8 funky oddballs you’ve probably never seen in the metal
If the idea of “Sáragga oddballs” has you scurrying to Google, consulting your urban dictionary, or leaning in to hear the punchline, relax. It’s not what you think. RM Sotheby’s auctioned 127 cars from the eclectic Sáragga Collection last weekend in Alcácer do Sal, Portugal, and you’ve probably never heard of some of the coolest vehicles that were sold… because, well, they’re not exactly Corollas.
The plethora of cars came in all shapes, sizes, and prices, which attracted a wide range of buyers, right down to the most frugal. In fact, a remarkable 52 percent of bidders were new to RM Sotheby’s, and no less than 38 countries were represented. In the end, sales totaled €10,191,425—that’s $11,226,000—with a 1931 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer leading the way at €680,000 (nearly $750K).
While we appreciate historic Bentleys as much as the next guy, these eight unusual vehicles grabbed our attention. So scrunch up that nose, narrow those eyes, and enjoy!
Sold for €21,850 ($24,068)
Dundalk Engineering of Ireland, once known for its expertise in locomotive repair, took over production of the Heinkel Kabine three-wheeler in 1958, and Lambretta scooter’s British distributor, Peter Agg, negotiated a deal to manufacture the Heinkel-I by Trojan. Like the German Heinkel and Irish Heinkel-I, the Trojan was built with British-sourced components.
If you’re looking for something completely different—even more bizarre than an Isetta—the Trojan 200 fills the bill. And, considering it went for less than half the $54,625 paid for a red ’62 model from the Bruce Weiner Collection in 2013, it was well bought.
(Fun fact: The same year that this microcar was built, Trojan acquired the Elva sports car business, and Trojan/Elva went on to build some early McLaren Can-Am cars.)
Sold for €35,650 ($39,269)
Ever heard of these? Ever actually seen one? Trust us, if you had you’d remember, because this 1963 Willys Interlagos Coupé is coooooooool. Sure, it’s essentially an Alpine built under license in Brazil… and it’s similar to those sold in Mexico as Dinaplins. But the Interlagos is different. Case in point, look behind the doors—nope, no rear side windows to be found.
Willys, which had an alliance with French automaker Renault, set up shop in Brazil in the early 1950s, and in addition to the Interlagos Coupé it also built a version of the Renault Dauphine. Only 822 (or fewer, depending on the source) fiberglass-bodied Interlagos were produced from 1962–66, and few escaped South America.
Powered by a four-cylinder engine mounted in the rear, the Interlagos is named for a Brazilian race track; in fact, Brazil’s Emerson Fittipaldi won the 1976 Brazilian Grand Prix there. Rare, lightweight, and fun to drive, Interlagos seldom reach the marketplace, so if you really want one you may have to wait a while for another shot.
Sold for €121,900 ($134,275)
This sporty little car happens to be an accomplished racer. Delivered new to Portuguese amateur driver José Emídio da Silva and powered by a Panhard air-cooled engine, it placed first in its small-displacement class and fifth overall in the 1951 Vila do Conde Circuito da Primavera, was a class winner in the 1952 Portuguese Hill Climb Championship, and finished fourth overall and won its class again at the ’53 Portuguese Hill Climb.
After sitting in a Portuguese car collection for decades, the car was immaculately restored and is ready for its new owner to return it to the motorsport stage.
Sold for €17,250 ($19,001)
This three-wheeler looks more like a military vehicle than a passenger car, which perhaps make sense when you consider that BSA started out making guns—BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms—and moved on to motorcycles before producing its first automobile in 1907.
The 1933 BSA TW33-10, a cool alternative to the Morgan three-wheeler of the same period, has a spartan and snug interior, but you’ll be the star attraction at any Cars and Coffee gathering.
Sold for €36,800 ($40,536)
Originally produced as the René Bonnet—until aerospace company Méchanique Aviation Traction (Matra) purchased the French automaker in 1964—the Matra Djet V is considered the world’s first rear mid-engine production road car. This 1965 Matra Djet V (incorrectly listed as a ’67) is powered by Renault’s 70-horsepower, 1.1-liter inline-four engine and is “wrapped in slippery fiberglass bodywork,” as described by RM. Matras featured dual-wishbone suspension with coil springs at all four wheels, and included disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering as standard features—pretty exotic stuff for the time. With a curb weight of 1353 pounds, the Djet topped out at 105 mph.
Matras proved to be the ideal choice for aspiring pro drivers, and they performed well on the track, eventually winning the F1 World Championship in 1969 and three consecutive Le Mans from 1972–74. Matra also constructed V-12 engines for the Ligier F1 team in the 1970s and ’80s
This Matra Djet V (that’s the Roman numeral 5, not the letter V) is believed to be one of only 166 built in 1965. Production was from 1964–66. The powder blue Djet brought top dollar, which likely has a lot to do with how rarely they’re found at auction.
Sold for €165,600 ($182,411)
Not to be confused with the gorgeous Airline Coupe sold by RM two years ago, this less-lovely but decidedly rare 1947 HGR Aerodynamic roadster went against the pre-war trend of heavier and more powerful sports cars. The Aerodynamic, powered by a 1.5-liter engine, was aimed at “gentleman drivers” who wanted to compete at major events.
One such gentleman was Norwegian Simon Knudsen Hansen, who campaigned the car in events throughout Portugal, including the 1948–50 Rallye Internacional a Lisboa. After swapping the original power plant for a 2.5-liter Lea Francis engine, Hansen scored a class victory and finished eighth overall at the 1951 Falperra International Hill Climb. The Aerodynamic is eligible for historic racing and rallies, and it should continue to see plenty of road time.
Sold for €6900 ($7600)
Ever heard of a Sado? We wouldn’t expect you to. Designed and produced by Entreposto Comercial SA, a Portuguese company known for producing trailers and caravans, only 500 or so examples of the diminutive Sado 550 were built in the city of Setúbal—not far from where the Sáragga Collection came together. Powered by a 547-cc two-cylinder engine, this Sado has a flat windscreen, indicating it is an early model. Considering the popularity of microcars, the buyer did well to snag a unique and scarce vehicle for less than $8K.
Sold for €314,375 ($346,289)
Then there’s the crazy price paid for this little ride. Founded by engineer Wolfgang Denzel in 1949, the automaker used Volkswagen bodies to create its earliest models. That changed in ’52, however, with the introduction of the new 1300 Sport, which featured a bespoke twin box-section chassis and lightweight aluminum body (but retained VW running gear). Due to its lightweight construction, a 1300-cc Denzel was known to give the Porsche 356 a run for its money. In fact, in its first international race, the 1954 Sebring 12 Hours, a Sport finished a respectable 12th.
Although there is no official record of how many WD Denzel 1300s were produced, it is believed that approximately 65 were created and only half still exist. That makes this roadster a whole lot rarer than the Sado above—and, of course, it’s also a lot older. Regardless, it’s difficult to fathom why this sporty little car went for almost $350K. Of course, it only takes two determined bidders to make it happen.