On The Lighter Side: This Might Be The Coolest Estate Sale Ever
Written by: Johnny Puckett, Motorious
Published April 06, 2023
It’s full of historic cars!
When you think of an estate sale, you might think of a musty old house or basement where you’re hoping to score some cool records and antique furniture. But not all estate sales are created equal. This one might be the coolest estate sales we’ve ever seen. This April, in Lynchburg, Virginia, Gooding & Company will present the insanely eclectic treasure trove of cars of Mark Smith, with everything offered at no reserve, at that!
Before we share our favorite picks, here’s a little bit about Mark J. Smith. He was a super smart car collector, finding and curating one of the most discerning collections around. An acute passion for originality and unrestored classics has resulted in these extremely impressive garages of desirable, rarely seen models. His impressive array of early Americana and significant classics will be on display near Mark’s very own Midland Motors museum, where the auction will take place on Friday, April 7. Here are the ones we’re jonesing for.
1934 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Offener Tourenwagen (Estimate: $1,250,000 – $1,750,000, Without Reserve)
This is one of the most original Mercedes-Benzes you’ll ever see. This is one of the masterpieces hailing from the factory coachbuilders at Sindelfingen. It is one of five of the surviving models of this style on the 500 K chassis. This car has an interesting history, having been seized by the US and used after WWII in Germany by US soldiers. Basically, it’s got some interesting stories to tell. It’s a breathing piece of history with a highly original eight-cylinder engine and other incredible features. If only cars could talk…
1932 Chrysler CG Imperial Custom Roadster (Estimate: $800,000 – $1,200,000, Without Reserve)
There’s a good chance you’ve never imagined or seen a Chrysler nearly as beautiful as this one. Basically, this otolaryngologist in the ‘30s named Dr. William F. Whelan was absolutely obsessed with this car, making tweaks nonstop to align with Chrysler’s constantly improving engineering at the time. What resulted is a super sleek, tapered look that makes this car such a notable standout. It has been slightly upgraded by Mr. Smith, who updated the leather and other little features to make it as original as possible. At The Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, it earned the trophy for the Most Significant Chrysler Product.
1935 Bentley 3 1/2 Litre Drophead Coupe (Estimate: $250,000 – $350,000, Without Reserve)
If you’re more of an English prewar fan, you’ve got to see this Bentley. When Bentley was acquired by Rolls-Royce, this was one of the first cars built at the Derby factory. This one is what’s known as a “silent sports car,” boasting stylistic elements that are distinctly French. It is one of just two Bentleys that the coachbuilder Antem of Paris ever made for the company, and the only 3 1/2 litre out there. You can kind of tell in pictures, but the car has the most stunning patina, which is especially noticeable with the blue leather upholstery. We’re not kidding when we say this might be one of the prettiest historic Bentleys out there.
1907 White Model G ‘Roi des Belges’ Touring (Estimate: $250,000 – $350,000, Without Reserve)
You may be sleeping on the White Motor Company, which made some of the most significant American cars during its 80 year history. It’s kind of just one of the great American manufacturers in history, with automobiles, trucks, tractors, sewing machines, bicycles, roller skates, and machine tools in its wheelhouse. If you know the Cleveland based company already, you know about their 10,000 steam-powered cars. Enter the Model G, which has a 30 hp two-cylinder compound engine known for quiet operation and flexibility of control. This particular model went to Kern Dodge, a prominent industrialist. From then on, it has a highly documented ownership history. It was repainted in the 1950s, but is super original other than that. If you’ve got a need for steam, it’s being offered without reserve!
1907 Ford Model K Touring (Estimate: $175,000 – $250,000, Without Reserve)
Ok, so maybe you’re starting to sense a theme here. All of these cars have super fascinating history beyond just being some of the oldest, rarest cars you can get your hands on. We can’t talk about the history of motoring without bringing in Ford and Lincoln, which are conveniently both featured in this sale. The Model K Ford was the range-topping, luxurious six-cylinder car. It was also notably guaranteed to reach 60 mph when it came out, which was a huge deal at the time. Though there were around 1,000 examples built, only about 23 examples still survive to this day. This particular model also has a very documented history, making it a rare and beautiful piece of early American motoring culture waiting for a new home.
1930 Lincoln Model L Sport Roadster (Estimate: $140,000 – $180,000, Without Reserve)
In 1925, Lincoln started to welcome some new coach builders who made significant strides at the company. One of these is the Model L Sport Roadster, which had some cool new features like a slick, disappearing top, hidden when stowed beneath the rear, as well as a rumble seat and a golf door. There were 15 built, but only four (including this guy) are still around. It was restored in the ‘90s and is in beautiful condition. It really is kind of amazingly modern when you look at it, a testament to Brass Era American engineering and a timeless looker of a car.
We thank Motorious for reprint permission.