Simanaitis Says

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THE CATALOG OF the Ponder Collection 2007 RM auction hit responsive chords of several of my automotive enthusiasms. Today’s Part 2 continues with more of these, some auction results, and a Ponder news item from as recently as four years ago. 

A Movie Resonance. The Ponder motorcycle collection had lots of renowned machines from the 1950s, though the one most resonant with me was a scooter, not a bike.

Vespa 150 Super. Estimate: $3000–$6000.

I’ve ridden a Vespa only briefly, but have vivid memories of Audrey Hepburn piloting one in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday.

MG NB Magnette Airline Coupe. The RM catalog says that the N-Type “was offered as an open two- and four-seater, as well as a graceful two door hard top known as the Airline Coupe. Only 745 N-Types were built between 1934 and 1936, and of these a very small number of cars were fitted with Airline Coupe bodywork.”

1935 MG Magnette Airline Coupe. Estimate: $200,000–$250,000.

“In 1935,” RM continues, “the MG N-Series was upgraded and became the NB; the chassis remained unaltered, but modifications were made to the coachwork…. The two-door design featured an elegantly curved roof merging into a streamlined rear panel in which the spare tire was partially countersunk.

RM cites this example is regarded as being the only six-cylinder N-type Airline Coupe ever built. “Without question,” RM says, “this is one of the most rare and desirable MGs in existence.” 

The Last Pur Sang. RM notes that two cars “graced the Bugatti’s stand at the 1951 Paris Salon. These were a drophead coupe by Gangloff and a two-door coupé by Paris-based Van Antem—the car offered here.”

1951 Bugatti Type 101 Coupe. Estimate: $500,000–$800,000. 

Among previous custodians of this Type 101 were fabled collector Bill Harrah, prominent Bugatti authority Jacques Harguindeguy, and film star Nicolas Cage. Gene Ponder bought the car from Cage at RM’s 2002 Amelia Island Auction.

2007 RM Ponder Collection Overview.  RM Sotheby’s offers complere auction results from the Ponder Collection sale. In particular, the Ferrari of Beverly Hills dealership model went for $1380; the Lusse Auto Scooter, for $5060; the Vespa 150 Super, $5500, the R&T bound volumes, $6095; the MG Magnette Airline Coupe, $398,750; and the Bugatti Type 101 Coupe, $990,000. 

By the way, Gene and his wife Pasty Ponder made news as recently as 2018, when they sold their Master WoodCraft Cabinetry business and gave more than $1.2 million in bonuses to its more than 500 workers (all of whom, retained by the new management). The Ponders started Master WoodCraft in 2008, the year after the RM Ponder Collection auction. Do you suppose the sale was part of the startup?

In any case, good for the Ponders. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022


  1. William Jones
    February 15, 2022

    My sister use to work at an art museum library and gave me all the automotive auction catalogs as they did not keep them. I too loved reading about the provenance of the car most of all. I regret having sent them to the recycle bin.

    • simanaitissays
      February 15, 2022

      After thinking it over, I’m recycling all the race/rally programs and press material. I’m saving the auction catalogs in boxes in the garage. Not exactly accessible, but still available for reviewing.

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