5 Expected Top Sellers at Bonhams Philadelphia Auction
On Monday Oct. 6, Bonhams will throw open the doors of Philadelphia’s Simeone Automotive Museum and begin auctioning off a variety of vintage autos and automobilia; a fitting location even more befitting of the auction’s title, ‘Preserving the Automobile.’ We can’t help but speculate which cars will clock the highest bid at the drop of the gavel. Rolling across the block you’ve got your high-dollar European sports cars, storied survivors of deceased marques, and even a ’66 Land Rover 88, but these are the five cars we expect to nab the top dollar. Pair of 1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadsters Auction Estimate: $125,000 - $175,000
The 190SL was Mercedes’ budget-minded sports car (as budget-minded as a luxury Mercedes could be), in relation to its faster and more powerful older brother, the vaunted 300SL. But that didn’t make it any less incredible.
Its dashing good looks were enough to kill, and though rated at a non-threatening 105 horsepower, its comfortable ride and handling made it a big hit on these North American shores. The real question is, do you want black or red? (Lots 312, 331)
PHOTOS: See More of the Iconic Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster
1932 Cadillac V16 452-B 5-Passenger Sedan
Auction Estimate: $175,000 - $200,000
As we speak, Cadillac is hard at work on an all-new ultra-luxurious flagship sedan, but our hearts will always be taken by one of the company’s first – the V16. Built to set a new precedent for the world’s luxury automobiles, the V16 – which debuted at the 1930 New York Salon – did exactly that.
Its engine, a 7.4-liter 16-cylinder, developed only 165 horsepower, but it did so with such smoothness and composure. This example bears a five-passenger coach-built sedan body courtesy of Fleetwood. (Lot 340)
1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I
Auction Estimate: $200,000 - $250,000
Rolls-Royce and England. The two are synonymous, one as an institution, the other as its birthplace. But did you know Henry Royce built a bundle of Rolls-Royce motorcars in Springfield, Massachusetts? This was one of them.
The light blue Phantom boasts a 7.4-liter straight-six engine and single updraft carburetor, good for 108 horsepower. Originally, this chassis wore Warwick Limousine coachwork crafted by Brewster, but the Phantom’s later owner restored the chassis with a more stylized Piccadilly body. (Lot 346)
PHOTOS: See More of the Stunning Rolls-Royce Phantom I
1940 Alvis 12/70 Special
Auction Estimate: $200,000 - $250,000
The Alvis Motorcar Company hit the scene in 1919, debuting its first car – the side-valve, four-cylinder 10/30 horsepower – a year later in 1920. Alvis’ next big hit, the 12/50, sported another four-cylinder and scored a debut racing victory at England’s Brooklands circuit.
This is a 12/70 model, which originally came from the factory as a sports sedan, but was professionally converted in the 1990s to a two-seater in the same vein as its contemporary race-bred British sports cars. It now sports a 2.8-liter straight-six producing 95 horsepower. (Lot 348)
PHOTOS: Check out Alvis' post-war sports car, the 1952 Alvis TE 21 Drophead Coupe
1907 American Underslung 50HP Roadster
Auction Estimate: $900,000 - $1.2 Million
You read that right – a possible $1.2 million classic. Why? According to the Simeone Museum’s founder, the American Automobile Company’s Underslung is regarded as America’s first purpose-built sports car.
Hence its name, the Underslung sorted its frame below the axles, giving it a lower center of gravity and an aggressive profile. Power is pulled from a massive 7.8-liter four-cylinder engine, in the region of 50 horsepower, and sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual. This chassis carries with it a fully known history from new and the provenance of multiple high-status owners of its day. (Lot 341)
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