73 images of assorted cars from the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance,
including classics from the 1930s through the 1960s plus some modern supercars.
Each car has been researched and captioned with historical and model information.

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Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Index

Italian Cars: 1921-2005
Assorted Cars: 1900-1928
Assorted Cars: 1929-2005


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At the moment, there are  54 images in the Concours Automobiles Gallery.
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Ruxton 1929 X4491

The Ruxton 1929 Model C Roadster, the fifth of eight Baker-Raulang Roadsters built, won Third in Class at Pebble Beach.

One of only six or seven remaining in existence, this Ruxton 1929 Model C Roadster was restored by La Vine Restorations with a bold and unique livery with a color scheme of light raspberry, darker on the upper hood and body surfaces, with orchid trim and beltlines and taupe accents, wheels and interior. This Ruxton Model C Roadster was an early production model which was assembled in Philadelphia as one of approximately 12 cars which were built for the New York Auto Show.

This Ruxton has won the Swigart Memorial Cup for the most outstanding restoration of a rare and unusual automobile entered in a National AACA event, several 1st Prizes in National events and Best in Show at the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance in 1999.


Ruxton 1929 Detail X4492

Detail of the cat-like Woodlite headlight with its stylized griffin wing and the Ruxton emblem on the radiator.
Woodlite lamps were stylish but performed poorly in comparison to normal headlights. Most Ruxton owners
drove their cars only in daylight, replaced their headlights with normal units, or added auxiliary driving lights.

The Ruxton was conceived by William J. Muller, a development engineer at the Budd Body Company (which pioneered all-steel body construction for the Dodge Brothers in 1916) to demonstrate the advantages and versatility of front wheel drive. Muller designed the drive train, Joseph Ledwinka designed the body, and the engine was provided by Continental Motors. The design work began in 1926 and was completed late in 1928. The prototype was based on a proprietary chassis with a six-cylinder Studebaker engine and Warner gearbox. Budd brought the prototype to New York in early 1929 where its low profile, a good ten inches lower than the sleekest of its contemporaries, created widespread interest. The average American car of the day was 6 feet tall (72”). The Muller prototype was only 53” tall due to the elimination of the driveshaft to the rear wheels.

The original radiator emblem created for it was a rounded trapezoid with a question mark in its center. It was spotted by a promoter named Archie Andrews, a member of Budd’s board who was also on the board of Hupmoile. Andrews was captivated by the Budd prototype’s appearance, and when Hupmobile passed on the car, he quickly put together the New Era Motors syndicate to build it, hiring Muller to complete the design for production. The question mark on the radiator emblem was replaced by Ruxton and a stylized Griffin. William Ruxton was an influential financier, a partner in Spencer, Trask & Company and a governor of the New York Stock Exchange. Andrews never got an investment by naming his car after Ruxton.

This Ruxton 1929 Model C Roadster is believed to have been originally owned by Archie Andrews’ dentist.


Ruxton 1929 X4494

Muller’s finalized design was even better than the Budd prototype and it was completed very quickly, by the beginning of August, only months after the formation of New Era Motors in April. In this time Muller complete repackaged the drivetrain, incorporating a Continental 18S straight-8 and moving the engine forward for better weight distribution by splitting the transmission, placing low and reverse in front of the differential, second and third behind it and using worm drive instead of crown and pinion gearing. An I-beam solid axle joined the front wheels, which used Spicer U-joints.

Compared with its only front wheel drive competitor, Cord’s L-29 introduced in summer 1929, the Ruxton was lower, lighter and better balanced. It had much lower unsprung weight, giving it better ride and handling. Despite the Ruxton’s advantages, Cord had its own manufacturing plant and an established dealer and distribution network. The lack of distribution and financial manipulations in the wake of the Wall Street crash doomed Ruxton. It was well engineered, built to a high standard and Muller’s transaxle avoided the shortcomings of the Cord L-29. Had a major manufacturer with an established dealer network adopted the Ruxton design it might have demonstrated its quality and performance with smashing success. That didn’t happen and today few of these extraordinarily well-engineered and attractive automobiles survive.


Ruxton 1929 X4727

The Ruxton 1929 Model C Roadster has a 100 hp Continental 18S 4.4 liter inline-8 side-valve engine, a three-speed manual front wheel drive transaxle manufatured by Kissel, a deDion front suspension with leaf springs, a live axle rear suspension with leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. It also has a rumble seat, housed under the lid behind the top shown above.

Jim Fasnacht, a Ruxton historian and collector who owns seven Ruxtons, states that only 96 Ruxtons were built, 19 of which remain, and 17 of those are complete. Some Ruxtons were not sold until 1932, over a year after the company failed. The cars were mostly sedans built by Budd on dies and tooling used on some models of the English Wolseley. There were also two Phaetons built for the Kissel Brothers, one Hansom Town Car, a Saloon, the eight Baker-Raulangs and four other Roadsters.


Ruxton 1929 X4730

Over the years, Ruxtons began to diminish in numbers. The survival of most of the Ruxton motor cars in existence today is owed largely to collector and motoring enthusiast D. Cameron Peck, who accumulated as many Ruxtons as possible in the forties and fifties, saving the marque from the scrap metal drives of a war torn American automobile industry. There are only 6 or 7 known Ruxton Roadsters from the three year production run still in existence. While many more were built, the Roadsters are the scarcest, most desirable and most elegant models built by the factory. This superb and colorful Ruxton 1929 Model C Roadster, now in the Petersen Collection, also appeared at the 2007 and 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.


Ruxton 1929 Detail X4731

The Woodlite headlights and the front end of the 1929 Ruxton. Note the stylized griffin wings atop the slender
(stylish but essentially dim and inadequate) headlights and the matching griffin wing mascot atop the radiator cap.

Some incidental information on Bill Muller’s Ruxton Roadster Prototype.

While Bill Muller was building the Ruxton sedan prototype he also created his #2 Ruxton prototype, a 114” front-wheel drive supercharged roadster, on which he installed a Muller Front Drive badge which it still has today. After he completed the Roadster, he drove it throughout the US to demonstrate the front-wheel drive technology while the Ruxton production was being prepared. One of the places he took the Roadster was the 1930 Indianapolis Speed Week, where several Indy drivers turned 105 mph laps in the car after the race. They also engaged in a tug-of-war in the infield with the Cord L-29 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car, and after this stunt the Muller Roadster was nicknamed “The Alligator”. Muller kept the car and drove it as his personal car for several years, removing the supercharger after the first year. In the mid-30s, Muller replaced the Continental engine with a special Ford motor. When the car was restored by Coles Classic the engine was replaced with a Continental.


Stutz 1930 MB X4766

Stutz 1930 MB long wheelbase LeBaron Cabriolet, believed to be the last remaining long wheelbase LeBaron.

The Stutz Company’s reputation was for speed and durability, bolstered by their World Speed Record in a 24 hour endurance run in 1927 and their 2nd place in the 24 Hours at Le Mans in 1928, the best result for an American car until 1966. These were followed by another speed record at Daytona and a 5th at Le Mans the following year. This Stutz MB with LeBaron body was one of only two built in 1930. The 145 inch wheelbase was longer than the Duesenberg Murphy Roadsters (see below), and the car used an SV-16 322 cubic inch overhead cam inline eight cylinder engine with dual ignition. The interior featured figured rosewood and lizard upholstery (replaced with alligator-embossed leather during the restoration). The car has a rumble seat and a small door aft of the passenger side accesses the floor of the rumble seat for storage. The radiator features thermostatically controlled shutters which open to various settings or close based upon engine and ambient temperature. The car has dual side mounted spare tires between the fenders and running boards, with rear-view mirrors strapped to the tires. Refinished to its original colors, this 1930 MB is believed to be the last remaining long wheelbase Stutz LeBaron.

Harry C. Stutz grew up repairing agricultural machinery on his family farm near Indianapolis, and built his first car in 1897, then a second with a gasoline engine of his own design and manufacture. He founded the Ideal Motor Car Company in 1911, and after just a few months to develop a car, entered the Indianapolis 500 and placed a respectable 11th. Based on this performance he started producing passenger cars with a reputation for speed and durability. The following year, he renamed the company Stutz Motor Company and began selling high-performance roadsters. One of his early roadsters was the famous Stutz Bearcat, which was a road-going version of his racer released in 1912 with fenders, a trunk and lights added. He sold the company in 1919.


Stutz 1930 MB Interior X4773


Stutz 1930 MB Ornament X4769

Detail of the figured rosewood dash and accents of the Stutz MB and the alligator-embossed leather which replaced the lizard upholstery during the restoration. The Stutz “Ra” mascot, an Art Deco rendering of the Egyptian Sun God designed by Aurelius Marcus Renzetti and D. Carlton Brown and patented in 1926. The pharonic head graced the Stutz from 1926 to 1935, and is thought to have been inspired by the discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922.


Cadillac 1930 452 X4673

The Cadillac 1930 V16 model 452 Madame X Coupe.

First displayed at the New York Auto Show in January 1930, the Cadillac V16 was the culmination of the multi-cylinder war. Cadillac produced two of only three production V16 gasoline engines. The 175 hp 452 cubic inch (7.4 liter) engine was two OHV straight 8s with independent parts mounted at 45º with a common counterweighted crankshaft. One of Harley Earl’s earliest designs, the Madame X Coupe was named after a stage character he had recently seen. Although the name was never adopted by Cadillac, it was popular among enthusiasts.


Cadillac 1930 452 Ornament X4670

The first Madame X was not a Cadillac, but a 1929 LaSalle designed by Harley Earl, a low-slung LaSalle chassis (lowered nearly five inches) and a Fisher 4-door body with a special, ultra-thin pillar roof design. When asked what the unusual new styling was called, Harley said to “Just call it Madame X”, as he had just seen the play “Madame X” at the Aztec-themed theater in the new Fisher building across the street from the GM building and went backstage after the play to chat with the cast, where he met Pauline Frederick who had played the lead. Pauline Frederick must have impressed Harley to a great degree.

Along with the ultra-thin steel roof pillars, the flat windshield was raked back from the typical 7 degrees to 18 degrees, five chromed louvered doors were added to the hood cowling, stainless steel wire spoked wheels with snap-on stainless steel caps, a single-bar chrome bumper, and chrome trumpet-style horns on either side of the chromed screen covering the radiator grille adorned the front end, along with enormous bowl-shaped headlights with a chromed tie-bar holding the V16 medallion. All of the Madame X styles were closed-body coupes or sedans. Years later, when the play Madame X was again made into a film, the automobile featured in the film was a Cadillac V16 Madame X (of course).

Of the approximately 72 examples produced, only four 1930 V16 Madame X Coupes are known to exist.
The two passenger Fleetwood body has rear-hinged “suicide doors” and the Le Baron-style curved hood.
Al Capone had an armored seven-passenger Imperial sedan, essentially a stretched version of this body,
with 1/4" steel armor in the doors, five-layer laminated glass with side gun-ports, and a police band radio.


Cadillac 1930 452 Ornament X4671

The original version of the Goddess designed by William Schnell of Detroit, Michigan and patented in January 1930.

The original 1930-32 Cadillac Goddess had a somewhat astonished look on her face and both arms overhead, holding her long flowing hair and shawl which were flapping in the wind. Her long gown ended in a shell-shaped base. The Goddess was restyled for the 1933 Cadillac V16 models, with short hair and thick flowing wings, in chrome, silver or heavy gold-plated versions.


The first hood ornaments were the MotoMeters, an ornate thermometer which measured the temperature of the water vapor in the radiator. With improved thermostatic cooling and the movement of a temperature guage to the instrument panel in the late 1920s, the motometer was no longer needed and sometimes ornate hood mascots replaced it. The first mascot may have been the Spirit of Esctasy created by Charles Sykes for Baron Montagu's 1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost using Montagu's mistress Eleanor Thornton as a model. Sykes modified it under commission by Rolls-Royce in 1911, and it has appeared on their cars and been associated with the marque ever since (see Asst. Cars: 1900-1928 page).

Cadillac used MotoMeters until the end of the 1927 model year. In 1929, the first official mascot was the Herald. The Cadillac Heron (shown below) was used from 1930 to 1932, but it was too close to the Packard and Hispano-Suiza mascots and was replaced in 1933 with an Art Deco version that was more streamlined and abstract. The more popular mascot was the Cadillac Goddess, originally as shown above and used on the 1930-1932 models. For 1933, the Goddess was also restyled, with shorter hair and stylized 'wings' formed by the flowing material of her gown (see detail crop at left), looking very much like the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy. This was used from 1933-37, although there was a highly stylized version of the long-haired goddess available in 1934, and a smooth stylized version of the short-haired goddess with arms pointed back and no "wings" was available in 1936.

In 1937, the Goddess' hair grew longer and she acquired a glass vane to suggest wings. The 1938 mascot was lower and more Art Deco, with lines incised on the stylized arms. The 1939 version became even more sleek and stylized as shown below.


Cadillac 1939-40 Ornament X4667

The 1939-40 version of the glass-winged Cadillac Goddess, first adopted in 1937.
It was highly streamlined, and with no markings or engravings for the hair or wings.


Cord 1930 L29 X4752

The 1930 Cord L-29 Voll & Ruhrbeck Victoria Sport Cabriolet.

The first American front-wheel drive car to be offered to the public, the Cord L-29 beat the Ruxton (at the top of this page) to market by several months when it was released in the summer of 1929. It was inspired by the Harry Miller 1927 Detroit Special Indianapolis 500 racer, based upon his front wheel drive Miller 122, the first series-produced pure racing car, an 18 inch wide low-slung streamlined bullet he designed in late 1924. The 1927 Detroit Special was designed by Miller engineer and driver Cornelius Willet Van Ranst, who also worked as an engineer for Duesenberg and Cord. At Cord, he was instrumental in the design of the Cord L-29, which was (under)powered by a 4.9 liter 125 hp L-head Lycoming engine from the Auburn 120.

The 1930 Cord L-29 Voll & Ruhrbeck Victoria Sport Cabriolet (chassis number 2927898, engine FD 3029, body 1686) originated as one of four L-29 show cars which Cord shipped to Europe to tour the Motor Shows to help spur the European fascination with his new front-wheel-drive car. The story goes that it was decided that a custom European chassis would help promote the car, and one of the chassis from the show cars was removed and sent to the Voll & Ruhrbeck coachbuilders in Berlin, who built bodies for the finest European chassis such as Mercedes, Bugatti, Daimler, Mayback and Rolls-Royce. Voll & Ruhrbeck created a cost-no-object custom body for the L-29, which was displayed after completion at the Berlin Motor Show in February 1931, presented by the new Miss Germany Ruth Ingrid Richard.

A classic pre-war German convertible, it has massive doors, a five-passenger interior in thick leather and polished mahogany, and front bucket seats which were unknown in America at the time. The body features contrasting beltline moldings on the hood and doors and matching moldings around the doors and flowing around the fenders, a low raked windshield with a subtle glass visor, and a top with slender Landau irons which wraps around an unusual spring-loaded mechanism which assists in raising and lowering the top. The windows roll down through custom tracks which fold away and disappear when the windows and top are lowered. The top has a complete interior headliner, making the car seem like an enclosed body when the top is up.

In 1940, the car was sent to Argentina, which saved it from the fate of many great pre-war cars which were destroyed by bombs during World War II. When the car was brought to the US in the 1970s, it retained all of the custom parts made by Voll & Ruhrbeck and was the only known European-bodied Cord L-29 in existence. Restored by La Vine Restorations to its original magnificence beginning in 2004, it was completed just in time to be shown at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the first time the Voll & Ruhrbeck Cord L-29 had been shown to the world since the 1931 Berlin Auto Show.


Cadillac 1931 370A X4733

1931 Cadillac 370A V12 Fleetwood Roadster.

Cadillac’s V12 engine introduced in October 1930, nine months after the introduction of their new V16, offered their buyers a high-end option at a significantly reduced price. The V12 engine was mounted on a Series 355 chassis used in the V8 models, and shared the exclusive options available on the V16 (not available on V8 models). The Cadillac V12 engine was 368 cubic inches rated at 135 hp, and drove a 3 speed synchro-mesh transmission. 1931 was the last year for the Cadillac-Johnson carburetor (they changed to the Detroit Lubricator dual carburetor in 1932). The V12 and V16 engines helped propel Cadillac into competition with the most expensive cars in the world, and they were some of the best cars ever built by Cadillac.

The Fleetwood Roadster was the sportiest and most desirable of the V12 cars. In 1925, Fisher bought the custom coachbuilder Fleetwood to allow them to compete against Duesenberg and Auburn. They did most of their work for Cadillac, and after moving the operation to Detroit in 1930, focused specifically on GM and Cadillac custom work. Fleetwood had a reputation for the high quality of their interior woodwork. While some 370A bodies were built by Fisher (which the Fisher brothers sold to GM before buying Fleetwood), all of the body interiors were done by Fleetwood.

There were 74 1931 370A Fleetwood Roadsters built on the shorter 140 inch chassis, and this is one of seven known survivors. The Cadillac 370 V12 had a shorter wheelbase than the Cadillac 452 V16, with a choice of 140 inch or 143 inch compared to the V16 148 inch chassis, but it offered a similar choice of Fisher and Fleetwood semi-custom bodies. It was difficult to tell a Cadillac V12 from a Cadillac V16 unless you were close enough to read the figure 12 mounted on the headlight tie bar, but the hood was four inches shorter, and the headlights and horns smaller than a V16.

In 1931, a Cadillac V12 Roadster acted as the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500. The 1931 rumble seat Roadster was the last model that Cadillac would offer in their standard production line. The V12 cost about $2000 less than the V16 ($28,000 less in today’s dollars) and thanks to the lower price, in 1931 the V12 sold 5,733 units vs. the 363 V16s sold by Cadillac.


Cadillac 1931 370A X4734c

Front end detail of the Cadillac 1931 370A Roadster with the V12 badge,
the crowned Cadillac Crest logo and the original Cadillac Goddess mascot.


Cadillac 1931 452A Pininfarina X4518

The Cadillac 1931 452A Pininfarina V16 Roadster, one of the oldest surviving Pininfarina designs.

At the end of the 1920s, the biggest thing in engine design was the V12, and three American companies were competing to be the first to offer a V16 engine. Cadillac was the first to achieve this difficult feat, and in January 1930 they unveiled the 452 V16. They mounted two blocks from Buick 8 cylinder engines on a common crankcase with a single camshaft to operate the valve pushrods. The engine displaced 452 cubic inches (7.4 liters), producing 175 hp and prodigious torque. Cadillac offered the 452 complete with body (mostly by Fleetwood, some by Fisher), unlike many of its competitors which offered rolling chassis to be completed by a custom coachbuilder, but they supplied 21 rolling chassis to foreign coachbuilders, including this 452 to the newly founded Carrozzeria Pininfarina in Italy. The V16 elevated Cadillac to American icon status over Packard with its V12.

Battista Farina was born in 1893, the tenth of eleven children, and he was consequently called 'Pinin' Farina, meaning 'baby of the family.' He worked as an apprentice with the family coachbuilding firm of Farina before founding his own company in 1930, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. His first client in 1930 was Vincenzo Lancia. A year later the Maharaja of Orchha, Vir Singh II, commissioned a unique roadster on a Cadillac V16 chassis. Fewer than six Cadillacs were exported to India.


Cadillac 1931 452A Pininfarina X4516


Cadillac 1931 452A Pininfarina X4518c

Detail of the grillework of the 1931 Cadillac 452A, with the Flying Heron mascot and V16 badge.
The Heron, designed by John W. Hession Jr., was used on Cadillacs and LaSalles from 1930-32.


Cadillac 1931 452A Pininfarina X4520

The Maharajah of Orchha’s Pininfarina-designed Cadillac 452A was a boat-tailed Speedster with the rear compartment closed, and a dual-cowl phaeton with the compartment opened to reveal the single wide, high seat raised 12 inches above the driver for a 360 degree view, necessary as the Maharajah used it  for hunting tigers. The rear compartment had six individual velvet-lined gun compartments. The boat-tailed body was very fashionable at the time (it was possibly inspired by the boat-tailed 1928 Hispano-Suiza by Galle), although this version lacks running boards. It survived its jungle adventures and remained in the family of the Maharajah for nearly four decades, until it was sold in the 1960s.


Duesenberg 1929 J Murphy Coupe X4609

The 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe.

The Duesenberg brothers were superb self-trained engineers who built their first models entirely by hand. Eddie Rickenbacker drove a Duesenberg to 10th place at the Indianapolis 500 a year after they founded their company, and they won the race in 1924, 1925 and 1927. In 1921, Jimmy Murphy became the first American to win the French Grand Prix in a Duesenberg at Le Mans, and he used his Le Mans car to win the 1922 Indianapolis 500 (with a Harry Miller 3 liter engine inspired by the Peugeot Grand Prix engine). Although they were world-class engineers, their administrative and business skills were lacking, and their race successes did not translate into financial success. For instance, Fred Duesenberg designed the first hydraulic brakes for his 1914 racing cars, but did not obtain a patent which would have gained him a large fortune. In 1924, the business went into receivership, and in 1926, E. L. Cord, the owner of Auburn, bought the company, keeping the brothers for their engineering skills and challenging them to design an automobile that would be the best in the world. This became the Duesenberg Model J.

Frank Duesenberg’s Model J Grand Touring chassis was the American answer to Rolls-Royce, Hispano-Suiza, Mercedes-Benz and the like, and Fred Duesenberg’s straight-8 engine (built by Lycoming, another E. L. Cord company) used developments he learned with his successful racing cars, such as four valves per cylinder and dual overhead camshafts. The production engines were tuned to favor low-end torque, and produced over 330 ft/lbs of torque at 500 rpm. When tuned for peak horsepower, the engines produced 265 hp, more than double that of any other American passenger car.

Of the 427 Model Js produced, 116 were Murphy convertibles, bodied by Walter Murphy of Pasadena, California.


Duesenberg 1933 J Disappearing Top X4842


Duesenberg 1933 J Disappearing Top X4836

The 1933 Duesenberg Model J Bohman & Schwartz Disappearing Top Roadster.

With the top down and hidden, the disappearing top roadster displays classic clean roadster lines.


Duesenberg 1933 J Disappearing Top X4838

The Disappearing Top Roadster was first introduced by Walter Murphy in 1923. It featured a flush-fitting hinged rear deck-lid that extended to the back of the rear seats and concealed the folding canvas top. Their excellent reputation resulted in a commission from Duesenberg to create a body to exhibit on the long-awaited Duesenberg Model J to be shown at the 1929 New York Auto Salon in December 1928. Murphy eventually built 125 bodies for the Duesenberg Model J, 116 of them convertibles. This particular example was built in 1933, after Walter Murphy closed down his operation.

In late 1931, it became apparent to Walter Murphy that the demand for custom bodywork was dwindling beyond the level that was necessary to keep his coachbuilding operation going in its present state, so he sold it (after ceremonially burning all of his documentation and photographs of the Murphy shop’s bodywork). Two ex-Murphy employees offered to complete the remaining units in their own small shop, and called their operation Bohman & Schwartz. They were superb coachbuilders and operated in Pasadena, California for 12 years as a team and another 17 years independently.


Duesenberg 1933 J Ornament X4457

The Art Deco radiator cap mascot on the 1933 Duesenberg Model J Bohman & Schwartz Disappearing Top Roadster.


Duesenberg 1931 J Franay Sedan X4619

The Duesenberg 1931 Model J Franay Convertible Sedan “Queen Marie”, with René Lalique’s Chrysis atop the radiator cap.

This unusual long-wheelbase Duesenberg J Franay Convertible Sedan was purchased by Queen Marie of Yugoslavia after visiting the Duesenberg stand at the Paris Auto Show in 1931. One of two Duesenbergs on display at the show with Franay bodies, chassis 2465, engine J-446 with the Franay four door convertible Berline sedan body built on the 153" long wheelbase chassis cost $18,000 (the equivalent of $250,000 today). Queen Marie was known for driving her car herself, unusual for royalty at the time. She drove it extensively in the south of France and exhibited the car at the Cannes Concours when it was new. Queen Marie (Marija or Maria) of Yugoslavia was the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria through her mother, Queen Marie of Romania (born Princess Marie, daughter of Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh).

Queen Marie sold the car after the assassination of her husband, King Alexander I of Yugoslavia, in Marseilles in 1934 (one of the first assassinations caught on film) to Antonio Chopitea of Lima, Peru, who kept the car in Paris. It then passed to a Parisian brewer before being shipped to a new owner in New York. By 1941 the car was with a Mr. Warriner from Maryland. During his ownership the fenders were changed from the original long flowing factory type to the Pontoon type that it still wears today.


Duesenberg 1931 J Ornament X4622


Duesenberg 1931 J Ornament X4618

“Chrysis” by René Lalique, the radiator mascot on Queen Marie’s Duesenberg 1931 Model J Franay Convertible Sedan.

René Lalique recognized the need to bring art into everyday life, and before World War I he created
silver and bronze bas-relief "Targa" plates for the winners of the Targa Florio races, later designing a
trophy for the event. By 1920 he envisioned a new idea, to change the thermometer which once stood
atop the radiator cap to an elegant artistic device. His mascots symbolized energy, speed and motion;
religion; individuality and form of nature; and human sensuality and sexuality in animal and human form.


Duesenberg 1931 J Ornament X4615

“Chrysis” by René Lalique, introduced in March 1931. Originals from 1931 have sold for $10,000 plus.

Between 1925 and 1931, René Lalique produced 30 crystal mascots (there was a 31st, but it was produced exclusively for the British Royal Family). Today, only three complete sets of the Lalique mascots exist. Some are very rare... only 7 or 8 of the Renard (Fox) mascots are known to exist. Some of the mascots were thin and easily destroyed by flying rocks from the road.


Auburn 1932 Detail X4747


Auburn 1932 X4744

The 1932 Auburn Twelve Model 1250 Salon Phaeton Sedan.

In 1932, Auburn answered the challenge of the cylinder war begun by the release of the Cadillac V16s and V12s in 1930 by the release of the Packard Twelve, a narrow 45 degree V12 with a combustion chamber set at an angle to the cylinders. The valves were horizontally mounted in the heads (sometimes called a horizontal overhead valve configuration) and operated by a single camshaft. The 391 cubic inch Lycoming V12 with dual Stromberg carburetors developed 160 horsepower and the cars started at the extremely low price of $1105, the least expensive twelve cylinder engine ever produced. Releasing the car at this low a price backfired, as the public impression was that the engine quality was reflected by the price and the sales suffered, reducing profitability by 97% and costing Auburn $1 million in 1932.

The most interesting feature was the dual ratio differential by Columbia Axle which gave a 4.54 and 3.0 ratio on each gear, switchable on the dashboard, for great acceleration and low-RPM cruising. The Salon Phaeton was the top of the line model. The Packard Twelve set many speed records, some standing until after World War II, but the model was never profitable.

The Auburn V12 was derived from the E-1, an experimental prototype that E. L. Cord envisioned as his next masterpiece after the release of the Cord L-29. Originally intended to house a 491 cubic inch V16, the project was scaled back after the stock market crash to a V12 with the same displacement (the V16 engine was removed and used to power the onsite generator). The completed E-1 V12 limousine on a 157.6” wheelbase was used by Cord as his personal car, but the model was never released. Instead, the engine displacement was reduced to 391 cubic inches and released in 1932 in the Auburn Twelve.


Cadillac 1932 370B Fisher Sport Phaeton X4750

This 1932 Cadillac V12 model 370B Fisher Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton, one of three survivors of only 13 built, was the Logo Car for the Thomas Collection and used in the Rose Parade. The five-passenger Sport Phaeton, style 279, was built on a 140 inch wheelbase. The 370B introduced in 1932 was very similar to the 370A (shown further above), but with a vacuum tank fuel feed, a Cuno disc-type self-cleaning oil filter rotated when the clutch was depressed, and the new Detroit Lubricator dual carburetor. The dual exhaust system had tuning chambers in the mufflers rather than attached to the tail pipes.

In 1932, the models were longer and lower, and featured curved running boards which blended in with the front and rear fenders. Note the wind wings and tire covers with rear-view mirrors on this 370B Sport Phaeton. From my research, two of the last three surviving 370B Sport Phaetons still have their tire covers. This example has the Heron mascot, the other has the Goddess and a pair of fog lights.

Owen Nacker, the designer of the V16 engine, designed the V12 engine at the same time. Essentially, the only difference other than the lower number of cylinders was the slightly larger bore of the V12. Both engines had a 45 degree bank angle rather than the ideal 60 degree angle to reduce the width of the engine. The V12 had 135 hp (the V16 produced 175 hp). The V12 models cost $2000 less than the comparable V16 models, and outsold the V16s significantly. In 1931, 5733 model 370A V12s were sold vs. only 363 model 452 V16s). Due to the worsening Depression, in 1932 sales dropped to 1709 V12s and 296 V16s. By 1932, it was becoming obvious that the $54 million invested in the V16 ($750 million in todays dollars) would never be recouped and GM was considering dropping the Cadillac division, as many of Cadillac’s rivals were already bankrupt or close to it. Sales of the 1933 cars dropped further to 952 V12s and 125 V16s.

The salvation of the division came when Cadillac service manager Nicholas Dreystadt realized that a large number of black customers were getting around the strict but unwritten rule of selling the Cadillacs to white customers only by getting their white friends to buy cars for them. The situation first came to his awareness when he heard that boxing champion Joe Louis had to get a friend to buy his Cadillac as he was not allowed to enter the dealership. Dreystadt walked into an Executive meeting and proclaimed that profitability could be restored if they marketed to black customers. The Executive Committee reluctantly agreed, and 1934 sales increased by over 70%. In June 1934, Dreystadt replaced Larry Fisher as Cadillac General Manager. This decision allowed Cadillac to be the only American auto manufacturer to remain profitable during the Great Depression.


Chrysler 1933 LeBaron X4756

The Chrysler 1933 LeBaron CL Custom Imperial Roadster is one of only nine built and six known survivors. The 385 cubic inch 135 hp inline eight cylinder “Red Head” engine (referring to the red high-compression head) was introduced in 1931 to replace the Chrysler six cylinder engine during the multi-cylinder wars initiated by the introduction of the Cadillac V12s and V16s. Walter Chrysler felt that  the development of 12 and 16 cylinder engines was a needless extravagance, and he was proved right when most of his rivals were unable to maintain profitability during the Great Depression.

Walter Chrysler was impressed with the looks of the Cord L-29 (shown further above), and derived much of the styling of the Chrysler Imperial from E. L. Cord’s masterful design, including the lowered height (achieved without the front-wheel drive, which he felt to be another extravagance), the deeply-set grille (canted on the Chrysler), and the gracefully curving fenders and hood. Chrysler opted for a two-piece windshield with a wider chromed frame canted in a shallow-V and a broad, heavily chromed grille among other styling distinctions that made the Chrysler’s unique look the envy of the industry. All Imperials had semi-custom bodywork by LeBaron, the CL on a 145 inch long wheelbase chassis. 1933 was the last model year for the Imperial, which was replaced by the radical Airflow in 1934, the first full-size American production car to use streamlining based on wind-tunnel tests.


Chrysler 1933 LeBaron X4754c

This Chrysler CL Custom Imperial Roadster has a wider chrome grille housing most often seen on the Phaeton, although more than one of the Roadsters have this grille housing, and some Phaetons have the painted grille housing which matches the bodywork. The Custom Imperial is distinguished by a longer hood extending from the radiator housing all the way back to the base of the windshield, inspired by a design seen by Ralph Roberts (a LeBaron partner) at the 1931 Paris Auto Salon, who commissioned a Lincoln to be built with a similar hood. Edsel Ford did not like the hood, but when Walter Chrysler saw that Lincoln, he ordered it for his new CL long wheelbase Imperials. Ralph Roberts received the last 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial, built to his order as a gift to his wife. It was a Custom Imperial Phaeton with the painted radiator housing, spare wheels in the rear rather than on the fenders using a mounting bracket from an old Locomobile, and “French Discs” over the wire wheels.

The Chrysler Imperial was the first American car to use fluid coupling, and along with a well-tuned suspension and Chrysler’s Floating engine mounts which allowed the engine to operate with minimal vibration, the ride quality was deemed to be “superb”. The CL Custom Imperial had dual chrome-plated horns, dual side-mounted spare tires and polished stainless steel wire wheels. The hood featured sliding doors instead of louvers.

 A 1933 Chrysler Imperial Phaeton was used as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.


Cadillac 1934 452D Convertible Coupe X4748

The Cadillac 1934 452D V16 Fleetwood Convertible Coupe, with the distinctive bi-plane bumpers on two bullet-type stanchions and no side-mounted tires. This car has the modified V-windshield. Cadillac 452D V16s from 1934 to 1937 were all built on an enormous 154 inch chassis, making them the longest stock passenger cars in the world other than the Bugatti type 41 “Royale” with its 169 inch wheelbase. Bugatti only sold three of the six Royales for a basic chassis price of $30,000, keeping one for himself and trading two in 1950 to American racer Briggs Cunningham for the equivalent of $571 and two new GE refrigerators, about $600 per car. (These two Royales were sold for $15.7 million and $8 million in the 1990s).

The Cadillac V16, which started the multi-cylinder wars among the American luxury car producers, was first displayed at the New York Auto Show in January 1930, just after the stock market crash in 1929. The new car received rave reviews and a lot of attention from the public. Cadillac produced 2000 cars by June 1930, but the orders then dropped precipitously. Only 56 Cadillac V16s were produced in 1934. It took eleven years to double the production numbers in the first six months. The Great Depression was not the best time to release an expensive automobile, and many luxury manufacturers failed during the 1930s.


Packard 1934 X4757

This Packard 1934 Model 1108 Dietrich Convertible Sedan features one-off custom Dietrich coachwork including jump seats and a divided window, the only Dietrich built with jump seats. It was lengthened by 10 inches in the rear and built without a trunk. For 1934, the original Dietrich design was updated by Count Alexis de Sakhoffsky with the longer hood extending over the cowl, first seen in America on the Chrysler CL Imperial (see above). This bespoke Dietrich uses the original hood design.

The Packard 445.5 cubic inch V12 which powers the 1934 model 1108 develops 160 hp. Packard responded to the release of the Cadillac V16 and V12 engines in 1930 with their own V12 in 1932. Packard had been competing with Cadillac on engines since Cadillac released the first V8 in 1915. Their response at that time was the Twin Six, two banks of L-head cylinders at the ideal 60 degree angle. The Twin Six engine became the impetus for elevating Packard to the forefront of the luxury car market. When the wealthy ordered a custom-bodied car, they most often chose a Packard chassis and Twin Six engine. The Twin Six was the favorite of film stars, industrialists and heads of state, and was finally replaced by their famous straight eight in 1924.

The styling changes for the 1934 Packard Twelves were considered by many to be the pinnacle of Packard design. The front fenders curved down almost to the front bumper, which was wider and had stabilizing dampers. Trunks were integrated into the closed bodies, the seats were higher and with more luxurious upholstery, and 1934 was the first year that Packard offered a radio integrated into the dashboard design, along with shielded wiring, a new coil to reduce interference, and a larger air-cooled generator. The motor oil was cooled by circulation through a core surrounded by radiator water, and an oil filter was added.


Packard 1934 Ornament X4763


Packard 1934 Ornament X4758

René Lalique’s “Phenix” (Phoenix), the Indian Chief mascot from the Packard 1934 Model 1108 Dietrich Convertible Sedan.


Packard 1934 Sport Phaeton X4736


Packard 1934 Sport Phaeton X4735

The Packard 1934 Model 1107 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton won Best in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours.
The 1107 Sport Phaeton is one of the two known survivors of the 12 which were thought to have been produced.
Packard 1107 models had a body built by Packard, the 1108 was a rolling chassis bodied by Dietrich or LeBaron.

Originally purchased by the Spreckles Sugar family and shipped for use on their sugar plantation in Hawaii, the
current owner acquired the car in 2003 and proceeded to do a frame-off restoration, which was completed in
time for the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours. The car has won awards in many shows and Concours events.
This 1934 1107 has the original hood design rather than the extended version shown in the 1502 below.


Packard 1934 Sport Phaeton X4738

The Packard Twelve 5 passenger Sport Phaeton shared the 445.5 cubic inch side-valve V12 with the 1108, which was nearly as powerful as the Cadillac V16 and considered one of the great engines of its day. The engine was designed for the Packard front wheel drive prototype, which was discontinued after testing revealed weaknesses, but the engine was released in 1932 on the proven Deluxe Eight chassis after Cadillac stunned the market with thei V12 and V16 engines in 1930. The Packard Twelve was considered by many to be one of the most significant creations of the classic car era.


Packard 1937 X4742

The Packard 1937 Model 1502 Super Eight Convertible Sedan was driven by Packard’s inline eight, a 320 cubic inch L-head which developed 135 hp. The 1502 was the long wheelbase model on a 139 inch chassis which featured independent front suspension (Safe-T-fleX) and new hydraulic brakes. The Super Eight shared frames and some body types with the Twelve. This Dietrich 1502 Super Eight has the extended hood design updated for the Twelve by Count Alexis de Sakhoffsky in 1934.


Packard 1937 X4743

The independent front suspension, a modern system utilizing wishbones and coil springs resulted in lighter steering, a more supple ride, and better road-holding, making the Super Eight easier to drive. The hydraulic brakes were more reliable and easier to maintain. The Super Eights and Twelves were the last hand-built Packards and represented the end of an era.


Voisin 1938 C30 Ornament X4808


Voisin 1938 C30 Cabriolet X4809

The 1938 Avions Voisin C30 Dubos Cabriolet.

Created for the Paris Salon in 1938 with custom coachwork by Louis Dubos, this is the only example ever built. All of the C30 models used the Continental 3.5 liter supercharged six cylinder engines with poppet valves, rated at 116 hp, and a 3 speed manual transmission with overdrive. The last of the Voisins, of thirty C30 chassis produced, only five are known to exist. This Cabriolet was used by the Germans during World War II, recovered after the war, and restored in the 1990s.

Gabriel Voisin was an aviation pioneer and the creator of Europe's first manned, engine-powered aircraft capable of a sustained controlled flight. During World War I the company founded by Voisin became a major producer of military aircraft, including the Voisin III bomber and ground-attack aircraft, the first of its kind. After the war he switched to the design and production of luxury automobiles under the name Avions Voisin. His early cars were some of the finest luxury vehicles in the world, with unique and innovative technical details. Voisin's 1923 Grand Prix car was the first to use a monocoque chassis and a radiator-mounted propeller to drive the cooling pump. The 1930s chassis designs were very low for the period. By 1937, the depression had shrunken the luxury market and he had to release his best design engineer, André Lefèbvre, recommending him to Renault where he used Voisin's ideas to create several innovative cars. Avions Voisin was reduced to producing cars from spare and used parts, and the company was taken over and when the new owner asked Voisin to design the C30 Cabriolet Show Car, Voisin replied that he was too busy doing other things, so the design was given to the Paris coachbuilder Louis Dubos. Gabriel Voisin did not allow any of his signature marks on the coachwork or Graham-Paige Continental engine.


Mercedes 38 540K Detail X4581


Mercedes 38 540K Interior X4584

Front end and interior detail of a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Tourenwagen, descendant of the legendary SS and SSK models. This example has Sindelfingen coachwork blending elements of the four passenger Cabriolet B and the Special Roadster.

The 540K was released in October 1936 as the successor to the 500K. The 5.4 liter inline eight overhead valve engine with Roots-type supercharger developed over 180 hp and was one of the few passenger cars of the 1930s which could reach 110 mph. They were advertised as the fastest production cars in the world. The 540K Tourenwagen was only available between 1936 and 1938, and had a chassis with oval-section tubes influenced by the Mercedes Silver Arrows W25 and W125 racers. The Tourenwagen was mounted on the long wheelbase 130 inch chassis. The four-passenger cabriolet has the Vee windshield of the Special Roadster and a disappearing top. This 540K Tourenwagen is the rarest of the Sindelfingen special bodies. Only two Sport Tourers were built, and this example is the only survivor.

This 1938 540K Tourenwagen won Best in Class for Pre-War Mercedes-Benz at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours.


Delage 1937 D8-120 S X4567

The 1937 Delage D8-120 S Pourtout Aerodynamic Coupe won
 Best of Show at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

A special class at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance honored the 100th anniversary of the Delage marque, with eight cars represented (four of which are shown on this page and the Assorted Cars 1900-1928 page).

This unique Delage, built after the merger with Delahaye, was designed by the Portout stylist Georges Paulin and built by the Paris coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout for Louis Delage's personal use. It was the first car which was tested in a wind tunnel. The hand-formed aluminum body with steel front fenders covers an experimental Delahaye-style 'surbaisse' chassis (very low in French) and features a mostly aluminum 4.75 liter straight-eight 120 hp engine with three carburetors and a four-speed Cotal electromagnetic transmission. The four passenger design is totally unique and is considered to be one of the purest of line and most aerodynamic of the pre-war era. The windshield is curved, which was a revolutionary achievement for the period, and there appears to be a single ribbon of glass all the way around the car.

The completed car was first shown in Paris's Grand Palais at the 31st Salon de Paris.


Delage 1946 D6 X4804

The 1946 Delage D6-3L Grand Prix, the last Delage to compete at Le Mans.

Delage racing cars had been competing successfully since just after the founding of the company in 1905. The Delage 15 S8, which had a 1.5 liter supercharged straight 8 engine with 170 hp, won the World Manufacturers' Championship in 1927 after it won four Grand Prix races including a 1,2,3 at the French Grand Prix in Monthlery. The Depression caused the company to be liquidated in 1935 and the assets were picked up by their competitor Delahaye. A new racer based on a Delahaye chassis, the Delage D6-70 Speciale with a Figoni coupe body was shown in 1936, and production D6-70s did well in 1937. The coupe body was replaced with a Figoni Roadster body in 1938 and won the Tourist Trophy. A lightweight chassis was built for the Roadster in 1929 and it took 2nd place overall at Le Mans. After the war, the five new chassis were built for the D6-3L based on the lightweight chassis of the D6-70, and the 3 liter engine was improved to 142 hp over the 130 hp of the D6-70 Speciale.

The 1946 Delage D6-3L Grand Prix (chassis 880004) is the fourth of five Delage D6 race cars built in 1946. In 1947, it finished second at Perpignan and placed sixth in the Italian Grand Prix. During the 1948 season, chassis 880004 was driven to several second place finishes but a victory again eluded the car. The following year, it was raced in the first post-War Le Mans by Henri Louveau and Juan Jover, who finished an impressive second. It was back at Le Mans in 1950, where it placed 7th. This was the last time a Delage competed at Le Mans. It was later given a Pichon & Parat body which it retained until its current owner purchased the car and restored it to its original configuration.


Delahaye 1946 Roadster X4446

The 1946 Delahaye 135MS Selborne Roadster Prototype.

The 1946 Delahaye 135MS Selborne Roadster Prototype was the idea of Alan Selborne who wanted to market a Delahaye that was a cross between a racer and a road car as a competitor to the Jaguar XK120. He asked Guy Jason Henry to design and build a car for him, and the 135 chassis was delivered to his workshop in 1949 and completed in 1950. The design was conceived before the war and the chassis was ordered in 1946, but it was not delivered until late 1947 or early 1948 due to British import restrictions. The engine is similar to those installed in the factory 135MS race cars and is fitted with triple Solex carburetors. The body is lightweight aluminum alloy. The pairing of the exotic French chassis with lightweight British coachwork and classic cycle fenders is unique, and this may be the only example. This car is the final representative of the coachbuilt era.

Selborne wanted to build another two seater prototype but no others are known to have been constructed. After completion the car was exhibited on the Delahaye stand at the Earls Court Motor Show before going to its first owner Alex Korda, a famous Hollywood producer. The engine, transmission, body and chassis are all original. The car has been successfully vintage raced in Monterey in 1981 and 1982 where the car took a second and a fourth place.


Delahaye 1947 175S X4534

Charles Bronson’s hand-built 1947 Delahaye 175S single seat Grand Prix racer features a 220 hp 4.5 liter six cylinder engine with seven main bearings instead of the four bearings in the type 135, a 12 port 9.1:1 compression cylinder head and three Stromberg carburetors. The 175 had a new chassis similar to the Type 57 Bugatti with a nearly round open hoop through the rear rails through which a DeDion tube and splined half-shafts extended. It had an independent Dubonnet front suspension.


Rolls-Royce 1939 Phantom III Labourdette X4449

The 1939/47 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Labourdette Vutotal Cabriolet,
Labourdette’s final coachwork, as displayed for sale at the Concours.

In the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, luxury automobile manufacturers became embroiled in a multi-cylinder engine war. Twelve and sixteen cylinders started to become the benchmark for high-end vehicles. Packard, Lincoln, Pierce Arrow, and especially Cadillac were the leaders of this war in America, while overseas companies such as Maybach and Hispano-Suiza jumped on board. Rolls-Royce was left behind, with only the six-cylinder Phantom I and II representing Henry Royce's ultimate luxury cars. Royce started designing an all-new V12 engine and chassis in the early 1930s, but he died in 1933 before he could see the completion of his work. In 1934 the Phantom III was completed. Dubbed the "Spectre", the Phantom III had a 7.34 liter V12 engine with dual ignition coupled to a four-speed gearbox. Horsepower was not released, but was speculated to have between 170 to 200 hp. Independent front suspension, a first for Rolls-Royce, was fitted to the chassis along with hydraulically adjustable shock absorbers and an on-board jacking system. The combination of engine and chassis weighed in at 4,050 pounds, and with coachwork could reach speeds of 90 to 100 miles per hour. Priced at 1,850 British Pounds (roughly $10,000), only 719 chassis were produced from 1934 to 1939.

This particular chassis, 3DL120, was completed and delivered to the coachbuilder Hooper in October of 1938. Hooper built a Sedanca de Ville for the chassis that would be used by Rolls-Royce at their display for the 1939 Brussels, Amsterdam, and Geneva Motor shows, gathering many accolades. It then returned to London to be fitted with gauges and lights suitable for the American market and was displayed at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Inskip of New York took delivery of the car, and after the World's Fair sold it to Oscar Greenwald of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in November of 1939. Mr. Greenwald passed away in 1941, leaving the Phantom III with his widow.


Rolls-Royce 1939 Phantom III Labourdette X4448

Louis Ritter, the famous New York City furrier, was in need of a new chassis to be the basis for his next show car, but no bare chassis were available during wartime. He was forced to purchase a completed car solely for the chassis. He acquired the car from Mrs. Greenwald in 1942, and 3DL120 started a completely different chapter in its history. Louis Ritter enjoyed outrageous, custom-built cars that he used to compete in the Paris Salons. 3DL120 had become Ritter's latest purchase, but the Hooper body was not extravagant enough for him, so the body was removed and the chassis was shipped to Paris and delivered to the carrossier of Henri Labourdette.


Rolls-Royce 1939 Phantom III Labourdette X4451

Labourdette was most famous for building skiff bodies, and had a reputation for pushing designs to the extreme. Caution was thrown to the wind with a new execution, obliterating everything that would identify it as a Rolls-Royce. Labourdette had experimented with aerodynamics using Delages and other cars, and for this car which would be his last creation, he developed a swooping open body for the chassis at a cost of $44,000 (equivalent to nearly half a million in today's dollars).

The only items to distinguish the car as a Rolls-Royce was the instrument cluster and a pair of custom Rolls-Royce cloisonné inset into the doors. The traditional Rolls-Royce radiator was cloaked behind a new streamlined grille, which complemented the enormous aerodynamic front fenders housing hidden headlights. The design carried to the rear, culminating into Labourdette's signature skiff or boat-tail design. One of the cars most famous features, however, is the 'Vutotal' windscreen. Invented by Joseph Vigroux and patented together with Labourdette, the system afforded a completely unobstructed view without any form of support other than the thick piece of glass itself, which was bolted to the firewall. Chrome was used sparingly, with Labourdette opting to use gold-plating and large spears of brass, most of which were leaded into the body itself.

The car was completed in 1947, shown at the Paris Concours, and then delivered to Ritter in NYC. It is rumored that Ritter threw a huge party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, complete with 80 chorus girls, in honor of his newest acquisition! In typical Ritter fashion, the car was listed for sale by October of 1948. The advertisement in the New York Times had a price of $20,000, and the car had only gone a total of 8,000 miles. Louis Ritter passed away in 1959 at the age of 59 while vacationing in France.

After purchase of this car, the metallic red-orange paint was restored to a dark two-tone for the John W. Rich Auto Museum.


Nash-Healey 1953 Pininfarina X4527

The 1953 Nash-Healey Pininfarina Le Mans Roadster made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1952. It was a two seat sports car made with a Nash Ambassador six cylinder OHV engine with an aluminum head and twin SU carburetors  supplied by Donald Healey, a three-speed transmission with overdrive and four wheel hydraulic drum brakes. It had dual fuel pumps, push-button ignition, and a handcrafted steel body created by Pininfarina. At the 1952 Le Mans race, a Nash-Healey was entered, winning first in its class and third overall. Only 17 of the 58 cars entered reached the finish line in 1952.

America’s first post-war sports car, and the first introduced in the US by a major automaker after the Depression, the original Nash-Healeys were built in 1951. The car was designed with a long engine bay to allow for space to install a Cadillac V8 engine as per Donald Healey's original design, and some later owners took advantage of this to convert their cars to V8 engines. The chassis was a widened and reinforced Healey Silverstone ladder-type steel frame with Healey Silverstone independent suspension and a Nash coil-spring rear end. The original Nash-Healeys had an aluminum body designed by Healey and built by Panelcraft of Birmingham with Nash grille, bumpers and trim. Healey did the final assembly. In 1952, Pininfarina was contracted to revise Healey's original design, restyling the grille to match Nash's other models with inboard headlights and changing the two piece flat windshield to a curved single piece. The new body was steel except for an aluminum hood, trunk and dashboard.


1953 GM Futurliner 2490

A 1953 GM Futurliner, converted to an Art Deco motor home by Bob Valdez of Sherman Oaks.

General Motors Futurliners were a group of 12 stylized buses designed by Harley Earl for GM’s Parade of Progress, which traveled the US exhibiting new cars and technology. The Futurliner was built in 1940 to replace eight 1935 Streamliners, designed for the first Parade of Progress in 1936. They were used from January-December 1941, and after a hiatus for World War II, were used in a 1946 Detroit parade commemorating the 50th anniversary of the invention of the automobile. They were refurbished in 1953 and used from 1953 to 1956, when Parades ended due to television.

1940 Futurliners had a clear bubble canopy, which was changed in 1953 to the roofed unit as is seen above due to heat from the sun and no air conditioning. Futurliners were 33 feet long, with dual front wheels, 8 feet wide and nearly 12 feet tall. The Futurliners were powered by a four cylinder overhead valve GMC deisel engine and a 4 x 4 mechanical transmission, and  were used to transport and display dioramas and exhibits like microwaves and television.

In 1953, the Futurliners were refurbished by changing the bubble canopy (similar to canopies on P-51 fighter planes) to a roofed canopy, changing the engine and transmission to a 302 inline six cylinder overhead valve diesel engine with a four speed Hydramatic automatic transmission and another two speed gearbox (giving the driver eight forward speeds), coupled to a three speed PTO gearbox at the rear. The driver would exit the vehicle (presumably while it was stopped) and walk to the rear to manually select one of three gears for a total of 24 gear combinations. The Futurliner had 19 access and display doors, including two massive 16 x 5 foot clamshells that opened to expose the displays enclosed within the sides of the vehicle. A 16 foot lighting panel on each door illuminated the display, and a 16 foot light bar rose 7 feet above the top of the bus to illuminate the entire area around it (powered by a 200 KW diesel generator).


1953 GM Futurliner SXL

A 1953 GM Futurliner, converted to an Art Deco motor home by Bob Valdez of Sherman Oaks.

The Parade of Progress was cancelled in 1956 due to lack of attendance caused by the advent of television, one of the innovations that the Futurliners displayed along with jet engines and microwaves. It was determined that the Futurliners would no longer be needed, and nine were sold. Two were donated to the Michigan Police, who repainted them in their colors and called them Safetyliners, using them as a traveling display to promote safety and law enforcement until 1967. One Futurliner was bought by Oral Roberts, renamed the Cathedral Cruiser and used on evangelical tours. Peter Pan Bus Lines of Springfield Massachusetts has two Futurliners, and Fido the Canadian Futurliner was originally one of the Safetyliners (number 11). This unit sold at auction in 2006 for a record $4,320,000.

Futurliner #8 found its way to Sweden and will be restored (it is the only Futurliner in Europe).
Futurliner #10 is in the National Automotive and Truck Museum (NATMUS) in Auburn Indiana.
Futurliner #3, the Allison Jet display, was restored to original condition (completed late 2014).

Futurliner #9 above, which was acquired by Bob Valdez of Sherman Oaks California in 1984
and converted at a cost of $100,000 into a motor home, has been displayed at motor shows
and has been featured in a number of publications. Bob did most of the restoration himself.
The interior features leather and chrome, and a curved gray and maroon velvet rear seat.


Corvette 1961 Vignale X4596

The 1961 Kelly Corvette Vignale Coupe, designed by Gordon Kelly and built by the Italian coachbuilder Vignale.

Gordon Kelly’s design for a 1961 Corvette was built by Vignale as their show car for the 1961 Paris Salon. The design was incredibly minimalist for the period, and features an oval egg-crate grille and covered headlights reminiscent of a Ferrari. Gordon Kelly was a designer for the Brooks Stevens design firm who wanted to design a car, so he drew up the plans and went with a scale model to Italy, where he visited several carrozzerias, finally settling on Vignale. Kelly was unsuccessful in making a deal with GM, so he bought the car himself. Built on a C2 chassis from a 1960 Corvette, the car has an egg-shaped fastback rear which looks like a more rounded precursor to that used on the Porsche 928.


Ford 1966 GT40 Mk1 X4803

The 1966 Ford GT40 Mark 1 coupe was one of 31 original road coupes, powered by the 289 cubic inch (4.7 liter) Ford V8 used in the Ford Mustang. The Ford GT40 program grew out of Henry Ford II's failure to buy Ferrari when Enzo Ferrari terminated negotiations. Ford was determined to beat Ferrari at the long distance races. The GT40, so named because the distance from the ground to the top of the windshield was 40 inches, was first unveiled in 1964. The prototypes designed with assistance from Lola were unable to finish at Le Mans, so the program was handed over to Carroll Shelby after the Nassau race in 1964. The Mark II cars received the 7 liter 427 engine, with which they went 1,2,3 at Daytona and 1,2,3 at Le Mans, beating Ferrari at their own game with Bruce McLaren finishing first (Ford was present to savor the victory). The GT40 proceeded to win Le Mans in 1967, 1968 and 1969, with the wins in 1968 and 1969 achieved by John Wyer in the modifed Mark I (the Mark II and IV were obsolete after an engine size rule change). Not bad for a car born purely out of spite between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari.

In 1964 and 1965 only 12 cars were made of varying specifications, with limited results. New rules for the 1966 season required that at least 50 examples had to be made to run a car in the GT class. Production began in mid-1965 on a series of racing and road versions. 87 production versions were built, and 31 were delivered with full interiors and wire wheels for road use. They changed little to make the cars ready for road use other than in the interior (the same Ford V8 was used in both, with different Weber carburetors, a heavier flywheel and a muffler for road use).


Ford Shelby GR-1 X4478

The Ford Shelby GR-1 concept car is a running prototype with an all-aluminum 605 hp, 390 cubic inch V10 and a highly polished aluminum body. This concept car was derived from the Shelby Cobra Concept and is two feet shorter than the Ford GT, with a long hood, a teardrop cabin, and a fastback rear. The car was sold at auction in 2011 with the proceeds going to charity.


Maserati 1954 Pininfarina X4529

The Maserati A6GCS/53 Pininfarina Berlinetta (chassis 2089) was originally fitted with a Fantuzzi Barchetta spyder body with very small doors and raced successfully by Francesco Giardina, winning its class at the Mille Miglia (fourth overall) and winning its class at Targa Florio in 1955. The car was eventually crashed, and the body was replaced with the fourth and final Pininfarina body in 1959, which was removed from chassis 2060 and replaced with a Fiandri Barchetta body.

The Maserati A6GCS was Maserati’s answer to the Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa, both powered by 2 liter Formula 2 engines. The Ferrari was a four cylinder, the Maserati was a 170 hp twin-cam inline 6 with dual ignition, one of the last engines designed by the Maserati brothers before leaving the company. There was no association between Pininfarina and Maserati due to the Ferrari contract, so the four Pininfarina bodies were all made under private commission by the Maserati dealer in Rome under protest by Ferrari. The Maserati A6GCS/53 Pininfarina Berlinetta is considered to be one of the most beautiful cars ever built.


Ferrari 1970 512S Modulo Pininfarina X4797
(more images on the Italian Cars page)

The Ferrari 1970 512S Modulo was an experimental one-off prototype berlinetta built by Pininfarina with two overlapping body shells separated by a rectangular indentation at the waistline. The upper surface of the car is a single arching curve from nose to tail. On the lower shell below the side windows, an inverted trapezoid in sheet metal repeats the styling of the side windows. The wheels are faired in both front and rear, and access to the passenger compartment requires sliding the entire front section of the roof with windshield and side windows forward on special rails. The Modulo was built for the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and won 22 design awards. It was displayed at the 1970 Osaka Expo, and was the symbol of Italian design in Mexico City in 1971.

The Ferrari 512S Modulo was designed by Paolo Martin, based upon one of the 25 512S racing chassis built for homologation. 24 large holes in the engine cover allow viewing of the 5 liter 550 hp V12 engine. The 36.8 inch tall Modulo was first sketched in 1968 when Paolo Martin was working on the Rolls-Royce Camargue. He worked through the August vacation to construct a polystyrene full-scale model, even though Sergio Pininfarina felt that the design was too futuristic and impractical. The faired-in front wheels are only able to turn slightly, and it was so low that only a smaller person could fit in. The design was nearly shelved when Ferrari gave one of the 512S chassis to Pininfarina to create a show car when they could not find enough buyers.


Saturn Sky X4824

The Saturn Sky Concept car, first shown at the 2005 North American Auto Show in January, shared the Kappa platform of the Pontiac Solstice and Opel GT, and was the only roadster produced by Saturn (2007-2010 model years). A rebadged version for South Korea was the Daewoo G2X. The Sky was released two years before the 2009 GM bankruptcy, and revived the flagging brand for a short while with an underpowered baby Corvette (Car & Driver called it “Gerbil-grade” power). Saturn died in 2010.


Chrysler Firepower X4827

The Chrysler Firepower was a Dodge Viper based concept car with Crossfire styling cues. Built with a steel body on a Viper SC frame, it used a stock 425 hp 6.1 liter Hemi engine from the 300C and a stock five-speed automatic transmission to create a flagship product that Chrysler envisioned as an “Aston for the common man. The Firepower was never produced.


Saleen S7 X4458

The 2005 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo.

When the Saleen S7 first went on sale in 2005, it was the only street-legal car with more than 500 hp and 500 ft/lbs of torque. A number of cars were released after the Saleen with power figures above 500 hp, so Saleen introduced the 2005 S7 Twin Turbo, the first major change since its introduction. The Saleen S7 Twin Turbo has two Garrett turbochargers producing 6 psi of boost, increasing the maximum power to 750 hp and 700 ft/lbs of torque (on a 2950 lb car this is truly significant power). The engine is an aluminum 7 liter V8, with stainless steel valves, titanium retainers, beryllium exhaust valve seats, an aluminum throttle body, Saleen designed aluminum heads and a stainless steel exhaust system. The engine is placed mid-chassis.


Saleen S7 X4459


Saleen S7 X4814

The aerodynamics of the S7 was addressed for the Twin Turbo, with a different diffusor and rear spoiler system that along with the already highly aerodynamic body increased the downforce 60% while reducing drag by 40%. The chassis also received new geometry, reducing squat and dive during acceleration. The suspension received new dual-stage coil springs, for a softer ride during normal street driving. The stiffer stage comes into effect at 100 mph, when the S7 is generating serious downforce. The faster you go, the more downforce the S7 generates. The brakes, 15 inch vented discs (front) and 14 inch vented discs (rear), are among the largest of any production car. Geometry changes along with new tires increased mechanical grip by 30%.


Saleen S7 X4813

The exquisitely precise steering and even more precise brakes balance the phenomenal acceleration. The car can change direction virtually instantly. The car has seemingly limitless adhesion due to the tremendous aerodynamic downforce. Although the S7 can perform like a race car, it is reasonably comfortable on the road due to its new dual-stage coil springs.


Saleen S7 X4461

A low angle view of the Saleen S7 Twin Turbo Supercar at Pebble Beach.


Spyker C8 X4830

The Spyker C8 Spyder is a Dutch mid-engined sports car based on the Audi 4.2 liter V8, with 400 hp and a top speed of 186 mph. There are several versions of the C8 with different engines, canopies and body types. The scissor doors are quite cool. The car was designed with aviation influences, and uses an aluminum space-frame chassis (the entire car is mostly aluminum). The Spyker C8 isn’t only about speed. While it is not as fast as some of its competitors, the Spyker is beautifully made inside and out, and the cockpit is truly exquisite. The interior is quilted Connolly leather and the dashboard is machined aluminum with toggle switches. The body is superformed aluminum, heated to 500° C. and vacuum-formed over molds.


Lamborghini Concept X4816


Bugatti Veyron X4823

On the left, the spectacular Lamborghini Concept S, and at right, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Coupe.

The Lamborghini Concept S
(more images on the Italian Cars page)

Designed by Luc Donckerwolke (head of Lamborghini Design) based upon the Lamborghini Gallardo, and utilizing the same five liter 500 hp V10 engine as the Gallardo, the Lamborghini Concept S was intended to replicate the feel of a single-seat race car. Originally designed as a single-seat vehicle, a passenger was deemed important enough for the final design to be changed  but the seats are in separate compartments, each with their own truncated windscreen that redirects rather than blocks the wind.

The bodywork continues between the two passenger compartments, funneling air to the intake between and behind the seats. An electronically activated rearview mirror between the windscreens rises up in case the driver has an interest in what is behind. The original styling for the Geneva Show had much higher windscreens, changed to the “sauté vent” style seen here, similar to those on single-seat racing cars which only redirect the wind over the head of the driver. Lamborghini was rumored to be building 100 units for customers, but it was decided to keep the car as a styling exercise. The groans were heard worldwide.

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4.

The Bugatti Veyron was long anticipated since the concept was unveiled at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. This coupe was the final version shown before the official launch in September 2005, and the excitement level was high. Since its release, the handbuilt mid-engined 16 cylinder 1000 hp Bugatti Veyron Super Sport has become the world’s fastest production car with a top speed of 267.8 mph (431 km/h), taking the record from the 2005 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 at its lowly 253.81 mph. This new record caused some controversy when it was challenged by the car maker Hennessey, whose 1244 hp Hennessey Venom GT at 265.7 mph was stock, but the Veyron Super Sport had its 258 mph speed limiter disabled. After review, the Guinness folks reinstated the record, stating that the modification to the speed limiter does not alter the fundamental design of the car.

I’d be willing to bet that few of these $2 million cars have been much over 100 mph, but bragging rights are important.


Bugatti Veyron X4477

The Bugatti Veyron features an 8 liter W16 engine (two offset double-row banks of eight cylinders each) with four valves per cylinder (64 valves) driven by two dual overhead camshafts. The engine has quad turbochargers and does not need to rev high to achieve its 1000 horsepower. It has a 7 speed dual-clutch sequential transmission. It goes from 0 to 250 in under a minute.

The Bugatti Veyron has been widely praised as the pinnacle of automotive achievement and the greatest car in the world.


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