Live Auctions

Poor Man’s Bugatti: 1929 Amilcar Type M3

UPDATE 4/8/2022 – When we last featured this sweet Amilcar M3, it was listed on craigslist with a $15k asking price. It’s resurfaced but is now listed here on eBay with an asking price of $18,000 and the option to make an offer. We aren’t sure if this is the same seller or if it’s with a new owner. The scenery around the car has changed and it appears to have been given a full detailing, but it’s said to still be residing in Austin, Texas. Either way, it sure looks like an interesting find that could be fun to have!

FROM 1/23/2022 – How many of you have heard of Amilcar? From France, their cars were only made for less than 20 years, so there aren’t many around. If you want a really unique car, this 1929 Type M3 Boat Tail Cabriolet could be a contender! You can find it for sale here on craigslist in Austin, TX with an asking price of $15,000. Thanks, Barn Finds fan Matt R for the tip!

Amilcar was founded in 1921, primarily to make economical cars. In the mid-to late-1920s, they started to branch out into higher-end luxury and racing models as well, which is when this Type M was made. According to the seller, about 2,650 examples were built between 1928 and 1931. This Amilcar really reminds me of the later-model Stutz Bearcats. It would be a lot of fun taking this (almost) 100-year-old car around some old country roads, enjoying the open air.

This link from Bring A Trailer shows this exact same car for sale back in 2020 (thanks to the license plate number) and has some interesting information about its history and recent work done: This 1929 Amilcar Type M3 is believed to have been converted from a factory fixed-roof coupe into a cabriolet in France in the 1950s. The seller purchased it from a mechanic in Italy in 2016, and the car was refinished in cream with brown fenders and orange chassis components before it was imported to the US in November 2019.

The paint looks to be in very good condition, even the painted chassis. We are told that the brakes are working – they are mechanical which means there are no fluid lines to rust out. The wire wheels look to be in great shape, and the tires look to be newer with plenty of tread left. Even the soft top appears to be undamaged.

The interior is a tan color that coordinates well with the exterior paint color. It’s aged well, and the seller includes the original seats with the sale even though some newer seats have been installed. There are quite a few gauges on that machine-turned dash, but unfortunately, the speedometer and odometer don’t work, meaning the true mileage of this car is also unknown.

Power comes from a 1,244cc inline-four paired with a three speed manual transmission, factory rated at 27 horsepower. According to the seller, the engine was tuned for performance by Kraus et Ryser in France in the 1950s, and a plate attached to the engine block bears their name. The seller states that an ignition tune-up was performed in 2016, and that the battery was replaced in 2019. This car doesn’t seem to need much to be enjoyed – would you keep it as is, or give it a full restoration?


  1. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ?

    Like 5
  2. nlpnt

    A 1200cc watercooled four is a lot of engine for something this small and spidery, by prewar Euro standards. There were full-fledged four-door sedans with less engine, so this *bolide* is basically a cyclecar with a real-car engine.

    Relatively big engine in a small car, a formula that had worked before the Amilcar and would again.

    Like 4
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Compared to the Buick special a few days ago this car looks like 2 passenger fun… and it’s a real car for a reasonable price. If you want unique this is it.

    Like 3
  4. Sunshine

    WARNING: Do not allow anyone you care about to wear a long flowing scarf while riding or driving in an Amilcar, especially at neck-breaking speeds! R.I.P. Isadora Duncan.

    Like 10
    • Bill D

      Nice to see I’m not the only person who remembered this.

      Like 5
    • MikeH

      One of the more bizarre automobile deaths in history.

      Like 3
  5. Denny N. Member

    Back in the 80s I knew a guy in L.A. who had an Amilcar similar to this one. The interior was so compact that we were literally sitting shoulder to shoulder.

    Like 2
    • Dlegeai

      ….people were thinner back then, by quite a stretch….😃

      Like 1
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      No problem with this one unless you are the passenger in back and the driver had beans for lunch.

      Like 1
  6. CJinSD

    I remember reading favorable comments about these in Ralph Stein’s “The Greatest Cars” when I was a car-obsessed kid. I’m pretty surprised that an Amilcar doesn’t merit a high price and a fetish restoration for some European who understands how financialization works.

    Like 2
  7. dr fine

    A slightly stripped down Amilcar starred in 1953’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday. You don’t need to know French to understand and laugh at it. At the beach, it was shocking to see people of every age with a perfect body!

    Like 1

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