HomeMediaLegendary prewar classics scheduled for Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction

Legendary prewar classics scheduled for Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction

Multi-million-dollar offerings from Duesenberg, Bugatti, Bentley among those on docket


Exceptional pre-WWI and pre-WWII classic cars from such iconic brands as Duesenberg, Bugatti, Stutz, Bentley and Rolls-Royce will be presented during Gooding & Company’s auction at Pebble Beach, California, in August during Monterey Car Week.

The multi-million-dollar estimated values for these stunning automobiles testify to their towering desirability.  The Gooding auction will be held August 13 and 14 at the Pebble Beach Parc du Concours.

“This exciting selection of Brass Era and prewar classics represents the uppermost echelon of early automotive production,” David Gooding, the auction company’s founder and president, said in a news release.

1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Convertible coupe

Leading off the classics is a majestic 1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe with coachwork by Murphy (Estimated value: $3.5 million to $4.75 million) that is one of two examples fitted with spare tires at the rear instead of the sides, resulting in a sportier look. 

“In 2016, this Model J was acquired by its current owner, who sent it to the respected Duesenberg historian and celebrated restorer Randy Ema with instructions to restore each component to its as-delivered condition, no expenses spared,” according to the Gooding release. “A deep merlot color blended with a bit of black was chosen for the exterior, along with blackwall tires and a black canvas top, perfectly enhancing the hue, as well as its tailored, color-matched full covers on the 19-inch wire wheels.

“Upon completion of the restoration in 2019, this example took First Place in the Duesenberg class at Pebble Beach, an incredible feat in its own right.”

1928 Bugatti TYpe 35B Grand Prix racer

In the motorsports realm of great classics is a 1929 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix race car (Estimate: $3.5 million to $4.5 million) that has been restored to a “period-appropriate appearance,” Gooding says.

“Considered by many to be among the finest racing cars of its period, and no doubt one of the most enduring automotive designs of all time, the Type 35 Grand Prix is the definitive Bugatti,” Gooding’s release notes. “Initially unveiled at the 1924 Grand Prix of Lyon, the Type 35 came equipped with an overhead-cam eight-cylinder engine and produced an impressive 95 hp.

The finely detailed engine of the Bugatti Type 35B

”Its extremely lightweight chassis was emblematic of Bugatti’s revolutionary engineering, including a hollow front axle and cast aluminum wheels with integrated brake drums, beneath a lightweight, two-place aluminum body. With 340 built, the Type 35 dominated racing in the late 1920s and early 1930s, resulting in a total of over 1,000 wins.”

Gooding reports that the Bugatti retains its original chassis frame, engine, supercharger, gearbox, rear axle, front axle, data tag and much of its Molsheim Grand Prix bodywork.

The lightweight Bugatti Type 35B was a formidable grand prix champion

“Unlike many Bugatti competition cars from the prewar era, chassis 4938 remains in fundamentally original order, surviving for over 90 years – making it truly one of the most desirable automobiles of all time,” the release adds.

One of the best-known names from the Brass Era, the 1914 Stutz 4E Bearcat (Estimate: $2.75 million to $3.5 million) is a “powerful and attractive” model and a well-documented example with complete ownership history.

1914 Stutz Bearcat

“This 1914 Stutz 4E Bearcat, chassis 2250, is a genuine pre-1915 example of the legendary model, presented with thorough documentation of its decorated past,” Gooding’s description says. “It is incredibly rare to come across a Bearcat with known provenance, making this example the Holy Grail of American antiques.

“Chassis 2250 boasts a roster of owners consisting of the very best names in car collecting, including Smith Hempstone Oliver, Thomas McKean, Winthrop Rockefeller, William Harrah and James Conant. This Series E Bearcat has also participated in landmark events, such as the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup and the final ARCA race at the 1940 New York World’s Fair.”

The huge supercharger for the 1931 ‘Blower’ Bentley hangs off the front end

One of the famed “Blower” Bentleys, the 1931 Bentley 4½ Litre SC (Estimate $3 million to $4 million) is a supercharged racing model with a lightweight fabric body that was owned and driven on tours and rallies by a single family for 47 years.

“Steeped in the glorious history of Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin and his famed Bentley Boys’ legendary efforts at Le Mans, this Bentley is one of the 50 original supercharged 4½ Litre cars built to homologate the model for the highest levels of competition,” Gooding notes.

The Bentley’s supercharged engine was designed for endurance racing

“Chassis MS3928 was delivered new in Scotland, bodied as a drophead coupe by J. Gurney Nutting & Co., and has been traced through notable UK-based owners, including an RAF squadron leader, before being acquired, without coachwork, by a family in Connecticut in 1961, where it joined a stable of ‘Blower’ Bentleys.

“In 1970, the family returned MS3928’s chassis to England, commissioning Restor, Ltd. to faithfully construct lightweight, fabric-covered coachwork in the style of the original Tim Birkin Le Mans team cars.”

The no-nonsense cockpit of the 1931 Bentley

The Bentley was acquired by its current owner in 2008, after which he drove it regularly “while displaying it among his world-class collection of veteran and vintage competition cars.”

“A ‘Blower’ Bentley is unparalleled in both status and stature,” Gooding adds,

A wonderful British veteran from the early days of motoring, the 1910 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Pullman Limousine (Estimate: $2 million to $2.6 million) is a concours-restored example of one of history’s most-honored automotive nameplates. 

1910 Rolls-Royce 50 50HP Silver Ghost Pullman Limousine

“Silver Ghosts built before the outbreak of WWI in particular remain the most sought-after of their kind, as each one is revered for its reliability, silent operation, and driving ease – characteristics that have stood the test of time over a century later,” Gooding says in the release.

“One of the finest surviving examples worldwide, chassis 1392’s coachwork was crafted by S & A Fuller Coachworks of Bath, England, and is one of the most regal and impressive of its kind extant.”

“The Fuller,” as it is known among early Rolls-Royce aficionados, was restored to original, “with special care given to conserving its materials and finishes.”

“This Silver Ghost moves with alacrity and authority, enduring more than 110 years as the impeccable and graceful example presented today,” the Gooding description adds. “A crowning centerpiece of any conceivable collection, chassis 1392 represents a strong and irreplaceable link to the opulence and grand style of the Edwardian Era.”

For more information about the Pebble Beach auction, visit the Gooding website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -