in 2002 are pretty sad affairs with rare exceptions such as the
new Ford Thunderbird and the new Volvo convertible (see The
on car design).
of course, have a
long and glorious design history, at least up until about the
late 1950s when the Mercedes Benz 300 SL gull-wing sports car
set a stunningly high standard that that company, unfortunately,
has never approached again.
of great car history
including some magnificent examples of automobile design could
be seen May 16 through May 18 at Rockefeller Center where about
50 "classic" cars were on view prior to their auction
at Christie's at 20 Rockefeller Plaza at 2PM May 18, 2002.
auction, whose catalogue
provided great detail and the cars and their provenance and condition,
surprisingly was not very successful with only 53 percent of the
47 offered lots selling.
best car, at least in
terms of looks and age and height, was Lot 12, shown at the top
of this article, a 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghoast Open
drive Landaulette with coachwork by F. R. Wood of New York. The
maroon car with black and fawn interior and right-hand drive was
chassis No. 1797 and (six cylinder, side valv) Engine No. 93.
It had an estimate of $450,000 to $550,000 and failed to sell.
catalogue provided the
following commentary on this lot:
1911, when this
car was on test, the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost had become widely
regarded as the pinnacle of luxury motoring. Through excellent
promotion of this superior motor car, the company's list of clients
had quickly grown throughout the world from Indian Maharajahs
to European Royalty to wealthy Americans. The product itself had
evolved progressively over the first four years of production,
and standard chassis such as this example now featured a parallel
chassis with three speed transmission and a 7.2 litre engine.
This same year would see the introduction of the more sporting
'London-Edinburgh' models, but essentially the majority of chassis
were supplied for town use, with closed or semi-open coachwork.
A cursory glance at the records for these series shows that the
Landaulette, with its option of open air or enclosed travel such
as the car on offer, was one of the most popular choices of the
day and captures the true Edwardian style of this era of motoring.
records for chassis 1797 indicate that it was originally a Derby
trials car - a note which was later crossed out, and at the top
of the main order document the words 'London Open Trials' are
also crossed out and replaced with the name of its first owner.
This suggests that the car remained at the works for a lengthy
period of testing, which is supported by the seven month gap between
its chassis test date in October 1911, and its customer delivery
date. Although not described on the build sheets, these tests
appear to have been completed by March 1912 when the car was despatched
to the Rolls-Royce Conduit Street showroom, and then fitted with
Torpedo coachwork by Barker. In grey livery with no coachlines,
and dark green leather, with nickel fittings throughout and a
whole host of accessories including Vinet detachable rim wheels,
the car must have looked extremely attractive in the company showroom.
It was from there that it was purchased by its first owner R.G.
Reid of the Bank of Montreal, who was based in Threadneedle St.
in the City of London and St. John's, Newfoundland. He took delivery
of the Silver Ghost in early May 1912.
under two years
later Mr. Reid had the car re-bodied by Barker, but with a different
style of coachwork entirely, a 'Limousine-Landaulet'. Again a
comprehensive list on the build sheets details the specification
for the lavishly appointed formal coachwork, which was finished
in dark blue livery.
of use and length of Mr. Reid's ownership are not recorded, however
it is known that he ordered a later Silver Ghost care of his
address, so he may have been in Britain on secondment and taken
this car back to Canada on his return. It was in America that
the car was found as a complete rolling chassis in the mid 1970s
by Joe Loecy. Loecy had also purchased another Silver Ghost, chassis
number 53 MA, from Reid twenty years earlier, so he may have retained
both cars from new until this time.
1982 this car had
passed to Silver Ghost collector, the late Millard Newman. While
in his ownership he was able to source an appropriate period body
for 1797 which came from a Thomas Flyer and which is understood
to have been built by New York coachbuilder F.R. Wood, effectively
returning the car to its 1914 configuration again.
the car passed to another renowned collector of the model, Raymond
Lutgert, and it was from him that the present owner acquired it
in 1988. At the time of purchase there was still a certain amount
of work to be completed on the car, and it was for this reason
that it was sent to David Hemmings' renowned workshops in the
UK. On close inspection by Hemmings, it seemed that the coachwork
was not an ideal fit and that the transition from Thomas Flyer
to Rolls-Royce chassis had not been entirely successful. Under
his recommendations, the owner had the coachwork carefully restored
with its proportions adjusted to fit the chassis. Mr. Hemmings
also undertook a substantial cosmetic refurbishment of the bodywork
and detail fittings. The stunning results of this work can be
evidenced by its exquisite condition today.
essence the Rolls-Royce
is a perfect representation of how this car would have looked
in 1914, when Mr. Reid had the Landaulette bodywork fitted by
Barker. Its handsome formal structure is also enhanced by many
period style fittings. In the interior, which is appointed in
Bedford cord with red braid trim, these include: speaking tube
and front to rear compartment communicator so that the passenger
could press a button to command his driver, an umbrella which
sits underneath the passenger seat, occasional seats and window
blinds. The driving compartment has full dashboard instrumentation,
while the exterior has a full complement of nickel headlights,
sidelights and carriage lights with acetylene generator, a roof
luggage rack and running board tool box. Fittingly it is finished
in the 1914 livery of dark blue.
quality of restoration
has been proven on a number of occasions with concours successes
of Best in Class at Pebble Beach in 1993 and also Best in Class
at Meadowbrook in 1996. More recently, the car was shown at Amelia
Island in 1998.
Rolls-Royce would grace any collection, as well as enabling its
owner to compete in concours events and the multitude of rallies
for these usable long distance cars."
50, a 1933 Rolls-Royce
20/35 Shooting Brake, demonstrates that "station wagons"
can be handsome.
six-cylinder car with
Brewster green bonnet and side panels with wood paneling, a black
roof, right hand drive and a brown interior had an estimate of
$50,000 to $75,000 and sold for $52,875 including the buyer's
premium as do all results mentioned
in this article.
catalogue provided the
following commentary on this station wagon:
followed the First World War influenced Rolls-Royce, who subsequently
introduced a smaller model (to complement the 40/50 Ghost) which
was better suited to the prevailing economic climate. In 1922
the 20 HP model was launched, maintaining the standard of engineering
which had made Rolls-Royce world famous but, because of its size,
being cheaper and very much an owner-driven motor car. It was
a commercial success, and the six cylinder monobloc overhead valve
design with detachable cylinder head, in unit with the clutch
and gearbox, was to become the basis of all future six cylinder
cars until the late 1940s. The 20 HP evolved into the 20/25 in
1929, the engine capacity being increased to 3.6 litres with a
resultant brisker performance and greater flexibility in top gear.
to the build
sheet records, this 20/25 was initially ordered with enclosed
limousine coachwork for J. McNair Snadden of Blau Drummond, Stirling,
Scotland. Whether Mr. Snadden took delivery of the Rolls-Royce
with such coachwork is unknown because by the outbreak of the
Second World War, the car was sporting the shooting brake body
by Rippon Bros. that it still carries, and was appropriately in
service on a Scottish sporting estate. The Royal Army subsequently
requisitioned the car and its colorful adventures thereafter included
active service in the North African desert. It was here that the
car collected some scars of battle and in the 1970s it appeared
at Automotive Restorations in Stratford, CT, still in its camouflage
livery and sporting several bullet holes...no doubt as a result
of action against Rommel and company. The owner at the time
a complete restoration but then seemingly lost interest along
the way, so the car sat unfinished until the current owner, twenty
years later, came to the rescue when collecting his Bentley from
the same restoration shop.
continued including stripping the metalwork and repainting in
Brewster green and rechroming the brightwork except the radiator
shell where the nickel plating was fine. The woodwork had been
previously stripped and revarnished so did not need any more attention.
The front seats had also been refurbished so only the back bench
seat and jump seats required attention. The flooring was recovered
in fluted rubber matting. Little mechanical work was needed since
the motor ran so well and has always been reliable, although the
car was rewired and the starter was rebuilt. The oil pressure
is excellent, the car starts first time, runs well and has been
completely trouble free in its current ownership. The owner is
a true enthusiast and has had the car restored properly, such
as the correct varnished wood frame roof tightly covered in rubberized
canvas, done in the same way as woodies were originally built.
He has even kept the Ace wheel discs, as found, in their desert
56 has clearly
had a colorful life and we are delighted to be offering it for
sale. Rolls-Royce Shooting Brakes are always interesting and we
recommend close inspection of this lovely car."
21, a 1925 maroon Peugeot
9/10CV Type 177B Boulangere Normande Utility with black fenders
and a canvas top had an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000 and sold
for $19,975. It was chassis No. 57089 and Engine No. 58999.
catalogue provided the
following commentary on this four-cylinder, left-hand drive car:
S.A., or PSA
Peugeot Citroën as they are now known, actually date back
to the late 1800s when the Peugeot brothers, steelmakers by trade,
turned their attention to cycle manufacture and subsequently to
cars. This was a time of great invention and the Les Fils des
Peugeot Frères were dynamic in this area, making a steam
carriage for show at the Paris Exposition in 1889. They quickly
progressed using Daimler engines and soon entered into local
a novel idea at the time, but the concept of using competition
to promote one's product has since become commonplace. They were
successful and the firm prospered, introducing the enormously
successful Bébé model in 1903. More racing success
followed in the gladiatorial voiturette events of the period,
although this was all sidelined when the Great War broke out.
After Armand Peugeot passed away, cousin Robert took over the
helm and with the introduction of the Quadrilette, motoring was
within financial reach of virtually all Frenchmen.
is an example of one of Peugeot's commercial variants from the
mid-twenties and is based on the Type 177B model. Variously called
a Boulangere Normande Utility or Camionette, it is in fact a bread
delivery wagon that would have been used for deliveries to the
establishments serviced by route vendors up and down France. Once
a common enough sight, few of these service vehicles have survived
intact and this one was on display in the Musée D'Automobiles
du Fores in Sury-le-Comtal during the seventies. Substantially
original, it has stood both the test of time and probably a hard
working life, and has only seen some minor restoration as needed.
Powered by a lively 1400cc engine, it is reported to start easily
and runs remarkably well.
events, fun outings or maybe even shopping trips, the Boulangere
is offered with several pieces of correspondence and literature."
24, a 1922 dark red
Packard Model 3-35 Special Runabout with black fenders, black
leather interior and beige canvas top, had an estimate of $55,000
to $75,000 and failed to sell.
The catalogue provided the
on this lot.:
of the greatest contributors to the long and storied history of
the Packard Motor Car Company is undoubtedly Colonel Jesse Vincent.
Vincent's relentless pursuit of the twelve cylinder engine proved
to be one of the most astute, cunning and profitable ventures
the company ever undertook. His presentations to top executives
on the revolutionary engine are reported to have begun as early
as 1914. It was not that the V-8 engine configuration was a bad
idea, Vincent just knew that the balance of two pairs of six
cylinders would be the formula for motoring success. Only a short
time after introducing and essentially selling the idea to the
top brass at Packard, an experimental version was ready for testing
and in fact far exceeded the expectations of nearly everyone.
Vincent was obviously very proud of his new engine. Made up of
two banks of L-head six cylinders, the engine had become slightly
narrower as bore and stroke had been decreased enough to allow
the larger capacity engine to fit snugly within the chassis rails.
Overall, horsepower on the first year production cars of 1916
was rated at about 88. Performance was quite impressive and the
now very agile cars proved themselves to be a supremely executed
balance between weight, horsepower and torque. Packard had swiftly
become a very successful automotive empire as the company was
employing over 10,000 people nationwide. Their continual success
bolstered this figure as the popularity of the new Twin Six line
showed steady and continued increases in sales in the years following
the new twelve cylinder car's introduction.
Twin Six Packard has benefited from an older restoration that
has stood the test of time well. Now slightly mellowed with polishing
marks in the paintwork and some faded brightwork, the car is offered
in running condition, although it has not been used for some time.
The black interior is presentable, the dashboard and instrument
cluster appear correct and the floorboards are original. The Packard
is currently fitted with old Firestone non-skid tires. The car
was formerly owned by Burton A.Yale, and it was during his ownership
that it was featured in Beverly Rae Kimes' book, Packard, A History
of the Motor Car and the Company.
may require some minor attention prior to regular use, it is a
significant example of the strong willed and sporty Twin Six motor
cars and is fitted with its original, well- proportioned and extremely
rare Special Runabout body."
a 1931 black Duesenberg
Model J convertible sedan with red leather interior that was first
owned by Her Majesty Queen Marie of Yugoslavia had an estimate
of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 and sold for $854,000.
catalogue provided the
following commentary about this classic car:
heart of the Model
J Duesenberg was the massive powerhouse of an engine complex sporting
twin overhead camshafts that controlled four inclined valves,
two inlet and two exhaust per cylinder, displacing 420 ci (6,882
cc). The great five bearing crankshaft alone was reputed to weigh
150 lb. Even with the modest 5.2:1 compression ratio of the standard
engine, the surge of power was awesome, thrusting a Phaeton, very
completely equipped and no lightweight, from 10-80 mph in top
gear in 22 seconds and providing a maximum of 116 mph. Matched
to the engine was a very capable chassis, double dropped for a
low center of gravity and provided with six sturdy cross-members.
Endless care was lavished on the details. In addition to the 150
mph speedometer, the combined clock and stop-watch altimeter,
barometer and brake pressure dials, there was the famous engine-driven
timing box of planetary gears controlling lights to warn the driver
to change the engine oil every 700 miles and check the battery
water every 1,400 miles, together with other functions.
it was on
the Continent where Duesenberg's new concept of magnificent motoring
had special appeal for the sportsman and the nobility. Among this
group, whose sybaritic desire for living existed at the highest
level, there numbered some of the greatest motor car connoisseurs
of all time. The world's showroom was in Paris and it was here
that the majority of the European Duesenbergs were to be sold.
Motor Deluxe, headed by E.Z. Sadovich with showrooms at 12, rue
de Berri in Paris, was the leading overseas outlet for Duesenberg,
both in point of sales and in promotional activity. In attracting
Europe's motoring nobility to the new Duesenberg, Mr. Sadovich
recalled in particular his success at the 1931 Paris Salon when
he sold fourteen Duesenbergs between October and January! At this
same exhibition the President of the French Republic made a special
visit to the Duesenberg stand to examine the two J models on display,
both of which carried Franay bodies. Mr. Sadovich's publicity
presented the J as 'the fastest, most beautiful, most powerful,
and most expensive car in the world.'
car on offer here, was one of these two J models with Franay coachwork
on display at the 1931 Paris Salon, and was built on the 153"
long wheelbase chassis. The fabulous Deusenberg was in fact purchased
by Her Majesty Queen Marie of Yugoslavia and she later commanded
her Lady of Honor to express her entire satisfaction with the
"absolute security" of her Duesenberg at high speed,
its "grand comfort, remarkable suppleness, and supreme elegance."
Clearly she was extremely impressed with her new purchase.
it is not known exactly when, the car was purchased by Antonio
Chopitea of Lima, Peru, who, with his two brothers, owned several
other Duesenbergs ranging from a Speedster to a Sport-Formal Sedan.
He kept the car in Paris and it then passed to a Parisian brewer
before being shipped to Mr. G.L.William Guilbert in Troy, New
York. He subsequently sold it to E. Romerez in New York city.
By 1941 the car was with a Mr. Warriner from Maryland. During
his ownership the fenders were changed from the original long
flowing factory type to the Pontoon type that it still wears today.
The next recorded owner is W.E. Howell of Oklahoma followed by
a Mr. Schreiber in New Jersey and then Earl Clarke of Pennsylvania.
In May 1977 the car passed to Charles Goodman who kept it until
restoration completed in 1996 it won the Pre War Touring Class
award at the inaugural Louis Vuitton Classic at Rockefeller Center
that September and then a First in Class at the 1997 CCCA Annual
Experience at Hickory Corners. At the 1997 Meadowbrook Concours
it won the Meadowbrook Memorial Trophy. This superb quality Franay
bodied Convertible Sedan represents a fine opportunity to purchase
one of only a handful of French bodied Duesenbergs known to exist
today. An original long wheelbase Model J with history, J-446
is a sporting open Duesenberg of the highest caliber."
The star of the auction was Lot
39, a maroon
1931 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8B Viggo Jensen Cabriolet d'Orsay with
maroon leather and ostrich skin upholstery and maroon soft top
that appeared in the movie "Sunset Boulevard" and had
been the 1995 Pebble Beach Best of Show winnter. The right-hand-drive
car, which was chassis No. 869 and engine No. 821, had an estimate
on request and sold to an American private collector for $1,382,500,
the highest price of the sale.
catalogue provided the
following commentary about this lot:
Alfa Romeo was the greatest Italian sports
car in the 1930s, then the Isotta-Fraschini was its luxury counterpart.
This was the true thoroughbred of Italian motor cars in its day.
Established as an automaker in 1902 by Cesare Isotta and the brothers
Fraschini (Oreste, Vincenzo and Antonio), from around 1920 to
the early 1930s Isottas were more popular in the United States
than any other foreign marque except for Rolls-Royce. One of the
world's most innovative automakers, IF introduced four wheel brakes
in 1909, and the Tipo 8 series, unveiled in August 1912, featured
an in-line eight cylinder engine, the first of its type put into
series production anywhere in the world. The Tipo 8A series, introduced
in 1924, offered 115hp, a redesigned frame and suspension and
Isotta's highly regarded three-speed synchromesh transmission.
In America, where nearly a third of Isottas were sold, the price
of an 8A exceeded even that of a Model J Duesenberg; a chassis
alone was priced at $9,750, and coachbuilt models were demanding
upwards of $20,000.
were owned by the likes of King Faisal, the Queen of Romania,
the Agha Khan, Pope Pius XI and William Randolph Hearst among
others. The 8A models are often seen with a hooded cobra radiator
ornament inspired by a similar mascot fitted to the hood of film
star Rudolph Valentino's Isotta-Fraschini 8A Coupe de Ville. The
original was given to the actor by friends Mary Pickford and Douglas
Fairbanks, Jr. when Valentino completed the 1925 Paramount film,
Cobra. There were other movie connections too; in Sunset Boulevard,
Gloria Swanson was driven around by Erich von Stronheim, and in
the 1956 epic film Giant, James Dean playing Jet Rink drove an
Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A had the most powerful production straight
eight engine when it was introduced in the mid-1920s. Most models
were mounted on a very long 145" wheelbase chassis. There
was an original guarantee that these cars would do 90 mph, with
the capability of running at both 90mph and 2½ mph in the
same gear. About 950 Tipo 8As were built during the 1925-1931
1931 the company was struggling as the Great Depression in the
USA had severely affected sales of expensive vehicles. Thus, in
order to boost sales, the company introduced a new model, the
Tipo 8B. The changes were not dramatic and largely involved engine
and chassis/suspension improvements. The engine refinements included
a heavier crankshaft, larger valves, lighter valve gear, H section
connecting rods, double separate exhaust manifolds and twin Zenith
carburetors that resulted in raising the horsepower to some 160bhp
at 3,000 rpm. A new stronger chassis frame was utilized and this
came with additional cross members for greater rigidity. At the
same time softer elliptic springs and double-acting hydraulic
shock absorbers were employed. Smaller wheels were fitted using
larger tires (20 x 7 in) and the radiator was made deeper and
the shell now carried shutters. It is believed that only around
28 Tipo 8Bs were ever built.
company was nearly saved by Henry Ford who was anxious to produce
Isottas in Detroit and have his cars built in Italy, but the Italian
government blocked this deal. Instead in 1932 the aircraft maker
Count Caproni di Talideo, who considered the aero engines as
for his own business, acquired the company. Car production virtually
ceased that year and apart from a brief attempt at a rear engined
V8 vehicle in the post-war period, Isotta Fraschini disappeared
from car manufacture.
particular car has an intriguing history and according to the
past President of the IF club in Italy, Nunzio Ferrari, this rare
8B model was probably built in January 1931. Owing to the precarious
state of the company some creative chassis and engine numbering
occurred in order to avoid customs duties and to provide the sales
manager with an added bonus! As built, this 8B should have been
numbered 1720 for both engine and chassis. Its retail price would
have been 125,000 Italian Lire. However, as the price of an 8A
was some 75,000 lire, the sales manager sold the car to the Swedish
importer/concessionaire at the 8A price and he had the car plated
as an 8A and the engine stamped as an 8A using the following numbers:
Chassis No. 869 and Engine No. 821. The importer in Sweden pre-sold
the car new to Denmark and charged the full 125,000 lire price
and split the difference with the sales manager. The export papers
had to show an 8A chassis at the 75,000 lire price. It was assumed
correctly that customs officials would not have known the difference
between an 8A or 8B.
Swedish importer's client was the Danish Consul General Mr. Carl
Glad and he chose the relatively unknown coachbuilders
of Copenhagen to build the bodywork to a design by Viggo Jensen.
Initially a closed Coupe de Ville was constructed, although no
pictures of this car have survived. In about 1933 the car was
either re-bodied or considerably modified to a full cabriolet
when he gave it a folding top over the passenger's (rear) compartment.
In the late 1930s the fenders were modified by the addition of
skirts. This stunning car was painted pale beige and was used
extensively by Mr. Glad for his professional and diplomatic needs,
parades, processions and other official ceremonies. The Isotta
was also used on many long distance trips including one taken
by the diplomat's son, Robert, to the Arctic Circle in 1939. The
car returned the day before war broke out. In addition, the car
became well known within the Scandinavian Territories and was
used for ceremonial parades by King Christian X.
Glad family retained the Isotta until the late 1960s when they
sold it to some close family friends and neighbors, Mr. and Mrs.
Erik Orth. They participated in a few antique car shows in Denmark
during the 70s. After that the car was displayed in a Copenhagen
museum which then closed, and the car disappeared into storage.
In 1986 it was rediscovered in a lamentable condition in the back
of a garage and was sold by the daughter of Erik Orth. It was
brought shortly after to the Hershey Autojumble where it was spotted
and immediately purchased by the current owners.
carrying out some research on the history of this vehicle, which
in reality had just had two owners from new, and realizing it
was a unique and highly imposing car, the decision was made to
fully restore the car beginning in 1991. This exhaustive and meticulous
restoration, documented by photographs, took nearly five years
to complete and the entire vehicle was disassembled down to the
last nut and bolt and rebuilt. New front fenders were made as
the original ones had been modified and made to look much heavier.
No expense was spared for the restoration and when the owner decided
he wanted a full set of Grebel headlights to match the driver's
spotlight (many Isottas had Grebel lights from new), a set was
acquired at a cost of $25,000! When the interior was stripped
out a piece of leather was found hidden under the rear seat and
his upholsterer identified it as ostrich. Naturally the owner
wanted to restore the car to its former glory and therefore the
passenger compartment was finished using ostrich skin. Matching
this splendid upholstery is beautiful inlaid birdseye maple and
mahogany woodwork, art deco grab handles and cut glass decanters
and glasses in the rear drinks cabinet. The attention to detail
is quite exquisite down to making, from original drawings, a beautiful
rear license plate holder. The unusual front bumper is made from
solid brass and, like all the brightwork on the car, is finished
in polished nickel. Rich maroon paintwork was chosen and complements
the coachwork and fixtures and fittings in a remarkable fashion.
Proportionally the Isotta Fraschini is a visual delight from the
beautiful radiator and mascot through the long hood to the very
low and raked front and rear windshields, sweeping fenders, side
mounted spare wheels, wooden running boards and tool trays, monogrammed
wheel spinners, neat rear roof line with landau irons and a rear
stunning restoration was duly rewarded at the 1995 Pebble Beach
Concours d'Elegance when the just completed Isotta Fraschini was
given top honors, winning the coveted Best of Show award against
stiff competition. The following year the car traveled to Europe
and was variously shown or displayed at a number of prestigious
events including Retromobile in Paris, Techno Classica Essen in
Germany, the Louis Vuitton Classic at The Hurlingham Club in London
(where it took the Best in Show award), the Cartier Style et Luxe
at Goodwood and the Concours Automobiles Classiques et Louis Vuitton
au Parc de Bagatelle in Paris (where it won the Prix Automobiles
Classiques). More recently the car was again seen at the 2000
Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
fabulous Isotta Fraschini is still in concours condition and has
only been driven some 100 miles since the restoration was completed.
The current belief is that there are only three Tipo 8B models
left anywhere in the world and this car would be a prized edition
to any world class car collection."
the flashiest and most
stylish car in the auction was lot 10, a red 1935 Auburn Model
851 "Boattail" speedster, chassis No. 33212 E, with
black leather interior and fawn convertible top. It had an estimate
of $130,000 to $160,000 and sold for $145,000.
and Morris Eckhart
of Auburn, Indiana started the Auburn Motor Company in 1903. As
their business grew, they acquired more dealerships to stay ahead
of the competition, but by the mid-twenties size had caught up
with them and they were in need of new leadership. In 1925 E.L.
Cord became general manager and set out to save the company. Under
Cord the new Auburn became a very different company, emphasizing
style when others in the industry concentrated on engineering.
Body styles were changed every few years to keep sales up.
1931 Auburn was
able to sell a very appealing package for far less than the
Their fully equipped V12 cars could be purchased for well under
$2,000 and the V8s were cheaper still. By 1934 the depression
had caught up and sales were falling. As a remedy Auburn returned
to the six cylinder model and curtailed production of the V12.
In addition, the 1935 Model 851 'Boattail' Speedster with the
straight eight motor was an effort to boost sales with a car that
offered both style and performance with a younger, sportier image.
It is considered by many auto enthusiasts to be among the most
beautiful cars of the classic era. With a tapered Speedster tail
designed by Gordon Miller Buehrig, the model was available with
a new optional supercharger for the eight cylinder engine that
boosted output to an unprecedented 150 brake horsepower and powered
the car from 0-60 mph in a remarkable 15 seconds. Each of the
146 supercharged Speedsters produced carried a dash plaque indicating
the speed at which the car had been tested. To promote their speed
A.P.B. Jenkins drove a stock Auburn on the Bonneville Salt Flats,
breaking the American class speed record. Auburn won top prizes
at the Concours d'Elegance held at the Universal Exposition in
Brussels thus promoting their elegant styling. While the Speedster
created huge demand, it transpired that the company still lost
considerable money on each one.
Auburn authority, Randy Ema, this original 851 Speedster was first
owned by Mr. Chris Savers in Chicago and it is believed to have
subsequently spent much of its life in the mid west. At the end
of July 1945 the car had passed into the hands of a dealer, John
Troker from Illinois. The next known owner was Ron Schirmer from
Indianapolis who owned the car according to a copy of an Indiana
title in the early 1980s in partnership with J. M. Walden. In
February 1982 the Auburn passed into the hands of Gilbert E. Horton
from North Dakota. In about 1997 the Speedster joined the well-known
collection of Dr. Don Vesley.
is today indicative of a much older restoration that probably
dates back to the 1970s. The panelwork appears straight, with
presentable paintwork. The interior is presentable, but again
would benefit from a retrim as the beading at the edges and fine
details are not to the highest of standards. Mechanically the
engine runs well, although the supercharger is not currently connected.
In addition, the car has had a recent brake service.
and thrilling performance, these cars are a favorite among
collectors. They are considered full classics by the Classic Car
Club of America and are popular for shows and tours. With just
146 supercharged Speedsters originally built, these Auburns are
rare and desirable. It is worth bearing in mind that just last
summer Christie's achieved over $300,000 for a fully restored
Lot 17, a mink-colored 1959
Jaguar XK150S roadster
may well have been the most beautiful sports car ever made. It
had a modest estimate of $50,000 to $70,000 and sold for $58,750.
XK series (with
the 150 as the final evolution) came about almost by accident.
The 120 was only to have been a limited production run of 200
cars to publicize the new XK engine, designed for saloons. After
the 1948 launch at the London Motor Show, where it was undeniably
the sensation of the show, the response was so strong that bodywork
casts were prepared and twelve thousand XK120s were subsequently
sold. The XK140 followed in 1954 and the 150 in 1957. The 150
had various styling developments over the 140 including a wrap-around
windscreen and a new 'hip line'. A slightly wider body and slimmer
doors provided considerably more interior room. With massive torque
from a powerplant tuned to give maximum power at lower revolutions
than before, these models offered surging acceleration to beyond
120mph. There was revised rack and pinion steering and, with the
new disc brakes and improved headlamps, the XK150 was the most
capable Jaguar high-speed grand touring car yet. The Autocar's
testers approved the adjustable steering column, upright seat
squab and generous seat adjustment and thought that directional
stability 'added to the crew's confidence'. Few of its European
competitors, not even the exotica, could outperform the XK150
and none could outbrake it. Just as previous XK Jaguars had, this
version delivered unbeatable value for money with all that effortless
to the Jaguar
Daimler Heritage Trust certificate, this Jaguar XK150 S Roadster
was dispatched from England on December 1, 1958 destined for the
US. It was originally finished with cream paintwork and red upholstery
and the first recorded owner was Lt. Col. R. Hey, Jr. of Cherry
Point, North Carolina. When new this car was fitted with the famous
3.4 litre (S specification) XK unit which would have produced
around 250 bhp. Very late in the production of the XK150, Jaguar
produced an even more powerful version with the engine bored out
to 3.8 litre specification and just 36 of these models were originally
produced in left hand drive form. At some stage during the life
of this particular roadster, an owner decided to upgrade the car
and fitted a more desirable 3.8 litre engine.
believe that at
some point this car went from the US to Canada before again returning
to the US where a comprehensive three-year restoration was begun,
the current owner purchasing the car halfway through the project.
The XK was generally quite sound when stripped to the bare metal
and only a small amount of sheet metal (sourced from England)
was replaced during the work. Naturally the mechanicals were all
rebuilt, the car was rewired, instruments were rebuilt and new
bows were even made for the convertible top. The chrome was either
redone or replaced. The chrome wire wheels are shod with new Dunlop
tires. The owner selected a highly distinctive and appealing color
scheme of mink (or medium brown metallic) paintwork, while the
interior was finished with tan leather upholstery with dark chocolate
piping to match the carpets and top. The car is equipped with
a wooden Mota Lita steering wheel and its New Jersey license plate
is the very apt XK150S. With plenty of performance and styling
to match, this XK150 S Roadster is sure to draw a crowd wherever
it is taken."
Perhaps the sleekest-looking
car and one whose
looks have remarkably not been dated whatsoever is Lot 46, a chocolate
1957 Dual-Ghia convertible. It had an estimate of $120,000 to
$140,000 and sold for $139,500.
catalogue provides the
following commentary of this beautiful automobile:
of Automobile Shippers, Inc., a Detroit trucking firm that moved
most of Chrysler's cars from the factory to dealers and distributors,
was the force behind the Dual-Ghia car. Impressed with one of
Chrysler's Italian designed (Carrozzeria Ghia Torino) dream/show
cars that Chrysler had commissioned, The Fire Arrow, he acquired
the design and production rights from Chrysler. Casaroll hired
a then well-known Detroit Italian-born mechanic, stylist, racer
and car builder, Paul Farago, to produce with Ghia of Italy a
more practical family car using the styling of the original Fire
Arrow show cars. He set up an assembly plant in Detroit on Van
Dyke Avenue under another corporation he owned, Dual Motor Company.
four passenger sport
convertible prototype with added leg room, trunk space and other
features was introduced on June 28, 1955 at the Grosse Pointe
Yacht Club in Detroit under the name, Firebomb. One year later
at the International Automobile Show held in New York, the
refined styled car was introduced at $7,646. The new name was
Dual-Ghia, combining the names of the manufacturer and coachmaker
in traditional European fashion. The all steel, hand formed (over
aluminum dies) bodies made in Italy were shipped to Dual Motors
for assembly using many Chrysler Corporation drive train parts.
the Dual-Ghia was the successful mating of a superbly styled and
executed Ghia body with easily serviced Chrysler running gear.
The automotive press lavished it with praise, as did non-automotive
magazines of the era such as Time, Life, and Good Housekeeping
who reported on the Dual-Ghia as a social phenomenon. It became
known as the "car of the stars" owned by such celebrities
as Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,
musicians Hoagy Carmichael, David Rose, and other such "well
knowns" as actress Natalie Trundy and flamboyant tennis star
car is exceptional
in design and engineering with a step down floor and 50/50 weight
transfer. An overall height of only 54" yet sufficient head
room resulted in the car actually being called a four-passenger
sports car by a number of magazines. Detailing of the bodies is
extraordinary for the era. All body trim, as well as the grille,
windshield molding and other exterior appointments such as inner
doorsills are chrome plated solid brass. The engine and truck
compartments are edged in polished aluminum molding. Over 1,500
man-hours were said to have been lavished on each car before it
left the factory. While production of 150 cars per year was planned
over two years (1957-1958), only 99 cars were built. This car
is number 78 since the vehicle identification numbering series
started with 101.
car was originally
owned by a gentleman from Reading, Pennsylvania and, following
his untimely death, was crated and stored in a large warehouse
for a number of years. Noted 1950s hybrid car collector and enthusiast,
Dr. Paul Sable, also from Reading, acquired the car in the late
80s. It was then purchased by a California collector, David Laurence
Altman, who undertook a complete and full restoration. Today the
car is certainly eye-catching and unique, reflecting much of the
50s social and car culture era. According to automotive
and former owner, "these cars recently are certainly obtaining
a following with well-known collectors and have been referred
to by some as the Duesenberg of the 50s".
car is a complete
and prime example of the marque and a true practical exotic that
has been fully restored and excellently maintained. Its opulent
styling, vibrant color, sumptuous, well appointed leather interior
with original power windows and unique engine turned gauge panel
set this car apart from its American cousins. The full original
wheel discs and the more powerful hemi head engine are extremely
rare and enhance the car's looks and power."
are thrilled with
the exceptional prices achieved for our two top lots at Christie's
inaugural sale at Rockefeller Center," remarked Miles Morris,
head of Christie's International Motor Cars. "The 1995 Pebble
Beach Best of Show Winner, the 1931 Isotta Fraschini, fetched
$1,382,400 and the 1931 Duesenberg Model J achieved $854,500.
There was also tremendous bidding activity for the two vehicles
sold to benefit charity. The proceeds of the last 2002 Chrsyler
Prowler will benefit The Multiple Sclerosis Society and the proceeds
of the 1963 Bentley, belonging to the late Dudley Moore, will
benefit Music for All Seasons and The Dudley Moore Research Fund
for PSP. Both Christie's and Rockefeller Center are delighted
with the overwhelming response to the hugely successful pre-sale
exhibition on the plaza streets of Rockefeller Center. Enthusiasm
was expressed by both the public and collectors for the opportunity
to view such exceptional automobiles in the heart of Manhattan's
cultural center," Mr. Morris said.
most of the cars were
unquestionably beautiful, it is curious that the auction itself
did not too better especially since many cars sold for less than
today's typical fiberglass piece of automotive junk!