Strategically positioned on the Sunday before Hershey Week, Bonhams auction at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum celebrates Dr. Fred Simeone’s philosophy of preserving and driving great cars.
In 2020 there was no Hershey Week, but Bonhams went to Philadelphia anyway and presented a docket that included some simply marvelous old unrestored cars.
None was more reflective of the philosophy than the Petersen Vault Collection’s 1935 Mercedes-Benz 290 Cabriolet, resplendent in rust, torn upholstery, floppy soft top and an array of dust, dirt and cobwebs. While not a 500 or 540 or even a 320, its coachwork took full advantage of the small 2,867cc/68hp flathead six engine’s low profile to present one of the most seductive and beautiful body designs ever to come from Sindelfingen.
What’s encouraging is that the bidding for it was effervescent. Collectors recognized its appeal and rarity, pursuing it avidly through the pre-sale estimate range to a successful hammer bid $100,000 (44%) over its high estimate. It’s too far gone to preserve, but will be worth the wait to see it on the Lawn at Pebble Beach. The catalog photos do not do it justice.
Unusually for this venue there was a single-owner collection of eleven restored or original American muscle and pony cars. But 23 of the 58 lots offered were built before WWII. 18 of them sold, 78.3%, showing how this sale encourages and perpetuates interest in cars built before most of us were born.
Bonhams sold all three of their headline cars, Bentley 8-Liter, Lagonda M45 and Boss 429.
Conducted in front of a socially-distanced live audience, many of the bidders were online, on the phones or left absentee bids, typical of Covid era live auctions.
Here are the numbers:
|Year||Cars Sold/ Offered||Sale %||Sold < Low Est||Sold > High Est||Average Sale||Median Sale||Total $|
Travel restrictions meant no one attended and descriptions are taken from the Bonhams website and online photos. Photos are © 2020 and courtesy of Bonhams.
Bonhams commission was 12% of the first $250,000 and 10% over that.
Lot # 304 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Convertible; S/N 344670E137259; Rally Red, White hood scoops/Pearl White leather; White vinyl top; Estimate $70,000 – $90,000; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $64,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $71,680. – 455/365hp, automatic, His’n’Hers shifter, power brakes, AM-FM, 8-track, air induction hood, buckets and console, power windows, alloy center wheels, Radial T/A tires, aftermarket air conditioning compressor, original owner’s manual, Protect-o-Plate documented – One family owned from new. Very good paint, chrome and upholstery. The engine compartment is clean with minimal fluid leakage. The top fits well but is somewhat dull. Described as restored some fifteen years ago and driven around 2,000 miles since it has been consistently maintained and preserved in close to showroom condition but curiously there is no representation that the engine or driveline are original to the car. – It is inexplicable that there is no representation for the engine’s originality, an unforgivable oversight in cataloging, unless of course the oversight was intentional. If it turns out to be the original driveline this is a good value however in view of the uncertainty the bidders hedged their bidding and this is a reasonable result.
Lot # 306 1990 Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet; S/N WP0CB2944LN481127; Alpine White/Marine Blue leather; Marine Blue cloth top; Estimate $20,000 – $25,000; Unrestored original 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $21,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $23,520. – 2,990/208hp inline-four, Bosch fuel injection, 5-speed, Blaupunkt cassette stereo, power windows, power seats Alloy wheels, Continental tires, documented with its original window sticker, service receipts, clean Carfax and Porsche CoA. – Represented as three owners from new and 35,242 miles, its condition in exemplary with very good original paint, no stone chips, unblemished upholstery and a good top with only slight folding wear. The engine compartment is nearly spotless. It is an extraordinary example. – Bid to $21,000, just over its pre-sale $20,000 low estimate, this is a real find in a late 944, a car every bit as good as the most obsessively maintained and preserved 911, and that is saying a lot. The result here is fair to both the buyer and the seller, but a Porsche collector looking for a highly unusual and beautifully maintained and preserved example of the marque that will stand out at any Porsche parade will find this to be a particularly satisfying acquisition.
Lot # 307 1965 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III BJ8 Convertible; S/N HBJ8L29075; Healey Blue/Dark Blue leather; Blue leatherette top; Estimate $30,000 – $40,000; Cosmetic restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $39,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $43,680. – 2,912/150hp, 4-speed, overdrive, cassette stereo, woodrim steering wheel, chrome wire wheels, – Sound repaint with repairs visible on the deck lid. Generally good chrome with some speckles. Clear gauge faces and legends. Crazed horn button. The underbody shows use but the engine compartment is crisp and clean. It isn’t a show car, but it’s an eminently proud weekend driver and local show car. – Remember when BJ-8 Big Healeys were all the rage with prices regularly into six-figures? The paint has dried on that fad and this result is not out of the ordinary which means cars like this are exceptional values for weekend driving enjoyment.
Lot # 308 1970 Dodge Coronet Super Bee 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N WM23N03E140677; Burnt Orange, White vinyl roof/Burnt Orange vinyl; Estimate $45,000 – $60,000; Cosmetic restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $29,000. – 383/335hp, automatic, air conditioning, Rallye wheels, Radial T/A tires, AM-FM, bench seat, power steering. – Good older repaint, chrome, probably original interior and vinyl roof. Orderly engine compartment. Recently mechanically serviced. No representation of the engine’s history, however. Not fully restored but doesn’t need to be to take advantage of the Magnum V8. – Dodge built over 11,000 Super Bee hardtops and even today they’re not exactly rare. The pre-sale estimate is generous for a car that doesn’t claim to have its original engine (the ambiguous catalog wording “the correct markings have been located and matched to the specifications of this vehicle” gives little comfort). The estimate is about as generous as the reported high bid is parsimonious.
Lot # 313 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass 4-4-2 Convertible; S/N 3386677M185484; Grey Metallic/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Estimate $70,000 – $90,000; Recent restoration 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $65,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $72,800. – 400/350hp, M20 4-speed, Hurst shifter, air conditioning, power steering and brakes, Super Stock wheels, red line tires, Anti-Spin axle, buckets and console, steering column-mounted “Don Garlits” 270-degree tach, underdash engine gauges, original window sticker documented. – Represented as matching numbers. Excellent paint, chrome (both outside and inside), upholstery and top. The engine compartment is dry, tidy and like new with excellent finishes. – This is a show car and it brought W-30 show car money although it isn’t represented as a W-30. Never mind. It is an Olds that will be supremely proud to own, and no slouch on the pavement, either. With power steering and brakes, a 4-speed and air conditioning it will be a delightful cruiser. It’s expensive, but it deserved to be.
Lot # 315 1947 Hudson Commodore 4-Dr. Sedan; S/N 17220085; Engine # 165610; Metallic Blue, Bright Blue fenders/Grey cloth, Blue vinyl; Estimate $12,000 – $15,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $8,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $8,960. – 212/102hp, 3-speed, silver painted wheels, hubcaps, trim rings, whitewalls, bumper overriders, turn signals, heater. – Superficially repainted in gaudy colors, otherwise original with exceptionally well-preserved upholstery but a tired dashboard, gauges and steering wheel. The new paint was applied only on the exterior; door posts are dull original paint with old lubrication stickers on them. – This poor old girl got no better than she deserved, lipstick on a dated design. There is no better way to realize the impact of Hudson’s “step-down” 1948 models than contrasting this 1947 carryover Thirties design with the 1948 Brougham Convertible Lot #346 also offered here.
Lot # 316 1912 Peugeot Bébé 6hp Type BPI 2-seat Tourer; S/N 10357; Engine # 10357; Dark Green, Black fenders/Black leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $70,000 – $80,000; Older restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $70,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $78,400. – RHD. 856/10hp T-head inline-4, 2-speed, black wire wheels, white tires, cowl-mounted Ducellier acetylene headlights, Ducellier acetylene generator, tilting windshield, leather hood strap – The Bébé Peugeot is recognized as the Bugatti Type 19, affording it entry into Bugatti club events. Good older paint, aged bright work and top, surface cracked and creased upholstery and interior trim that may be original. Older restored engine compartment and chassis with age, paint loss, fluid seepage and surface rust but sound and orderly. A charming car restored just enough to be used, but not so much that a stone chip or bird dropping will detract from its value. – Sold by Bonhams at Brookline in 2009 for $55,575. This may be one of the best surviving Bébé Peugeots, but it’s not particularly good, or well-preserved. On the other hand it gets its owner into Bugatti events at a cost that is a small piece of even the most bitsa Type 35 or Type 37. An open road tour in this diminutive Peugeot would be a boring jaunt, but still exhilarating in the company of greats.
Lot # 318 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 SportsRoof; S/N 9F02Z172937; Candy Apple Red/Black vinyl; Estimate $250,000 – $300,000; Older restoration 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $310,000 plus commission of 11.61%; Final Price $346,000. – 429/370hp, 4-speed, Traction-Lok, power brakes, Magnum 500 wheels, Polyglas GT tires, heater, pushbutton radio, air pump smog control, build sheet and window sticker documented, KK number 1680. – 3,404 miles from new. Restored in the late 80’s, a Mustang Triple Crown winner in 1989 and meticulously preserved since. Recently recommissioned and impeccable inside, outside and underneath. – This was the Simeone Museum’s most exciting transaction, and it would have been exciting no matter where it occurred. Bidding started at $100K, bumped by tens to $200K where it was announced to be “for sale”. It then kept going in $5K increments to this over high estimate result. There were two determined bidders from $270K. It is an exceptional Boss Nine, but this is an unusual venue for a Big Block Pony Car and Bonhams should be credited for building its recognition and exposure to achieve this result.
Lot # 321 1930 Cadillac 452 V-16 Imperial Sedan, 5/7-p., Body by Fleetwood; S/N Engine No. 700163; Blue/Grey broadcloth; Estimate $150,000 – $180,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $85,000. – 16-cyl. 452cid/165hp 2x1bbl, 3-speed, black wire wheels, chrome lock rings, dual enclosed sidemounts, wind wings, windshield visor, jump seats, robe rail, rollup division, hat net, luggage rack, rear compartment rollup silk shades. – Said to have been retained by the original family into the Fifties, repainted but otherwise in remarkably original condition. The upholstery is nearly flawless but the interior wood varnish is checking. The engine compartment is orderly and well-maintained but not restored. Bright work is aged but sound. – Little interest was shown in this defiantly maintained original Cadillac V16 and while it may not be worth its $150,000-180,000 estimate range for its originality and impressive luxury alone it is worth more than the high bid.
Lot # 322 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 SportsRoof; S/N 0T05M153299; Calypso Coral, Black stripe/Black vinyl; Estimate $50,000 – $65,000; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $45,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $50,400. – 351cid/300hp, automatic, Magnum wheels with spinner center caps, Radial T/A tires, power steering and brakes, air conditioning added, rear window slats, AM-FM radio. – Very good paint, chrome and interior. The chassis and engine compartment have been redone but with paint applied over older paint. An excellent driver and weekend show quality Mustang. – A result that is reasonable for both the buyer and the seller.
Lot # 324 1971 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W-30 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 344871M163873; Black, Red accent/Black vinyl; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Recent restoration 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $70,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $78,400. – 455/350hp, M22 4-speed, Hurst shifter, power brakes and steering, 3.73 Anti-Spin rear axle, SS1 wheels, Polyglas tires, sport steering wheel, fiberglass ram air hood, W30, bucket seats, wing. – Freshly restored by Thornton Iron Works with excellent paint, chrome, upholstery and interior trim. Bright, crisp gauges. Fresh and accurate engine compartment and chassis. Cataloged with this VIN but the emissions sticker ends with 872. – This VIN, also a black W30, was reported a no-sale at Mecum Kissimmee in January for $58,000. If it’s the same car (as it likely is) the result here, even below the $80,000 low estimate, is a triumph. It was “for sale and in the market” at $65,000. Buyers don’t come to Bonhams auctions for pristine American muscle cars but there were several here at the Simeone Museum and they had plenty of bidders.
Lot # 325 1920 Vauxhall D-Type Touring, Body by Jackson, Jones & Collins; S/N D3392; Engine # D3528A; Green, Black fenders, Aluminum hood/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $50,000 – $80,000; Older restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $53,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $59,360. – RHD. 3,969/25hp side valve inline 4, 4-speed, black wire wheels, dual sidemount spares, opening windshield. – Bodied in Sydney, Australia. Chipped, scuffed old paint, sound but aged upholstery, top and interior trim. The engine compartment is oily but orderly. A well-used old restoration still suitable for weekends and tours. – A no-sale in Bonhams Quail Online auction two months ago with a reported high bid of $55,000. The bidding was mostly online and phone, but unrelenting before reaching this result, a strong price for an obscure Vauxhall model although mimicking the recent interest in the more widely-recognized 30-98 of which there is an example in Dr. Fred Simeone’s unparalleled collection.
Lot # 325A 1958 AC Aceca-Ford Coupe; S/N AEX659; Red/Black; Estimate $85,000 – $115,000; Modified restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $69,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $77,280. – 289/300hp Ford V8, single 4-barrel, 4-speed, silver painted wire wheels, grille guard, drum brakes, SW engine gauges, woodrim steering wheel. – Sound but aged and mediocre old repaint with chips and drips. Sound newer upholstery. Weak, pitted chrome. Surprisingly orderly engine compartment. An interesting driver-quality car with the same family from 1972-2019. – Reported sold at the 1972 Kirk F. White auction (the catalog says 1973, but there was no 1973 Kirk F. White auction) where the only Aceca in the results list brought $1,800 which sounds about right for the time. It has been looked after since then and is much less expensive than even an AC-engined Aceca of the period let alone one with a Bristol engine. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but is a solid value at this price.
Lot # 328 1933 Packard Super Eight-Series 1004 Convertible Victoria, Body by Dietrich; S/N 66729; Engine # 750707; Blue/Black; Beige cloth top; Estimate $125,000 – $150,000; Older restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $100,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $112,000. – 385/145hp inline-8, 3-speed, beige wire wheels, whitewalls, dual sidemounts with metal collars and mirrors, fog lights, luggage rack, steering column-mounted radio controls. – Chipped, faded old paint, thin chrome, road grimy chassis. Dusty old engine compartment. Sound old upholstery. Water stained and faded old top. A sound old restoration little used in recent years with a 2000 engine and drivetrain rebuild. Said to have run recently. – The virtue of this Packard is its Ray Dietrich-designed convertible victoria coachwork, one of the finest designs of the Thirties. It will be a Best in Show competitor after it is restored to today’s standards, but that is an expensive proposition that is reflected in the reasonable price it brought, a result that is fair to both parties.
Lot # 329 1947 Allard K1 Roadster; S/N 71K250; Red/Black leather; Estimate $60,000 – $70,000; Competition restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $39,000. – RHD. 276/200hp Mercury V8, dual Holley carburetors, Edelbrock intake, Offenhauser heads, 3-speed, alternator, silver steel wheels, side outlet exhaust, dual aeroscreens, driving lights, covered rear-mounted spare, woodrim steering wheel, Lincoln-Zephyr brakes. – Good paint, interior and chrome. A quality older restoration and better than usual vintage racer. Clean and tidy, showing just the right amount of use and attention. Trafficators missing from the cowl slots. – Offered by Bonhams at Brookline in 2005 where it was bid to $45,000. Back then I said, “It’s rare to see a flathead-powered, envelope-fender K1 prepared for vintage racing and this one’s condition and preparation are excellent. The archaic suspension is a lot less lethal with flathead power than in the later Cad- and Chrysler-powered J2s” and that’s still true today. This was a missed opportunity, but the reported high bid is irrelevant and the consignor realistically expected and should have gotten more.
Lot # 330 1931 Bentley 8-Liter Touring, Body by Swallow Coachbuilding; S/N YF5013; Dark Green/Green leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $775,000 – $875,000; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $800,000 plus commission of 10.63%; Final Price $885,000. – RHD. 7,983/220hp inline SOHC six, triple SU carburetors, 4-speed, Body color wire wheels, driving lights, overdrive. – Originally sports saloon bodied by Saoutchik and used by Bentley as a factory demonstrator in France. Chassis shortened to 11′ 2″ in the Sixties and fitted with this Tourer coachwork. Represented as the original chassis, engine and axles. Clean, orderly engine compartment, older chassis showing both use and age but more than good enough to tour and show proudly at the end of the day. – Offered by RM at Amelia in 2016 where it was bid to $850,000 and showed exactly the same 80,079 miles pictured online here. The top sale today, this is a handsome and sporting Bentley. Yes, it’s a shortened wheelbase and Sixties open coachwork but it has panache and a Clare Haye documented history. There was no shortage of enthusiastic bidding, starting at $500,000 and going through $50,000 increments with little hesitation to this result, $800,000 hammer, $885,000 all-in. The star of the show, in both quality and bidding intensity.
Lot # 335 1913 Locomobile Model 38 Touring; S/N 6241; Dark Green, Black fenders/Black leather; Black leatherette top; Estimate $240,000 – $260,000; Older restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $200,000. – 425/50hp T-head inline-six, 4-speed, dual rear spares, 12 volt starting system, turn signals, green wood spoke wheels, kerosene side lights and tail light, Warner speedometer – 1995 AACA National First Prize winner. Restored in the 1960’s and aged from both years and touring use. The upholstery is torn, the paint is aged, chipped and scuffed, the top is loose-fitting and stiff but overall the car is high quality and usable as-is although the brass would benefit from attention. – Bid to $50,000 at The Auction in Las Vegas, then $75,000 at Kruse Scottsdale in 1998, its condition hasn’t changed much since ’98, which isn’t a bad thing. It is a gorgeous Locomobile, but realistically it could have been sold at the reported high bid.
Lot # 338 1968 Plymouth Satellite 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N RH23F8G267057; Blue, Matte Black hood/Blue vinyl, White vinyl rear; Estimate $45,000 – $60,000; Modified restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $32,000. – 383cid/335hp, Edelbrock 4-barrel, 4-speed, pistol grip Hurst shifter, bench seat, radio delete, woodrim steering wheel, GM seat belts, red line tires, bucket seats. – The VIN identifies this Satellite as a 318/230hp 2-barrel car. An interesting case, pictured with Blue vinyl front seats, then later with Pearl White with a black plastic steering wheel. We weren’t there to get a first-hand impression but the mixed up presentation doesn’t make it any more appealing and the driveline isn’t what it was born with. – Bid to $32,000, it would have been appropriate to accept the bidders’ judgment and take any real money offered for this confused Satellite. It’s not an encouraging prospect and any money approaching the reported high bid should have been gratefully accepted.
Lot # 340 1964 Alfa Romeo 2600 Ford Spider, Body by Touring; S/N AR193023; Dark Blue/Caramel vinyl; Black cloth top; Estimate $60,000 – $80,000; Original, modified for competition or performance 3- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $42,000. – 289/300hp Ford V8, 4-speed, Hurst shifter, power front disc rear drum brakes, narrowed Mustang rear axle, vinyl wrapped steering wheel, comes with an Alfa 2.6 with Webers and gearbox. – Nasty old paint, erratic wiring, scruffy engine compartment, no front bumpers. A tired, neglected old thing festooned with cobwebs that needs serious attention everywhere. – There were two bids on this Alfa 2600, $40,000 to open, and $42,000. No one was serious and it died quickly on the block, as it deserved to do.
Lot # 344 1934 Lagonda M45 T8 Tourer; S/N Z11105; Engine # M45262; Gold, Brown fenders/Red leather; Black top; Estimate $150,000 – $175,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $160,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $179,200. – RHD, 4,453/140hp ohv inline six, 4-speed, hydraulic brakes, rear-mounted spare, 2-door body, copy factory records documented. – Single family owned since 1967. Engine replaced in the Thirties, not used in some four decades, recently started. Tired old paint, worn but sound upholstery and interior trim, aged engine compartment. Better than it has any reason to expect it to be, should be sound and usable after the necessary and extensive mechanical recommissioning. – Sold to a phone bidder after seventeen bids, a charming old car with great potential and probably best left alone once its moving parts are attended to and just enjoyed on the road, something its 140hp will make even more satisfying. The price, even though it is over the pre-sale low estimate of $150,000, is reasonable for its condition, history and performance. Bonhams sold a similar Lagonda with T7 Tourer body in Paris in February for $241,000.
[It’s never a good sigh when an auction car is photographed on roller skates.]
Lot # 345 1927 Cadillac 314 7-passenger Touring, Body by Fisher; S/N 150115; Engine # 150115; Red-Orange, Black fenders/Black leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $110,000. – 341/83hp V8, 3-speed, heavy duty disc wheels, dual sidemounts with mirrors, drum headlights, top-hinged windshield, rear compartment windshield with wind wings, jump seats, side curtains, tire chains in the oversize luggage trunk, dual sidemounts with mirrors. Fisher Body Job # 1163. – One of a fleet of seven specially configured Cadillacs built for the Glacier Park Transport Company, possibly used for a park tour by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Purchased by John Rice from the Park in 1936, used at his lake lodge within the park until 1965 and remained in his family until 2000. Re-enacted the FDR tour in 2013. Poorly masked old partial repaint, otherwise remarkably original and complete. Sound old upholstery and interior trim. Aged top and side curtains. Unrestored but clean engine compartment and chassis. A time warp automobile, believed to be one of two surviving Glacier National Park Cadillac tourers. – This is a remarkable survivor with a rare (if not particularly pretty) body but it’s the history that makes this Cadillac valuable. How valuable is hard to quantify, particularly since the connection between it and FDR is oral and coincidental, but it is unequivocally one of the Glacier National Park Cadillacs. The bidders were tentative about this car which would have been a good value if bought at the reported high bid and deserves a bit more. A missed opportunity.
Lot # 346 1948 Hudson Commodore Custom Convertible Brougham; S/N 48111; Ruby Red/Red; Beige cloth top; Estimate $30,000 – $40,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $32,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $35,840. – 308/160hp inline six, 3-speed, hubcaps, trim rings, whitewalls, skirts, remote spotlight, bumper overriders, radio, power top. – Later, larger Hornet engine with Twin-H carburetion and Hornet rear axle. A paucity of photos made it difficult to assess this Hudson but the exterior color is different from what is inside the engine compartment which is decent but far from restored. The upholstery is said to be recent, but the top is said to be old and in need of replacement and refinishing the top bows. It is a usable but not particularly impressive example. – Offered here a year ago where it brought an unsuccessful high bid of $30,000 against a $40,000-45,000 estimate range. The consignor adjusted accordingly, and so did the bidders leading to this realistic result which balances the later engine with its better performance. The ’48 “step down” Hudsons were one of the first post-WWII designs and they were different from and more advanced than their Detroit competitors. This will be a rewarding acquisition at this price.
Lot # 353 1916 Simplex Crane Model 5 Limousine, Body by Brewster; S/N 2196; Engine # 2099; Blue, Black fenders, Black leather roof/Light Blue broadcloth; Estimate $60,000 – $80,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $48,000. – 563/110hp inline six, 4-speed, varnished wood spoke wheels, whitewalls, dual sidemounts, Gray & Davis electric lights, hydraulic shocks, electric starter, windshield visor, jump seats, no division. – Historic records document this Simplex’s original coachwork construction for a client in Boston, displayed many years in the Powers Antique Automotive Museum in Connecticut, then to the UK. Scuffed old paint, dull nickel, sound but faded interior. Orderly but aged engine compartment and chassis. Done a long time ago to the standards of the time, then driven. Probably usable but deserves a new restoration. – Sold by Bonhams in London in 2015 for $32,565 against a $60,000-$75,000 estimate, then here in 2018 for $123,200 where it had the same $60,000-$80,000 estimate as it has today. This is, even for an experienced observer, an inexplicable result. The Simplex Crane Model 5 Limousine is an attractive, rare, high quality automobile, but it’s shopworn from confusing exposure. The result here two years ago was fabulous. The high bid here is inadequate and nonsense.
Lot # 355 1935 Mercedes-Benz 290 Cabriolet A, Body by Sindelfingen; S/N Engine No. 101829352; Engine # 101829352; Black/Red leather; Natural cloth top; Estimate $175,000 – $225,000; Unrestored original 5+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $325,000 plus commission of 11.54%; Final Price $362,500. – 2,867/68hp L-head six, 4-speed, independent suspension, spotlight/mirror, wire wheels, rear-mounted spare, trafficators, top-hinged windshield. – Peeling original paint, torn original upholstery, peeling chrome, tattered top, scruffy engine compartment. A barn find, largely complete with parts stuffed inside. From the Petersen Vault Collection. – It’s hard to tell from the catalog photos of this car which were shot from low vantage points to make it look imposing, but this is one of the most attractive Sindelfingen-bodied M-Bs of this epoch. It’s SS 100 beautiful, leveraging the small 2.9 liter L-head six to lower the hood line and body for a dramatic presentation. Viewed from the photos online this is a wreck, but its presence is much more, a potential Pebble Beach winner that is much more sleek than Sindelfingen could erect on the overhead valve 500 and 540 chassis. Bidding opened at $100K, ratcheted up to $170K where it was loose and selling, then went on through another 23 bids to this result. The bidders weren’t fooled by the ostentatious photography. This car is headed for Pebble, and it deserves its destination even with the L-head engine, which counts for little at a Concours d’Elegance. It is a gorgeous, seductive automobile.
[The photo is from the Tupelo Museum auction in 2019]
Lot # 359 1958 Nash Metropolitan Convertible; S/N E50992; Primer, Rust/?; ? top; Estimate $2,000 – $2,500; Unrestored original 5- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $200 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $224. – 1,489/52hp inline-four, 3-speed. – Sad, primer painted, bedraggled and surface rusty with mildewed and torn soft parts piled inside. There’s some potential, but it’s a daunting project. – Reported sold at Bonhams auction of the Tupelo Auto Museum in April 2019 for $2,240, the buyer (reasonably) gave up and put it back into play here where it was sold for its buyer’s commission at Tupelo, a price that is reasonable for its condition and that it might bring $25,000 in restored condition. Titled by its body number.