The four-speed transaxle from the Porsche 550 Spyder that James Dean had a fatal crash in has just been auctioned for a total of $382,000.
James Dean’s beloved and “cursed” Porsche 550 Spyder was completely ruined during his unfortunate crash that led to fatal injuries, and most parts were scrapped after the movie stars’ fatal crash. However, one of the few standing parts is its 4-speed transaxle which has just been recently auctioned off. The transaxle is the only documented and known part whose locations are still publicly known. James Dean died after colliding with another vehicle at an intersection in Cholame, California, on Sept. 30, 1955, while on his way to compete with his Porsche 550 Spyder in a race in Salinas.
Nicknamed the “Little bastard” from Dean himself, the car part was sold at an online auction on Saturday, May 29th, of the year 2021. Numerous so-called “cursed” parts from James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder have been auctioned off and sold over the past few years, and the four-speed transaxle is the most recent part that was sold.
Photo Credit: Odd Cars Weekley
This specific four-speed transaxle has been sold multiple and countless times over the years and has spent a few decades in storage before it was discovered last year by Don Ahearn. Recently, it was back on the market for auction, and it has just been sold for a total whopping $382,000. It was sold at an online auction, a very eerie piece of history. A transaxle is a smaller more compact version of the transmission that includes the functions of a transmission, axle, and differential as well.
James Dean would race his Porsche 550 Spyder nicknamed “Little Bastard” across the states, and due to its massive power to weight ratio, the light, agile, nimble car integrated with its 1.5L air-cooled flat-4 was able to capture numerous victories. Unfortunately, James Dean faced a head-on collision alongside his mechanic Rolf Wütherichhe when they were driving and heading towards a race from Los Angeles to Salinas when Dean collided with a Ford Tudor being driven by Donald Turnupseed at an intersection.
James Dean’s Porsche 550 Trans Axle
Turnupseed suffered mild injuries but James Dean and his passenger Wütherich suffered very serious injuries in the horrific crash. Both of them were brought to a local hospital, but sadly James Dean died on his way to the Hospital. Dr. William F. Eschrich pulled and found the remaining standing parts of the car, which included this transaxle. The crumpled up and damaged chassis and body was reportedly stolen in 1960 and has not been seen since Dean’s crash. Eschrich sold the rest of the remaining car to a well-known car customizer, George Barris, who loaned and lend the car to the National Safety Council where it would go on displays and tours across the United States of America between the years of 1957 and 1959.
The rare transaxle displays a split magnesium case purposely designed to house four forward gears, reverse, and a differential as well. It also includes a hydraulically activated clutch release lever, aluminum drum brake assemblies, swing-axle tubes, ad a starter motor. An interesting and eerie piece of history that transaxle is…
An extremely rare 1979 Holden Torana GTR XU1-Bathurst will be amongst the star lots of the Classic Car Auctions sale to be held at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show in March 2022.
Believed to be possibly the only Holden Torana GTR XU1-Bathurst car in the Northern Hemisphere, the car is one of only 150 built in the period to achieve homologation for racing. Peter Brook took his first of 9 Bathurst wins in a similar 1972 car. The engine number for each of the 150 specials was recorded in the service manual by Holden, so that technicians would be able to service the vehicle in accordance with specific requirements for this model. All of the original books are present with the car, which is offered in the original “Strike Me Pink” livery.
The car is UK registered and has been owned by the vendor for 29 years. Last started in 1985, and in need of restoration, this is likely to be the only one of its kind offered for sale in Europe, or perhaps even the entire Northern Hemisphere. The car is offered with a guide price of between £45,000 – £55,000. The last example sold at auction, as a fully restored vehicle, topped £160,000 and significant interest is expected in this rare car.
The Holden will feature in an extensive catalogue that marks the return of Classic Car Auctions to the March show for the first time in three years. The leading auction house for Everyman classics, Classic Car Auctions is a division of the UK’s market leader for specialist and classic cars, Silverstone Auctions. Over the past two years Classic Car Auctions have sold over £15,000,000 of client vehicles and the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show will be the largest of the companies four sales scheduled for 2022. Consignments are currently open for the show, and Classic Car Auctions offers a free valuation service via the website. Bidding on the March event auction is available in person at the event or by phone, commission and online bidding for those unable to attend.
For further information, or to consign a vehicle please visit classiccarauctions.co.uk
- £310.8m of classic and collector cars sold at auction in 2021
- £15.5m paid for 1995 McLaren F1 at Pebble Beach
- Ex-Lewis Hamilton F1 car sells at British Grand Prix for £4.7m
- 1998 Subaru Impreza STi 22b breaks records at £240,000
- Wrecked Jaguar sells for almost £100,000
- 1988 Escort Ghia with royal connections achieves over £52,000
- Online bidder pays over £1m for a Ferrari F40
Last year, Hagerty tracked more than 12,500 UK and European auction results, over double those observed in 2020.
The numbers were huge: a total of £310.8 million in classic and collector vehicles sold, including 14 for over £1m, a significant increase from 10 last year.
Some of this increase was undoubtedly due to the expansion of Hagerty’s valuation operations, now called Automotive Intelligence, that tracks auctions, insured values and other data sources all around the world. But the increase is also a result of continued confidence in the market after the brief pause in early 2020. The specialist vehicle market seems to be moving onwards at a rate almost entirely unconnected to the pandemic.
Throughout this year of increased sales, it is inevitable that certain vehicles stand out. These are sometimes the most valuable, the rarest or those that indicate an emerging trend in the market, but others are notable just because they are really interesting cars. Here is Hagerty’s selection of 2021’s most influential global classic vehicle sales.
Most valuable: 1995 McLaren F1, £15.5m
Starting with the biggest sale of 2021 – the 1995 McLaren F1 sold by Gooding & Company at Pebble Beach in August. The final result was $20,465,000 (£15.5m) just shy of the Hagerty Price Guide condition 1 ‘concours’ value. Hagerty is aware of other, private sales that have been higher, but this was a world record price for the F1 at public auction.
Formula One royalty: 2010 McLaren MP4-25, £4.73m
The first of Lewis Hamilton’s F1 race and Grand Prix-winning cars ever offered to the public, it won the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix. This car is undoubtedly a piece of motoring heritage, as it was raced by Hamilton against the other dominant F1 legend of the modern era, Michael Schumacher. Sold by RM Sotheby’s at a special, single-lot auction at the British Grand Prix, it sold for £4.73m, just short of its top estimate.
Turning Japanese: 1998 Subaru Impreza STi 22B, $317,555 (£240,000)
As Hagerty has written about a great deal this year, Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) car values have been flying high in America. Some, like this 1998 Subaru STi 22B, don’t yet even qualify for the country’s 25-year import rule (only vehicles aged 25 or older may be imported to the US without having to meet the national vehicle regulations), but that doesn’t put buyers, off as seen back in April when it sold for a record-breaking $317,555 (£240,000) via Bring A Trailer.
The model hasn’t yet achieved the same level of value here in the UK: back in May, one of just 16 UK-spec 22Bs was sold by Silverstone Auctions for £171,000, more than expected but still a long way short of the Bring A Trailer record. Then, in November at the NEC sale, Silverstone tried again – this time with a 15,500-mile from new example that was estimated at an eye-watering £230,000 to £280,000. Bidding reached £200,000 and it did not sell.
Wrecked exotic: 1960 Jaguar XK150 S Drophead, £90,000
There are some auction results that are surprising, even to the seasoned observer who thinks they have seen everything. This car, offered by Bonhams MPH in May, was crashed by its previous owner in 1996. And it wasn’t just a small shunt: spinning off the road into a tree, the car took a huge impact to the front and sustained damage all along the right-hand side. The driver’s chest broke the steering wheel and his hair was still embedded in the windscreen! And yet, someone saw the potential for restoring this car back to its glory days and paid a very robust £90,000, just shy of our current £102,000 Price Guide value for an ‘Excellent’ example.
Group B stuns again: 1988 Audi Sport Quattro, €2.017M
An undoubted highlight of the Artcurial Paris sales of February 2021, exceeding its expectations by the largest amount and selling for €700,000 over its €1M to €1.3M pre-sale estimate. Hagerty has tracked the values of all Ur Quattros increasing significantly over the past 18 months. However, the value achieved – three times the top Hagerty Price Guide figure of £408,000 for the standard Sport Quattro – set a new level.
The Ugly Duckling: 1993 Jaguar XJ220, £460,000
An exceptional XJ220 with just 385 miles on the clock in factory Monza Red and a clean bill of health from marque specialists Don Law Racing, its sale may mark a watershed for the model.
A highlight of the Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale, it was the first time an XJ220 had exceeded our (then) top Hagerty Price Guide value of £445,000 and is a record for a public auction sale. It was quickly followed up by RM Sotheby’s sale of a similarly impressive example in their London sale in November which exceeded its pre-sale top estimate selling for £432,500. It’s notable that ten of the highest 11 values of the model at auction have been since 2019.
One royal owner: 1981 Ford Escort 1.6 Ghia, £52,640
Hagerty has tracked examples of the third-generation Ford Escort selling for more than £50,000 but they have been low-mileage examples of sporting models such as the RS Turbo and RS1600i. So, what made a slightly tired, 83,000-mile, 1.6 Ghia example, offered by Reeman Dansie, so sought-after? In May 1981 it was given as an engagement present by Prince Charles to the then-Lady Diana Spencer. This sale, in a specialist royal auction, fetched around ten times what Hagerty expects a very good example to reach without its amazing history.
Online landmark: Ferrari F40, £1,000,500
The Market’s July sale of ‘F40 BLU’, a 1989 Ferrari F40, for £1,000,500, was another watershed moment: the first time a car sold for over £1m in a dedicated UK online auction. Interestingly, it lacked the originality usually demanded of such top cars, having been painted in Porsche Aqua Blue, but made up for it in online presence, generated by its owner Sam Moores, the Car Chat podcaster and photographer. Interestingly, four bidders were still competing even after the car reached £980,000. Hagerty has tracked the values of F40s rising steadily over the last few years: from 2016 until 2021, top values in the Hagerty Price Guide rose by 11 per cent.
Two more exceptional examples sold in the US at Monterey in August, one for $2.89M (Gooding and Co) and another for $2.42m (RM Sotheby’s). With over 50 per cent of F40 owners who insure with Hagerty born since 1965 (up from 28 per cent in 2018), younger money is coming into the market, reinforcing the F40’s position as a key collectable car in the present climate.
Restorer’s dream: 1982 Lamborghini Countach LP500S, £257,600
It appeared to be a basket case, a supercar in component parts and in urgent need of saving. Yet this 1982 Lamborghini Countach LP 500S restoration case was sold by Historics in September for £257,600 – well over its top £180,000 estimate.
The LP500s (often called the 5000s) was the original Athena poster model. This one, stripped down and ready for a full restoration, was an ultra-rare right-hand drive example, one of just 37 made. Hagerty’s ‘Excellent’ value at the time was £334,000, not giving the new owner too much leeway for a full-cost restoration, but then again it’s rare for buyers in this part of the market, where money isn’t always a concern, to be presented with a blank canvas to restore to their own specification.
2021 has been Hampson Auctions’ first full year at the rostrum since 1994, yet it has already caused a stir in the crowded world of classic car sales by securing a pair of enviable venues and achieving a number of significant results for cars, motorcycles and automobilia.
It is also notable for charging its vendors a zero entry fee and zero commission.
The company’s final sale for 2021 was held under the wings of the world’s most iconic airliner, courtesy of the Concorde Conference Centre in Manchester, and this matchless venue can now be regarded as Hampson’s spiritual home, where its very next sale (February 22, 2022) will also be held. Another fixture on the auction house’s annual calendar is one of the country’s top classic motor race meetings, the Gold Cup at Oulton Park, which for next year will take place over the weekend of July 29-31.
Now run by Zach Hamilton, Hampson Auctions was formed by his father Mark and uncle Geoffrey Hamilton back in 1987, since when the market for classic cars has clearly changed out of all recognition. Undeterred, and having already created a successful business outside the motoring sphere, Zach was determined to bring Hampson back to life. He said: “My childhood was punctuated by the attendance of car auctions with my dad, so it’s a world I was effectively born into. Resurrecting the family firm has therefore been the realisation of a long-held dream.”
Hampson’s sales are designed to appeal to all classic car enthusiasts, with entries at both ends of the price spectrum, plus a selection of motorcycles and automobilia (and in the case of the recent auction, even a magnificent replica 1920s steam-powered launch). An unintended area of specialism is that for the fast Fords of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Said Zach: “These cars are personal favourites of mine and we already seem to have acquired a reputation for successfully dealing in them.”
Further details of Hampson Auctions and its upcoming sales can be found at www.hampsonauctions.com.
Silverstone Auctions announces Motorcycle Season Opener Sale in partnership with Carole Nash MCN Motorcycle Show
Silverstone Motorcycle Auctions is proud to announce a new multi-year partnership with the Carole Nash MCN Motorcycle Show to be held at ExCel London, February 11-13 2022. The exciting new collaboration will see Silverstone Motorcycle Auctions hold a live sale at the show for a number of years.
Creating a key attraction for the show, Silverstone Motorcycle Auctions will conduct a sale of over 100 classic, vintage, iconic and modern motorcycles during the event. Over 40,000 motorcycle fans are expected to converge on the first show of the year and will have the opportunity to witness the season opener auction live. With motorcycles available to view online and at the show, the sale will be supported by Silverstone Auctions unique online bidding platform, Silverstone Live. The sale will be held on Saturday 12th February, with consignments open immediately.
Silverstone Auctions has made a significant investment in the motorcycle division of the business, bringing in classic motorcycle expert Mark Bryan to head up a growing team of specialists. Mark is joined by specialist motorcycle consigner Dan Lovis, who adds a wealth of experience and the company is currently recruiting additional consignment managers. The team is supported by a dedicated in-house photographer role and is backed by the Silverstone Auctions 11-year pedigree of leading the UK automotive auction segment. In addition to delivering four live auctions a year, the team also supports the new Silverstone Auctions digital platform, to be launched on 1st December 2021, and offers an estate sale valuation and management service to legal partners and private clients.
Silverstone founder Nick Whale comments “We’re delighted to announce this exciting, long-term, partnership with the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show. Holding a live auction at the event is a great way to kick off the season and we look forward to offering a superb catalogue of motorcycles. Our growing motorcycle division is a fantastic addition to the Silverstone Auctions Group and following the brilliant results at our recent NEC sale we are rapidly becoming the first choice for motorcycle sales.”
Consignments are now invited for the London Motorcycle Show Season Opener auction. With low fees, a dedicated motorcycle consignment team and significant marketing support, the new sale offers a superb opportunity to sell motorcycles of all eras. To consign your motorcycle for sale with Silverstone Auctions please contact Mark Bryan or Dan Lovis using the details below.
For more on Silverstone Auctions please visit www.silverstoneauctions.com
For more about the Carole Nash MCN Motorcycle Show please visit www.mcnmotorcycleshow.com
- 2000 Rover Mini Cooper Sport (Britt Ekland)
Classic Car Auctions final sale of 2021 is just over a week away on Saturday 11th December at Stoneleigh Park, CV8 2LZ.
The team have a superb catalogue with Everyman Classics from across the decades going under the hammer including this 2000 Rover Mini Cooper Sport directly acquired from new by Britt Ekland herself!
With bond-girl provenance and model rarity, Britt’s love of the Mini began in 1964 when her then-husband Peter Sellers first introduced her to it, and this little Cooper has been loved so much that it was driven all the way to Sweden in 2014 and returning to London in 2019 where it has been ever since.
Britt acquired this late-production example and was registered on 21/12/2000 remaining in her ownership ever since and has been privately entered by herself! Finished in Solar Red with a full-length sunroof, this is the penultimate limited-edition of the classic Mini Cooper with around 2,200 built between March and October 2000. With only 44,500 miles on the clock, this really is a great opportunity.
Gary Dunne, CCA’s Sales Manager commented “We are absolutely thrilled to be offering this beautiful, exquisite little Mini from Britt herself. With great provenance and well looked after, I can’t wait to see what this goes for.’
Buyers and enthusiasts alike will be able to view the cars from Wednesday 8th December, and the auction event itself will begin at 11am on Saturday 11th December in Hall 1. This gives people the opportunity to view the vehicles and really get under the hood, to make sure their next Everyman Classic is everything they hoped it would be and more.
Bidding for the sale can be done in person, online, by phone or via commission (pre-bid). For absentee bidding, please complete the registration process at least 48 hours before the auction day to ensure your registration is processed. Alternatively, if you have any questions, please email the UK Auction House Market Leaders on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01926 640888.
Saturday 11th December – The December Sale