1950’s Handcrafted Specials: Valuation

Hi Gang…

Here at Undiscovered Classics we keep a keen eye on auctions as they relate to postwar handcrafted specials, and the news in the past few years has been increasingly positive.  Sometimes we see one car pass through an auction in a given year, but the trends and the Valuation Guides maintained by Hagerty continue to show excellent results for nicely restored cars that have been brought back to beautiful condition.

That’s great news for those of you who own one of these cars or are currently restoring one.  Let’s take a look at the results on some of these cars over the last few years.

Let’s Review The Cars and The Results

2019 Auctions

1953 Glasspar G2 – Sold at $109,200 Including Fees
RM Sotheby’s: Amelia Island

This is the most recent auction and a very impressive result.  This Glasspar G2 was put up with an estimate of $60,000 to $90,000 but performed above the highest expectations.  The car sold for $109,200 which was inclusive of the buyer’s fee.

Click here to learn more about this car and the auction

1951 Studebaker Manta Ray Custom – Bid to $190,000
Mecum: Monterey

This is another recent auction and a good result too – although this car didn’t sell.  This car is a bit different than the sports cars we generally follow, but the Manta Ray is an excellent example of a show car built by two talented individuals with a specific vision in mind.  Given that this may be the earliest fiberglass show car in existance doesn’t hurt either.

The Manta Ray was put up with an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000 but was bid to $190,000.  Not a bad price but not high enough for the car to sell and go off to a new owner.

Click here to learn more about this car and the auction

2018 Auctions

1962 La Dawri Conquest – Sold at $57,200 Including Fees
Mecum: Denver, Colorado

Here at Mecum an excellent LaDawri Conquest sports car was auctioned off at $57,200 inclusive of buyer’s fees.  The fit and finish of this car was excellent and the wheel treatment certainly gave it a bit more of a “restomod” look.  This car was not period correct but it was restored and updated with great attention to detail and the final finish was right on target.

Click here to learn more about this car and the auction

2015 Auctions

1955 Allied Coupe (100” wheelbase) – Sold at $220,000 Including Fees
RM Sotheby’s: The Andrews Collection, Ft. Worth, Texas

Another impressive result was seen with this Allied coupe which sold for $220,000 inclusive of the buyer’s fees.  Although incorrectly identified as an “Allied Swallow” in the auction, it was actually an “Allied Blackhawk” which has a 100” wheelbase (the Swallow is MG size with a 94” wheelbase).  One factor that helped increase the sale price of this car was the Kurtis Kraft chassis.  Kurtis is considered the finest in-period chassis that a sports car could have from this era.

Click here to learn more about this car and the auction

1953 Victress S1A Roadster – Bid to $150,000
Mecum: Chicago, Illinois

This beautifully built Victress S1A roadster was built to impress on the road.  It was bid to $150,000 at this 2015 Mecum Auction in Chicago, Illinois but did not meet reserve.  It later changed hands at a during a private transaction.

Click here to learn more about this car and the auction

2012 Auctions

1953 Woodill Wildfire – Sold For $66,000
Worldwild Auctioneers: Auburn, Indiana

This Wildfire was featured in 2011 on the Discovery TV Show “Fast & Loud” where it was found and restored on camera.  It is an excellent example with beautifully restored Dayton wire wheels and two-tone paint.  It was considered “well-bought” at $66,000 and now resides in a private collection.

Click here to learn more about this car and the auction

Hagerty Valuation Guides

Hagerty Insurance maintains a value guide for vintage cars which includes value estimates for the Glasspar G2 and Woodill Wildfire sports cars.  Each of these values exceeds $100,000 for Glasspars and Wildfires that are in #1 concours condition.

Click here to see the Hagerty Valuation Guide for Glasspar G2 Sports Cars

Click here to see the Hagerty Valuation Guide for Woodill Wildfire Sports Cars

Additional Reading:

For those of you wanting to learn more about this history and appreciation of rare and significant American handcrafted postwar sports cars, consider reading the following article which appeared in the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance program:

Click Here To Read “The Emergence of the American Postwar Sports Car”

Undiscovered Classics Services

If you are needing help selling your car, needing an appraisal, management of the restoration of your American Special or more – we’re here to help.

Click Here To Learn More About The Services We Offer at Undiscovered Classics


What’s impressive is the consistently high bids and price achieved for each car.  This trend has continued over 8 years and across different sports car marques and categories of handcrafted cars.  This is good news for those of you who have these types of cars in their collection as well as those who are looking for potential investments in future purchases and/or restorations.

For those of you who can’t wait and want to see what’s available right now for purchase, click on the link below to consider a purchase of a variety of handcrafted American Specials.  We have cars that range from “barn-finds,” to partial restorations as well as fully restored sports cars ready to go.  There’s something for everyone if you like rare handcrafted American Specials.

Click here to check out our inventory in our Undiscovered Classics store

Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…

The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.



1950’s Handcrafted Specials: Valuation — 6 Comments

  1. I’m surprised that you hadn’t mentioned the 1959 Bocar XP-5 that sold at RM in August, 2016 for $412,500. In my opinion it’s one of the best looking fiberglass cars ever built and had sold for a high price for a fiberglass car.

  2. As an Appraiser we don’t consider the buyer’s fees (or the seller’s fees) as part of the actual value of the car. It might be helpful to call out the sell price plus fees. My opinion.

    Do you know the actual after-auction sale price on the Victress?

    Thanks for all the very good and interesting work you do. Very much appreciated.

    • Wayne…great comments here and thanks for sharing. This is, on my part, a first attempt at creating some guidance where there none in the hobby for American Specials. The challenge is that few American Specials have historically come up for auction – very few. That is changing and perhaps we’re helping change that by our work at Undiscovered Classics. One of the challenges in looking at these cars is that the numbers within each of the larger marques (Glasspar, Wildfire, Victress, Allied, others) are very small. And then you have several companies that produced just 5-10 cars and bodies. Talk about a challenge! I look at the entire area of American Handcrafted Specials (1947 to 1960) collectively, and looking for trends. The outliers for any valuation are always a problem (the high ones and the low ones), so I started with posting auction trends over years.

      As to your question about the sale on the Victress – yes I know the price on the private transaction. I know many of the prices on cars in private transactions as well as track ebay and so on, but I only post auction results so far because that’s what the folks do that report on auctions.

      Thanks for your kind words on what we do, and it’s great that you are an appraiser. I could use your help Wayne – if you’re willing. Can you e-mail me at Geoffrey.Hacker@Gmail.com We could talk a bit and see if you are interested. No doubt your help would make what I’m trying to do better.

      And…check out my reply to Scott Carroll above for more detail on what we’re trying to accomplish.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and look forward to hearing from you.


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