- Offered from the Pray Collection
- A coachbuilt hot rod in the French tradition
- Spectacularly beautiful design
120 bhp, 152 cu. in. double overhead-camshaft four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle suspension with leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 110 in.
Malcolm Pray was a great devotee of the French curve, as is represented in his collection not only by his famed Delahaye but also by this seductively mysterious Amilcar. In the eyes of the casual showgoer, perhaps no other car was as closely identified with the Pray name as this red torpedo, as it made regular appearances at Greenwich, Meadowbrook, and other events all over the country. When the car was first rolled out of the Pray carriage house following its owner’s passing, two lawn chairs were found in the trunk, ready for that next show appearance down the road.
This Amilcar was acquired some 20 years ago from the estate of enthusiast Paul Myers, through Robert Cole. It is believed to have been constructed at least two decades ago, combining sporty equipment from various eras in one beautiful machine. The four-cylinder engine is from a Talbot-Lago T-14LS, and the four-speed transmission is believed to have been sourced from an Alfa. The modified chassis incorporates original 1930s components, and it is equipped with modern hydraulic brakes for superb stopping power.
All of this is wrapped in bodywork that has long been attributed to the designs of Figoni et Falaschi, but to some, it is more reminiscent of the Auburn bodies built in Indiana rather than those built in Boulogne-sur-Seine. The flowing, tapered curve of the boattail is echoed in the rear fenders, which are edged in chrome, and the thrusting pontoons shroud the front wheels—features that have clearly been borrowed from the 1935 Auburn Speedster. Even the “moustache” bumpers recall those of Salon model Auburns. Yet, the car has the appealing delicacy of detail that could only come from the French: sliding vertical hood props, lovely chromed door latches, and a folding hook with which to lift the convertible top.
The interior is upholstered in thick black leather, in body-hugging contoured curves, and the body is finished in the rich Figoni color of Andalouse Red, which is set off by chrome wire wheels that are shod in blackwall tires. Throughout, the car shows only the lightest of wear, as it has been driven just 967 miles since its well-preserved restoration.
During the 1950s, American enthusiasts assembled the finest performance components and their own design into objects of a new folk art: the hot rod. Offered here is le barre chaud, a sporting roadster with coachbuilt elegance, as only the French can create.