Bonhams & Butterfields to Sell 1939 Auto Union D-type at Quail Lodge 2009

One of the most desirable racing cars in the world will come under the hammer this August.

Chassis number 19 was driven to several high-placed finishes in the 1939 season, including Rudi Hasse’s fifth at the Nürburgring EifelRennen and Hans Stück's sixth overall at the French Grand Prix at Reims – chassis 19’s last race.

Classic Driver readers will recall this same car being withdrawn from the Christie's Rétromobile auction when it emerged that the car's previously believed French Grand Prix-winning race history was proved incorrect by Audi's historic 'Tradition' department. Its correct identity, of chassis 19, was then established.

One can only imagine the confusion created not only by the money-no-object, state-funded Auto Union team dismantling and rebuilding cars before every race, but also the terrible aftermath of WW2 when the remaining chassis were appropriated by the advancing Russian army. After the War, it had been discovered by Russian-born American Paul Karassik – a Florida-based antique car enthusiast.

The car has been rebuilt by one of the world’s greatest restoration companies: Crosthwaite & Gardiner of Buxted, England (who build the ‘recreated’ Auto Unions for Audi Tradition). It features a three-cam, two-stage supercharged 3.0-litre V12 producing some 485bhp at 7000rpm.

Assuming the car-collecting world remains in reasonably rude health come August, it should prove one of the highlights of this year’s Monterey week sales.

Other early entries include the ‘without reserve’ ex-Jacques Swaters Ecurie Belgique 1948 Talbot-Lago T26C, estimated at $1,000,000 - 1,300,000, and the 1952 Siata 208CS 'works' Mille Miglia entry, raced by Tullini / Rossi, race number 542.

The sale is scheduled for Friday August 14 2009 at the Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club.

Text - Steve Wakefield
Photo - James Mann / Bonhams

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