Sold for $907,500 at 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction.
Chassis #: 5218
Engine #: 32801 1601 BMW
In the wake of World War II, Germany's automobile industry would be both hemorrhaging and restricted. This reality, however, presented opportunity. Opportunity fostered smaller manufacturers with big dreams. One of those would be the singular thought of three German soldiers—Veritas.
Ernst Loof, Georg Meier and Lorenz Dietrich would be the men with the dream. The three would bear the burden of bringing the dream to reality. However, having been an engineer with BMW before the war, Loof would shoulder the vast majority of the technical burden. Loof had knowledge of BMW's pre-war masterpiece, the 328. He knew it would be a great design from which the men could establish the foundation of Veritas.
Not surprisingly, using and tweaking components at the heart of the 328, success would come swiftly. Perhaps the crowning achievement would come in 1947 when, at the Hockenheimring, Karl Kling drove a Veritas to victory. The company had only just come into existence, and yet, here it was scoring victory.
Veritas did like what so many other small car companies did at the time. The company's major focus would be on auto racing. Then, from those designs derived for the track, the company could look to fashion road-going automobiles that would excite the population. Veritas started out with its successful RS. This competitive little sports car would serve as the basis for the company's first regular production automobile.
The Komet Coupe would be one of Veritas' first road-going examples. However, it would be followed quickly by the Saturn Coupe and also the cabriolet known as the Scorpion.
In 1948, the company had relocated and began to focus on making road-going automobiles. The Scorpion would be one of those the company would design and build. Still drawing from the RS, the Scorpion would certainly be sporty with its independent front suspension and de Dion rear axle utilizing telescopic shock absorbers and longitudinal torsion bars. However, the car was a little more reserved and was elegant in its simplicity.
Utilizing a 12-volt electric system, a five-speed transmission of their own design and 2.0-liter engine derived from the BMW 328, Veritas produced an amazingly advanced car for the time and circumstances. It would be little wonder as to why the company would become quite so popular so quickly.
Before ceasing operations and being absorbed by BMW in 1953, Veritas would produce a mere 75+ automobiles. Considering just how few cars Veritas produced over the course of its short lifetime it is easy to surmise the exclusivity, and therefore, value of its simple, elegant Scorpion. In fact, only a handful are known to exist in all of Europe. In the United States it would be less than that. Just two examples are believed known to exist in the United States. Chassis 5218 is one of those two.
The first decade or so of this car's life is speculative. What is known is that in 1963 the car was registered to a Mr. Shipman of Seattle, Washington. Over the next decade the car would remain in the Washington state area. One of the car's owners during this period would be Burt Laborette. Laborette enjoyed a nice collection of automobiles and would retain the Veritas for a couple of years before it was purchased by its current owner.
Purchased by the current owner in 1974, the Veritas Scorpion has enjoyed a period of ownership stretching more than forty years. Stored away in a barn for a number of years, the car would undergo restoration beginning in 1989. Greg Soter of Phantom Restoration would be given the commission and the three-year restoration effort would result in an invitation to the 1992 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Soter would go to great lengths to restore the Scorpion. This meant rebuilding the BMW engine and transmission, reupholstering the interior, fabricating steel panels, restoring the interior and topping-off all of the minute details with a Gunmetal Grey finish. All of the hard work would be rewarded though as the Veritas would earn a third-in-class trophy at Pebble Beach.
Accented with such touches as an English-language factory brochure, restoration invoices and an album photographically documenting the entire restoration process, the Scorpion remains one of the best examples of the brand.
Showing some signs of years of use since its restoration, the Scorpion remains a quintessential example of the post-war Veritas.
Offered via Bonhams' 2015 Quail Lodge auction, the award-winning 1949 Veritas Scorpion Cabriolet would sell for an impressive $907,500 inclusive of the buyer's premium.By Jeremy McMullen