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American Prohibition boot-legger car to go under the hammer at Simeone sale

Bonhams is offering a Prohibition-era Cadillac V8 with some very unusual modifications at its Preserving the Automobile Auction at the Simeone Foundation Museum in Philadelphia on 5 October.

The 1928 convertible coupe is fitted with an elaborate smoke screen system on the firewall. It consists of an auto pulse fuel pump that injects oil from a reservoir into the exhaust system to produce a sliding wall of smoke. If the boot-leggers were being chased by the police they could activate the smoke screen to help them get away.

The Cadillac has also had its rear rumble seat removed, presumably to allow for extra contraband storage. It was discovered 10 years ago in complete condition, and has since been resprayed and retrimmed. This marvelous piece of American history is expected to sell for £26,000-£40,000.  

There are plenty of other classics with a fascinating past on offer including two Cooper Formula 3 racing cars owned and raced from new by American driver Alexis du Pont. He won many races in both the 1952 Cooper-Norton MkVI single-seater and the 1958 MkXII car. Both cars are being sold in original, unrestored condition, and each is expected to fetch up to £20,000.

As you’d expect from a Simeone Foundation sale, there are plenty of brass era cars on offer, including the well-known 1907 Stearns 60hp seven-passenger touring car previously owned by William Harrah. Fitted with original touring coachwork and a chain-driven engine, this historically significant masterpiece of engineering is estimated at £430,000-£560,000.

Equally appealing is the 1908 Rainier Model D 45/50hp seven-passenger tourer. The sole surviving car made by the New York based Rainier company, this barn-find condition car has full ownership history and a handful of owners from new. It’s tipped to sell for £160,000-£230,000.

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By Claire Evans

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