These 7 oddball classics are sure to brighten up your garage
October 2020 is going to be a surprisingly busy month for collector car auctions, and that’s true on both sides of the Atlantic. There are no fewer than 11 live auctions on our calendar that we’ll be watching and, as usual, there are plenty of rare and unusual rides up for grabs this month. RM’s Elkhart sale in particular has some weird ones in the mix, but we narrowed it down to seven of the most unusual cars crossing the block over the next four weeks.
Bonhams, Lot 19
Estimate: €170,000–€250,000 ($200,000–$290,000)
Here in the States we dial 911 to summon the emergency services, but in some countries the police have an entirely different association with those three digits. From the days of the 356 all the way up to today, various European police departments have used Porsches as high-speed pursuit cars and, according to Bonhams, Porsche has sold over 1000 vehicles to police departments worldwide.
Porsche police cars have been particularly popular in the Netherlands and Belgium, and this car is one of a batch of 20 originally ordered in the 1970s by the Belgian Gendarmerie/Rijkswacht. By their nature, police cars don’t live easy lives and genuine Porsche examples are rare.
Someone discovered this one in storage after many years in the U.K., cleaned it up, and had the engine rebuilt. Fitted with a 2.7-liter, 210-hp Carrera MFI engine but left with stock narrow bodywork, it still has its blue police light, sirens, and telephone. The Belgian constabulary also ordered its pursuit Porsches as Targas, not so those lucky cops could post up and enjoy a sunny day but so they could stand up and direct traffic. We wouldn’t recommend trying to clear any traffic jams from the cabin of a vintage 911 today but, yes, it is apparently legal to drive this thing on the street.
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 2159
“Lloyd” sounds like a British car, but the company’s full name—Lloyd Motoren Werke—reveals its true German-ness. Lloyd built small, cheap cars during the 1950s and 1960s and its 600 model was available as a two-door sedan, convertible, wagon, pickup, or “Kombi” panel van. Powered by a 596-cc four-stroke twin that drives the front wheels, this one from the Elkhart Collection is done up in Pan American Airways livery.
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 2170
Zündapp mostly built motorcycles, but it was also one of several companies to get in on the microcar craze. In postwar Germany there was big demand for vehicles that were cheaper than full-sized cars but offered more practicality than a motorcycle. Rather than design a microcar from scratch, Zündapp licensed one from aircraft designer Claude Dornier. Its hallmark feature is that there is a single door at the nose and another at the tail, and rear-facing seats for the rear passengers. Given the car’s symmetrical profile, Zündapp called it the “Janus” after the Roman god of duality, who is typically portrayed with two faces.
Despite its interesting layout the Janus wasn’t a sales success, and Zündapp only produced it from 1957-58. This one, an older restoration from the Elkhart Collection, also sold for $51,750 at the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum auction back in 2013.
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 2178
Spiaggetta may sound like a bargain bin pasta brand, but no, it means “beach” in Italian. It only takes one look at this Fiat 850-based runabout to realize its intended purpose. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti as a more modern take on Ghia’s Fiat 500/600 Jolly from the late 1950s, the Spiaggetta features all the Jolly’s beach cruiser kitsch. Note the wicker seats and a conspicuous lack of doors, but the little car also offers more power (47 Italian horses’ worth!) from its 850-cc engine. It’s also rarer, with just 80 built. This one is restored, and it previously sold for €61,600 (about $70,000 at the time) in Monaco four years ago.
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 2194
Goggomobil was a cute name for a cute series of microcars sold by German carmaker Glas during the 1950s and 1960s. Today’s tiny car fans mostly know Goggomobil for its “sporty” models like the TS250 or the Dart, but there was also a standard two-door sedan and a little van called the TL. With fewer than 3700 built, the Goggomobil TL van was always rare and, because they were popular with the West German postal service, there aren’t many left.
This example is a TL250, which means it has the 245-cc, 14-hp two-stroke twin. It has also been restored and spent time in the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum. That Double Bubble livery sure is charming, but with a $50,000-$70,000 estimate, the price might be tough to chew.
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 1239
Another strange one out of RM’s Elkhart Collection sale, this Bedford Caravan is just like a VW Campmobile …except it’s weirder and British. Bedford was a branch of Vauxhall (GM’s U.K. subsidiary) that built lorries (large trucks) from the 1930s all the way up to the 1980s. Occasionally, Bedford also built light commercial vehicles. Its popular pug-nosed CA model, for example, was built on a lightly modified Vauxhall chassis and powered by a 1500-cc four-cylinder. The CA wasn’t just popular with plumbers and electricians, though. It was also a popular “Dormobile” camper, with conversions done by a company called Martin-Walter.
This Dormobile Caravan features storage cabinets, a sink, a portable refrigerator, a portable gas stove, and enough room to sleep four people. You’ll almost certainly have the only one at the campsite. For reference, this same Bedford Camper sold at auction last year for $39,200.
Bonhams, Lot 32
Estimate: €150,000–€250,000 ($170,000–$290,000)
If you’re in the market for a V-12 grand tourer with room for four and some luggage, Ferrari will gladly sell you any remaining GTC4Lusso stock until the Purosangue SUV arrives. And unless you live in a tax haven, you probably won’t see too many other Ferrari shooting brakes around town. If you want to be truly unique, however, consider this one-off shooting brake by Dutch coachbuilder Vandenbrink.
Commissioned by the current owner in 2017, its conversion from regular 612 Scaglietti to sleek shooting brake took 15 months and over 2500 hours of work. In addition to re-crafting the tail, which includes an electric tailgate and windows in the roof, Vandenbrink also re-trimmed the interior. The result looks fantastic, and the only thing that would make it cooler is if this it were one of the 199 Ferrari 612s built with a manual.