coachwork
• Specially built for Ferrari SEFAC board member Michel Paul-Cavallier
• Ex-Pierre Bardinon; Mas du Clos Collection for thirty-five years
• Close relative of the 1954 Le Mans-winning 375 Plus
• First appearance of the 4.9-liter Superamerica engine
• Award-winner at the 2009 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
• Ferrari Classiche certified and matching numbers
• A unique and very original, important Ferrari
Broad Ferrari histories often give short shrift to some of the marque’s most fascinating early sports racers, many of which occupy truly unique cross-sections of Maranello design and competition history. Such is the case with the 410 Sport, of which only four examples were built in 1955, with the specific intent of winning the notorious Carrera Panamericana road race. Initiated in 1950, in demonstration of Mexico’s recently completed section of the Pan-American Highway, the Carrera quickly gained a reputation for danger, as the rugged terrain left little room for error and resulted in numerous crashes and driver fatalities.
As the final contest in the inaugural season of the Sportscar World Championship, the 1953 Carrera Panamericana was embraced by European manufacturers like Ferrari, who quickly recognized the opportunity to market to American clientele, which the Texas-to-Chiapas race offered. After a dominating defeat by Lancia in 1953, and quite satisfied with its recent one-two-three finish at the 1954 Le Mans with the 375 Plus model, Ferrari declined to enter a factory-sponsored car in the 1954 Carrera. At least two of the winning 375 Plus cars were entered in the Mexican race by private teams, however, the sponsorships were arranged by Luigi Chinetti, and their divergent fates were emblematic of the challenges posed by the Panamericana. While Scuderia racer Umberto Maglioli drove one 375 Plus to victory in the 1954 Carrera, Jack McAfee crashed the actual Le Mans-winning car, which had since been purchased by John Edgar, in an accident that proved to be fatal to co-driver Ford Robinson.
Recognizing that the Carrera’s uneven road surfaces were intrinsically problematic for its sports racer designs to this point, Ferrari sought to devise a car that could specifically neutralize the Panamericana’s more daunting elements. Though the 375 Plus’s Formula One-derived, 60-degree long-block Lampredi V-12 was deemed to be a good starting point for the powertrain, an all-new chassis was required to replace the 375’s high center of gravity and narrow track. The resulting Tipo 519C chassis significantly departed from previous convention, with a shorter wheelbase and a low-profile tubular space-frame of unusual width. Sergio Scaglietti designed and built the coachwork, which provided the first glimpse of the general shape that would soon evolve into his vaunted Testa Rossa.
The bore and stroke of the Lampredi V-12 were increased to displace 4,962 cubic centimeters, resulting in the now revered 4.9-liter Tipo 126 engine that debuted in the Superamerica chassis displayed at the Paris Motor Show in October 1955. For use in the 410 S, the motor was dubbed the Tipo 126C to designate competition use and received an F1-style twin-plug ignition that contributed to developing 380 hp, unprecedented power for a Ferrari sports racer. This ignition configuration helped guarantee even combustion, a factor that was particularly important given the impure fuel that was provided during the Carrera Panamericana’s grueling five-day course.
With such specific intent to win the Mexican road race, it is little surprise that Ferrari designated the 410 S chassis numbers with CM (standing for Carrera Messicana), the four cars being numbered 0592 CM, 0594 CM, 0596 CM, and 0598 CM. Ironically, despite its unique design brief to win the Carrera Panamericana, the 410 S never actually campaigned in the race, as the tragedy of the 1955 Le Mans, as well as the Carrera’s mounting casualty record, led to the race’s prolonged cancellation in 1955.
Interestingly, only two of the four examples of the 410 S were prepared for factory racing, 0596 CM and 0598 CM. These cars were subsequently entered in the 1000 Kilomenters of Buenos Aires in January 1956, where Peter Collins drove one car to the fastest race lap, while the other car was piloted by Juan Manuel Fangio. Both cars were equipped with twin-plug ignition, and despite the promising start, the rear transaxles could not endure the 4.9-liter engine’s raw power, and both cars retired early. Regardless of the competition setback, the Tipo 126 engine sealed its renown a month later with the debut of the first completed Superamerica road car at the Brussels Motor Show of February 1956. 0596 CM and 0598 CM were quickly sold by the factory and went on to great success on the American sports car racing circuit, with one of them being bought by John Edgar and driven by Carroll Shelby.
Conversely, 0592 CM and 0594 CM were imagined as more restrained companions to the factory cars and were equipped with single-plug ignitions that mellowed power output to 345 hp. While 0592 CM received open spyder coachwork similar to the factory racers, 0594 CM was truly unique in that it was clothed with one-off berlinetta coachwork loosely based on the design of Pininfarina’s 375MM competition coupe. Transferring that basic shape onto the 410 S’s lower chassis and wider profile, the Scaglietti body marvelously reinterpreted the classic look with a more pronounced nose. 0592 CM is incredibly rare in this respect, as it is surely one of a small handful of early Ferrari berlinettas entirely designed and built by Scaglietti, as declared by the Scaglietti and Co. badge that adorns the fenders.
While Ferrari’s choice to finish 0594 CM as a closed car may seem odd in light of the 410 Sport model’s competition brief, it makes more sense given the identity of its first owner, Michel Paul-Cavallier. Mr. Paul-Cavallier was an industrialist who served on the board of directors of SEFAC, Ferrari’s corporate umbrella for racing during the 1960s, and his order was likely a reflection of his unique executive position and pride in the Scuderia’s accomplishments. Finished in ivory paint with a blue interior, 0594 CM completed assembly in July 1955 and was shortly thereafter delivered to Mr. Paul-Cavallier himself.
He kept 0594 CM for many years, until 1964, when it was purchased by French racing driver Hugues Hazard, nicknamed “Tutut” by his friends. Tutut was an experienced racing driver who competed in the Tour Auto, the Monte Carlo Rally, and the Coupes des Alpes, as well as numerous hill climbs. It was in 1965 when he entered 0594 CM in the Course de Cote de Belleau, taking to the start with race number 95. After one year, the car was acquired by Parisian resident and well-known Ferrari collector Pierre Bardinon, where it became part of the Mas du Clos Collection, one of the foremost Ferrari collections in the world.
Mr. Bardinon restored the car and retained possession for thirty-five years. During this period of fastidious care, 0594 CM appeared in several magazines and prestigious events, including a depiction in Peter Vann and Antoine Prunet’s 1987 book Fantastiques Ferrari and an appearance at the Chapal leather stand (owned by M. Bardinon’s son) at the 1996 Retromobile in Paris.
In June 2001, 0594 CM was purchased by John Bosch, of the Netherlands, another well-known collector and the owner of Barron Racing. Mr. Bosch soon commissioned a sympathetic restoration by Terry Hoyle Racing Engineers Ltd., of England, which addressed every mechanical and cosmetic aspect. All mechanical systems were comprehensively addressed, including a full engine rebuild. Mr. Hoyle restored the car to its original competition specifications while delivering cosmetic presentation worthy of the most distinguished concours d’elegance. After the restoration’s completion in May 2002, Mr. Bosch capitalized on 0594 CM’s astounding condition by participating in the 2002 Mille Miglia and exhibiting the car at the Ferrari Days meeting in Spa-Francorchamps later that month.
Acquired by the current owner, 0594 CM has since been displayed at the 2009 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, where it received the Honor of Mention in its class. Still exhibiting the immaculate merits of its originality, it has never been damaged nor have any of its mechanical components been replaced or tampered with, as confirmed by the Ferrari Classiche certification. This one-of-a-kind 410 Sport Berlinetta claims unique genetic links to several of Ferrari’s most acclaimed models, included the Le Mans-winning 375 Plus and the vaunted Superamerica road car.
The availability of this ultra-rare, one-off Scaglietti-bodied berlinetta will doubtlessly draw the attention of the most ardent Ferrari collectors, as 0594 CM offers its next owner entrance to the world’s finest vintage rallies, FCA events, and discriminating concours d’elegance, and it has the potential to make an especially exciting North American premiere. It is a “Prancing Horse” of inestimable cachet, whose offering here constitutes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the serious tifosi.
Pros: Oh so historic, would be perfect for the American concours circuit, effectively a one off and with great importance to Ferrari collectors. Also look at it, almost perfect proportions.
Cons: Nothing, would be picky to say no race history.
3 – Duesenberg Model JN 1935 #2585/J560 B & S Conv. Coupe My pick $14,000,000.00 NOT SOLD @ US$7.4 mil.
Formerly the Property of Clark Gable1935 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Coupe
Coachwork by Rollston | Updated by Bohman & Schwartz
CHASSIS NO. 2585
ENGINE NO. J-560 (See Text)
Estimate Available Upon Request
■Arguably the Most Iconic Duesenberg of All Time
■Rare Late-Production Model JN with Open Coachwork
■Exceptional, Well-Documented Celebrity Provenance
■One-Off W. Everett Miller Design with Bespoke Features
■Romantic Connection to Clark Gable and Carole Lombard
■Featured in the 1938 Film Merrily We Live
■Best of Show at Meadow Brook and Amelia Island
■Special Award Winner at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
■A Fantastic Piece of Hollywood History
420 CID DOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Single Downdraft Carburetor
265 HP at 4,200 RPM
3-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Live-Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs and Double-Acting Hydraulic-Lever Shock Absorbers
The Duesenberg Model JN
For all its visual splendor and technological excellence, the Model J could not have been introduced in more difficult times. While Duesenberg intended an initial run of 500 chassis for 1929, the Great Depression changed the face of the luxury car market overnight. The few individuals who possessed the means and confidence to purchase the phenomenally expensive Model J were of a rarified breed.
Just three years after the Model J was unveiled, Duesenberg began offering variants of the standard chassis with the hope of buoying sales. The supercharged SJ appeared in 1932 and proved popular with 36 examples built. Yet not all buyers were interested strictly in performance. By the mid-1930s, Duesenberg was offering a pricey car that didn’t even look particularly up-to-date. Other high-end manufacturers such as Cadillac, Packard and even Pierce-Arrow were adopting the latest streamlined styling, and the Model J was beginning to look obsolete.
In 1935, Duesenberg came up with the JN. In an attempt to imbue the new JN series with a clean, modern image and restore integrity to the marque’s refined aesthetic sensibilities, Duesenberg commissioned Rollston of New York City to fashion a line of tasteful body styles.
As one of Duesenberg’s longest-standing and most trusted collaborators, Rollston succeeded in combining streamlined contours with the elegant, classical restraint of the original Model J. In total, just three body styles were offered: convertible coupes and convertible sedans were available on the standard-length chassis, while sport sedans were produced strictly for the long-wheelbase chassis.
Signature styling cues included soft, sweeping curves, smaller 17″” disc wheels, skirted front fenders, small dual taillights in place of the classic Duesenberg “stop” light and elegant carriage-body sills that brought the bottom of the doors very close to the running boards. On all JN body styles, the roofline, beltline and side molding were carefully arranged and integrated to introduce a long, sloping rear deck and thus, a graceful profile.
It is believed that only 10 JNs were built, of which four examples were bodied as convertible coupes, style number 434. All of Rollston’s JN body styles were delivered to Duesenberg “in the white,” ready for paint and trim to customer preference.
Today, these extremely rare Model JNs are fixtures in the finest classic car collections and are considered among the most attractive of the late-production Duesenbergs.
Clark Gable and His Motorcars
Clark Gable, known during his heyday as “The King of Hollywood,” gained extraordinary fame for his legendary silver screen roles and projected the very essence of masculinity. In an industry characterized by its capriciousness, Gable maintained the affection of moviegoers longer than most stars of the era. As one of the top-ten box office attractions for two decades, marquees throughout the country would simply announce, “This week: Clark Gable.”
Offscreen, Gable was an avid sportsman who enjoyed duck shooting, fishing and the finest automobiles. Not only did Gable’s wealth and celebrity status grant him access to the most glamorous motorcars, he also had a genuine hands-on passion and appreciation for them.
In Long Live the King: A Biography of Clark Gable, Lyn Tornabene writes: “Whenever he’s needed on the set, and not in sight, somebody is sent for him under all the parked cars, and usually he’s under one…tinkering. His former secretary, Jean Garceau…says that whenever she needs him she calls all the service stations on Ventura Boulevard until she finds him. He would have made a first-class mechanic or chauffeur. He’s got so much axle grease in the pores of his hands, no amount of scrubbing will remove it.”
Over the years, Gable developed into one of Hollywood’s first great car enthusiasts and owned an impressive array of automobiles, including top-of- the-line Packard Roadsters, Model J Duesenbergs and the rarest and most exclusive one-off Fords. Even after WWII, he continued to indulge in his passion and acquired the latest European sports cars, from a Jaguar XK120 to a Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Cabriolet and 300 SL Gullwing.
Of all the cars Clark Gable owned, none possesses the remarkable history and romance of the sensational automobile presented here.
A Hollywood Romance
The last of four JN Convertible Coupes built, this striking open Duesenberg was originally delivered to the factory’s Los Angeles, California, branch in December 1935. Following the New Year, the handsome Rollston-bodied Duesenberg, chassis 2585, engine J-560, was sold to its first owner, Clark Gable.
On January 25th, Gable drove his brand-new Duesenberg Model JN to the White Mayfair Ball in Beverly Hills. It was on this fateful night that a casual friendship between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard began to blossom into Hollywood’s most poignant romance.
Four years earlier, they had co-starred in No Man of Her Own, a comedy about a card shark who weds a small-town beauty on a bet. At that
time, Gable had yet to achieve great recognition and Lombard was happily married to debonair actor William Powell.
By January 1936, both Gable and Lombard were household names and the circumstances of their personal lives had each taken a dramatic turn.
Lombard divorced Powell in 1934 and became one of the highest-paid actresses in America, earning over $450,000 in one year for three movies and a series of popular radio shows. Gable – the 35-year-old heartthrob and star of It Happened One Night and San Francisco – had established himself as a successful leading man but felt trapped in a doomed marriage with Ria Langham, an oil heiress seven years his senior.
At the Mayfair Ball, Gable and Lombard spent a great deal of time together, shared dances and eventually slipped away to take a spin in the new Duesenberg. When Gable stopped in front of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where he was then living, he asked Lombard if she wanted to come up to his suite.
“Who do you think you are?” Lombard exclaimed, “Clark Gable?”
Undeterred, Gable returned with Lombard to the party and asked her out on a proper date. A few days later, Lombard acquiesced.
Less than a week after the chance meeting in Beverly Hills, Gable arrived at Lombard’s house in the middle of a Winter downpour. According to Lombard, the splashy Duesenberg Convertible was “leaking like toilet paper,” a situation that she found quite amusing and he found deeply embarrassing.
In no time at all, Gable approached his preferred coachbuilder, Bohman & Schwartz of Pasadena, to have his Duesenberg dramatically updated. Not only was the Convertible Coupe in need of weatherproofing, Gable felt that the subtle Rollston design was far too conventional for his needs. After all, a Hollywood leading man needed to stand out in a crowd.
To realize his automotive fantasies, Gable worked in cooperation with legendary designer Wellington Everett Miller. Widely regarded as one of the most talented and influential automotive stylists of the 1930s, Miller worked as the head designer for two of the most respected American coachbuilding firms, Locke and Murphy, and helped Packard create a series of elegant production bodies. An early adopter of Art Deco-inspired streamlined features, Miller successfully updated many Duesenbergs and his designs for Bohman & Schwartz represent the very best of mid-1930s automobile styling.
As this car was to be for his personal use, Gable envisioned the JN Convertible Coupe as a sporting two-seat roadster that was as theatrical as its owner. Throughout the design process, Gable was intimately involved and worked in tandem with Miller to create the highly individualized coachwork. The result is one of the most successful collaborations between an owner and a coachbuilder. Gable had a preternatural instinct for automobiles and his wonderfully stylized Duesenberg JN Convertible Coupe is a splendid exaggeration of the classic American roadster – sporting, sassy and absolutely grand in every sense.
Contributing to the overall impression of length is a dramatically raked windscreen, rear-fender spats and a full-length hood that stretches past the firewall, terminating at the trailing edge of the cowl. This marvelous lengthening effect is further accentuated by the use of “continental-style” dual rear spares, each enclosed in a metal cover, the effect of which is dramatic and unique to this car.
Gable also requested rectangular mesh hood sides, scooped and V’d hood ventilators, elegant single-bar bumpers and distinctive sun visors with a unique articulating hinge that allows for clean, uninterrupted storage. Other noteworthy additions include external exhaust pipes, painted radiator shell and headlights and a reworked convertible mechanism that gives the car a sleek, integrated look even when the top is raised.
Finished in a light, monochromatic color scheme and equipped with whitewall tires, Gable’s Convertible Coupe has a clean, modern appearance that is entirely unique.
As his Duesenberg was nearing completion, Gable was told to arrive at the Bohman & Schwartz workshop on a Friday to collect his freshly styled car. When he and Lombard arrived in the morning, they were informed that the car was not quite ready and that they could pick it up after lunch. Rather than dine on their own, the couple felt the circumstance warranted a celebration and returned to the coachbuilder with sandwiches and champagne for everyone. As the atmosphere became increasingly jovial and champagne was consumed steadily, it was soon clear that the car was not going to be completed by the end of the working day.
Gable assured them that this was not a problem and asked that the car be delivered to him at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. At this point Chris Bohman, then a student in college, volunteered to deliver the car to Gable, as his formal dance was being held at the hotel’s ballroom the following evening. On his way to Beverly Hills, Bohman collected his date in the one-off Duesenberg and upon his arrival at the Beverly Wilshire, Gable and Lombard came down to see the finished creation.
A few hours later, while Chris Bohman and his date were seated in the ballroom, the door opened and the whole room fell silent. Gable walked up to the young Bohman, thanked him for delivering the car and asked if he could join their table for dessert. Gable was particularly pleased, as Lombard had enjoyed the restyled Duesenberg as much as he did. After dessert had been served, the band started up and everyone returned to the dance floor. In classic style, Gable asked Bohman if he could have the first dance with his date and then proceeded to dance with every girl in the room.
Throughout the following year, Gable and Lombard enjoyed a romantic courtship and by 1937, the duo was so inseparable that they were cited in a Photoplay article as one of “Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives.” The situation was increasingly problematic for Gable, who was then competing for the role of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and did not need the additional notoriety. With the encouragement of MGM head Louis B. Mayer, Gable filed for divorce from Ria Langham.
Around this time, Gable’s Duesenberg was becoming a star in its own right. Featured in the Hal Roach comedy Merrily We Live, starring Brian Aherne and Constance Bennett, the striking JN Convertible Coupe was refinished in a darker color and further updated with bullet headlights for its big screen debut.
On March 29, 1939, as soon as he had a break from the production of Gone with the Wind, Gable and Lombard drove to Kingman, Arizona, and were married. The only other person in attendance was Otto Winkler, Gable’s press agent. Considered one of the happiest couples in movie land, they settled in an elaborately restored farmhouse in then-rural Encino, California, where they led a quiet, idyllic life.
In 1941, Gable and Lombard drove the Duesenberg up the West Coast to Vancouver, British Columbia, where they vacationed in the unspoiled scenery and watched the thoroughbreds run at Lansdowne racetrack. When their stay was finished, Gable left the Duesenberg in a garage at the track and he and Lombard returned to Los Angeles by train. Their plan was to return the following year, take the train up the coast, collect the car and return home. Sadly, this was not to be.
On January 16, 1942, Carole Lombard, along with her mother and Otto Winkler, boarded a TWA DC-3 to return to California following a successful war bond rally; 23 minutes after taking off from Las Vegas, Nevada, their plane crashed into Potosi Mountain, killing all 22 passengers aboard.
Gable and Lombard’s six-year romance – perhaps the greatest Tinseltown love story – ended in misery. No Hollywood writer would ever imagine such a tragic ending.
Following Lombard’s death, Gable was inconsolable and fell into a deep depression. On August 12, 1942, he joined the US Army Air Corps and trained to serve in aerial gunnery. During the war, he flew five combat missions, including one over Germany as an observer gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. According to legend, Gable was Hitler’s favorite actor; the leader of Germany offered a substantial reward to any person who could bring the star to him unscathed.
Even after his return to American soil, Gable remained deeply saddened by the loss of his wife. According to his friend David E. Jordan, Gable said that he could never bring himself to ride in the Duesenberg again without Lombard. It was the car that they had their first date in and it held too many painful memories for him to own it any longer.
Instructed by Gable to sell the car, Mr. Jordan travelled to Vancouver and had the track manager get the Duesenberg out of the garage. Freed after years of static storage, the car was tuned by a local mechanic and driven south to Los Angeles, where it was consigned to a local dealer – either Bob Roberts or Peter Satori – with orders to sell the car to someone outside California.
By the late 1940s, Gable’s Duesenberg ended up in the hands of Donald Ballard, a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose parents led the popular “I AM” religious movement in Los Angeles. During this period, Mr. Ballard owned another open Duesenberg – a Murphy Roadster equipped with a similarly raked windscreen. After some time, Mr. Ballard sold both Duesenbergs to S.P. Motors of Albuquerque, New Mexico, operated by Alta and Earl Sanders and James Palmer.
S.P. Motors specialized in Duesenberg motorcars and acquired at least seven Model Js throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. During this period, Sanders installed engine J-521 in the Gable Duesenberg, although the original, highly visible bell-housing number, J-560, has always remained intact.
In August 1951, G.W. Cleven of Albuquerque offered the Duesenberg for sale, asking $3,750. The car was eventually sold to professional wrestler Robert “Hans” Hermann, who paid $2,500 for the aging classic. Hermann, who was half of the successful and essentially unbeatable tag team with “Killer Kowalski,” won the NWA Pacific Coast Tag title in 1951.
From there, the Duesenberg was sold to Richard S. Luntz of Indianapolis, Indiana, who consigned it with Chicago, Illinois, Rolls-Royce and Duesenberg dealer “Honest John” Troka. In October 1953, Troka sold the Gable Duesenberg to Paul V. Colianni of Arlington, Illinois, who paid a record price of $4,500. By this time, the Duesenberg had been refinished in maroon and equipped with a single rear spare.
Although Mr. Colianni owned a lovely home, his single-car garage could not accommodate the imposing Duesenberg and it was instead displayed at Troka’s showroom before relocating to Joseph Kaufmann’s shop in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
In late 1973, Charles H. Johnson, Jr., a Ford dealer and Duesenberg collector, acquired the Gable Duesenberg after chasing it for many years. “It was a dirty old rusty brown,” Johnson recalled, “The front was off, the hood was off. But I want to tell you she was still gorgeous! I paid $75,000 for the car. It was a very fair price.”
Mr. Johnson treated the Duesenberg to its first comprehensive restoration and displayed it with great success, earning a string of ACD, AACA and CCCA awards throughout the late 1970s. For three months in 1979, the famed Duesenberg JN was exhibited at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Museum in Auburn, Indiana.
In May 1980, Jerome Sauls of Pennsylvania acquired the Duesenberg, only to sell it to P.A. Parviz of London, England, two years later. In January 1983, Tom W. Barrett, III discovered the Duesenberg in a Beverly Hills garage and bought the car from Mr. Parviz. From there, the Model JN joined the famed Behring Collection and was displayed as part of the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California. In 1995, Chairman Lee purchased the Duesenberg and it continued to remain a fixture at Blackhawk for the next decade.
In 2006, the current caretaker acquired the Gable Duesenberg and immediately set about returning the car to its original splendor. To conduct the restoration of this important automobile, the owner enlisted the services of Stone Barn Automobile Restorations in Vienna, New Jersey, a leading restorer specializing in the great coachbuilt American classics.
When it was unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2007, the magnificently restored JN Convertible Coupe justifiably earned a prestigious special award: the Gwenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible Trophy. A remarkable testament to the quality and accuracy of the restoration work, as well as the inherent significance of this car, the Gable Duesenberg has since taken Best of Show honors at two of the most prestigious concours venues – Amelia Island and Meadowbrook. Having been treated to attentive care in one of the world’s great classic car collections, the Duesenberg remains in show-quality condition inside and out.
Commissioned by the most recognizable actor of the 1930s, this one-of-a-kind JN Convertible Coupe possesses the unmistakable imprimatur of its original owner. Not only is the photo of Clark Gable posing with his stylish custom-built JN Convertible Coupe one of the most iconic images of a classic automobile, it is also integral to the fabric of popular culture.
The legacy of this car has powerful, lasting connections to the Golden Age of the American film industry, the art of custom coachbuilding and the pioneering years of car collecting. In its inspired origins and glamorous early history, it scales the heights of automotive folklore. Unique, dramatic and instantly recognizable, this legendary Duesenberg is arguably the most iconic example of all.
An exceptionally beautiful and important automobile, Clark Gable’s Duesenberg is to many the holy grail of American classics and possesses each and every quality that connoisseurs demand of a collectible object: impeccable presentation, extraordinary pedigree and the magnetic, show-stopping personality that defines a true Hollywood star. .”
Pros: Wonderful history, Clark Gable ownership, looks stunning, the meaning of handcrafted American Automotive art at its best.
Cons: Nothing really
4 – Mercedes Benz 540K Spezial Roadster 1936 #130949 My pick $14,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$11.77 mil.
540 K Special Roadster
Coachwork by Sindelfingen
CHASSIS NO. 130949
ENGINE NO. 130949
Kommission No. 221515
Estimate Available Upon Request
■The Ultimate 540 K – A High-Door, Long-Tail Special Roadster
■An Undisputed Masterwork of Automotive Art
■Special-Ordered with Unique Custom Features
■Captivating and Romantic History
■Exceptionally Documented Provenance
■Only Three Caretakers in 76 Years
■Extremely Authentic Matching-Numbers Example
■Pebble Beach Class-Winning Chris Charlton Restoration
■Faithfully Presented in Original, As-Delivered Appearance
5,401 CC Type M24 OHV Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Single Twin-Updraft Carburetor Roots-Type Twin-Lobe Supercharger
180 HP at 3,400 RPM (Supercharger Engaged)
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Vacuum-Assisted Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Front Double-Wishbone Suspension with Coil Springs
Independent Rear Swing-Axle Suspension with Coil SpringsThis Car
Baroness Gisela von Krieger, the only daughter of an aristocratic German family, was renowned for her exquisite beauty, glamorous lifestyle and impeccable fashion sense.
After moving to Paris in 1933, Baroness von Krieger became the darling of European society. In her twenties, the refined socialite lived at the grandest Parisian hotels, was voted one of the “10 Best Dressed Women in the World” and attended the coronation of King George VI. Pursued by countless admirers, the baroness proved an elusive target. One desperate suitor even jumped from his plane over the English Channel when she refused his hand in marriage.
The 540 K Special Roadster presented here, one of the ultra-desirable high-door, long-tail variants, is a masterpiece of automotive design and the finest Mercedes-Benz of the Classic Era.
Ordered by Josephine von Krieger as a graduation present for her 19-year-old son Henning, the Special Roadster represents a dramatic expression of wealth and power. Finished in black with pigskin upholstery, the 540 K was custom tailored with exceptional details, including an expensive Telefunken radio, unique interior appointments and the family crest hand painted on the driver’s door.
When Henning von Krieger was forced to return to Germany at the outbreak of WWII, Baroness von Krieger immediately assumed control of her brother’s supercharged Mercedes- Benz. After serving as the baroness’s preferred mode of transportation throughout her years of hiding in neutral Switzerland, the Special Roadster accompanied the family when they moved to New York City, and later to Greenwich, Connecticut. Carefully hidden away in an unas- suming garage for more than four decades, the Special Roadster remained Gisela von Krieger’s prized possession until her death in 1989.
In the care of its current owner, the von Krieger Special Roadster has been restored to its former splendor and has received a prestigious First in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Faithfully presented in its original black livery, the von Krieger Special Roadster appears just as it would have in 1936.
A credit to its romantic provenance, unquestioned authenticity and remarkable documentation, the von Krieger Special Roadster is one of the most alluring and historically significant Mercedes-Benz.
Those interested in a more complete history of Baroness Gisela von Krieger and her mesmerizing 540 K should refer to the von Krieger Special Roadster supplement (below).
The Supercharged Mercedes-Benz: Design and Development of the Legendary Kompressor (1924-1943)
“”The noise of a Mercedes blower is, to the occupants of the car, bloodcurdling and diabolic. Nothing approaching it has ever been ftted to a sports-car. After the frst terrifying bursts of boost have been attempted and it is found that the engine does not blow up, the experience becomes extremely exhilarating. The noise rises like an air-raid siren and becomes quite as demented as a pack of Irish banshees. One literally feels the seat pushing one in the back and the wheelspin on a greasy or wet road can produce a complete volte face.” – R.H. Johnson, Motor Sport, 1952
Of all the signifcant automobiles produced by Mercedes-Benz, the supercharged sports and racing cars built between the frst and second World Wars have assumed an iconic status. The development of the supercharger, or Kompressor, was one of the great achievements of Daimler-Benz and proved instrumental to the success of the frm’s racing programs and production models. The remarkable performance of Mercedes-Benz racing cars in the late 1920s inspired leading sports car manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Bugatti, Duesenberg and Stutz to design their own supercharged models. As a result, supercharged sports cars of the 1920s and 1930s represent the pinnacle of automobile production in the pre-World War II era.
The history of the supercharged Mercedes-Benz can be traced back to the early 1920s, when international automobile racing began again following the ravages of World War I. During this period, as in the earliest days of motor sport, racing car formulas were far from standardized and were subject to frequent alterations.
In 1922, after countless studies and experimentation, Daimler engineers perfected a supercharger – effectively boosting the output of the 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine from 25 hp to 40 hp. When this technology was applied to the well-established 28/95 hp engine, the result was a class win at the 1922 Targa Florio.
When supercharged Mercedes models frst appeared, the exhaust pipes were relocated and exited the engine compartment through the right side of the hood in an attempt to dissipate heat. Over the years, this feature would become the signature of the supercharged Mercedes-Benz.
When Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. merged in 1926, the combined engineering staffs focused their efforts on a new sporting model. The frst supercharged Mercedes-Benz – the Model K – featured a six-cylinder engine of 160 hp. The following year, under the direction of Max Wagner and Ferdinand Porsche, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the substantially revised S Model. With its low-slung chassis, long hood, gleaming side pipes and slanted rear spares, the S defned the essential characteristics of future supercharged models. In its debut race at the new Nürburgring circuit, Rudi Caracciola drove an S to victory, much to the excitement of 500,000 German spectators.
In 1928, Mercedes-Benz introduced the more refined SS, which found success on the track and perhaps more importantly in the showroom.
The S and SS were among the fnest automobiles of their day and attracted the interest of the most distinguished motorists. Royalty, movie stars and captains of industry focked to upscale Mercedes-Benz, whose howling supercharger and ferce acceleration offered the exhilaration of a Grand Prix car. Although Mercedes-Benz offered simple, practical body styles for the S and SS, Europe’s fnest coachbuilders – Erdmann & Rossi, Saoutchik, Castagna and Millon-Guillet – tailored stylish custom bodies that transformed the world-beating sports cars into luxurious touring cars.
As the SS became a favorite of well-heeled motorists, Mercedes-Benz continued refning its supercharged model. The development reached its peak with the lightweight 300 hp SSKL. The SSKL dominated international motor racing in 1931, winning the Mille Miglia, the German Grand Prix and the European Hillclimb Championship.
When the evolution of the S model ran its course in the early 1930s, Mercedes-Benz turned its attention to the new 750-Kilogram Formula, which was to become the offcial standard of Grand Prix racing for 1934. Facing competition from the new German conglomerate Auto Union, Daimler-Benz launched a dedicated Grand Prix program in the interest of maintaining its status at the top of German motor sports.
This independent organization within the larger Daimler-Benz apparatus developed the W 25 for the 1934 season. In its ultimate variation, the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix car featured a four-litre, twin-cam, eight-cylinder engine with a Roots-type supercharger. With over 400 hp, fully independent suspension and streamlined bodywork, the W 25 won four of the 10 events entered in 1934.
Between 1934 and 1937, Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix cars evolved from the original W 25 of 1934 to the W 125 and as the supercharged racers went from 400 hp to 645 hp and top speeds climbed past 200 mph, Mercedes- Benz began implementing the newfound technology in its road cars.
In March 1934, at the International Automobile and Motorcycle Exhibition in Berlin, Mercedes-Benz introduced the 500 K. Two years later, this model was succeeded by the fabulous 540 K.
Built in extremely limited numbers – approximately 400 chassis in all – the 540 Ks were almost exclusively clothed in elegant, individually styled bodies designed by Sindelfngen, the offcial karosserie of Daimler-Benz. Whereas the sporting models of the late 1920s and early 1930s featured an overhead- camshaft six-cylinder engine, the 540 K utilized a 5.4-litre eight-cylinder engine with pushrod-operated overhead valves. With the supercharger engaged, this smooth, exceptionally well-built engine delivered 180 hp, giving the luxury car a conservative top speed of 105 mph.
In 1937, the infuential British publication Motor Sport performed a road test of the new 540 K and remarked that, “as a piece of engineering, it stands unsurpassed. It is amongst the most luxurious, as well as the fastest, touring cars in the world.” Countless others arrived at a similar conclusion.
Throughout the late 1930s, supercharged Mercedes-Benz road and racing cars continued to advance at a rapid pace, reaching their respective height with the 770 K Grosser and the W 163 Grand Prix car. With automobile development fueled by the Nazi government, Daimler-Benz maintained its position of dominance until Allied bombing began in 1943.
Hermann Ahrens and the Special Roadster: Sindelfngen’s Visionary Designer Oversees the Creation of an Automotive Icon (1934 –1938)
Despite his profound infuence and signifcant role in the history of automotive design, Hermann Ahrens has received little appreciation for his extraordinary achievements.
In the early 1930s, Daimler-Benz was exploring a variety of methods to further distance its most exclusive offerings from those of its nearest competitors, Horch and Maybach. While it was clear that Mercedes- Benz built the fnest chassis and enjoyed the visibility of a successful racing program, infuential fgures in the company believed that the marque’s already prestigious image could be further enhanced through aesthetic brilliance.
As a result, an extensive search was undertaken with the aim of hiring an individual who could successfully guide the overall design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz automobiles in the coming decade. After much consideration, Daimler-Benz arrived at Hermann Ahrens, a versatile designer whose recent work for Horch had been met with great acclaim.
In September 1932, Ahrens left Horch to join Daimler-Benz, where he was made the head of Sindelfngen’s prestigious Sonderwagen Division. In his broad organizational and executive capacities, Ahrens oversaw the design and construction of all limited-production Sindelfngen coachwork throughout the decade.
Armed with the talents of stylists such as Friedrich Geiger and Walter Häcker, Sindelfngen produced some of the most striking automotive designs ever realized. In fact, throughout the 1930s Mercedes-Benz’ in- house karosserie was so successful that outside coachbuilders had few opportunities to compete.
Of the various body styles Sindelfngen fashioned for the supercharged 500 K and 540 K chassis, the sensational Special Roadsters stood out as the undisputed stars. The very essence of automotive artistry, these rolling sculptures were exceptional in every respect and, in their baroque details and daring proportions, maintained the traditional elements that defned sporting Mercedes-Benz.
Splendid two-seat roadster bodies were offered on the 380 chassis, but the frst Special Roadsters recognized as such appeared shortly after the introduction of the 500 K. Between 1934 and 1938, the Special Roadster was produced in three distinct variations, along with the occasional one-off.
The first series of Special Roadster, now known by its colloquial “low-door” moniker, is a lovely design that set the tone for future variants. With fowing fenders, a V’d windscreen, rear-hinged doors and exposed rear spares, the early 500 K Special Roadster possesses real fair and forgoes luxury amenities such as wind-up windows.
From there, Sindelfngen transitioned into the second series – the iconic, “high-door, long-tail” Special Roadster. A sensational showstopper, this Special Roadster variant was introduced late in the 500 K production run and remained the standard well into 540 K production. Widely considered one of the all-time great automobile designs, these elegant Special Roadsters are ornately decorated, and yet each and every element, from the chrome fender trim to the cowl-mounted spot lamps, is perfectly integrated into the overall design.
The sweeping front wings run in a fowing line down to the rear wheels and over the fender without a break; the pointed radiator sits more than
a foot behind the leading edge of the front fender; and the fantastically long hood extends past the center of the car, hinting at the power of the supercharged eight-cylinder engine that lies beneath. In short, with the stunning second series Special Roadster, Mercedes-Benz had reached the zenith of pre-war styling.
Toward the end of 540 K production, the third Special Roadster variant was introduced. Often referred to as “the not-so-special roadster,” this later design is not as daring as its predecessors, yet exudes a dignifed manner and restrained elegance nonetheless.
Today, the magnifcent Mercedes-Benz Special Roadsters remain the standard by which all other pre-war classics are judged and serve as a proud testament to the vision and creativity of Hermann Ahrens.
The von Krieger Family: The Last Vestiges of German Aristocracy
Baron Benno Julius Leopold von Krieger (1880–1960)
Baroness Inès Josephine Claasen Wilfert von Krieger (1884–1951)
Baron Benno Julius Leopold von Krieger was among the last generation of Junkers, Prussian and Eastern German nobility who maintained a powerful infuence on politics and society through the early 20th century. His wife, Baroness Inès Josephine Claasen Wilfert von Krieger – born on November 3, 1884, in Cologne – was herself a scion of German aristocracy.
After settling in an upscale suburb of Berlin, the von Kriegers reared two children – Gisela and Henning – and thrived in the Golden Era of the Weimar Republic. Wealthy, sophisticated and worldly, the von Kriegers were members of a truly elite circle.
In 1931, as economic and social turmoil took further hold on Germany, Benno and Josephine von Krieger fled for divorce. Following a favorable settlement, Josephine and the children moved to Paris, while Benno remained in Germany.
Shrewd and cunning, Josephine used her high-society connections to support the family and develop a lucrative real estate business, brokering exclusive estates to a well-heeled clientele. For the remainder of the 1930s, the von Kriegers enjoyed a glamorous continental lifestyle, flled with the poshest residences, the latest fashions and the most important social functions. During the Summer months, the family vacationed on the French Riviera and made frequent trips to London. The von Krieger children each had their own Mercedes-Benz 540 K and Josephine drove a striking Franay- bodied Packard Cabriolet as well as a lovely Rolls-Royce Phantom II.
When Germany invaded Poland in Autumn 1939, the halcyon existence of the von Krieger family was painfully disrupted. As prominent members of German aristocracy, they were treated with suspicion by the French government and placed in an internment camp. Although Henning was forced to return to Germany, Josephine and Gisela managed an escape to neutral Monaco and, from there, on to Switzerland. After the war, Henning joined the family in Switzerland and, in 1949, the von Kriegers relocated to the United States, settling in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Josephine von Krieger fell ill soon after the family’s departure to the United States and, in March 1951, returned to Europe. On December 13, 1951, she died in Lausanne, Switzerland. Benno von Krieger – who seemingly maintained little connection to the family following the divorce – outlived both his wife and son and passed away in 1960.
Henning von Krieger: An Automobile Enthusiast with Exceptional Taste (1917–1959)
Born on April 8, 1917, in Hanau am Main, Kurt Henning Friederich Joseph von Krieger was born into a world of extravagant privilege. Unlike his conservative father, Henning was an outgoing and famboyant
young man who enjoyed travel, parties and, above all, sporting automobiles. Using his family’s ample means, Henning gained access to the fnest German sports cars of the era and owned a number of fascinating examples.
When he reached driving age, Henning was given the family’s Mercedes-Benz SS. The spectacular looks and supercharged performance of the SS left an indelible impression on Henning and, after a few years, he sought out a worthy successor.
In 1936, Henning acquired his frst new car – a black 540 K Special Roadster. After taking delivery in Berlin, Henning drove the supercharged Mercedes-Benz until the outbreak of World War II, when he sent it to Switzerland for safekeeping.
Although Benno von Krieger held a noble rank in the First World War and encouraged his son to maintain the family’s military traditions, Henning did not believe in the cause, having witnessed the rise of the Third Reich from afar. Nevertheless, Henning was forced to return to Germany and serve as a corporal in the Luftwaffe.
With his beloved Special Roadster in Switzerland, Henning purchased a BMW 327 Cabriolet, which he drove for the remainder of the war years. In 1944 or 1945, Henning was captured by Allied forces and kept in a United States-occupied-zone P.O.W. camp. Following his release, Henning retrieved his BMW and joined Josephine and Gisela in Switzerland.
After moving to the United States, Henning purchased a 1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan, one of the most expensive American luxury cars available at the time. Throughout the 1950s, he lived in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut, occasionally returning to Europe for extended stays.
In 1958, just when it seemed as though the von Kriegers’ struggles had passed, Henning was diagnosed with melanoma. Believing that European physicians were superior to their American counterparts, he returned to Switzerland for treatment. Unfortunately, his efforts were for naught. In January 1959, Henning von Krieger died at the age of 42 in Zürich, Switzerland.
Pros: Good looking, all there, superb history, interesting stories (All good)
Cons: Teutonic ?
#5 – Ferrari 857S 1955 #9588M US$5 mil. + My pick $7,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$6.27 mil.
1955 Ferrari 857 Sport
Coachwork by Scaglietti
CHASSIS NO. 0588 M
ENGINE NO. 0588
$5,000,000 – $7,000,000
■One-Off Scaglietti Coachwork with Distinctive Fin
■The Fourth of Just Four 857 Sports Produced
■A Matching-Numbers, Original-Bodied Competition Ferrari
■Multiple Podium Finishes in 1956 with Carroll Shelby and Jack McAfee
■Additionally Driven by Olivier Gendebien, Richie Ginther, Masten Gregory and Others
■Recent Recipient of an Exacting Restoration by DK Engineering
■A Highly Regarded Big-Displacement Four-Cylinder
■An Extremely Significant and Historical Ferrari
■Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini
3,421 CC DOHC Lampredi Tipo 129 4-Cylinder Engine
Twin Weber 58 DCO/A3 Carburetors
290 BHP at 5,800 RPM
5-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
Independent Front Suspension with Double Wishbones and Coil Springs
De Dion Rear Axle with Transverse Leaf SpringThis Car
In 1954 Ferrari proved victorious, taking home the World Sportscar Championship with their Lampredi-designed four-cylinder engine. The two-liter 500 Mondial and the three-liter 750 Monza were dynamic sports cars, but Ferrari knew there was room for improvement. For 1955, Ferrari sought to replicate the previous season’s success, and the 500 Mondial was quickly replaced with the 500 TR. The 750 Monza was still used in the 1955 racing season while development began on larger displacement variants.
1955 saw a significant new contender enter the championship by way of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. For Ferrari, betterment of the 750 Monza was now a necessity. Interestingly enough, Ferrari experimented with a six-cylinder powerplant that was run in the 118 LM and 121 LM, but neither chassis could compete with the Mercedes-Benz. Ferrari significantly modified the 750 Monza chassis and fitted the newly enlarged Lampredi four-cylinder, boasting 3.5-liter capacity and an increase of some 30 hp. The result was the 857 Sport.
The 857 S debuted at the RAC Tourist Trophy in Ireland, and Scuderia Ferrari entered three new works 857s to compete with Mercedes-Benz. Included in the lineup was chassis 0588 M, the last of the four 857 Sports built. On September 14th, Ferrari’s new team driver Olivier Gendebien entered the circuit in 0588 M and unfortunately shunted the Ferrari before the end of practice. Having entered a banking, Gendebien proceeded to roll over the 857 S, damaging the car’s bodywork and putting himself in the hospital with an injured arm. Maurice Trintignant and Umberto Maglioli were scheduled to race 0588 M, but instead were given another of the two remaining cars.
Days later, chassis 0588 M was returned to Carrozzeria Scaglietti in Modena, Italy, for repairs. During the repairs Scaglietti fitted a tail fin to the headrest in Jaguar D-Type fashion, giving the car a distinctive appearance unlike any other Monza. From October 1955 through January 1956, factory records indicate the rebuilding of the car’s major mechanical components prior to a final completion on January 31st. As with many of the ex-Scuderia Ferrari cars, 0588 M was sold to the US to partake in the country’s flourishing sports car racing scene.
John Edgar of Hollywood, California – one of the more involved individuals in the racing scene – had amassed a team of significant Ferraris, including a 275 Sport Barchetta, a 340 America and the former Le Mans-winning 375 MM Plus. Edgar, however, was locked in a West Coast battle with Tony Parravano and his fleet of Ferraris. After seeing Phil Hill’s win for Ferrari in the 3.5-liter 857 S in Nassau and Alfonso de Portago’s similar performance in a 750 Monza, Edgar decided a big-displacement four-cylinder was exactly what he needed.
The order was placed with Luigi Chinetti for the newest Monza, which Edgar no doubt expected to be an 860. However, when the car arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on February 18, 1956, Edgar was disappointed to find that it was an 857 S. At a cost of $17,500 it was simply last year’s Monza. Despite the confusion, it was just a week before the Palm Springs Road Races and the car needed to be prepped. Jack McAfee, Edgar’s driver, brought the car to his shop where work was completed, including the quick repair of some minor cosmetic damage from transport.
On February 26th, the team headed to Palm Springs, California, with the car, where local news touted it as “the mystery Ferrari.” On the starting grid, McAfee sat poised in his new mount across from Carroll Shelby in Scuderia Parravano’s 410 S. Quickly after the start the two Ferraris pulled past a D-Type to take the lead, but McAfee could not keep up with Shelby on the Palm Springs circuit. Regardless, the 857 Sport’s first competitive outing brought the car a commendable 2nd overall.
Several weeks later at the Stockton Road Races, McAfee piloted the 3.5-liter Ferrari to a 1st overall victory over another D-Type and John von Neumann in his Monza. With the finned Ferrari gaining popularity throughout California, fans were delighted to see the car lined up that April for the 7th Annual Pebble Beach Road Races. The grid included a full mix of four- and six-cylinder Ferraris in the hands of Hill, Shelby and Ernie McAfee. Unfortunately for Ernie McAfee, it would be his last race and as a result of his death, the last year of road races at Pebble Beach. Despite the dark air that day, Jack McAfee took the 857 Sport to a 3rd overall.
Looking to campaign Equip Edgar on the East Coast that Summer, the 857 S was entered in the race at Cumberland. Unfortunately, the car failed to start, having dropped a valve in practice. From there, Jack McAfee took the car to 6th place at Eagle Mountain Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas, but at Road America, on June 24th, McAfee failed to finish. In July, McAfee managed a 5th overall at the race at Beverly, prior to the car’s return to the West Coast. For the SCCA Nationals Seafair Road Races outside of Seattle, Edgar entrusted Masten Gregory to pilot the 857, although gearbox trouble ended the race.
The 857 Sport was quickly flown to New York in order to fix the gearbox prior to the race at Montgomery on August 19th. McAfee had enjoyed continued success in the Porsche 550, and by now Carroll Shelby had come to join the team. For the New York race, Shelby would pilot the 857 for the first time, with fantastic results. In race four, he won outright, and repeated the result in race nine ahead of a Maserati 300S and three Cunningham D-Types.
At Thompson Raceway the following month, Shelby ended up in the dirt after the Ferrari’s brakes failed. Back in the hands of McAfee that November, the car came in 5th overall at the 1st Annual Palm Springs National Championship Races. In December, the car made its way to Nassau, Bahamas, with the team, but never saw any action. At Pomona in January 1957, Shelby once again drove chassis 0588 M, but without success. The car had served the team well in the 1956 season, and Edgar subsequently sold it to Stan Sugarman of Scottsdale, Arizona.
In April, McAfee borrowed the Ferrari from Mr. Sugarman to compete in the 2nd Annual Palm Springs National Championship Races where he took 4th place. Jim Connor piloted the car to 1st place in the novice race in Salt Lake City, Utah, that June, and after a handful of other starts the car was back in the hands of McAfee in Palm Springs. The duo took 4th and then 5th in the main event. Later that month, Richie Ginther finished 3rd in prelims and 4th in the main event at the inaugural race at Laguna Seca.
A few more outings over the next year brought an 8th overall at Riverside and a 3rd overall in Palm Springs, but by 1958 Mr. Sugarman knew he had an old race car. During the late 1950s, the car found its way to Texas, and by, 1962 James E. Hall facilitated the purchase of 0588 M by Oscar Koveleski of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Koveleski fitted a Corvette V-8 engine and over the next three years went racing. In 13 recorded outings, Koveleski brought home at least four podium finishes including two 1st in Class results from small northeast events.
Chassis 0588 M was subsequently painted yellow with black wheels and a black grille. In 1966, the 857 Sport was sold to world-famous artist Andy Warhol. An unusual owner for an old racing Ferrari, Warhol wanted to make a parody of the film The Yellow Rolls-Royce. For whatever reason, the film was not produced and the Ferrari was said to be driven by Warhol’s then-agent around the streets of New York.
The car eventually passed to Tiny Gould, still finished in yellow and black, prior to its return to Italy. In the early 1970s, Christopher Renwick sold the car to Luigi P. Rezzonico Castelbarco of Imbersago, Italy, more commonly known as “Count Bobily.” During Count Bobily’s ownership the 857 S appeared at the 1973 Le Mans Historics driven by Corrado Cupellini. By 1982, a Los Angeles, California attorney was offering the motor and transaxle of a so-called “Super Monza” out of Australia. After an inspection of the components the engine was found to be 0588, the original 3.5-liter four-cylinder motor to the 857 Sport 0588 M. After some negotiation, the engine and transaxle were sold to David Cottingham of DK Engineering in the UK.
The car was next owned by Cupellini and was offered for sale in August 1997 with a 250 GT 12-cylinder engine. The 857 S was quickly bought by noted French Ferrari collector Jean-Claude Bajol. M. Bajol used his cars frequently, and 0588 M was no exception. After 13 years of ownership, the Ferrari was sold to Mr. Cottingham who had persistently tried to buy the car, intending to restore and reunite it with its original engine.
In 2011, the 857 S was disassembled and inspected prior to a comprehensive restoration by DK Engineering. The body was found to be exceptionally original and was painstakingly restored. The original engine and gearbox were rebuilt and subsequently reunited with the chassis. Any missing components were properly sourced and correctly installed. With the help of Will Edgar, John’s son, the restoration was fully researched and documented throughout to ensure the accuracy of the work conducted. By September 2011, the 857 S was returned to its John Edgar livery and ready to race at the Goodwood Revival, where the car’s thumping big-displacement four-cylinder engine made exciting work of the English circuit. The car was on pole by three seconds and only narrowly missed the win. Furthermore, 0588 M has been invited to this year’s Goodwood Revival, should a successful purchaser wish to compete.
Today, in superb mechanical and cosmetic order, the 857 S represents a supremely finished example of a very significant and pure four-cylinder Ferrari. Having started life as a Scuderia Ferrari works car, the subsequent race record in the ownership of John Edgar marks a successful spell in the hands of both Jack McAfee and Carroll Shelby. Additionally owned by Oscar Koveleski, Andy Warhol and Jean-Claude Bajol, chassis 0588 M is certainly a unique example.
Thought to be one of the best balanced 1950s sports racing Ferraris, this particular car is one of just four 857 Sports produced. Furthermore, 0588 M boasts gorgeous, one-off Scaglietti coachwork that remains exceptionally original. As a matching-numbers example with extraordinary history, this is quite possibly the best 857 in existence and one of the most important four-cylinder cars. Well documented, beautifully restored and highly desirable, this is unquestionably a very significant Ferrari. .
Pros: Great looking car, good history, THE restoration, all there
Cons: A bit too curvy?
#6 – Duesenberg Model J 1929 Derham Dual Cowl Phaeton #2292/J270 US$2.0 mil. + My pick US$4 million SOLD @ US$1.98 mil.
From the William A.C. Pettit III Collection, Formerly the Property of Franklin d’Olier Jr. and Rudolph Bauer1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton “”Blue J””
Coachwork by LeBaron, Updated by Derham
CHASSIS NO. 2292
ENGINE NO. J-270
*Please note that this car is titled 2292C.
$2,000,000 – $2,750,000
■One of The Finest Unrestored Model Js in Existence
■Wonderful, Rich History with Fascinating Provenance
■Exceptional Character and Patina
■Distinctive Styling with Singular Features and Design Elements
■Unusually Genuine Model J with Original Chassis, Engine and Bodywork
■Former ACD and AACA Award Winner
■An Important Part of the Pettit Collection for Nearly 60 Years
■Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Discerning Collectors
420 CID DOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Single Downdraft Carburetor
265 HP at 4,200 RPM
3-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Live-Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs and Double-Acting Hydraulic-Lever Shock AbsorbersThis Car
Of the many wonderful automobiles owned by William A.C. Pettit III, this exceptional Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton stands as the crowning achievement of six decades of car collecting.
The story of this fabulous Duesenberg begins on September 19, 1929, when New York City resident W.H. Brown, Jr. collected his brand-new Model J. The car he received – chassis 2217 with engine J-197 – was fitted with this LeBaron “Sweep-Panel” Dual Cowl Phaeton body.
Less than two months after taking delivery, Mr. Brown’s Model J was involved in an accident and returned to Duesenberg for repairs. As the chassis was badly damaged, Duesenberg removed the LeBaron body, refinished it as required and placed it on a brand-new chassis, 2292, with engine number J-270. By the end of November 1929, Mr. Brown received, in essence, a brand-new Duesenberg.
Between late 1933 and early 1934, Mr. Brown returned J-270 to the New York factory branch for resale. On January 25, 1934, the Model J was sold to Jean Cattier, a Belgian banker who moved to New York in 1926. The son of famed financier and law professor Félicien Cattier, Mr. Cattier was a partner and president of White, Weld & Company, the prestigious investment bank, and served as a consultant to several European financial institutions. During Mr. Cattier’s ownership, it is believed that the Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton was shipped to Belgium and used to tour the continent before returning stateside.
In August 1935, J-270 appeared for sale at Hilton Motors, a used car dealership in Brooklyn, New York, that regularly sold luxury cars such as Cadillacs, Pierce-Arrows and Duesenbergs. It did not take long for the Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton to find an appreciative new home.
That September, Franklin d’Olier, Jr. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, purchased J-270 upon the advice of Shirley D. Mitchell, service manager of the New York factory branch. After Mitchell repaired and repainted the Duesenberg during the Winter months, Mr. and Mrs. d’Olier spent the Summer of 1936 touring the country, accruing some 20,000 miles on their journey.
In 1937, Mr. d’Olier commissioned Derham Custom Body Co. of Rosemont to update the original LeBaron coachwork with more modern, streamlined features. In keeping with contemporary trends, J-270 received skirted fenders, drop-center wheels, bullet headlights, external exhaust pipes and a Ford three- spoke “banjo” steering wheel. Derham’s most notable addition, a dramatically raked and V’d windscreen complete with distinctive tear drop- style wind wings, contribute to a sensational profile and rakish top line.
After this work was completed, J-270 was sent back to Mitchell, who rebuilt the engine and fabricated a new intake manifold that allowed the use of twin-downdraft Winfield carburetors.
In a letter written to Duesenberg historian J.L. Elbert, Mr. d’Olier recalls his many pleasurable years with the Model J.
“Mrs. d’Olier and I spent many, many enjoyable hours in the Duesenberg and I never hope to own a more perfect car. While maintenance and service were unusually expensive, I still believe the cost per mile for 100,000 miles was actually fairly reasonable. Due to the remarkable ability of Shirley Mitchell, I never experienced any breakdown on the road and the car was always in perfect running condition…I sold [the] car in winter of 1940, having covered over 100,000 miles in four years, in order to purchase a supercharged Cord… Big mistake”.
Although T. Chalfield Taylor purchased the Duesenberg from Mr. d’Olier, Mitchell reacquired the car less than a year later after it was found abandoned in Delaware. After returning to New York, J-270 was refurbished as needed and prepared for its next owner.
In 1941, the Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton was sold to Alexander Georg Rudolf Bauer, an eccentric German artist who maintained a particular fondness for Model J Duesenbergs. A strange and colorful individual, Bauer’s personal history and unique association with J-270 are worthy of more than just a passing mention.
Bauer was a painter born in Lindenwald, Germany, in 1889. Raised in Berlin, Bauer made his reputation as a caricaturist and later explored a series of modern movements including Impressionism and Cubism. In 1912, at the Galerie Der Sturm, Bauer was first exposed to the works of Wassily Kandinsky. He was clearly moved by the abstract expressionist paintings and they influenced him to further develop his own unique style, which he ultimately referred to as “Futuristic Art of Non-Objectivity.”
Bauer was soon recognized for his vibrant abstract paintings and his works were shown alongside masters such as Kandinsky and Paul Klee. By the 1920s, Bauer had achieved international recognition and his paintings attracted the attention of famed collector Solomon R. Guggenheim.
In 1930, on the advice of Bauer’s lover, friend, critic and fellow artist Baroness Hilla Rebay, Guggenheim traveled to Germany to meet both Bauer and Kandinsky. Impressed by Bauer’s latest paintings, Mr. Guggenheim purchased several pieces and supported the artist with a generous stipend. The new source of income helped Bauer produce new works and allowed him to open his own museum, Das Geistreich, meaning the “Realm of the Spirit.”
Not only was Bauer an artist of varied talents, he was also an automobile enthusiast. Having achieved some success and security, Bauer eventually directed his resources toward the purchase of a new automobile. Strange as it may seem, the avant-garde German artist was attracted to the Indiana-made Duesenberg Model J, one of the most expensive, flamboyant and powerful automobiles of its era. In a letter to Mr. Elbert, Bauer describes how he came to admire the mighty Model J.
“After many trial-trips with cars like the Mercedes-Benz, Austro-Daimler, Maybach, Horch, Rolls-Royce, Bugatti, Isotta Fraschini, Hispano-Suiza, Cadillac, Packard, Lincoln, and after a driving competition in a Duesenberg with a Mercedes SS-Kompressor at the Avus in 1936, I finally chose Duesenberg and placed early in 1937 an order for a supercharged-chassis, which materialized with some delay because of the scarcity of superchargers, one year later.”
Bauer intended for the long-wheelbase SJ chassis to be supplied to famed Berlin coachbuilder Erdmann & Rossi so that he could oversee the construction of his very own, custom-designed coachwork. However, before the chassis was even completed, a series of complications placed Bauer’s Duesenberg project on hold.
Around the time that Bauer placed his order for the Duesenberg SJ, his paintings were included in the notorious Nazi-organized Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich. After he refused to leave the country, Bauer was arrested and charged with creating “degenerate” art and speculating on the black market (i.e., selling his illegal paintings). For several months Bauer was held in a Gestapo prison while Rebay and Guggenheim worked to free him. In August 1938, Bauer was released unconditionally and, in July 1939, he moved to the US. Bauer lived with Rebay for several months until Guggenheim put him up in a mansion in Deal, New Jersey.
Soon after his arrival in the US, Bauer collected his long-awaited SJ, chassis J-397, which had been wrapped in burlap and Cosmoline since it was completed in 1938. After designing the body and supervising the construction of the fully convertible, all-weather cabriolet at Rollson, Inc. in New York, Bauer took delivery of his custom-made Duesenberg in April 1940. Not only did the Duesenberg take three years and $20,000 to complete, it was seen as a major distraction from his artistic development.
Rebay believed that Bauer’s obsession with Duesenbergs compromised his paintings and wrote to him in a letter, “One who throws the best paintings away for motor cars, as you have done, should be on his knees if someone else succeeded in spite of such foolishness.”
Nevertheless, Bauer pursued his automotive fantasies and, before the end of 1941, acquired two additional Duesenbergs: J-436, a La Grande Dual Cowl Phaeton; and J-270, which he described as “blue-green in racing style with special pistons.” When Bauer passed away in November 1953, his remarkable Duesenberg collection fell into the care of his widow, whom he had married in 1944 following the deterioration of his relationship with Rebay.
In Summer 1954, the Pettit family attended the CCCA Grand Classic in New Brunswick, New Jersey. While Mr. Pettit was standing beside his Rollston-bodied Packard Town Car, an onlooker observed, “This is a Rollston body, isn’t it? I know where there is a Duesenberg with a Rollston body and there is a Dual Cowl Phaeton Duesenberg on either side of it.”
Intrigued, Mr. Pettit inquired further and was introduced to Mrs. Bauer. That evening, the Pettit family joined Mrs. Bauer at dinner and spent the following morning touring the mansion. Mr. Pettit recalled that the north wing was decorated for Mrs. Bauer and was finished in white with gold furniture and carpeting; the south wing, decorated for Mr. Bauer, was black with black carpeting and featured an ebony concert grand piano. Once the tour was complete, the family was taken outside to see the garage. Mr. Pettit recalled, “The suspense leading up to the opening of the garage doors was torture. The first sight of those cars was an event the like of which I have never experienced before or since. It was perhaps more awesome in 1954 than it would be today.”
A year later, the Pettits were able to negotiate the purchase of the three Bauer Duesenbergs – J-270, J-397 and J-436 – reportedly paying $7,000 for the entire collection.
For almost six decades, J-270 has been an integral part of the Pettit Collection and, over the years, gained the charming moniker “Blue J.” While the two other Bauer Duesenbergs saw only occasional use and were sold years ago, J-270 has remained Mr. Pettit’s favorite automobile. It is
not difficult to see why.
Although more than 80 years have passed since it left the factory, J-270 has remained in continuous use and has never warranted a full restoration. Simply serviced and maintained as required, the Model J wears its great age with pride.
The original LeBaron body, finished in its distinctive two-tone blue livery, has an irreplaceable, glorious patina with sections of rubbed-through paint on the fenders, old oil- service stickers in the doorjamb and a three- gallon “A” gas ration sticker from WWII on the passenger wind wing. The interior is similarly presented, with original upholstery protected under light canvas covers and a St. Christopher medallion affixed to the dashboard.
A reminder of its long and fascinating journey, Blue J is offered with Marchal Trilux headlamps (presumably installed by Mr. Cattier); the special intake Winfield carburetor, installed by Mitchell; and a set of personalized “RB” license plates, created by Rudolf Bauer for use on his Duesenbergs. Not only have these components been with the car for decades, they are tangible evidence of its continuous evolution and distinguished chain of ownership.
Appreciated and coveted by enthusiasts all over the world, Blue J is, without a doubt, one of the most charismatic Duesenbergs in existence. With a rich history, exceptional provenance and a deeply individualistic style, J-270 is one of the most impressive unrestored American classics that Gooding & Company has ever had the pleasure to offer.
Having resided in the care of just two owners since 1941, the appearance of this Duesenberg at auction may well be the chance of a lifetime. For the next caretaker, this opportunity ought to hold the same promise and excitement as the moment that Mr. Pettit opened Rudolf Bauer’s garage and first laid eyes on Blue J.
Pros: An unrestored superb Model J, would make an excellent addition to any collection. And is kind of a blank canvas to do your own restoration to it. Or better still keep it unrestored and drive it.
Cons: Not much, superb Duesenberg
#7 – Bugatti Type 55 1932 Billeter & Cartier Roadster #55-206 US$5 mil. + My pick $7,000,000.00 NOT SOLD @ US$4.5 mil.
Formerly the Property of Dr. Jacques Kocher1932 Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet
Coachwork by Billeter & Cartier
CHASSIS NO. 55206
ENGINE NO. 6
$5,000,000 – $6,500,000
■1933 Rallye des Alpes Competitor
■A Matching-Numbers, Original-Bodied Example
■A Striking, One-Off Supercharged Bugatti
■Recent and Exacting Restoration
■Documented by David Sewell and Julius Kruta
■Ideal International Driving and Concours Event Entrant
■Perhaps the Greatest Type 55 in Existence
2,262 CC DOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Single Zenith 48K Updraft Triple-Diffuser Carburetor
135 BHP at 5,500 RPM
4-Speed Non-Synchromesh Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Live Front Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Live Rear Axle with Inverted Quarter-Elliptical Leaf SpringsThe Type 55
With Grand Prix racing at the epicenter of Bugatti’s focus, it was expected that the firm produce a Grand Prix car for road use. The international triumph of the Type 35 led to the development and production of the Type 43. The concept of the Grand Prix motor fixed to a larger chassis that could accommodate coachwork for comfortable road use resulted in a very dynamic sports car. As competition heightened across European circuits, the Grand Prix Bugatti saw a significant development by way of the Type 51. The new Grand Prix car featured the same inline eight-cylinder, now boasting double overhead camshafts in addition to the supercharger.
In 1931, Bugatti made the decision to replace the Type 43, and production began on the new Type 55. The twin-cam eight-cylinder engine was fitted to the Type 47 Grand Prix frame, making one of the best balanced Bugattis ever produced. The chassis received the Type 51 cast aluminum wheels, with brake setup and gearbox from the Type 49. The performance was breathtaking. The Type 55 could accelerate to 60 mph from a standing stop in just 10 seconds.
By 1933, only 38 Type 55 chassis were built by Bugatti, making them one of a limited number of production models. To clothe the Type 55, Jean Bugatti designed two factory bodies: a roadster and a coupe known as the “Faux Cabriolet.” Of the mere 38 chassis built, 14 received the Jean Bugatti Roadster coachwork, seven received the works coupe body and only one factory cabriolet was built. Of the remaining 14 cars, 11 were bodied by Vanvooren or Gangloff and the
remaining three by other outside firms. With the chassis price at roughly 80,000 French Francs (FF), the completed cars often totaled well over 100,000 FF. The Type 55 was an exceptional sports car for only the most affluent clientele.
Dr. Jacques Kocher
One particularly discerning client of Bugatti was Dr. Jacques Kocher. Born in 1888, Dr.
Kocher was a wealthy surgeon living in Valence, France. Dr. Kocher had a penchant for ordering a new model from Bugatti each year, and by 1938 he had owned at least 14. This luxurious habit included the purchase of a Type 35, a Type 37, a Type 44, two Type 43s, three Type 57s, a Type 57C, the 1936 Paris Show Type 57S Atalante, a Type 50 Profilee and a Type 57C Atalante of duralumin.
Though Dr. Kocher kept his last Bugatti until 1950, by the late 1930s he had begun to purchase mostly standard cars. He often bought Peugeots, which he would improve mechanically for better performance. In 1956, Dr. Kocher and his wife sadly met their untimely death in a road accident in their Peugeot 403. Nevertheless, Dr. Kocher was noted as one of Bugatti’s best and most tasteful customers.
Dr. Kocher was unquestionably a likely client for the new Type 55, and on February 2, 1932, chassis 55206 was offered to him for 105,000 FF. Chassis 55206 was subsequently allocated engine no. 6 and the Type 55 was invoiced on March 4, 1932, to Dr. Kocher, who took delivery of the chassis from Dache & Pic. A small Bugatti agency in Valence, Dache & Pic only sold about two dozen Bugattis in the 1930s, and Dr. Kocher was their best customer.
Upon delivery, Dr. Kocher commissioned the famous Lyon-based coachbuilder Billeter & Cartier at 3, 5 et 7 Chemin du Palais-D’Eté to build him a special two-seat cabriolet. The French coachbuilder was responsible for very limited but very high-quality coachwork. This famous company mainly bodied cars of the Rochet- Schneider brand, which were also based in Lyon. Billeter & Cartier bodied a number of five-liter Bugatti chassis and at least one Type 46S chassis in addition to this singular Type 55.
Unlike many of Dr. Kocher’s works-bodied cars, he specifically ordered the Type 55 Cabriolet be built to his requests. At a cost of 25,000 FF, Billeter & Cartier completed the car in roughly six weeks.
The very tidy Cabriolet featured long, sweeping fenders similar to that of the Super Sport Roadster and dual rear spares. Interestingly enough, the Cabriolet featured outside exhaust, the only known Type 55 with this specification. The Bugatti also received a fold-flat windscreen that opened forward when vertical, as well as roll-up windows. Additional trim included plated irons on the top, plated accents on both doors and plated strips on the rear deck for additional baggage.
The car was tastefully finished in black with a dark green leather interior. The interior was offset by green accents along the fenders, a green leather top boot and most interestingly, green painted wheels with a polished surface. This Type 55 is the only Bugatti known to be specified with the brake drum and wheel castings predominantly painted. The resultant effect of the livery is both striking and modern.
In 1932, Robert Kaltenbach of Roanne wrote a letter to Billeter & Cartier inquiring as to the price of a cabriolet identical to that of Dr. Kocher’s Type 55. M. Kaltenbach was unquestionably taken by the beautiful design and wanted one for himself. The return letter lists a build price of 25,000 FF; and perhaps the cost was too great as no car was built. Type 55 chassis 55206 remained the sole Billeter & Cartier-bodied example.
In essence, Dr. Kocher’s Type 55 was a Grand Prix Bugatti with stunning coachwork of both quality and taste. Period photos of the car shortly after delivery show the impressive stance of the sporting Cabriolet. Registered to Dr. Kocher’s country home as “6340 FA 1,” the Type 55 saw regular use with its contemporary stable mate, a Type 50 Profilee. The pair of blown Bugattis with their striking coachwork was undoubtedly a compelling sight. Familiar with the sporting nature of the car, Dr. Kocher thoroughly enjoyed his Type 55, even competing in the 1933 Rallye des Alpes.
In January 1935, the Type 55 was bought by another great Bugatti enthusiast, Emile Sambuc, who had owned several other Bugattis. Emile and his brother Auguste, both butchers, retained the Type 55 for two years before replacing it with a new Type 57 Gangloff. Laurent Biancotto of Marseille purchased the Bugatti and kept it for an additional two years before downgrading to a Type 49.
In November 1938, the car was sold to fellow Marseille resident Alexandre Oliva. M. Oliva was an industrialist who owned several Bugattis. On June 2, 1939, the Cabriolet was registered by Département du Nord as “3252 MD 6” to Paul Lefevre in the town of Lille. In 1947, the car passed to fellow Lille resident Pierre Gerard.
On April 21, 1949, the Type 55 was again re-registered, this time as “7626 NB 1” in the name of Ghislain Gengembre, a mechanic in Henin-Lietard who kept the car until his death. M. Gengembre also owned a Type 27 Brescia, which he used regularly, even towing his caravan on holidays.
Yves Garnier, who would eventually become the Type 55’s next owner, grew to know M. Gengembre during the 1960s. M. Garnier never tired of asking M. Gengembre to sell the Type 55. However, it was not until M. Gengembre’s passing that his widow, following the instructions of his last will, sold both Bugattis to M. Garnier in 1970 for 50,000 FF. M. Garnier went to collect the car that same day.
M. Garnier rebuilt 55206 entirely by himself and, in 1978, he bought a spare engine (no. 36, ex-55236) from M. Mulnard. During the restoration of the Type 55, M. Garnier found that the original crankshaft was unusable. It was subsequently replaced with the original crank of engine no. 36. The restoration took M. Garnier more than 10 years in total and was finally finished around 1980. The end result is pictured in Hugh Conway’s Bugatti Magnum.
In 1987, the car was bought by German dealer Hans Bitterwolf who in turn sold the car to Peter Agg, then living in Sussex, England. During Mr. Agg’s ownership, the car received further restoration by Tula Engineering, including a new paint scheme of black wings with a blue body and grayish-beige interior. Mr. Agg eventually took the car with him to the US, where he and the Type 55 participated in several major events including the Colorado Grand.
After Mr. Agg’s seven-year ownership, 55206 passed to Bugatti enthusiast Ruedi Schmid of Basel, Switzerland, who retained the car for 16 years. Mr. Schmid drove the Type 55 frequently, participating in the 1998 Klausen Hillclimb and the 1994 International Bugatti Rally. In 2007, Mr. Schmid had a significant mechanical overhaul conducted by Gentry Restorations, Ltd totaling over £65,000, which included the installation of a new Brineton cylinder block. It should be noted that the original cylinder block accompanies the car. The following year, the Type 55 participated in the Bugatti Owner’s Club Prescott Garden Party.
Excited by 55206 as a striking and pure example, the current owner succeeded in purchasing the car from Mr. Schmid in November 2010. The Bugatti was entrusted to Hall & Hall where it was carefully disassembled and inspected. A thoughtful restoration ensued, guided by painstaking research and a keen desire to preserve the overwhelming integrity of the car. Every effort was made to faithfully return the Type 55 to as-delivered specifications. Furthermore, the quality of work and usability of the end product was synonymous with Hall & Hall’s well- known sensitivity to function. After a mechanical freshening, the Type 55 proves an exciting performer as originally intended.
The Type 55 retains its original frame in addition to its brass chassis tag mounted to the original aluminum bulkhead. The original lower crankcase is genuinely stamped “No. 6.” The upper crankcase bears the assembly number “72,” which is believed to originate from factory service of the car after some sort of crankshaft failure. Furthermore, the original supercharger and the original gearbox are properly stamped “6.” A report by David Sewell further describes the originality of the various chassis components, from the axles to the fuel and oil tanks.
The purity of 55206 reaches beyond its major components, easily making this car one of if not the most original Type 55s in existence. The Billeter & Cartier coachwork was found to be original and very sound. Body no. 2238 was clearly stamped on several panels and timbers. Original interior fabric materials were found, in addition to pre-restoration photos from 1992. Furthermore, the interior and exterior finishes were painstakingly matched to original specifications.
Upon completion, the car was chosen by the Bugatti factory as their sole exhibit at Retromobile in Paris, in January 2012. The Type 55 was stunningly displayed, once again finished in its original black and green livery. It should also be noted that the Type 55 has seen no other display since completion and would surely be welcome at the world’s most exclusive concours events. Furthermore, this Type 55 would make for an exceptional driving event car where it’s Grand Prix-based chassis can be enjoyed to the fullest.
David Sewell remarked on 55206, “This is an extremely original example of the Type 55 Bugatti which, bearing in mind the fact that it is now 80 years old, has clearly had a relatively sheltered life. As has already been recorded, it retains almost all of its original component parts including its unique Billeter & Cartier coachwork. It must surely rank amongst the finest surviving examples of this rare model, indeed it is difficult to think of another single one which is significantly superior.”
With its fantastic, one-off coachwork, exacting restoration and utter originality, this is quite possibly the best remaining Type 55 and without question one of the greatest Bugattis in existence. Seldom does one find such an elegant automobile with performance of equal thrill. ”
Pros: Amazing history, all there, original bodywork, Grand Prix engine etc., traceable ownership history, competition history, Good looks, would make the ideal tour car
Cons: Looks? Am I being too picky?
8 – Bentley 4.5 Litre Blower 1931 Gurney Nutting 2/3 Seater #SM3916 US$8 mil. + My pick $10,000,000.00 NOT SOLD @ US$7.4 mil.
“Green Hornet” Formerly the Property of E. Ann Klein1931 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre SC “”Blower”” Sports 2/3 Seater Boattail
Coachwork by Gurney Nutting
CHASSIS NO. SM3916
ENGINE NO. SM3922
Supercharger No. 125
Registration No. GK 8443
*Please note that this car is titled 1930.
*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.
$8,000,000 – $10,000,000
■Among the Finest of the 50 Factory Blowers
■Exceedingly Rare, Matching-Numbers, Original-Bodied Example
■Exceptional Provenance Including a 54-Year Stewardship
■One of Very Few Vintage Bentleys with Original Fabric Covering
■Ideal International Driving and Concours Event Entrant
■One of the Most Significant Bentleys in Existence
4,398 CC SOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Twin SU HVG5 Carburetors
Amherst Villiers Mk IV Roots-Type Supercharger
182 HP at 3,900 RPM
4-Speed Non-Synchromesh “D” Gearbox
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Semi-Elliptical Leaf-Spring Suspension with Friction Plate Shock AbsorbersThe “”Blower”” Bentley
After a brutal but heroic 8th place in the 1928 German Grand Prix, Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin was convinced that the Bentley 4 1/2 Litre could be substantially more competitive through supercharging. There was a notion afoot that supercharging was the key to success, and Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Mercedes-Benz were all contenders in international events with blown power plants.
W.O. Bentley, on the other hand, was firmly against the supercharging of his cars. The Bentley racing strategy was based on endurance and reliability, all too often pushing hard at the onset of a race and forcing the supercharged competitors to break; easy victory ensued. W.O. remained confident in the awe-inspiring Speed Six with its normally aspirated 6 1/2-litre engine.
In order to make a supercharged Bentley 4 1/2 Litre a reality, Birkin would have to find outside help. For the supercharger itself, Birkin turned to Amherst Villiers who found fame with the Vauxhall Villiers, Special. Birkin, who had set up his own racing shop, entered into an agreement with Bentley Motors and Amherst Villiers. It is also important to note that Birkin had the support of Woolf Barnato, who now controlled much of Bentley’s activities. In order to run at Le Mans, the supercharged 4 1/2 Litre would have to be a standard production model. W.O. apprehensively obliged.
The design of the supercharger was left to Villiers, but the parameters had been set; the blower was to be driven off the crank and therefore mounted in front of the engine. Immediate deficiencies were noted and the subsequent development of the “heavy crank” 4 1/2-litre block ensued. Eventually the design was completed and tested. Although Birkin failed to compete in the 1929 24 Hours of Le Mans with the two intended supercharged ￼￼￼￼cars, June saw the first ever competitive outing for a “Blower” Bentley, and July brought the first podium finish.
Production of the supercharged car was agreed to that June and a push was made to have two production “Blowers” on the stand at the 1929 Olympia Show. By 1930, production blowers were being delivered to enthusiastic new customers. A total of 50 production cars were built over the two-year period, and with that Birkin had met the Automobile Club de l’Ouest requirements to compete at Le Mans.
Constructed as a 1931 supercharged model, SM3916 was sent as a completed chassis to Gurney Nutting to receive its sports 2/3-seater boattail body. The coachwork was the second of three identical bodies built in the style of Barnato’s personal “Blower,” SM3909, under the direction of Bentley Motors. The body style featured a radical boattail shape around a two- seat configuration, with a third occasional seat in the center rear. In typical Bentley fashion, the coachwork consisted of ash-wood framing covered in fabric for weight savings. The car was further outfitted with a fold-flat screen and typical sporting long wings. Additionally enhancing the sleek appearance of the car was the standard blower shrouding. For 1931, it was a sensational design, and the weight savings no doubt played a role in the enhanced performance of the blown chassis.
On February 10, 1931, the finished “Blower” was delivered as “stock to showrooms” to Jack Barclay Limited, London’s premier Bentley dealer. Just three days later, SM3916 was invoiced to its first owner, S.B. Peck of Surrey, England. Mr. Peck, also the owner of an 8 Litre Saloon, used the “Blower” Bentley sparingly, perhaps for exhilarating weekend outings. Factory service records indicate a mere 5,638 miles by January 1934, at which point only minor servicing and adjustments had been made. In mid-1934, both the 8 Litre and the supercharged 4 1/2 Litre were sold. Nora MacCaw, who was known to have owned several Bentleys in the 1930s, became the second owner of the striking “Blower.”
Ms. MacCaw had a presumably close relationship with Barclays, and in 1935 the “Blower” was sold by Jack Barclay to Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd for £350. Chassis SM3916 was subsequently sold to G.N. Stead with roughly 15,500 miles on the odometer. Minor service on the car that year included the fitting of Bosch headlamps. By 1936, the “Blower” passed to A.A. Baring and on to G.W. Warren the following year. In 1938, F.B. Crabtree purchased the car and sold it one year later to G. Lillywhite. The service record for SM3916 shows no major work completed through 1939 but does list minor servicing conducted by McKenzie Garages.
As with most Vintage Bentleys, little is known of the wartime presence of the car. However, it can be said that the utter originality of SM3916 hints at nothing less than continued care and dutiful stewardship. In 1953, SM3916 entered the long-term ownership of E. Ann and Bill Klein of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. The well-known couple met through a common love of antique automobiles. After their marriage, the pair made frequent trips to the UK in search of special Bentley and Rolls-Royce motorcars. Having visited Richards & Brown in 1953, the Kleins took home their greatest prize, SM3916.
The Boattail “Blower” was easily a favorite and remained the centerpiece of a roughly 50-car collection. The supercharged 4 1/2 Litre saw frequent use with Mrs. Klein behind the wheel and before long the car received the nickname “the Green Hornet.” The fitting name not only spoke to the appearance of the car, but also to its stinging performance. Chassis SM3916 was happily at home in the collection, which at one point included one of every Vintage Bentley model.
Mrs. Klein was well known in Bentley circles as an expert as well as an avid enthusiast. Her passion for Bentleys was first and foremost in collecting, and her joy was driving the pre-war British sports cars. Mrs. Klein delighted in shifting them without a clutch, proving the point by hooking her left leg over the side of the cars while running up and down through the gearbox without a whisper of protest from the machinery. Given the “Blower’s” low mileage, it was an easy car to shift, though this showing off was no doubt impressive.
After Mr. Klein’s passing, Mrs. Klein sold off most of the cars in the collection, but retained her beloved “Blower,” which had been a gift from her late husband. Chassis SM3916 remained with Mrs. Klein until her passing in 2007, at which point the collection was sold. At Gooding & Company’s 2007 Pebble Beach Auctions, the “Blower” presented in fantastically preserved condition from the 54-year ownership. After five years of private ownership, SM3916 has returned in an equally exciting fashion.
To find a Vintage Bentley with matching- numbers and its original body is certainly of note, but to find one so well preserved is something rarely seen. The true significance of this particular car, however, is that it is one of only 50 factory “Blower” Bentleys, and perhaps one of the most striking ever built.
Upon inspection, SM3916 retains an impressive amount of matching-numbers, original components, including the frame, engine, gearbox, rear end, steering box and perhaps most importantly, the supercharger. Additionally, the carburetors, blow-off valves, magnetos, horn, gauges, exhaust system, battery tray and many other important bits are correct and believed to be original. The only notable exceptions include an upgraded starter motor and upgraded friction shocks to the Draper style, as well as the Bosch headlamps fitted by Bentley in 1935. To say that SM3916 is simply a pure example is an understatement.
Furthermore, the bonnet panels on SM3916 are original, stamped with the chassis number on both sides. One of the rarest items still fitted to the Bentley is the front supercharger shroud with its original felt pad. These shrouds were often discarded and few original examples remain on any “Blower.”
The coachwork on SM3916 is equally as pure as the chassis. The Gurney Nutting body number can be found stamped in a major wood crosspiece and “58” can even be seen noted in pencil on the underside of the trim work. The fabric on the body itself is original, as is a fair amount of interior trim. The extremities, from the folding windscreen to the fenders, which are all too often changed on Vintage Bentleys, are also original. Similarly, the dashboard remains original with the correct switches and gauges.
Furthermore, it is known that the car has always been green, and SM3916 has never been restored, simply tended to as needed. Boasting a lovely patina throughout, the Green Hornet is unquestionably one of the most original Vintage Bentleys in existence. There are countless indicators that this is not just a pure but also a low-mileage chassis.
To drive, SM3916 proves powerful and tight. The “Blower” Bentley operates with a lightness and correctness found on few examples, restored or otherwise. One familiar with the torque and power delivered by a Vintage Bentley will find the supercharged cars sensationally responsive and quick. The 4 1/2 Litres are considered by many to be the most ideal Vintage Bentleys with their added power and short, nimble chassis. This forethought was not lost on Birkin, who only bettered the performance by way of the supercharger. Chassis SM3916 behaves as one would expect and as anyone lucky enough to experience its performance will soon come to admire. This is a sports car worthy of blinding admiration.
So few pre-war cars of any significance exude such a level of originality that the purity of SM3916 is nearly dumbfounding. From the hood latches to the hand brake to the throttle mechanism, there is no feature on this Bentley that leaves one with the feeling that it could be better. These details may seem obscure in their singularity, but the overall correctness of function throughout the car is phenomenal.
Due to their competitive nature, most “Blower” Bentleys were well used and driven hard. Many suffer from having had major components replaced and a good majority unfortunately lost their original coachwork in favor of a Le Mans-replica configuration. As the sole survivor of the three Gurney Nutting Boattails, this supercharged 4 1/2 Litre is one of just a handful of matching-numbers, original-bodied “Blowers.”
Automobile Quarterly once wrote of the “Blower” Bentley: “If any automobile ever possessed an intimidating appearance it must surely be this one. Dominating the entire car is the huge Amherst Villiers supercharger, bigger in itself than a lot of automobile engines, and it is impossible not to brood upon the formidable temperament that must result from it. It should be mentioned that any of these cars, in good condition, will spin their wheels on dry tarmac in bottom or second gear, and it is commonplace for a four-seat tourer to be capable of 120 mph.”
The “Blower” Bentley remains one of the most iconic and sought-after of all pre-war cars, seemingly the most iconic supercharged car ever produced. With such limited production numbers, the “Blowers” are among the most important of all collector cars. It is sensational to find such an important motorcar that additionally boasts purity and originality. It can be said without hesitation that this is one of the finest supercharged 4 1/2 Litres in existence, and subsequently a very significant Vintage Bentley. ”
Pros: Amazing history, It’s a blower Bentley, quite the car, very heavy, the worlds fastest truck I believe is the quote from Ettore Bugatti, quite apt. The meaning of original.
Cons: Still a truck 🙂
#9 – Porsche 904/6 #906-002 1963 US$1.8 mil. + My pick $3,500,000.00 NOT SOLD @ US$1.5 mil.
1963 Porsche 904/6 Carrera GTS Factory Works Protoype
Chassis No. 906-002
Engine No. 906-151
To be auctioned on
Saturday, August 18, 2012
200 bhp, 1,991 cc SOHC six-cylinder engine, dual Weber carburetors, five-speed manual transmission, front and rear independent suspension, and front and rear disc brakes. Wheelbase: 90.6″”
Please note that this vehicle will be sold on a Bill of Sale only.
• One of five surviving six-cylinder Works Team 904s
• One of few 904/6 that still retains the 906 six-cylinder engine with which it was sold to its first owner
• Early factory testing and development work followed by successful privateer racing history
• Completely restored and meticulously maintained
• Fully documented from new
• Numerous spare parts and extensive records, including period correspondence
Chassis 906-002, the stunning Porsche offered here, is unquestionably one of the finest examples in existence. Little introduction is needed with regards to Porsche’s impossibly beautiful and purposeful 904. After having retired from a not so successful F1 and F2 program at the end of the 1962 season, Porsche focused once again on what they did best: sports car racing. The 904 debuted late in 1963 and was a direct successor to the RS61, which can itself trace its roots back to the 718 “”RSK”” of 1957. The RSK, of course, was a further development of the original 550 and subsequent 550A.
Beginning with the 550 in 1954 and ending with the RS61, Porsche had utilized a “”space-frame”” design in the construction of each of these vehicles. This consisted of large main frame rails of steel, which were attached to the front and rear suspension, and the fitting of a separate alloy body, consisting of some stressed but mostly un-stressed panels. The main departure for the all new Carrera GTS would be the use of a central steel, “”back-bone”” chassis from which the mid-engine, gearbox rear, and front suspension would be mounted. Both an inner and outer, extremely rigid and fully bonded GRP “”coupe”” body would then be fastened for maximum rigidity with an extremely light overall weight.
Porsche designed the new Carrera GTS to compete in the FIA’s GT class at all levels of various internationally sanctioned racing events. Client racing and street-legal versions debuted in 1964, in order to comply with FIA’s Group 3 homologation regulations that required 100 examples be built.
The 550 through to the end of the RS61 represented Porsche’s first generation foray into pure sports car racing. The 904 represents Porsche’s first step in a whole new direction toward their determined all-out drive for an overall win in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. This would eventually be achieved less than a decade later in June of 1970 with the 904’s descendant, the all-conquering 917K!
906-002 is the second of Porsche’s 904/6 factory team cars. It was, and remains, one of only a handful of development and prototype examples built in 1963.
Porsche built a total of six similar 904/6 Works team cars with the following chassis number assignments: 906-001, 002, 005, 006, 011, and 012. All survive in varying states but for chassis 906-005, which was destroyed during testing and development in 1965.
906-002’s primary function for the Porsche factory team was as a test and development car over a lengthy period of time, covering the remainder of 1963, all of 1964, and most of 1965. In December 1964, it underwent an extensive testing program in Italy at Monza, where several Solex carburetor tests were conducted with Herbert Linge, alongside sister 904/6, chassis number 906-001, which was fitted with various Weber carburetor set-ups in comparison. Multiple tire tests were also conducted in the same time frame on both chassis 906-001 and 002.
At the end of the 1965 season, the car was deemed surplus to the needs of the Porsche factory race department and offered for public sale. It was purchased by gentleman racer Michel Weber on May 10th, 1966. In his private hands, this six-cylinder engined Porsche 904 was aggressively raced in Germany, France, Italy, and Austria throughout that year’s European Mountain (Hill Climb) Championship season. Weber scored multiple podium finishes throughout the season, including two first place finishes!
2nd at Eberbacher Bergpries
6th at Alpen-Bergpreis
2nd at Mont Ventoux
4th at Trento-Bondone
5th at Bergpreis Cesana-Sestriere
4th at Bergpreis Schauinsland
1st at Bergrennen Mitterndorf
2nd at Bergpreis Gaisberg
1st at Bergrennen Gargeuensteinbock
At the end of the 1966 season, Weber loaned the car to the Swiss driving team of Ruedi Jauslin and Peter Ditzler for use by their team, Scuderia Basilea. The two then entered several races with 906-002 in 1967 events but did not show up with the car until very late in the season. At the October 29th, 1967 running of the Three Hours of Hockenheim, the two finished Second in Class! Ditzler then drove by himself on December 10th, 1967 in the Hockenheim Finale Race scoring a Third Overall!
At the end of the 1967 season, Weber retired the car and put her up for sale. U.S. Air Force Major Berny Barns was 906-002’s next fortunate owner. A full chronological listing of each owner by date is as follows:
1963–1966 Porsche AG (Works Team Prototype)
1966–1968 Michel Weber Offenbach, Germany (10.5.1966)
1968–1970 Berny Barns, U.S. Air Force Major (Pirmasens, Germany)
1970–1979 Harro Schneider (Germany)
1979–1987 Löhr & Becker (Germany)
1987–1999 Dr. Friedhelm Tang (Germany)
1999–2002 Lara Resende (Brazil)
2002–2011 Frederic de la Noce (Brazil)
2011–Present (Mexico City)
Period documentation in the form of the Porsche factory records and individual correspondence and sales records at each moment of this Porsche’s life are continuous and without omissions or gaps. The original “”KARDEX”” period documentation and respected Porsche racer and historian Jürgen Barth’s own independent documentation confirm the intimate details, dates, and milestones achieved by this Porsche.
Today, 906-002 is not only extremely original and correct but one of the few 904s of any type and configuration to retain the six-cylinder 906 engine with which it was sold to its first private owner, Michael Weber, and documented as such by the original “”KARDEX.”” An additional spare engine and gearbox, various brakes, and suspension components, along with other various spares, will accompany this Porsche, as does detailed factory and private records and correspondence going back to new.
Ownership of any 904 is something many Porsche collectors aspire to achieve, with few able to do so. The presence of one in a collection or on the track by a current owner is often a highlight for those who have been fortunate enough to acquire one. This fully sorted and race prepared factory team 904 represents an unprecedented opportunity at ownership of what many consider to be one of the finest and most important surviving 904s in existence. It is, as such, an impossibly perfect opportunity to acquire the very best of the best and should not be missed!
Pros: THE 1960’s Porsche, stunningly shapely, great history and it is the ONLY 6 cylinder Porsche 904, good racing history, can be driven on the road.
Cons: Only privately raced (Pedantic, I know)
Formerly the Property of Loyal Katskee, Don Skogmo and Carlo Voegele1959 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage
CHASSIS NO. 2454
ENGINE NO. 2477
*Please note that this car is sold on a Bill of Sale.
*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.
$3,500,000 – $4,500,000
■One of the Most Genuine Tipo 60/61 Birdcages in Existence
■Certified by Maserati Classiche
■Retains Original Body, Chassis and Correct Type Engine
■Prominent Period US Race History
■Maserati’s Legendary and Innovative Sports Racer
■Eligible for the Finest Historic Motoring Events Worldwide
■Offered with Spare Engine, Transaxle and Bonnet
■Rarely Offered on the Open Market
2,890 CC DOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Alloy Engine
Two Weber 48 DC03 Carburetors
250 BHP at 6,800 RPM
5-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
Independent Front Suspension with Coil Springs
De Dion-Type Rear Axle with Transverse Leaf SpringsThe Maserati Tipo 60/61 Birdcage
The Modena-based Maserati organization had seen its ups and downs since the company was established by seven brothers in 1914. During the 1950s, Maserati became famous for its manufacture of excellent racing and road cars and competed successfully at top racing venues worldwide. The A6G made its mark at prestigious auto salons around the world, clothed in coachwork by the finest coachbuilders. On the racetrack, the A6GCS started the decade out with some prestigious finishes; later, the 200S and 300S topped the charts at sports car races. Perhaps one of the biggest successes of the 1950s was Juan-Manuel Fangio’s 1957 championship title in a Maserati 250F gran prix car. Even with such stellar successes for the brand, Maserati was struggling financially. Maserati and the Orsi family invested heavily in their racing program, and when it did not achieve the financial return they had hoped for, the company was forced to cancel all racing activities by the end of the 1957 season.
By late 1958 however, the company had regained some financial strength, at which point management and the Orsi family thought it appropriate to develop a new racing car. Maserati’s chief engineer Giulio Alfieri was chosen to spearhead development of the new car.
The new car was to be a competitive sports racer that Maserati could sell to customer racing teams around the world. Alfieri, though starting from a blank slate, had to keep costs in mind and consider using some of the existing sub-components already in production at Maserati.
With the idea of weight savings in mind, Alfieri began sketching the new car in October 1958. The chosen layout was a front-engine chassis design, where the two-liter Maserati DOHC four-cylinder engine would be laid on its side for better weight distribution and a lower profile. For the rear suspension setup, Alfieri opted for the already proven system used on the 250F gran prix car, which consisted of a De Dion axle with a transverse- mounted leaf spring above it and a five-speed transaxle in front. The front suspension was a fully independent coil-spring setup also of the same type as the 250F. Newly developed telescopic-type shock absorbers were used in all four corners, and the steering was of the rack and pinion type. For braking, Alfieri chose disc brakes.
The chassis construction itself is where Alfieri made history. With a targeted weight of 1,100 lbs., a new and innovative idea had to be developed. Over the next month, Alfieri developed his new chassis design for the Tipo 60/61, which consisted of several hundred small-bore mild steel tubes welded together in a clever network that distributed weight evenly across all stress points. The frame was nicknamed for its resemblance to a birdcage. The new frame was stronger than traditional tube- frame chassis, and weighed a mere 66 lbs.! Atop the high-tech chassis were to be a wraparound aluminum body with minimum overhang and an innovative Kamm tail shape to reduce rear-end lift and drag.
On May 8, 1959, the prototype Tipo 60 turned its first wheel and was tested by Stirling Moss at the local Modena Autodrome on May 19th. Moss was very impressed with the new sports racer, and obtained permission from Alfieri and Mr. Orsi to do more testing during the upcoming 1,000 km race at Nürburgring. Moss believed that the car was a potential class winner in the two-liter class and that if it were upgraded to three liters, the new Maserati would have a chance at winning the World Sports Car Championship. Surely enough, when tested by Moss at Nürburgring, the prototype broke the two-liter track record. A few months later, Maserati brought the car to its first competitive event, a two-liter race in Rouen, France. With Moss behind the wheel once more, the Tipo 60 took victory way ahead of the competition. The Tipo 60 had proven to be a winner at its first competitive outing.
As word began to spread about Maserati’s new giant killer, orders started coming in and production was initiated.
It was soon apparent to Maserati that the most important class in the US – the prime Birdcage market – was D Modified (2,000 cc – 3,000 cc); and as a number of Maserati’s most influential US clients kept asking for more power from the Tipo 60, the three-liter Tipo 61 soon made its debut. Alfieri had come up with a few different ideas on how to best increase the displacement but settled with a short-stroke 2,890 cc formula, which delivered smooth power and very limited internal vibration. The output of the new motor was 250 bhp; and with the overall weight of the car remaining close to that of the Tipo 60, the Tipo 61 was a fierce machine, ready to take on the Ferraris, Aston Martins or Jaguars competitors might be driving.
The following years saw Tipo 60s and 61s compete against the best in the world. They ran at prestigious races all over Europe: 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Targa Florio and the 1,000 km of Nürburgring, where Lloyd “Lucky” Casner’s famous Camoradi Racing Team won the grueling race in both 1960 and 1961. In the US, the Tipo 60 and 61s were raced extensively by the US racing elite at the best tracks and in the most competitive racing series.
Estimates vary, but less than 20 Maserati Tipo 60 and 61s were built between 1959 and 1961. In- credibly innovative, they remain some of the best-handling, most effective sports racing cars ever produced.
Chassis 2454 was the third Tipo 61 built. Finished at Maserati on November 9, 1959, the new racer was painted black and featured a slightly higher rear deck and less pronounced fender crowns than the cars produced afterwards. It had been ordered and built for privateer racer Loyal Katskee of Omaha, Nebraska. Quite an accomplished racer by the late 1950s, Katskee also owned an MG and Jaguar dealership in Omaha. Katskee raced some very fine European machinery in those years, mostly Ferraris prior to the Tipo 61, though he also raced Porsches and Lotus at venues like Daytona, Sebring, Riverside, Nassau and Havana. Katskee tended to concentrate on major events and was not particularly interested in local races.
Chassis 2454 left Italy in an airplane on November 13, 1959, and was flown straight to Miami, Florida, in time for the 1959 Nassau Speed Week later the same month. At Nassau, Katskee drove the brand new Tipo 61 in several races, finishing 11th overall in the Governor’s Trophy Race and, a few days later, 16th overall in the Nassau Trophy Race. In February 1960, Katskee and his Tipo 61, now painted white, traveled to Havana, to participate in the Grand Prix of Cuba, but they did not finish the race. In June 1960, Katskee campaigned 2454 at the USAC International Race at Continental Divide Raceways in Castle Rock, Colorado, but once again ran into problems and failed to finish. Katskee, a seasoned racer at this point, didn’t give up on the Birdcage that easily, and rightfully so. At his next outing in July 1960 at the USAC Race at Road America, Katskee and the Tipo 61 finished an impressive 3rd overall. The remaining part of the 1960 season would see Katskee compete with 2454 on the West Coast, first at the USAC Times Grand Prix in Riverside, California, and later at the USAC Pacific Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, finishing 14th overall at Laguna.
By year’s end Katskee had had his fun with the Birdcage, and sold it to Donald Skogmo of Minneapolis, Minnesota. At this point, the car’s original engine had been removed but kept with the car as a spare, replaced by an un-numbered engine. Skogmo, an heir to the Gamble-Skogmo merchandising chain, had been an avid racer since the early 1950s, campaigning a number of important European sports cars and sports racers over the years. Skogmo’s first outing in 2454 was at the May 1961 SCCA Race held at Wilmot Hills Road Racing Course in Wisconsin, where Skogmo finished an impressive 2nd overall. The following month, at the Hoosier Grand Prix held at Indianapolis Raceway, Skogmo finished 11th overall in the first heat and 8th overall in the second. Skogmo’s most impressive finish came on home turf at the SCCA Race at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota, in late June 1961; Skogmo won the race outright. In July, Skogmo conquered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with an 8th overall finish, and again won outright at the July SCCA race at Metropolitan Stadium. In December 1961, Skogmo campaigned the Birdcage at Nassau Speed Week, finishing 8th overall in the Governor’s Trophy Race and 16th overall in the Nassau Trophy Race. In 1962, 2454 saw little use, though it did run at Elkhart Lake in September with Skogmo at the wheel.
Skogmo eventually sold 2454, at that point with neither engine nor transaxle installed. The aging Tipo 61 moved south to a Floridian owner, then later up to New York before it was finally purchased by an Englishman in 1970. Under his ownership, 2454 received a sympathetic restoration and was fitted with a two-liter Tipo 60 engine and four- speed transaxle from a 300S. In the mid-1970s, 2454 was purchased by noted collector and author Joel Finn who soon installed a correct Tipo 61 engine and transaxle. The Maserati stayed with Mr. Finn until the early 1980s, when it was purchased by Italian collector Giulio Dubbini in Padova, Italy.
In 1989, after Mr. Dubbini’s passing, 2454 was sold to Swiss collector Karl Bloechle. Mr. Bloechle – an avid collector and an artist specializing in vintage automotive models – campaigned the Tipo 61 at prestigious historic racing events throughout Europe during the 1990s before finally selling it to respected Swiss collector and historic race car driver Carlo Voegele in 2000. Voegele decided to treat 2454 to a full refurbishment and entrusted German restoration and engineering company Capricorn Engineering with the task. Capricorn is well known for their restorations of classic and historic vehicles, having restored a number of important Porsches and Maseratis over the years. Near the end of the restoration process, 2454 was inspected, properly evaluated and received the ultimate stamp of authenticity: certification by Maserati Classiche, an honor which is believed to have been bestowed upon just one other Tipo 60/61.
Purchased by the consignor in early 2011, 2454 has since been exercised in historic racing events on such prestigious tracks as Spa- Francorchamps, Nürburgring and Goodwood. Capricorn Engineering has continued their support and race preparation of 2454 since the initial restoration, maintaining the sports racer in competitive condition.
In total, Maserati only built around 20 Tipo 60 and 61 Birdcages. Due to their competitiveness in period, the vast majority of these magnificent sports racers were campaigned, crashed and subsequently modified with different bodies and new chassis constructions. Very few Tipo 60/61s remain as complete and genuine as 2454, which still retains its original body and chassis. In the eyes of many experts, 2454 is one of the best and most genuine Tipo 60/61s in existence. It benefits from a known history and ownership by many prominent caretakers over the years, as well as Maserati Classiche certification. Accompanied by the sale of 2454 are a spare engine and transaxle, the car’s original bonnet and the complete certification binder from Maserati Classiche.
A highly competitive sports racer in any company, 2454 would be an ideal entry in the most prestigious vintage racing events worldwide, racing against period opposition from Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Porsche. It deserves a spot in the world’s most prestigious collections of sports racing cars, and would most likely have an innovative angle on many of the cars already in place in such a collection. .
Pros: Good car, US racing history, fairly original, good provenance
Cons: Not much, only raced in the USA
11 – Bentley 4.5 Litre 1928 #KM3088 “VDP Le Mans Tourer” Works Racer US$5.5 mil. + My pick $7,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$6.05 mil.
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Le Mans Sports “”Bobtail””
Coachwork by Vanden Plas
CHASSIS NO. KM3088
ENGINE NO. MF3175 (see text)
Registration No. YW 2557
$5,500,000 – $7,500,000
■A Two-Time Factory Le Mans Entry
■2nd Overall at the 1929 Brooklands Double Twelve
■3rd Overall at the 1929 24 Hours of Le Mans
■The Only Remaining “Bobtail” 4 1/2 Litre
■Exceptional Provenance and Limited Ownership
■Recent and Exacting Preservative Restoration
■Ideal International Driving and Concours Event Entrant
■One of the Greatest Bentleys in Existence
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4,398 CC SOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Twin SU Sloper Carburetors
Estimated 150 HP
4-Speed Manual “D” Gearbox
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Semi-Elliptical Leaf-Spring Suspension
with Friction-Plate Shock AbsorbersThis Car
Throughout the history of the 80-year running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, there has been no group of men more legendary than the Bentley Boys. With five outright victories in seven short years, Bentley set an absolute standard for a sports car capable of enduring a race as grueling as Le Mans.
After victory in 1924 and subsequent failings in 1925 and 1926 with the 3 Litre, Bentley sought to increase displacement in their four-cylinder car for the following year. The first team car to take the 4 1/2-litre engine was “Old Mother Gun,” essentially a three-litre team car fitted with a new cylinder block. For the 1927 Le Mans race the new 4 1/2-litre engine proved fast until the historic Maison Blanche crash. With two cars out and the third badly damaged, Bentley still managed to win the race.
That same August, Old Mother Gun was run at the Grand Prix de Paris, which it easily won. It was the first race win for the new 4 1/2-litre engine. W.O. Bentley and the team prepared for the fast-approaching 1928 season, and they had an entirely new fleet to build.
Bentley was intent on having new works cars, all based on the 4 1/2-liter production chassis in addition to Old Mother Gun. The second new car, chassis KM3088 – the car presented here – was fitted with engine
MF3175 and received registration YW 2557. The 4 1/2 Litre “Bobtail,” commonly referred to by its registration number YW 2557, was completed by Vanden Plas in June 1928 with body no. 1480 and was invoiced to Sir Ronald Gunter. The work conducted by Vanden Plas was carried out in the strictest confidence, handled directly by W.O. himself.
The first two cars produced, YV 7263 and YW 2557, were works specialized production chassis sent to Vanden Plas for lightweight Le Mans coachwork per design 1477. The body consisted of an ash frame with fabric covering. A tall, rear D-shape fuel tank was mounted with a vertical spare. The package was covered by a rounded aluminum shroud, the resultant appearance of which gained the cars their
“Bobtail” nickname. Additionally, the team cars received the “eyebrow”-type cycle fenders. Both cars were finished in the team’s standard Napier Green.
Further specification included quick-release caps for water, fuel and oil replenishment, a leather hood strap, a fold-flat front screen, Aeroscreens, large-diameter gauges, bucket-style seats and cycle fenders. The differences between the works cars and the production cars amounted to innumerable modifications, either for weight savings, reliability or performance. Specifically for the 1928 Le Mans, the team cars sported a third, centrally mounted headlamp.
With the fast new four cylinders at their disposal, the team entered the 1928 24 Hours of Le Mans. For YW 2557, W.O. selected two of his best drivers – the 1924 Le Mans winner Frank Clement and the 1927 Le Mans winner Dudley Benjafield. The race proved a significant trial for the new 4 1/2 Litre “Bobtail,” with strong competition from Stutz and Chrysler. Almost immediately, YW 2557 was setting a blistering
pace, recording a new lap record at 72.7 mph. The first pit stop was made after three hours, and by the time darkness fell upon the Circuit de la Sarthe, YW 2557 was running in 4th in the hands of Clement and Benjafield.
Unfortunately, well into the race, YW 2557 suffered a broken frame. The quick pace in combination with a significant ridge just near Maison Blanche caused the fracture and a broken radiator hose resulted some laps later. Per regulation, water could only be replenished every 20 laps, and YW 2557 was forced to retire on the 71st lap. Old Mother Gun similarly broke its frame shy of the finish, but limped to victory, driven by Barnato. Birkin managed to bring the no. 3 car into 5th overall. On the return trip from Le Mans the third 4 1/2 Litre broke its frame.
The race was a success, but Bentley knew there was room for improvement. Upon return to Cricklewood, each of the team cars received new frames with significant chassis strengthening. Of note is the modification of Birkin’s “Bobtail” to be fitted with a different style of fuel tank, a small trunk and a side-mounted spare, making YW 2557 the sole remaining “Bobtail.” The 4 1/2-litre cars were continually
campaigned throughout the remainder of the 1928 season.
For the first major outing in the 1929 season, Bentley once again turned to YW 2557 for the inaugural Double Twelve Race at Brooklands on May 10th and 11th. The 1927 Le Mans winner, Sammy Davis, and Gunter were given YW 2557, wearing no. 6, and were joined by Clement and Cook in YV 7263 and Barnato and Benjafield in the new Speed Six.
On the first day of the race, Bentley lost the Speed Six entry to retirement, although the car had been leading, averaging well in excess of 92 mph. On the second day, Bentley retired the Clement and Cook 4 1/2 Litre, leaving only YW 2557 to battle with the remaining Alfa Romeos. YW 2557 proved quite capable, with Davis noting comfort at speeds of 104 and 105 mph, even reaching 107 mph when needed. Davis went
on to recount that it was “the finest battle [he had] ever had bar none. Worthily did No. 6 respond.”
In a very close finish, Alfa Romeo took the victory, having been given a substantial handicap advantage. The 4 1/2 Litre “Bobtail” took an admirable 2nd.
Just four weeks after the endurance-racing season opener, Bentley was headed to Le Mans. After the necessary fettling and preparation, a fivecar team was assembled with a singular Speed Six, Old Mother Gun, and the three other 4 1/2-litre team cars, including the “Bobtail” YW 2557. Interestingly, three of the five cars had just been used in 24-hour events; in fact, the Birkin 41/2 Litre had run two 24-hour events leading up to Le Mans. Birkin had pulled the two supercharged entries at the last moment, and YV 7263 and YW 2557 were entered with little to no preparation.
Regardless, the 1929 Le Mans race proved Bentley’s dominance. Of the five entries, only YV 7263 failed to finish. By the closing hours of the race, W.O. had ordered the team into a slow pace. At one point, Dunfee had pulled off Old Mother Gun to have a drink! When the checkered flag dropped, it was Bentley in positions 1, 2, 3 and 4. Benjafield and Baron d’Erlanger piloted YW 2557 to an easy 3rd place overall.
The 1929 season was a sensational success, but it brought change. W.O. soon favored the Speed Sixes, of which he eventually had three for competition, and Birkin favored his personal project, the “Blower” Bentley.
YW 2557 remained with the team, well used for fast practice at Brooklands by Sammy Davis and Clive Gallop. The 4 1/2 Litre “Bobtail” was retained by Gunter until 1930 when the team car was sold to Lauchlan Rose. Factory service records indicate some minor refurbishment that year at a noted 47,080 miles. Recounting much of his ownership in the BDC Review article “Fun and Games with YW 2557,” Mr. Rose proved to be the owner the car deserved. “[It was] the best motorcar deal I have ever had in my life.
Everything on the car was just as she finished the race, except that a compression plate had been fitted. The front mudguards were about a foot long, perched on top of the wheels, so we decided to have a somewhat longer pair fitted. Otherwise everything was left exactly as it was. Taking delivery of that car has always been a great thrill to me.”
Mr. Rose retained the car for three years and during his ownership factory service continued including the installation of a new D gearbox, which he desired in contrast to the straight-cut racing type. A minor accident in June 1932 led to additional service work conducted by Birkin and Couper, who replaced the front axle bed and a handful of other components. Mr. Rose frequently used the “Bobtail,” driving it quite often to work and taking time after lunch to run several laps at the Brooklands circuit. “We would often go
down on non-race days and commit lappery and generally fool about. Sometimes we’d do five laps or more, and perhaps a few people would gather to watch and wonder who the poor sap might be who obviously determined to break up his motorcar. But the old car reveled in it, and the longer we kept on the better she seemed to go.”
In 1933, Mr. Rose sold YW 2557 to his dear friend Rivers Oldmeadow, a decision that would haunt him for years to come, although Mr. Oldmeadow proved to be a fantastic steward of YW 2557. In the September 1944 Motor Sport, Oldmeadow recounts “Cars I Have Owned,” stating, “The heyday of my motoring career was reached when I bought KM3088 [the “Bobtail”], a genuine 4 1/2 Litre Le Mans team Bentley. I never want any other car; alas, the war and finance forced me to sell her. This car carried me for some years all over Great Britain, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany and Austria and was, to my way of thinking, perfect. I covered 84 miles in an hour on the Wurzburg-Munich autobahn, and that was taking things quite gently.”
YW 2557 was well used and by 1939, service records indicated that the car had turned 100,000 miles and started anew with an entry at 1,300 miles. The only serious notation on record is a change of the steering wheel. In late 1939 or 1940, Mr. Oldmeadow parted ways with the team car and it passed into an unknown
ownership during the war, as is the case with many Vintage Bentleys.
It is during the war years that we believe YW 2557 suffered a rather serious engine blow-up, at which time the sump and crankcase were replaced with standard 4 1/2-litre bits. Thankfully, the original engine block was retained. The engine block in fact carries the RAC scrutineer’s stamp found only on the original four-cylinder team car engines.
Shortly after the war Mr. Rose, who still regretted selling YW 2557, found the “Bobtail” for sale in Autocar and purchased it once again from the owner. Mr. Rose would not make the same mistake again, and the car remained in the Rose family, eventually passing to Lauchlan’s son Tom. Disappointed by its wartime stewardship, Mr. Lauchlan Rose set out to return YW 2557 to a more correct state. In 1964, the car received a restoration by Elmdown Engineering Ltd to correct many details to team car specification.
The Rose family’s roughly 25-year stewardship lasted until 1971, at which time YW 2557 was bought by noted English collector Bill Lake. Mr. Lake, who additionally owned GF 8507, the “Number 2” Speed Six factory team car, stabled the “Bobtail” amongst his fantastic collection of pre-war sports cars. It was not until 2004 that the 4 1/2 Litre Le Mans would leave its 33-year home. After Mr. Lake’s passing, his son
David eventually chose to sell both cars.
In the hands of its current owner, YW 2557 was entrusted to Bentley specialist Richard Cresswell of VBE Restorations for a complete preservative restoration. During the restoration, certain key components were obtained for the car, including the factory racing sump off of Le Mans winner Old Mother Gun and a set of SU Slopers stamped “KM spare,” the racing team’s extra set of carburetors for YV 7263 or YW 2557.
Highlighting the success of the restoration is the surviving patina of the car. The 4 1/2 Litre “Bobtail” retains its period-correct fabric covering. Bentley works-specific hardware, components and modifications are found throughout the entire car. For example, mounting brackets for the 1928 Le Mans third center headlamp remain on the front cross member.
Further inspection of the coachwork reveals the VDP number stamped in the original body. This Bentley is an absolute delight for those fascinated by industrial archeology.
A silver plate affixed to the bonnet recalls YW 2557’s phenomenal racing record. Accompanying the Bentley is a proper tool kit and handbook, the original radiator, original bellypans, and other bits from the most recent restoration work. Also of note is YW 2557’s presence in many highly regarded Vintage
Bentley publications as well as numerous periodicals and BDC Review. It has even graced the cover of Hay’s Bentley Factory Cars 1919–1931.
Those fortunate enough to have driven a factory-works Bentley will note that the visceral experience is unlike any other pre-war sporting car. In comparison to a standard production chassis, the team cars have a momentous energy and lightness about them. It is widely known that a Vintage Bentley is exceptionally powerful, but the team cars further prove to be sensationally fast.
Of the Le Mans Works Team Cars, originally comprised of four 3 Litres, four 4 1/2 Litres, three Speed Sixes and four Birkin “Blowers,” few remain in such a pure state. Inarguably some of the most important motorcars on the planet, the Bentley factory team cars rarely come to market. The majority of the surviving examples reside in some of the world’s greatest car collections. This 4 1/2 Litre “Bobtail” is one of just two team cars to hold podium results at the period’s two major endurance races and, as one of the finest Bentleys in existence, without question presents an opportunity not to be missed.
Pros: Not many cars can claim the history and provenance of this one, an excellent car and would make either a good centrepiece to a top tier collection or a decent tour car
Cons: Hey it’s a Bentley so its still a truck
#12 – Ford GT40 #GT/104 US$ 5 mil. + My pick $6,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$4.95 mil.
“The Ford Advanced Vehicles, Shelby American and Ford Styling Department1964 Ford GT40 Prototype
CHASSIS NO. GT/104
*Please note that this car is sold on a Bill of Sale.
$5,000,000 – $7,000,000
■The Fourth GT40 Prototype and the First to Receive a Lightweight Chassis
■A Ford Motor Company 1964 Le Mans Debut Entry
■One of Two to Podium in the GT40’s First Completed Race, Resulting in a Third Overall at the 1965 Daytona Continental
■Driven by Hill, McLaren, Bondurant, Miles, Schlesser, Ginther, Attwood, Amon and Other Works Drivers
■The Second-Oldest Surviving GT40
■Recent Recipient of an Exacting Restoration by Paul Lanzante
■A Well-Documented Example Offering an Unbroken Ownership Chain
289 CID OHV Shelby V-8 Engine
Four Weber 48IDA Carburetors
380 BHP at 6,500 RPM
4-Speed Manual Colotti T37 Gearbox
4-Wheel Girling 11.5″” Disc Brakes
Independent Double-Wishbone Coil-Over Front Suspension
Independent Dual Trailing-Arm Upper Link with Lower Wishbone and Coil-Over Rear SuspensionThe GT40
After a failed attempt to purchase Ferrari, Henry Ford II was determined to win Le Mans with a car of his own. The indignant Enzo Ferrari would soon find himself in an all-out war that he would ultimately lose.
Mr. Ford did not intend to simply participate in international GT competition; he sought to conquer it. It was an endeavor that would take several years and the help of America’s legendary sportsman Carroll Shelby. It was a motorsport match of legendary proportions, and the result was spectacular.
Unveiled on April 1, 1964, the Ford GT40 looked every bit the weapon it would prove to be. The press release resounded throughout the motorsport community, reading as nothing less than a declaration of war.
From scratch, Mr. Ford built an international contender in roughly 12 months. Through the work of three principals – Royston Lunn, Eric Broadley and John Wyer – both past experience and the groundbreaking use of a computer led to a 40″” tall, 200+ mph sports car.
The design, with roots in the Lola GT, focused on a shape that would allow specifically for speeds in excess of 200 mph on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans. In a race against the clock, the car was designed around a steel tub, which would support the additional structure for the drivetrain. Ford implemented the use of the 4.2-liter Indianapolis motor mounted just behind the driver, which in slightly detuned form would produce 350 hp at 7,200 rpm. Time constraints made it necessary to acquire a gearbox from Colotti in Italy. The four-speed transaxle was mounted to the Ford V-8 with half shafts sending power directly to the rear wheels.
Independent front and rear suspension were masked by the lightweight fiberglass body panels. Further computer and wind tunnel testing saw minor modifications to the body and suspension. The tendency to lift was quickly remedied by forward ground effects, for which the spoiler additionally decreased drag.
With the upcoming debut, further restrictions imposed distinctive features on the prototype cars, most notably the Borrani wire wheels. The finished product was an impressively striking GT. Simply finished in white with black stripes and a matte dark blue nose, the GT40 appeared pur- poseful and aggressive.
As early as April 1964, prototype cars GT/101 and GT/102 were used for both testing and press purposes. In the capable hands of Roy Salvadori and Bruce McLaren, the GT40 hit the track at Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) for numerous shakedowns prior to the upcoming Le Mans trials on April 14, 1964. During the trials, GT/101 was comprehensively crashed by Jo Schlesser as was GT/102 by Salvadori. The second prototype car was returned for repair, while the following two cars – GT/103 and GT/104 – were being completed for the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
The first international outing for Ford and the new GT40 saw Phil Hill and McLaren mount GT/102 for the Nürburgring 1,000 km only to retire with suspension trouble. Le Mans was next, and the team continued to test the three entries – GT/102, GT/103 and GT/104 – at MIRA. For the very public battle with Ferrari, Ford employed the capable driving crew of Hill, McLaren, Richie Ginther, Masten Gregory, Richard Attwood and Schlesser. Little did Ford know that two trouble- some years at Le Mans would be the stepping- stone to a legendary four-year domination of the event. Ford would win the war outright, marking Ferrari’s last victories at Le Mans.
As the fourth GT40 prototype built, GT/104 saw continued changes through its final construction. Of greatest importance was the use of thinner chassis steel (24-gauge as opposed to 22-gauge) in an effort to save weight, making GT/104 the first of four light- weight cars. As with its sister cars, GT/104 was classically finished in white with a matte blue nose and black stripes, and a set of Borrani wire wheels. After just 18 laps (50.4 mi) of testing at MIRA, GT/104 was shipped to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Wearing no. 12, GT/104 was given to Schlesser and Attwood, who manned the car to 8th fastest in practice at an impressive 3:55.4. After two days of practice, the race commenced with a field of tried-and-true veterans, including Ferrari Ps, Ferrari GTOs, Porsche 904s and Shelby’s Cobra Daytona Coupe. The three GT40s battled amongst the front-runners, but would soon find trouble. Both GT/102 and GT/103 suffered gearbox failures. In the fourth hour, running 6th, Attwood pulled GT/104 off the Mulsanne Straight with an engine bay fire caused by a broken fuel line. Track officials extinguished the flames, but the damaged car was out of the race. For Ford it was a setback, but nonetheless an important chapter in the GT40’s path to dominance.
Chassis GT/104 was returned to Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) for repair, and preparations were made for GT/104’s participation in the Nassau Speed Week. Come November, GT/104 was ready to ship to the Bahamas fitted with a Cobra 289 powerplant and a new nose. Unfortunately, both GT/103 and GT/104 failed to finish, similarly plagued by suspension trouble. It was an unsuccessful end to the 1964 season, which was marked by failure to complete a single race.
1965 would require a brand-new approach, and 10 weeks prior to the start of the season both GT/103 and GT/104 were sent to Shelby American, Inc. Lunn had made the decision to contract the racing of the GT40 to Carroll Shelby. After collecting GT/104 at Los Angeles International Airport, Carroll had the car painted in what is now iconic Shelby Blue with two white stripes.
Chassis GT/104 became SAI’s test bed, and with Ken Miles behind the wheel the car saw significant use at Riverside Raceway that January. Initial revisions were made to faulty air ducts, and soon suspension issues were remedied. Within two months, the Colotti transmissions had also been significantly reworked. A high-water-pressure input system was installed on both cars, and the external socket – mounted differently on GT/103 and GT/104 – made them distinguishable. Furthermore, the car received Halibrand alloy wheels in place of the Borranis. In February, as preparation continued, the car again appeared at Riverside with modifications – notably to the tailpiece – which included a hatch to the oiler filler.
The Daytona Continental was fast approaching and by the end of February two nearly identical and totally reworked GT40s rolled off the transporter in Florida. Both the GT40s and the Cobra Daytona Coupes practiced well, and it seemed as if Ferrari would have more competition than just Dan Gurney in his “rabbit” special. Shelby tasked Ginther and Bob Bondurant to man GT/104 (no. 72) and Miles and Lloyd Ruby were assigned GT/103 (no. 73). After qualifying, GT/104 proved dominant, setting the pace for the Shelby team. With both cars running well, Ford was hopeful. The GT40 was primed to make its mark.
After a minor spin on the first lap, Bondurant immediately had GT/104 pulling clear of the Surtees’ Ferrari at over 200 mph. Unfortunately, a second driver error put Bondurant at the back of the field, but soon both cars were running just at the heels of Gurney and the Ferraris. As expected, Gurney’s pace forced the Ferraris into retirement. Before long, GT/104 was running in 2nd and GT/103 in 3rd. Gurney’s unexpected retirement with a blown motor pushed the GT40s into the lead, with GT/104 at the head of the pack.
During a scheduled driver change, GT/104 refused to restart with a condenser issue and 27 minutes passed before the car returned to the track, now well out of the lead. The Ford men on hand feared for the reliability of the cars, demanding that Shelby slow his drivers down. Bondurant recalls, “[Shelby] came out later with a knock-off hammer. Slow down! I would slow going by the pits and then I would go like hell. We started un-lapping ourselves from everyone and Richie, who was a fantastic driver himself, and I started catching up.”
With a determined run, GT/104 met the checkered flag in 3rd place, winning 2nd in Class. Having run behind GT/104 for the majority of the race, GT/103 remained out in front after the unfortunate pit stop and took home the victory. For Ford and Shelby, the losing streak was over. The GT40 wasn’t just a contender, it was a winner.
Roughly a month later, both cars were run at the 12 Hours of Sebring against stiff competition, not from Ferrari but from Chaparral. Hill and Ginther were paired in GT/104 (no. 10) while Miles and McLaren were given GT/103 (no. 11). The GT40s battled the pack, but GT/104 was soon out after rear suspension failure.
Shortly afterwards, both SAI cars were shipped to France to join a pair of FAV GT40s at the Le Mans trials. Chassis GT/104 performed well for Bondurant, who set the seventh-fastest time of the weekend. On Sunday, SAI ran the car with an experimental extended nose, but Bondurant’s dislike of the car’s subsequent handling characteristics put an end to any panel modification.
As the World Championship season continued, SAI brought the GT40s to Monza for the 1,000 km. Things started poorly when Miles put GT/103 into a banking during practice, but both cars started. By mid-distance, it appeared that Chris Amon and Umberto Maglioli in GT/104 were the team’s best hope, having moved from 8th to 2nd, but at 160 mph a ball stud failed. Maglioli managed to bring the car to a controlled stop with a collapsed front suspension.
The following month, Shelby America entered the two cars in the Nürburgring 1,000 km. This May event was the last before 24 Hours of Le Mans, and SAI needed to maintain momentum. Chassis GT/104 was slated for Amon and Ronnie Bucknum wearing no. 11, but before long GT/103 – running a 325 cid engine – broke a driveshaft and Hill and McLaren were given GT/104 to complete the race. Unfortunately, as a result of a missed pitting, GT/104 ran out of fuel just shy of the pits, quickly dropping from 3rd to 23rd. Amon pushed the car to its refueling, only to find that the car was no longer his to drive. Hill and McLaren pushed the car to the limit, and in the minimal time remaining, they battled to a checkered flag in 8th place.
For Le Mans, Shelby American had chosen to run two new production chassis as well as two prototype 427 cars. Chassis GT/104 had fought hard for Ford and Shelby and proved that the GT40 was a machine capable of capturing the World Championship, but GT/104 was not through serving Ford. In late 1965, the car was given to Ford’s Kar Kraft for restoration. Invoiced in November from SAI to Ford Motor Company, GT/104 was taken over by the Ford Styling Department. The restoration amounted to some 500 hours and the end result included new bodywork with a smoother tail section. The car was returned to its earliest prototype livery of white with black stripes with the exception of ￼￼￼￼the nose, which was painted a greenish blue. Additionally, the car retained the Halibrand alloy wheels.
While in Dearborn, Michigan, GT/104 was given the role of show car. It was additionally displayed at the Detroit Auto Show at Cobo Hall. After Ford had conquered the world with the GT40, GT/104 remained with the company until 1971 when they decided it was finally time to part ways with the prototype.
A.H. “Nub” Turner of Ann Arbor, Michigan, became the first private owner of GT/104. At some point during his ownership, the left fuel filler was improperly shut while refueling and a small fire ensued. Fortunately, a gas station attendant was quick to extinguish the flames and damage was limited to a small area of fiberglass around the filler. In 1972, GT/104 was sold to another Ann Arbor resident, John Beaudine Stringer of Road Sport International. In 1973, the car was sold to Dr. Peter Patton of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who soon began a restoration of the car. Chassis GT/104 remained with Dr. Patton until 1978 when an extended hospital stay brought on the sale of the unfinished car to Bill Jacobs of Chicago, Illinois. Greg Lonberger of Oak Park, Illinois, had also been pursuing Dr. Patton to purchase the GT40, captivated by a hunch regarding the car’s former glory.
In September 1978, Mr. Lonberger bought the GT40 and immediately brought it to his restoration shop. For years – in a disassembled state – the car remained with Mr. Lonberger who believed it to be the 1965 Daytona winner. Eventually GT40 expert Ronnie Spain visited the restoration shop and inspected the car with Mr. Lonberger. The bare chassis was scrutinized and an eventual magnet check of the rear bulkhead unearthed the filled hole of the water pressure valve. It was undoubtedly GT/104.
Mr. Lonberger soon began the restoration of GT/104. The chassis was assembled to a rolling state and several hundred hours were spent faithfully executing the fiberglass panels to Shelby specification, of which no originals are known to remain. The unfinished car was sold in June 2010 to its current owner. In August of that year, the restoration began anew in the capable hands of GT40 specialist Paul Lanzante in England, whose efforts on the car were substantial.
Chassis GT/104 was completed using many original and otherwise period-correct components. Even the lightweight chassis, which is noticeably thinner than standard cars, was found to retain the original 256 engine mounts. Chassis GT/104 also retains its Colotti gearbox, an unquestionably scarce component among GT40s. Most importantly, the powerplant is the correct type SAI 289 block with correct Le Mans specification components and is believed to be original to the car from its 1965 SAI campaigning. Interestingly enough, the earliest motors featured a five-bolt bell-housing pattern that was replaced in 1965 by a six-bolt pattern; a Colotti gearbox will only mount a five-bolt unit.
Mr. Lanzante’s experience with purebred race cars of various eras, in addition to five original GT40s, is reflected in the exceptional finish of GT/104. In conjunction with Ronnie Spain and Mark Allin, Mr. Lanzante has accurately returned the GT40 to its 1965 Daytona specification. Upon close inspection, GT/104 benefits from calculated finishes and appropriate materials, making for a period-correct appearance. Furthermore, the running gear was restored following original specifications and, as with any Lanzante restoration, GT/104 is assuredly track-ready at any venue worthy of participation.
Commenting on GT/104, Spain remarked, “As a result of my years researching all of this, I can state categorically that GT/104 has one of the clearest provenances…of all GT40s.”
Exceptionally presented, GT/104’s complete make up places the car among the best GT40s. Few prototypes can claim the ultimate success of the GT40. Since 1923, just four manufacturers have been able to clinch four outright victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the GT40 is perhaps the most notable example. At the leading edge of this marvelous campaign were the three-digit serial number prototype cars of which only a few remain today. Just two of these prototypes can claim the SAI campaigning that provided the GT40 with its first success.
Chassis GT/104 participated in Ford’s initial GT program and earned the first showing for Ford at Le Mans, the first podium finishes for a GT40, and Ford’s first year of World Championship competition. The list of individuals who had a direct hand in the development of GT/104 is certainly noteworthy, the list of race venues at which it competed is extensive, and the list of drivers who piloted GT/104 is a veritable who’s-who of 1960s sports car racing legends. Chassis GT/104 was additionally used by the Ford Styling Department as a show car and, after four decades of inactivity, is offered today in a stunningly fresh and accurate state.
Chassis GT/104 is the first ever 1965 SAI-specification car on public offer and is regarded as the most correct and original prototype Shelby team car. .”
Pros: An excellent GT40. Has FAV racing history and was one of the Ford design vehicles worked on to find the ultimate GT40 body package. Raced all of the classic european races and has great provenance.
Cons: It didn’t really finish that many races.
#13 – Ferrari 250GT Calfiornia LWB 1960 #1639GT US$7 mil. + My pick $8,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$11.275 mil.
From the Sherman M. Wolf Collection, The 1960 Chicago Motor Show1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione
Coachwork by Scaglietti
CHASSIS NO. 1639 GT
ENGINE NO. 1639 GT
Internal No. 100F
$7,000,000 – $9,000,000
■One of Only Nine Alloy-Bodied LWB California Spiders
■Delivered New with Competition Specifications, Disc Brakes and Covered Headlights
■Distinguished Show Car Pedigree
■Participant in the First Colorado Grand
■Exacting Restoration by Noted Ferrari Specialist David Carte
■First in Class at the 1994 FCA Nationals
■Sherman Wolf’s First Ferrari and a Fixture in the Collection Since 1979
■Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini
2,953 CC SOHC Tipo 168 V-12 Engine
Three Weber 40 DCL6 Carburetors
Estimated 270 BHP at 7,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox with Ribbed Case
4-Wheel Dunlop Disc Brakes
Independent Front Suspension
Live Rear Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf SpringsThe Alloy California
“The thought of a California with bucket seats and maybe even an aluminum body, and with its engine and suspension to Berlinetta specs intrigues us mightily. You see, we like raceable open cars, and if the car isn’t suited to a long trip, well, we’ll just go on a short one.”
– Stephen F. Wilder, Sports Cars Illustrated September 1959
There is little doubt that the Ferrari 250 California Spider is among the most recognizable and beloved sports cars of all time. While the origins of the legendary model have been well established and the entire production run carefully documented by devoted historians, the exceptionally rare competition variants were built to highly individualized specifications and, as a result, do not fall into a single, all- encompassing category.
Although the California Spider was envisioned and subsequently marketed as a dual- purpose sports car, only a limited number of the glamorous open Ferraris left the factory in race- ready trim. By 1950s standards, all that was required to transform a California Spider into a serious competitor was a hot motor and a lightweight aluminum body. Nevertheless, only nine LWB California Spiders were originally constructed with alloy coachwork, and of those an even smaller number were optioned with full-competition features. As the alloy- bodied Californias were produced on a one-off basis throughout the 50-car production run, no two examples are alike and the nine examples display significant differences, both mechanically and aesthetically.
Given their limited production and lack of factory support, one might dismiss the California Spider Competizione as an anomaly among serious racing cars, were it not that these rare Ferraris achieved impressive results at the height of international competition. Between 1959 and 1961, alloy-bodied California Spiders won their class at major races (Sebring, Bridgehampton, Nassau and Watkins Glen) and dominated the SCCA’s B and C Production classes.
As recorded by famed Ferrari historian Stan Nowak, 1639 GT is one of the nine LWB California Spiders specially built for competition purposes.
The 45th of 50 LWB California Spiders built, 1639 GT was ordered by Luigi Chinetti – the most significant proponent of racing Californias – reportedly intended for the use of famed North American Racing Team driver Ed Hugus.
On September 8, 1959, Chinetti requested an alloy-bodied California Spider tuned to “Testa Rossa type with T.R. suspension, disc brakes, and Dunlop racing tires.” Chinetti further specified that the competition-spec 250 be finished in “Dark Red/Black” and equipped with a limited-slip differential, covered headlights and a “top two inches higher.” On September 21st, Ferrari confirmed the order and the factory invoice included the notation “con teste TR.”
In Fall 1959, Ferrari set aside the latest Tipo 508D chassis and set to work on Chinetti’s California Competizione. Incorporating the most advanced high-performance components available, 1639 GT was equipped with the newly developed Tipo 168 outside-plug engine. The already-potent V-12 was then fitted with high- lift Tipo 130 camshafts, TR-type valve springs and large Weber 40DCL6 carburetors topped by velocity stacks. With 9.5:1 compression and free-flowing Abarth competition exhaust, 1639 GT developed approximately 270 bhp, making it one of the most powerful California Spiders ever constructed.
As the car was designed to meet the unique requirements of racing, it was further equipped with a ribbed-case Tipo 508D gearbox, an 8:34 rear-axle ratio, Dunlop disc brakes and Borrani wire wheels wearing Dunlop racing tires.
On October 19, 1959, the chassis frame was sent to Scaglietti in Modena, Italy where it was clothed in handmade aluminum coachwork. Although Italian regulations had forced a change to open headlights, the US-spec California Spider was completed with the more elegant covered-headlight configuration and the coachwork was finished in Rosso Bordeaux Metallizzato over black upholstery. A final sporting touch was the inclusion of a dished Nardi steering wheel.
Completed on January 11, 1960, 1639 GT was the fourth-consecutive alloy-bodied California Spider to leave the Ferrari factory, three of which were destined for American shores.
On February 2, 1960, Chinetti Motors sold 1639 GT to George Reed’s RRR Motors, Inc. in Homewood, Illinois. Well known to many American enthusiasts, Reed was the founder of RRR Racing, a successful Goodyear distributor and the official Ferrari agent for Illinois and Wisconsin.
Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Reed was an active competitor in major North
American events and earned a feared reputation for his exceptional talents behind the wheel of a race car. During his heyday, Reed ran at Le Mans and Sebring and made numerous appearances at Road America, Nassau and Meadowdale.
Throughout this period, Reed was always seen with the most exotic European and domestic machinery. He owned a variety of Testa Rossas and California Spiders, a 290 MM, an SWB Berlinetta and a Maserati 300S as well as Porsche Speedsters, Shelby Cobras and racing Corvettes.
By the time Reed took delivery of 1639 GT, he had already raced a similarly equipped alloy- bodied California, 1603 GT, at Nassau. In the effort to find a buyer for the latest California Competizione, Reed displayed 1639 GT at the 1960 Chicago Motor Show held at the Chicago International Amphitheatre. The elegant dark red California was surely the star of Reed’s three-car display, as it was positioned alongside two 250 GT Pinin Farina Coupes, one white and one silver. Although Reed hoped to place the Ferrari in the hands of a serious race driver, it was instead sold to Leonard Theiss, a sports car enthusiast living in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Mr. Theiss drove the car approximately 10,000 miles before selling it in 1961 to Gilbert Horton of Sportstown & Import Motors in Jamestown, North Dakota. Soon after acquiring 1639 GT, Mr. Horton discovered that the California Competizione was not ideally suited to the extreme climate of North Dakota and sent an inquiry to Chinetti Motors to see if a hardtop and standard air cleaner were available; it seems as though they were not. On August 3, 1962, Mr. Horton traded his Alloy California for a more “practical” SWB Berlinetta that was offered for sale at Pallotti & Pool, a dealership in Hartford, Connecticut.
Soon after its arrival on the East Coast in late 1962, 1639 GT was sold to Dr. William R.A. Boben of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. During Dr. Boben’s ownership, the California Spider proved to be a trouble-free sports car and was maintained as needed by local mechanic Verne Johnson. Over the years, Dr. Boben used the alloy-bodied Ferrari to tour the East Coast and visit his daughter while she was away at school, first at Chatham Hall in Virginia, then at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts and finally at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. By the late 1970s, Dr. Boben was getting along in years and felt that it was no longer appropriate to be driving a competition Ferrari.
Soon after Dr. Boben came to this realization, he sold 1639 GT to Sherman M. Wolf in 1979.
The alloy-bodied California Spider was Mr. Wolf’s first Ferrari, and there is no doubt that this exceptional sports car ignited his passion for the beautifully made Italian automobiles. After purchasing 1639 GT, Mr. Wolf spent a great deal of time acquainting himself with the car’s mechanical systems and made a concerted effort to establish the California Spider’s ownership history and unique specifications.
In August 1980, Mr. Wolf sent an inquiry to the Ferrari factory requesting additional information on his recently acquired classic. On September 2nd, Enzo Ferrari’s personal secretary Brenda Vernor replied to Mr. Wolf, thanking him for his letter and enclosing photocopies of the original Assembly Data Sheets.
As Mr. Wolf’s collection expanded, his first Ferrari always maintained a place of distinction. While he would go on to purchase a variety of road and racing Ferraris, Mr. Wolf admired the outstanding combination of performance and civility offered by the alloy-bodied California Spider. In consideration of these preferred qualities, it is no surprise that he elected 1639 GT as his entrant for the first running of the Colorado Grand in 1989. Joined by legendary racing driver, journalist and photographer Denise McCluggage, Mr. Wolf enjoyed running the competition-spec California Spider at triple-digit speeds in absolute confidence and comfort.
Although Mr. Wolf always performed his own service and maintenance, when it came time to restore 1639 GT, he enlisted the services of David Carte’s Classic & Sport Auto Refinishing, Inc. of Edinburg, Virginia. Meticulously restored to the highest standards and with great care to retain the car’s many unique features, this exceptional California Spider looks every bit as beautiful as it did when it was displayed by George Reed at the 1960 Chicago Motor Show. Not only does 1639 GT retain its original, matching-numbers engine and important competition features, it is authentically presented in every respect, down to the correct Dunlop racing tires and tool roll.
Since being restored by one of the world’s leading Ferrari specialists, 1639 GT has been displayed at just one major event: the 1994 Ferrari Club of America International Concours in Monterey, California, where it won its class. Lovingly maintained ever since, this magnificent California Spider remains in show-quality condition throughout and displays fewer than 50,000 miles on the odometer.
As a late-production LWB California Spider, 1639 GT is among the most beautiful sports cars ever built. Equipped with covered headlights and finished in its elegant factory-delivered color scheme, it is all the more rare and enticing. Consider that it is constructed entirely in lightweight, hand-formed aluminum and you have an exceptionally rare and special Ferrari.
In terms of mechanical specifications, one could scarcely ask for a more desirable 250- series Ferrari. Ideally optioned with disc brakes, a ribbed-alloy gearbox and a full competition- spec outside-plug motor with all the best factory- delivered speed equipment, this alloy-bodied racer is the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing and as close as one could come to a road- going TR59.
Not only is 1639 GT a significant Ferrari of unrivaled rarity and beauty, its history and provenance are second to none. Ordered by influential North American distributor Luigi Chinetti and delivered to one of the most successful American privateers, this California Spider is believed to be the only alloy- bodied example that served as a period show car. Over the past 52 years, this exceptional California Spider has benefitted from long-term stewardship and is offered with important documentation such as correspondence between Mr. Wolf and previous owners, Ferrari- supplied copies of the original Assembly Data Sheets and a history report produced by marque authority Marcel Massini.
Amazingly, the last time that 1639 GT was offered for public sale was in 1962, when it was a two-year-old, 10,000-mile car. Over the past five decades, only two individuals have had the great pleasure of owning this exceptional Ferrari and its outstanding presentation reflects the care and attention it has continued to receive. While the nine alloy-bodied, competition California Spiders are all in the top tier of collector cars, this is certainly a star among the best of them.
The centerpiece of Mr. Wolf’s much-admired stable, 1639 GT is a magnificent trophy for the most discerning Ferrari collector. ”
Pros: Great California, Aluminium, good history, original. Race Spec.
Cons: No competition history. Otherwise it is the one to have.
#14 – Ferrari 250GT California SWB 1961 #3119 US$7 mil. + My pick $6,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$8.58 mil.
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
Chassis No. 3119 GT
Engine No. 3119 GT
To be auctioned on
Saturday, August 18, 2012
280 bhp, 2,953 cc single overhead camshaft V-12 engine, three Weber carburetors, four-speed gearbox, independent front suspension via A-arms, coil springs, and telescopic shock absorbers, live rear axle with semi-elliptical springs and telescopic shock absorbers, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400 mm (94.5?)
• One of only 37 covered headlight examples built
• Unquestionably one of the most attractive and desirable Ferraris in existence
• Matching numbers and Ferrari Classiche certified
• Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance class winner
Without a doubt, the 250 GT SWB California Spyder is one of the most beautiful cars ever to pass through Ferrari’s fabled gates on Via Abetone Inferiore. With its stunning bodywork designed by Pininfarina and masterfully executed by Scaglietti, the car was a collaboration of the very best.
As with all other road cars, the California Spyder’s design was based on the experience gained from the Scuderia’s sports and Grand Prix racing efforts. Convertibles, in particular, were readily marketable to a select clientele in Europe and were especially attractive to the burgeoning market in North America, served by Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann. To respond to this market, Ferrari created two legendary series of road cars: the cabriolets and the spyders.
The 250 GT Pininfarina Series II Cabriolets were based upon one of Ferrari’s earliest volumes of series-built production cars, the 250 GT Pininfarina Coupes, and like the PF Coupe, they were nicely trimmed and fitted for everyday use and long trips. Combining the exciting performance of Ferrari’s race-proven 3.0-litre V-12 engine with the excellent handling and supple ride of the 2,600 mm wheelbase chassis, the Series II 250 GT PF Cabriolet had a well-earned and highly justified reputation as a superb, elegant, and understated touring car with quality interior appointments, soundproofing, and classic Ferrari styling.
On the other hand, there was the California Spyder. Also designed by Pininfarina, it was based upon the 250 GT Tour de France, Ferrari’s dual-purpose berlinetta, and it shared its character: lighter, more responsive, and faster, with characteristics closer to those of a racing car than its more luxurious stable mates. The California Spyder, first offered on a 2,600 mm wheelbase, was developed for a group of performance-oriented drivers who wanted both the pace of the berlinettas and the open-air feel of a convertible.
In 1959, Ferrari introduced a short wheelbase 250 GT Berlinetta that offered quicker, more responsive handling, followed a year later by its California Spyder variant, introduced at Geneva in 1960. While the SWB Berlinetta got a newly designed body, the SWB California Spyder continued with its LWB sibling’s coachwork, with its styling drawn and executed more tautly and sharply over the shorter wheelbase. True dual-purpose automobiles, they were at home on the streets of Beverly Hills and the open roads and racing circuits of Europe and North America, epitomizing both style and prestige. Many of Ferrari’s clients were wealthy, famous, and titled patrons. In Hollywood, a number of leading actors owned Ferraris, including such famed actors as Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, and James Coburn.
Apart from the French Riviera and Hollywood, however, the California Spyders were also mainstays on racetracks around the world, as privateer teams and customers soon saw the competition potential of these open top Ferraris. American driver Richie Ginther co-drove with Howard Hively in a LWB version to win the GT Class at the 1959 12 Hours of Sebring. The most remarkable competition success, however, was undoubtedly N.A.R.T.’s 5th overall at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. Beaten only by two Aston Martin sports racing cars and two Ferrari competition coupes, the N.A.R.T.-entered Ferrari California Spyder of Bob Grossman and Fernand Tavano covered 3964.491 km at an average speed of 165.187 km/h, including pit stops.
All told, Ferrari produced a total of just 106 California Spyders, 56 of them on the short wheelbase chassis. Of those 56, only about 37 were delivered in the most desirable of all configurations: the very attractive covered-headlamp variant. The stunning SWB 250 GT California Spyder on offer, chassis no. 3119 GT, is one such example. It was sold new in March 1962, through official importer Jacques Swaters’ Garage Francorchamps SA, of Brussels, Belgium. The first owner was Fredy Damman. Enthusiasts will recall Damman purchased another SWB California Spyder, chassis no. 2377 GT, through Swaters, which was then purchased in 1964 by James Coburn and sold in 2008 at RM Auctions’ Ferrari Leggenda e Passione auction event.
Like the ex-Coburn car, 3119 GT also found its way to the United States, and by March 1970, it was owned by Philipp Cole, of California. Walt McCune showed the car at the Newport Beach Concours d’Elegance in October 1989 before it was restored in the 1990s at Luigi Menerella’s shop. McCune and Luciano Fabbio showed the car at the 40th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was presented along with other cars influenced by Ing. Giotto Bizzarrini and won its class. A class award at Pebble Beach is quite inarguably one of the most sought-after honors for any collector car, and one that confirms this Ferrari’s superb restoration, authenticity, and extraordinary desirability.
Bill Bauce purchased the car in the mid-1990s and showed it at the 29th Annual Ferrari Club of America national meeting in Palm Beach, where it was a class winner, before going the year after to the Ferrari Club of America International Concours in Monterey, California.
The current owner, a knowledgeable and highly-respected Ferrari enthusiast, has maintained the car in his world-class collection since acquiring it a number of years ago. It is on the button and ready to be toured or shown in the most exclusive venues around the world. As one of only about 37 covered headlamp examples, it is, unquestionably, one of the most desirable open top GT cars ever made and is equally as rare as its mighty sibling, the 250 GTO. The opportunity to acquire a California Spyder rarely comes along, particularly one of this pedigree and exceptional rarity.
Pros: A very good, straight street California with a decent history, covered headlights et al
Cons: Overpriced, at this level is it a little common ?, will make the high rollers go off, or will fail to sell……
#15 – Duesenberg Model J 1929 Murphy Convertible #2134/J108 US$1.75 mil. + My pick $2,500,000.00 SOLD @ US$1.897 mil.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe
by The Walter M. Murphy Co. [CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS]
Chassis No. 2134
Engine No. J-108
Body No. 102
To be auctioned on
Saturday, August 18, 2012
265 bhp, 420 cu in DOHC inline eight-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder and hemispherical combustion chambers, three-speed manual transmission, beam-type front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142.5″”
• First chassis-only purchase from Duesenberg Inc.
• Bespoke coachwork for Mr. & Mrs. Harry Robinson
• True custom coachwork; ACD certified
• Recent concours restoration by Fran Roxas
The announcement of the Model J shook the industry and even momentarily halted trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The first opportunity members of the public had to see the new car was at a chassis display at the 1929 New York Auto Show. Hundreds came to see this new wonder and they were not disappointed: there on the floor was a brand new, bare chassis on display.
Duesenberg J-108/2134 was purchased by the wife of department store scion Mr. Harry Robinson, of Los Angeles, in the spring or summer of 1929, and it was notable as the first chassis-only purchase from Duesenberg Inc. The Robinsons were good clients of the firm. In J.L. Ebert’s Duesenberg: the Mightiest American Motor Car, a letter written by Mrs. Robinson, identified as “Mrs. H. R., of Beverly Hills,” writes, “I am happy to talk of our Duesenbergs—we have had four three-special bodies. My husband’s white car, a green sports sedan—with the back seat higher than the driver’s—and two town cars… My most beautiful 1929 town car I still use daily.” The Robinsons, in fact, owned three or four Model A Duesenbergs, and by the time that J-108, their first Model J, was ordered, they would have had plenty of experience in specifying the appearance of a new car.
The rolling chassis was delivered to the Walter M. Murphy Company, where it was clothed with a full custom body in the form of this disappearing top convertible coupe. It can be presumed that either Mrs. Robinson, or both she and her husband, had a hand in influencing the sketches penned by Murphy’s designers. Other notable Murphy features include the steeply raked windshield, front-hinged doors, rounded side panels, and a slightly vee-crowned rear deck lid that hints at a vestigial tail fin. The body was painted white, as was the chassis, which would only have been done at the direction of the client. A photographic print included in the file depicts a very smartly dressed lady, perhaps Mrs. Robinson, leaning against the door of the new Duesenberg, one foot propped up on the running board.
At some point, chassis 2134 was sent to the factory to be equipped with radiator shutters, as well as a Stromberg downdraft carburetor. In 1934, it was driven by Ginger Rogers in The Gay Divorcee, and a later photograph included in the file depicts Ms. Rogers with the car. The second owner of 2134 is believed to be a Mrs. Cody, followed by Marshall Merkes, of Glendale, California, until 1947. J-108/2134 was then purchased by a Mr. Ed Griffin, and later his widow, until 1960, when it was purchased out of the estate by Mr. Gerald Strohecker, of Oregon, who restored it with Mr. Charles F. Norris, of Portland, Oregon. It was later willed to Norris upon his death, along with two other Duesenberg Js.
Marque expert Brian Joseph performed mechanical maintenance on the car while in Mr. Ken McBride’s ownership in the mid-2000s, which included installation of new transmission bearings; a rebuild of the differential, which included a high-speed ring and pinion, as well as new differential and torque tube bearings; a rebuild of the lower chain tensioner and a new cam timing set; porcelain coating of the exhaust manifold; rebuilding of the fuel gauge; installation of a new wiring harness; rebuilding of the radiator shutter thermostat; rebuilding of the wiper motor; replacement of the right tie rod end; and a check and adjustment of the brakes, including installation of one new wheel cylinder. It later passed to the current vendor, who, after a time, commissioned Fran Roxas to perform a full concours-quality restoration, which was completed in 2010.
As-restored, it shows a mere 73 miles on the odometer and is finished as it originally was, in white with matching white chassis, and sports a flawless, highly attractive, light camel leather interior with tan carpeting. The chromed wire wheels are shod with sleek blackwall tires, which focus attention on the quality of the early Murphy convertible coachwork. It is also equipped with the original dual side-mounted spare tires with pedestal mirrors and retains all of the unique Murphy features that make this a one-off custom. In May 2012, it was awarded Best of Show at the second annual Celebration of Automobiles, which took place at the Indianapolis Speedway on the opening day of the historic 500 race. As presented, it would make a great tourer or concours entry and also retains ACD certification D-065. It has been featured in Fred Roe’s Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection, as well as twice in the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club newsletter. The new owner can be assured that with the quality of the Roxas restoration behind it, it will remain in high-point condition, as long as it is well looked after, and will remain a truly unique, exceptional example of the fabled marque.
Pros: Great looking car, good history, a movie star
Cons: Not much, common ?
#16 – Porsche 917/10 #917/10 – 003 Turbo 1972 My pick $5,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$5.5 mil.
Model L&M 917/10
Lot S123 1972 Porsche L&M 917/10 Spyder
’72 Can-Am Champion Driven by George Follmer
Monterey, CA The Daytime Auction
August 16-18, 2012
This Lot scheduled to be sold SAT 2:30PM
– Perhaps the world’s most recognized Porsche 917
– Team Penske Racing, sponsored by L&M
– Driven by racing legends Mark Donohue and George Follmer
– Debuted at Mosport ’72 Can-Am driven by Mark Donohue
– Dominated the ’72 Can-Am series taking 1st at 5 of 9 races
– Can-Am Champion in ’72 driven by George Follmer
– Raced as #6 by Donohue and #7 by Follmer in ’72
– Penske then sold 003 to Rinzler and was campaigned as the #16 car in RC Cola livery for the ’73 Can-Am season
– 2nd place overall in ’73 driven by George Follmer
– Powered by a 5.4L Twin Turbo 12 cylinder engine
– Capable of making over 1150 horsepower
– 0-100 MPH in 2.9 seconds
– 917/10-003 was used for significant testing and development by Porsche prior to delivery to Penske
– A true icon for automotive racing history
– This car earned Porsche their first Can-Am Championship and is one of the most significant race cars ever built
Pros: pretty much a 1 off, certainly unique history, raced by Donohue/ Penske, 1100+ BHP enough for you?
Cons: Its not a Gulf 917K
#17 – Ferrari 250GT California LWB Proto. #0769 1957 US$6 mil. + My pick $7,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$6.6 mil.
Formerly the Property of Georg Arents1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Prototype
Coachwork by Scaglietti
CHASSIS NO. 0769 GT
ENGINE NO. 0769 GT
Internal No. 058C
$6,000,000 – $8,000,000
■An Important, One-of-a-Kind Ferrari
■The Original Pre-Production California Spider Prototype
■Groundbreaking Sports Car Design with Singular Features
■Illustrated in Ferrari Factory Photographs and Sales Literature
■Winner of the 1961 De Diego Trophy in Puerto Rico
■Featured in Numerous Books and Magazines
■Matching-Numbers, Ferrari Classiche Certified Example
■Displayed at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
■Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini
2,953 CC SOHC Tipo 128C V-12 Engine
Three Weber 36 DCL3 Carburetors
Estimated 225 BHP at 7,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Coil-Spring Front Suspension
Live Rear Axle with Trailing Arms and Shock AbsorbersThis Car
The Ferrari California Spider presented here is the first example produced, the original factory prototype and, quite simply, unlike any other. Although the origin story of this legendary sports car has been told many times, from many different perspectives, one cannot escape the fact that this is the very car that started it all.
Ferrari, encouraged by Luigi Chinetti and John von Neumann to build an open, dual-purpose sports car for the American market, turned to their highly developed Tipo 128C chassis, which served as the platform for every 250 GT, from the humble Ellena to the high-performance Tour de France Berlinetta. The chassis that Ferrari selected to serve as the foundation for the California Spider Prototype was 0769 GT.
The engine fitted to 0769 GT, an inside-plug Tipo 128C unit with six-port heads, hairpin valve springs, a single rear-mounted distributor and Weber 36 DCL3 carburetors, represented the height of road car development in late 1957 and had been proven through use in the 250 production models. For reasons that remain unclear, this tried-and-true 250 engine was coupled with an unusual driveline that included a reverse-pattern gearbox with Porsche-type synchromesh and a rear-end absent a limited- slip differential.
Once completed at Ferrari, the chassis was shipped to Carrozzeria Scaglietti in Modena, Italy, for coachwork. Around this time, Pinin Farina was building a series of exclusive open road cars, now referred to as the Series 1 Cabriolets. Scaglietti, generally responsible for building competition
models, had only produced a limited number of road cars and looked to Pinin Farina’s contemporary designs for inspiration.
As the construction of the prototype was in many ways an improvisation, the bodywork was fabricated in steel, which was less expensive and easier to work with than aluminum. In its overall form and decorative features, the body Scaglietti created for 0769 GT combined the most desirable attributes of Pinin Farina’s exclusive Series 1 Cabriolet and the signature features of Scaglietti’s subsequent California Spiders to create a one-of-a-kind Ferrari road car with a distinctive dual-purpose character.
Ferrari historian Stanley Nowak, in his definitive book Spyder California, outlines the design of 0769 GT in great detail and traces its many singular features.
“The prototype design executed by Scaglietti was a simplified and more rakish version of the earlier Pinin Farina designs. Crisp edges carried along the sides included creases down the tops of the rear fenders. The cowl area at the bottom of the windscreen was almost flat and permitted a less complex piece of glass to be used with the entire assembly raked back at a more extreme angle compared to the Pinin Farina version. The windscreen angle was very important; it gave the whole car a distinctly racing look. Another unusual feature was the sharp corner formed where the forward parts of the rear fenders inter- sected the lower panel coming back from the door. This particular sharpness was not duplicated on the production versions.”
In creating the California Spider Prototype, Scaglietti borrowed the grille, side vents, taillights and full-width bumpers from the current Tour de France. The cockpit was also reminiscent of the competition berlinetta, with its unique gauge cluster, Nardi steering wheel and purposeful, crackle- finish dash. These features, along with the distinctive offset shifter and reverse-cut hood scoop, are unique to 0769 GT and did not appear on any California Spider that followed.
With its covered headlights, prominent hood scoop and dramatically raked wind- screen, Scaglietti’s prototype defined the look and feel of every future California Spider. Even the interior treatment had its own distinct personality. Whereas the Pinin Farina Cabriolet was luxuriously appointed with Connolly hides and thick carpeting, the California Spider was finished with leatherette upholstery and rubber mats in keeping with its sporting, no-frills nature.
Completed on December 16, 1957, 0769 GT was up and running six months before the first production California Spider. As the first and only example completed, the prototype was used to introduce the new model and the factory took a series of photos to illustrate their latest creation. Significantly, a selection of these images was used in the first California Spider brochure as well as other sales literature produced for the model.
On January 3, 1958, following its arrival at Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York City, the California Spider was sold to George Arents. As Chinetti’s first business partner and main source of financial support, Arents was always first in line for the latest offering from Ferrari.
In a letter to Mr. Nowak, Arents recounts the origin of the California Spider and his personal experiences with this landmark sports car.
“It was John von Neumann who came up with the idea of a chop top TDF and Luigi who saw it through. The name was chosen by Luigi partly for John and partly as Coco says because of his father’s growing pride in his American citizenship. As Luigi’s business partner I agreed wholeheartedly when he called me about the project and also agreed to accept the first prototype for generalized road testing and a little local racing in Florida.”
Although Arents goes on to describe the car’s flaws, mostly deriving from its impracticality as
daily transport and early teething troubles, he was certainly aware of the California Spider’s considerable influence and, as years went on, elevated status among collectors.
On November 11, 1960, with production of California Spiders well underway, Luigi Chinetti sold Arents’ prototype to Frank Ramirez de Carellano, a resident of Puerto Rico. In 1961, 0769 GT was campaigned in two leading Puerto Rican races. For the first outing, which took place at the Puerto Rico Festival, Ramirez loaned the California Spider to Rafael Rosales, who proceeded to drive the sports car to a 1st place finish. Later that year, Victor Merino drove the Ferrari prototype in the De Diego Trophy at the Antilles Auto Race Track and won the event outright. Following its competition forays, 0769 GT remained in storage for many years before it was eventually sold to Basillo Davila of Santurce, Puerto Rico.
In 1980, Mr. Davila sent 0769 GT to the US for restoration, at which time the original engine was removed and placed in a 500 TRC, 0672 MDTR. The restoration, which had been started by Stanley Nowak, was eventually turned over to Don Leferts’ Vintage Auto Restorations (VAR) in Ridgefield, Connecticut. In 1988, while 0769 GT was still undergoing restoration at VAR, Warren Weiner of Villanova, Pennsylvania, purchased the Ferrari and completed the project.
Beginning in 1994, Mr. Weiner displayed the beautifully restored one-off Ferrari at a variety of prestigious concours events, including the FCA International Concours in Monterey, Concorso Italiano in Carmel Valley and Rosso Rodeo in Beverly Hills, California, and the New Hope Auto Show in Pennsylvania, among other local outings. In 2004, Mr. Weiner located the original engine for 0769 GT and reunited it with the car. Although the main engine number had been incorrectly re-stamped at some point in the past, the original internal number (058C) stamping remained clear and unaltered.
For the past six years, the California Spider Prototype has benefitted from the care of the current owner, a prominent Ferrari collector whose stable of exceptional automobiles includes some of the most important examples of the marque.
Soon after acquiring the car, the consignor had 0769 GT certified by Ferrari Classiche. During this process, Ferrari verified the authenticity of the original engine through a study of the unaltered internal number. For a more accurate appearance, the Ferrari factory re-stamped the main engine pad number in the correct font. Finished in Rosso with natural leather interior and chrome Borrani wire wheels, the California Spider Prototype is accurately presented and corresponds to the factory’s record of the original build.
In 2007, the California Spider participated in the Giro del Amalfitano Classic and was displayed at Ferrari’s 60th Anniversary Concorso d’Eleganza in Italy. As recently as 2008, 0769 GT returned to the US to take part in the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was displayed in a special class celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ferrari’s California Spider.
Since leaving the factory in 1957, 0769 GT accomplished everything Ferrari set out to achieve with the California Spider. Not only did this car serve as the foundation for the most iconic series of sports cars ever built, it captured the attention of automotive tastemakers and furthered the glamorous image of the Ferrari marque in the most vibrant and influential marketplace. It even managed to win a few races.
Over the years, 0769 GT has appeared in numerous books, including Stanley Nowak’s Spyder California and George M. Carrick’s California Spyder: A Ferrari of Particular Distinction, as well as various Ferrari magazines from Cavallino to Forza. In addition to these informative articles and publications, marque authority Marcel Massini has produced a report outlining the unique history and specifications of 0769 GT.
A sports car of universal appeal and exceptional historical import, the California Spider Prototype is sure to be a cornerstone of the most comprehensive Ferrari collections and carries particular significance with those who maintain a passion for influential, one-off designs. Considering its singular status as a Ferrari prototype, distinctive pre-production features, rich history and certified authenticity, 0769 GT must be considered one of the great Ferrari road cars, and thus, one of the finest, most collectible automobiles of the post-war era. .”
Pros: It’s a prototype, so is unique, BUT that means it lacks some of what makes a california a California. Excellent history.
Cons: Not much, but if you were after a California, you would possibly buy one of the other two available this weekend.
#18 – Daimler 40/50 Double Six Martin Walter Sports Saloon 1932 #32382 US$3 mil. + My pick $4,000,000.00 SOLD @ US$2.97 mil.
1999 Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance Best of Show Winner1932 Daimler 40/50 Double Six Sport Saloon
Designed by Captain H.R. Owen | One-Off Coachwork by Martin Walter Ltd.
CHASSIS NO. 32382
ENGINE NO. 55628
$3,000,000 – $4,000,000
■Premiere Award Winner at the 1932 Eastbourne Concours d’Elegance
■A Showcase for British Engineering and Coachwork
■The Longest and Most Advanced of the 26 Double Sixes
■One of the Most Beautiful Closed Cars Ever Constructed
■Exceptional Attention to Detail Throughout
■Featured in Daimler Factory Literature and Profile Publications
■A One-of-a-Kind Monument to Automotive Extravagance
■The Finest Car Ever Built by Daimler: The Car of Kings
6,511 CC 60o Knight Double Sleeve-Valve V-12 Engine
Dual Daimler Carburetors
150 BHP (50 HP R.A.C.) at 2,480 RPM
4-Speed Wilson Preselector Gearbox
4-Wheel Servo-Assisted Mechanical Drum Brakes
Solid Front Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs and Hartford Friction Dampers
Live Rear Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs and Hartford Friction DampersThe Double Six
The Daimler Company is Britain’s oldest and most enigmatic marque, and from its inception its products have primarily appealed to royalty, the wealthy and society’s elite. Daimler continued this stately business for many years, with little competition from other British marques until Rolls-Royce appeared on the scene.
In 1908, Daimler acquired a license for Charles Knight’s patented engine design that featured a unique sleeve-valve configuration, allowing it to operate in a much quieter manner than conventional engines of the time. While this technology was employed by a number of American automobile makers, the high cost of production and mechanical complexity limited its use to high-end automobiles.
Daimler’s lineup of vehicles consisted predominantly of six-cylinder engines until the mid-1920s when the Double Six first appeared. It was an impressive achievement for Daimler’s distinguished chief engineer Laurence H. Pomeroy. In basic terms, the Double Six is two six-cylinder sleeve-valve engines in a “V” configuration, with each bank having its own intake, exhaust and ignition system.
The Double Six is an engine of immense complexity and sophistication – one of the most notable examples of over-engineering ever to appear in a production automobile. For example, each carburetor features no less than seven jets and is plumbed for all three engine fluids – oil, coolant and fuel mixture.
Like all previous Daimlers, the Double Six soon became the preferred method of transport for the British royal family and foreign dignitaries such as King Hussein of Jordan. Perhaps the best-known patrons of the marque were King George V and Queen Mary, who collectively owned more than 20 Daimlers, several of which were Double Sixes.
In his essay on the Double Sixes written for Profile Publications, legendary automotive historian William Boddy acknowledges the exceptional character of these Daimler automobiles and poignantly remarks that, “Verily, these were splendid motor-carriages, but they belong to an age of grandeur and affluence which is unlikely to return.”
This 1932 Daimler 40/50 Double Six Sport Saloon is, without question, one of the most imposing automobiles ever constructed by the legendary British marque or any maker of exclusive luxury vehicles.
While only 26 Double Sixes were built over a decade, the vast majority of these were constructed on the shorter, smaller displacement chassis offered by Daimler. If only for its exceedingly rare specification, this 1932 Daimler Double Six is among the very best of a rarified breed. As a second-generation, long-wheelbase example of the incomparable Double Six, this car is equipped with the revised 40/50 12-cylinder engine and Wilson preselector gearbox that allow for seamless delivery of power and a top speed in excess of 80 mph.
This particular Daimler lays claim to being the longest Double Six chassis ever built. With a wheelbase stretching out over four meters, it is just a few inches shorter than the legendary Bugatti Royale. For a better understanding of its grandeur and scale, one might imagine sitting in the driver’s seat and visualizing the car’s front wheels placed nearly 10 feet ahead.
The extravagant Sport Saloon coachwork fashioned for this Daimler was the responsibility of noted English designer Captain H.R. Owen. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Captain Owen penned some of the most elegant automobile designs and worked in tandem with prestigious coachbuilder Gurney Nutting. Intimately familiar with fine automobiles and the discerning individuals who purchased them, Captain Owen was, in addition to a successful designer, one of Great Britain’s leading Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealers. To this day, his exclusive Rolls-Royce and Bentley showrooms remain in operation in London’s posh Berkeley Square.
Upon completion of the chassis, Martin Walter Ltd. – a distinguished coachbuilder that gained an enviable reputation for building high-quality prestige bodies for Britain’s luxury marques – exe- cuted Owen’s breathtaking design. The resulting car is so long, low and daringly proportioned that it makes other radical designs of the period seem timid and half-hearted by comparison. The styling represents the long-hood, low-profile paradigm taken to the extreme, yet despite the car’s excesses it possesses an undisputed style and grace.
The Daimler’s eye-catching elegance can be attributed to the skillful attention to detail visible in every aspect of Captain Owen’s design. Features such as rear-hinged doors, exterior sun visors, thoughtfully integrated interior storage compart- ments, dual rear-mounted spares, sculpted helmet fenders and a prominent elephant mascot by François Bazin serve to accentuate the car’s scale and overall magnificence. It is not a car that is large because it needs to be, but more a stretch of the imagination and a symbolic gesture designed to both captivate and intimidate – a car that is both seductive and sinister. Captain Owen’s design was so successful that Daimler even included a rendering of the Double Six Sport Saloon in its literature on the model, perhaps to urge prospective buyers to create similarly brilliant machines.
Upon completion, this Double Six was sold to A. Webber, an English gentleman about whom little is known. In 1932, shortly after taking delivery of the Double Six, Mr. Webber displayed his striking luxury car at the third Eastbourne Concours d’Elegance held at Devonshire Place, England. At the time, the Eastbourne Concours was one of the most prestigious events of its kind in all of Europe and a successful showing there was a considerable honor.
At Eastbourne, the splendid Double Six received the Premiere Award, the equivalent of Best of Show and the Most Distinctive Car Award, two of the most important honors that could have been bestowed upon a car on this occasion. Surprisingly, this English concours was the only event of the era in which the majestic car was on public display.
The Double Six was later sold to a gentleman on the Isle of Man, in whose care it remained for several decades. The distinctive car was a frequent sight on the Isle throughout the 1950s and 1960s, where its flamboyant proportions and immense presence caused quite a stir among the locals. At some point, the owner removed the complex Double Six engine, substituting a much more serviceable Buick straight- eight. Significantly, the substitution did not diminish the integrity of the chassis and the original engine remained with the car throughout the following years.
The car remained on the Isle of Man for some time before being seen again in the 1990s, this time at Crailville in London, where the coachwork was undergoing structural repairs. Even by this time, the Double Six was still remarkably sound and proved an excellent candidate for restoration.
In the early 1990s, the Daimler, along with its original Double Six engine, was purchased by an American collector and brought to the United States to complete the restoration. Beginning in 1994, the car underwent an extensive five- year restoration that returned it to its former grandeur. Mark Goyette in California completed the bodywork and cosmetics, and the Alan Taylor Company, Inc. took charge of rebuilding the complex Double Six engine.
After being returned to its original configuration, the car made its debut at the 1999 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, during the event’s momentous 50th anniversary celebration. Not only was it a special year for Pebble Beach, but the appearance of the fabulous Double Six marked the first time in over 65 years that this spectacular car had been publically displayed.
At the conclusion of the concours, the Double Six was awarded the prestigious Best of Show award – an honor that many consider the ultimate prize in the classic car hobby.
Since its successful debut at Pebble Beach, the Double Six Sport Saloon has been shown at a number of impressive concours, including Villa d’Este, Meadow Brook and the Quail Motorsports Gathering. Each time the Daimler Double Six has been shown, it has attracted considerable attention, for both its exceptional style and outstanding restoration.
Thanks to fastidious maintenance while in the hands of two appreciative caretakers, this prodigious and intricately detailed automobile remains in concours condition throughout and is as impressive as the day it received Best of Show at Pebble Beach.
The deep black paint is in outstanding condition and the beautifully upholstered interior shows not even a hint of use. Lift the hood and the engine bay reveals one of the most glorious mechanical objects ever conceived – a gleaming, 6 1/2-litre, 12-cylinder sleeve-valve engine that looks as though every square inch of its surface has been plated and polished to perfection.
All of the details are stunning and deserve careful examination as this Daimler simply abounds with fascinating features. From its distinctive chrome-plated wire wheels to the complete array of period tools, both in the trunk and under the rear seat, even the most basic elements of an automobile appear marvelous on this Double Six.
Very few of these grand sleeve-valve Daimlers remain in existence, with the vast majority having fallen victim to neglect, scrap piles and the ravages of time. Most were large, formal, rather unexciting luxury cars and as a result few have ever been restored to the level of this exceptional Martin Walter Sport Saloon. This example is one of the fortunate survivors, perhaps because it has always been one of the finest, most exhilarating examples of this rare breed.
The indelible presence, unquestioned authenticity and inherent rarity of this Daimler make it the crowning achievement of a firm known for building the finest royal conveyances. Boasting a spectacular engine designed by Lawrence Pomeroy, an advanced Wilson preselector gearbox, sensational coachwork penned by Captain H.R. Owen and the longest Double Six chassis ever offered, this Daimler Sport Saloon represents the very best of Britain’s automotive expertise in the pre-war era. Not only is this Daimler one of the ultimate automotive statements, it remains in truly exclusive company as a Pebble Beach Best of Show winner.
Those with an appreciation for extravagant custom coachwork and engineering excellence are sure to be impressed by this one-of-a-kind Double Six. It is, without question, the finest example of this important English marque and a stirring testimony to the unique vision and talent of Captain H.R. Owen. .”
Pros: Amazing looking car, something Dick Dastardly or Cruella da Ville would drive, amazing
Cons: Would you drive it ? Probably better to sit and look at it as some type of automotive art.
#19 – Talbot Lago T23 1938 Teardrop F & F #93064 US$2.5 mil. + My pick $2,300,000.00 SOLD @ US$2.64 mil.
1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Teardrop Coupe
by Figoni et Falaschi
Chassis No. 93064
Engine No. 80572
To be auctioned on
Friday, August 17, 2012
115 bhp, 3,996 cc inline six-cylinder engine with hemispherical combustion chambers and twin carburetors, Wilson four-speed preselector gearbox, independent front suspension with transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 116.14″”
• The sole Jeancart-style, four-liter Talbot-Lago T23 Teardrop Coupe built
• One of five Jeancart-style cars built and one of the four examples remaining
• A former Pebble Beach Elegance in Motion winner
• Expertly restored and properly sorted for fast driving, as originally intended
The Talbot-Lago “Teardrop” by Figoni et Falaschi – The Pinnacle of Prewar Elegance
Without doubt, the Talbot-Lago Teardrop Coupes by Figoni et Falaschi represent the crowning achievement of French design and engineering during the 1930s. It is believed that just 16 Teardrops were built in total, in two slightly different body styles. The first car in the “Jeancart” design, after the name of its first owner, was a beautiful, aerodynamic coupe with a long, streamlined rear-end treatment. Only five such cars were built and, of those, just four remain today; this car, Chassis 93064, was the sole Jeancart-style Teardrop originally built upon a four-liter, T23 “Baby” chassis. The other 11 Teardrop Coupes were built in the “New York” style, named after the car exhibited at the 1937 New York Auto Salon. Except for one car on a T23 chassis, these “New York” cars were all based upon the shorter T150-C chassis.
Chassis 93064 – Singular Perfection
While hardly a long-wheelbase chassis by the standards of the coachbuilt era, the effect of the 2.95-meter wheelbase of the T23 chassis, combined with the Figoni Teardrop coachwork, is simply breathtaking. Blessed with a physical presence unlike many of its counterparts, the slightly wider track of 93064 gives it a very balanced and particularly sporting stance.
Existing records indicate that 93064 was ordered as a “Baby 4L” chassis with Style 9221 Model Jeancart coachwork, which was built by Figoni et Falaschi as job number FF685. Following completion, it was delivered on February 21, 1938 to a French resident registered as 199 ADY 75. Predictably, its exceptional beauty made it prominent at period concours events, with contemporary magazines showing it in the company of a striking woman at its first showing at the Concours d’Elegance de l’Auto in June 1938.
Chassis 93064 made its way to Southern California during the late-1940s, having likely been imported by a returning member of the American armed services. At this time, David Radinsky, a Denver, Colorado native, acquired the Teardrop. He later sold the car to machinist Paul Major, who for many years was seen driving the car in the Denver, Colorado area. At this point, the headlights had been recessed into the front fenders, and the taillights were now flush-mounted with the rear fenders. Sometime in the mid-1950s, the trafficators ceased to work, prompting Major to add turn signals at the tops of the head and taillight housings. Bumpers from a prewar Cadillac were also fitted to the car.
Under Major’s ownership, 93064 was featured and photographed for an article in Rocky Mountain Autolife, written by Ronald C. Hill, a friend of Major’s. According to Hill, Major offered the car at auction in September 1966 at Arthur Rippey’s Veteran Car Museum, although it appears to have remained unsold. It was again offered at the same venue in November 1967, this time selling to a buyer in Atlanta, Georgia, believed to have been named Millbank.
In the early-1970s, Mr. Millbank shipped 93064 to Paris for restoration by noted French coachbuilder Henri Chapron, and it made its post-restoration debut in Paris upon completion in 1974. During the restoration, the car was returned to its original colors and several small touches were added: the headlights were modified slightly, the rear directional signals were removed, and the bumpers were changed to the more appropriate single-blade style.
At some point in the late-1980s, 93064 was purchased by a Japanese collector and remained there until its next owner, Mr. Charles Morse, returned it to America. Soon after Mr. Morse received the car, the engine and mechanicals were restored. A body-off-frame restoration was deemed unnecessary, but the cosmetics were freshened with new paint and interior. In 2000, the Teardrop received the Elegance in Motion Award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Prior to selling 93064 to John M. O’Quinn in early-2006, Mr. Morse reported to RM Auctions that the race-bred Talbot-Lago chassis and power train, combined with the lightweight Figoni et Falaschi Teardrop Coupe coachwork, resulted in an exquisite driving experience. He also noted that the unassisted steering was surprisingly quick and light, and that the Wilson preselector gearbox was smoother than a conventional manual gearbox, with positive coupling and quick gear changes. In Mr. Morse’s ownership, the four-liter engine was adapted to Winfield carburetors for improved throttle response and a broader power band. Mr. Morse extensively toured the Talbot just as it was originally intended, and following its second running on the Colorado Grand, the noted mechanic and restorer, Mr. Jim Stranberg, rebuilt the Talbot’s steering mechanism and front suspension. A road test around this time revealed the Talbot to have been in excellent operating order.
Next, the Teardrop was shipped to expert restorers Carrosserie Tessier in France, who undertook a complete body-off-frame restoration with virtually no expense spared. The body’s wooden sub-structure was carefully examined and repaired, with an estimated 80 percent of the original woodwork saved and preserved. The flowing sheet metal was extensively repaired as well, with an estimated 90 percent of the original metalwork remaining. New front and rear bumpers were installed as the prior units had become separated from the car at some point, and new front lights were also installed. The chassis and mechanical components were fully restored, including a full engine overhaul, which retained all original engine parts except for a new set of pistons. At this time, the somewhat difficult Winfield carburetors were replaced with period Solex units, more in keeping to the original specification of the car. The interior upholstery was completely restored to original specification, and the stunning exterior was refinished in Lago Blue, the same color it wore when it was displayed at the Concours d’Elegance de l’Auto in 1938.
The current owner, a prominent and discriminating European collector, acquired 93064 in late-2010. Care was entrusted to Geoff Squirrel, who possesses some 30 years of experience with this type of car; his particular expertise extends to Talbot’s characteristic Wilson preselector gearboxes. Mr. Squirrel carried out the majority of the work required to sort the car for proper operation and driving enjoyment, with the work including balancing the flywheel, clutch and driveshaft, adjustments to the gearbox, rebuilding of the radiator, and attention to the electrical system. Suspension work included the correct adjustment of the shock-absorbers, lubrication of the chassis and springs, proper rear-wheel fitting, and balancing of all four wheels. In addition, the tachometer was returned to working order, the windshield wipers were repaired for proper operation, and the carburetors were set up and adjusted. Road testing ensured all mechanical systems now worked as they should.
When Mr. Squirrel completed this work, the car was UK MoT-tested, road-registered, and test-driven over 1,200 kilometers. During this time, it became apparent that the original pressed-steel brake drums were no longer serviceable, and new cast-iron brake drums were designed and manufactured specifically for this car. After fitting, it was clear that the new brake drums literally transformed this final area of the car, which was found to be lacking. Accordingly, 93064 is now capable of fast touring, as originally intended, with braking to match its considerable performance. As offered, the car is complete with a custom-made indoor cover, the original brake drums, and a history file with invoices detailing the work completed, including well-written and understandable operating instructions.
This 1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Teardrop Coupe is a masterpiece of French artistry, with its proportions and gently sweeping curves representative of France’s leading prewar design themes. Freshly restored and listed in the Registre Talbot, Chassis 93064 stands particularly tall as the sole Jeancart-style Teardrop Coupe built by Figoni et Falaschi on the race-bred T23 chassis. A historic automobile of truly epic proportions, it is without exaggeration a piece of rolling sculpture. In addition to its incredible rarity and achingly beautiful styling, 93064 is also fast and well-braked with excellent road manners, ready to be driven virtually anywhere—as much a joy to drive as it is to behold.
Pros: Amazing looking car, the only one built, superb restoration, would make an excellent tour car
Cons: Not much, not as great as the T150C is about it. Already shown at Pebble.
#20 – Panhard Levassour U2 1907 Audineau 7 Pass Transformable US$250,000+ My pick US$500,000 SOLD US$264,000
1907 Panhard Et Levassor Model U2 Transformable Seven-Passenger Town Car
Coachwork by Audineau & Cie
CHASSIS NO. 15206
$250,000 – $325,000
■Transformable from Town Car to Entirely Open Touring Car
■Historically Significant and Rare
■Lovely Brass Lamps and Accessories
■Largely Original and Unrestored
■Well Sorted and Tour Ready
5.3-Liter 4-Cylinder T-Head Engine
35 HP (French Rating)
4-Speed Progressive Transmission
Double Chain Drive
Hand Brake for Both Rear Wheels, Foot Brake for Transaxle, Foot-Pedal Compression Brake
Solid Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf SpringsThis Car
This majestic antique automobile is the only one of its kind in existence today. It was coachbuilt by Audineau & Cie of Paris, coachbuilder to Napoleon and a celebrated automobile carrosserie in the 20th century. Audineau custom-built this Model U2 with a Transformable Town Car body, a design with a dual personality: a fully open seven-passenger touring car with an optional soft top for sunny days including dual roll-down windshields for driver and passenger comfort, and its also a fully enclosed town car for inclement weather and evening soirees. The present owner states that he can transform the automobile single-handedly in under an hour. This particular design is clearly illustrated in the original Audineau coachwork catalogue, that accompanies the car. The workmanship on the body of this rare centenarian is outstanding, as is evidenced by the superb door and panel fit.
It is known that this lovely 1907 Panhard et Levassor was first purchased by a baron at the 1908 Paris Auto Show and has spent much of its life in French museums. Around 2000, the automobile underwent a sympathetic light chassis restoration only as needed in France before it came to the US. In 2009, the five-bow two-tone Haartz top was restored, and the paintwork, which is partially original, was stabilized by Alan Schmidt of Horseless Carriage Restorations in Escondido, California. Apart from this sympathetic restoration work the automobile is almost entirely original, right down to the incredibly preserved burgundy leather upholstery covering the entire lower portion of the body, comprising all seven seat areas for the touring body, and the wool upholstery upper section for the town car configuration. Also original are the carpets, silk curtains and cord draw- pulls, side-window glass and splendid roof rack for touring, all testifying to minimal use during the automobile’s very long life and to its extraordinary preservation. The car still features the authentic chauffeur communication system: a small crochet-covered bulb and speaking tube that squeaks when pumped to forewarn the driver that the passenger needs to give some direction. The Panhard is dressed in its original color of regal Bordeaux with black molded body and black fenders accented with a golden pinstripe. The brass work is striking, particularly the self-generating headlamps, oil sidelamps and taillamp.
After the automobile left France, it was purchased by Charles LeMaitre of Massachusetts and then by John Moir of New Hampshire before it came under the stewardship of its present owner in 2004. As testament to its prestigious status, the car won awards at both the Newport Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance.
Accompanying this automobile are all transformable parts, hardtop, soft top, tools, the original and rare Audineau coachwork catalogue, an original driver’s manual, an original Panhard et Levassor catologue and four exceptionally rare original French decorated “Ladies” spark plugs.
This very rare French antiquity offers a serious automobile collector the opportunity to own a spectacular piece of automotive history. With extreme international appeal, this 1907 Panhard et Levassor is eligible for the world’s most prestigious concours and tours and would be welcomed as an exalted example of France’s oldest and most revered automobile manufacturers and coachbuilders – a rare glimpse into a bygone era of automotive exploration. .
Pros: One of THE brass era cars, in fabulous condition, very cheap, unrestored
Cons: Nothing really