6 Stunning Open-Wheel Racecars Coming Up For Auction
Driving an open-wheel racecar is undoubtedly on the bucket list of more than a few enthusiasts. But actually owning one? That’s a whole new level of awesome that very few people will ever achieve in their lifetime. But good news: if you have deep pockets and a need for open-wheel speed, on August 13th, RM Auctions will open the doors in Monterey to one of the best assortments of classic, open-wheel racecars that have ever crossed the auction block. You definitely don’t want to pass up on any of these: 1948 Cistitalia-Fiat Speciale
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In 1937, after winning the Mille Miglia, Italian soccer player-turned racing driver, Piero Dusio, wanted to create his own racecar. But not just any racecar—a beautiful, sleek, streamlined Italian stunner. It just didn't end up being Italian.
After 1940s, economic strife troubled Cistitalia, the company relocated to Argentina where they created the D46 rear frame and suspension for the one-off Speciale you see here. The car utilizes both Cistitalia suspension components, and an 80-horsepower Fiat 1100 engine.
The car raced in Argentina from the 40s all the way through until the 70s, and next month is heading to the auction block. No price estimates were given.
1949 Lesovsky-Offenhauser Indianapolis “Blue Crown Special”
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Whereas the Cisitalia had understated styling and performance, the Lesovsky-Offenhauser Indy car went in a completely different direction. The car featured 300 horsepower, a three-speed transmission, a “Blue Crown” livery, and took third overall at the 1949 Indianapolis 500.
Created by Luigi Lesovsky for the Blue Crown Spark Plug team—headed by Lou Moore—the Blue Crown Special was as performance-oriented as it was pretty. Aside from the 300-horsepower engine, the build featured a more modern independent front suspension, dual drag-link steering, and a Meyer and Drake transmission.
The car finished no better than third in its entire career, before it officially retired in 1955. No word on how much this beauty will set you back.
1956 Kurtis 500S
Don’t be shocked that you’ve never heard of the Kurtis 500S—many people haven’t. The Kurtis brand was introduced in 1949 by longtime racing driver Frank Kurtis.
He wanted something that would embody racecars of the day. And in 1953, he was credited with being “the first man in America to attempt to produce an American production sportscar.” That car was the 500S.
This particular example is heading to auction in Monterey with a 205-horsepower V8, a five-speed manual gearbox, and likely a price tag of well over $200,000.
1960 Chevrolet CERV I
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There are only three words you need to know when it comes to this car: Zora. Arkus. Duntov. You might know him as the genius behind the Corvette's engineering, but in 1957, he was down in Sebring, Florida, dreaming up something completely different for the race track.
The Chevrolet CERV I was that open-wheel, mid-engine car he was dreaming of. The actual “build” of the car began early in 1960, but wasn’t finished until late summer of the same year. The end goal was to produce a lightweight, mid-engine vehicle capable of conquering on Pikes Peak.
Soon after production, that dream was realized as the CERV I made its way to Colorado. Duntov and engineers ran the vehicle 60+ times up the nearly 1-mile course before realizing that it wasn’t fit for Pikes Peak at all. Rather, it was fit for the track.
Having previously broken 170-mph at GM’s test track, Duntov believed that he could crack Bill France Sr.’s Daytona record of 180 mph behind the wheel of the CERV. It only hit 162 mph. But before Duntov went back to the drawing board, he dropped in a turbo, and pulled 500 horsepower from the previously 315-horsepower, 1,450 pound vehicle.
The one seen here has a 377 cu. in. V8 that Duntov himself installed after the turbocharged V8 mentioned above. It also has a top speed of 206 mph. You might want to have your checkbooks wide open for this piece of history.
1963 Watson Indianapolis “Diet-Rite Cola Special”
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When was the last time you had a Diet-Rite Cola? If your answer to that question is sometime in the ‘60s, then you might remember this Watson Indianapolis car that wears those colors loud and proud.
It was created by legendary fabricator A.J. Watson and featured a four-cylinder engine. It was later upgraded to a V8 in 1966 under ownership of Kenny Andrews of Burlington, Ontario, who regularly raced it on short tracks in Canada and the U.S.
In 2014, it clocked a top speed of 147 mph at California Speedway, and now, it’s looking for someone willing and able to keep it going strong on the race track.
1969 AAR Eagle Santa Ana Indianapolis
800 horsepower. A turbocharged Ford Racing V8. Hot Wheels-esque design. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, I’m not sure what will.
The AAR Eagle seen here was created in 1969, where in the same year, it took home a decent-enough sixth place finish at the Indianapolis 500. Even back in 1969, it was pushing out a monstrous 500 horsepower.
In 2001, longtime owner “Smokey” Yunick decided to sell the car, where it was later restored and even ran at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2008. Now it’s looking for a new owner. Price estimates haven’t been given, but you can guess this all-American monster won't go for cheap.
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