Bonhams|Cars, Audrain, Newport, R.I., September 29, 2023

Twenty-two of the fifty-three lots in this year’s Bonhams Audrain auction were from the estate of James Messenger.

Most were weak-in-the-knees gorgeous modified cars with impeccable construction, concept and presentation. The three Alfa GTs left me in awe, the things I would like my Alfa GT to be, but it isn’t and never will be. The Messenger cars were better than they needed to be, often tributes to legendary models like the Proteus C-Type, the semi-lightweight XKE Fixed Head Coupe and the gorgeous TR6 race car. They didn’t bring prices that compensated Jim Messenger for what he spent designing and building them, but it was clear that was never his objective. Instead, they were the best that they could be and often very different in concept but consistent in superlative execution and performance.

The Messenger collection was 41.5% of the total consignment, capturing 58.1% of the money spent at this sale and including the top selling 300SL Roadster.

But that was not all and the 1931 Frazer-Nash “Chain Gang” Interceptor was achingly beautiful and boasted a largely original and unrestored chassis, drivetrain and engine. I’d never completely understood the “chain gang” concept but Evan Ide opened up the “gearbox” (a wooden box enclosing original chains, dog clutches, sprockets and a generous coating of grease) to expose the mysterious mechanical goings-on that has made these cars a legend. After thirty years of this I’m still learning.

Forty-one of the 53 lots were offered without reserve en-route to a nearly fantastic 96.2% sale rate, an astute move by Bonhams in today’s market that let bidders choose their own values. In general bidders chose wisely although there were bidding contests throughout the auction.

Here are the numbers:

Year Cars Sold/ Offered Sale % Sold < Low Est Sold > High Est Average Sale Median Sale Total $
2023 51/53 96.2% 47.3% 16.4% $142,240 $77,280


2022 35/44 79.6% 62.9% 8.6% $197,137 $97,440


2021 34/41 82.9% 39% 14.6% $270,671 $162.400



On-site observations and comments are by Rick Carey. The sale is sorted in lot number order.

Lot # 03 1963 Facel Vega Facel II Coupe; S/N HK2B141; Cream/Dark Red leather; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $85,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $95,200. – 383/355hp Chrysler, single 4-barrel, chrome wire wheels, narrow whitewalls, automatic, Pioneer CD stereo, Euro headlights, power windows. – Dirty, rusty wire wheels, old undercoat. Sound, aged original upholstery. Edge chipped old repaint over old paint. Fair chrome. – Reported sold by Bonhams at Greenwich fifteen months ago for $179,200. It had “potential” then, and it still does today although at a much more responsible price. It needs everything and everything on a Facel II is expensive which fits better with this result.

Lot # 06 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Coupe; S/N DB62541L; Engine # 4002582V; Silver/Red leather; Estimate $200,000 – $300,000; Cosmetic restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $250,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $280,000. – 3,995/325hp, 5-speed, chrome wire wheels, Sony CD stereo power windows, power outside mirrors, air conditioning. – Good older paint and chrome. Lightly stretched upholstery. Road used chassis and engine compartment. Rusty wheels. Sitting without being driven for the last 17 years, it is a driver-quality car that can be driven only after sinking generous amounts into making it run and drive reliably and safely. – This is a magnanimous price for a neglected Aston that needs copious work and deep pockets to make it something that can be enjoyed, let alone shown.

Lot # 07 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Convertible; S/N 11304412015139; Dark Grey/Grey leatherette; Grey top; Estimate $50,000 – $60,000; Unrestored original 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $63,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $70,560. – 2,778/160hp, Frigiking air conditioning, automatic, Becker Mexico cassette stereo, wheel covers, power steering, two tops, books, manuals, data card, service records. – Mostly original showing 85,666 miles on the odometer and the car. Paint checking and peeling on the left front fender. Worn original upholstery. Good but aged dash and gauges. Road used and grungy engine compartment. – Attractive for its unspoilt originality but begging for a quality repaint and engine compartment cleanup to match its preservation. After that, however, it will not be a “Preservation” car, but at least it will be presentable. Even taking that into account this is a pleasing 280SL at this price.

Lot # 09 1915 Mercer 22-70 Sporting; S/N 2366; Engine # 2199; Burgundy, Black fenders/Black leather; Black leatherette top; Estimate $110,000 – $130,000; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $140,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $156,800. – 296/70hp inline four, 4-speed, rear wheel brakes, dual rear-mounted spares, black wire wheels, Mercer shield-shaped rear view mirrors. – Andrew Edmonds Collection. Ex-Harrah’s. Restored in the early 90’s and won Pebble Beach 3rd in class in 1991, later AACA Grand National First Prize. Good old paint and interior. Unrestored firewall. Engine water pump leak. Orderly engine compartment. Old, but not so old it can’t or shouldn’t be driven after some attention. – Sold to the present owners at Christie’s Pebble Beach auction in 1999 by Robert and Linda Sohl for $101,500 when it was still in nearly concours condition. It has, let it be said, aged in the past 24 years but is still a wonderful old car and an important marque with sleek sporting coachwork. This is not a big, elegant car but rather a low slung fast automobile that set standards for performance and style in 1915. It deserves to be preserved in this condition to show among other things the progression of restoration standards over the years.

Lot # 19 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Coupe; S/N DB62542LN; Silver Birch/Blue leather; Estimate $120,000 – $180,000; Cosmetic restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $140,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $156,800. – 3,996/282hp, triple SUs, automatic, chrome wire wheels, Pirelli tires, Blaupunkt multiband radio, air conditioning, fog lights and underbumper rectangular auxiliary lights. – Superficial cosmetic restoration. Overspray on body seals, driver’s door drops a little, lots of matte silver paint underhood. Paint blotches on the left rear fender and deck lid. Dirty wheels. Very Blue interior but with limited use. Blistering dash top on the speedometer binnacle. Apparently neglected for years and shows it. – Sold by RM at Monterey in 2002 for $81,400 and feeling the effects of the intervening two decades with scant attention or use in the last decade. It is somewhat surprising it made this much taking its condition into account but has potential.

Lot # 21 1959 Fiat-Abarth 750 Derivazione Berlina; S/N 737815; Engine # 1890618; Cream/Beige cloth, fiberglass; Estimate $18,000 – $24,000; Competition restoration 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $15,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $16,800. – 990/70hp later 903 Fiat engine, 4-speed, Abarth wheels and tach, Koni shocks. – Sound but tired and beaten upon. Not Abarth stamped but authenticated as a Derivazione by Dr. Steven Knee. Actively raced in VSCCA in the Northeast and looks like it. – Reported sold by Bonhams at Scottsdale in 2019 for $22,400. It has been raced since but is in good weekend race car condition with bumps and bruises enough that it can be raced or driven on the street with confidence and is a good value in this transaction, a lot of performance for the money.

Lot # 23 1958 Jaguar XK 150S Roadster; S/N T831750DN; Dark Green/Brown leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $100,000 – $130,000; Modified restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $100,800. – 3,781/265hp, triple SU carburetors, overdrive 4-speed, chrome wire wheels, originally a 3.4, upgraded to 3.8 litres and restamped, fender mirrors, driving light, fog light. – Good paint, scuffed on the rear deck from the top. Excellent chrome and lightly stretched upholstery. Orderly but aged engine compartment. – Without all the upgrades and the potentially confusing engine restamp this XK 150S could easily have brought 1/4 to 1/3 more than this result but that’s the risk of making positive performance improvements. The new owner will enjoy the car and its performance.

Lot # 24 1977 Aston Martin V8 S3 Coupe; S/N V811759LCA; Red/Beige leather; Estimate $70,000 – $100,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $55,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $61,600. – 5,340/300hp, four Weber carburetors, ZF 5-speed, alloy wheels, Avon tires, CD stereo – Sound older repaint with minor spots and swirl. Good chrome and original upholstery. Dirty chassis and underbody. A presentable driver but neglected for over a decade and will need thorough recommissioning. – One of many similar cars Bonhams has been parceling out over the past few years after being stored and neglected for decades and of which there were several in today’s sale at the Audrain Motor Week and Concours auction. They have become a drag on the market, but also offer inherently attractive cars at affordable prices for those willing and able to spend what it takes to make them reliable, not a small commitment.

Lot # 25 1974 Porsche 911 2.7 Coupe; S/N 9114100154; Gazelle Metallic/Brown vinyl; Estimate $40,000 – $50,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $39,200. – 2,687/143hp, fuel injection, Fuchs wheels, Dunlop tires, 5-speed, Panasonic cassette stereo. – Mostly original. Rust blistered clearcoat repaint. Sound upholstery. 108,136 miles. A usable but a bit tired early 911 in stock condition. – Anyone looking to send a 911 to Singer for the treatment doesn’t need to look far beyond this 74 911 2.7 although it’s also potentially a rewarding driver at an affordable price.

Lot # 26 1931 Frazer-Nash Interceptor Touring, Body by Wylder of Kew; S/N 2033; Engine # 10256; Black/Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $200,000 – $250,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $200,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $224,000. – RHD.1,496cc Meadows OHV 4-cylinder, dual Amal carburetors, 4-speed chain transmission, Lucas headlights, 4-wheel brakes, rear-mounted spare, folding windshield. – One of approximately 350 “chain-drive” Frazer-Nashes built, exploiting the efficiency of chain drive and a locked rear axle to maximize performance from a variety of modest-sized engines. In the same collection for four decades. The coachbuilder is based upon inference not evidence. A highly original car with older attention to paint, body fabric and upholstery. – One of the pleasures of viewing an out of the ordinary old car at a Bonhams auction is listening to Bonhams specialist Evan Ide explain its operation and extol its virtues. Such was the case with this “chain gang” ‘Nash as he talked about its driving dynamics, “You don’t steer it through a corner. With the locked rear axle you start the corner with the steering, then let the rear tires catch up and find yourself going in a different direction.” Hidden away within a few miles of the Newport, RI auction site for years, it is a marvelous find, greasy and oily but entirely presentable and ready to return to the road. And if the term “gearbox” is strangely British consider the F-N “chain gang” where the sprockets, chains and copious amounts of grease are, in fact, contained within a wooden box in front of the axle, a box that is still as-built in Britain in 1931. It is a wonderful contraption and it brought a moderate price that ignores its history, originality, rarity and performance.

Lot # 27 1922 Bentley 3-Litre Short Chassis Touring, Body by Park Ward; S/N 166; Engine # 164; Burgundy, Black fenders/Brown leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $250,000 – $300,000; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $235,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $263,200. – RHD. 2,996/82hp, dual SU carburetors, 4-speed, black wire wheels, Firestone tires, right sidemount, CAV electric headlights, folding windshield, documented with the original Bentley guarantee. – Originally a standard single carburetor intake, later updated with dual carburetors and higher compression. Restored in Australia in the 70’s with the present VdP-style fenders and front wheel brake axle. Present ownership since 1979. Represented as the original engine, gearbox and rear axle. Very good older paint and nickel trim. Good upholstery. Old top. An outstanding and superbly preserved old restoration that needs nothing. – A solid, sound, largely original early 3-litre on the desirable short wheelbase chassis, it’s not going to win any concours awards but will make itself known on tours or on back country roads and is a good value at this price.

Lot # 32 1963 Lotus Super Seven 1500 S2 Roadster; S/N SB1732; Engine # 116E134567; BR Green, Yellow nose band/Black leatherette; Estimate $25,000 – $35,000; Recent restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $27,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $30,240. – RHD. 1,498/100+hp 116 engine, dual Weber carburetors, 4-speed, 8-spoke alloy wheels, Dunlop tires, roll bar, 5-point belts, Plexiglas windscreens, Penske coilovers, fuel cell. – Good paint but stone chipped rear fenders, otherwise pristine. The first car from the James Messenger estate collection with the consistently exceptional presentation and better mechanical and technical execution that is typical of the Messenger cars. This may not be a factory Super Seven, but it is in better fettle than a Seven ever left Hethel. – This is bargain Caterham money for a real Lotus Seven, modifications even considered. The workmanship and preparation of this little rocket are above reproach and it couldn’t be duplicated for this price even if the Seven was free.

Lot # 33 1976 Morgan Plus 8 Roadster; S/N R7977; Engine # 48113987; Red/Black leather; Black top; Estimate $25,000 – $35,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $23,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $25,760. – RHD. 3,528/168hp Rover V8, 4-speed, alloy wheels, Dunlop SP Sport tires, Moto-Lita woodrim steering wheel, Kenwood stereo, rear-mounted spare, driving lights. – Good paint but otherwise a used car not up to the usual standards of the Messenger cars but still a choice piece that needs only recommissioning to be appreciated and enjoyed. – The early cars in the Messenger estate collection were enjoyable but not exceptional and largely stock, as this Morgan is. What may have been in Jim Messenger’s mind could have been something more with the B-O-P V8 leveraged with performance enhancements seen in the later cars from this collection. As it is, though, the new owner got serious Morgan performance for a bargain price, a really good deal.

Lot # 34 1958 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster, Body by Reutter; S/N 84882; Engine # 69103; Red/Beige leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $350,000 – $400,000; Recent restoration 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $270,000 plus commission of 11.85%; Final Price $302,000. – 1,582/60hp, 4-speed, chrome wheels, hubcaps, Michelin XZX tires, tool roll, weather equipment, bumper overriders. – James Messenger estate. Replacement engine. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Barely used upholstery. Sharp engine compartment. Nearly impeccable in every way. – The replacement engine and color change from Meissen Blue are but quibbles when considering this Speedster and the admitted replacement engine is from the ’58 356A/1600 sequence. It is a bargain for its condition in this transaction.

Lot # 35 1956 Austin-Healey 100S conversion Roadster; S/N BN2232944; Engine # 1B232944; OE White, Dark Blue/Blue leather; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Modified restoration 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $120,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $134,400. – 2,660/145hp, overdrive 4-speed, white wire wheels, Vredestein tires, woodrim steering wheel, full width Plexiglas windscreen, outside fuel filler. – James Messenger estate collection. Based upon a factory 100/M Le Mans car. Replacement chassis frame from Kilmartin. Represented as the matching-numbers engine upgraded to 100S specs. Excellent paint and upholstery, blemished steering wheel spokes. The underbody is restored like new. – There are only some 50 Austin-Healey 100S built and their allure is potent, so if one isn’t readily at hand the opportunity to build a conversion based upon hundreds of 100/4s and 100Ms is significant, as seen here. It isn’t what it purports to be, but on the Colorado Grand it will perform like its prototype at a fraction of an original’s quarter million dollar price.

Lot # 36 1958 Proteus C-type Replica Sports; S/N CC2174; Engine # LB2214-8; Dark Green/Green leather; Estimate $100,000 – $150,000; Non-factory replica 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $155,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $173,600. – RHD. 3,781/160hp, three old style black label Weber 40 DCOE carburetors, cold air box, 4-speed, silver painted wire wheels, Avon tires dual windscreens and full width Plexiglas aeroscreen, Spax coilovers. – Alloy body. Road dirty engine compartment and chassis. Good paint and upholstery. Messy wiring. A C-Type replica that’s seen many miles despite showing only 71 on its odometer. – All things being updated and engine construction techniques having advanced a lot since the early Fifties the 160hp represented is probably from the MK II Saloon from which the engine was sourced. With three dual choke Webers, headers and who knows what for cams it’s probably 200+ hp. Jim Taylor claimed 275hp for his 3.4 litre Proteus C-Type a year ago at Broad Arrow. Based on recent similar sales this result is a curve-setter.

Lot # 37 1962 Jaguar XKE SI Fixed Head Coupe; S/N 865985; Silver, Maroon stripes/Black cloth; Estimate $110,000 – $150,000; Competition restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $117,500 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $131,600. – 4,235/300hp, Tremec 5-speed, Torq-Thrust alloy wheels, Goodyear Sports Car Special tires, braced roll bar, Momo leather rim steering wheel, single seat, Accusump, fire system, Schroth belts. – Built up from a derelict by Classic Showcase about 20 years ago and presented in very well-engineered and -built condition from the James Messenger estate collection. Very good paint. Orderly and professional cockpit and engine compartment. Appears to be race-ready. – This Jag Lightweight Replica is almost too pretty to be subjected to serious competition, but why else to have it since it’s not remotely street legal. The preparation and specifications are superb and couldn’t come close to being replicated for the amount paid for it here, representing something of a bargain for a serious performance oriented purchaser.

Lot # 38 1947 Mercury 76M Station Wagon, Body by Iron Mountain; S/N 799A1597660; Sand, Wood, cobra grain roof/Brown leather; Estimate $50,000 – $60,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $65,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $72,800. – 239/100hp Flathead, 3-row seating, overdrive 3-speed. radio, heater, trim rings, hubcaps, wide whitewalls, bumper tips, enclosed rear-mounted spare. – James Messenger estate collection. Wood appears to be mostly original with minimal damage, water stains or filler. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Scratches on the right grille surround. Good dashboard and gauges. An altogether pleasing and rare Mercury Woodie – This is a better and more rare car than the pre-sale estimate range gives it credit for but the bidders were not misled. Even this price represents good value for money.

Lot # 39 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet; S/N 11102722003247; Engine # 11698012002896; Metallic Red/Beige leather; White vinyl top; Estimate $300,000 – $350,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $260,000 plus commission of 11.92%; Final Price $291,000. – automatic, power windows and steering, Behr air conditioning, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, Becker Europa AM-FM, tools, books, manuals. – James Messenger estate collection. Excellent paint and chrome. Good older upholstery and interior trim. Excellent engine compartment in nearly showroom condition. Impressively clean and well-maintained. – This is a very good value in one of the most coveted of Mercedes from the Seventies, effectively the last hand-crafted Mercedes-Benz. The colors are great although the white vinyl top should really be replaced with beige cloth to match the interior. At this price the new owner has plenty of headroom to make that change with more left over.

Lot # 40 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce Spider Race car; S/N AR149501911; Engine # AR1315012645; Red/Black vinyl, cloth; No top; Estimate $30,000 – $50,000; Competition restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $28,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $31,360. – 1,290/115hp, 5-speed, wraparound Plexiglas windscreen, two seats, 6-point Schroth belts, Sparco steering wheel, roll bar, Tecnomagnesio alloy wheels, Avon tires, fire system. – Very good cosmetics and race prep. Two long paint cracks at the front of the hood. Many tech stickers. Like most of the other cars from the James Messenger estate this Giulietta is impeccably prepared and equipped. It shows race use (a lot) but also superb maintenance. – The parts alone on this Giulietta Spider Veloce race car would cost way more than what it brought here today and it is almost embarrassing that it didn’t fetch more money. But that makes it an especially good value for its new owner.

Lot # 41 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTV “Hot Rod”, Body by Bertone; S/N AR614896; Engine # AR0622432836; Red, Yellow nose/Grey leatherette; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Modified restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $75,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $84,000. – 1,962/140hp Twin Spark engine, 5-speed, 14-inch alloy wheels, Falken tires, 45DCOE Weber carburetors, Pittatore cams, electronic ignition, variable cam timing, oil cooler, aluminum radiator, Tilton pedals, limited slip, 4-point belts, Koni shocks, ventilated disc brakes. – One of three Alfa GTs in the Messenger collection, loaded with sophisticated technical features and done with minute attention to fit, finish and function. Excellent paint, interior and spotless engine compartment. One yellowed gauge lens. This is, surprisingly, not a race car but rather a purpose-built fast touring machine. – “140hp”? Not even close. In fact, it is probably closer to double that and incredibly thoughtfully conceived, designed and executed with everything neatly laid out and tidy. Like many of the other Messenger cars in this sale it exudes careful consideration and willingness to push the 105 Alfa envelope designed to make Alfisti’s eyes water with envy. Including mine where a photo of the engine now resides on my computer’s desktop to remind me of what my 105 GT should look like (it doesn’t.) It is worth every penny of the price paid here and opening the hood at any Alfa gathering will draw an envious crowd.

Lot # 42 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight conversion Coupe; S/N 9113601403; Engine # 6631129; Tangerine, Black “Carrera”/Black cloth; Estimate $450,000 – $500,000; Recent restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $385,000 plus commission of 11.30%; Final Price $428,500. – 2,687/210hp, Schroth belts, 5-speed, Fuchs wheels, Pirelli tires, Prototipo leather rim steering wheel. – A “Touring” Carrera RS 2.7 modified to M471 specs. James Messenger estate collection. Excellent paint and lightly used upholstery. Good chrome and bright trim. A driver’s Porsche that didn’t begin life as it appears today but will be a thrill on the road. – It is clear from the composition of James Messenger’s collection that what he valued most was performance and was prudent enough to accept carefully and accurately built replicas and maintain them impeccably to gain the reward he sought on the road or race track. This result wouldn’t buy a well-used original M472 Touring but few will care when carving back road turns with it.

Lot # 43 1968 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTV Race car, Body by Bertone; S/N AR252824; Engine # AR01629001486; Red, Yellow, Green stripe/Red cloth; Estimate $25,000 – $35,000; Competition restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $50,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $56,000. – 1,962/140hp single plug engine, Sparco seat, Accusump, fire system, 45DCOE Weber carburetors, braced roll cage, alloy wheels, Hoosier tires, 5-speed, Schroth belts, single seat, no alternator or generator. – Excellent cosmetics. Dirty chassis. Beautifully built and then raced extensively which shows in its condition. – Instantly competitive on any race track and impossible to duplicate, or even approximate, for the price it brought here even at well over the pre-sale high estimate.

Lot # 44 1973 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTAm “Hot Rod”, Body by Bertone; S/N AR3021976; Engine # AR0150008530; Red, White stripes/Black cloth, Grey leatherette; Estimate $60,000 – $80,000; Modified restoration 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $100,800. – 1,962cc Twin Spark engine, 45DCOE Weber carburetors, 5-speed, Minilite alloy wheels, Toyo tires, two Recaro seats, lightweight alternator, riveted fender flares, fire system, adjustable brake balance, braced roll bar, fuel cell, Lexan side windows – James Messenger estate collection. Immaculately executed and imaginatively conceived and engineered. Doesn’t appear to have had any significant use. Twin Spark engine, stripped and finished inside and out to high standards. – The last of James Messenger’s three Alfa GTs, each modified to different purposes but done to the same high standards with variable use. They are an intriguing statement of curiosity about the Alfa GT’s possibilities and seem to have been built to try different approaches. This one is freshly done and magnificent right down to the GTA-style outside door handles. Like the other two, it couldn’t be duplicated for anything close to the price it brought here and it will excite the imagination of anyone curious about enhanced performance.

Lot # 45 1955 Jaguar XK 140MC Roadster; S/N S810691; Engine # G2044-8S; OE White/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $130,000 – $160,000; Older restoration 2+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $115,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $128,800. – 3,442/210hp, 4-speed, chrome wire wheels, Dunlop Road Speed tires, multiband radio, fender mirrors, Lucas headlights and fog lights, tools, jack, grease gun, books. – Restored in the late 90’s and still better than new without going too far. JCNA judged 100 points eight consecutive times. James Messenger estate collection. – A real showpiece, impeccably restored and then preserved in still fresh condition, a two decades old restoration that looks like it was done last year. The restoration’s age may mitigate bidders’ willingness to bid top dollar but this is, relative to similar XK 140MCs, a distinct value, even a bargain.

Lot # 46 1966 Jaguar XKE SI 4.2 Roadster; S/N 1E3931; Engine # EJ11455; Dark Blue/Dark Blue leather; Blue leatherette top; Estimate $180,000 – $220,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $165,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $184,800. – 4,235/265hp, 5-speed, chrome wire wheels, Vredestein tires, pushbutton radio, tools, jack, wheel nut hammer. – James Messenger estate. Excellent paint, upholstery and chrome. The engine compartment is show polished. The driver’s seat is slightly stretched. Not fresh but very good everywhere. Tremec 5-speed, original 4-speed included. Represented as the original engine block and cylinder head. – A visually captivating E-Type in its original all-Blue livery. The combination of the driver friendly Tremec 5-speed contrasts with the car’s lack of use but it is still a great value in this transaction.

Lot # 47 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster; S/N 19804210002689; Anthracite Metallic/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $1,200,000 – $1,400,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $1,170,000 plus commission of 10.43%; Final Price $1,292,000. – 2,996/225hp, 4-speed, polished wheels, hubcaps, radio, Euro headlights, Becker Mexico radio, Ivory steering wheel and shift knob, tools, jack. – James Messenger estate. Represented as the original engine. Excellent older paint, fresh upholstery. Bright chrome. Orderly engine compartment. Handsome if not fresh, having been restored in the late 90’s. – Had you been at Kruse Auburn Fall in 2003 you could have seen this 300SL Roadster cross the block without selling on a reported bid of just $175,000. Oh, the missed opportunity. Yet even at almost seven times that result it is still a solid value in a beautifully presented 300SL Roadster in 2023.

Lot # 50 1960 Aston Martin DB4 S2 Coupe; S/N DB4414R; Engine # 370423; Light Green/Dark Green leather; Estimate $500,000 – $600,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $350,000 plus commission of 11.43%; Final Price $390,000. – RHD. 3,670/240hp, 4-speed, chrome wire wheels, Avon tires, power windows, Becker Mexico stereo, Harvey Bailey handling kit, Nardi woodrim steering wheel. – Excellent paint except for a 1/2 inch crack on the left front fender. Barely used upholstery. Lightly road used chassis and underbody. Bright chrome. Peculiar engine stamping suggests a replacement engine. James Messenger estate. – Lightly road used and appearance modified after accident damage plus the engine replacement uncertainty and righthand drive do not commend this otherwise attractively presented DB4 and account for the relatively modest price it brought in this auction.

Lot # 51 1962 Shelby Cobra 289 Continuation Roadster; S/N CSX8982; Engine # 12K3120; Black/Red leather; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Unrestored original 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $160,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $179,200. – 363/500hp Ford, four downdraft Weber carburetors, Tremec 5-speed, limited slip axle, chrome wire wheels, Firestone tires, grille and trunk guards, wind wings, outside mirrors, fiberglass body. – James Messenger estate. Excellent paint and upholstery. Barely used consistent with the 1,193 miles on the odometer with small scuffs on the rear deck from the top. Tidy underhood and impressive with the four Webers with velocity stacks. – Another example of James Messenger’s preference for performance in the cars he owned. While many of the cars in this collection are authentic in construction and layout almost all of them exhibit serious performance enhancement and exquisite preparation and presentation. This is a sanctioned Shelby 50th Anniversary built in 2011. The 500hp 363 cid Ford “small block” engine highlights the evolution of performance cars in the half century since the original Cobra’s 289/271hp “Hi-Po” and it is nice to see this kind of power inside the original Cobra body design even if it’s glass fiber.

Lot # 52 1971 Triumph TR 6 Roadster Race Car; S/N CC63064L; Red, White stripes/Black cloth; No top; Estimate $20,000 – $30,000; Competition restoration 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $25,000 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $28,000. – 2,498/170hp six, Cannon intake, triple 40DCOE Webers, Tremec 5-speed, Quaife limited slip differential, alloy radiator, Kirkey seat, 4-point Racequip belts, braced roll cage, fire system, 8-spoke Panasport alloy wheels, Hoosier tires. – Impressively clean and sanitary. Done to impressive standards mechanically and cosmetically. James Messenger estate. – Proving the James Messenger was no less sympathetic to other marques as he was to his Alfas this TR6 race car is built to the same high standards of fit, finish, function and specification, a wonder of thoughtful concept and execution. It is only short of a thorough and professional checkout for being track ready and competitive. It would not be at all surprising to see a thoroughly race-prepared Bugeye Sprite sell for this much but this TR6 will get to the finish line a lot sooner.

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