It wouldn’t be over-egging it to say that the Frederiksen Collection is one of the most impressive collections of pre-war cars in Europe – possibly the world. Exciting news then, that the whole shebang is due to cross the auction block in Denmark at the end of the week (26 September).
With lots ranging in price from less than £30,000 to just under £2,500,000, there’s something to suit most budgets – but which cars are the prize picks? We’ve put together a quick guide detailing the collection’s big hitters.
BEST VALUE1931 Cadillac V12 Series 370 Roadster
In a sale dominated by headline-grabbing, multi-million pound classics, the Cadillac V12 Series 370 Roadster offers a more modest entry point to someone looking to take their first steps into the world of pre-war car ownership.
It’s not the rarest car on offer, but its handsome Fleetwood coachwork more than stands up to scrutiny, while its healthy V12 engine puts out enough power for it to be used on tours and for events – a trait that further reinforces its entry-level credentials. It could be yours for as little as £97,000, but you can rest assured that, whether parked outside Tesco or on the concours lawn, people will assume it’s cost you a whole lot more.
THE CONNOISSEURS’ CHOICE1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Roadster
For the super wealthy flappers and swingers of 1920s and 1930s America, the pinnacle of their motoring aspirations was to own a Duesenberg. This Model J Disappearing Top Roadster is the perfect embodiment of that ideal, thanks in no small part to its Walter M Murphy party trick – a signature sleek cover that hides the folding canvas top.
Not only is the Frederiksen Collection’s example the ultimate expression of the Model J, it’s also got cast-iron provenance that is sure to attract serious collectors. It’s in thoroughly original condition and, remarkably, has a known and unbroken chain of ownership that stretches back to the day it left the factory 85 years ago. It comes at a cost, mind: £1.6-2m.
MOST INTRIGUING 1905 Woods Electric Queens Victoria Brougham
The collection isn’t short of a few interesting vehicles, but the most fascinating has to be the pumpkin-shaped Woods Electric Queens Victoria Brougham of 1905. Think veteran cars aren’t stylish? Think again: the short wheelbase and tall wood-framed glasshouse combine to create a truly charming classic with bags of character. It’s a survivor, too, being the only example known to exist.
We’d never make the case for a 1900s electric car being the most practical proposition, but the Queens Victoria Brougham is far from being a garage ornament. Not only is it fully functional, having recently been driven, but it’s also been fitted with an updated fast-charging system and modern batteries. The catalogue states ‘useful touring range’, and it’ll set you back £53-63,000 to find out exactly what that means.
THE INVESTMENT1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Spezial Roadster
When it comes to spending your money wisely, a Mercedes-Benz 500k should be safer than gold bullion. Even more so when the car in question is draped in the firm’s long-tail Spezial Roadster coachwork, which is highly prized and commands a hefty premium over the standard Roadster version.
This car has the best of both worlds, leaving the factory as a Cabriolet C and later being rebuilt in its current guise by respected restorer Franz Prahl, a familiar sight to attendees of the TechnoClassica Essen until the mid 2000s. Prahl’s legendary attention to detail rivals that of Sindelfingen, the coachbuilder responsible for creating Spezial’s in the 1930s, but the rebodied cars come at an appealing discount: £630-870,000 for this example.
BIG MONEY1933 Maybach DS-8 Zeppelin Cabriolet
While there are undoubtedly a number of big ticket lots at the Danish sale, the top spot – at least in terms of pre-sale estimates – is reserved for the sublime 1933 Maybach DS-8 Zeppelin Cabriolet. You’ll have to have as much as £2.3m in your bank account to think about putting in a bid, but for that you’ll be getting a freshly restored and achingly pretty rebodied Maybach that breathes new life into a Spohn design that had never been built in period.
It has got history, too. Prior to being rebodied in the late 1990s, the car sported seven-seater Spohn coachwork and was offered as a gift to His Highness, The Maharaja of Patiala and Raj Pramukh on behalf of Adolf Hitler – a bribe to ensure neutrality during the war. It didn’t work, the Maharaja pledged his support for the allies, and – wisely – hid the car for the duration of the conflict.
THE BARGAIN1973 Citroën SM
At £34,000, we won’t pretend that this Citroën SM is cheap – but it’s nonetheless a bargain for what you get. The DS-style four-wheel independent hydropneumatic suspension offers one of the most silky smooth rides of any 1970s classic, while the Maserati V6 produces a useful 170bhp. You probably won’t beat a Jensen Interceptor away from the lights, but, thanks to class-leading aerodynamics, you’ll have the last laugh cruising to a top speed of 140mph.
If that wasn’t enough, advanced features such as variable power steering abound, while two turns lock-to-lock offers sharp handling. As you’ll have gathered from the quality of the rest of the collection, the Frederiksen SM is in remarkable condition having been fully restored by marque specialist Excelsior Motors.
THE RARITY1973 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Cabriolet
If you’re the sort of person who has a mini meltdown when passing someone in the street who’s wearing an identical jacket, you’ll enjoy the cachet of owning a one-off classic. You’ll enjoy it even more if it’s as sumptuous, bold and luxurious as Pietro Frua’s one-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Cabriolet, which is estimated at £200-250,000. Built for Consul Simon van Kempen of Switzerland and Monaco, the car is one of the largest two-door convertibles ever created.
It’s perhaps not best suited to a shrinking violet, but for those who appreciate the engineering excellence of the Phantom VI plus the unique and compelling Italian coachwork, it’s not an opportunity to be missed. After all, where would you find another?