Top 50 cars for sale in 2012
Alfa Romeo 6C1750 SS Competition Tourer 1929 Chassis #312906 Offered Bonhams Goodwood 15/9/12 Estimate US$810,000 – 1.1 million SOLD US$1,782,490
In Brief – Chassis only > Styles London > Carlton four seat Tourer body fitted > Leonard Headlam 1929 > Brooklands Double Twelve 1929 DNS, Brooklands 6 Hours 1929 Headlam/ Headlam 2nd, Irish GP 1929 Headlam Retired, TT 1929 Headlam 14th, Brooklands 500 miles 1929 Headlam/ Callingham 4th > HA Ducksbury 1931 > HW Preston 1931 > Arthur Shepherd 1936 > Simmons of Croyford 1950 > Unknown > C. Allen 1960’s > Peter Newens 1964 > F. Majzub 1981 > via Martin Chisholm 2005 > Unknown > consigned to Bonhams 2012
A superb example of Alfa Romeo at its best never restored and with a fantastic history. This is one for the purists who will understand the irreplaceable value of that history. Price about right.
Chassis number ‘0312906’ was ordered in rolling chassis form by the sole Alfa British agent, F W Stiles of Baker Street, London and fitted with a four-seater body by Carlton, in style reminiscent of a ‘blower’ Bentley. The design incorporated a large fuel tank, in order for the car to compete in long distance races in England. Sold to the enthusiastic and wealthy amateur driver from Leeds, Leonard Headlam, the Alfa was one of two supposed to compete in the inaugural ‘Double Twelve’ race at Brooklands (shared with ‘Bentley Boy’ J D Benjafield) on the 10th/11th May 1929 but failed to be ready in time.
In its April 16th 1929 edition, The Motor had reported that the cars were on their way from Italy: ‘The first of the two-litre Alfa Romeo cars which will compete in British events this arrived at the depot of Alfa Romeo British Sales last week… the outstanding feature, which will be invaluable in long-distance races is the fitting of a big petrol tank. This feature was a very important one when Giulio Ramponi won the Essex Motor Club 6-Hour Relay Race, for he only had to stop once to refuel.’ This article (copy on file) shows the tank and the half-folding bench front seat, which survives only in this example of the four 1929 team cars still in existence.
When ‘0312906’ was delivered to Headlam it arrived with a handsome lightweight touring body complete with twin spare wheels mounted either side of the scuttle, while Carlton also bodied a sister car in similar fashion for Earl Howe. As the engine size exceeded 1,500cc, the competition rules for the Tourist Trophy race, and also Le Mans, stipulated that it had to have four seats, this requirement being intended as a handicap for the larger cars.
The Alfa’s debut was actually the BARC Six Hours race on the 29th of June at Brooklands (competitor number ’23’) in which Headlam shared it with his brother William, Benjafield having acquired his own Alfa Romeo 1750 SS. The Headlams finished second behind Barnato/Dunfee’s winning Bentley Speed Six, which enjoyed a capacity advantage of almost five litres, but ahead of Cook/Callingham’s 4½-litre Bentley. The Headlam’s class-winning average speed for the race was 70.22mph, which compared very favourably with much larger winner’s 75.66mph. Contemporary press reports of the race are on file.
In July the Alfa Romeo was entered in the inaugural Irish International Grand Prix at Phoenix Park in Dublin (competitor number ’19’), forming part of F W Stiles’ team representing the factory. After consistently running second, ahead of Benjafield, Headlam suffered steering failure and retired. Ivanowski’s works Alfa went on to win the race.
In August Headlam entered his Alfa in the International Tourist Trophy race at Ards. As well as the works-supported Alfas, this race attracted major European teams including Mercedes, OM, Bugatti Lagonda and Bentley. Competitor number ’41’, Headlam finishing a creditable 14th overall (despite unfavourable handicapping for the 1,750cc cars) and first in class, winning the Royal Automobile Club Trophy. For this race Headlam employed an aerodynamic metal shroud, which fitted over the lowered windscreen in place of the customary aero screens, and featured twin cowls for driver and mechanic. This can clearly be seen in an action photograph illustrating The Autocar’s report on the race (copy on file).
On 4th October, Headlam raced the 1750 SS for the last time, in the 500 Miles at Brooklands. Co-driven by Leslie Callingham, the sole Alfa finished in an incredible 4th place overall behind the Bentleys of Jack Barclay and Clive Dunfee, and John Cobb’s V12 Sunbeam. The winner’s average speed was over 107mph, the fastest ever recorded for a race of that distance, while Headlam/Callingham averaged 96.74mph. Taking pit stops into account, this means that the Alfa must have been lapping consistently at over 100mph for much of the time. Its supercharged induction notwithstanding, this was an amazing achievement for a car of under 2 litres capacity; indeed, the Alfa was credited with winning the 3-litre class as well.
Chassis ‘0312906’ was advertised by Headlam in Motor Sport in December 1929 with an asking price of £925. Leonard Headlam having, sadly, been killed in an unrelated road accident early in 1930, it was not until April 1931 that the car was sold, by Alfa Romeo (British Sales) to one H A Ducksbury of Huddersfield (see Alfa Romeo Register correspondence on file). Subsequent owners were H W Preston of Washford, Somerset (1931-1935) and Arthur Shepherd (1936-1938), whose son confirmed recently that his father did indeed change the car’s colour from green to red.
In June 1950 the ex-Headlam Alfa was advertised for sale by Simmons of Croydon (again in Motor Sport). The text of this advertisement makes interesting reading: ‘This Alfa is in incredibly perfect mint condition, and its history is known. The engine was stripped and rebuilt 2,000 miles back and is all but inaudible (raise your eyebrows if you will). The chassis is 100 percent perfect in all possible respects and 85mph and 23mpg are readily obtained. To date this is the most superb vintage Alfa that I have ever owned or driven.’ The accompanying photographs clearly shows the registration ‘VN 397’ and the original coachwork modified with addition of a front apron, louvred panels covering the lower chassis, and one of the spare wheel mounts removed. The original Lucas headlamps, fitted for the 1929 Double Twelve and TT races, are clearly visible.
The identity of the purchaser is not known but the Alfa is known to have been owned by one C Allen of Stockport in the early 1960s. Later owners were collectors Peter Newens (1964-1981) and F Majzub (1981-2005), for whom Martin Chisholm Collectors Cars Ltd arranged its sale to the current vendor (correspondence on file). Fortunately, Newens never got around to restoring the Alfa and while in the Majzub family’s ownership it remained unused and preserved apart from light re-commissioning circa 2001. The engine was stripped down at that time, revealing the original factory number stamping on the cylinder block (indicating it had never been skimmed) and virtually no traces of internal wear, while the castings retained their original hand-scraped finish. ‘0312906’ has to be the most original of the surviving team cars, the others all having been subject to coachwork modifications over the years. Indeed, the Carlton body is the sole known survivor of this particular style.
Between 2005 and 2007, the Alfa was sympathetically restored by Peter Shaw of Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire at a cost of around £60,000, returning the car to its original racing configuration and green livery (as found on the chassis) while retaining the original red leather interior. The repaint itself was carried out in March 2009 by marque specialists Traction Seabert & Co of Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, who also rebuilt the supercharger with new rotors. Other specialists involved included Jim Stokes Workshops, who provided a crankshaft and supercharger drive coupling; T A & J M Coburn of Blunsdon, Wiltshire (new double duck hood, hood bag and tonneau cover); and Star Engineering of Caerleon, Gwent (radiator rebuild). This painstaking rebuild is detailed in correspondence, photographs and numerous invoices contained within the accompanying history file. The latter is particularly worthy of inspection, not only for the aforementioned bills but also for the extensive documentation, taken from contemporary motoring journals, recording its illustrious competition career.
Boasting Brooklands and International Grand Prix history, and eligible for all the most important historic motor sports events, this unique, faithfully restored and truly exceptional Alfa Romeo 1750 SS is offered with current MoT/tax and Swansea V5C registration document.
(Description courtesy of Bonhams)
Alfa Romeo 8C2300 Lungo Spider 1932 Chassis #2211065 Offered Bonhams Goodwood 29/6/12 Estimate undisclosed SOLD US$4,218,000
In brief – Alfa Romeo Spa 1932 > Le Mans 1932 Birkin/ Howe Retired with a thrown rod > UK for repair > TT 1932 Howe 4th > Alfa Romeo 1932 > Giuseppe Campari, Italy > Farina DHC > Marshall Balbo 1933 > Marcello Venturi 1935 > Domenico Ferlengo 1935 > Johnny Wakefield, UK 1935 > Guy Griffiths > Thomas Cricklow 1947 > Kenneth Speakman 1951 > via Johnson and Brown > Philip Robertson 1954 > Jack Frazer, Ireland > Michael Johnson 1969 > Sothebys 1985 > Pierre Chillet, France 1985 > Keith Duly, UK 1995 > via Gregor Fisken 1996 > George Daniels 1996 > Rod Jolley le Mans Racer rebody > Restored > Consigned to Bonhams 2012
A superb car with lots of history and panache, it may have lost its original body but other than that it did race at Le Mans and was owned by Campari. Could have gone for more, much more so I say well bought.
Slide in behind that thin-rimmed steering wheel, sight down the long arrow-straight bonnet – and engage the starter. The supreme motoring experience beckons…
Just picture that scene in the gathering dusk of a balmy Italian evening. Reflections of the setting sun rippling towards you over that shapely, pent-roofed bonnet, the warm, slightly oil-scented air wafting up from the pedal box and gearbox housing down in the driver’s footwell…and all the time that characteristic, unforgettable, head-turning bark, and strum, and thunder – of the supercharged straight-8 cylinder Alfa Romeo engine…molto fortissimo personified.
Few great classic sports cars can match the intense sensory overload provided by the supreme Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 in raucous action. Add the historic importance and cachet of the Le Mans 24-Hours race, of Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin and of Francis, Earl Howe – and then of Marshal Italo Balbo – and as the cherry on the cake add the connoisseurial ownership of the late George Daniels and it becomes patently obvious that ‘065’ offered here is a thoroughbred sports car of great stature.
The history of this magnificent Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 has been exhaustively researched by respected marque authority Simon Moore, and is as described in his wonderful three-volume bible, ‘The Legendary 2.3’ (Parkside Publications, Seattle, 2000).
This particular car was first registered by the Alfa Romeo company on June 3, 1932, bearing the Milan plate ‘MI 40780’. Sixteen days later it became the third of Alfa Romeo’s 1932 works-entered Le Mans 24-Hour cars, being co-driven in the French endurance classic by the intensely competitive and capable British aristocrats – Sir Henry Birkin, and Earl Howe, carrying the race number 9.
Amongst those three 1932 factory 8Cs for Le Mans it was fitted with regulation racing bodywork by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, but featured a different windscreen and more robust front wing stays compared to its sister cars. Amongst the 25 starters in that Depression-era 24-Hour race, Birkin and Howe in ‘065’ now offered here led for a period before being forced to retire. Reason for retirement was given at the time – and repeated in ‘Tim’ Birkin’s autobiography ‘Full Throttle’ (G.T. Foulis, London, 1932) – as a blown head gasket, but there was also a contemporary story that it had split its fuel tank. In fact, the contemporary Birkin equipe mechanic Lofty England assured Alfa specialist Simon Moore that the engine had thrown a rod “comprehensively”… Today, the engine retains much period originality, with many components stamped ’65’, although we understand the head is a Jim Stokes replacement.
Spare-time TT racing motorcyclist ‘Lofty’ had of course been a youthful mechanic with Birkin & Couper Ltd’s ‘Blower’ Bentley programme 1930-31and had remained with Birkin for the new season of 1932 after the ‘Blower’ sports car programme had been consigned to history, and only the Brooklands Single-Seater – also offered today from the Daniels Collection – remained an active Dorothy Paget entry for Sir Henry.
But after Bentley’s endurance racing withdrawal in 1931, he and Earl Howe had joined forces to drive Alfa Romeo 8Cs in competition. Sharing Howe’s 8C-2300 the pair had achieved their dearly-held joint ambition of winning the Le Mans 24-Hour race. In his own 8C-2300 Birkin then won that same season’s 3rd Irish Grand Prix, in Phoenix Park, Dublin, but crashed in the RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards, in Ulster, and failed to finish in the Brooklands 500-Mile race.
Now ‘065’ as the damaged Birkin/Howe 1932 Le Mans car was taken straight to England for repair, the work being carried out in the old ‘Blower’ Bentley works at Welwyn, funded for Birkin by the Hon. Dorothy Paget. The car was then run in that year’s RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards, Ulster, on August 20, being driven by Earl Howe as race number ‘2’. The TT still required riding mechanics and Howe’s was the faithful ‘Tommy’ Thomas, his longtime personal mechanic.
This Alfa Romeo went particularly well and Earl Howe was actually the fastest finisher, completing his assigned 30-lap distance, 659.7kms, 410 miles, in 5 hours 9 minutes 56 seconds. He was actually the fastest finisher in the entire race, but on the RAC handicap system was placed 4th overall. Just behind him, in fifth place overall, came ‘Tim’ Birkin in his sister 8C-2300, chassis ‘063’.
After what might be interpreted, then, as this ‘moral victory’ in the 1932 Ards TT, this ex-Birkin/ Howe car was then returned to Alfa Romeo in Italy, and no doubt its British Custom bond was then retrieved. On September 27, 1932, it was then sold to Giuseppe Campari for 90,000 Lire. Simon Moore believes that it formed part of his remuneration deal as an Alfa Romeo works-backed driver and Italian celebrity.
It appears that Campari consigned the car to the Farina coachbuilding company of Turin to be rebodied from its Carrozzeria Touring-made racing-regulation style, to become a road-useable Drophead Coupe.
At this point Marshal Italo Balbo enters ‘065’s story. Born in Ferrara on June 6, 1896, this imposing figure had risen to national Italian prominence as a youthful leader of the Camicie Nere, or CCNN, ‘Black Shirt’ Fascist movement. He had been politically active at only 14 years of age when he participated in Ricciotto Garibaldi’s revolt in Albania, Ricciotti being the son of Giuseppe Garibaldi, co-founder of the unified Italian nation.
Balbo protested against initial Italian neutrality in World War 1, and once, in 1915, Italy had entered the conflict as an ally of Great Britain and France he served in the Army Alpini (Mountain) ‘Val Fella’ Battalion before volunteering for flying training on October 16, 1917. Within days Austro-Hungarian and German forces broke through the Italian Caporetto front and Balbo was re-assigned to the Alpini, leading an assault platoon of the ‘Pieve di Cadore’ battalion. Capitano Balbo ended the War with two silver medals and one bronze for courage under fire.
He then completed degrees in Law and Social Sciences in Florence and pursued his political ambitions, joining the new Partito Nazionale Fascista, or PNF, in 1921 and becoming the Ferrara region’s most prominent Fascisto. Aged only 26 he then became the youngest of the quadrumvirs, the four principal thinkers behind the March on Rome that catapulted Fascist leader Benito Mussolini to power in 1922.
On 6 November 1926, though only peripherally experienced in aviation, Balbo was appointed Italy’s Secretary of State for Air. After rushed flying instruction he set about rebuilding the Regia Aeronautica Italiana – Royal Italian Air Force – as a major arm. On August 19, 1928, he was made General of the Air Force and on September 12, 1929, Minister of the Air Force.
Italian interest in aviation had never been higher. Balbo set out to enhance national prestige globally by projecting Italian air power through spectacular long-distance flights with mass formations.
He personally led two trans-Atlantic flights, the first in December-January 1930-31 with twelve Savoia-Marchetti S55 flying boats from Orbetello, Italy, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – and the second in July-August 1933 commanding an air armada of twenty-four flying boats on a round-trip flight from Rome to the Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago, Illinois, USA. They landed on Lake Michigan near Burnham Park, and Chicago renamed Seventh Street ‘Balbo Drive’ and staged a parade in his honour.
The stylish, Van Dyke-bearded Balbo – who always courted personal publicity and promotion – assumed A-grade celebrity status in the United States, President Roosevelt presented him with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Sioux Indian nation adopted him under the honorary title of ‘Chief Flying Eagle’. To an ecstatic largely Italian-American crowd in New York’s Madison Square Gardens he declared “Be proud you are Italians. Mussolini has ended the era of humiliations.” Home in Italy, he was promoted to the newly-created rank of Maresciallo dell’Aria – Marshal of the Air Force.
He assumed such national popularity – yet proved so independently minded, always having his own agenda – that Mussolini and those closest to him came to regard Balbo as a political threat. In 1933, amongst great fanfare, he was created Governor-General of the Italian colony of Tripolitania – modern Libya – which he then ran as virtually his personal fiefdom until his death in 1940. His political rivals in Rome deemed him too prominent to eliminate, but best sidelined on the other side of the Mediterranean. There he presided over every aspect of colonial life, including the reconstruction of Tripoli’s Mellaha motor racing circuit into one of the world’s most modern, and over the superfast Tripoli Grand Prix races run there from 1933-1940 – just before Italy entered World War 2 as part of the Fascist Axis with Nazi Germany.
Italo Balbo had also launched road construction projects like the Via Balbia to attract Italian immigrants to Africa Settentrionale Italiana (ASI), and attempted to convert Muslims to Fascism. In 1938, he became the only member of Italy’s Fascist regime to express robust opposition to new anti-Jewish racial laws, and in 1939 he visited Rome to express his displeasure at Mussolini’s support for Hitler. Again he was the only prominent Fascist to express such public criticism, arguing instead that Italy should side with Great Britain. When rebuffed, Balbo exploded: “You will all wind up shining the Germans’ shoes!”.
Mussolini’s Italy declared war on Great Britain and France on June 10, 1940, and Balbo as military Commander-in-Chief North Africa became responsible for planning the invasion of Egypt. Just 18 days later, on June 28, 1940, Balbo
was flying in one of a pair of trimotor Savoia-Marchetti SM79 transport/bombers to Tobruk’s T2 aerodrome on a morale-raising mission to inspect troops. His aircraft apparently approached from seaward shortly after a raid on T2 by RAF Bristol Blenheim twin-engined bombers. That raid had destroyed a Fiat CR42 fighter on the ground, damaged several others – plus several CR32s and Ro37s, killed six airmen and wounded three pilots. The garrison’s blood was up – and when the Governor-General’s SM79 appeared, kiting in over Tobruk harbor to land, it was greeted by a hail of anti-aircraft fire from both land batteries and the guns of the Italian Navy cruiser San Giorgio. It was shot down, and all on board killed.
RAF Air Chief Marshal Longmore later wrote: “…as a mark of respect I had a suitably worded note dropped over the frontier by an aircraft on reconnaissance. In due course a reply was dropped by an Italian machine from my Italian opposite number expressing ‘Deep thanks for your message of sympathy’. Perhaps it was just as well this colourful personality did not live to see the humiliation of his country in defeat…”.
Italo Balbo’s remains were buried outside Tripoli on July 4, 1940, and in 1970 were repatriated to Italy and buried Orbetello, from where he had departed on his startling successful trans-Atlantic flights in the 1930s.
When this remarkable figure had bought Alfa Romeo 8C ‘065 ‘- now offered here – on January 12, 1933 , his second trans-Atlantic Raid had been in the planning, and he was about to achieve the height of his influence and fame as not only an Italian but international celebrity.
The rebodied Alfa Romeo was evidently sold to him as new (!) although its price was a concessionary 70,000 Lire. His functionaries had the car Rome-registered for him as ‘ROMA 33975’ – and he kept it for two years. It is unclear whether the car was kept in Italy for Balbo’s return visits there or whether it accompanied him to Tripolitania, but we understand that it was used after the successful conclusion of the 24-aircraft trans-Atlantic flight in August 1933, touring Italian towns and villages as a propaganda exercise. It was chauffeur driven while Balbo and two other prominent officers from his flight would sit in the back on its furled hood, greeting the adoring crowds.
Eventually, on February 12, 1935, it was sold to broker Marcello Venturi of Rome, who passed it on that same day to Domenico Ferlengo of Milan for 24,000 Lire. On February 16 it was re-registered for him with the Milanese serial ‘MI 9126’.
By June 1, 1935, the car had arrived in the UK, being registered on that day as ‘BXV 506’. Simon Moore’s comprehensive researches identify it as being most probably being the Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 bought by Johnny Wakefield, the enthusiastic private owner-driver who had gone to Italy to buy himself a racing Maserati 4CM Vetturetta. While there he was also offered an ‘ex-Balbo Drophead Coupe’ which he thought was cheap, thanks partly to the Pound being very strong against the Lire. So he bought it, and brought it back with him to England.
Johnny Wakefield found that the car in its quite floridly rebodied form had too much weight on the back, and too low a final-drive ratio, which would have been entirely consistent with it having been set-up for low-speed processional work as already described. He consequently soon sold the car to dealer Guy Griffiths with whom he shared a paddock shed at the Brooklands Motor Course.
At some stage the car was repainted silver and black but precisely where it spent the next few years, and the Second World War, remains unclear. A new logbook was then issued for it in June 1947, in the name of contemporary owner Dr Thomas Cricklow of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
In 1951 it was sold on to Kenneth Speakman of Ramsgate, Kent, and he re-sold it via dealers Johnson and Brown to a Dr Philip Robertson of Birkenhead, Cheshire, who then ran it from June 1954 to March 1956.
The ageing Alfa Romeo was then taken off the road. It passed to Jack Frazer of Cullybackey, County Antrim, in Ulster, and eventually – in October 1968 – it was bought by Michael Johnson, who together with his father Dermot rebuilt it into 1972. Ownership was transferred to Ann Johnson – Michael Johnson’s wife – on January 22, 1969. The car was not re-licensed for road use until August 1974…and the Johnsons retained it for many years until it was auctioned under Malcolm Barber’s gavel at Sotheby’s in December 1985. The successful bidder was then Pierre Chillet from near Lyon, France.
In early 1991 the car was advertised in Hemmings by a dealer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, but Simon Moore characterises the offer as a hoax. Late in 1995 this ex-Le Mans, ex-Birkin, ex-Howe, ex-Balbo, ex-Wakefield Alfa Romeo was acquired by well-known Alfa Romeo enthusiast Keith Duly, and it was then advertised for sale in 1996 by London dealer Gregor Fisken.
It was at this time when George Daniels intended to retire – he was beginning to feel tired of an evening but otherwise felt in good health – and spend more time motoring. So it was all the more surprising that a heart condition necessitated a double by-pass operation – on his 70th birthday.
Having sold his ex-Birkin team ‘Blower’ Bentley, George Daniels was, as he recalled: “… looking for something a bit lighter as the Le Mans Bentley was a bit of a handful on tight corners and I saw Fisken was selling Birkin’s 1932 Alfa Romeo. I wanted that Birkin car, we reached an agreement, and I have since found it a wonderful car for racing, lightweight, very fast, 130mph and it fulfills all my needs for a sports racing car…”.
Upon acquisition Daniels commissioned noted specialists Rod Jolley Coachbuilding Limited of Hampshire, UK, to rebody from Drophead Coupe form back into the Birkin Le Mans and TT racing body style in which it is presented for sale today. At the same time, the rest of the car was totally stripped down and rebuilt, with the engine entrusted to Jim Stokes. The car was completed in time for the 1998 Manx Classic and managed two firsts and a second in class.
This splendidly presented Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 is offered together with a comprehensive file and having recently emerged from fettling by noted Alfa Romeo specialists Jim Stokes Workshop. It should also be noted that the original Pinin Farina body is offered with the car.
Slide in behind that thin-rimmed steering wheel, sight down the long arrow-straight bonnet – and engage the starter. The supreme motoring experience beckons…
Aston Martin DBR1 1957 Chassis #DBR1/2 Offered by Talacrest 2012 asking UKP20 million (US$32.1 mil.)
In brief – David Brown Ltd Works Team > Spa 1957 Brooks 1st, Nurburging 1000KM 1957 Brooks/ Cunningham – Reid 1st, Le Mans 1957 Brooks/ Cunningham – Reid Retired, Belgian GP 1957 Brooks 1st, Sebring 12 Hours 1958 Moss/ Brooks Retired, Nurburgring 1000KM 1958 Brooks/ Lewis – Evans Retired, Le Mans 1958 Brooks/ Trintignant Retired, TT 1958 Moss/ Brooks 1st, Silverstone 1959 Moss 2nd, Le Mans 1959 Salvadori/ Shelby 1st, TT 1959 Shelby/ Fairman 1st > Major Ian Bailie 1960 Nurburgring 1000KM 1960 Bailie/ Greenhall 5th, Le Mans 1960 Baillie/ Fairman 9th, Brands Hatch 1960 Bailie 4th IC > Chris Stewart 1970 > Jackie Setton, France 1980 > via Talacrest 1992 > Harry Leventis, UK 1992 > Consigned to Talacrest 2012
One of the greatest racers of all time, very pretty and with a provenance second to none, with the best Testa Rossa’s selling for cUS$25 million, the $32 million price tag is a little steep.
Talacrest are proud to offer for sale the single most successful racing car ever built by Aston Martin. After its victorious debut at the 1957 Spa 1000 km race, it scored five more victories including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 in the hands of Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby and was campaigned well into the 1962 season by privateers. Beautifully preserved and maintained by a serious collector, despite the car’s incredible value, it has been regularly raced in a variety of historic race events with great success.
Renowned by many as the most recognisable and valuable Aston Martin in history, the DBR1/2 is the only car from the iconic manufacturer to have ever won the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hour race. Additionally, the vehicle was also the one and same in which Sir Stirling Moss won the RAC Tourist Trophies at Goodwood in 1958 and 59 to help Aston Martin take home the 1959 World Sports Car Championship.
One of the most successful and instantly recognisable historic racing cars in the world today – with undisputed provenance and ready to race. In addition the car is road registered and has been used and is eligible for many road based touring events.
One of 5 (1 was an updated version of an earlier chassis) DBR1’s made – this example has the most successful competition pedigree by some margin:
Race history for the DBR1/2 chassis below:
Winner – Spa Sportscar Race – driven by Brooks
Winner – 1000km Nürburgring Race – driven by Brooks/Cunningham-Reid
Retired – 24 Hours of Le Mans Race whilst lying 2nd – driven by Brooks/Cunningham-Reid
Winner – Spa Grand Prix – driven by Brooks
Retired – Sebring – driven by Moss/Brooks
Retired – Nurburgring – driven by Brooks/Lewis-Evans
Retired – 24 Hours of Le Mans – driven by Brooks/Trintignant
Winner – Goodwood Tourist Trophy – driven by Moss/Brooks
Winner – 24 Hours of Le Mans – driven by Salvadori/Shelby
Winner – Goodwood Tourist Trophy – driven by Moss/Shelby/Fairman
Following Aston Martin’s success in 1959, David Brown decided to make an unsuccessful move to Formula One with the DBR4 and DBR5. Thus the factory’s David Brown Racing Department would no longer compete in Sports cars.
The car was sold to Major Ian Baillie – and as a privateer entrant the following results were achieved:
Winner – Rouen Grand Prix – driven by Jack Fairman
9th – 24 Hours of Le Mans – driven by Baillie/Fairman
Finished but Unclassified – Nurburgring – driven by Baillie/Greenhall.
Remained with and raced by Baillie
Acquired by David Ham and raced by him for 3 seasons.
Acquired by Chris Stewart and raced by him for several years, although Neil Corner also campaigned it and appears to have purchased a joint ownership, or possibly an outright purchase.
Last recorded outing by Corner – although it continued to be raced by Stewart until purchased by Geoffrey Marsh circa 1977
The car went to the Setton private collection in France, and returned to the UK in 1992 when it was acquired by John Collins of Talacrest.
The car has been extensively raced over the past 20 years, often by Peter Hardman who won the Lavant cup with it in 1999 and 2000 at the Goodwood revival.
This the only DBR1 to have scored a win in privateer hands – and the only Aston Martin to have ever won Le Mans and additionally the only car Carroll Shelby ever won the Le Mans 24 Hour race in.
Nowadays in Historic Racing – this world famous car is still a proven winner and has won numerous prestigious historic races.
Talacrest sold this car to it’s last owner – who has enjoyed long term ownership of this fabulous racer. Cars of this calibre and undisputed provenance are rarely available on the open market and will surely present the new owner with invitations to just about any event in the world – whilst also offering serious investment potential
Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato 1960 Chassis #0184/R Offered by Fiskens 2012 Unknown asking price
In brief – Works test car 1960/61 > Dunlop Ltd. for break testing > Rob Owen 1967 > Sir Anthony Bamford 1969 > Ernie Miller 1970 > Unknown 1975 > Consigned to Fiskens 2012
One of the prettiest cars ever made the Zagato DB4 is the pinnacle of Automotive styling and will only increase in value. The going rate in 2012 is about US$6 million and it wont be long until $10 million is being asked. Well worth it compared to Ferraris et al.
Unveiled at the 1960 London Motorshow, this was Aston Martin’s ultimate development of their DB4 GT model. Zagato took the DB4 GT and created a smaller, more aerodynamic, super lightweight car for Aston Martin to attack the might of Ferrari with.
Finished new in Aston Martin’s racing colours of Almond Green, chassis 0184 was retained by the factory for nine months and used as their test and development car. At the time, Aston Martin were working very closely with Dunlop on the development of disc brakes. Aston Martin agreed to sell 0184 to Dunlop to continue this work, who completed about 25,000 miles in it until they sold it in 1967. The new owner, Rob Owen, was well known in Aston Martin circles having already owned a DB3S, and was soon competing in a variety of events throughout the 1967 and 1968 seasons. It then joined the significant collection of Sir Anthony Bamford, who asked Owen to race it at the 1969 Birkett six-hour relay race at Silverstone for him.
Sir Anthony Bamford had the Zagato extensively overhauled by the factory, and the next owner, Ernie Miller – again, a well known figure in the Aston Martin Owners Club racing scene, having regularly competed in his DB4 GT’s –decided that 0184 was too original to race, so entered it into the 1970 AMOC Fort Belvedere autumn concours, where it won its class. Miller used 0184 as a road car until 1975, until 0184’s next custodian once again started regularly racing the Zagato in AMOC events all the way through until 1980.
More recently, 0184 has been maintained by marque specialist RS Williams and has competed in The Goodwood Revival. Like its arch rival, the Ferrari 250 GTO, DB4 GT Zagato’s were a superb dual purpose GT car, as capable on the race circuit as it was on the road, and as such 0184 has also competed on numerous tours and rallies including the Gstaad Classic.
Still retaining its achingly original interior, 0184 is one of the most original examples of Aston Martin’s prettiest ever GT car.
Auto Union Typ. D Grand Prix 1937 Chassis #19 Offered by Hall & Hall 2012 Unknown asking price
In brief – Auto Union Works team Eifelrennen 1939 Hasse 5th, French GP 1939 Stuck 6th > stored > Russia 1946 > Ukraine for testing > partially scrapped > Paul Karassik, USA c1988 > Crossthwaite & Gardiner, UK for a complete rebuild/ restoration > Aba Kogan > Offered by Christies 2007 (Withdrawn) > Offered by Bonhams 2009 (Not Sold) > Offered by Hall & Hall 2012 > Audi AG 2012
Really one of the greatest cars ever made. Some concerns over the absolute history of the car especially noting that not all of the parts can be considered original. As the description below states, it is the ONLY attributable chassis. US$8 million would be about the right number.
The Silver Arrows
The ‘Silver Arrows’ period of Grand Prix motor racing from 1934 to 1939 saw white-hot competition between the German State-backed factory teams of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. Their Grand Prix racing cars embodied the outermost cutting-edge of contemporary technology, not merely to defeat the best that such Italian and French racing rivals as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Bugatti, Talbot and Delahaye could offer but – most critically – to defeat one another.
In those heyday years of the emergent Third Reich, the two major German manufacturers were locked in combat on the race circuits of Europe, the US, Brazil and even South Africa not merely to promote their own brand names, but also to promote the technical capability and blossoming prestige of the resurgent New Germany. There was little thought at that time of the barbaric brutality at the core of that Nazi regime – and today the finest of German industry’s peacetime technological achievements from that period – such as this Grand Prix racing car – are rightly regarded as having marked a high-tide of international engineering endeavour.
While the ultimate developments of the 750-Kilogram Formula for Grand Prix cars emerged in 1937 as the epitome of brutal power – the replacement 3-liter supercharged/4½-liter unsupercharged Formula of 1938-39 then produced cars such as this V12-engined Auto Union which proved to be the pre-war pinnacle of intricate sophistication and complexity.
The ‘D’ Type Auto Union
The 1938-39 V12-cylinder Auto Union racing car – retrospectively classified postwar as the Chemnitz company’s ‘D-Type’ model – was developed originally to meet a new set of international technical regulations – or ‘Formula’ – governing Grand Prix racing. The Formula specified a maximum engine capacity of 3-liters and a minimum weight limit of 850-kilograms. The ‘D-Type’ Auto Union was based upon a highly sophisticated and advanced new chassis design, featuring de Dion rear suspension and with its fuel load centralized in pannier tanks hung along each side, within the wheelbase. The 3-cam V12-cylinder engine developed some 420bhp in 1938 single-stage supercharged form, rising to some 485bhp at 7,000rpm when two-stage supercharging was adopted on the latest-version cars for 1939.
The Auto Union team’s 1938 season was riven by early tragedy when its star driver, Bernd Rosemeyer, was killed in a speed record attempt that January. Superstar Italian ace Tazio Nuvolari then took his place, taking the battle to the rival Mercedes-Benz battalions.
Two of the new Auto Unions placed third and fourth in that 1938 German GP, driven respectively by Hans Stuck and by H.P. Muller/Tazio Nuvolari. The team’s next appearance was then in the Italian Coppa Acerbo race at Pescara on August 14, 1938, where none of their entries survived to the finish. However, one week later in the Swiss GP at the Bremgarten forest circuit outside Berne on August 21, Hans Stuck finished fourth.
The Italian Grand Prix followed at Monza Autodrome on September 11, 1938, and there in a race of attrition Tazio Nuvolari’s Auto Union ‘D-Type’ survived to win after 2 hours and 41 minutes of hectic racing. With this victory, Auto Union humbled the rival Mercedes-Benz W154 cars, the best of which could only finish third, co-driven by Rudi Caracciola/Manfred von Brauchitsch.
This 1938 season was finally completed by the Donington Grand Prix at Donington Park, England, on October 22, having been postponed to that date from October 1 due to the contemporary Munich Crisis between Germany and Great Britain. There Nuvolari won yet again in the Auto Union ‘D-Type’, beating the factory Mercedes-Benz W154s of Hermann Lang and Dick Seaman, and with Auto Union team-mate H.P. Muller taking fourth place.
That final pre-war season – whose leading cars such as this Auto Union represent the absolute high-point of ‘Silver Arrows’ technological sophistication – then opened on May 21 with the EifelRennen, at Germany’s Nurburgring, where Nuvolari’s ‘D-Type’ finished second and Rudi Hasse fifth driving – as confirmed by available published records – chassis frame no ’19’.
The Silver Arrows post war
While the majority of Mercedes-Benz’s racing armoury survived World War II to re-emerge in what became West Germany, only two of the rival Auto Union cars clearly did so. One was a display V16-cylinder early car in the Deutsches Museum, Munich, and the other was a non-running V12 show car from 1938-39 which re-emerged after the war with former racer Zdenek Pohl in Czechoslovakia.
The reason being that the Auto Union factories in Lower Saxony fell into the Soviet sphere which became Communist East Germany. And long before the new State’s Deutsche Democratisches Republik had been formalized, the old Auto Union factories at Chemnitz, Zwickau and Zschopau had been stripped of almost everything of any technical quality or value for inspection, analysis and exploitation back in ‘Mother Russia’.
Thus, all of their surviving Auto Union sisters vanished behind ‘The Iron Curtain’. There were stories of the Auto Union works cars having been packed “like sardines” onto Soviet freight trains in 1945-46 and taken deep into Russia for technical investigation and potential future use. It was known that the surviving Auto Union team cars had been expropriated by Soviet forces in the Autumn of 1945. In fact no fewer than 13 Auto Union cars were transported by train from the company’s devastated factories in Zwickau and Chemnitz, Lower Saxony, in what was about to become Communist East Germany.
They were delivered to the Soviet Union’s NAMI motor industry research institute in Moscow, where early in 1946 a working group of engineers was established to investigate these dazzlingly high-tech German designs. Four Auto Unions – one with wheel-enveloping streamlined bodywork – were dismantled and effectively destroyed during the NAMI group’s inspection and analysis.
Two sister cars were delivered to Moscow’s ZIS production car factory for parallel examination and research. One – a V16-cylinder – was subsequently scrapped. The other – which was a hill-climb car comprising a 16-cylinder-type chassis powered by the later V12 engine – escaped destruction, eventually passing into a museum in Riga, Latvia.
Four other Auto Unions – three 1938-39 V12 Grand Prix cars plus one streamliner – went to the GAS factory in Gorky (now renamed Nizhniy Novgorod) where some components were cannibalized for use in GAS, Moskvich and ZIL-based competition cars. When one staffman required a trailer, a stripped Grand Prix chassis frame was sawed in half to suit…!
Generally, the Soviet technicians were unable to run the cars, with the exception of one V12 ‘D-Type’ at Gorky, whose tanks were found to contain the correct sophisticated German fuel brew. This car was started successfully, and tested at high speed, only for driver Leonid Sokolov to find his path obstructed by encroaching roadside crowds. He lost control under braking, and crashed into them, killing 18.
For decades the hunt for these Russian ‘Silver Arrows’ became a motor racing quest for the Holy Grail. The Czechoslovakian show car was teased out and brought to the West by Count Hubertus Donhoff and American enthusiast Kerry Payne (and his contacts) in the 1980s. Then, in 1989-90 the surviving components of at least two more Auto Unions were rescued by a very determined Yugoslav-American named Paul Karassik.
The son of Russian émigrés, his father was a former officer of the Imperial Russian Army who had been driven out by Bolshevik forces after the civil war of 1919-1920. The family had settled in Kraljevo, Yugoslavia, not far from the capital, Belgrade, where Paul Karassik was born and where his father ran a bus and taxi business. As a 12-year-old car enthusiast he recalled reading in the morning newspapers of September 4, 1939, headlines which raved: “Italian Champion Nuvolari wins Belgrade Grand Prix, driving Auto Union”. A stop press paragraph on the same front page announced that the weekend had also seen Great Britain and France declare war upon Nazi Germany…
Postwar, Paul Karassik and his German future wife Barbara Wolf were both displaced persons who found peace and sanctuary in the USA. They married and as a couple built successful business careers in stone and real estate. As they told their story to British journalist Doug Nye, and as published in the December 1994 and January 1995 issues of the British magazine Classic & Sportscar – they shared an interest in classic cars and increasingly admired “…the permanence and quality of German engineering – Mercedes-Benz, Horch and Maybach. From around 1970 we began to hunt that kind of car, first in the US and South America, then Europe..”.
The hunt for the Auto Unions
During a visit to Poland in 1972-73 Paul Karassik had met Tadeusz Tabzenky who was a prominent member of one of the many local veteran car clubs run by enthusiasts throughout the Eastern bloc. It was from him that the Karassiks first heard rumours that some of the fabled Auto Union GP cars had survived in Russia.
A subsequent car-hunting trip to Bulgaria unearthed a bullet-riddled armoured Mercedes-Benz 770, and also confirmed how secure export could be arranged within the Communist system, customs paperwork becoming “no problem” once the official responsible had been given a set of four brand-new tires for his family car.
In 1982 Paul Karassik set aside his doubts about the reception he might meet in the USSR due to his White Russian heritage, and booked an Intourist package tour there. He made contact with the Moscow Veteran Car Club, and moved on to its counterpart in Riga, Latvia. There he was shown the amazingly unspoiled V16-cylinder Auto Union hill-climb car which had been amongst the ‘sardines’ rail-freighted out of Saxony. Known today as ‘The Riga Car’, this time-machine had been saved by Latvian club member Viktor Kulbergs a decade earlier, just as it was about to be cut up for scrap in Moscow.
We should appreciate today what a jaundiced view the average Russian technician of the period would have taken of these ‘Silver Arrow’ racing cars, seeing them as unwanted relics of a defeated and detested enemy.
Having seen ‘The Riga Car’, Paul and Barbara Karassik began to focus upon the hunt for sister surviving Auto Union racing cars. Several trips drew a blank. With his background and old-style Czarist Russian military cadet schooling at Bela Crkva, Paul Karassik spoke impeccable Imperial Russian. It enabled him to venture where other tourists would either never dare, or would never have been invited. He recalled: “Once it was obvious a contact felt really comfortable, I might ask about an Auto Union. But there were many disappointments, a lot of wishful thinking. Then in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1984 or ’85 somebody mentioned ‘a big engine’ – and I eventually tracked down its owner in Petrodvorec, near Leningrad. He showed me photos of it together with a matching transaxle gearbox – it was a 12-cylinder Auto Union engine, no question…”
This contact eventually enabled the Karassiks to purchase the engine, plus half an Auto Union chassis frame: “Somebody had wanted a trailer, so they took this twin-tube Grand Prix car chassis, sawed off one end, and welded-on a tow hitch at the front!” According to the story authorized by the Karassiks – although Doug Nye has always been unsure whether some details had been altered or obscured by them to protect some of the individuals involved with their successful quest – the parts were driven out of Russia to Helsinki, Finland, and flown from there to New York – but then more bits and pieces beckoned.
“We had been told that the Auto Unions had been distributed for test purposes to each of the major motor factories. So each region containing a major motor works had to be explored. Having scoured both Moscow and Leningrad, the next logical area was the Ukraine…”.
A chain of coincidences then enabled the Karassiks to make contact with old-time automotive technician Konstantin Nikitin who had been responsible for design, construction and running of the Kharkov competition cars in the 1950s. “He explained that two or three Auto Unions had been through his hands at a Technical Institute there in Kharkov…eventually, after several visits, he confided that he might know where there was another. He led us to it, all in bits, lying in a corner of an old brickworks. Its body was quite unsalvageable. But there was a complete chassis, engine, gearbox and many suspension parts. We were eventually introduced to a guy who was in a position to deal with us, on buying it all…”.
Evidently, it was all sold first to a Government surplus store, which then sold it to the Karassiks for a profit. “We bought each part individually – the surplus store paid say $50 for each part, then sold it to us for $100. We ended up with dozens of tiny receipt tickets, each one officially stamped and counter-signed.”
Their purchases were eventually conveyed by Mercedes-Benz 270 diesel minibus to Helsinki and then via the Makita shipping agency to the USA. Makita did the crating and shipping and eventually all the ‘Russian Boxes’ were stored first in New York and then – when the Karassiks moved to Florida – in warehouse space they acquired in St Petersburg Beach, near Sarasota.
One person who was invited to inspect the find by the Karassiks was Porsche specialist Dale Miller. He recently fondly recalled the remarkable sight that confronted him “I was literally laughing…two Auto Unions… in Sarasota!’ – he recounted the implausibility of seeing these pre-war titans in Florida, and noted how the condition of cars and parts seemed totally serviceable, “it looked like just about everything you needed was there, and the one whole chassis was intact, the other a little less so… at the side of the room there was a stack of 10 wheels and tires…it never crossed my mind that you would do anything but restore them.”
British specialist restorers Crosthwaite & Gardiner Ltd, of Buxted, Sussex, were recommended as having the most experience with this kind of pre-war German Grand Prix car. Dick Crosthwaite and John Gardiner had rebuilt and restored both a 1938 Auto Union ‘D-Type’ and 1937 and 1939 Grand Prix Mercedes-Benz cars for leading British collector/driver Neil Corner, and for American-based collector Dieter Holterbosch.
Dick Crosthwaite examined the Karassiks’ ‘Russian Boxes’ in St Petersburg Beach. To his astonishment he found they had the one and half chassis – the complete one coated in apparently fresh red oxide anti-corrosion paint – one complete set of parts, plus a second engine and sufficient original duplicate pieces to warrant rebuilding a second Auto Union. It appeared that somebody had attempted to dismantle a complete engine, but had been defeated by its complexity.
They pondered whether to restore one car from the bits, or two. The presence of two engines and gearboxes made them go for both, and since there was one good single-stage supercharger amongst the bits, and one two-stage supercharger, they decided to have one car reassembled of each type.
It was then arranged between Mr & Mrs Karassik and Crosthwaite & Gardiner that the first restored Auto Union ‘D-Type’ would be assembled as a 1938-style single-stage supercharged model and the other as a 1939-style two-stage version.
The ‘Russian Boxes’ arrived at C&G’s Buxted workshops in 1990, where salvage, renovation, reassembly and in some cases replacement work began. And in 1993 the first single-stage engined Karassik car was completed, followed by its twin-stage supercharged sister, which is the vehicle now offered for sale here.
Throughout the program, the first-build car was regarded in effect as a dress-rehearsal run, it made more sense to have parts to remanufacture/rework rather than for these to be removed later on when the second car was built. All the very best, most original and best-preserved components from the ‘Russian Boxes’ were earmarked for this second car, based upon the one complete, original and unmolested chassis frame from what Paul Karassik described as “…the old brick works” where he had first been shown it.
When this car was reassembled to running order by Crosthwaite & Gardiner, the decision was taken for it to portray – in its body style – the definitive two-stage supercharged Auto Union form of 1939. Consequently it is configured as an effective look-alike of the car in which works team driver H.P. Muller won the Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France at the Reims-Gueux circuit, on July 9, 1939, although it is not that actual car. We emphasise here that the restorers never intended it to be regarded as such – merely that it should have “the right look” to match its two-stage supercharged mechanical specification.
Confusingly, between its discovery and the completion of its restoration, the identity of the frame migrated from this the complete chassis to the re-fabricated half chassis, at the same time the engine number’s ‘1’ was overstamped with a ‘3’ to create an attribution of it being the unit from the French Grand Prix winning car. Within the last few years this anomaly has been corrected and the car offered has been rightfully acknowledged as ’19’, though its engine stampings have not been tampered with further.
What we can confirm from contemporary Auto Union team documentation quoted in the public arena, is that chassis or frame number ’19’ is recorded as having been deployed as the basis of the ‘D-Type’ car which was driven by Rudolf Hasse to finish fifth in the EifelRennen race at the Nurburging on May 21, 1939, and then by Hans Stuck to finish sixth in the Grand Prix de l’ACF – or ‘French Grand Prix’ – at Reims-Gueux on July 9 that same year.
Considering that the single-stage supercharged definitive ‘D-Type’ Auto Unions made their racing debut in the July 24, 1938, German Grand Prix, there is the possibility that this chassis frame may also have seen use that season with achievements to match.
Since its completion this Auto Union has been exhibited at a number of high profile events. The car was shown at Laguna Seca and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance 10 years ago, it has been exhibited at the Audi Tradition in Ingolstadt and has been driven at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Schloss Dyke Classic Day meeting, the anniversary of Shelsley Walsh and of Nuvolari’s victory at Donington Park, UK. It has also received feature articles in Motor Sport, Classic & Sportscar and Octane Magazine.
Following today’s auction the car is invited to participate at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the centenary class for the Audi brand, by kind permission of the organizers.
Driving the Auto Union
A handful of the people have had the opportunity to drive this car. Dick Crosthwaite ran the two-stage car – in an emotive return to the Nurburgring in Germany’s Eifel Mountains in 1994. His souvenirs of these outings were:
“The driving position is confined, with the detachable steering wheel above your lap, elbows at maximum bend.
“Visibility is fine. You feel as if you’re sitting forward in the car rather than centrally. You don’t have the distraction of an enormous bonnet up front and you’re barely aware of the length of the engine bay behind you, until you look in the mirror.
“The gearchange is down by your right thigh…smooth, direct and not particularly heavy. But really, the AU engines supply so much torque the gear change is irrelevant. At the kind of speeds done at the Nurburgring, you can go everywhere in top. The engine is smooth, vibration barely noticeable. But it’s obvious the two-stage car has 100 horsepower more than its sister. To make it go faster you just select a higher gear. The ratios are nicely spaced and it just zips on – most of the noise is behind you.
“One saving grace of the driving position is that the steering is light. Brake pedal pressure is not too bad – though I can’t be sure what it would be like if the brakes were really hot.
“The cars ride very smoothly – they’re long wheelbase and they feel quite stable. But, if you do get out of shape and the back tires let go, it seems there is so much mass let loose that the car will spin, regardless of what you do. You just sit there feeling a twit, then gather it all up and press on.
“The two-stage car feels like a real racer. I’d love to see a proper racing driver use one of these cars competitively; their true potential was perhaps never realized because the war came along, but just picture one of these V12s in amongst an Historic race field. That would be a sight to see – and a sound to hear!”
Today, Auto Union ‘D-Type’ chassis ’19’ is the only proven surviving Grand Prix car of its type with contemporary 1939 racing history. It is one of the classic car world’s most charismatic machines, exquisitely well-restored to running order and it is offered here “on the button”, having run recently once again on the historic old French Grand Prix course at Reims-Gueux.
It is in every respect a jewel – its V12 engine’s Hirth-type built-up roller-bearing crankshaft alone embodies some 1,111 separate components – yet it is all relatively low-stressed and as run by Crosthwaite & Gardiner on gasoline/methanol fuel mix it has shown promising reliability.
It is the contemporary rival – and nemesis – of the Mercedes-Benz W154s. It raced against them, and it beat them. It bears the hand prints of Stuck and Hasse – and probably of 1939 European Champion (robbed) H.P. Muller – and of the legendary Tazio Nuvolari too. It is one of the target cars upon which such greats as Caracciola, Lang, von Brauchitsch, and Dick Seaman once drew beads. It is absolutely a great Grand Prix car for the true connoisseur.
Most importantly its survival and content is universally acknowledged by all the leading authorities on these cars, and endorsed by the modern Audi company’s ‘Tradition’ department. Among those historians, one of the better known is Martin Schroeder, who co-wrote one of the earliest books on these cars, Mr. Schroeder, not only confirms this to be frame 19 and that the information we provide here regarding its two 1939 races and placings is correct, but intriguingly offers a suggestion that with the documentation he retains in his archives that the car could be even more important than it is already perceived if that were possible. Perhaps this will lead to the next exciting chapter in this car’s history.
Bentley 4.5 Litre “Blower” Single Seat Racer 1929/1931 Chassis #HB3402 Offered Bonhams Goodwood 29/6/12 SOLD @ US$7,908,000
In brief – Chassis only > Tim Birkin/ Dorothy Paget 1929 > bodied with 1.5 seat racing bodywork > Brooklands 500 mile 1929 Birkin retired > Railton aluminium body fitted > Brooklands (Kent Long Handicap) 1930 Birkin 2nd, Brooklands (Surrey Short H/C) 1930 Fastest Lap, Brooklands (Kent Long H/C) 1930 1st, Brooklands (Easter Beford Short H/C) 1930 Birkin 1st, Brooklands (Dorset Short H/C) 1930 Birkin Retired, Brooklands (Bedford Long H/C) 1930 Birkin, Brooklands (BARC Club) 1930 Birkin Retired, Brooklands (August Bank Holiday) 1930 Birkin Retired, Brooklands BRDC 500 mile 1930 Birkin/ Duller 9th, Brooklands (BARC Whitsun) 1931 Birkin > PowerPlus supercharger fitted > Brooklands (BRDC 500 mile) 1931 Benjafield Retired, Brooklands (Cumberland Long H/C) 1931 Birkin 3rd > Engine re-bored to 4442cc > Brooklands 1932 Birkin (137.96mph), Brooklands (Easter) 1932 Birkin 2nd, Brooklands (Norfolk H/C) 1932 Birkin 1st, Brooklands (100 mile Outer Circuit) 1932 Birkin Retired, Brooklands (Whitsun) 1932 Birkin Retired, Brooklands (Gala H/C) 1932 Birkin 1st, Brooklands (Duke of York) 1932 Birkin Retired, Brooklands (Invitational) 1932 Birkin 1st, Brooklands (Hereford H/C) 1932 Birkin 2nd > Birkin passed away of Septicaemia early 1933 > Dorothy Paget 1933 > Peter Robinson – Rodger 1939 > 1940’s engine fitted to French GP chassis > late 1940’s fitted with 2 seat bodywork and original engine > Bequeathed to John Morley upon R-R’s death in 1958 > Rusty Russ – Turner 1964 > Rebuilt by Russ – Turner > Single Seat bodywork refitted > George Daniels 1970’s > Consigned to Bonhams 2012
One of the greatest cars of all time, this has immense presence and would be an invitee to any event, anywhere. Eight mil is a lot but it could have gone for double this. VERY WELL BOUGHT.
Amongst all Brooklands habitués of the 1920-30s, perhaps the most glamorous and charismatic of all the historic Motor Course’s racing celebrities was the diminutive Bentley-driving Baronet, Sir Henry Ralph Stanley ‘Tim’ Birkin. He combined his ‘Bentley Boy’ high-society image with a fearless driving talent and here we offer the unique ‘Blower’ Bentley Single-Seater in which he shattered the Brooklands Outer Circuit Lap Record in 1931.
For an entire generation of British motor racing enthusiasts, ‘Tiger Tim’s’ militarily-moustachioed, be-goggled figure, in his neat wind cap, often with a polka-dot scarf fluttering in the slipstream, personified an English ideal. This so-British hero became the absolute epitome of Imperial power, speed and daring…
But ‘Tim’ Birkin in truth embodied far more than mere celebrity just flirting with motor racing. He was in fact intensely competitive, a born sportsman who relished racing for racing’s sake, dedicated to maximizing his chances on track, and committed whole-heartedly to making the absolute most of whatever natural talent he possessed.
Despite the contemporary press image of him as a fearlessly courageous daredevil, Sir Henry described himself as being “…quite small, and I do stammer…in business that does not interest me, I am hopelessly vague and inefficient but on a subject in which I am absorbed, just as hopelessly talkative and meticulous”.
With fellow enthusiast/racer Mike Couper, Birkin & Couper Ltd was established at Welwyn where it produced the prototype 4½-litre Blower Bentley in the summer of 1929. W.O. recalled: “They would lack in their preparation all the experience we had built up in (our own) racing department over 10 years. I feared the worst and looked forward to their first appearance with anxiety…”.
Birkin ran his prototype tourer-bodied car in the Brooklands 6-Hour race on June 29,1929. The car retired. At Dublin’s Phoenix Park race two weeks later the two supercharged Bentleys finished 3rd and 8th. In the RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards in Ulster, Bernard Rubin’s ‘Blower’ overturned while Birkin, who had challenged W.O. to act as his riding mechanic (the marque’s founder accepting), placed a worthy second overall and won his class. The third ‘Blower’, meanwhile, broke its engine.
Birkin then retired from the Brooklands 500-Miles and the entire team retired from the Double-Twelve race at Brooklands in May 1930. W.O., embittered – one must remember – by the collapse of his company – summed it up as follows: “The supercharged 4½ never won a race, suffered a never-ending series of mechanical failures, brought the marque Bentley disrepute and incidentally cost Dorothy Paget a large sum before she decided to withdraw her support in October 1930…”.
W.O. added the sting in the tail: “Tim managed to persuade Barnato to allow him to enter a team in the 1930 Le Mans (in which none survived) and we were obliged, in order to meet the regulations, to construct no less than fifty of these machines for sale to the public…”.
W.O. assertion that the ‘Blower’ Bentley “never won a race” is wrong. The car offered here is the exception – and it would not only become a multiple Brooklands race winner, but also holder of the Outer Circuit lap record there.
Birkin had been disappointed by his failure at Le Mans 1929 and then decided during that summer to make a firm entry for the BRDC 500-Mile race at Brooklands, using a car with the future potential to break the Outer Circuit lap record there.
Bentley Motors had been rocking in the deepening recession when Tim Birkin became attracted, unlike W.O. Bentley himself, to the notion of supercharging the 4½-litre Bentley. Those were the great years of Bentley success with consecutive victories in the Le Mans 24-Hours race, but Birkin hungered for greater power and more speed as W.O. explained: “Tim had a constant urge to do the dramatic thing, a characteristic which I suppose had originally brought him into racing. His gaily vivid, restless personality seemed to be always driving him on to something new and spectacular, and unfortunately our 4½-litre car was one of his targets… Tim used all his charm and persuasion to induce first Amherst Villiers to build a special blower for his 4½, next Woolf Barnato” – company financier as well as leading team driver – “to give it his blessing, and finally the Hon. Dorothy Paget to put up the money for a works at Welwyn” – just north of London – “and to buy and modify the chassis”.
At his Birkin & Couper Ltd works in Welwyn, this special track-racing ‘Blower’ Bentley was then developed alongside the road-racing endurance sports cars. Captain – later Lt. Colonel – Clive Gallop was largely responsible for the new track-racing car, while working under his direction on the project were foreman E.A. Jennings, the Champion English racing walker Whitcombe who was ‘Tim’ Birkin’s riding mechanic, Logan and Newcombe, who were successively Bentley’s chief engine fitters; Browning, the chief chassis fitter, and Billy Rockell, the works’ supercharger fitter.
The Bentley chassis selected as basis of the project was of 10 feet 10 inch wheelbase, chassis number ‘HB 3402’ while the selected engine number was ‘SM 3901′.
Amherst Villiers had designed the supercharger and its configuration, while the developed engine’s enlarged-diameter crankshaft, with 90mm journals, and special rods were drawn and detailed by Villiers’ chief draughtsman, Tom Murray Jamieson of later racing Austin and ERA fame before his tragic death at Brooklands – as a luckless spectator – in 1938.
The Villiers Roots-type supercharger for this ‘Blower’ Bentley ‘Track Car’ used a standard casing as on the sports cars, but housing larger rotors to increase boost. Otherwise, according to Clive Gallop at the time, the engine was the normal 4-cylinder with four overhead valves per cylinder, actuated by a single-overhead camshaft. The cylinder-head ports were of course highly polished, any engine fitter within the Welwyn works who found himself temporarily idle being put straight onto this task. As much of the cylinder head as possible was also polished, but not re-machined. Bench testing showed that fuel consumption “…of methanol mixture of 0.79 specific gravity would be 1.2 pints per bhp/hour”. On track the finished car’s actual fuel consumption figure proved to be 2.07 miles per gallon…
The body initially fitted to chassis ‘HB 3402’ was of ‘1½-seater’ form, with fabric skin stretched over a spring-steel lattice framework. The radiator was exposed while the supercharger, dumb-irons and carburettors were all partially cowled-in. This brand-new bodywork was painted in a rich mid-blue livery.
The Outer Circuit was no minor challenge at that time, in 1929. The old concrete bankings and straights were frost-heaved, patched and bumpy. Fuel tank troubles were anticipated, for the ageing Brooklands Motor Course could mete out a fearful pounding to cars running at way above one hundred miles per hour. Consequently a fuel tank design adapted from the 42-gallon Le Mans 24-Hour race type was mounted by means of a Le Mans-style cross-tube at the back which passed through the tank and which was carried within a rubber-lined trunnion on each of the two main frame rails. Clive Gallop then provided a third mounting point using a plate shaped to the match the front end of the tank, carrying a nickel-steel pin that accommodated the spider of a Hardy-Spicer universal joint.
A structure rising from the chassis then carried another spider which coupled to that on the tank, thus providing a flexible forward mounting.
Unfortunately, during practice on the eve the 1929 500-Mile race, the nickel-steel pin attached to the tank sheared due to embrittlement when it had been brazed into place – not at Welwyn, Gallop emphasized. He promptly drove the damaged Track car back from Brooklands to the Welwyn works for repair, without mudguards, lamps and starting handle and with a police car following him right into the factory yard!
It became obvious that in the time available overnight an adequately heavy new support could not be provided. Instead, the suggestion of a young mechanic named Hoffman was adopted, in which a normal steel strap packed with rubber and felt was placed round the front of the tank, and then attached to the chassis by reinforced angle plates, welded into place.
Just after dawn on race day, Clive Gallop drove the great car back to Brooklands, Birkin – who was in the process of negotiating provision of a substitute car from ‘Babe’ Barnato – having been warned that it was on the way. Clive Gallop saw, and held, 120mph along the Barnet Bypass road, and the new car was finally delivered to the Track just in time to be checked over and readied for the race start.
Incidentally, during this rushed delivery to Weybridge, Clive Gallop had found the Track car so tractable on the public road that eventually a Welwyn-to-Brooklands route was selected which included London suburban traffic. If a spark plug should oil up, Clive Gallop’s standard procedure would be to stop on the hill at Putney Vale – on the stretch passing the KLG spark plug factory – where he would fit a fresh plug and then roll-start down the remainder of the gradient there.
When the big cars were finally flagged away into that 1929 BRDC 500-Miles race, ‘Tim’ Birkin in the ‘Blower’ Bentley single-seater now offered here, immediately set the pace, lapping at over 121mph. A great duel ensued between this ‘Blower’ Bentley and Kaye Don’s V12-cylinder Sunbeam. But as it hurtled round the punishing, high-banked Motor Course, the new blue Bentley began to spray a thin mist of engine oil from its bonnet louvres, the droplets coating the aero screen, cockpit coaming and driver’s head and shoulders. Birkin soon found his hands slipping on the steering wheel rim, and his vision diminishing through coated goggles, so he tore into the pits to clean up. The Clive Dunfee/’Sammy’ Davis Speed Six Bentley took over the lead on scratch, while on handicap small-capacity Amilcars and Austin Sevens held the advantage. By 90 laps George Eyston’s Sunbeam ‘Cub’ was up into to second place and after 108 laps it led overall. Dudley Froy, partnering Kaye Don in the big Sunbeam, also led before retiring with a broken back spring – the Brooklands bumps offering no mercy – and Eyston’s Sunbeam would also break a spring.
Having rejoined, ‘Tim’ Birkin in this ‘Blower’ Bentley single-seater then encountered further trouble. The problem of compensating for expansion and movement between the exhaust manifold and the silencer body-cum-pipe had been countered by inserting a length of flexible steel tubing “as used in HM submarines” with a backing applied to the car body to insulate it from silencer heat. W.O. Bentley had advised against such a scheme and as the long race tore on the localized exhaust heat degraded both the flexible pipe material and its pipe-backing, which crumbled. This left the coils of metal to vibrate and fracture, opening a hole in the exhaust system from which violet flame blasted onto the fabric body skin and set it alight.
Birkin arrowed into the pits with his new Track car trailing flame and smoke. The fire was quickly doused, but that day the car would race no further…
For 1930, ‘Tim’ Birkin then decided to attack track racing seriously with the single-seater, which went on to establish itself as one of the Brooklands Motor Course’s most charismatic cars, campaigned by certainly its most charismatic contemporary driver.
In its 1930 form, with Villiers supercharger driven from the crankshaft nose and inhaling through two huge horizontal SU carburettors, the car’s engine developed some 240bhp on alcohol fuel mix, some 65bhp more than a standard ‘Blower’ Bentley on benzole petrol. Its rear axle featured a new nose piece housing a special pinion which provided a final-drive ratio of 2.8:1. Fuel flow at full throttle was quoted as being approximately one Imperial gallon every 74 seconds…
Reid A. Railton had been commissioned to design a new (fire proof!) aluminium body to replace the flexibly-frame fabric original, and it was hand made for the car by A.P. Compton & Co of Merton. The regulation Brooklands silencer on the car’s nearside now bolted directly to the exhaust manifold, without any flexible-pipe intervening. Front-wheel brakes were deleted and the car rode on 32-inch x 6.50 Dunlop Racing tyres.
The first Brooklands Meeting of 1930 then saw Birkin battling against his starting penalty, taking second place in the three-lap Kent Short Handicap race despite a slipping clutch and with supercharger casing cracks hastily plugged just before the start, using Plasticene… His flying lap was still clocked at 123.89mph. He then contested the meeting’s Surrey Short Handicap, setting fastest lap at 124.51mph.
In the four-lap Kent Long Handicap, Birkin then had the chance to overcome his penalty, winning by one second at 119.13mph average, and setting fastest lap at 126.73mph. This was the first race victory ever achieved by a ‘Blower’ Bentley – and while Sir Henry, car owner the Hon. Dorothy Paget and their supporters were delighted, W.O. Bentley – whose distaste for supercharging was often declared – had perhaps mixed feelings.
Brooklands’ Easter meeting then saw Birkin campaign his single-seater before a 20,000 crowd, winning the Bedford Short Handicap easily at 117.81mph and lapping at 134.24!
As the late, great Bill Boddy recalled in his definitive ‘History of Brooklands Motor Course 1906-1940′ – “Plug troubles foiled Birkin’s hopes in the Dorset Lightning Short Handicap but he turned out again for a 3-lap match race against Dunfee’s GP Sunbeam. Sadly Dunfee’s car had thrown a rod, so Birkin came out alone, to attempt to beat Kaye Don’s lap record. The Bentley was in grand trim, roaring very high round the Byfleet banking, dropping to the Fork in a puff of dust, clipping the verge by the Vickers’ sheds and going onto the Members’ banking each time with that characteristic and disturbing little snake that those who saw the car in action are not likely to forget. From the notorious bump” – where the Hennebique Bridge near the end of the Member’s Banking had subsided slightly into the River Wey – “… it leapt some 70 feet, clear of the Track, onto the Railway Straight. It was a grand sight, Birkin’s scarf flirting with the fairing behind his head as he held the car to its course. The ‘Blower’ Bentley certainly provided as great a thrill for the onlookers of the 1930s as had the V12 Sunbeam and the ‘Chittys’ for the 1920s…”.
‘Tiger Tim’s heroic driving that day had seen the Bentley Single-Seater lap in 1 minute 13.4 seconds, 135.33mph, beating Don’s existing outright record by 0.73mph. On its standing lap the Single-Seater had lapped at 133.88mph, then completed its succeeding three laps at 134.60, 134.60 and finally the new record 135.33mph.
Birkin then contested the following Bedford Long Handicap race, but with his new lap record conferring an “owes 20secs” handicap he was unplaced, despite equaling his new record on two consecutive laps…
Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin’s Blower Bentley single-seater was plainly Great Britain’s fastest track racing car of that time. After that day’s racing he promptly flew back to Le Touquet to claim the dinner that ‘Babe’ Barnato had promised him that morning if he could break the Outer Circuit lap record.
At the following BARC Club Meeting, the great car was off form, issuing clouds of smoke on the startline and Birkin lapping at a – for him – measly 126.73mph. The car ran poorly again in that day’s Racing Long Handicap before retreating to Welwyn after a poor day out.
Kaye Don first equaled the new Birkin Bentley record in his V12 Sunbeam at Brooklands’ Whitsun Meeting, and then shattered it by lapping at 137.58mph, a 2.25mph improvement.
The Hon. Dorothy Paget then entered Birkin to drive the Single-Seater again in the Brooklands August Bank Holiday meeting, only for the fuel tank to split, causing his retirement from the feature ‘Gold Star’ Handicap.
High winds and the threat of rain then made high speeds impossible in the Brooklands Autumn meeting – but Birkin and the Single-Seater reappeared for the BRDC 500-Miles on October 4. A front tyre burst at top speed during practice, which both car and driver survived despite “some astonishing subsequent gyrations”. Birkin shared the drive with George Duller but the car ran badly and neither enjoyed the experience, their car “sounding like a motor cycle” and finishing a tardy ninth. So the 1930 Brooklands season closed, with Kaye Don and his V12 Sunbeam holding the Outer Circuit lap record…
The Hon. Dorothy Paget loved being involved with competition, but only if she was on the winning side. That winter she withdrew her backing from the ‘Blower’ Bentley endurance racing team, but retained the successful Single-Seater. The BARC Whitsun Meeting in 1931 saw the great car’s return to Brooklands, but again Birkin’s best efforts with it were overshadowed, lapping at a best of 128.69mph in the Gold Star Handicap, then 131.06 in the Somerset Senior Long before retiring.
Birkin consulted George Eyston, and at his suggestion fitted a PowerPlus vane-type supercharger in place of the Villiers’ Roots-Type. Not until that year’s August meeting would the Single-Seater return to the historic Motor Course, but a gusty wind hampered attempts by both Birkin and Gwenda Stewart in the 2-litre Derby Miller to attack the Kaye Don lap record. Birkin’s best attempt running alone as part of a special record attempt feature within that August meeting was clocked at 134.97mph, but later that afternoon in the London Lightning Long Handicap race he clocked an improved 136.45mph despite the gusty wind.
‘Tiger Tim’s great friend and fellow ‘Bentley Boy’ Dr J.D. Benjafield was then entrusted with the Single-Seater for the 1931 BRDC 500-Miles, only for its engine to break a valve and the great car to be retired. Birkin wrote: “The few days before this race were not without their thrills…when I was coming off the Byfleet Banking at about 130, the auxiliary petrol tank caught fire and flames began to lick the legs of my overalls…. the cockpit certainly did become rather hot. So I switched off the engine and put on the brakes; but before the car stopped, I had to climb out of the seat and, perched on the back of the car, steer as best I could from a crouching position. I jumped off once it was safe and put out the fire. But the cockpit and my hands were both burnt…”. The original Villiers supercharger then replaced the PowerPlus.
Come that year’s Autumn Meeting and in the Cumberland Senior Long Handicap Birkin finished third after starting from scratch, after which he continued for two extra laps to attack Don’s 137mph lap record, yet again falling just short at 136.82mph.
For 1932, the Single-Seater was re-sprayed red in place of its original blue and its engine was re-bored to 100.5mm, providing a capacity of 4,442cc. The new season opened on Easter Monday, but four days prior to that meeting Birkin attacked the Kay Don Outer Circuit lap record and broke it at last – raising the mark to 137.96mph.
In the subsequent Easter meeting, John Cobb’s V12 Delage just edged out the now re-handicapped Lap Record-holding Single-Seater to win by 0.2 sec from Birkin, whose best lap was at 134.24mph compared to Cobb’s best of only 128.36.
Out again in the Norfolk Lightning Long Handicap, Birkin nearly lost control of the great car on his second lap, as it skidded viciously under the gusty wind as it shot out from beneath the Members’ Bridge. Birkin and the Bentley then won for their third time at Brooklands, averaging 122.07mph and lapping at 134.26.
The BRDC later held a 100-mile Outer Circuit race, in which Birkin held the advantage in his heat until the Single-Seater’s right-front tyre stripped and he made a pit stop, finishing fourth. He then led the Final at half-distance but only until “…the long red car came round misfiring and spluttering, took on water, boiled and retired a lap later with the cylinder block cracked”. Another retirement was then posted in the 1932 Whitsun Meeting,
At a special Brooklands day organised in aid of Guy’s Hospital, Birkin subsequently won the Gala Long Handicap and equaled his former lap record of 137.96mph. In the six-lap Duke of York’s race the Bentley threw the tread from its right-rear tyre which flailed high over the heads of spectators round the Members’ Banking…
The threat of rain at the August Meeting persuaded Birkin not to run the Single-Seater in one race, but in the 3-lap invitation event for 100 Sovereigns, Birkin in the Bentley confronted John Cobb in the V12 Delage. The French car was the faster starter, leading by 3.8 seconds completing the opening lap. But on lap 2 ‘Tiger Tim’ flashed round at 135.70mph and was just 1.2 seconds off Cobb’s tail.
Bill Boddy: “The crowd was on its toes… And round they came, the Bentley gaining, yard by yard, on the Delage. As Birkin hurtled off the banking the ‘bump’ shot his car well clear of the Track and the padded rest on the fairing behind his head came adrift, to fly, a small dark object, high into the air. In a supreme effort, Birkin caught Cobb and drew ahead, winning one of Brooklands’ most intense races by a mere one-fifth of a second, or about 25 yards. He averaged 125.14mph and that glorious last lap was run at 137.58mph (0.28mph below the record).” Out again in the Hereford Lightning Long Handicap, Birkin swept around at 136.45mph, being classified second at the finish.”
Despite his Brooklands heroics, in 1932, Birkin wrote of the Motor Course: “I think that it is, without exception, the most out-of-date, inadequate and dangerous track in the world…Brooklands was built for speeds of no greater than 120mph, and for anyone to go over 130, without knowing the track better than his own self, is to court disaster… The surface is abominable. There are bumps which jolt the driver up and down in his seat and make the car leave the road and travel through the air”. He concluded this onslaught with the line “If I could find anything true to shed an attractive blur over all Brooklands’ diseases, I would make use of it at once; but there is nothing at all…” He was a brave man, then, to unleash this ‘Blower’ Bentley Single-Seater there as fearlessly as he did…
In the sports-racing ‘Blower’ Bentleys, Sir Henry had already set a record-breaking pace at Le Mans in 1930, and that same year ran his ‘Blower’ in the French Grand Prix at Pau in southern France – describing it as being akin to “a large Sealyham surrounded by greyhounds”, yet finishing an astonishing second overall. But by 1931 Bentley Motors and the ‘Blower’ project were in collapse and Sir Henry was instead racing private Alfa Romeo 8C-2300s shared with his friend Earl Howe, actually winning the prestigious Le Mans 24-Hour race for the Italian marque. But early in the 1933 racing season ‘Tiger Tim’ burned his arm at Tripoli in Libya while running a Maserati 8C at Tripoli in the Lottery Grand Prix. Already ailing with recurrent malaria – first contracted during his World War 1 service – this British hero was quickly overwhelmed by septicaemia, despite tremendous efforts to save him by his friend and loyal supporter Dr Benjafield. And Sir Henry died in a London hospital three weeks after the Libyan incident, on June 22, 1933 – aged just 36.
His former backer, the Hon. Dorothy Paget, retained the Single-Seater, unused, until 1939, resisting all offers from would-be buyers until Bentley enthusiast Peter Robertson-Rodger blew-up the engine of his ex-Birkin French GP ‘Blower’ Bentley at Donington Park, and he managed to charm her into selling him the track car, to use its engine in the sister Birkin car. Then came World War 2. The number one ‘Blower’ engine was then returned to the single-seater, which Robertson-Rodger decided to convert into a two-seat roadster.
Bentley mechanic Bill Short did the conversion work during the war, and the project was finally completed in the late 1940s using a two-seat body designed by Robertson-Rodger and made by Chalmers of Redhill. This new body retained the single-seater’s appearance in side profile, complete with pointed tail. Bentley specialist and VSCC luminary John Morley subsequently worked on the great car, and when Peter Robertson-Rodger died in 1958 he bequeathed the Single-Seater in his will to Mr Morley.
Meanwhile, boyhood Birkin fan and Bentley enthusiast ‘Rusty’ Russ-Turner had been a long-term admirer of the car. He recalled: “I had never lost my fascination for that car and one day I was at the Bentley Drivers’ Club Hendon driving tests meeting when a fellow member mentioned rumours that the Birkin single-seater was going to be sold to America.
“I went to see John Morley who said that nobody in England seemed to want it. In fact, they all seemed afraid of it. So after long negotiations we came to an agreement and in the summer of 1964 I collected it from his garage at Colnbrook, west of London, and drove it home to Leatherhead. It carried the 2-seat body but Morley had also sold me the original track body as part of the deal. When I climbed behind that wheel it was the realization of a dream. Ha, I was wearing a white silk shirt, and by the time I got home I was soaked in oil from head to foot!”
He described how he had found that the great car’s engine bearings were badly worn and its dry-sump system scavenge pump on the nose of the supercharger had been re-piped to feed an oil-cooler under such pressure that the excess oil squirted everywhere. He painstakingly rebuilt the car and ran it for several years with its Robertson-Rodger 2-seat body in place while the single-seater aluminium shell sat on the floor of his garage.
“Its cockpit was just too tight for me…” he recalled, “… and one day I climbed into it, there on the floor, and couldn’t get out – I had to stand up, wearing the thing like a skirt. Eventually we found that by making a minor modification and cutting out just one spar behind the seat we could gain about four inches, and that was just enough for me to squeeze in”.
With this unobtrusively modified original body remounted on the famous old chassis, front wheel brakes replaced by Robertson-Rodger and some other minor concessions to road equipment, the Birkin single-seater emerged as a splendidly long-legged vintage motor car of the most colossal distinction.
It remained quite tricky for many would-be drivers to enter, and cramped once seated within. ‘Rusty’ Russ-Turner found the pedals demandingly confined with the centre throttle and right-side brake, while cockpit heat was always high as hot air wafted back from the engine compartment. The aluminium body paneling “…warms up nicely in sympathy with the massive exhaust and Brooklands silencer along the left-hand side. He found the brakes excellent although “…one does have to make arrangements when approaching a corner”. The car was absolutely at home at anything above 70mph at which it became “delightfully stable”. The standard D-Type Bentley gearbox he rated as being “as good as any” while he also owned the original track-racing gearbox which he found contained the “rounded-off straight-cut gears preferred by Birkin…”. ‘Tiger Tim’ either could not or would not double de-clutch and he liked to snatch the gears straight through. “They called them Mangle Gears and this explains the fantastic background gear noise which was so characteristic of the car when it was being raced”, he explained.
Gearing represented 36mph per 1,000rpm, and the rev limit was set at 4,000rpm.. “…although it can get very expensive around there”, he warned.
‘Rusty’ Russ-Turner suffered a fatal heart attack at Silverstone while racing the car, after which it was acquired by George Daniels, enjoying his protection and preservation ever since. Mr Daniels recalled how he came to buy the car: “Jack Sears telephoned and told me the Birkin Single-Seater was for sale and he thought it would suit me. I knew I was going to have to make a hard decision so I eventually went down to see it and there it was in all its glory. I told Jack I couldn’t afford his price but made him an offer, and eventually he came back to me to say that Rusty’s widow Audrey had told him she wanted me to have the car and I’ve been racing it ever since…”
It is now offered here as an exceedingly potent reminder of a magisterial period of British racing history, a machine with a unique place in racing history, and the exception to the W.O. Bentley ‘rule’ that “…the supercharged 4½ never won a race”.
The Bentley comes with road equipment including wings, an extensive history file including correspondence, road-registration documents and large format photo album.
For history to be valuable it must be examined in proper perspective, and the Brooklands ‘Blower’ Bentley Single-Seater is one ‘Blower’ that suffers not at all under closer scrutiny.
This car is absolutely a British, and a Brooklands, icon
Bentley 4.5 Litre “Blower” Gurney Nutting 2/3 Seater Boattail 1931 Chassis #SM3916 Offered by Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach 17/8/12 NOT SOLD @ Estimate of US$8 – 10 million.
In brief – Chassis only > Gurney Nutting for fitting of 2/3 seater boattail body > Jack Barclay Ltd. 1931 > SB Peck 1931 > Nora MacCaw 1934 > Jack Barclay ltd. 1935 > Bentley Motors 1935 > GN Stead > AA Baring 1936 > GW Warren > FB Crabtree 1938 > G Lillywhite 1939 > Unknown > E & B Klein, USA 1953 > Gooding & Co 2007 sold US$4.5 mil. > Unknown > Consigned to Gooding & Co 2012
A fully original Blower Bentley is almost impossible to find so the $8 million asking price wasn’t too much of an ask. Next time ?.
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.
Bugatti Type 55 Billeter & Cartier DHC 1932 Chassis #55-206 Offered by Gooding & Co Pebble Beach 17/8/12 NOT SOLD @ US$4.5 million
In brief – Chassis only > Dr. Kocher, France 1932 > Billeter & Cartier bodied > Rally des Alpes 1933 Kocher > Emile Sambuc 1935 > Laurent Biancotto 1937 > Alexander M Oliva 1938 > Paul Lefevre 1939 > Pierre Gerard 1947 > Ghislain Gengembre 1949 > Yves Garnier 1970 > Restored > Hans Bitterwolf, Germany 1987 > Peter Agg, UK 1987 > Ruedi Schmid, Switzerland 1990’s > Unknown 2007 > Consigned to Gooding & Co. 2012
A lovely example of a great car, effectively a road going Grand Prix car. Worth the money and more.
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. .
Daimler 40/50 Double Six Martin Walter Sport Saloon 1932 Chassis #32382 Offered by Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach 17/8/12 SOLD @ US$2.97 mil.
In brief – rolling chassis produced > bodied by Martin Walter > A. Webber, UK 1932 > Eastbourne Concours 1932 winner > Isle of Man 1940’s > Buick V8 fitted > Crailville partially restored 1990’s > Unknown, USA 1990’s > Restored by Alan Taylor & Mark Goyette > Original engine fitted > Pebble Beach 1999 Best of show > Gooding & Co 2008 sold US$2.97 mil. > Unknown > Consigned to Gooding & Co. 2012
A beautiful if quite menacing looking car. Worth all of the money for a true one – off. Well bought.
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 Chassis 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.
Delaunay – Belleville Type 06 8L Chassis #6563 Offered by Artcurial Retromobile 3/2/12 SOLD @ US$633,000
In brief – Rothschild & Fils Tourer body fitted 1913 > Edward Daubree, France > Military use 1914 – 1918 > Pierre de Brou de Lauriere 1922 > Hidden 1939 – 1986 > Consigned to Artcurial 2012
A beautiful car, very historic, being owned by 1 family since 1913 and in absolutely original condition. Could have sold for twice the amount. VERY WELL BOUGHT.
The history of 6563
The car on offer, with matching numbers, is a rare 1913 O6, one of the first ten built possibly as early as late 1912. Its longer wheelbase (3.74 m against 3.58 m for the standard version cataloged from 1914 to 1915) could define it as a pre-production model or a very special car (built for the Russian court?). Given the wealth and the position in the industry of the first owner it is quite possible that the car was acquired directly from the factory, before production had begun.
This car was bought new by Mr Edward Daubree, a member of the family that co-founded a small rubber factory in Clermont-Ferrand (whose history and reputation is well known) under the name of “Michelin et Cie”. When new, it was part of the motorcade organised by the Automobile Club of Périgord for the visit of President Raymond Poincaré in the Dordogne in late 1913. (As evidenced by the article in the club bulletin dated 1929.). It seems the car was not requisitioned by the military in August 1914.
The car was apparently given to Mr Daubree’s young nephew, Pierre de Brou de Laurière, at the end of the Great War and used regularly by him. In 1922, the car was eventually registered in his name in Périgueux (the mineral district of Bordeaux). The car has retained its original tourer body constructed by J. Rothschild & Fils (Ets Rheims et Auscher et Cie, Avenue Malakoff, Paris) and coated with partinium (an aluminum alloy with tungsten). This was a specialty of the horse carriage manufacturer that had been taken over in the late nineteenth century by two young engineers from the prestigious ‘Arts et Manufactures’. They introduced the use of this material instead of wood for the body in 1898. (they were also responsible for bodying the “La Jamais Contente” of land speed record breaker Jenatzy and most successful race cars between 1898-1899) The wings, needing to be stronger,used sheet steel. This heavy car, with a maximum speed of 115kph, was often equipped with dual rear wheels to reduce tyre wear. As evidenced by two detailed invoices in the file, the car returned to the factory in 1924 and again in 1928 for major restoration work, including on the engine and transmission. In 1920 the car was fitted with electric lighting. In 1939 the car was hidden in the home of the de Brou de Laurière family and the wheels were walled up in another house where Mrs Patrick de Brou de Laurière lived. Her son Pierre de Brou de Laurière and Francis Courteix (who maintains the cars in the collection) found the car there in 1986. The car was then completely taken apart and the mechanical components overhauled (which were found to be in very good condition) with only one new piston ring and installation of a starter required; Then the car was painted, and a new hood fitted, as the original hood, weakened over time, had torn during an outing. The body is in blue with black wings and black leather interior. Re-registered in June 1989, this Delaunay-Belleville has remained in the same family since 1913, with a clear continuous history and just three owners from new. Here is an opportunity to acquire an important and rare motor car that represents the best of early 20th century French car production. It is an opportunity that won’t come round again for a very long time.
Patrick de Brou de Laurière created a foundation in June 2010 for medical research against cancer, Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. The foundation also aims to promote Arthérapie. After his death, the car was given to the foundation which decided to enter it in the Retromobile sale to raise funds for medical research
Duesenberg Model J Le Baron Dual Cowl Phaeton 1929 Chassis #2292/J270 Offered at Gooding Pebble Beach 17/8/12 SOLD @ US$1,980,000
In brief – Rolling Chassis > Duesenberg works fitted Le Baron body from #2217 (owned by WH Brown) 1929 > WH Brown 1929 > via. Duesenberg 1934 > Jean Cattier 1934 > Hilton Motors 1935 > Franklin d’Olier, Jr. 1935 > Derham updated coachwork 1936 > Rebuilt engine > T Chatfield Taylor 1940 > Alexander Georg Rudolf Bauer 1941 > Bauer passed away in 1953 > William Pettit 1955 > Consigned to Gooding & Co. 2012
A superb Model J in totally authentic condition. One for the enthusiast that fully understands what it is. Very well bought, it could easily have sold for US$3 million or more.
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.
Duesenberg Model JN Bohman & Schwartz Convertible Coupe 1935 Chassis #2585/J-560 Offered at Gooding Pebble Beach 17/8/12 Estimate undisclosed, Not Sold at High Bid of US$6 million
In brief – Chassis only > Rollston body fitted > Clark Gable 1936 > Bohman & Schwartz rebody 1936 > Stored in Vancouver > Sold by Gable’s agent in 1947 > Donald Ballard 1940’s > SP Motors > Engine #J-521 fitted > GW Cleven 1951 > Robert “Hans” Hermann 1951 > Richard Luntz > John Troka > Paul Colianni 1953 > Charles Johnson 1973 > Restored > Jerome Sauls 1980 > PA Parviz, UK 1982 (Never left storage in the USA) > Thomas Barrett, USA 1983 > Behring Collection 1983 > Chairman Lee, Korea 1995 (Never left the Behring/ Blackhawk Colletion) > Unknown owner 2006 > Stone Barn Restored > Consigned to Gooding & Co. 2012
Surely the dream automobile, a Duesenberg in fabulous condition with style to burn and a celebrity history to die for. The car was bidded to $6 million, and should have made at least $10 million.
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
Duesenberg Model J LeBaron Dual Windshield Barrelside Phaeton 1931 Chassis #2318/J-299 Offered @ RM Auctions Hershey 11/10/12 SOLD for US$1,410,000
In brief – Rolling Chassis > Le Baron body fitted > Phil Berg 1931 > Muroc Flats race 1932 > Unknown > Herman Zalud 1971 > Tiny Gould > The Craven Foundation, Canada 1981 > Bowersox, USA 1985 > Consigned to RM Auctions 2012
• From the collection of Ray Bowersox
• Winner of the epic 1932 race at Lake Muroc
• Single ownership since 1985
• One of only seven examples built
According to Phil Berg, the original owner of the Duesenberg offered here and agent to numerous stars and producers of Hollywood, it all started like this, “Leila and I were at Al Jolson’s home on Sunset Boulevard one evening, playing bridge with a number of friends. Zeppo and Chico Marx arrived in a sleek SSK (sic) Mercedes, which they had purchased jointly. My Duesenberg was parked in front and soon enough the conversation turned to these powerful looking machines and which of them was the faster.” The story, which unfolded during interviews conducted by noted racing historian and author Griffith Borgeson with Berg and other witnesses, is the stuff of legend.
The conversation recounted by Berg quickly developed from casual banter to a bet proposed by Chico Marx for “several thousand dollars.” Leila Berg should arguably be credited for the events that unfolded, because that evening, she put a stop to the race that the gentlemen intended to happen then and there—from Jolson’s home to the beach in Santa Monica. Due to Mrs. Berg’s aversion to a race at midnight, the stakes were entrusted to a friend while the competitors organized a proper race, resulting in what Borgeson described as “sort of an automotive gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a showdown between two of the biggest, baddest glamour wagons of all time.”
Between that evening and the day of the race, the wager ballooned to 25,000 Depression-era dollars. It was the kind of money that the vast majority of Americans might only dream of amassing after a lifetime of work and which, at the time, was only possessed by those involved in the Hollywood film industry. To Berg, however, there was nothing wrong with a friendly wager and he didn’t consider it to be gambling because he thought he could win. A phone call to the Indianapolis Speedway referred Berg to a man right in his own backyard: Eddie Miller.
Miller began an association with the Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company, Inc., back in 1915, when he was a team driver and brilliant mechanic for Fred Duesenberg through 1922. He later set up a repair shop in Hollywood and serviced automobiles for many entertainment personalities. His shop became a hangout for his racing buddies when they were in town, and he later came to the attention of E.L. Cord, who arranged to harness Miller’s talents in the nascent field of engine tuning by creating a racing department in the renamed Duesenberg, Inc., and giving him a free hand to express his art and his genius. Miller accepted the offer and his subsequent association with Cord’s empire would bring him into contact with the dry surface Lake Muroc and head-to-head with the supercharged Mercedes many times before the bet made by Marx and Berg.
As it so happened, Cord was also Phil Berg’s neighbor at the time and he gladly put him in touch with Miller, who agreed to participate in the race. A week before the race, a program of tuning and test driving was begun. The heavy LeBaron phaeton was stripped of any parts deemed unnecessary, including the fenders, bumpers, running boards, headlights, top, trunk, and windshield. Other preparations included last minute carburetor adjustments and staying up until 3 a.m. to whittle away the treads on a set of brand new tires to help improve gearing.
What started out as a casual wager over a game of cards ended up surprisingly well organized, with a couple hundred invited guests bussed in and others who flew personal planes to the site. Among those in attendance were Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Al Jolson, Carole Lombard, Mae West, and many others. Hollywood-based Mercedes specialist Joe Reindl was chosen to drive the Model S Mercedes. At 6:30 in the morning, the two cars lined up on a circular track at Muroc. The Mercedes took the shorter inside line and Miller gladly took the outside line, which he knew was firmer because it was raced on less.
Rounding out the star-studded list of attendees was the official starter, legendary race car designer and builder Harry Miller. When the flag was dropped, the two cars took off. As Eddie Miller described, “We had the muffler off, of course, and you can believe that that thing roared. They must have heard it in Barstow.” As expected, Reindle had faster acceleration and pulled into an early lead. By the time the cars reached the three mile point, the cars were side-by-side and Miller knew that he could easily take the Mercedes in top speed. Miller overtook Reindl after the first lap, “pouring on the coal pretty hard.” He reported his speed to be 108 or 109 miles an hour, still holding some power in reserve in case the Mercedes caught up. “As I came by the pole, where the people were waving and cheering, I looked back but could see no sign of my competition, swallowed up somewhere in my dust cloud.” A number of photos documenting the race show the two incredible stripped-down brutes poised and ready to prove their mettle in the crucible of motorsport.
Subsequent to Phil Berg’s ownership, the phaeton traveled through a succession of owners from California until passing to Herman Zalud, of North Platte, Nebraska. Later, it was with early collector and pioneer Tiny Gould, of Pennsylvania. An article published in Sports Illustrated on May 10, 1971 documents Gould’s rejection of an offer that would have shattered the previous $45,000 world record for an antique car, which was held by a T-head Mercer. So important was the car, and Gould’s faith in it, that he held on until finding the right home.
J-299 was eventually acquired by The Craven Foundation in Canada before coming into the ownership of Mr. Bowersox in November 1985, where it was thoroughly restored. The restoration included a full engine and mechanical rebuild, which has been meticulously maintained since. It has been driven and enjoyed regularly for the last quarter century, aided by the high-speed rear end, and has participated in many tours and ACD meets.
Finished in an attractive combination of sand beige with red fenders and accents, it is further amplified by a tan cloth top and side curtains by Al Prueit, and a sumptuous brown leather interior, which appears comfortable and worn in, like a favorite armchair. The interior is complemented by brown carpeting and accented by a Duesenberg eagle molded into the leather-upholstered panel behind the driver’s seat. Also highly attractive is the contrasting hood sweep, which starts at the peak of the radiator shell and spreads outward toward the cowl to the beginning of the complex belt molding; it then comes down the sides of the cowl and splits in front of the front door handle, continuing down the body until it joins back together behind the rear door handle and wraps around the rear of the body.
Other features include the interesting windshield, which cants forward and then rakes back at 45 degrees, Pilot-Ray driving lights, wind wings, chrome wire wheels, dual side-mounts with pedestal mirrors, a brown leather trunk with Duesenberg script, and a rear folding windshield with wings. The folding windshield is a period accessory and it is notable because J-299 was the only one of the seven LeBaron ‘barrelsides’ built without a rear cowl. It is further equipped with dual rear taillights and modern driving lights and seat belts for safe touring.
With the fading of memory and the passing of the legendary personalities that created the rolling sculptures so enthusiastically cherished today, so too have passed many great tales of automotive daring and folly. Collectors, historians, and enthusiasts are forever indebted to Borgeson for the many works he published documenting the early history of many automotive firms and pioneers. J-299 lives on as well, existing as a not-so-silent reminder of glory days passed. The car and the mythical race are superlatives in automotive lore and the well-crafted recounting is so aptly named: Madness at Muroc.
Ferrari 166 Inter Fontana Spider Corsa 1948 Chassis #012I Offered @ RM Monaco 12/5/12 SOLD @ US$1,307,950
In brief – Rolling Chassis by Gilco > completed by Ferrari Spa > Ansaloni Spyder Corsa body fitted > Scuderia Ferrari Works team > Bari GP 1948 Righetti Retired, Pescara GP 1948 Sterzi 2nd > fitted engine #022I > Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti Sterzi 1948 9th > Coppa Gallenga 1948 Bracco 1st, Rocco di Papa 1948 Bracco 1st > Giovanni Bracco 1949 Giro di Sicilia 1949 Bracco/ Maglioli Retired, San Remo GP 1949 Bracco 6th, Mille Miglia 1949 Bracco/ Maglioli Retired, Varese – Brinzio 1949 Bracco 1st, Como – Lieto 1949 Bracco 1st, Varese – Campo del Fiori 1949 Bracco 1st, Balzano – Mendola 1949 Bracco 3rd, Coppa d’Oro 1949 Bracco Retired, Aosta – Gran San Bernardo 1949 Bracco 2nd, Pontedecimo – Giovi 1949 Bracco 1st, Coppa Gallenga 1949 Bracco 3rd > Count Vittorio Marzotto 1949 > Fontana Barchetta rebody 1950 > Engine enlarged to 195 spec. > Giro di Sicilia 1950 Marzotto/ Crosara Retired, Mille Miglia 1950 Marzotto/ Fontana 9thm Parma – Poggio di Berceto 1950 Bracco 1st, Susa – Moncenisio 1950 Bracco 1st > 2.5 Litre engine fitted > body converted to Coupe > Giro di Calabria 1951 Marzotto 3rd, Grenzlandring 1951 Comotti 2nd, GP di Modena 1951 Gonzalez 6th, GP di Sicilia 1952 Comotti 6th, Paris GP 1952 Comotti Retired, Rome GP 1952 di Lapigio Retired > Martino Severi 1953 > Shortened > Targa Florio 1955 Matrullo > Stored > Discovered 1970 near Rome in Spider format > Corrado Cupellini 1970 > fitted ex. Marzotto 2 Litre F2 engine #116MS > Willy Felber, Switzerland 1975 > Giuseppe Medeci, Italy > Restored by Auto Mazzetti 1976 > Willy Felber 1977 > Jean Zanchi, Switzerland 1978 > Unknown owner late 1990’s > Restored by Phil Reilly, Patrick Ottis & Curtis Patience > Consigned to RM Auctions 2012
A unique Ferrari with ample history and a really interesting story. Not particularly original any longer, would be more than appropriate to be historic raced, could have sold for much more.
The Story of ‘Chiodo’
012I is one of the most charismatic Ferraris we’ve had the pleasure of representing. This very early example was the ninth Ferrari built, according to the chassis sequence, and the sixth of the extremely competitive 166 (two-litre) Spyder Corsas. It was a potent weapon, regularly discharged in capable hands and its racing record is illustrious, certainly equal to or exceeding all 166 SCs. 012I’s career was punctuated with numerous upgrades to its drivetrain and coachwork to remain competitive.
012I began its ‘life’ as a 166 Inter with cycle-winged bodywork by Ansaloni, one of the factory race cars to become known as ‘Spyder Corsas’. Completed in May, 1948, it just missed entry into the 1948 Mille Miglia, alongside its sister car, 010I, driven by Tazio Nuvolari. Under the Scuderia Ferrari flag, 012I was first deployed as a Grand Prix racer in the Bari GP, piloted by Ferdinando Righetti. Next came the Jun Mantua, (Giampiero Bianchetti), then on to the Pescara GP, where Count Bruno Sterzi garnered the car’s first podium trophy, finishing an impressive second overall. More success was to come at the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti, with Sterzi finishing ninth overall with co-pilot Enzo Monari. This event was the occasion of 021I’s first engine transplant (believed to be 022I, now in the first Barchetta, 0002M). Thereafter, in the car’s inaugural season, factory driver Giovanni Bracco brought further victories to Ferrari in hill climbs, starting with the Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti and the Rocco di Papa Hill Climb, where Bracco achieved an astonishing first place overall, winning the Gallenga Cup.
It was thus that Giovanni Bracco, an impatient young man from Cossila, Italy became the first ex-factory owner of 012I in early 1949. Bracco was an extrovert who loved food, women and the high life. After the death of his father, Bracco discovered a talent for road racing and did so with a passion. His motto was, famously, “Either it goes or I crash it”.
Bracco and 012I competed in at least 13 different races in 1949, though not without some sweat and frustration. The Ferrari motor from 1948 required, as it was once said, acrobatic feats to operate. In those days, racing fuel was a blend of gasoline and alcohol. Once started, one had to lick a finger and touch the exhaust manifold to verify that all 12 cylinders were firing correctly. After bringing the motor up to temperature, it was necessary to change the spark plugs–not an easy task. As a result, 012I became known as “Il Chiodo di Bracco”, or just “Chiodo” (literally meaning “nail”). With at least 13 recorded entries, Chiodo was remarkably active in Bracco’s hands in 1949, sometimes co-piloted by Ferrari Grand Prix driver, Umberto Maglioli.
Bracco and Maglioli’s first race together was in the Giro di Sicilia, followed by entry into the Mille Miglia (24 April, 1949), with Bracco finishing sixth overall in the Grand Prix di San Remo in between.
Though he raced in Grand Prix and endurance road races, such as the Mille Miglia, with Chiodo, it was his mastery of the hill climb that earned him the title, “Il Re di Montagna”, King of the Hill, for 1949. Bracco took first place overall at Como-Lieto Colle and again at the Corsa al Brinzio, both in May of that year. No fewer than five further hill climbs were contended with Bracco in Chiodo that year, every one a podium finish, including yet another first place at Pontedecimo-Giovi. For this remarkable effort, Bracco officially became the 1949 Italian Hill Climb Champion.
A footnote here opens a particularly interesting chapter in motorsport history, with Ferrari’s contribution to another racing dynasty. At the conclusion of the 1949 season, Count Vittorio Emanuele Marzotto acquired Chiodo from Bracco for a reputed one million lire, the first Ferrari of a long line that were to become part of Scuderia Marzotto, established by the five dashing and adventurous sons of textile mogul Gaetano Marzotto. The car was re-registered by its second owners, the Marzottos, with Vicenza plates ‘VI 18132.’
Being courtesans by trade, the Marzotto brothers were famous for ‘re-clothing’ the cars in their stable, as routinely as some of us might change our jacket. Deciding that Chiodo was too “Nuvolari” in appearance, the Marzottos commissioned a re-body that was termed “Spyder da Corsa Ferrari projecto Mille Miglia 1949”, or as we now know it, a Barchetta. Entrusted to Carrozzeria Fontana, this initial collaboration emulates the popular design of the Touring-bodied Ferrari, the legendary 166 MM ‘Barchetta’ (little boat). It is this variation from original that has survived, remarkably intact, through the present day.
Fontana’s homage to the Touring Barchetta was fresh and attractive, with Chiodo’s new wrapper an arguably more graceful execution than the well-known Touring version. Aside from its longer, more seductive rear profile, notable dissimilarities include lack of a boot aperture, a full width, peaked windscreen and a distinctive aggressive stance.
Wasting no time after completion, Giannino Marzotto entered Chiodo in the 1950 Targa Florio (2 April 1950), with co-pilot Marco Crosara. (Ultimately, they abandoned the race to save the life of their friend and competitor, Fabrizio Serena.)
Soon, however, it was time for the Mille Miglia, this time entered by Vittorio with the car’s designer Paolo Fontana as his co-pilot.
Displaying the now-iconic race number ‘722’, the official entry indicated Chiodo as a ‘Type 195S Barchetta Fontana’ (indicating what is presumed to be another engine upgrade, to 2.3 litres). The result was a stunning ninth overall finish, representing an estimable Sixth in Class, and beating the Ferrari team entries–to the enduring consternation of “Il Commendatore” himself.
This event may mark the beginning of the love/hate relationship that Enzo Ferrari had with the Marzotto brothers–young men who dared to alter his designs but refused to lose when competing head-to-head with factory entries.
Subsequent to its magnificent performance in the Mille Miglia that year, hill climb champion Bracco was enlisted at least once again, this time to drive the car at the Parma-Poggio de Berceto hill climb, where he again achieved first place overall. This appearance was followed by a hill climb entry by Vittorio Marzotto, where he also finished first overall at the Treponti-Castelnuovo event, sponsored by the Automobile Club di Padova.
At the end of 1950, the coachwork was modified, yet again, by Fontana for the 1951 season, with the addition of a fastback hardtop, along with the requisite ‘Berlinetta’ fixed windscreen, outside door handles and windscreen wipers, and now liveried in an apparent shade of silver.
By June, 1951, Chiodo was becoming obsolete in racing terms. However, never satisfied to give in to practical realities, the Marzottos pressed on and registered a form for the Italian tax authorities, specifying an increase from 23 to 29 taxable bhp. It is believed that Chiodo ran in August 1951 at the Giro di Calabria, driven by the Mancini brothers (#805), with 2,080 cc, finishing third overall, proving beyond any doubt that it was still competitive after all.
In the next recorded event for Chiodo, Scuderia Marzotto entered the German Grenzlandring with driver Franco Comotti, who placed second overall in September, 1951. This was followed later that month with an entry to the Gran Prix di Modena, where none other than Ferrari Grand Prix champion Froilan Gonzalez (the “Pampas Bull”) placed Chiodo sixth overall for the Marzottos.
The 1952 season for Chiodo began at the Gran Premio di Siracusa, again with Comotti at the wheel, who placed sixth overall–very respectable for a car now into its fourth year of competition. Comotti, yet again, was chosen to pilot the car at the Grand Prix of France at Montlhéry (DNF).
Remaining with Suderia Marzotto until the team’s liquidation in 1953, Chiodo was sold to Ferrari test driver Martino Severi, in a package with nine Ferraris, their transport truck and “a mountain of parts”. This lot was thereafter dispersed with some of the cars sold to the Mancini brothers of Rome, where Chiodo was likely utilised within the network of famed elder gentlemen drivers known as “The Roman Racers”, including Serina, Taraschi, Matrullo and Raffaeli.
As a final act of fate, it is said that Giannino Marzotto was approached for financial support by a broke and anxious Enzo Ferrari, circa 1953. Giannino agreed to invest, and Ferrari received its new lease on life to the great relief and benefit of automobile enthusiasts. The Marzottos’ contribution to the Ferrari legacy cannot be overstated.
The last recorded competition entry for Chiodo was as a Targa Florio entrant in 1955, in the hands of aging Roman racer Francesco Matrullo, in his last known race. A thrilling coda for Matrullo one imagines, but finally, Chiodo was, officially, no longer competitive. Interestingly, and documented by an event photograph, Chiodo now had a shortened wheelbase, reduced by some 150 mm. One can only speculate the reasons why, but as a warrior with an eight-season racing career, including noteworthy success as a hill climb champion, a shorter wheelbase might have provided some handling advantage on twisty ascents.
Fast forward to 1970. Chiodo resurfaces in a dark garage in south Rome, now with the auxiliary hard top removed but with the Fontana body remaining on the shortened original chassis. A single photograph of the car, looking forlorn and war weary, by Ferrari aficionado Corrado Cupellini, documents this. Cuppelini agreed to acquire the car, along with a 166 engine from the 1950 Marzotto Formula 2 Ferrari, 116MS, and proceeds with a light overhaul to get it into running condition. He then sold Chiodo to Jacques Thuysbaert in 1972. (Engine 116MS remains with Chiodo to this day. A more potent two-litre Ferrari powerplant was never produced; this is the 166 engine in its ‘ne plus ultra’ form.)
Around 1975, noted Ferrariste, author and historian Jess G. Pourret inspected the car for California Ferrari collectors Ed Niles and William A. Schnabacher. Mistaking Chiodo for the non-existent “09C”, they were expecting an F2 chassis from Scuderia Marzotto. Not realising they were standing before the ninth Ferrari to leave the factory, they send it back to Willy Felber’s Haute Performance SA in Morges, Switzerland, whereupon it was sold to Giuseppe Medeci of Reggio Emelia. Medeci embarked on its first restoration, which was entrusted to Autofficina Piero Mazzetti in 1976.
And so, Chiodo emerged roadworthy and was completed in time for entry into the first Mille Miglia Storica event, held 17-19 June 1977. The car, wearing race number 84, was piloted by the owners, Medici & Medici, helping to establish the Storica, which continues to this day as perhaps the most high profile of all the world’s historic revival road races.
Sometime later in 1977, Chiodo was sold back to Willy Felber, after which ownership was transferred to Jean Zanchi of Lausanne, Switzerland in 1978.
In 1979, Zanchi campaigned Chiodo in historic events, such as the Coupe de Lage d’Or at Montlhéry, Paris and the VII AVD-Oldtimer-Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in Germany, driven by Pierre De Siebenthal.
Zanchi raced Chiodo one last time in the Grand Prix of Lausanne, after which he decided it was time to restore the car properly, intending to replace the tired 40 year old metal that was then held together by rivets and plaster. Thankfully, he didn’t get very far…
In the late ‘90s, the current owner travelled from California to the small garage of Beppe Castagno, outside Turin, to inspect this enigmatic car and found what he was looking for. He purchased it mid-restoration, with the objective of saving the original body, chassis and the F2 engine and to restore Chiodo to its former glory from its penultimate 1950 season.
Castagno was initially commissioned to re-restore the car, but years later, with little progress made, the owner made the decision to collect the car and bring it to California, where he could more ably manage the process, entrusting Chiodo with top experts in the rarified field of early Ferrari restoration.
So, by the mid-2000s, the car was safely in California, with a game plan now formulated to use its remarkably intact 1950 Fontana body on the original chassis, extending them to their original proportions.
The engine, still the ex-Scurderia Marzotto 166 F2 unit, was rebuilt by master Ferrari technician Patrick Ottis of Berkeley, California. The fresh engine was dyno tested at 190+ bhp at 6000 rpm, impressive by any standards for a 2-litre, and outstanding power in a light car.
The chassis and body were ultimately sent to ‘preservationist-restorer’ Curtis Patience in Portland, Oregon. A veteran of Brian Hoyt’s Perfect Reflections, Curtice is also a world-class metalworker. As well as locating and confirming Chiodo’s original chassis number (012I), he found another original 166 Spyder Corsa chassis from which to confirm dimensions and engineering, along with original blueprints, which also served to ratify the chassis as an original Syper Corsa. Curtis’s ‘carchaeologist’ account of his own odyssey restoring the car is documented in the second quarter of the 2011 issue of the The Prancing Horse (#179), just as the project was reaching its wonderful finale.
Ultimately, Chiodo was sent to Ivan Zaremba and the inestimable team at Phil Reilly & Co. of San Rafael, California for final sorting, fettling and testing. This is one of the most critical stages in any ambitious restoration, but “Fortunately”, as Ivan says, “I’ve done this before”. This final phase was completed in January, 2012.
So, Bracco’s wondrous ‘nail’ has survived, a testament to its intrepid competition career and the enthusiastic, meticulous research and commitment to authenticity and excellence on ample display by its current owner, who has admirably resurrected a piece of living history. The car now speaks for itself, the product of the best minds and technicians in the Ferrari world today. Unveiled here for the first time since its completion, this important Ferrari is ready to be shown and/or enjoyed on the road. As a (twice) past competitor in the original Mille Miglia, it has virtually guaranteed entry acceptance into the MM Storica and indeed, for most any other historic event on the planet. And with 190 bhp on tap, Chiodo is once again prepared to dominate the field.
Please be advised that the Ferrari F2 motor in 012I is a 2-litre unit
Ferrari 857 Sport 1955 Chassis #0588M Offered @ Gooding Pebble Beach 19/8/12 Estimate US$5,000,000 – 7,000,000. SOLD @ US$6,270,000.
In brief – Scuderia Ferrari TT 1955 Gendebien practice crash DNS > Returned to Scaglietti for a full rebody > Scuderia Ferrari for a mechanical rebuild > via Luigi Chinetti > John Edgar, USA 1956 > Palm Springs 1956 McAfee 2nd, Stockton 1956 McAfee 1st, Pebble Beach 1956 McAfee 3rd, Cumberland 1956 DNS, Eagle Mountain AFB 1956 McAfee 6th, Road America 1956 McAfee Retired, Beverly 1956 McAfee 5th, Seafair 1956 Gregory Retired, Montgomery 1956 Shelby 1st, Thompson 1956 Shelby Retired, Palm Springs 1956 McAfee 5th, Pomona 1957 Shelby > Stan Sugarman 1957 Palm Springs 1957 McAfee 4th, Salt Lake City 1957 Connor 1st, Palm Springs 1957 McAfee 5th, Laguna Seca 1957 Ginther 4th > James E. Hall 1962 > Oscar Koveleski 1962 > Chevrolet Corvette V8 engine fitted > Andy Warhol 1966 > Tiny Gould 1970’s > Chris Renwick 1973 > Luigi P. Rezzonico Castelbarco, Italy > Corrado Cupellini > fitted 250GT engine > Jean – Claude Bajol, France > DK Engineering 2010 > Restored and fitted engine #0588m purchased from Australia c.1983 > Consigned to Gooding & Co 2012
A great Ferrari with an impeccable racing history featuring some of the biggest names, the beautiful bodywork doesn’t hurt either. Not entirely original but certainly correct and well worth the money.
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.
Ferrari 410S Scaglietti Berlinetta 1956 Chassis #0594CM Offered at RM Monterey 17/8/12 SOLD @ US$8,580,000
In brief – Chassis only > fitted Scaglietti Berlinetta > Michelle Paul – Cavallier, France 1956 > Hugues Hazard 1964 > Pierre Bardinon 1965 > Restored 1970’s > John Bosch, Netherlands 2001 > Terry Hoyle Restoration > Unknown > Consigned to RM Auctions 2012
A truly great car that is simply stunning in its size, presence and style. Might be a beast to drive but as one of four with the chassis/ engine combination it was built with but it is one of the most desirable cars ever built. Could have sold for much more without surprising.
“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. ”
Ferrari 290MM Scaglietti Spider 1956 Chassis #0628M Private Sale for around GBP 10 million
In brief – Chassis only > fitted Scaglietti Spider body > 860 Monza engine > Scuderia Ferrari (SEFAC) > Mille Miglia 1956 Collins/ Klemantaski 2nd, Nurburgring 1000KM 1956 de Portago/ Gendebien Disq., Targa Florio 1956 Herrmann/ Gendebien 3rd, Coppa d’Oro 1956 Gendebien/ Washer 2nd, Aosta – San Bernardo 1956 Maglioli 3rd, Swedish GP 1956 Fangio/ Castelotti Retired > Rebuilt with 315s style body > 290MM spec engine fitted > Buenos Aires 1000KM 1957 de Portago/ von Trips/ Collins/ Castelotti 3rd, Sebring 12 Hours 1957 Hill/ von Trips Retired, Mille Miglia 1957 Spare car > via. Chinetti > Jan de Vroom, USA 1957 Swedish GP 1957 Cunningham/ de Vroom Retired (Crashed) > Ferrari works rebuild with pontoon fenders > Nassau Governors Trophy 1957 de Vroom 13th, Nassau Memorial Trophy 1957 Moss 1st, Nassau Trophy 1957 Gregory/ Moss 1st, Havana GP 1958 Crawford 7th, Watkins Glen USAC 1958 Gurney 2nd > Luigi Chinetti 1958 > George Reed 1960 > John Delamater 1965 > George Reed 1967 > via Harley Cluxton 1969 > Luigi Chinetti 1969 > stored > Francois Sicard restoration 1981 > Forza 1990 asking US$3 million > Jon Shirley 1998 > Restored by Pete Lovely & Butch Dennison 1999 > Offered by Gooding & Co 2006 > Robert Harris 2007 > Hugh Taylor, UK ? > Switzerland
Like the 410S above this is one hell of a car with everything going for it. Beautiful looking, strong running, a history second to none with a drivers list of all the 1950’s greats. Cars like this are so rare that the car could have sold for double the amount without massive surprise.
Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa 1958 Chassis #0728TR Private Sale for around US$24 – 27 million
In brief – Chassis only > Fantuzzi body fitted > Scuderia Ferrari (SEFAC) Sebring 12 Hours 1958 Hawthorn/ von Trips Retired > 1958 nose fitted > Targa Florio 1958 Hawthorn/ von Trips 3rd, Nurburgring 1000KM 1958 Seidel/ Munaron 5th, Le Mans 1958 Hill/ Gendebien 1st > Don Pedro Rodriguez, Mexico 1958 Governors Trophy Nassau 1958 Rodriguez 2nd, Nassau Trophy 1958 Rodriguez 2nd, Sebring 12 Hours 1959 Rodriguez/ O’Shea Retired > George Reed, USA 1959 Road America 1959 Reed, Wilmot Hills 1959 Reed 1st, Lawrenceville National Sports Car Race 1959 Reed 3rd > Owen Coon 1961 Wilmot Hills 1961 Coon 3rd, Meadowdale 1961 Coon 3rd, Road America 1961 Coon 8th, Milwaukee 1961 Coon 3rd, Wilmot Hills 1961 Coon Retired/2nd, Meadowdale 1961 Coon, Wilmot Hills 1961 Coon 1st > Chevrolet V8 fitted > Milwaukee 1962 Coon 1st/ Retired > Richard Merritt > Pierre Bardinon, France 1982 > Sir Michael Kadoorie, USA 2012
And now for the best, the Testa Rossa that won Le Mans in ’58, the first to do so. Yes it was a bit of a wreck when found by Richard Merritt but it is still almost unique. With $11 million California’s and $35 million GTO’s I am surprised that this car didn’t sell for more. Very well bought.
Ferrari 250GT Tour de France Scaglietti Coupe 1957 Chassis #0677GT Private sale for around US$11 million
In brief – Chassis only > Scaglietti body fitted > Scuderia Ferrari (SEFAC) 1957 Giro di Sicilia 1957 Gendebien/ Washer 1st, Mille Miglia 1957 Gendebien/ Washer 3rd, Nurburgring 1000KM 1957 von Trips/ Gendebien DNS, GP Nuvolari 1957 Gendebien 1st, Reims 12 Hour 1957 Gendebien/ Frere 1st > Olivier Gendebien, Belguim 1957 Tour de France 1957 Gendebien/ Bianchi 1st, Coupe du Salon 1957 Gendebien 1st, 3 hour Pau 1958 Gendebien/ Bourillot 1st, Reims 12 Hour 1958 Gendebien/ Frere 1st, Trophee d’Auvergne 1958 Gendebien 3rd, Swiss Bergprix 1958 Gendebien 1st IC > via Ferrari > Gerino Gerini, Italy 1958 Targa 1959 Gerini 12th, Lottery GP 1959 Gerini Retired, Tour de France 1959 Gerini/ Meyer DNS > Fowler, USA > Hamilton Kelly > Newman > Ed Niles > Bud Pessin > Allen Woodall 1976 > Robert Boden 1977 > Paul Vestey, UK 1994 > Joseph Barone, USA 2006 > Unknown
Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 1957 Chassis #0769GT Offered by Gooding & Co 18/8/12 SOLD @ US$6,600,000
In brief – Chassis only > Scaglietti fitted body > via Chinetti > George Arents, USA 1958 > Frank Ramirez de Carellano, Peurto Rico 1960 > Bassilio Davila > Stan Nowack/ VAR Resto. 1980 > fitted 500TRC engine > Warren Weiner, USA 1988 > Engine #0769 refitted c2004 > Unknown 2006 > Consigned to Gooding & Co. 2012
The prototype California, while perhaps not the most beautiful California but certainly the most historic. From this car came one of THE Ferrari’s. Very well built and compared to the prices competition California’s are going for, very cheap.
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. .
Ferrari 250 GTO 1962 Chassis #3505GT Privately sold at around US$35 million
In brief – Stirling Moss/ UDT, UK 1962 > Le Mans Trials 1962 Mairesse, International Trophy 1962 Gregory 2nd, Scalextrix Trophy 1962 Gregory 2nd, Le Mans 1962 Ireland/ Gregory Retired, Peco Trophy 1962 Ireland 3rd, TT 1962 Ireland 1st > Gunther Placheta, Austria 1963 > Raced > Scuderia Patria, Italy 1964 > Dan Margulies, UK 1965 > Richard Crosthwaite 1965 > Melville – Smith > Alain de Cadenet > Edward & John Harrison 1973 > Harry Leventis 1997 > via SMC > Yoshiho Matsuda, Japan 2000 > Eric Heerema, UK 2005 > Craig McCaw, USA 2012
Not just any GTO, 3505GT was driven by Ireland and Gregory at Brands, Le Mans and Goodwood. In superb original condition and worth $35 million.
Ferrari 330LMB 1963 Chassis #4725LM Offered by Talacrest during 2012 at an undisclosed price.
In brief – Maranello Concessionaires, UK 1963 > Le Mans 1963 Sears/ Salmon 5th, Guards Trophy 1963 Bandini 8th > via Franco – Britannic Autos > Foussier, France 1963 > Martin 1964 > Abdi 1966 > Baron Elie de Rothschild 1967 > Pierre Bardinon 1968 > Takeo Kato, Japan 1989 > Mark Ketcham, USA 1992 > Baron Franz Mayr-Melnhof-Saurau, Austria 1992 > via SMC > Sir Anthony Bamford, UK 1998 > via. Duncan Hamilton > Eric Heerema 2000 > via Nick Soprano/ MCC > Unknown > Consigned to Talacrest 2012
Arguably even prettier than a GTO, certainly more powerful. These cars have been selling for a huge discount over GTO’s and simply should be worth much more. Something of a bargain.
There were four 330 LMBs specifically built to compete in long distance events like Le Mans and were designed around an extended chassis just for these cars. The unique Tipo 574 chassis was also fitted with a dry sump system, which allowed the engine to sit lower leading to a lower coefficient of drag. Built in the same prototype shop as the GTO, serial number 4725 is the last of four 330 LMBs built and featured lightening techniques such as Plexiglas side and rear windows. Based on the 400 SA engine the Tipo 163 variant was a V12 with 3,967 cc displacement, six weber carburetors and an output of 400 bhp at 7,500, which was a good 50-80 bhp more than the GTOs.
Delivered new to Maranello Concessionaires in June of 1963, chassis 4725SA was the fourth and final 330 LMB built. This car is the only one with significant competition history.
Entered in the the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, this car was driven to 5th overall and class victory by Jack Sears and Mike Salmon. The car was renown for exceeding 300 km/h down the Mulsanne straight – eclipsing the 250P and the GTO.
Lorenzo Bandini later drove the car to 8th overall and another class win in the Guard’s Trophy at Brands Hatch. Before the year was out, the car was sold to France where it passed through various hands before it joined Pierre Bardinon’s spectacular Mas du Clos Collection.
Some twenty years later, Bardinon sold the car and after spells in Japan and Austria it was supplied to another great Ferrari collector, Sir Anthony Bamford by Talacrest. The current owner acquired the car in 2008 and once again Talacrest are privileged to be able to offer this car for sale – the most successful of all the Ferrari 330 LMB and the only right hand drive example.
Ferrari 250 GTO 1963 Chassis #5095GT privately sold during 2012 for around US$32 million
In brief – Scuderia SSS Repubblica di Venezia, Italy 1963 > Tour de France 1963 Abate/ Bianchi 2nd > Fernand Tavano, France 1964 Rallye de l’Ouest 1964 Tavano/ Martin Retired, Picardie Rallye 1964 Tavano/ Mazzia 1st, GP de Paris 1964 DNS, Rallye du Limousin 1964 Tavano/ Mazzia 1st, Cote du Pin 1964 Tavano 2nd, Les Andelys H/C 1964 Tavano 1st IC, Tour de France 1964 Tavano/ Martin Retired > L’Ercole de ACO > Le Mans Trials 1966 de Cortanze > Pierre Bardinon 1967 > Kun – he Lee, Kora 1996 > Bill Ainscough, UK 2007 > Jon Hunt 2008 > Carlos Hank Rhon, Mexico 2012
A very good GTO that was raced fairly hard in period and while not the greatest of the GTO’s still well worth big money.
Ferrari 250 GTO/64 Chassis #5575GT privately sold during 2012
In brief – Ecurie Francorchamps, Belgium 1964 > GP de Spa 1964 Bianchi Retired, Nurburgring 1000KM 1964 Bianchi/ van Ophem 4th, le Mans 1964 Bianchi/ Beurlys 5th, Preis von Limbourg 1964 van Ophem 3rd > Annie Soisbault de Montaigu, France 1964 Ladies Cup Chambrousse 1964 Roure 2nd, Tour de France 1964 Soisbault/ Roure 9th, 1000KM Paris 1964 Dubois/ Gosselin 13th, Tour de Belguim 1964 Bianchi/ Lambrecht 2nd > via Jacques Swaters > John Calley, USA 1965 > Chris Cord 1965 > Daniel Ward 1966 > Carle Conway 1974 > Robert Donner 1978 > via SMC 1996 > Carlos Hank Rhon, Mexico 1996 > Rob Walton, USA 2012
One of the works spec GTO/64’s of which only three were actually made. This is one of the big guns, and 4th at the Ring and 5th at Le Mans back that up. Really about as close as cars get to being art. Could sell for anything and still be a value.
Ferrari 206SP 1965 Chassis #0834 Privately sold during 2012
In brief – Scuderia Ferrari (SEFAC) Monza 1000KM 1965 Baghetti/ Biscaldi Retired, Rome GP 1965 Baghetti 1st IC, Nurburgring 1000KM 1965 Bandini/ Vaccarella 4th, Le Mans 1965 Baghetti/ Casoni Retired > 2.0 litre engine fitted > Trento – Bondone H/C 1965 Scarfiotti 1st > body converted to Barchetta > Cesana-Sestriere H/C 1965 Scarfiotti 1st, Freiburg-Schauinsland H/C 1965 Scarfiotti 1st, Ollon-Villars 1965 Scarfiotti 1st, Gaisberg H/C 1965 Scarfiotti 5th > loaned to Scuderia Nettuno 1967 > Targa Florio 1967 Venturi/ Williams 4th, Monte Erice H/C 1967 Venturi 3rd > Leandro Terra 1967 Imola 500KM Terra, Targa 1969 Terra/ Barbuscia 26th, Targa 1970 Terra/ Barbuscia Retired, Trento – Bondone 1970 Terra, Coppa Collina 1970 Terra 2nd > via. SMC 1997 > Andrew Fisher, USA 1997 > Carlos Monteverde 1998 > via Talacrest 1998 > Harry Leventis, UK 1999 > via Talacrest > Unknown
A very nice car, exactly what anyone wants to go racing in. Great early SEFAC history including Scarfiotti’s hillclimb heroics. Worth at least $4 million, if not much more.
Ferrari 250LM 1964 Chassis #5907 Privately sold for around US$10 million
In brief – Maranello Concessionaires, UK 1964 > Rheims 12 Hours 1964 Hill/ Bonnier 1st, Scott Brown Trophy 1964 Salvadori 1st, Autosport 3 Hour 1964 Hill Retired, Rand 9 Hour 1064 Piper/ Maggs 1st, Luanda GP 1964 Piper Retired > Bernard White 1965 > Daytona Continental 1966 Wilson/ Hulme Retired, Brands Hatch 1966 Hobbs Retired > Richard Attwood 1967 > Anthony Bamford 1969 > Graypaul Motors Restoration 1979 > Joseph Rosen, USA 1980’s > Greg Whitten 1994 > Glaesal, Germany 2005 > via. Lukas Huni > unknown 2012
A wonderful 250LM in good condition. This had a good owndership history and had won Reims in 1964. Well worth the money
Ferrari 206SP 1966 Chassis# 018 Offered by Kidston & Talacrest during 2012
In brief – NART, USA 1965 Bridgehampton Can Am 1966 Rodriguez Retired > SASA Motore > Ferdinando Latteri, Italy 1966 > Targa Florio 1967 Latteri/ Capuano Retired, Coppa Gallenga 1968 Latteri 1st > Leandro Terra Targa Florio 1970 Terra/ Barbuscia Retired > Stored > SMC 1998 asking US$1.95 million > Juan Quintano, Spain 2000 > Consigned to Kidston 2012
An amazingly untouched example of a racer. Maybe not the greatest Ferrari ever made but still a wonderful car.
No enveloping-body customer competition Ferrari has ever offered a more attractive combination of compact packaging, aesthetic line and performance potential than the illustrious Ferrari Dino 206SP series of 1966-67. These 2-litre V6-engined cars were universally admired at the time for their good looks and tremendous performance and within their class of international World Championship endurance racing they became very much Ferrari’s “Formula 1 car in disguise”.
Kidston SA is delighted to offer this wonderful, updated version of this rare and highly desirable model – a car with no fewer than four Targa Florio appearances to its name, which was campaigned in original form by Luigi Chinetti’s legendary North American Racing Team, driven by the Mexican star Pedro Rodriguez who within months would win the Formula 1 South African Grand Prix and later be acknowledged as “the world’s fastest sports car driver” – and which would be further campaigned by Italian private-owner/ driver Leandro Terra, including a Maranello factory update into its present ‘Spider Corsa Montagna’ form. After six hectic years of competition it would eventually be preserved in his ownership for more than a quarter-century more
Ferrari 330P4 1967 Chassis #0858 Offered by Talacrest during 2012, asking around US$20 million
In brief – Scuderia Ferrari (SEFAC) > Berlinetta > Monza 1000KM 1967 Parkes/ Scarfiotti 2nd, Spa 1000KM 1967 Parkes/ Scarfiotti 5th, Le Mans 1967 Parkes/ Scarfiotti 2nd > Barchetta body fitted > BOAC 500 1967 Williams/ Hawkins 6th > 350 Can Am Spider conversion > Bill Harrah, USA 1967 Monterey GP 1967 Williams 8th, Riverside 1967 Williams Retired, Stardust GP 1967 Williams Retired > David McKay, Australia 1968 > Surfers Paradise GP 1968 Amon/ McKay Retired > Paul Hawkins, UK 1968 Kyalami 9 Hour 1968 Hawkins/ Love 3rd > David Piper, UK 1969 > Alistair Walker 1969 > Walter Medlin, USA 1971 > Restored 1994 > IRS seized > RM 2009 Not Sold @ Euro 7.25 mil. > Galleria Ferrari Restoration 2009 > Talacrest 2012 asking ?? > Conversion to 330P4 spec.
One of the greats, a match for GT40’s, in fact buying this and GT40 #1074 would give you the best of 1967. So beautiful, and whichever guise, 350 CanAm or 330P4, surely worth the money.
With only three original P4s ever built, cars like this exceptional, race-winning example only become available on the rarest of occasions. Chassis 0858 competed under Coupe, Spyder and Can-Am configurations. Its distinguished racing career includes a third overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967 and a win in the 1000-km race at Monza. Currently Spyder body work is being prepared for the car as illustrated here. About as “Blue-Chip” as it gets!
Check December 2011 edition of Motorsport Magazine – page 52 – Jackie Stewart quotes the car when he mentions this P4 as the only car that worked for him at the bumpy Brands Hatch was the Ferrari P4 he drove there in 1967 – this actual car!
History DIRECTLY from Ferrari Classiche for Ferrari 330 P4 #0858
1000 km Monza – 25/04/1967 – Amon-Bandini – 1st – number 6
24 Ore Le Mans – 10-11/06/1967 – Mairesse-Beurlys – 3rd – number 24
500 Miglia Brands-Hatch – 30/07/1967 – Amon-Stewart – 2nd – number 6
Can-Am Laguna Seca – 15/10/1967 – Amon – 5th – number – number 23
GP Riverside – 29/10/1967 – Amon – 7th – number 23
Sturdust G.P. Las Vegas – 12/11/1967 – Williams – Retired – number 27
LATEST NEWS AND PHOTOS ON THIS CAR BELOW:
1st August 2012 – STOP PRESS! – We are delighted to announce that we have a new extended gallery featuring progress on the restoration of this unique car. Click here to visit the gallery (opens in new window)
Our Ferrari P4 #0858 is currently being restored to the Spyder configuration in which Jackie Stewart raced the car with Chris Amon in the 1967 BOAC 1000 kms at Brands Hatch. We have entrusted David Piper – who needs no introduction – to oversee this project and we thought that you might like to see a photo gallery documenting progress on the work.
The car is shown with the wooden body buck which has been created to millimetric precision from the body of the Ferrari 330 P4 #0860 – and once finished the car will be fully race prepared for competition use.
Ford GT40 Prototype 1964 Chassis #GT/104 Offered at Gooding Pebble Beach 18/8/12 SOLD @ US$4,950,000
In brief – Le Mans 1964 Schlesser/ Attwood Retired > 289 Cui. Engine fitted > Nassau Governors Cup 1964 McLaren Retired > Shelby USA 1964 > Daytona 2000KM Ginther/ Bondurant 3rd, Sebring 12 Hours 1965 Hill/ Ginther Retired, Monza 1000KM 1965 Amon/ Maglioli Retired, Nurburgring 1000KM 1965 Amon/ Bucknum/ Hill 8th > Kar Kraft Restoration 1965 > AH Turner, USA 1971 > John Stringer 1972 ~ Peter Patton 1973 ~ Bill Jacobs 1978 ~ Greg Lonberger 1979 > Dissasembled for restoration (never completed) > Unknown, 2009 > Paul Lanzante restoration 2010 > Consigned to Gooding & Co 2012
An iconic car the prototype GT40 was one mother of a car. So important as a signpost of what was to come.
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.
Gulf Mirage Ford GT40 1967 Chassis #1074/ M10003 Offered at RM Monterey 18/8/12 SOLD @ US$11 million
In brief – Mirage built chassis > Gulf Racing Team (JWA) > Spa 6 Hours 1967 Ickx/ Thompson 1st, Le Mans 1967 Ickx/ Muir Retired, Brands Hatch 6 Hour 1967 Rodriguez/ Thompson Retired, Swedish GP 1967 ickx 1st, Paris 3 Hour 1967 Ickx/ Hawkins 1st > Rebuilt as GT40 > Renumbered #1074 > Daytona 24 Hour 1968 Hawkins/ Hobbs Retired, Sebring 12 Hour 1968 Hawkins/ Hobbs NC, Monza 1000KM 1968 Hawkins/ Hobbs 1st, Nurburgring 1000KM 1968 Hobbs/ Redman 6th, Le Mans 1968 Hawkins/ Hobbs Retired > loaned to Beurlys > Paris 1000KM 1968 Beurlys/ de Fierlant 8th > Brands Hatch 6 Hour 1969 Hobbs/ Hailwood 5th > David Brown, USA 1970 > Leased to Solar Productions > Roof removed > converted to film car > Le Mans movie > Harley Cluxton 1970 > Anthony Bamford, UK 1972 > Willie Green reconstruction using Abbey Panels spare roof c1974 > Harley Cluxton 1983 > Restored > Unknown
There are Ford Gt40’s and then there are Gulf/ Mirage variants of which only 5/6 can claim to have Gulf provenance, 1004/1084, 1049, 1074, 1076, 1076, M.10001. As an original Gulf GT40 with a stellar driver list and McQueen Le Mans movie history, this is the real deal.
• 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.
Hispano Suiza King Alfonso XIII Alin & Liautad Double Berline 1911 Chassis# 718 Offered at RM Amelia Island 10/3/12 NOT SOLD @ High bid US$575,000
In brief – Chassis only > fitted Alin & Liataud body > Unknown > Stored > Marquis de Sanlucar > Patricio Chadwick & Emilio Polo, USA 1982 > preserved > Unknown > Consigned to RM Auctions
A stunning, extremely original car and a magnificient example of Hispano’s best. One of only 4 built, and how many remain?. Surely worth US$ 1million+.
One of only four built
• An extremely original and authentic example
• Fascinating history
Almost from the outset, individual owners of the Hispano-Suiza entered their cars into the various road races taking place around the world. Engineer Mark Birkigt formally entered the factory into these forays and consistently improved the performance of his team cars until they achieved an impressive string of racing successes, which translated into sales. Buyers clamored for a production version and Birkigt complied, introducing the 45-Cr “race” version, so named because it was officially rated at 45 horsepower. The new engine was the Type 15T, but to the public the model was officially marketed as the Type Alfonso XIII.
Young Alfonso XIII, King of Spain, took a great liking to the Hispano-Suiza marque early on; a pioneering and enthusiastic motorist, he bought the first of many Hispano-Suizas that he would own in 1905 and would ultimately have over 30 examples in his fleet, which led to the naming of the model after the marque’s biggest patron. The Birkigt-designed massive cast-iron Type 15T four-cylinder engine placed in the chassis produced a respectable 64 horsepower from a little over 3.6 liters of displacement, which was very respectable for the time period. With a top speed of 80 miles per hour, the Alfonso is also recognized as one of the first true sports cars and rivals even the hallowed Mercer that was built in the Americas. Consistent performance in those days was no accident, and the Alfonso achieved such feats due to the quality of machine parts, with even rough castings that were finer than what most other manufacturers were producing at the time.
With the introduction of the Alfonso XIII, the Hispano-Suiza had truly made its mark in the automotive world and began to find appeal far away from its home turf. In Great Britain, there was no advertising for the marque in The Autocar, but there were several pages dedicated to following the travels of an Alfonso within the Welsh borders; the car simply sold itself. Large early automobiles fall into a precious class; many were scrapped during war drives or lost to the ravages of time, and those that did survive were either forgotten, salted away or built from components which originated from various cars. Fortunately for historians and collectors, the example offered here has a relatively straightforward story. This example, chassis 718, is a very rare Colonial chassis. Only four examples were ever built, and it features larger diameter wheels and a lengthened chassis.
In the mid-1980s Patricio Chadwick and Emilio Polo were in Seville, Spain. They met an antique dealer and asked him if he knew of any Hispano-Suiza cars that might be in the area, and he pointed them in the direction of his client, the Marquis de Sanlucar de Barrameda. After a few phone calls, they arrived at Sanlucar Andalucia, an area famous for a very dry white wine called Fino. After tasting several, the Marquis agreed to sell his grandfather’s Alfonso XIII. The next day Chadwick and Polo arrived with a truck to collect the car, and the winery manager helped them load their prize; what they believed they had purchased was a complete rolling chassis with the remains of a touring body. The pair were surprised when the winery manager asked if they intended to take the other body! Chassis 718 was one of those special examples of an elite chassis that was ordered with seasonal bodies. Among the huge wine casks was this amazing Double Berline body by Carrosserie Alin & Liautard. According to the manager the body had not been moved in 40 years, which resulted in its exceptional state of preservation; to call this motor car a time-warp example is a massive understatement.
In the intervening years the chassis and suspension were sympathetically restored and rebuilt as necessary, but the craftsmen were careful to make the finish of the chassis match the wonderful patina of the body. The same treatment was likewise given to the engine and transmission, which has resulted in a consistent appearance. There is no shortage of charming details to behold on this car. Among them are the original Bleriot two-bulb headlamps, possibly an early hi-beam/low-beam setup, with Ducellier cowl lamps, a large roof rack and a fold-out windshield. The original interior is amazingly preserved for being almost a century old, while the fabric is so intricately woven that it could be compared more to the celebrated Flemish tapestries than automobile upholstery. Where the headliner has come away from the ceiling can be observed a series of small thin squares of wood, which would have given texture to the ceiling with the headliner attached. The dash is very nicely finished as well and still contains all of its original instruments.
The styling and curves of this gorgeous baroque winter body is amazing, with two separate compound curves making up the roof sections, which almost resemble ceiling vaults. The wood-framed windows are of such proportion that they appear to have come out of a home. When a car is restored to concours specifications, the high standards demanded today require complete recreation of otherwise serviceable parts. What is lost are fine details and markings that give an automobile character and authenticity. Among the myriad items found on chassis 718 are the markings on the trunk hardware and leaf springs, the original dash chassis plate and the plate that reads Radiadores Vintro Barcelona on the upper radiator tank. There are other pieces like the intricate brass locks on the original Hispano-Suiza center caps complemented by the nicely aged black wire spoke wheels.
Chassis 718 is a perfect example of sympathetic preservation. Any early example of the Hispano-Suiza marque is something special that should garner extra attention, but as a special long-wheelbase example of the revered Alfonso XIII, it is likely that there are no other direct comparisons to be had. Like the casks of wine which surrounded it for so much of its life, this 1913 Hispano-Suiza “Alfonso XIII” Double Berline has gotten better with age. It is, truly, one of the greatest antiques in existence.
Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Lancefield Faux Cabriolet 1931 Chassis #1677 Offered at Bonhams Simeone 8/10/12 SOLD @ US$186,000
In brief – Chassis only > Lancefield body fitted > Unknown > Engine damaged 1932 > Stored > Unknown 1959 > Restored by Jack Barclay 1959 > Gerry Albertini 1959 > Halfway Garages 1962 > Nathan Clark, USA 1962 > Consigned to Bonhams 2012
A fascinating stellar early 1930’s Grand Routier par excellence. This car will need a good amount of work to keep going or a restoration, either way great value.VERY well bought.
Cesare Isotta and Oreste Fraschini founded their company in 1900, displaying their first primitive 5hp, single-cylinder car at the Milan Exposition in 1901. Progress was rapid, speeded by the company’s involvement in motor sport, celebrated victories including the 1908 Targa Florio and a sensational second place in the challenging 1908 Vanderbilt Cup. The firm built many fine cars prior to The First World War, but is best remembered today for the Giustino Cattaneo-designed Tipo 8 and its derivatives.
Developed prior to WWI and introduced in August 1919 as the result of Isotta’s switch to a one-model policy, the massively built Tipo 8 was the world’s first series-production straight eight. Its magnificent engine was a 5.9-liter, overhead-valve unit producing 80bhp at a lowly 2,200rpm; a nine-bearing crankshaft, alloy cylinder block and magneto ignition were features. Chassis details included a three-speed gearbox, multi-plate clutch, semi-elliptic springing and coupled four-wheel brakes.
Conceived as a chauffeur-driven luxury conveyance, the Tipo 8 was aimed at the American market where it was the choice of such world-famous film stars as Rudolph Valentino and ‘It Girl’ Clara Bow. Other Isotta owners included press baron William Randolph Hearst and world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey. In 1924 the revised Tipo 8A was introduced, which featured a 7.3-liter engine producing around 115bhp—making it the most powerful straight-eight in production—and Isotta’s highly regarded three-speed synchromesh transmission. Improvements to the chassis and suspension were implemented also.
In the USA, where Isotta Fraschini was the second most popular foreign make after Rolls-Royce, the price of an 8A exceeded even that of a Duesenberg Model J. The chassis alone was priced at $9,750 while coachbuilt models could cost upwards of $20,000. With one third of all Tipo 8 production going to the United States, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Depression hit Isotta hard. An improved Tipo 8B featuring a four-speed transmission was introduced in 1931 but it is thought that fewer than 100 examples were built compared with 320 of the Tipo 8 and 950 of the 8A. After Henry Ford’s plan to save the company failed, Isotta Fraschini was bought by aircraft manufacture, Count Caproni di Talideo in 1932. Pre-war car production ceased in 1935, Isotta Fraschini concentrating on aero engines and trucks thereafter. There was an abortive comeback attempt in 1947 with a rear-engined V8, but the project foundered after relatively few cars had been completed.
GT2454 was built relatively late in the 8A production run. First registered in the London on November 11th, 1931, the car was fitted handsome coupe bodywork from English coachbuilder Lancefield. Operated by the Gaisford Brothers on Lancefield Street in London, early commissions mostly came from Rolls-Royce and Bentley with more than 150 Rollers ending up clothed in Lancefield’s handiwork, but they also built bodies for Delage, Stutz, Lagonda, and on two occasions, Isotta Fraschini (the other example, a Sedanca de Ville, is on permanent display at the Schlumpf Collection). Less conservative than many of the other British coachbuilders of the day, some of their trademark features were helmet fenders, teardrop step plates in place of running boards, gun-turret tops, and ample louvers along the lower bodywork.
GT2454 was bought new as a present for a gentleman’s lucky girlfriend. A young woman with a need for speed, she must have given the big coupe quite a bit of stick in her tenure of care as she had managed to throw a rod through the block only a year after receiving the car. As was sometimes the case, the Isotta was laid up after the incident. In the mid-50s the car was rediscovered and restored by Jack Barclay Ltd., shortly thereafter turning up in 1959 at the Halfway Garages (Padworth) Limited. An ad in Motor Sport magazine listing the Isotta as having 13,000 miles from new and with an asking price of £1,250—nearly £400 more than a 1931 Bentley 4½ Blower, s/n MS3938, that was listed in the same ad—caught the attention of noted R.J. Reynolds tobacco heir Gerry Albertini. A collector of some note, a September 1959 Motor Sport article entitled ‘White Elephantitis’ detailed Mr Albertini’s collection at the time, which included the ex-André Dubonnet Hispano Suiza H6C Tulip-bodied roadster and the Isotta offered here.
The car only remained in Albertini’s care for a few years before it was on sale again with Halfway Garages. Advertised in much the same way as it had been previously in Motor Sport, it was purchased by Nathan Clark in 1962. In the late 60s the big coupe was shipped to New York.
A patron of dance, and its young female participants, Clark kept the Isotta in New London, Connecticut, home to the American Dance Festival. Serving on the board of the festival, he would attend the annual event in his regal motorcar and shuttle himself and his companions between New London and New York City where he maintained brownstone in Gramercy Park with a hot tub that he had installed in the living room. When the festival moved to Durham, North Carolina in 1976, Clark had the Isotta placed in storage with only 14,056 miles on the clock, gathering dust and hidden in plain sight behind glass on a main road. He never saw the car again.
Like an Indiana Jones-discovered Arch of the Covenant collecting dust in a nondescript government warehouse, the Isotta sat undisturbed for 37 years, the Clark family diligently paying each storage bill. With a bit of air in the tires, the old girl was brought out into the open air again for the first time since the Gerald Ford administration for the photography featured herein. Like a time capsule, everything was left in the car as it was when it was parked including old American Dance Festival brochures and a 1974 copy of The New York Times.
Having emerged from its place of rest, the car now shows phenomenal patina. The interior is a symphony of richly aged wood and leather, although there is a bit of shrinkage on the door panels. The dash features a full complement of gauges, including a Coley oil pressure gauge, Isotta temperature gauge, a later Smiths fuel gage, and Jaeger clock and speedometer. A once present sunroof hole in the headliner appears long covered. Under the hood the engine has mellowed to a lovely bronze hue. The handsome coupe coachwork has huge potential with a bit of refurbishment.
A fantastic candidate for preservation or restoration, it represents an extremely rare opportunity to acquire one of the only Isotta Fraschini coupes in existence. Offered public for the first time in half a century, it is unlikely that the chance to obtain it will repeat itself in a generation. With a bit of refurbishment it will no doubt be ready to attend another dance festival and it will no doubt be just effective in achieving Nathan Clark’s objectives now as it did then.
Itala Grand Prix Car 1908 Chassis #871 Offered at Bonhams Goodwood 29/6/12 SOLD @ US$2,739,000
In brief – French GP 1908 Piacenza Retired, American Grand Prize 1908 Piacenza Retired, Coppa Florio 1908 Piacenz Retired > R. Wil – de – Gose, UK 1909 > Brooklands 1909/1910 > H. Young 1910 > Vincents Roadcar rebody 1910 > John Pole 1936 > Cecil Clutton > loaned to Dr. Ewen 1940’s > George Daniels 1991
Truly a magnificient car, and one that is very much history on four wheels. Still reasonably original and certainly very rare. Buy this and the 1908 Panhard and take a friend racing ?. Please.
Here we are delighted to offer nothing less than one of the most iconic road-useable racing cars ever to grace the British register. It is by any standard one of the best loved vehicles within the entire British treasury of Veteran, Edwardian, Vintage and Classic cars.
It has been a mainstay of the United Kingdom’s ‘old car’ movement for over 100 years, and it was one of the iconic motor cars around which – in 1935 – the Vintage Sports Car Club was founded.
The 1908 Grand Prix Itala as offered here, known for most of its long life by the affectionate nickname ‘Floretta’, is a big, buxom, muscular, Italian diva. As such she not only has a racing record extending from her debut at the highest purebred level to the present day, but she has also been used for many thousands of spectacular motoring on the public road.
The car is offered here as used by George Daniels himself in such memorable events as the Grand Prix de l’ACF centenary 1908-2008, at Dieppe, and as the very embodiment of the Vintage Sports Car Club’s founding spirit…
George Daniels is thought to have been only the sixth principal owner. From its earliest days as a factory Grand Prix car with Itala SA Fabbrica Automobili, Turin, Italy – through the hands of R. Wil-de-Gose in whose hands ‘Floretta’ raced at Brooklands – the car passed obscurely into the hands of the proprietor of the Schole Inn at Diss in Norfolk, from him to RAF pilot John Pole, thence – around 1937 – to Cecil ‘Sam’ Clutton and his associates Peter Robertson-Rodger and Dr Bob Ewen. ‘Sam’ Clutton later shared the car with like-minded enthusiast and fellow VSCC luminary Jack Williamson until, after more than 50 years of ‘Sam’s stewardship ‘Floretta’ passed into George Daniels’ connoisseur care.
Prominent pioneer motoring historian Kent Karslake was a great friend not only of ‘Sam’ Clutton but also of ‘Pom’; Laurence Pomeroy, celebrated Technical Editor of ‘The Motor’ magazine. In his wonderful book ‘From Veteran to Vintage’ (Temple Press, London, 1956), Kent Karslake wrote: “The demise of the giant racer might well have resulted in their disappearance from the face of the earth, but posterity is in fact singularly fortunate… One of the 1908 Grand Prix Italas was probably saved from destruction by being fitted while it was yet young with a touring body, and has never been entirely neglected. Of recent years it passed into the hands of Mr. Cecil Clutton and the late Dr. G.A. Ewen who, in a long series of speed events, have shown a skill and sympathy in handling it…”
He continued: “It is with the Itala that I myself have had the closest contact, and it has been a contact fit to grace a motoring lifetime. Like the FIATs they used the short stroke of 160mm with the maximum permitted bore of 155mm, which gave them a capacity of 12,076cc and perhaps in consequence they were less powerful than the 14-litre Bayard-Clements and the victorious 13-litre Mercedes….
“The Itala…”, he wrote”…has a starting handle which is a masterpiece of artistic solidity. The grip is amply large enough for two hands, if two hands are needed on it; but in practice they seldom if ever are. The engine, like most of its size and period, is fitted with a sliding camshaft which can be used to reduce compression for starting purposes, and with this in operation, the big engine can be turned with comparative ease.
“As is perhaps still generally known, a 4-cylinder engine, once the initial impulse has been given to it, very nearly swings itself, the release of the compression in one cylinder carrying the engine over the compression in another. All that is required by the operator is not muscular strength but a certain knack in starting the process.
“Once this has been applied to the Itala, one can go on swinging it as easily as if its capacity were 1,200 rather than 12,000 cc; and if your appearance is as feeble as the author’s, one can watch delightedly out of the tail of one’s eye, while thus engaged, strong men who are not in on the secret visibly blenching and wondering when you are going to burst. Unfortunately, there is seldom any opportunity for the performance to be prolonged; after a few turns the giant engine usually bursts into life with a shattering roar, so startling even when expected that it requires great presence of mind to remember to slide the camshaft back onto full compression.”
Kent Karslake first had the opportunity to drive the great car in 1948, in Dunkirk. He recalled: “I have no hesitation in saying…that the Itala is not only one of the most exciting cars that it has been my lot to drive, but also one of the least alarming. How big a car feels to its driver appears to bear no relation to its actual size, and, from the point of view of tractability and accurate placing on the road, this is a Gargantuan that feels like something out of Lilliput.
“The steering is of thoroughbred precision, with no trace of undue heaviness in spite of the fact that the wheel only needs one complete turn from lock to lock.
“The gear lever is pushed or pulled, rather than flicked, in its gate, as if to indicate that there is something pretty solid in the way of pinions on the other end of the mechanism, but it moves with complete smoothness, and the gears change with unfailing ease and silence for any operator versed in the first principles of sliding-pinion gearboxes”.
He then warned: “Yet there is one insidious peril in the driving of the car. There is, it must be remembered, 100hp available to the driver, delivered at only 1,800rpm, which means that when the engine is exerting a really tremendous urge, it sounds and feels as if it was doing next to no hard work at all. The effect of this on the driver, at least until he is accustomed to it, is an intoxicating sense of power without responsibility. He is tempted to feel that he can do no wrong and, as he sweeps along with this huge surge of power, obedient to the lightest whim of his right toe, to throw back his head, and fill the astonished air with echoing peals of Homeric laughter.
“I have sat beside Mr Clutton as he drove it mile after mile at 85mph, aimed with the precision of a cannonball at that point on the horizon where a long straight French road met the sky…”
Yes – this extraordinarily imposing 1908 Grand Prix Itala plainly embodies everything about which Mr Toad might have gasped, “Oh bliss – oh joy – Ooh Poop-Poop!…”
The Itala company was founded in 1904 by Matteo Ceirano and Guido Bigio with backing from a Genoese financial group. Initially it mimicked trendsetting Mercedes designs, featuring advanced shaft – rather than chain – drive to a live rear axle.
Matteo Ceirano was keen upon promoting his marque’s prowess through competition. ‘Floretta’ offered here was one of only three 1908 Grand Prix cars custom-designed under the direction of Alberto Balloco, chief engineer 1905-1919. In 1906 works driver Alessandro Cagno won the first Targa Florio in Sicily with a 7.4-litre 35/45hp model, while sister Italas finished second, fourth and fifth. Prince Scipione Borghese then chose the same Itala model to achieve his now legendary victory in the 1907 Peking-to-Paris epic.
But the French Grand Prix, more properly the Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France, was by far the most important race of that era. Just after the 1907 event, an International Conference in Ostend discussed a new ‘Formula’ – or set of technical racing regulations – for 1908. With racing rules varying between nations, manufacturers had to construct different cars for each one.
Against this background, for 1908 a unified racing Formula was agreed. Minimum weight was to be 1,100kg – 2,425lbs – while engine bore diameter was fixed at a maximum 155mm for 4-cylinder engines and 127mm for 6-cylinder units. The Automobile Club de France further announced that in 1908 its Grand Prix would be run over the same Seine Inferieur circuit outside Dieppe as in 1907 (when Felice Nazzaro and FIAT had won for Italy).
The 1908 Grand Prix de l’ACF then received entries from no fewer than 17 manufacturers; Brasier, Bayard-Clement, Lorraine-Dietrich, Mors, Motobloc, Panhard-Levassor, Porthos and Renault from France – Benz, Mercedes and Opel from Germany – Austin and Weigel from Great Britain – plus Thomas from the USA and Germain from Belgium, while FIAT and Itala joined in from Italy…
Itala’s number one driver, Alessandro Cagno, was sometime chauffeur to Queen Margherita. His experienced French team-mate Henri Fournier was not only Itala’s French concessionaire, having already won the 1901 Paris-Berlin city-to-city race. A third GP Itala was to be handled by the less well-known Giovanni Piacenza. The Torinese team based themselves at Martin-Eglise on the Dieppe circuit. The competing cars were due to start the great race at one-minute intervals, the first setting off at 6.01 am under overcast skies and with a strong onshore wind.
Cagno was accompanied by riding mechanic Moriondo – Fournier by Ayana and Piacenza by Craviolo. Cagno’s car, race number ’12’ was the first Itala starter, at 6.12am, followed by Fournier – ’29’ – at 6.29, and finally Piacenza – ’45’ – at 6.45. Away they rumbled on the first of the ten long 79.988km – 49.71-mile – laps.
Nazzaro’s FIAT took the lead on lap 2, while the unfortunate Piacenza retired his Itala with gearbox trouble. The big leading FIATS of Louis Wagner and Nazzaro then both retired. After five laps – 385kms, 248.55 miles – Christian Lautenschlager was leading for Mercedes, with the delayed Italas of Cagno 26th and Fournier 29th. While Lautenschlager’s ultimately winning Mercedes lapped in 38mins 42secs, Cagno’s best for Itala was a very quick 39:26 on his first lap, while Henri Fournier’s was timed at 39mins 55secs, and his seventh at 39:10 after lengthy early delay. After eight hours – and 769.880kms, 478.48 miles – of punishing Grand Prix road racing, Cagno’s Itala finished 11th and Fournier’s 20th.
These GP Italas were entered in the great race as having 4-cylinder engines with cylinders cast in two blocks of two cylinders each, bore 154.8mm x stroke 160mm, displacing 12,045cc. Wheelbase was listed as 2.92 metres, maximum track 1.40 metres. However, ‘Floretta’ today has a 3.05-metre – 118.3-inch – wheelbase. In fact a Bonhams analysis of 1908 Grand Prix paddock photography now suggests that while Cagno and Fournier drove matching short-wheelbase Italas at Dieppe, Piacenza’s works car was visibly longer. Although ‘Floretta’ has been described repeatedly over many decades as having been Cagno’s car, this evidence suggests she was more probably Piacenza’s. Further evidence supporting this assertion is that Piacenza’s is recorded as also having been the heaviest of the 1908 Grand Prix team cars, scaling 27cwt 3qr 15lbs against the winning Mercedes’ 22cwt 4lbs. This would be consistent with the perceived extra chassis length.
Laurence Pomeroy wrote in his seminal two-volume treatise ‘The Grand Prix Car’ (Temple Press, London, 1953) “The car constructed by the Itala company for this race can be considered typical of design practice at this time. It embraced a live rear axle, a feature which was perhaps something of an advance, but, on the other hand, retained side exhaust and overhead inlet valves and low tension ignition at a period when overhead valve engines with high tension ignition were by no means unknown.”
He emphasised that an Itala completed the first 48-mile lap only 57 secs behind the eventual winner, Lautenschlager’s Mercedes. He added that in 1940 at Brooklands the same model covered a flying quarter-mile at 85mph and a standing quarter mile in 20 secs. That car was not in the best of tune, and it is fair to assume that in original condition it could have achieved 95-100mph flat-out.
‘Pom’ went on to comment upon the car’s relatively majestic size, adding “…it is worth emphasizing that there was very little wasted space. It is indeed notable that the bonnet fits so closely around the engine that the overhead valve gear projects above the level of the radiator and had to be covered by a protuberant cowling”.
In describing this Itala’s massive 4-cylinder engine, ‘Pom’ wrote: The designer chose the maximum permitted bore and cautiously approached the problem of raising the piston speed above the 1500rpm which was the then existing standard. Given the opportunity of unlimited stroke, he decided to fix the figure at 160mm, which permitted a maximum engine speed of 1,800rpm with a piston speed of 1,700 feet per minute. At this speed the car was theoretically capable of 113mph so there was a reasonable balance between the factors of bhp, rpm and reliability.
“The cylinders were formed in pairs from iron castings, the water jacket extending about one-third of the way down the bore. The exhaust valves were situated in laterally located pockets at the near side of the engine, the inlet valves being mounted above them in detachable cages. The exhaust valves, therefore, were operated directly from a side-mounted camshaft and the inlet valves through push rods and rockers… The crankshaft ran in a similar type of bearing was approximately 55mm diameter, and innocent of counterbalancing…” he added, with a smile.
In conclusion, ‘Pom’ added: “The 1908 Grand Prix Itala was somewhat overweight and under-powered by comparison with the best designs of the time and for this reason had no great success in Grand Prix racing. It has, however, in later years proved to be an outstandingly reliable design, two cars participating in racing at Brooklands until1914, one in 1910 averaging 97.5mph for 19½ miles and lapping at 101.8mph. This car survived and continues in competition use today…”
After the Grand Prix at Dieppe, these Itala team cars were shipped to Savannah, Georgia, for the American Grand Prize road race. Cagno progressed from tenth place on the opening lap to fourth by lap 3. But he was then forced to retire, while Fournier finished eighth, and the unfortunate Piacenza crashed his entry.
But on home soil in the Coppa Florio race – at Bologna – Cagno’s Itala finished third at 66.4mph, despite breaking its spring hangers and then having its radiator burst on the final lap. Fournier was blinded by Cagno’s dust and left the road, while Piacenza again failed.
Within a year, in 1909, R. Wil-de-Gose, AMI Mech E (later general manager of The Crescent Cinema in Pontefract, Yorkshire), appeared at Brooklands in what became ‘Floretta’ now offered here. He immediately lapped the Outer Circuit at 93.22mph. Back there in 1910, Wil-de-Gose’s ‘Sixty Itala’ lapped at 100.36mph, and soon after at 101.80mph! It is significant that Lord Vernon, in the ex-Fry, ex-Tate 1908 Mercedes lapped at 101.59mph – almost matching the outright speed of the Italian-made Grand Prix car now offered here…but not quite.
It appears that the car was owned during this period by a Mr H.T.I. Young of Lambourn, Berkshire At least two alternative racing body shapes appeared on the car, one with pointed ‘draught-includer’ nose at Brooklands, and another with beetle-back tail at Saltburn Sands in Yorkshire, before – presumably late – in 1910 the car was rebodied by Vincent’s of Reading into four-seat form for high-performance road use. Its original artillery-style wooden-spoked wheels had been replaced by wire wheels as still used today, and even in Brooklands form the car was UK road registered ‘LD 2301’.
The car survived World War 1 and the 1920s in relative obscurity until on Sunday, May 17,1936 the infant Vintage Sports Car Club ran a speed trial at Aston Clinton, in which the Edwardian class was won by John Pole – then a serving Royal Air Force officer – driving the “12-litre 1908 Grand Prix Itala”.
In a highly entertaining ‘Cars I Have Owned’ article published in ‘Motor Sport’ magazine, December 1960, John Pole wrote: “In 1927 I stopped for lunch one day at the Scole Inn at Diss, on the Norwich-London road. After lunch I happened to wander round the back of the inn…and I saw a gigantic old touring car filling a shed, and covered with crates, bottles, chicken much, dead weeds – everything.
“The proprietor of the inn told me it was a 1908 racing Itala, given to him by a friend, driven up from London in 1920 and never used since.
“In 1936 an interest in old cars had started, and I remembered the Itala. I went to Scole one Sunday morning and sure enough the car was still there in the same old shed and looking dirtier and vaster than ever. I bought it for £25, and a week later I went with two friends and a 30cwt Morris truck with tools and equipment to bring the car away, under its own power if possible.
“It took us three days to make it drivable. A lot of wiring and water tubing had to be replaced and the old tyres cut off the rims. The low-tension ignition system was a mystery to me, as was the petrol feed which appeared to be maintained by pressure from the exhaust pipe.
“However, we got petrol to the carburettor, and I then thought we had better tow the car around for a few miles in gear to free everything up before trying to start the engine. We had a solid tow bar on the Morris, and this was hitched on and the Itala towed out on to the main London road in neutral.
“When we were in position, I put it in second gear and with the clutch out we started rolling. At about ten miles an hour I cautiously let the clutch in.
“There was a shuddering, convulsive earthquake beneath me as four ancient pistons started to sweep twelve litres of cobwebs and dead spiders out into the silencer. And then, without a trace of warning, the great engine burst into life with a shattering roar. The hand throttle had been left half open and the Itala surged forward against the solid tow bar before I had a chance to depress the clutch, which anyway nearly required two feet to it.
“It was too much for the poor 30cwt Morris. The kick in the pants from the Itala sprung the chassis and the bottom fell out of the cast aluminium gearbox. My own exultation was something I’ll never forget. We had not put the bonnet on, and clouds of dust and dirt swept over me as I kept the engine revving. The tow bar was unhitched and I drove the car back into the yard. The next morning a ceremonial farewell drive was arranged, and all the Scole Inn staff; chambermaids, waiters, the cook, everybody, climbed onto the car and I drove them up the main London-Norwich road about a mile and then back. There were about twenty people clinging on somehow and amidst the screams of the females we probably did about 70 or 80mph. Nothing and nobody was licensed or insured and nobody fell off and got killed”.
Having revived this imposing Grand Prix car, John Pole quite quickly sold it on to vintage motoring enthusiast Cecil ‘Sam’ Clutton. In 1937 the Itala’s co-owner Peter Robertson-Rodger drove it in a three-lap VSCC demonstration at the opening Crystal Palace race meeting, with ‘Bunty’ Scott-Moncrieff in the Itala’s passenger seat. The Littlestone Speed Trials on a building estate near New Romney, Kent, saw Clive Windsor-Richards driving, and later that year at Croydon’s Autodrome Driving School course Cecil ‘Sam’ Clutton handled the great car, placing third in class. ‘Sam’ won the three-lap ‘Pre-War Car’ handicap race at Crystal Palace in April, 1939, and on August 26 – barely a week before World War 2 erupted – he posted second-fastest time in class at Prescott hill-climb, 64.03sec to the winner Anthony Heal’s Fiat on 62.13.
Days later, the VSCC sent a six-page newsletter to its 300-odd members, which began “This Tedious War: The Club will be put to bed, with its bank balance, for the duration. Current subscriptions will continue to be current, until the next event after the outbreak of peace…”. The notice ended: “If any of us are (a) alive, and or (b) solvent at the end of it all, we must then decide how best to pick up the threads of civilization (i.e. motoring) again…”.
This great Itala was about to endure the second global war within its long lifetime. Competition motoring within Britain was still almost out of the question when the VSCC’s AGM was held at the Punch House, Piccadilly Circus, London on January 17,1947. Membership had risen to 660 and R. Wil-de-Gose of Itala Brooklands fame had donated the ‘1908 Grand Prix Itala Cup’ to be awarded annually in a race for Vintage cars.
On June 22,1947, the Club’s Madresfield Park rally in Worcestershire saw Dr Gerald Ewen sharing an award in the Clutton Itala and as Peter Hull recalled in his ‘History of the Vintage Sports Car Club’ (1964) “On the way back to London the Itala was passed for what was believed to be the very first time in its life; but as this was by Landon’s Alfa this was felt to be no serious disgrace…”.
Meanwhile, in early March that year a small VSCC party had braved the snow to take a selection of interesting cars up to Cambridge for examination by members of the University Automobile Club. ‘Bob’ Ewen brought the Itala while ‘Sam’ drove his Type 49 Bugatti. They found that the CUAC were negotiating to run a second circuit-race meeting on Gransden Lodge aerodrome. The VSCC members offered to help so the two clubs could run the event as a joint meeting. On July 13, 1947, after seemingly endless problems, the event went ahead, and the Edwardian race saw ‘Bob’ Ewen timed at 63.51mph for one of the three laps it survived, after which its radiator boiled dry and the footbrake caught fire…
As 1948 marked the 40th anniversary of the Itala’s racing debut at Dieppe, ‘Sam’ Clutton took the great car to Reims-Gueux, to witness that year’s Grand Prix de l’ACF. He recalled: “When we were within 40 miles of Reims the twisting of the chassis had sprung a leak somewhere near the top of the Itala’s petrol tank. No one imagined that (it) could reach Reims until late in the evening. Clutton was accompanied by fellow enthusiast/historian Kent Karslake who set off to man the pump pressurizing the punctured tank.
“His only relief could be when the engine was switched off and the car coasted in neutral down long gradients, otherwise he had to pump without cessation in order to maintain air pressure in the tank. To minimize his efforts a cruising speed of 85mph and upwards was maintained for those last 30 miles into Reims, and the Bugatti Black Bess and Vauxhall were soon caught and passed. As we came into the city itself Karslake continued pumping with one hand, whilst with the other he searched feverishly in the Guide Michelin for the whereabouts of the Lion d’Or, where we were to stay. With an expiring cough, the Itala rolled up to the front door of the hotel, its last drop of petrol exhausted – not to mention Karslake…”.
Charging back to catch the ferry in Dunkirk , ‘Sam’ misjudged a corner and careered “…down a railway track. The Itala soon crashed to rest, but it was found that the flywheel was jammed between a sleeper and some point-operating mechanism, so the efforts to move the car only resulted in a shower of sparks being generated by friction between the flywheel and the rail…
“At the same moment it was observed that an almost equally un-illuminated locomotive was rapidly bearing down upon the outfit.
“Clutton accordingly hastened to alight from the Itala and ran to make a speech to the engine driver, which had the effect of bringing the juggernaut to rest before the ultimate disaster occurred. After a great deal of pushing and shouting, and after the engine driver had with difficulty been restrained from executing his desire to push the Itala off the rail with his locomotive, a causeway was finally built up and the Itala was pushed to safety.”
With only three big-end bearings and bottom gear by this time stripped, Bob Ewen nursed the great car onto the cross-Channel ferry with only 15 minutes to spare before departure. On board it was found that during this epic drive both the spare wheels had fallen off the car, and one road wheel had a slow puncture. ‘Sam’ began to pump it up whereupon the tyre detonated violently, ending up completely flat and with a 12-inch split in both inner tube and outer casing. Eventually landed back in England, ‘Floretta’ finally limped under her own power into the Ewen garage at Richmond, successfully completing what had been a dramatic 40th birthday outing…
Dr Ewen’s patients could never be quite sure which car he might use on his rounds, and it was not unknown for a deafening rumble to herald his arrival outside a patient’s house in ‘Floretta’…
The great Itala continued to compete in race, sprint and hill-climb meetings throughout the remainder of the 1940s, and on through the 1950s-60s-70s-80s -90s into the 21st centruy… In 1949 a VSCC Bulletin described how “…when taking off, the Itala arches its back to such an extent that the doors invariably fly open, and as most of the driver’s seat departs with the door this could be very embarrassing if the doors were not invariably lashed together when racing”.
By 1950 Bob Ewen could win the Edwardian class at Prescott with a time of 57.16secs, while in the 1952 Pomeroy Trophy event – which became an annual highlight of VSCC competition, the Itala’s fuel consumption was checked at an amazing 16.7 miles per gallon. Dr Ewen also won in the Club’s Silverstone race meeting that May, while the Wil-de-Gose-donated Itala Trophy race had become a major feature of VSCC meetings.
Dr Ewen passed away prematurely in December 1953, and for decades thereafter ‘Sam’ Clutton shared the Itala with fellow enthusiast Jack Williamson, who expertly maintained ‘Floretta’s ageing mechanicals. In 1978, the great car’s 70th birthday coincided with 50 years of Mr Clutton’s ownership.
Cecil ‘Sam’ Clutton, OBE, passed away in 1991 at the age of 81, but ‘Floretta’ was sold to horologist George Daniels as the new owner himself described: “One day at Prescott running my Alfa Romeo, the owner of the Itala said he might have to sell it. I wanted him to name a price, while he wanted me to make an offer, which I was reluctant to do. After some time he telephoned to say he might not have to sell after all. I thought I’m going to lose the only chance I am ever going to get to buy it, so I wrote saying I understood from various people that his car was worth between X and Y Pounds, and I enclose my cheque to the latter amount and would that conclude the transaction? He ‘phoned back immediately. I’d got it!”
Mr Daniels absolutely adored the Itala. He described how: “You have to experience a car like this, no way you can describe it, you’ve got to do it, and you will either love it or hate it. The tranquility of these early cars is difficult to describe, everything is rotating so slowly…and yet you are really whistling through the atmosphere.
The Itala is really very easy to drive if you don’t rush it. Cars of its era are very cooperative if you go about it at the right speed. It’s a wonderful sensation, only doing 1100rpm and yet it’s loping along at 80mph. Eighty miles per hour! It’s the best experience in motoring…”
A number of spares are offered with the car including bonnet, two bucket seats (presumably for the earlier two-seater body), two cyclinder blocks which may be the originals (one cracked), another cylinder block which appears to be modern casting, and other items. The Itala also comes with an extensive history files and road-registration documents.
Today this majestic icon of the British motoring scene survives in hale and hearty good order, ready and able to provide a new generation of enthusiastic owners with tremendously enjoyable and fulfilling motoring, a thunderously 12-litre–engined Grand Prix and Brooklands racer fully tried and proven on both road, and track…
Lagonda V12 Le Mans Team Car 1939 Chassis #14090 Offererd at Bonhams Goodwood 15/9/12 SOLD @ US$2,000,000
In brief – Chassis only > built up with Racing body > Lord Selsdon > Le Mans 1939 Selsdon/ Waleran 4th, Brooklands 1939 Selsdon > stored at Lagonda > 1944 semi destroyed by V1 bomb > Rebuilt 1945/46 > Registered HPL449 > Robert Arbuthnot 1940’s > Indy 500 1946 Arbuthnot DNQ > Dr. Sabourin, USA 1946 > fitted Mercury V8 > Raced > Chrysler V8 fitted > Bob Crane 1959 > Dale, Canada (incl. parts of original engine) > Peter Biggs, UK 1980 > John Foy Restoration > Consigned to Bonhams 2012
A beautiful, historic racing car. Even though it was used hard, and is only semi original, it is still worth at least US$2 million. Would be a starter at any of the great races.
It was shortly before Christmas, 1938, that Lagonda company Chairman Alan Good dropped a bombshell onto the desk of his Technical Director, none other than the legendary W.O. Bentley.
Good had decided to enter a specially-tailored works-entered V12 Lagonda at Le Mans in 1939 and had asked Mercedes-Benz factory Grand Prix team member Dick Seaman to drive it.The leading British racing driver of his era would have had no serious objection, having a soft spot for Lagondas after previously running a 2-litre model of his own, and admiring both the new V12 and W.O. Bentley’s record with the Staines-based company. He had also, of course, driven the Fox & Nicholl Lagonda at Spa in 1936, winning its class.
However, at that time – with barely six months to go before Good’s target date at Le Mans – W.O. Bentley had just returned to development work on his ideas for an electric gearchange, after having successfully brought the V12 Lagonda engine to production. Simultaneously, the rest of his technical team had just begun to concentrate upon Alan Good’s entry for the 1939 Monte Carlo Rally.
W.O. was unhappy with being allowed so little time to develop a Le Mans winner from the fast V12, but he succeeded in extracting Good’s agreement that the immediate objective should be simply to finish the 24-Hour race in 1939, with a view to an all-out effort to win the great race in 1940.
Of course, war would intervene, but W.O. did not know this at the time and so the Le Mans Lagonda V12s’ eventual performance was indeed admirable…
By March 1939, W.O. already had a V12 racing engine with four carburettors under bench test, and since Seaman had acceded to Mercedes-Benz’s wish that he should not compete for Lagonda, Good announced that ERA star driver Arthur Dobson would drive instead, with a second driver to be decided (which proved to be popular Brooklands habitué, Charles Brackenbury).
The V12 engine’s new four-carburettor set-up boosted power output to 206bhp at 5,500rpm (220bhp being claimed publicly), and although the original intention had been to build only one car, Lord Selsdon’s fortuitous inheritance of £65,000 changed Lagonda’s plans.
Before he had acceded to his title as the 2nd Baron Selsdon in 1938, Peter Mitchell-Thomson born in 1913 had enjoyed some success as a racing driver most notably with Frazer Nash cars at Brooklands. He was 26 years old, and – eager to compete at Le Mans – he approached Alan Good to order a second competition V12 Lagonda to drive there. The Staines Bridge-based company gratefully accepted his order, and the result is the car now offered here.
As co-driver for Le Mans, Lord Selsdon invited a friend, the 34-year-old Lord Waleran, another keen Lagonda enthusiast, to join in the fun. William George Hood Walrond, 2nd Baron Waleran had been born in 1905. He was an Old Etonian and Oxford University graduate who had served as Assistant Private Secretary to the Governor-General of New Zealand 1927-1930. During World War 2 he would become a Wing Commander in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, but as a racing driver at significant level, Le Mans 1939 marked his debut.
Only the works V12 Lagonda Le Mans car was ready for the unveiling ceremony on 7th June, and even then it was not complete. It was, however, able to run a few test laps around the factory site at Staines Bridge prior to setting off for Le Mans. The two cars were race-numbered ‘5’ (works entry for Arthur Dobson/Charles Brackenbury) and ‘6’ the private entry for Selsdon/Waleran. Their Lordships used the drive to Le Mans as their sole test and running-in opportunity. In fact, fine tuning would continue on both cars right up until the start of the race itself.
While the Lagonda V12 No.5 (known ever after as ‘Old Number 5’), successfully completed the 24-Hour classic, covering 239 laps – no fewer than 2,006 miles – at an average speed of 83.21mph, claiming a tremendous third place finish upon its competition debut, Lords Selsdon and Waleran in the works-supported V12 – despite their total lack of serious pre-race testing – brought this car home immediately behind No. 5, in fourth place overall. Not unnaturally all concerned were absolutely delighted to have achieved such an honourable and impressive result, with No. 5 winning its class, and this wonderful V12 Lagonda debut at Le Mans was regarded as a wonderful launching pad for a serious tilt at outright victory there in 1940.
In retrospect it is absolutely evident that W.O. Bentley and his faithful and talented team had overcome enormous obstacles to have transformed in so few fleeting months a car which he had conceived and designed as a quiet and elegant fast sporting car into a genuine long-distance racer. It was a truly remarkable feat.
Lord Selsdon himself described the race in an interview with Freddy Grisewood on the contemporary BBC radio programme ‘World Goes By’, relating how: “We started at 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon driving right through the twenty-four hours until four o’clock on Sunday. We had to drive twenty-five laps each of eight miles around the ordinary public road, closed to traffic of course. When the starter drops the flag, you rush like a hare to get into your car, press the starter and then hare off. We all started all right, except for one car with a blown fuse. It’s just like a madhouse for the first five minutes. Everybody misses each other by a hair’s breadth. The leaders were going off at 80 miles an hour, getting round the eight miles in five and a half minutes. After about twenty minutes they thin out a bit.
“Actually the average time of our car over the twenty-four hours was just over 83mph, which works out at five minutes 45 seconds per lap. The small cars did awfully well too. You see it’s really three races in one. The first race is for the fastest car round irrespective of engine size, the second is a sort of handicap race but the calculation is so complicated – depends on engine size and a lot of things – that only the mathematical boys can understand. The third race is for a Cup; you have to qualify for it one year and go in for it the next. We both qualified.
“The trouble was you went round a corner at one speed, and when you went round again the conditions were absolutely different, and if you tried taking it at the same speed things sometimes became a bit uncertain. In the early morning you got mist and fog on the road, and in the corners that makes things rather difficult. You go into a belt of fog and you don’t know if there’s another fellow in front, especially if his tail light happens to have gone out.
“The remarkable thing was that the tyres ran through without a change. About five years ago we’d have had to change the tyres every five or six hours. Now it’s possible to cover 2,000 miles at 90 miles an hour in twenty-four hours, which is actually higher than last year’s winning speed. As a matter of fact we found a nail in one of my tyres at the end, but I don’t know how long it had been there. If the tyre had exploded of course we might have had an interesting bit of motoring…
“Fourteen British cars started and there were forty-two starters altogether. Only fifteen cars finished and ten of them were British, so I think you can say we did quite well…”.
Of course the basic chassis of these two Le Mans Lagonda V12s had been considerably lightened utilising narrow gauge steel and the 10-foot 4-inch-wheelbase chassis frame of each car was riddled with lightening holes. Even the brake drums had six large holes drilled in each, albeit capped with light aluminium lids to prevent water entering them. The front brakes were the newly-announced two-leading shoe pattern by Lockheed and were provided with cooling air scoops on the back plates. The cockpit left no room for a right-hand handbrake, and this was relocated to the centre in an upright position, while a centre throttle pedal was also fitted.
The ultra-light bodywork which as originally fashioned was infinitely lighter than it may look to the eye was constructed in five major sections, all of hand-beaten aluminium sheet mounted directly on to the chassis with no interior framework whatsoever, and retained by quick-release fasteners. Closely fitting around the engine, it represented overall a most streamlined shape. Although both team cars were stripped and rebuilt at Staines after their Le Mans achievement, the same bodywork was used subsequently, when both cars were entered for the August Bank Holiday Brooklands race meeting.
There on the Weybridge track, Brackenbury drove ‘Old Number 5,’ albeit renumbered ‘8’, while Lord Selsdon drove his own (No.6 but renumbered as No.5!). The Le Mans wings and lamps were removed and much more skimpy silencers were fitted in place of the large Le Mans units, plus, of course, the inevitable Brooklands fishtail on the tip of each pipe. The original bodywork was retained on Brackenbury’s car, with small patches riveted over some of the cracks (which had been apparent following Le Mans), and the rebuilt engines again went well.
Both cars were, of course, handicapped by ‘Ebby’ Ebblewhite, the official Brooklands ‘starter’ and timekeeper but, unusually, he actually underestimated their potential.
Consequently, Brackenbury won the race by 3.8 seconds from Selsdon at 118.45mph average, and after lapping the formidable – and formidably bumpy – Outer Circuit bankings at no less than 127.70mph.
Even at this speed both drivers had been “soft pedalling” at The Fork to spare ‘Ebby’ too much embarrassment, while G. L. Baker finished third in a Graham-Paige, 7.8 seconds behind Brackenbury. During practice on the Brooklands Outer Circuit, Brackenbury set his fastest unofficial lap at an incredible 140mph (221km/h) that day, but although no one knew it at the time, this Brooklands event on 12th August 1939 was to be the last ever at the historic old Motor Course.
Lord Selsdon entered his car for the 1939 Liege GP in Belgium on August 27, and made the trip there only for the race to be cancelled and he returned home just before the outbreak of World War 2 on September 2/3.
Inevitably, with the outbreak of hostilities, the Lagonda factory was directed to war work, supplying the Royal Air Force. Although a few more Lagonda LG6 and V12 cars were produced in 1939 and even into 1940, armaments thereafter became totally dominant. The two great V12 teams cars were laid up in Staines, together with some other cars, drawings, tools, and structural parts from the body shop, but tyres were removed and even body parts damaged at Le Mans were removed and put to the crucible for their aluminium value.
The car’s lay there otherwise undisturbed until in 1944 a V1 ‘Doodlebug’ flying bomb fell nearby, causing extensive damage both to the building and to the two team cars within, although fortunately the ensuing fire did not reach the cars themselves. The full extent of the damage became apparent when the vehicles were moved into the open during the clean-up operation, but fortunately Lagonda decided to restore the chassis units to running order, and this was done in a workshop opposite the damaged factory.
We understand from Lagonda Club Registrar Arnold Davey that while the works-entered 1939 Le Mans V12 was finally road registered ‘GRK 77’ in 1948 and was chassis serial ‘14089’, Lord Selsdon’s sister car now offered herehad been registered pre-war as ‘HPL 449’ and is chassis serial ‘14090’.
Somehow, in the winter of 1945-46, the ageing but forever irrepressible Charles Brackenbury acquired ‘Old Number 5’ and ran it on the road minus original body, and on trade plates as ‘168 PC’. He later sold that car to Robert Cowell, a partner in Leacroft Sheet Metal Works in Egham, coachbuilders. The second car, Lord Selsdon’s, meanwhile found a new owner in Robert Arbuthnot of High Speed Motors Ltd, past campaigner of the ex-Hans Ruesch Alfa Romeo 8C-35 Grand Prix car. He fitted a vestigial new aluminium body and most optimistically entered the car for the 1946 Indianapolis 500-Miles Speedway classic – offering the richest prize fund in worldwide motor sport.
Robert Arbuthnot shipped this V12 Lagonda across the Atlantic and began practice on ‘The Brickyard’ rectangle but could not better a 104mph lap speed when 114mph was necessary to qualify on the starting grid. While returning to the Speedway for another attempt, the tow parted and the car careered into a roadside obstacle. It was damaged, its extensively perforated chassis frame being bent where it rose over the back axle.
We understand that the car was sold soon after to Indycar entrant Dr Sabourin. In an early Watkins Glen road race the car re-emerged, powered by a Mercury V8 engine and driven by future Mercedes-Benz 300SLR works driver John Fitch. By 1952 it was equipped with a Chrysler Hemi V8 engine and entered by one Garret Fuller for Sherwood Johnston to drive, finishing third in the Seneca Cup race at Watkins Glen. The original V12 Lagonda engine reputedly went into a power boat in the Lake Winnipesauke area of New Hampshire, and in 1959 the car was acquired as a rolling chassis by Bob Crane, President of the Lagonda Club USA. Steven Silverstein separately acquired the discarded Arbuthnot Indianapolis bodywork, while Mr Crane subsequently sold the car plus a quantity of relevant components – including substantial remains of the original engine – to a Mr Dale in Toronto, Canada, where it was eventually put on museum display.
British Lagonda enthusiast Peter Biggs later acquired the car in the 1980s, repatriated it from Canada and commissioned specialist John Foy to undertake restoration to original 1939 Le Mans form, complete with 4-carburettor V12 engine. We understand that the chassis, gearbox, fuel tank, rear axle and crank case (with the original RAC stamp clearly visible) are the originals. The Lagonda is currently fitted with a race prepared, period correct competition engine mated to a fully rebuilt radiator, at a cost of £50,000.
We can confirm that as offered here this imposing classic British Le Mans car – W.O. Bentley’s last hurrah upon the site of his own company’s legendary five 24-Hour race wins – goes and drives every bit as splendidly as it looks – a V12-cylinder Le Mans car fit, indeed, not for just one Lord, but for two.
Maserati Tipo 26 Sport Road Racing Four-Seater 1930 Chassis #2518 offered at Bonhams Goodwood 15/9/12 SOLD @ US$2,700,000
In Brief – Chassis only > fitted racing 4 seater body > Max Morris/ RAG Patents > Brooklands Double Twelve 1931 DNS, Eireann Cup 1931 Campari 2nd, RAC TT 1931 Fronteras Retired > Dickie Oates 1932 > J. Cumming 1933 (on loan) Brooklands Easter meeting 1933 Cumming 5th > Engine swapped with #2516 > F. Ivan Carr 1937 > Winter Garden Garages 1938 > ED Saddington 1945 > via Rootes Brothers > JH Rosslyn Smith 1946 > Engine removed > via HWM 1940’s > Roland Dutt > Riley 3 litre engine fitted > John Staveley > E. Pedley 1951 > Michael Hartley 1951 > Ford V8 engine fitted > Anthony Hartley > restored & fitted surviving parts of its original engine > Consigned to Bonhams 2012
An original 1931 Grand Prix racer, comparable to the Bugattis and Alfa Romeos raced in the period. Whereas they would be worth between 5 and 10 million USD this was only $2.7 million. The innards are original even if messed about with and it is very cool. For the money a bit of a bargain.
This magical Maserati was in period a direct competitor of the smaller-engined, less uncompromisingly race-bred, Alfa Romeo 8C-2300. It should be considered absolutely within the same breath as one of the most illustrious of Italian-made Vintage and Post-Vintage Thoroughbred road racing cars.
This extraordinarily well presented survivor from Maserati’s early history is offered here direct from no fewer than 57 years in its current ownership, and from 61 years within the same family. It has been restored, maintained and preserved within Mr Anthony Hartley’s supreme Maserati collection and fully reflects his unique combination of admiration for the marque, hands-on engineering capability and deep, deep knowledge of these dynamic machines.
This is one of two 2.5-litre Maserati Tipo 26 cars originally imported into the UK during the winter of 1930-31. The Tipo 26 cars are normally known as 26Ms or 26Bs, but in the case of these two cars built to special British order it appears they were classified as 26s. The pair fulfilled an order placed by well-known British-based racing personality Edgar Fronteras on behalf of Mr Max Morris’s RAG Patents Ltd of London, manufacturers of the RAG carburettor – these initials being derived from the name of Irish woman R.A. Garston, who provided Morris’s financial backing. The cars were to be equipped with RAG carburettors, and prepared for racing by the motor engineering company of L.C.Rawlence & Company Ltd of The Cut, Lambeth, in central London. They were to be entered by M.C. Morris for top-level British sports car races in 1931.
The two cars were Maserati chassis serials ‘2516’ and ‘2518’, and according to Italian sources they were shipped with radiator cowl, bonnet and scuttle mounted but without the rearward two-thirds of the bodywork. The contention is that this was to be made in England since it had to comply dimensionally with RAC four-seater racing regulations requiring that competing cars of more than 1½-litre capacity should be equipped with four-seater bodies matching minimum standards. Long-term owner Mr Hartley takes a different view on this matter and from his experience of the original bodywork’s constructional style believes it to have been Italian made, and not British.
These two British-market cars were described by Italian historian Luigi Orsini in his book ‘Maserati – A Complete History’ (1980) as the Tipo 26 series’ “…only models…considered sports versions…”. He went on to relate how the two cars had been purchased “…through the mediation of Edgar Fronteras, a fellow of not very Anglo-Saxon features possibly, but envied by many for the charm of his wife, an ex-nurse. His work as a business procurer for the Maserati (brothers) previously begun with the 26M of (Sir Henry) Birkin, continued until after the war, during the OSCA period…”.
The cars’ 2.5-litre straight-8 supercharged engines featured twin overhead camshafts and factory records indicate that units ‘2516’ and ‘2518’ were unusual in that double-row roller bearings rather than single-row supported the centre of the lengthy crankshaft. Mr Hartley expands upon this reference, explaining that the crankshaft front and rear bearings are double-row self-aligning ball races. The centre main-bearing on early cars was a split roller-type but on later cars it was replaced by a large bronze casting housing white-metal bearing material.
Both cars had four-seater length frames–150mm longer than those of their two-seat/Grand Prix racing sister cars. For the endurance racing facing them – and particularly the battering that would be meted out by the bumpy bankings of Brooklands Motor Course during the Double-Twelve 24-hour race there – these chassis frames were constructed from 4mm thick steel instead of the 3mm thick stock that Maserati used in their Grand Prix frames. Their chassis side-rail depth was also greater, 120mm amidships compared to only 100mm for the Grand Prix chassis, and the frames were 20mm wider with the bodywork overhanging some 50mm each side. The radiator mounted on top of the chassis instead of down in line with the dumb-iron undersides as on the GP car. For the Double-Twelve the new Maseratis were rigged with full-width windscreens in addition to their individual aero screens for driver and riding mechanic, and hood. The original hood frame survives on ‘2518’ offered here.
These two British-destined frames also featured longer-than-standard front springs, the four-seater racing-regulation bodies and dynamo, starter motor and lighting systems. Engineer R.A. ‘Dickie’ Oates worked with the Rawlence Company to prepare and run these cars in the Brooklands Double-Twelve race on May 9,1931, followed by the Irish Grand Prix sports car race, in Phoenix Park, Dublin, on July 19,and the RAC Tourist Trophy race at Ards in Ulster on August 22 that year.
In the Brooklands Double-Twelve, Captain George Eyston shared one car – wearing race number ‘4’ – with Italian mechanic/driver Giulio Ramponi, but its back axle reputedly failed on the final lap of the first day’s racing. Mr Hartley finds this difficult to believe since it is so robust. Edgar Fronteras and Oates were non-starters in the second car. ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson, later famous for his preparation of the Evans family’s Bellevue Garage MGs and post-World War 2 of the double Le Mans-winning Ecurie Ecosse Jaguars, worked for L.C. Rawlence at the time.
He was riding mechanic in the Eyston/Ramponi Maserati for the Double-Twelve – his first race –as he later recalled in his autobiography ‘Wilkie’ (Nelson & Saunders, 1987) as follows: “I would never forget lapping Brooklands with Eyston close on 120mph in that big Maserati. After the 8am start for almost the whole of the first twelve hours, we drove right up at the top of the banking, close to the unprotected rim. To be driven round Brooklands at that speed was at first a terrifying experience. Even after you got used to it, it was still somewhat shattering. (On the rough banking) the cars were most uncomfortable; the Hartford friction-type shock absorbers were locked-up almost solid. The Maserati leaped and crashed over the bumps, slamming into the concrete with bone-jarring force. I was soon aching all over. The racket from the exhaust, even with the compulsory Brooklands silencer, was deafening. The heat from the exhaust on my left was more than equaled by the heat from the gearbox on my right that burned my legs… There was only a tiny aero screen to protect my face. We had no crash helmets, just linen helmets and goggles. The car suffered too: wing stays kept breaking, forcing us to stop and bolt them together again, and put new brackets on. But these were only minor problems; the car went very fast all day, like the proverbial bomb.
“Then, on the very last lap, the crown wheel and pinion failed as Ramponi took it off the Byfleet Banking. The axle made a horrible grinding noise as he pulled off the track. A new axle could have been fitted quite quickly, but none was available…the car was withdrawn”.
Both of the British team’s 2.5-litre Maseratis ‘2516’ and ‘2518’were then re-prepared in Lambeth for the trip to Dublin for the Eireann Cup race – an event plainly of great significance to Max Morris’ Irish backer, Ms R.A. Garston, which is presumably how they could afford the services of the great Alfa Romeo and Maserati works driver Campari. ‘Wilkie’ again: “Eyston drove one Rawlence Maserati and Giuseppe Campari travelled from Italy to handle the other.”
George Eyston was intrigued to learn how much Campari’s Italian riding mechanic was being paid for his work, in contrast to his man Wilkinson. “The answer was twenty Pounds for this one race. For me…”, wrote ‘Wilkie’; “…that was almost six week’s wages”. The Captain convinced Rawlence that his man was as capable as any Italian mechanic and must therefore be paid the same. “That twenty Pounds was the biggest sum of money I had ever got in my working life”, ‘Wilkie’ recalled.
The Brooklands back-axle trouble had been traced to a flexing axle casing allowing oil to escape past the seals. “We fixed a grease gun in the cockpit holding at least a pint of oil, and connected it by a long flexible pipe to the rear axle. During the race I was to turn the gun down several turns every lap to keep the axle topped up with oil”. While fabricating a refueling funnel, ‘Wilkie’ then gashed his right hand. The wound turned septic and on race morning Eyston took him to the MO to have the wound drained and bandaged. “In the race we got away to a good start, and I felt confident, despite my numbed hand. Then it started to pour with rain. If Brooklands was tough, this was terrifying. On the fast straight on the back leg of the circuit the Maserati seemed to be going in every direction at once. I remember thinking that Eyston would not crash if he could possibly help it, so we would probably survive it all somehow. If I didn’t pump the fuel tank pressure enough, the engine would begin to spit and splutter – ‘Pump the damn thing!’, Eyston would shout – if I pumped too much the carburettor would flood and the engine lose power. In the terrible conditions Eyston needed clean goggles very frequently – the shout of ‘Change!” would come nearly every lap – and he had no spare hands to change them himself. But soon we were in the pits with a misfiring engine; the plug leads were soaked. It seemed to take a long time to change all eight plugs; we fitted softer ones more suited to the slower speeds in the wet.
“Just as I was changing Eyston’s goggles yet again I noticed the dynamo, driven off the back of the camshaft, start to vibrate badly. The mounting bracket was broken …” – Mr Hartley finds this difficult to believe, the casting is very large, he believes the clamp came loose – “…I wedged my right foot on top of the gearbox to keep the dynamo in place. As we came into a corner the car jumped out of gear. Eyston…shouted at me to hold the lever in gear. We, and the other leaders, were lapping at over 80mph.” After losing third place due to a late stop for fuel, they finished fourth.
Campari, meanwhile, had absolutely shone in the sister RAG Patents/Rawlence Maserati harrying Sir Henry Birkin’s Le Mans Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 for the lead. But while narrowly leading from the Maserati, Birkin had slid wide at Gough Corner, throwing up a shower of mud and stones, one of which had smashed into Campari’s goggles, splintering glass into his eye. Ramponi, who had been on refueling duty in the pits, took over Campari’s car but was unable to match the opera-singing Italian Champion’s former pace. Following emergency treatment by an Irish doctor, Campari was unable to contain his impatience to resume his battle back to Birkin. One account described how there was “…a sudden tremendous commotion in the Maserati pit, where Campari was to be seen almost in the middle of the road, waving down Ramponi; and as he came in the one-eyed giant leaped into the car and set off like a tornado on a desperate bid to catch Birkin…”. He just failed, and Campari’s Maserati – said to be ‘2518’ now offered here – would finish second to the Alfa Romeo 8C-2300, with the Hon. Brian Lewis’s Fox & Nicholl team Talbot 105 third and Eyston’s Maserati fourth… These Maserati 26s kept good company.
The RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards then proved even more arduous, Eyston finishing eighth in one Rawlence car while Fronteras had to retire his after just one lap due to an engine problem.
It appears that RAG Patents then failed in the Depression year of 1932, and Dickie Oates assumed ownership of both cars in part payment for fees left owing. Car ‘2518’ was then sold – or possibly rented – to J. Cumming who drove it in 1933 in perhaps five races at Brooklands, finishing second at the Easter meeting. Paul Chivers also drove the car and took a second place in a later Brooklands event. In 1935 Adrian Boyd then appeared in one of these Maseratis – possibly the sister ‘2516’ – while Sir Ronald Gunter sand-raced what may have been ‘2518’ at Southport and Saltburn. Boyd’s driving was described at the time as “wild” but he won a minor event at Donington Park. Dickie Oates then reappeared in what is thought to have been ‘2516’ – bored out to a quoted 2,810cc – at Brooklands, the Brighton Speed Trials and the Shelsley Walsh hill-climb in 1935-36. It is also now offered here from the Hartley Collection, and its subsequent career is described under Lot 129, as it was sold into South African ownership in 1937.
Meanwhile, back in England, R.F. Oates sold ‘2518’, advertising it for £350 in the monthly magazine ‘Speed’. It is evident that at some stage in his stewardship of both cars that the engines were swopped between the two chassis. This car’s engine, gearbox and back axle had already been sold to South Africa as spares for the sister car. Many years later, most of these components were retrieved from South African ownership by Mr Hartley, who found that – for example – the brackets from the retrieved oil cooler supplied pre-war amongst spares for ‘2516’ actually matched holes drilled in his always British-domiciled chassis ‘2518’.
It appears that in 1937 this Maserati ‘2518’ was sold by Oates to F. Ivan Carr, who then had the misfortune to break a con-rod during a road journey, damaging the crankcase. The engine was rebuilt and the car sold to the Winter Garden Garages, of London WC1 who then advertised it for sale through 1938-39. One E.D Saddington owned the car upon the return of peace in 1945. It was then offered for sale by the Rootes Brothers’ dealership in Maidstone, Kent, and sold in 1946 to J.H. Rosslyn Smith. He had it throw another con-rod and tried to return it to Rootes. The engine was apparently discarded at that time and in 1949 the car was advertised, without engine, by racing driver George Abecassis’s famous company, H.W. Motors of Walton-on-Thames.
It was bought by Maserati 8C-3000 Grand Prix car owner Roland Dutt as a source of spares. In 1964 he wrote to leading Maserati researcher Ken Stewart, describing this Tipo 26 as: “…the Campari car, (with a) stepped chassis reinforced members from front to just rear of the rear engine mounting. It had quickly detachable mudguards, headlights etc and a 2.9 engine. Just after the war it was owned by someone living in Southen. This exuberant gentleman put a rod through the side (I bet he did it in first gear). The car, less engine, went to George Abecassis at Walton-on-Thames (HWM). I then bought it for spares. What was left after I removed gearbox, torque tube, back axle etc was given to my mechanic. I have no idea whether he finally built it up into anything. An interesting point is that the torque tube was approximately 6-inches longer than that on my car…” – indicative of the Tipo 26’s specially long wheelbase compared to the two-seat GP model – “…and had to be shortened”.
By 1950 the old Maserati had been revived with 3-litre Riley V8 engine and gearbox and was advertised for re-sale by John Staveley. A Mr E. Pedley of Harrow, North London, re-advertised it in 1951 less engine and gearbox, and the car was bought later that year by Anthony Hartley’s older brother, Michael, of Horsham, Sussex. He was told that it was “…the remains of the ex-Campari car and had been imported for the Tourist Trophy race”.
On July 7, 1952, Michael Hartley road-registered the car ‘NPX 126’and by 1954 had rebuilt it into running order using a Ford V8 engine and driveline. The car was then purchased from him by his brother Anthony, who has owned it ever since – through no fewer than 57 long years – and who has completely restored it to the fine as-original specification in which it is offered here.
In a 1960s letter, in light of his knowledge at the time, Mr Hartley wrote of it to Peter Hull of the Vintage Sports Car Club: “The chassis number although not stamped on the chassis as far as I have been able to see is ‘2513’. This number is given in the log book which is not original (as up to this time the car had never been registered as had only been used for racing) as my brother had to register the car when he put it on the road in 1954 with no original guts to it, but he assures me he obtained this number from a plate on the front chassis cross member and I feel he could not have made this number up as he had no idea at this time about what form Maserati chassis numbers took. But when the chassis frame was finally completely stripped, a patch of differently-shaped metal was noticed. This proved to be lead filling, and once removed it revealed the clear stamping ‘2518’ beneath”. Plainly an indistinct stamping of ‘2518’ had once been misread as ‘2513’.
As offered here, ‘2518’ embodies its original chassis – now boxed-in for enhanced rigidity – highly-original bodywork “…apart from the seats, rear undertray, floorboards, rear lights and canvas” and highly original running gear while Mr Hartley has crafted many new mechanical components to original specification to ensure useable reliability. The engine features its original cylinder head and exhaust (apart from the silencer), original RAG carburettor body. The original upper crankcase half and block are included with this Lot, the starter, dynamo and magneto are original, the gearbox re-made, the torque tube original, the majority of the braking system is also original, as are the axle tubes.
Amongst Maserati 8C cars this is absolutely one of the most original survivors. It is an extremely rare, classical straight-8 supercharged four-seat sports car, offered here in great order from one remarkably long-term, extraordinarily capable ownership. It has excellent provenance, it is accompanied by a comprehensive documentation file plus technical restoration and running notes…and it has that extra cachet of the Giuseppe Campari racing history. The vendor says it all when he declares “I have driven an Alfa Romeo 8C and in contrast to my Maserati…it’s so easy it’s boring!” We commend this wonderful survivor to you for the closest inspection and consideration.
Maybach SW38 Spohn Roadster 1938 Chassis #2055 Offered by Fantasy Junction during 2012 for around US$3 million
In brief – Chassis only > Spohn disappearing top Roadster coachwork fitted > Unknown > Nazi confiscation 1940’s > Maybach factory 1956 > USA 1958 > Mike Fennel Restoration 1990’s > Japan > USA > Consigned to Fantasy Junction
A strikingly beautiful car. Very charismatic and very rare. Well worth the US$ 3 million.
Until their recent reinstatement, Maybach was a relatively obscure company, despite its illustrious and important history. Their history goes back to before the invention of the automobile, when Wilhlem Maybach had worked closely with Gottlieb Daimler during the development of the very first automobile. Maybach`s concentration was always on engines, and his own inventions included the honeycomb radiator and the atomizing carburetor. During World War I, his engine expertise was employed in a number of aircraft engines, and it was on the basis provided by these engines that the first automobile engines were developed after the war. His original intention had been to produce only engines for automobiles, but upon discovering that most companies preferred to use engines of their own (and usually inferior) design, he switched to the manufacture of complete cars. These cars were typically Teutonic in construction and execution, and truly represented the pinnacle of engineering and quality. Indeed, no more expensive automobile could be purchased when these cars were new. The cars were truly built to last a lifetime, and featured innovative technological features that were implemented in a breathtaking and beautifully detailed fashion. From the latches on the luggage compartment, to the engine turned aluminum accents in the engine compartment, everything about this car speaks to the craftsmanship and fanatical detail that was applied to what is surely among the finest cars ever made. Even the splash guards inside the rear fender wells are beautifully wrought engine-turned aluminum.
This particular car is one of just two disappearing top SW38 roadsters with coachwork by Spohn. This was the most sporting bodywork available on their most sporting chassis, and in conjunction with an aircraft-derived twin carburetor six-cylinder engine, the SW38 was capable of remarkable performance, including a 95mph top speed. This car is supremely elegant, striking, and well-proportioned, and has received a high quality restoration done some years ago. The car comes with a remarkable sheaf of records dating from the 1950`s and 1960`s, mostly in German, in addition to magazine articles and some stamps that depict the full line of Maybach automobiles. The car was confiscated during World War II by the Nazis and was thought to have been lost, until it turned up at the Maybach factory in 1956. It was imported to the United States in 1958 by a Mercedes-Benz collector, and was subsequently kept by a woman in Southern California for many years, and occasionally shown locally. It was restored approximately fifteen years ago by Mike Fennel Restorations, and was in Japan for a few years after that before returning to the United States.
This is car is cosmetically beautiful with superb quality paintwork over well-prepared panels with excellent fit and gaps. The paintwork shows some light wear and blemishes from age, rather than from use. The brightwork is a mixture of polished and chromed pieces and is excellent throughout and of very high quality. The glass and lights are excellent, and the net result is a car with tremendous presence.
The interior is in similarly nice condition, with an extremely high quality feel and just a few small blemishes. The seat leather is slightly patinated, while the remaining leather on the dashboard and seats is excellent and appears nearly new. The fixtures and gauges are all excellent and of breathtaking quality and feel, as befits the car`s very high initial price. The carpeting is nearly unworn, and the woodwork is excellent with very high luster and no cracks. The door jambs are beautifully detailed and are finished entirely with engine-turned aluminum.
The cylinder head cover and various other engine parts are also finished with engine-turned aluminum, and contribute to the awe-inspiring engine compartment. The engine bay is completely detailed, beautifully finished, and remains extremely clean.
The car is running and driving example. It starts easily and operates predictably. As a factor of their value, cars of this genre see little use in today`s motoring world. This example is no exception, and will likely require light restoration of the brake hydraulics before setting off on a long distance tour.
This is an unparalleled opportunity to acquire an exceptionally unique and elite piece of international automotive history. A fully acknowledged car by the Maybach owner`s community, its history is undoubted. A comparable car in many ways to the Mercedes-Benz 500/540 Special Roadsters, this matching numbers Maybach SW38 Roadster will appeal to seasoned collectors with an eye for an exceedingly rare car which represents the finest form of style and craftsmanship of its era.
Mercedes 28-60 Open Front Town Car 1914 Chassis #1059KK offered during 2012
In brief – Chassis only > fitted Mercedes 4 seat Torpedo body > Mayer of Olm, Germany > Returned to works for fitting of Open town car body > USA > various owners > Mark Goyette > new wooden hassis built to fit replica Torpedo body > Consigned to various dealers c2011 to date
A spectacular car with two bodies, not particularly usable but so desirable. Could easily be a US$ 2million car. Sold by Barrett Jackson in 2013 for US$962,500, VERY cheap.
This motorcar was first delivered as a four seat racing style open Torpedo Tourer to the Mayor of Olm, Germany, who employed a Mercedes factory racing driver as his chauffeur. In 1917, as documented in the original factory Build Sheets, the car was sent back to the factory and re-bodied as you see it today as a formal open-front Town Car. By 1920, the newly reconfigured car had found its way to California, where it traded hands several times between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It was not until 1997 that the original coachwork, the Tourer body, was rediscovered with the help of the factory and duplicated by Crailville of London. Around 2000, restorations began on both bodies, the new Torpedo Tourer and the Town Car body, and a duplicate chassis was built. This second chassis is constructed out of polished wood, and features wooden radiators and wheels. This is a display chassis, built solely to showcase the Tourer body. Mark Goyette has worked on the restoration of this twin-bodied car for the last eleven years
Mercedes Benz S Type Cadogan Four Seat Open Tourer 1928 Chassis #35906 Offered at Bonhams Goodwood 15/9/12 SOLD @ US$4,400,000
In brief – Chassis only > UK > fitted Cadogan body 1928 > Delivered 1929 > Consigned to Bonhams 2012
A one owner Mercedes S Type is very rare. This car in absolutely original nick is just the ticket for any collector. Quite fantastic and should not be restored, just driven as it is supposed to be. VERY well bought.
Here we are delighted to be able to offer for the first time in its entire life one of the most jaw-droppingly unspoiled, time machine-quality, Vintage cars that we have ever had the privilege to bring to market.
This extraordinary Mercedes-Benz 680 S-Type has been preserved within its very first family ownership for no fewer than the past 84 years…
It saw very little use even in the hands of the retired British officer and World War One veteran to whose initial order it was first manufactured in 1928. Its presently recorded total mileage of just 8,375 – at the time of cataloguing – is considered by the Daimler-Benz Classic expert who has examined the car to be “probably genuine”.
The original owner not only ordered the car in 1928 but also commissioned design and erection of a tailor-made motor house to accommodate it. The car has since spent its entire life – until being offered for sale right now – in that self-same customized motor house, in the east of England.
Upon the original owner’s early death in 1940, ‘ER 9555’ now offered here passed to his son, and it is now being offered for sale – most notably in running mechanical order – by his grandson.
Mercedes-Benz introduced its ‘S’ Series model as a 6.8-litre fast tourer in 1927. New chief engineer Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche had directed its design. It featured a ‘kick-down’ supercharger engaged only when the throttle pedal was fully depressed. This temporarily boosted acceleration by raising power output from something ‘sufficient’ to a far more muscular level described as being ‘most effective’, and accompanied by what the British magazine ‘The Motor’ described as “a threatening high-pitched whine”. From 1927 well into the 1930s, competition versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Type excelled in endurance racing and hillclimbs, while for public road use these imposing touring cars proved to be ‘The ‘Mighty Mercedes’ indeed…the factory and its international concessionaires counting many celebrities and sporting-minded gentlemen amongst their clientele.
The original owner was a former military Captain who had the rare distinction for an Army officer of having served throughout (and survived) the First World War, 1914-1918. He was a man of great discretion, and today we respect his anonymity at the vendor’s request. The Captain compensated for the trauma of his wartime years with success in both his City of London investment business, and as a motor car and motor racing enthusiast.
He had driven a Mathis in pre-World War 1 Oxford University Motor Club speed trials, and postwar – after tuning a Schneider in 1921 to such effect that its maximum speed improved from 55 to 72mph, in February 1922 he bought a 1913 Grand Prix Peugeot – said to have been Georges Boillot’s winning car – which he christened ‘Laura’.
The Captain entered it for himself and others to drive at the Brooklands Motor Course outside Weybridge in Surrey. He drove it from Newmarket to Brooklands on the public road – habitually wearing a bowler hat. The car was maintained in the Captain’s rented Brooklands shed and in London by the Captain’s technical advisor, motor engineer L.C. Rawlence. The car was soon winning events at an average speed exceeding 107mph, and in all at Brooklands it won five times, took two second places and a third from 14 starts. Sadly, in 1924, the Peugeot was lost in a fatal accident on the Byfleet banking while being driven by a friend of the Captain’s. He subsequently re-emerged in a TT Vauxhall, before retiring from motor racing upon his marriage in 1925.
He then ordered the new Mercedes-Benz S-Type now offered here, on February 28, 1928, from The British Mercedes Limited. There is a note on the build sheet connecting this order with Rawlence & Company who had previously supplied the Captain’s GP Peugeot – and it is considered possible that they bought or liaised in the purchase of both these cars.
Mercedes-Benz’s factory records confirm that the powered chassis – serial ‘35906’ – was delivered without bodywork on April 13 that year. The Captain had commissioned Cadogan Motors Ltd. to create and fit a lightweight fabric-skinned body to his specification. Its form was in fact very similar to the Sindelfingen factory bodies, but promised to be lighter, and the Captain’s London home (now demolished) was in Curzon Street in Mayfair so Cadogan’s workshop in Chelsea was “just around the corner”. He could easily follow progress and refine his requirements as they were building his new car’s body there.
Once completed, this splendid S-Type was first UK road-registered on May 22, 1928, and from letters and notes in the documentation file accompanying the car it appears that the new owner quickly took it to Brooklands to test its outright speed and performance capabilities.
Describing this outing he wrote: “Lovely evening, wind slight but favorable. Car straight off road, only alteration one turn on back shock absorbers and ½ turn on steering dampers. Screen closed, back cover and hood cover fitted.
Half mile box has vanished
Kilometer 22 2/5 (seconds) = 99.86 (mph)
22 1/5 = 100.76
Without supercharger 26.4 (seconds) = 84.73 (mph)
100mph = 2,950 RPM
“The obvious limit of revs is 3,000 and although down the straight this might have been fractionally exceeded I think it is a definite ceiling and that 2,900, say, could be easily held in adverse conditions
“The car held the track well but fought a little coming on and off the banking: technically I could have driven faster in the timed stretch and possibly onto the Byfleet (Banking) but the top revs seem very constant and I doubt whether much would have been (gained….?).
“The unsupercharged speed was honest and the blower was not used at all, no doubt if accelerated on the blower this would hold something considerably in excess of 85. Acceleration up to 2,800 really remarkable, thereafter slower and almost a little rough, but still fast up to its limit.
“Speedometer reads slow: Rev counter – I think correct, perhaps 50/100 slow
Cooling water finally reached 80 but she was a gallon short at the finish, if this was out when we started she would have been even cooler. Plugs at the finish a beautiful colour, completely clean. Champion R IV inlet – III Exhaust ”
The car’s surviving registration log book charts that first registration and subsequently provides evidence of tax payments confirming its periods on and off the public road within the same family. From this we can see that it was road-taxed continuously from 1928 to the end of 1937 – while there is a note referring to a ‘Royal Automobile Club Touring Dept. International Fiscal Permit on April 29, 1937’ – strongly suggesting touring use abroad, probably in Continental Europe.
Its last taxation period prior to its recommissioning as recently as 2005 expired in September 1952 – exactly sixty years prior to this Revival Sale.
The Captain made a number of modifications to the car, matching it to his personal preferences. In, we believe, 1931 the standard gearbox was replaced by a British ENV/Armstrong-Siddeley-type ‘Wilson’ pre-selector gearbox, with gear selection from a neat quadrant control in the centre of the dashboard. The mid-ships chassis cross-brace was revised and re-sited to accommodate this change. An effectively ‘after-market’ steering damper was also adopted, being mounted diagonally beneath the front dumb-irons.
As, by mindset, a very discreet and understated gentleman, the Captain also considered the S-Type’s factory-supplied, voluptuously curved external exhaust header pipes rather too flashy for his taste. Consequently, he had them removed and replaced by a custom-made manifolded system which swept down tightly against the engine’s flank, hidden away within the hinged bonnet paneling. The original cut-outs in the right-side bonnet panel which had accommodated the external header-pipe system were closed with welded-in patches, the welding around them remaining clearly visible on the inside of the bonnet today.
After his wartime experiences the Captain also had reservations about the standard three-pointed Mercedes-Benz star emblem on the S-Type’s radiator filling cap. He felt perhaps that he had done quite enough sighting along a lengthy barrel with a circular sight upon its tip, and so he had the star device removed and replaced by the most discreet feature of this entire, remarkable, extraordinary, motor car – a tiny brass duck. This also survives upon the radiator cap to this day…
He had decided that such a special motor car deserved and required garaging within a dedicated motor house, and so at his country residence he had such a building – complete with inspection pit – custom-made for the car.
From around 1931 until this year – 2012 – this Mercedes-Benz has been accommodated within this tailor-made building, for many years from around 1952-2005 standing there, up on axle stands, unused.
Alongside it throughout all these years has been the car’s metal-cased tool-kit, which is included within this Lot. This tool kit offers a wide range of ‘DMG’ – ‘Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft’ – lettered spanners and special tools, plus beautifully boxed contemporary sets of Bosch ignition and carburettor spares – these points, contacts, jets and floats nestling still into the original recessed velvet linings of their tailored cases, as bought brand-new with the car.
The Captain used this Mercedes-Benz quite sparingly during his ownership, seemingly considering it proper transport essentially for high days and holidays. But he died on May 28, 1940, at the tragically early age of only 47.
Ownership of the Mercedes-Benz then passed to his ten-year old son. In the late 1940s when he in turn went up to Oxford University he ran this car on the road as his personal transport. He drove it enthusiastically, and on one occasion is said to have set a new record time in it for the highly unofficial open-road inter-varsity blast from Oxford to Cambridge. Family legend is that his record survived only two or three weeks before being beaten by another undergraduate…but he used a postwar car to manage it.
However, onto the 1950s, still with very little mileage completed, the car was put up on blocks in its dedicated motor house. It then rested there, totally unused, for the following half-century until 2012 when ownership of the car passed on to the Captain’s grandson. He became determined to revive the old Mercedes-Benz – with typical family discretion, in secret, without his father’s knowledge – to running order, in time for his parent’s 75th birthday.
Accordingly, the car was secretly entrusted to specialist Alan Hancock who had been contacted upon private recommendation from a family friend and collector. A set of new tyres replaced the perished surviving set, the brakes and transmission received some detail attention and some work was carried out upon the original radiator to cure inevitable leakage from disuse.
The car was then re-started and proved to run incredibly well, ticking over with jaw-dropping silence and driving very nicely, although the aged exhaust system provides understandably unrefined accompaniment at higher engine speeds. The grandson unveiled the now running car for his father’s 75th birthday – a most successful and unexpected surprise.
Subsequently the owner replaced the back-axle drive gear, a German source was located which could machine a new replacement from steel complying with the correct-period grade and treatment.
Now we at Bonhams are delighted to have been asked to offer for sale this simply amazing survivor from a bygone age of prestige motoring. We showed it to representatives of Daimler-Benz Classic here at Goodwood during this summer’s Festival of Speed, and their first-contact reaction was similar to ours.
Since then a Daimler-Benz Classic factory engineer from Stuttgart has conducted a non-invasive, non-destructive inspection of ‘ER 9555’ as offered here. The resultant factory report – in preparation for which component serials have been checked against original period archive records – confirms the car’s originality as follows:
“Upon inspection the Mercedes-Benz S with chassis number ‘35906’ is in complete, original and unrestored condition. The original gearbox was exchanged, obviously no later than the 1930s, against a gearbox made by the British manufacturer Wilson. Chassis frame and rear axle torque tube were adapted accordingly, and additional members were mounted. The car is ready to move. The original paintwork shows patina to a large extent. The engine plate on the rear left engine mount is stamped with engine number ‘68657’. Vertical shaft, camshaft, rocker arms show very low wear. Thus, the mileage given on the odometer as 8,375 miles might be correct. The original type plate is on the right side of the firewall, an additional plate on the left side bears the name and address of the first owner. The body was built by London-based bodymaker Cadogan. It is similar in style to the Sindelfingen four-seater body most Mercedes-Benz S cars were equipped with. The side panels of the body and its rounded rear end are covered with linen fabric impregnated with oil-paint and painted in the colour of the vehicle. Due to ageing over nearly 80 years the colour of the paintwork is very hard to determine. It might have been dark green or dark blue at the time of delivery. The leather upholstery and carpet are in blue colour.”
During this inspection of the car it was obvious that the chassis frame – apart from its modification to accommodate the Wilson pre-selector gearbox – is the original. The factory chassis stamping is customarily located on the outer face of either the left or right front spring-mounting dumb-iron. The car’s steel wing panel valences cover these areas and while it was possible to unbolt them from both dumb-irons in this area it was not possible – without unacceptable risk to the car’s preserved patina – to separate them sufficiently far from the chassis face to verify the numbering there. However, other number stamps located upon the car have been examined and multiple stampings match, as on the camshaft bearing caps, for example (all stamped ‘1395 7’). The back axle (bearing an ID plate stamped ‘CD4, 5C’ – and with its ratio stamped as ‘3.09’), springs, steering – with the exception of the period-fitted “after-market” steering damper, and back axle are all considered original. The overhead camshaft itself (which bears the beautifully inscribed script ‘No 248’) proves to be of ‘asymmetrical’ cam-lobe form, thus being – we are advised – a competition camshaft of the type used in the SS and SSK cars, intended to enhance top-end performance.
The majority of the instruments on the dash panel are absolutely original as fitted new by Mercedes-Benz, and including a now rare Junghans clock. A pull-out turret lamp is carried in a dashboard mount, its bulb illuminated via a spring-rewound flexible cable. A non-standard British Teleflex damper-adjustment control is featured, apparently as specified in period by the Captain himself, together with his preferred adoption of the pre-selector gearbox in place of the German original. A British Tapley brake performance meter is also mounted upon the right side of the windscreen, within the driver’s convenient vision.
At the highest level of connoisseurial interest in Vintage, classic and historic cars, it has long been appreciated that restoration is itself a process of obliteration.
Once originality has been discarded or painted-over, it can never ever be retrieved. While class is permanent, condition is temporary. As the world’s stock of surviving as-original cars has diminished, so we see an increasingly concerned core of informed and discerning enthusiasts, collectors and institutions seeking surviving cars from this diminishing treasury. By the laws of increasing demand versus diminishing supply, these achingly-rare Mona Lisas of the automotive world are intensely desirable assets. Mercedes-Benz 680 S-Type ‘ER 9555′ offered here most decidedly ticks all these boxes. We heartily recommend it for the closest inspection and most careful consideration.
Mercedes Benz 540K Spezial Roadster 1936 Chassis #130949 Offered by Gooding & Co Pebble Beach 18/8/12 SOLD @ US$11,770,000
In brief – Frau von Krieger, Germany 1936 > owner moved to France 1936 > Switzerland 1942 > USA 1949 > Horst Lautenschlager, Germany 1994 > via. Paul Russell 1996 > Unknown, USA 1998 > Chris Charlton Restoration 1999 > Consigned to Gooding & Co 2012
The most beautiful car ever made ?. Certainly it is a historic artefact and absolutely fabulous. Perhaps well bought ?, could have gone for US$15 million without surprise.
The history of this exceptional Mercedes-Benz begins on April 10, 1936, when Josephine von Krieger placed an order for a Special Roadster through the offcial Berlin concessionaire. Although Frau von Krieger would have surely enjoyed the use of a sporting 540 K, the car was in fact intended as a rather generous graduation present for her 19-year-old son Henning.
On May 9, 1936, Daimler-Benz AG addressed a letter to Frau von Krieger at Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Nikolsburger Platz 3 acknowledging receipt of her order and the agreed-upon purchase price of RM 28.000.
According to factory records, the von Krieger Special Roadster, chassis 130949, was originally ordered as a 500 K. However, by the time the order was processed and construction begun, 540 K production was already underway. As evidenced by its chassis and associated production numbers, this Special Roadster is among the frst ffty 540 Ks built.
On August 15, 1936, Henning von Krieger collected his brand-new 540 K Special Roadster at the Berlin agency – operated by famed Mercedes-Benz team driver Rudolph Caracciola – and settled the remaining balance.
To satisfy the von Kriegers’ refned sensibilities and desire for
exclusivity, the Special Roadster was fnished entirely in black with pigskin upholstery and specifed with several unique and noteworthy features. Most signifcantly, the Mercedes-Benz was equipped with an ultramodern Telefunken radio that featured stations marked by European cities and emitted a distinctive blue light when in use. An extremely rare and unusual accessory at the time, this feature alone commanded an astounding price tag of RM 1.045.
In addition to the state-of-the-art radio, bespoke interior features included a tasteful full-leather dashboard rather than the standard and somewhat garish mother-of-pearl treatment and a beautifully integrated burl wood writing table, which neatly stowed beneath the passenger glove compartment.
As the Special Roadster was primarily intended for use in Paris, where the von Kriegers were then residing, the Bosch headlamps were equipped with distinctive fat lenses – in lieu of the typical convex lenses – as these were more compatible with the yellow light bulbs required by French regulations.
A fnal and signifcant addition to the Special Roadster was the application of the von Krieger family crest to the driver door, just above the chrome beltline. Painted by hand, the crest is comprised of a classic four- quadrant shield, topped by a marvelous jewel-studded crown.
Between 1936 and 1939, the magnifcent Special Roadster must have caused quite a stir on the boulevards of Paris with its gleaming streaks of chrome brightwork, extravagant proportions and stylish, youthful passengers. One can easily imagine the von Kriegers enjoying their supercharged Mercedes-Benz, arriving at the exclusive Hôtel Meurice or traversing country roads en route to a preferred destination in the South of France.
At the outbreak of World War II, Henning von Krieger returned to Germany and entrusted his beloved Special Roadster to the Mercedes- Benz factory for service and repairs to the front passenger-side fender.
In May 1942, soon after Gisela and Josephine von Krieger had taken up residence at a Swiss resort, Mercedes-Benz contacted Henning to settle his bill and arrange for the delivery of the 540 K. At Henning’s request, the Mercedes-Benz was transported by rail to Switzerland and collected by Josephine and Gisela. Throughout the remainder of the war, Gisela von Krieger assumed use of the Special Roadster, which undoubtedly served as a comforting reminder of more carefree times.
Following Henning’s safe arrival in Switzerland, the Special Roadster remained the von Kriegers’ preferred mode of transportation, and when they left for the United States in March 1949, the prized Mercedes-Benz accompanied the family on their transatlantic voyage aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth.
As it had done in Paris, the black Special Roadster made a dramatic splash upon its arrival in New York City. Although the baroness possessed the means to acquire any new car of her choosing, she remained true to the Mercedes-Benz’ matchless qualities and unsurpassed beauty. With the 540 K representing her sole means of transportation, Gisela von Krieger ensured that the car was always kept in outstanding condition and had it regularly serviced by Zumbach’s, Manhattan’s famed foreign car garage.
￼￼￼￼￼￼Even when the baroness relocated to Connecticut, the aging Mercedes- Benz remained her faithful companion. In the mid-1950s, the Special Roadster was stored in the garage of the Greenwich Cab Co. at 81 Railroad Avenue before moving to the Homestead Inn, a landmark in the Belle Haven area of Greenwich.
When Gisela von Krieger departed for Switzerland in 1958, she left the Special Roadster in Greenwich, anticipating a return in due course. Sadly, this was not to be. Henning’s untimely death in 1959 represented a devastating loss for Gisela von Krieger and any plans for a return trip to the United States were abandoned. Gisela von Krieger’s Special Roadster was to become a distant, albeit signifcant possession – a poignant reminder of her past and her family.
Although Gisela von Krieger became increasingly reclusive following her brother’s death, her Special Roadster, secreted away in a Greenwich garage, continued to serve as her connection to the outside world.
By the mid-1960s, the Special Roadster had become a valuable, sought- after treasure for early car collectors. Just as in her heyday, Gisela von Krieger began receiving attention and correspondence from admirers. This time, however, the interest was directed not at the baroness, but rather toward her very special Mercedes-Benz.
Among the frst to discover the von Krieger Special Roadster was Daimler-Benz. In 1967, Gisela von Krieger visited the Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Stuttgart to discuss her 540 K with museum directors.
In August 1967, a representative of Mercedes-Benz wrote to Gisela von Krieger thanking her for the recent visit. Most notably, the museum offered to send a representative of Mercedes-Benz of North America to inspect the car in the “garage outside of New York” and extended the baroness an offer of DM 15.000–20.000 for the Special Roadster, depending on its originality and condition. Mercedes-Benz concluded by saying that they would be pleased if a purchase could be negotiated and remarked that the Special Roadster would be a valuable addition to the museum.
Mercedes-Benz was not the only party interested in Gisela von Krieger’s Special Roadster.
In the 1970s, Mercedes-Benz enthusiast George Maley heard rumors of a 540 K stored in Greenwich and hired a private investigator to track down the car and its owner. After he discovered the car, and later Gisela von Krieger, he made seven trips to Switzerland over two decades in an attempt to buy the Special Roadster. Although the visits were friendly and informative, the baroness made it quite clear that the car was not for sale.
Another American gentleman, Harold C. Bott, pursued the 540 K from yet another vantage point. According to extensive correspondence between him and Gisela von Krieger – dating from July 1979 to December 1988 – Mr. Bott was an employee of the Homestead Inn who was paid to store and check on the Special Roadster for its distant owner. In a letter dated July 10, 1979, Gisela von Krieger wrote to Mr. Bott, “I am grateful and appreciative a lot that you keep an eye on the car.”
Careful not to disrupt the happy situation, Mr. Bott made few references to his personal interest in the car. Finally, in 1986, Mr. Bott wrote, “My son is an automobile enthusiast and has shown interest in buying your Mercedes car, should you decide to sell it some time in the future. Even though the car is in a deteriorating condition due to long years of storage (it still has a Connecticut license plate year 1956), my son is enthusiastic about investing the time and money to restore it. I know he will give it a good home.”
On June 4, 1986, Gisela replied, “I think it is very nice that your son seems to like the car. This love of good cars is said to be men’s purest passion. As long as I am still here – I won’t decide anything. We shall have to talk about it in front of the car.”
True to her word, Baroness von Krieger retained the Special Roadster until her death in 1989. Yet even after her passing, the prized car remained elusive.
In 1991, David Gooding, then working at Christie’s in Beverly Hills, received an unusual call from an attorney representing the von Krieger estate. After asking a few basic questions, it became clear to Mr. Gooding that the man to whom he was speaking knew very little about cars. When asked to describe the car’s features, the man replied, “it’s an old, black two-seat Mercedes.” Still intrigued, Mr. Gooding asked if there were any defning characteristics.
“Well, it has two pipes coming out of the side and a really long tail.” His interest piqued, Mr. Gooding asked the fellow if he was able to send
a photo through by fax. Mr. Gooding remained on the line while a black 540 K Special Roadster appeared on the page. He replied, “I’ll be in Greenwich tomorrow.”
Upon his arrival in Greenwich the following morning, Mr. Gooding entered a non-descript building flled with carnival equipment and assorted utilities. After passing through several storage rooms, he arrived at the back of the building and, behind the last door, discovered the von Krieger Special Roadster in its long-protected hiding place.
Even today, Mr. Gooding remembers the experience vividly. “It was an amazing discovery. I found her cigarettes in the ashtray and old driving maps in the side pocket. Of all the great long-lost cars I’ve ever seen, the Special Roadster was, by far, the most memorable. It was truly a time capsule from a bygone era and had an incredibly haunting presence.”
After struggling to get through to the estate, Mr. Gooding reached an impasse.
As it turned out, Gisela von Krieger’s estate proved to be a complex affair – she left no will and no heirs. Dr. James Smith, then-owner of the Homestead Inn, claimed ownership of the Mercedes-Benz as payment for years of unpaid storage fees. Following several years of litigation, the estate of Gisela von Krieger fnally acquired legal rights to the Special Roadster in 1994.
As soon as the von Krieger estate was settled, the 540 K was sold to Horst Lautenschlager of Reinheim, Germany, for an undisclosed multi- million dollar fgure. The transaction eventually unraveled, reportedly due to a disagreement between the new owner and his restorer. In the later part of 1996, Mr. Lautenschlager enlisted Paul Russell and Company to fnd a new caretaker for the Mercedes-Benz.
In March 1998, the von Krieger Special Roadster found an appreciative home with the current owner, an East Coast collector with a passion for the fnest and most signifcant coachbuilt automobiles. In 1999, eager to return the grand motorcar to its former splendor, the owner commissioned Chris Charlton of Classic Car Services in Oxford, Maine, to undertake a complete restoration. Not only was Mr. Charlton supremely qualifed for the task at hand – having serviced or restored no fewer than six Special Roadsters – his artistic touch and reverence for authenticity made for an ideal pairing.
In consideration of the Special Roadster’s historical signifcance and remarkably original condition, the restoration process took on a measured pace. Before any aspect of the car was addressed, hundreds of photographs were taken and notes catalogued to create accurate references for original details. Only after extensive research and analysis were conducted was every aspect of the Special Roadster restored to aesthetic and functional excellence. As a result of Mr. Charlton’s meticulous restoration effort, this Special Roadster is one of – if not – the fnest 540 Ks in existence.
The von Krieger Special Roadster made its post-restoration debut at the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it earned a prestigious Best in Class in the competitive pre-war Mercedes-Benz category. Since appearing at Pebble Beach, the Special Roadster has been selectively displayed at leading concours events and has never failed to draw a captive audience.
In 2010, the von Krieger Special Roadster was among a select group of automobiles invited to take part in a special exhibit organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Portland Art Museum. The exhibition, The Allure of the Automobile: Driving in Style, 1930– 1965, brought together 18 of the world’s rarest and most exceptional automobiles in an effort to trace the evolution of the motorcar. The von Krieger Special Roadster was the only pre-war Mercedes-Benz chosen for display; the marque’s post-war representative was the 1955 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut” Coupe.
Most recently, the von Krieger Special Roadster was returned to Mr. Charlton to be refnished in its original black livery. Abiding by the philosophy that guided the initial restoration, no expense was spared in this process and the results speak for themselves. Today, the Special Roadster is nothing short of spectacular and appears just as it did when Henning von Krieger took delivery in 1936, complete with the original hand-painted family crest on the driver’s door.
Finished in immaculate, mirror-like Tuxedo Black, the Special Roadster projects an elegantly tailored appearance ideally suited to its undulating sculptural form, faultless lines and superb details. Presented in its exquisite formal livery, the voluptuous Sindelfngen coachwork is highlighted by brilliant white rubber trim, double-whitewall Firestone tires and tastefully integrated chrome brightwork.
The interior, upholstered in rich tobacco leather, is equipped with the original Telefunken radio, leather-covered dashboard, writing table and tasteful ivory fxtures, creating a refned and utterly distinctive ambience. With the top stowed, side windows raised and supercharger engaged, there may be no other more sophisticated motorcar in which to enjoy the delights of open motoring.
With its dashing V’d windscreen, lithe proportions, shimmering exhaust pipes and rear-mounted spares, the Special Roadster combines all the legendary characteristics of Mercedes-Benz’ iconic supercharged sports cars and dresses them in the most fashionable black-tie ensemble.
Over the past 75 years, this extraordinary Mercedes-Benz has had just three caretakers and each has, in his or her own way, felt a great responsibility toward this important automobile.
Both Henning and Gisela von Krieger felt a deep attachment to their Special Roadster. Present in times of joy as well as painful tragedy, the Mercedes-Benz became much more than an automobile – it came to embody the memories and romantic associations of a lost era. Built during the earliest days of the Third Reich, the von Krieger Special Roadster was a star in 1930s Paris, a refugee during World War II, an ethereal vision in 1950s Manhattan and, in its later years, a carefully protected family treasure.
Although Mr. Lautenschlager only owned the Special Roadster for a brief period, he approached the car and its history with the utmost respect and in no way disturbed its remarkable as-found original state.
The current owner, who has maintained and cherished the Special Roadster for almost 14 years, has made the diffcult decision to part with ￼￼￼￼￼￼the car, having changed the focus and direction of his collection. Although the consignor has owned some of the fnest classics, including one-off Duesenbergs and Dietrich-bodied Packards, the Special Roadster has the notable distinction of being the last pre-war automobile in the collection.
Not only does this 540 K have a remarkable visual presence and outstanding provenance, it is surely the most comprehensively documented 540 K Special Roadster. Offered with the von Krieger Special Roadster is a signifcant historical fle that includes extensive personal correspondences, factory records and archival photographs. In addition to these important documents, the fle contains Baroness von Krieger’s white driving glove, personal logbook, road maps and lipstick-stained cigarettes, all of which were found in her car after four decades of controlled, static storage.
The high-door, long-tail 540 K Special Roadster represents the quintessence of the collectible automobile. Here is an object of unparalleled beauty, rarity and sophistication whose romantic history, ironclad provenance and unquestioned authenticity are among the many qualities that converge to give this machine its uniqueness and appeal.
The very best example of Mercedes-Benz’ most celebrated road- going automobile, the von Krieger Special Roadster has been coveted by amorous suitors for decades. We have no doubt that it will continue to elude even the most jealous pursuits.
Miller TNT Special Indy car 1919 Engine #8M8 Offered by Gooding & Co. 18/8/12 SOLD @ US$1,210,000
In brief – Car built 1919 > Edward Maier 1919 > Entered for Indy but not raced > Stored 1920 – 1970 > Harrah Collection (No engine) 1970’s > David Hedrick > Miller 183 fitted > Restored > Bob Sutherland? > via Christies Pebble Beach 2000 > Unknown 2000 > Phil Reilly Restoration 2002 > Consigned to Gooding & Co.
An original Miller, and there aren’t many of them. While not the most successful Miller, certainly rare enough. Worth all the money.
Following the end of WWI, Miller received an inquiry from Edward Maier, owner of the Maier
Brewing Company, then a large Los Angeles brewery. Maier’s racing concern, the TNT Auto Company, needed a new car so Miller assigned the task to freshly hired draftsman Leo Goossen, another future automotive legend. Goossen helped devise a new 183 cubic inch four-cylinder motor that became Miller’s first dual overhead-camshaft design, a precursor to the highly successful eight-cylinder engines that soon dominated at the Brickyard.
The unusual chassis for the new car combined aluminum sections, reflecting Miller’s growing interest in cast-alloys. A mere two examples were constructed and tested at the Beverly Hills Speedway board track, with driver Frank Elliott eventually campaigning one of the cars in a handful of races. Despite being officially entered in the Indy 500, neither TNT ever made it to the race, presumably withdrawn due to underwhelming performance. According to Goossen, Maier soon lost interest in the project and the TNT’s further development was scrapped.
This TNT, which is believed to be the sole surviving example, was essentially relegated to storage throughout the 1920s, and it is believed that this car’s original four-cylinder engine was donated by the Maier brewery for scrap purposes during WWII-era metal shortages. Acquired by the Harrah Collection by the mid-1970s, this incredibly rare TNT race car was next purchased in 1979 sans motor by Miller enthusiast David Hedrick of Oregon. Mr. Hedrick and the late Miller collector Bob Sutherland saw a unique opportunity to return the TNT to racing by installing a proper Miller 183 eight-cylinder racing engine that Mr. Sutherland had been rebuilding. This motor is notable not only as the foundation of Miller’s incredible pedigree of racing victories, but also as the progenitor of every race-winning engine subsequently built through 1978 by Offy, Drake or Meyer-Drake.
After the completion of the restoration, which also involved updating the brakes to hydraulic units, Mr. Sutherland raced the TNT at the 1983 Monterey Historic Races, with a trip to the Milwaukee Mile racetrack during the 1990s as well as a successful run of the Colorado Grand. In 2000, this incredibly unique Miller was purchased by the consignor, who immediately recognized great potential for further vintage competition. Unfortunately, the engine required new bearings and was eventually diagnosed to be beyond cost-effective repair due to extended racing use. As it was a replacement motor, the owner opted to source another correct Miller 183 and have it painstakingly restored by the renowned Phil Reilly & Company of Corte Madera, California.
Following a period of several years of engine restoration, David Wallace of Phil Reilly & Company substantially overhauled the chassis, checked the mechanicals and installed the rebuilt motor, just in time for the 2008 Monterey Historic Races. From 2008–2010, Wallace continued to provide the consignor track support during the Monterey Historic outings, ensuring that the car remained well prepared and tended to as needed following competition. All told, the consignor invested over $200,000 in the restoration, receipts of which are included in a thick file of documentation.
Presented in the Open-Wheel Racecar Class at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, this groundbreaking early American race car promises continued vintage racing thrills as well as great exhibition potential. The TNT participated in the 2011 and 2012 Milwaukee Mile Miller event, performing faultlessly on both outings, and offering an amazing experience to its lucky drivers and spectators. It is a one-of-a-kind example of the legendary Harry Miller’s engineering genius that offers long-term appreciation and provenance as a legitimate historical benchmark.
Packard Model 1108 Twelve Dietrich Custom Convertible Victoria 1934 Chassis #1108-15 Offered at RM Auctions Amelia Island 10/3/12 Not Sold @ US$2,200,000
In brief – Chassis only > fitted Dietrich body > Unknown > Robert Wellcome 1948 > Ted Fuller 1957 > Frank McGowan 1973 > John Wheatley > Jerry Moore 1984 > Joseph Murphy 1996 > Otis Chandler 1998 > David Kane 2002 > Joseph Cassini 2004 > Unknown 2006 > Consigned to RM Auctions 2012
Simply beautiful. This is one of the most glorious American cars ever built. Surely worth US$2.5 million ?.
Eleventh Series. Model 1108, Style 4072. 160 bhp, 445.5 cu. in. modified L-head V-12 engine, three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission, vacuum-assisted clutch, shaft drive with hypoid rear axle, front and rear leaf-spring suspension, and four-wheel, vacuum-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 147″
• One of three known examples remaining today
• The ultimate classic Packard; capable of extended touring
• Best in Class winner, 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America
• Excellent provenance including noted collectors
Some of the greatest creations of the Classic Era arrived at the very trough of the Great Depression. Nonetheless, Packard was in excellent financial health and redoubled its efforts to dominate America’s fine-car market, meeting the competitive threat from Cadillac and Lincoln head-on with the all-new, 12-cylinder Twin Six and a range of spectacular custom bodies by LeBaron and Dietrich, Inc.
Packard’s new Twelve was, in many ways, the signature car of the classic era. However, it was in a sense never meant to be. In fact, the car’s history goes back to the Cord L-29 and the great Miller front-drive racing cars. Packard management became intrigued with the idea of front drive and commissioned the construction of a prototype. The decision was made to develop a 12-cylinder engine for this new car, as the shorter length of a V-12, compared with Packard’s inline eight, allowed more flexibility in packaging the new front-drive chassis.
Extensive testing revealed weaknesses in the front-drive chassis design, and the anticipated development costs soared. Meanwhile, Cadillac ignited the multi-cylinder race with their new 16- and 12-cylinder models, and Packard dealers acutely felt the pressure. The solution, born of necessity, was to install the new 12-cylinder engine in Packard’s proven Deluxe Eight chassis. The result was christened the Twin Six, in honor of Packard’s first V-12 design, which debuted more than 15 years earlier.
By 1933, the name was changed to the Packard Twelve to clearly convey the power behind the new car. It and the Eleventh Series were the last cars with flowing fenders and classic lines, before the advent of the more highly streamlined look. The front ensemble is truly beautiful, with a graceful vee-shaped radiator shell and matching headlights and fender lights. The dash itself is a work of art, looking more like a jeweler’s display than an instrument panel.
One of the most respected designers of the classic era, Ray Dietrich was also one of the most influential. After stints at Brewster and LeBaron, he formed Dietrich, Inc., where his smart and elegant designs attracted the attention of Packard management. Soon, Packard became one of Dietrich’s best customers. Lacking an in-house styling department, Packard incorporated Dietrich design cues into its later production cars. In fact, after 1933, all open Packards built carried Dietrich body tags. Nevertheless, Dietrich still built a few custom bodies for the senior Packards, and these special cars have come to epitomize the ultimate in Classic Era styling.
The Convertible Victoria is in many respects the most desirable of the Packard custom Dietrichs. Its blind quarters give it an unsurpassed elegance, and unlike the convertible coupe, the car provides far more versatility with luxurious accommodations for up to four. Although the style was offered from 1932 through 1934, the 1934 models have proven to be the most desirable today. They are unique in many respects, offering special “wind-split” trim, a redesigned dash intended to accommodate an optional built-in radio and several chassis enhancements. The body changes, however, make the 1934s so desirable.
The hood was extended back over the cowl to the base of the windshield in an unbroken line from the radiator to the main body, lending a much longer hood than that of the earlier cars. The vent doors were beautifully curved, as were the leading edges of the doors. The combination was, and remains, quite striking, and as a result the 1934 models command substantial premiums today. Although exact numbers are not known, it is believed that as few as three and as many as four or five Style 4072 Dietrich Convertible Victorias may have been built on the Packard Twelve Model 1008 chassis, priced at a commanding $6,080 new. Only three examples are known to exist today.
In 1948 it was purchased in Maryland by Robert Wellcome of Westchester, New York, who recalled that he had acquired the car from a local bookmaker, who had purchased the car from a local dentist.
The dentist had bought the car for his daughter but found it too big for her to handle. At that time, he was told that the car was originally sold in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Mr. Wellcome said what impressed him most was how the seller reached into the car and touched the starter button, and it fired on the first turn. Mr. Wellcome kept the car for nine years and reluctantly sold it to Packard collector Ted Fuller. Mr. Fuller kept the car for 16 years before selling it to Frank McGowan on August 29, 1973. During the early 2000s, Mr. McGowan remembered the car’s excellent condition. Finished in black with a black leather interior, the car was original for the most part, and he recalled that the body was exceptionally solid with no rust at all.
Before long, Mr. McGowan sold the car to John Wheatley, a longtime Packard enthusiast who was one of the first to recognize the desirability of the custom Dietrich cars. He restored the car during the late-1970s or early 1980s and later passed it on to noted Texas collector Jerry J. Moore in 1984.
The car remained in Mr. Moore’s vast collection until 1996, when it was acquired by noted collector Dr. Joseph Murphy. During this period, the Convertible Victoria was featured on Pages 55 and 56 of Packard by Dennis Adler, which was published in 1998 and again in 2004.
In 1998, the Packard joined the renowned Otis Chandler Collection in Oxnard, California, where it remained on display for four years before Dave Kane of Bernardsville, New Jersey acquired it in 2002. Mr. Kane recently confirmed that when he and Rich Fass of Stone Barn Restorations had examined the car in detail, the Dietrich body was indeed original to the car, and both its wooden framing and the body’s overall integrity were particularly impressive. Noted collectors Joseph Cassini III and Margie Cassini acquired the Convertible Victoria during the summer of 2004, and under them, a new navy blue convertible top was fitted by RM Auto Restoration. In 2006, the current owner acquired the car and fitted a set of chrome wheels and new wide whitewall tires and also commissioned the rewiring of the electrical system.
The excellent driving dynamics of the car were once again confirmed during a long-distance tour from Seattle, Washington to Pebble Beach—a journey which was anticipated to be 1,500 miles but grew to some 1,700 miles as a result of highway detours around forest fires sweeping parts of Oregon. On its return to the show field at the 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s, the Dietrich Convertible Victoria was awarded Best in Class, Classic Era Open 1934-1942.
Today, despite the age of the restoration, the car remains in wonderful overall condition, reflecting the excellent care it has received over the years. Reluctantly, the current owner is now selling the car to reduce the size and complexity of his private collection. In addition to its excellent color combination and the aforementioned navy blue convertible top, the Twelve is handsomely complemented by such desirable period features as dual side-mounted spare tires with covers and accessory mirrors, the aforementioned chrome wire wheels with whitewall tires and twin Pilot Ray driving lights.
In the world of American Classics, some cars stand out as being among the very best of the best; this is just such a car. Its lines are without fault, and its still-wonderful present condition permits it to be shown or driven. As one of three known examples, and especially with its Dietrich Convertible Victoria body and majestic long-wheelbase chassis, it may very well represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors of the finest, rarest and most inspired automotive masterpieces of the Classic Era.
Panhard – Levassor 12.5 Litre Grand Prix 1908 Chassis# N/A Offered by Fiskens during 2012
In brief – Panhard – Levassor > French GP 1908 Farman > SOLD > Rebodied by Labourdette > Argentina > Raced > Stored 1930 – 1972 > UK > Dick Moss Restoration > Consigned to Fiskens
How often has a 1908 GP car been on the market in the last 40 years. And this year we have had two, this and the Itala. A fabulous car and really the meaning of invaluable, it is more historical artefact rather than car.
The 1908 French Grand Prix of Dieppe saw the coming together of the Titans of Motorsport, a showdown between all the great car manufacturers of the time.
Organised by the Automobile Club de France, it was a 10 laps endurance race of almost 50 miles (80 km) per lap, which saw average speeds of 80 mph (128 kph) on roads of loose gravel. It was a spectacular event, with grandstands lining the route, to which a truly international entry flocked. Beyond the French entries, there were Mercedes, Benz and Opel from Germany, Italia and Fiat from Italy, Austin from England and Thomas representing the USA.
Panhard-Levassor were true automobile pioneers, securing previous victories on the Gordon Bennett Trophy twice and the Circuit des Ardennes race 3 years running. They built three cars especially for the 1908 Grand Prix, boasting huge four cylinder, 12,5 Litre engines coupled to a four speed gearbox linked to double chain drives, giving an extraordinary top speed of 100 mph (160 kph). Maurice Farman, a pioneer aviator, was the chosen pilot of car Number 32.
Farman was often in the front running pack, but it was both the Mercedes and Benz teams that had made the more prudent tyre choice, and it was the regular changing of tyres that kept the Panhard-Levassor off the podium. With disagreements between the manufacturers, there was not another Grand Prix until 1912, with a three Litre capacity restriction the agreed solution. So the Grand Prix cars of 1908 were the last of the great, large capacity giant chain driven racing cars and the end of an unparalleled era.
Following Dieppe, a wealthy Argentinean instructed Labourdette to road equip the Grand Prix car, using it both for road and racing events in Argentina. Laid up in 1930 and discovered in 1972 in extraordinary original condition, it was then acquired by its current owner. Upon its return to Europe, Bentley specialist Dick Moss carried out a painstaking restoration. For 40 years the current owner has enthusiastically used this mighty machine, driving from his home in England to compete at circuits all over Europe, as far south as Bordeaux and Le Mans, before driving back again.
This titan of the chain-drive era is possibly the most original and complete Grand Prix car of the epic pre-1912 years and definitely the most important important surviving French competition car of this period. It is proof of the astonishing speed and capability of the large capacity cars of 1908 and a testament to how powerful a force France was in these early pioneering days of motorsport.
Porsche 904/6 Coupe 1963 Chassis #906-002 Offered at RM 17/8/12 NOT SOLD @ US$1,575,000
In brief – Prototype built by Porsche Racing > test & Development > Michel Weber 1966 > Eberbacher Bergpries 1966 Weber 2nd, Alpen – Bergpreis 1966 Weber 6th, Mont Ventoux 1966 Weber 2nd, Trento – Bondone 1966 Weber 4th, Cesana – Sestriere 1966 Weber 5th, Scauinsland 1966 Weber 4th, Mittendorf 1966 Weber 1st, Gaisberg 1966 Weber 2nd, Garguensteinbock 1966 Weber 1st > Scuderia Basilea (on loan) > Hockenheim 3 Hour 1967 Jauslin/ Ditzler 2nd IC, Hockenheim 1967 Ditzler 3rd > Berny Barns, Germany/ USA 1968 > Harro Schneider 1970 > Lohr & Becker 1979 > Friedhelm Tang 1987 > Lara Resende, Brazil 1999 > Frederic de la Noce 2002 > Unknown > Consigned to RM 2012
A beautiful and very usable Porsche with impeccable provenance, well worth the US$2 million asking price. A surprise that it didn’t sell.
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
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!
Porsche 917K 1969 Chassis #917-023 Privately sold during 2012
In brief – 917L created 1969 > converted to 917K spec. early 1970 > Porsche Salzburg 1970 Brands Hatch 1970 Hulme/ Elford 2nd, Monza 1000KM 1970 Elford/ Ahrens Retired, Spa 1000KM 1970 Elford/ Ahrens 3rd > 4.9 Litre engine fitted > Le Mans 1970 Elford/ Herrmann 1st > Martini Racing 1971 > Daytona 24 Hour 1971 Elford/ van Lennep Retired (crashed & wrecked) > Renumbered #917-020 > Wreck sold to Vasek Polak, USA 1970 > Rebuilt > Matsuda, Japan 1982 > Symbolic Motors 1999 > Renumbered 917-023 > RM Auctions ? > Julio Palmaz, USA 2000 > Carlos Monteverde, Brazil/ UK 2012 ?
The greatest ever Porsche?. This very car won Le Mans in 1970, becoming the first Porsche of 16 to do so. It is also one of the most beautifully savage cars to do so. Rumoured to have sold for 10 million UKP (About US$15 million) and worth every cent.
Porsche 917/10 Can Am 1971 Chassis #917/10-003 Offered at Mecum Monterey 17/8/12 SOLD @ US$5,500,000
In brief – Penske Racing team > Penske prepped > Road Atlanta 1972 Follmer 1st, Watkins Glen 1972 Follmer 5th, Mid Ohio 1972 Follmer 1st, Elkart Lake 1972 Follmer, Donnybrooke 1972 Follmer Retired, Edmonton 1972 Follmer 3rd, Laguna Seca 1972 Follmer 1st, Riverside 1972 Follmer 1st > Royal Crown Racing 1973 Nurburgring 1973 Follmer Retired, Imola 1973 Follmer 8th, Mosport 1973 Follmer Retired > 5.4 Litre engine fitted Watkins Glen 1973 Follmer Retired, Mid Ohio 1973 Follmer 2nd, Road America 1973 Follmer 3rd, Road America 1973 Follmer 3rd, Edmonton 1973 Follmer 2nd, Laguna Seca 1973 Follmer Retired, Riverside 1973 Follmer 2nd, Riverside 1973 Follmer Crashed > Rinzler 1973 > Vasek Polak 1973 > Rebuilt > John McCaw > Canepa ? > Consigned to Mecum 2012
While it may be reasonably small overall, certainly quite short In wheelbse and very pointable it is one of the most powerful racers ever. 1100bhp in a car the size of a mini is certainly potent. This car had all of the history being the mount that Follmer used to win the Can Am series in ’72 for the Penske team. Worth as much as anyone offered, US$5.5 million was about right.
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Turbo 1974 Chassis #9114609016/R9 Offered by Gooding & Co Amelia Island SOLD @ US$3,245,000
In brief – Works racing team > Le Mans Trials 1974 > Le Mans 4 Hour 1974 van Lennep/ Muller Retried, Nurburgring 1000KM 1974 Schurti/ Koinigg 7th, Imola 1000KM 1974 van Lennep/ Muller, Austrian 1000KM 1974 van Lennep/ Muller 6th > William Jackson, USA 1976 > Heritage Classics 1999 > Matthew Drendel 2003 > consigned to Gooding & Co 2012
A fantastic racing Porsche. The RSR in turbocharged racing spec. is not just fast but scary, VERY SCARY. Sold about where expected. Absolutely fabulous.
Presented here is the second of the four Carrera RSR Turbo 2.14s purpose built for the 1974 Group 5 Championship. Constructed at the development center in Weissach during the Winter months of 1973–1974, chassis 911 460 9016 was given the internal designation R9.
According to letters from the Porsche factory, R9 was “handmade in long duration” and used for testing and development in January 1974 at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the South of France.
Following substantial revisions at Weissach, R9 and another RSR Carrera Turbo premiered as factory entries at the Le Mans trials beginning on March 23, 1974. Finished in the classic Martini & Rossi livery – silver metallic striped in red and blue – R9 wore race number 1 and was driven by works drivers Gijs van Lennep and Herbert Müller.
Although the new cars experienced the expected difficulties, Helmuth Koinigg’s Turbo Carrera turned a lap time of three minutes and 55 seconds – 11 seconds faster than the best lap recorded by an RSR 3.0 the previous year. During the Le Mans four-hour race – run in two separate heats – Lennep and Müller showed great promise driving R9, although the car failed to finish either heat. In race one, the Porsche ran out of gas on the final lap and, in race two, the turbocharger gave up.
Following the Le Mans tests, Porsche made the intercooler part of the Turbo Carrera’s standard equipment and revised the intake manifold to improve air distribution. In April and May, R9 served as a training car for the Monza 1000 Kilometers and Spa 1000 Kilometers before making its competition debut at the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometers on May 19th.
With Schurti and Koinigg at the wheel, R9 completed 30 laps and finished 7th overall while the sister car, driven by Lennep and Müller, finished 6th overall. Notably, the best result for a normally aspirated Carrera RSR was 12th overall.
After gearbox trouble prevented a finish at the Imola 1000 Kilometers, Lennep and Müller drove R9 to an impressive 6th place overall at the Österreichring 1000 Kilometers in Austria. A testament to the outright speed of the Turbo Carrera, only the Matra-Simca, Alfa Romeo and Gulf-Mirage sports racing prototypes finished ahead of R9.
At the end of the 1974 season, R9 was reconditioned at the Porsche factory and sold to Dr. William Jackson of Denver, Colorado, for 77,700 DM. A well-known and respected enthusiast, Dr. Jackson was one of the earliest and most discerning collectors of Porsche racing cars. Over the years, Dr. Jackson owned some of the most important examples of the marque, including 550 and RS Spyders, two America Roadsters, an Abarth Carrera, a 904 and a 911 R.
On August 25, 1975, Porsche corresponded with Denver collector Grady Clay regarding Dr. Jackson’s purchase of the Martini Turbo Carrera, acknowledging receipt of the 25,000 DM deposit. Significantly, the letter details the Turbo Carrera’s history and states that R9 covered 5,500 km throughout its various training and racing sessions.
In February 1976, Porsche issued the Importer’s and Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin and the former Martini Racing Team Porsche arrived at its new home in the US. For the next three decades, the RSR Turbo 2.14 remained a fixture in Dr. Jackson’s collection. Fortunately, the Porsche saw very little, if any, use during that period, thereby preserving the car in outstanding, as-delivered condition.
In October 1999, Dr. Jackson finally sold the works Porsche to classic car dealership Heritage Classics in Los Angeles, California. It wasn’t long before Matthew Drendel discovered the car’s whereabouts and, in Fall 2003, R9 found a new home in the Drendel Family Collection.
Over the past nine years, the RSR Turbo 2.14 has been selectively displayed in concours events – Rennsport Reunion and the 100 Motor Cars of Radnor Hunt – and was featured in Porsche’s “Family Tree” commercial, which was produced for the introduction of the Panamera.
Unlike the vast majority of racing sports cars, the Martini & Rossi works Porsche remains in exceptionally original, unrestored condition, essentially untouched in every significant way. Upon inspection, one finds traces of each and every modification made by the engineers at Weissach, fascinating evidence of experimentation. Whereas most 911-based racing cars were built to strict specifications, this car played a unique role, serving as Porsche’s test-bed while attempting to build the first turbocharged 911s.
Beyond its own special qualities, R9 is offered with a remarkable file that contains original letters and invoices from Porsche as well as the original Importer’s and Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin. Such important artifacts are rarely seen and support the unique history of this magnificent motor car.
If only for its status as one of, if not the very first purpose-built 911 Turbo, R9 is among the most historically and technologically significant Porsches in existence. It is the origin of one of the greatest racing programs in history and, as such, embodies the spirit of competition. Its marvelous unrestored state, impressive racing history, iconic Martini & Rossi livery and unquestioned provenance are qualities that place this car in an extremely rarified category of competition cars.
An irreplaceable piece of motor sports history, this RSR Turbo 2.14 is a Porsche of immense appeal and importance
Porsche 935/76 1976 Chassis #935-001 Offered at Gooding & Co Amelia Island SOLD @ US$2,530,000
In brief – Porsche Works Team Watkins Glen 6 Hour 1976 Stommelen/ Schurti 1st, Dijon 1976 Stommelen/ Schurti 3rd > Vasek Polak, USA 1977 > Stored > Kevin Jeanette 1990’s > John Kotts > Matthew Drendel 2009 > Consigned to Gooding & Co 2012
A great track tool, something that even now is comparatively powerful, these were capable of 500+ bhp. Looks great in its Martini racing colours. VERY cheap at the prices paid, couple have sold for 50% more.
The history of 935-001, and Porsche’s 935 program at large, has its origins in a major revision to the FIA’s Group 5 category.
While the general template for Group 5 had been in place since 1966, for the 1976 racing season the FIA changed the rule book to allow extensive modifications to production-based vehicles homologated in Groups 1 through 4. These “special production cars” were designed to contest the World Championship for Makes and followed the “silhouette” rules, which permitted major bodywork and chassis upgrades as long as the basic silhouette was unchanged when viewed from the front. The new regulations gave Porsche an ideal opportunity to further refine the turbocharged 911 and compete for the Manufacturer’s Championship with a highly developed works entry. The result was the 935.
The development of the Type 935 began in late 1975 with the car presented here, chassis 930 570 0001 – the first 935 built and the first Porsche to carry a 930-prefix chassis number. Internally designated R14, 935-001 was constructed in late 1975 and made its first test runs at the Paul Ricard Circuit in December.
The all-new 935 showed clear signs of its evolution from the Carrera Turbo 2.14 models of 1974. Like the 1974 Group 5 Porsche, the 935 featured radically styled fiberglass bodywork, coil-spring suspension, massive rear tires and a turbocharged flat-six engine. Whereas the Carrera Turbo 2.14 developed between 400 and 500 bhp depending on boost, the new 935 was conservatively rated at 590 bhp, with as much as 630 bhp available for short bursts.
During these early test sessions at Paul Ricard, each of the works drivers was given an opportunity to try out the new car. Jochen Mass, who had been signed to drive for the Porsche works team in 1976, drove the 935 at Paul Ricard and was quite impressed by its power. In an interview with Road & Track magazine, Mass recalled his experiences with Porsche’s latest machine:
“During early-season testing at Paul Ricard, I had the Turbo on the track at the same time that some Formula 1 cars were practicing. In the turns, the Formula 1 cars could pass the Turbo, but once I caught them in the straights, I could pass and pull away.”
Following the various testing and development trials, Porsche constructed 935-002 to serve as the primary Martini Racing Team works entry throughout the 1976 season. In its first two races (Mugello and Vallelunga), the works 935 was without competition. At Le Mans, a non-championship race for 1976, 935-002 won the Group 5 class and placed 4th overall. 935-001 certainly contributed to the factory effort, acting as the practice car for Stommelen and Schurti during the pre-training sessions.
Despite the early successes of 935-002, reliability issues developed, which allowed the BMW team to gain a foothold. Late in the season, with the competition from Munich closing in, 935-001 was prepared and brought into service in an all-out attempt to win the Group 5 Championship.
The debut race for 935-001 took place on July 10, 1976, at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen in New York. In a combined field of 33 SCCA Trans-Am and FIA Group 5 entries, Stommelen and Schurti were given the reins of 935-001, while Mass and Ickx were assigned to the other Martini works 935. After qualifying in 2nd position, 935-001 dominated the six-hour race, setting the fastest lap and taking the checkered flag ahead of Egon Evertz’ 934/5 and 935-002.
Following this triumphant success, 935-001 was sent to Dijon, France, where it took part in the final race of the 1976 championship season on September 4th. Once again driven by Stommelen and Schurti, the works 935 maintained a steady pace throughout the six- hour event, finishing in 3rd Place behind 935-002 and the Valliant-sponsored Kremer entry. Not only did this result clinch the 1976 Group 5 World Championship for Makes Cup for Porsche, it marked the first time that the championship had been won by a forced-induction car.
Beyond their success on the track, the Martini works 935s were featured in “A Tale of Three Turbos – Production vs. Group 4 vs. Group 5,” a comparison test that appeared in the January 1977 issue of Road & Track. While the original plan called for a direct, back-to-back test at Watkins Glen, both Martini & Rossi 935s were forced to return to Weissach in preparation for the final round at Dijon. Due to this circumstance, the 935 segment of the road test was conducted at Porsche’s test track.
Having moved on the updated 935/77, Porsche included 935-001 in a package of cars that was sold to Vasek Polak in Hermosa Beach, California. For approximately two decades, the 935 remained in Polak’s California garage, surrounded by other significant Porsche racing cars and a remarkable collection of spare parts. Notably, in the Spring of 1991, Porsche wrote a letter to Vasek Polak Racing Inc. detailing the unique history and race record of 935-001.
When the Polak collection was eventually sold in the late 1990s, Kevin Jeanette acquired 935-001 and the former works 935 once again joined an exceptional stable of racing Porsches. From there, the 935 was sold to John Kotts of Houston, Texas, a collector with a passion for important competition cars.
In July 2009, after a lengthy pursuit, Matthew Drendel was finally able to acquire 935-001. Due to its status as a factory team car and its unique place in Porsche history, the 935/76 has always been considered a centerpiece of the Drendel Family Collection, and its close relationship to R9 – the 1974 Martini & Rossi Carrera Turbo 2.14 – speaks to the earliest days of turbocharged racing cars.
Almost 40 years have passed since it last raced for the Martini factory team, yet 935-001 remains in remarkably original condition, never having been comprehensively restored. As a result, this important Porsche displays a lovely patina throughout and possesses an impressively authentic character.
Today, 935-001 retains several important distinctions that separate it from every 935 that followed. Not only is this the first 935 built and the first production Turbo chassis, this car is the only ex-works 935/76 in private ownership. That its sister car, 935-002, has been a part of the Porsche Museum Collection since the close of the 1976 racing season is a powerful testament to the enduring significance of the original Martini team cars.
Furthermore, its racing achievements at the height of international competition – a win and a podium finish – and well-documented provenance are beyond reproach. Since leaving the factory, 935-001 has had just four owners, each a respected and knowledgeable proponent of the Porsche marque.
The remarkable success of the original 935/76 works cars urged Porsche to build approximately 37 customer cars between 1977 and 1979. The 935s, in their various guises, remained competitive for nine seasons and achieved outright victories at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. Even today, the Porsche 935 holds a legendary status in the history of international motor sport.
935-001 is the car that started it all: the car that was used to develop the 935 series, the car that helped capture the 1976 Group 5 Championship, and the car that contributed to Porsche’s peerless reputation as a leader in technical innovation.
The appearance of 935-001 at auction represents a remarkable opportunity, one that is not to be missed.
Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Barker Double Pullman Limousine 1912 Chassis #1907 Offered at Bonhams Goodwood 29/6/12 SOLD @ US$7,400,000
In brief – Chassis only > Barker fitted Double Pullman Limousine > John Stephens 1912 > JC Sword > Denis de Ferranti > Terry Cohn 1986 > Richard Solove, USA 1992 > Rod Brown restoration > Gooding & Co. 2007 > Consigned to Bonhams 2012
One of the true greats, this car was immortalised in the “Corgi” model. In superb original condition, a real connoisseurs car. Maybe even cheap, certainly not overpriced.
Introduced in 1906, the 40/50hp Rolls-Royce soon established itself as the finest automobile in the world.
Its ruggedness, quality, power, simplicity and reliability made it the intelligent choice for motorists who could afford its prodigious cost.
While most could, and did, employ chauffeurs to maintain and drive their automobiles, the 40/50hp Rolls-Royce also appealed to forward-thinking owners who made driving a popular pastime. It was a unique combination that proved itself in long distance trials, pitting the automobile and its driver against the rudimentary roads of the day and it fostered the creation of dual-purpose automobiles.
Exclusive and luxurious, they were driven by chauffeurs during the week, then taken out by the family on weekends, to experience the joys and challenges of the countryside. Pride often earned their loyal Rolls-Royce personal names, a tradition started by Claude Johnson with the thirteenth 40/50 built, 60551, known also by its registration, AX 201, the “Silver Ghost”, an automobile so famed for its achievements and style that its name attached itself to the entire model range.
This automobile, however, had to wait a half century before it earned the name by which it is known today, “The Corgi”. Chosen by Mettoy as the basis for its Corgi brand’s classic Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost model (#9041), it represented to generations of young men and women the personification of elegant, classic quality that attached to the name Rolls-Royce.
Many other automobiles, not least Claude Johnson’s Silver Ghost and its successors, were named by their owners. But only one has acquired its name by the place it occupies in the impressions of myriad childhoods: “The Corgi.”
Frederick Henry Royce had begun successfully to manufacture automobiles well before he met and was influenced by the Honorable Charles S. Rolls, third son of Lord and Lady Llangattock of Monmouth and Rolls’ partner in importing Panhard-Levassor and Minerva automobiles, Claude Johnson. Rolls and Johnson were the ideal complement to the meticulous engineer Royce, bringing visibility to the aristocracy and commercial elite and creativity and enthusiasm to sales efforts that made the most of Royce’s innovation and attention to detail.
C.S. Rolls & Co., Rolls’ and Johnson’s London showroom, contracted for all of Royce Ltd,’s production in chassis form. They turned to London’s most established and reputable coachbuilder, Barker & Co., for bodies. Started in 1710, Barker had built coaches for Kings George III and William IV as well as no less than 24 for Queen Victoria. Coachwork by Barker brought an aura of history, quality and acceptance to the automobiles now known as Rolls-Royce.
Rolls and Johnson soon realised that the perfectionist Royce developed a continuing series of improvements in his products. Incorporating them in a range of models that shared many components added complexity to maintenance and administration. A single model upon which Royce could concentrate his brilliance and attention would resolve the organisational issues and leave Royce free to perfect his automobile. Rolls and Johnson prevailed upon Royce to design a completely new six-cylinder engine of 40 RAC horsepower.
Designated simply the 40/50hp, the new Rolls-Royce was rushed to its debut on the stand at Olympia in November 1906. Its L-head six-cylinder engine had dimensions of 4 ½” x 4 ½” giving a displacement of 7,036cc with two three-cylinder iron blocks with fixed cylinder heads on a cast aluminum crankcase.
An innovation that contributed mightily to the 40/50hp’s reliability was Royce’s decision to fit it with low pressure positive lubrication to the main and connecting rod big end bearings and gudgeon pins. Although it operated at only 10psi the pump flowed over a gallon per minute, providing both lubrication and cooling to the bearings.
The new engine produced 50 brake horsepower at 1,500rpm and sufficient torque to accelerate smoothly from 3 or 4 mph to a top speed of 60 mph in top gear of the 4-speed gearbox. It was superb in town or on the road.
Five years later Royce had put into practice his commitment to continuous improvement, implementing a long list of changes, both large and small, that cemented the reputation of the Rolls-Royce 40/50hp as “The Best Car in the World.” Early owners who had recognised the 40/50’s quality even before it established its reputation were ready to reap the harvest of their insight, loyalty and experience and began to acquire later models.
One of those insightful owners, in fact the first private buyer of the first Rolls-Royce 40/50hp, 60539, was John M. Stephens of South Croydon. He had acquired 60539 in May 1908 with clerestory roof limousine coachwork by Barker after it had served the factory in many capacities, notably as the Motor Show display car at the 40/50’s introduction at Olympia in 1906.
60539 must have been particularly satisfying because in early 1912 Stephens took delivery of this car, chassis 1907, bodied with similar, but now subtly and distinctively refined and lavishly equipped, Double Pullman Limousine coachwork by Barker.
One of a number of Silver Ghosts similarly bodied by Barker, it is the only known survivor with this coachwork. It is the only Barker Pullman known to have been built without a division window, a deliberate omission that hints at happy hours with father behind the steering wheel able to communicate freely with his family ensconced in the luxurious passenger compartment with its twenty-nine beveled glass windows. In contrast with many similarly-bodied automobiles of the period the driver’s compartment is as finely trimmed and equipped as the rear, again hinting at its regular occupancy by the owner.
Fenestration includes highly unusual curved corner glass and clerestory lights between the side windows and roof that illuminate the rear compartment even when the four side windows’ silk shades are drawn for privacy. A small hinged glass panel in the windshield directly in front of the driver opens for visibility in rain.
In addition to the beveled glass the interior appointments are exceptional particularly the dome light surrounded by an elaborate fabric rosette in the headliner. Window frames are of finely finished wood, window pulls and door panels of embroidered silk, interior fittings of silver and door pulls of ivory. The rear compartment’s footrest conceals a complete and exquisite picnic and tea service for four. The family lucky enough to tour in this Barker Double Pullman not only had china from which to take their tea but also an alcohol fueled burner and kettle to heat the water. A set of six decanters, three in sterling silver and three in carefully leather-wrapped glass, complete the setting.
An elaborate luggage grid on the roof complements the multi-faceted exterior’s elegance. A full set of instruments for the driver include a Double Elliott speedometer. The exterior is finished in cream with green accents and roof, varnished wood window surrounds and accented with red coachlining and nickel plated brightwork.
Subsequent to Mr. Stephens’ ownership it became one of the most important elements of the famed collection of J.C. Sword in East Balgray, Ayrshire. Its next owner was Mr. Denis de Ferranti in North Wales from whom it was acquired by Mr. Terry Cohn in 1986. Noted American Silver Ghost collector Mr. Richard Solove acquired it in 1992.
During all those years its special stature ensured it was carefully and consistently maintained in its original configuration and today it is one of few early parallel bonnet Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghosts never to have been separated. The complete automobile is as-delivered by Rolls-Royce in 1912. After acquiring “The Corgi” Richard Solove commissioned Rod Brown to return it to its original elegance and style. Although Brown was given great latitude “The Corgi’s” condition was such that it did not need to be disassembled, a tribute to its years in the Sword and subsequent collections.
Acquired from Richard Solove by John M. O’Quinn in 2007, its condition today continues to be magnificent.
Next only to Claude Johnson’s AX 201, the original “Silver Ghost” it is the most recognisable of all Rolls-Royce, a statement of refinement, grace and gentility that for many defines the qualities – and the Edwardian period – in which Rolls-Royce established the unsurpassed reputation it still enjoys today. It has survived a century this year in its original highly elegant configuration, complete in all important respects as delivered by Rolls-Royce and Barker & Co. in early 1912 and is the only example of this coachwork without a division window. It drives perfectly, as intended by C.S. Rolls, Claude Johnson and Frederick Royce.
“The Corgi” is a singular example not only for what it is but also for what it means to generations of collectors who grew up with its Mettoy model.
Its list of keepers now admits a new member to continue its century of preservation, enjoyment and appreciation.
Talbot Lago T26 GS 1950 Chassis #110057 Offered at RM Monaco 12/5/12 Not Sold @ High Bid EURO 1,050,000
In brief – Talbot Lago de corse > Louis Rosier, France 1950 > Le Mans 1951 Rosier/ Fangio Retired > Carozziera Motto Rebody > Monaco GP 1952 Rosier/ Trintignant Retired, Reims GP 1952 Chaboud Retired > Georges Grignard Coupe du Salon 1953 Grignard Retired, Casablanca 12 Hours 1953 Grignard/ Fayen Retired > Stored > Unknown 1958 > Restored > Consigned to RM 2012
A beautiful car with an impeccable provenance, raced by Rosier and Fangio at Le Mans. All that anyone could want. Why nobody bidded the car to closer to US$2 million is a mystery.
Originally built as a cycle-winged sports racing car, T26 Grand Sport Chassis 110057, the example offered here, was originally intended for the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it was not completed in time for the event and was subsequently purchased by 1950 Le Mans champion Louis Rosier, who entered it into the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans. Race-numbered 6 and co-driven by Rosier and 1950 Formula One World Champion Juan-Manuel Fangio, the car retired from the race after 92 laps due to an oil-tank failure, where extremely hot motor oil spilled onto Fangio and caused him great pain.
Next, 110057 was rebodied under Rosier in 1952 by Italy’s Carrozzeria Motto to carry closed-wheel sportscar bodywork in compliance with new Le Mans regulations. Whilst Mr. Rosier had by then switched his racing focus to the Grand Prix with his single-seater, he continued to campaign his ‘motto barquette’ nonetheless. Following the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix, where the car, numbered 64 and with Louis Rosier and Maurice Trintignant driving, retired after 37 laps. At the 1952 Grand Prix de Reims, 110057 was numbered 42 and driven by Eugène Chaboud, who qualified 5th but did not finish.
In 1953, 110057 was sold to Georges Grignard and entered into the 1953 Coupé du Salon at Montlhéry, where it was numbered 4 and qualified 2nd but failed to finish, with Mr Grignard driving solo. That December, at the 12 Hours de Casablanca, 110057 was co-driven by Georges Grignard and “pay-to-drive” co-driver Lino Fayen, who unfortunately ignored repeated signals to stop for fuel, including a crewmember waving a massive fuel funnel at him in the middle of the track!
Following the 1951, 1952 and 1953 race seasons, 110057 was entered into the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans and was to be driven by Georges Grignard and Guy Mairesse but was involved in a tragic accident on 25 April 1954 at the Coupe de Paris at Montlhéry. There, Mairesse was killed in practice when he struck a wall whilst attempting to avoid another car that had stopped on the racing line. It was subsequently locked away in the garage of Grignard, where it remained virtually untouched, still sitting on its transporter. In 1958, the present owner purchased 110057 and restored it, racing it for a number of seasons prior to returning the car to its original cycle-wing body style, in order to be eligible for participation in both historic GP and sportscar races. The car was UK-registered WXE68 and retains this number today.
As extensively documented within Pierre Abeillon’s definitive two-volume Talbot-Lago de Course, published in 1992, the current owner of 110057 visited the Talbot factory in 1958 in search of spare parts for his father’s T26 Record (chassis 101051), and whilst there, he enquired as to the availability of a single-seat T26C Grand Prix car. Even though they had been out of use for some time and none were believed available, Tony Lago suggested a visit to Georges Grignard in nearby Puteaux, France, who owned such a car, chassis 110057. Behind a dusty window of a nearby shed, this T26 Grand Sport was sighted. However, Mr Grignard’s asking price was quite high, and he clearly did not wish to sell.
Although the front of its “envelope” bodywork was damaged from the 1954 crash at Montlhéry, the car remained mechanically sound. A deal was struck to purchase the car, and in order to avoid the possible complications involved with trying to export the car to the UK, onsite repairs were completed by the new owner, with the help of his father and one of Grignard’s men, to allow the car to be driven for its shipment to England. In fact, just one front wheel and the radiator needed replacement.
Once in the UK and fully repaired, 110057 returned to the track by 1961 with the repaired Motto bodywork still in place, but after two seasons, the car was no longer competitive and was better suited for historic events.
The car returned for the 1968 season, but having decided that the closed-wheel body style was not optimal, the owner commissioned Robert Peel to re-skin the original open-wheel, cycle-winged coachwork of 110057 as closely as possible, a task made easier by virtue of the fact that the Motto “envelope” body was simply attached to the car’s chassis by outriggers. Still in bare aluminium, 110057 was unveiled for the opening of the Totnes Motor Museum in Devon, UK. In 1988, exact period-correct mudguard mountings were fitted to 110057 and after experiencing some engine issues in 1989, much of the car was dismantled, presenting an excellent opportunity to perfect the car and reconfigure the front of it exactly as original.
Offered from the collection of the current long-term caretaker of the past 54 years, who is a true purist and highly active gentleman racer, 110057 has been a virtual fixture in historic-racing circles for practically every season since 1961. Carefully maintained and perfected throughout the intervening decades, 110057 has been a consistent class winner in historic racing for many years through to 2011, including a Grand Prix class win that year at Spa-Francorchamps, and participation at the Goodwood Revival Meeting in the Juan-Manuel Fangio tribute race. In fact, this highly competitive car has never been beaten by another Talbot-Lago, including all-out Grand Prix-specification single-seaters.
It is wonderfully presented at auction with just three owners from new and complete racing history, having been driven competitively by the current owner and its early roster, including Georges Grignard, Guy Mairesse, 1950 Le Mans champion Louis Rosier, Maurice Trintignant and El Maestro, five-time Formula One World Champion Juan-Mauel Fangio, at such legendary circuits as Le Mans, Montlhéry, Monaco and more. Currently fitted with the engine from 110055, the Pierre Levegh car, accompanied at auction by its matching numbers engine, the T26 Grand Sport, is sold with many spares, which are documented on a list, and photographs for reference. A true “dual-purpose” car capable of competing either as a sports racer with its mudguards and lights or as a vintage GP car without them, 110057 offers its next caretaker a true myriad of possibilities.