Sale of the last cen­tury

NEIL McDON­ALD looks at ex­pen­sive clas­sic cars

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

TWO cars from a golden au­to­mo­tive era are tipped to set world records when they go to auc­tion in Au­gust. A 1939 Sil­ver Ar­row Auto Union ‘‘D-type’’ grand prix racer and a 1936 Bu­gatti Type 57C Coupe could each eclipse the record $16 mil­lion paid for a rare 1957 Fer­rari Tes­tarossa last month.

Bon­hams & But­ter­fields will sell the Sil­ver Ar­row at Carmel in Cal­i­for­nia the day be­fore Good­ing and Com­pany puts the Bu­gatti on the block down the road at the Peb­ble Beach Con­cours d’El­e­gance.

The Sil­ver Ar­row Auto Union was put up for auc­tion in 2007 by Christies but with­drawn when its race his­tory could not be ver­i­fied.

Bon­hams has put a con­ser­va­tive fig­ure of $12 mil­lion on the car, but cashed-up Rus­sian bid­ders could push the price up now its her­itage has been con­firmed.

Each car has a price­less his­tory. The Sil­ver Ar­row is the only known car of its type with a proven race his­tory, and the Bu­gatti was built as a birth­day present for com­pany founder Et­tore Bu­gatti.

It is one of the most orig­i­nal Bu­gat­tis in ex­is­tence.

Af­ter Et­tore’s death in 1947, the car was stored at the Bu­gatti work­shop in Mol­sheim, France.

The Type 57C has one-off coach­work be­lieved to be one of the last de­signs by Et­tore’s son, Jean Bu­gatti, be­fore his death.

Pieces of the Ger­man Auto Union car were tracked down by Rus­sian­born Amer­i­can car col­lec­tor Paul Karas­sik.

Chas­sis 19 is the only sur­viv­ing Auto Union grand prix car with a proven 1939 racing his­tory.

Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz dom­i­nated grand prix racing in the 1930s be­fore World War II brought it to a halt.

In all 65 Auto Union cars are be­lieved to have been built, but few sur­vived the war.

The Red Army grabbed the sur­vivors and 13 were taken to the Soviet Union’s mo­tor in­dus­try re­search in­sti­tute in Moscow, where four were dis­man­tled and de­stroyed.

Parts of the other cars sur­vived the Soviet era and Karas­sik has a trea­sure trove of pre-war com­po­nents, in­clud­ing chas­sis 19’s com­plete chas­sis and the late-model V12 en­gine.

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