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Pre-war icons lead Worldwide Auctioneers’ Auburn sale

Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photography: Worldwide Auctioneers

A 1934 Packard Twelve 1107 Coupe Roadster that’s one of 25 known to exist, along with a one-of-ten 1931 Chrysler Imperial CG Convertible Coupe, are among the 150 cars set to go up for sale at Worldwide Auctioneers‘ annual Auburn, Indiana sale.

Due to take place on April 26-27, 2024, the collection includes American muscle, Europeans sports cars and even brand-new all-electic trucks – a 2024 Tesla Cybertruck AWD Foundation Series, one of 1000 built, is among those on the lot list. The auction also includes a wide selection of automobilia, offered at no reserve.

We’ve picked out our top ten cars from the forthcoming auction – what are you most interested in?

This 1986 De Tomaso Pantera GT5-S is the first of just three GT5-S Models delivered directly to Carroll Shelby, and one of 40 delivered to the US out of a production total of 187. Chassis THPNDA09425 was used by Shelby for testing purposes, with one evidence of such work being the hood bump on the cowl in front of the windscreen wipers – a modification believed unique to this car.

In 2021, the Pantera received a bare-metal body restoration from Perfect Bodies Auto Body of New York, while McCall’s Transmission Works of Hampstead, Maryland upgraded the transmission to a Le Mans GT40 ZF five-speed manual transaxle with a taller fifth gear and McLeod racing clutch.

Dyno tested and tuned by Kogan Racing, the Pantera features Trickflow power port 60cc aluminium cylinder heads, Trickflow track heat single-plane aluminium intake with Trickflow gaskets, Ross forged pistons, SCAT forged steel crankshaft, SCAT Pro Series forged I-beam connecting rods, Comp Camps hydraulic roller camshaft and lifters, Holley Terminator EFI system with MSD ignition, Flowcooler water pump and much more. No estimate had been released at the time of writing.

This 1931 Chrysler Imperial CG Convertible Coupe is one of ten known examples built in LeBaron style on the 145in wheelbase chassis. The car had single ownership from 1967 to 2020, and is being offered for only the second time in more than 50 years. Fully restored in 2008, it took a Best in Class award at the 2020 Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance. No estimate had been released at the time of writing.

This 1917 American LaFrance Torpedo Speedster was first delivered by rail to the Dunn, North Carolina fire department. Its history file only comes alive again in the UK, where it was restored by Richard Skinner and his father, who reconfigured it with a shortened and lightened chassis. It returned to the US in the 2010s, where it was refinished by its next owner. No estimate had been released at the time of writing.

This 1946 Delahaye 135M Drophead Coupé is believed to be one of nine surviving examples with coachwork by Worblaufen of Berne, Switzerland. The early history of chassis 800319 is unknown; in the 1990s it was owned by James Bandy of Oakdale, Pennsylvania, an American soldier who’d been based in France during World War Two and fell in love with the marque. Ownership passed to John McDonald in the mid-to-late 1990s, who had the car restored in the US before he sold it on.

According to Worldwide Auctioneers: “The side-hinged hood opens to reveal the period-correct OHV inline-six engine equipped with triple carburettors and backed by a four-speed Cotal pre-select gearbox. Club experts believe this car originally had the preferred three-carburettor MS engine, making the current unit true to its original specs.” No estimate has been released at the time of writing.

This 1955 Jaguar XK140 MC Roadster is believed to be one of the earliest-surviving left-hand-drive export XK140s. Serial numbers for America-bound export models began at 810000, and this particular car is S810008; the presence of ‘S’ prefix in the serial number indicates it left the factory with the top-of-the-line MC option, or special equipment package, which included a crankshaft vibration damper, wire-spoke wheels, dual exhaust pipes and foglamps.

In the hands of the same owner for 53 years, it was restored in 2012 and upgraded over time with a five-speed manual gearbox, front disc brakes and an aluminium radiator. A major service in late 2023 included an oil change, new oil filter housing, coolant flush and carburettor rebuild, plus new brake master cylinders, brake shoes, spark plugs and tyres, as well as re-chromed wire wheels. No estimate was provided at the time of writing.

This 1970 Chevrolet Corvette GT Shark started out as a 454ci four-speed Stingray, until a huge crash left the rear of the car pretty much destroyed in 1975. The chassis and drivetrain survived, so its first owner – Vinnie Russo – took it to John Riedel, owner of Custom Corvette Enterprises located in Babylon, New York to come up with something special.

Custom Corvette, already well known as a supplier of aftermarket glassfibre panels, removed the pop-up headlamps and installed a custom housing for the headlamps. The grille opening was enlarged, and a hood scoop fitted, but it was at the back where much of the work was done. The pillared fastback design featured a tapered back glass design, which necessitated hand-built side windows, and the quarter panels were flared out to accommodate wider tyres.

Joel Rosen, founder and owner of Motion Performance, converted the car to 427ci specification through the installation of a crankshaft from a 396ci V8, alongside a host of other changes. The Corvette was later the cover car for the March 1977 edition of Cars Hi-Performance & Custom magazine. It was then stored for many years, until the vendor brought it back to life with the help of restorer Charles Lawson. It is believed to be one of only five hand-built Shark Corvettes, and no estimate was provided at the time of writing.

This 1930 LaSalle Series 345 All-Weather Phaeton is believed to be the prototype design car for the Harley Earl Madame X Cadillac. According to a Cadillac Motor Car Company build sheet, it was a rush order for JM Wright. The next stage in its history becomes known from the 1970s onwards, after the car had resided with a retired railroad worker who had stored it in his shed for many years, because he did not have the financial means to restore it.

Its next owner was Dean Buchanan, who acquired the car in 1974 and would store it until 1988, whereupon he embarked on a 14-year restoration odyssey. This involved Classic and Exotic Services in Troy, Michigan, Don Sommers, Mark Latuer and Jim Nicolson. Once completed, the LaSalle entered the show circuit, winning Best in Class at the 2002 editions of the Bay Harbor Concours and Meadowbrook Concours, as well as a Grand National Trophy at the 2002 Cadillac & LaSalle Club National Meet in Dearborn, Michigan.

With the Phaeton’s resemblance to the Madame X Cadillac noted, further research turned up an interview from 1954 in which Harley Earl said he built the first Madame X Cadillacs on LaSalle chassis. This was endorsed by former GM designer Dan Holtz, who worked with Earl; he confirmed to Dean Buchanan that this car was a prototype design for the Madame X Cadillac. In 2005 the car was sold to John O’Quinn, before being acquired by Richard Muehlmann in 2013. No estimate had been released at the time of writing.

This 1999 Bentley Turbo RT LWB Sedan is believed to be the last example of the model built for North America, and for a very important client – Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. Only 50 Turbo RTs were built for the North American market over a two-year period, and this one would take up residence at Gibb’s Miami home. Gibb specified a host of options, most notably a Mission speaker package at a cost of $3561. In the hands of its second owner, it has recently been serviced by JB Import Automotive Repair in St Petersburg, Florida in December 2023.

This 1940 Packard Darrin Custom Super Eight 180 Convertible Sedan is believed to be one of only ten known surviving examples, and was first sold to Chicago. In 1951 it ended up in Arvin, California, where it would take up residence on a peanut farm. It would remain in storage until 1967, when it was discovered by Dr Richard Steiner of Torrance, who would restore the car.

That process took until 1994, and it would soon become a regular on the show circuit. It would later form a part of several important collections, including those of John O Bohmer, Richard Kughn and the late Otis Chandler. No estimate has been released at the time of writing.

This 1934 Packard Twelve 1107 Coupe Roadster is believed to be one of 25 known examples. First sold in Springfield, Massachusetts, its history is unknown until the 1980s, when it was acquired as an incomplete project by restorer Chris Charlton. After a restoration process that took ten years, he sold the car to Phil Bray of Michigan. Bray engaged Lonnie Fallin of Colorado to restore the Packard over two years; David Dunbar upgraded it for touring reliability, with work including Arias pistons, moly rings, modern insert bearings and other refinements.

A Phil Hill 3.58:1 high-speed rear end was fitted, while Stan Francis and Gene Irvin of Howard, Colorado attended to the body and wood, before final preparation and paint by Color on Wheels. Auto Weave Upholstery provided the red interior. The result was a perfect 100-point score at the 1994 Rocky Mountain Grand Classic, and the Packard was exhibited at the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Between 2011 and 2023, it formed part of the Academy of Art University Automobile Collection.

Further details

More details on the Worldwide Auctioneers’ Auburn, Indiana auction can be found here.

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