Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

RM Auction, Part 3

Continuing our tour of the auction autos, we encounter a 1956 Jaguar XK140 MC Roadster — 210 bhp, 3,442 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, C-Type cylinder head, twin SU carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs, double wishbones and anti-roll bar, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.

Love the grill!

The XK140 offered here is a desirable “MC”, or Special Equipment model, outfitted by the factory with a high-compression cylinder head, as used on the C-Type racing cars, giving it the ability to produce 210 roaring horses; a crankshaft damper; a dual exhaust; wire wheels; fog lamps; and windshield washers, producing an ideal automobile for fast Continental touring. Restored only a few years ago, it is presented here in Carmen Red with a complementary red leather interior, and it has been driven only about 1,000 miles since. It promises numerous opportunities for exciting travel for its new owner.

Expected price: $100K - $130K. Actual price: $93.5K.

Next up is a 1934 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Sedan by Fleetwood — 185 bhp, 452 cu. in. overhead-valve V-16 engine, three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and three-quarter floating rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 154 in.

The model had been redesigned for the last time this model year, adopting the new, in-vogue, streamlined styling with pontoon fenders, flowing bullet-shaped headlights, and aerodynamic grilles. Underneath, however, was essentially the same car introduced in 1930. Then, Owen Nacker’s magnificent porcelain and iron V-16 had been an engineering masterpiece. Its 45 degree vee, unusually narrow for the period, and a three-inch stroke allowed for a relatively compact 452-cubic inch engine with a short crankshaft, which ran on five main bearings. While other engines of the period emphasized speed and power, the Cadillac Sixteen impressed first with smoothness and silence, so that passengers were astonished to note that they were cruising along at 70 mph.

For many years, it was maintained as an immaculate, unrestored car that was still kept in wonderful running condition when it was passed to a new owner in 2007, a prominent collector who, as a condition of the trade, had to find another V-16 to replace it in the Cadillac-focused Barnhart mews.

The new owner sent the car immediately to the well-respected firm of Stone Barn Restorations in Vienna, New Jersey, which performed a painstaking restoration, made very easy by the fact that the car was basically entirely complete and in excellent condition, with even the original paint largely unfaded. Because the car was so complete, a totally authentic restoration, correct down to the last tiny detail, was possible.

Asking price: $650K to $850K. Selling price: $825K.

Earlier I shared many photos of the Packards in Fort Lauderdale's Antique Car Museum and here is a 1938 Packard Twelve Convertible Sedan — Model 1608. 175 bhp, 473 cu. in. V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, solid axle rear suspension with longitudinal leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139 in.

Little-changed since its acquisition by the late John O’Quinn in the fall of 2006, the Packard Twelve presents well in black, with a corrected buttoned red leather interior and contrasting ivory steering wheel, shielded by a black Haartz cloth top. It is every bit the image of the late Classic Era Packard—large, black, imposing, and impressive—but it is able to be converted within a few minutes to a rakish open tourer for summer day driving.

Expected price: $150K - $200K. Actual price: $132K.

Shear elegance exudes from this 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Oxford Seven-Passenger Tourer — 40/50 hp, 468 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with cantilever leaf spring platform suspension, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 143.5 in.

The Rolls was eventually sold from the Pollard Collection into the care of Robert Merrifield, and it was maintained by him until late-2009. Importantly, its long-term preservation by caring owners, never having been allowed to fall into the hands of well-intentioned customizers or a scrapyard, has allowed the car to retain its original engine, chassis frame, and body, and so it remains today very much as Mr. McHenry Esq. used it in Detroit. Incredibly, the Rolls still has under 25,000 actual miles—the vast majority likely covered in the ownership of its first two caretakers. It has recently been repainted and re-chromed, and it has had a full mechanical service.

This is a beautiful low-mileage example and is one of the earliest Springfield Rolls-Royces in existence today.

Expected price: $300K - $400K. Actual price: $220K.

The final vehicle on our auction tour is very special — a 1916 Pierce-Arrow Series 4 48HP Seven-Passenger Touring — 48 bhp, 525 cu. in. T-head six-cylinder engine, four-speed selective sliding-gear manual transmission, solid beam front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, semi-floating rear axle with three-quarter elliptic leaf springs, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142 in.

In contrast to Peerless and Packard, which introduced their new V-8 and “Twin Six” V-12 engines in 1916, Pierce-Arrow held firm to its line of powerful, large-displacement sixes through 1927. In particular, Pierce’s hallmark for many years was its T-head engine layout, which was produced in several sizes; for most of the teen years, they were available in 38-, 48-, and 66-horsepower variants. The Pierce-Arrow six was renowned from the beginning for its remarkable power and near silence, a trait that unexpectedly drew the favor of the era’s more successful bootleggers.

The car offered here is a seven-passenger touring of 1916, specially ordered without jump seats by Albert Swabacher. Mr. Swabacher was a banker who spent all available free time at a dude ranch he owned in the Teton Mountains, and it was there that the Pierce was kept, used for chauffeured hunting and fishing trips. The present owner has accumulated significant documentation on the car, including a photo showing it converted into a sort of early “motor home” with a bed in the back where Mr. Swabacher would camp out during the hunt, and another showing it being towed up a mountain by mules! It is important to note the horn mounted on the left; while he utilized a chauffeur, Mr. Swabacher preferred to blast the car’s horn himself, and he would often do so to alert his staff that he had returned from yet another expedition into the wilderness.

Asking price: $190K - $230K. Selling price: $181.5K.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com