BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Retired firepower: The Littlefield Collection auction

About the author

Deputy editor of BBC Autos, Jonathan was formerly the editor of The New York Times' Wheels blog. His automotive writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Details, Surface, Intersection and Design Observer. He has an affinity for the Citroën DS and Toyota pickup trucks of the early 1990s.

  • Eland 90 Mk7 (South Africa)
    Pre-auction estimate:$50,000 - $75,000.
  • M37 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (United States)
    Pre-auction estimate: $200,000 - $250,000.
  • FV603 Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier (Great Britain)
    Pre-auction estimate: $15,000 - $25,000.
  • Leopard 1A1A1 Main Battle Tank (West Germany)
    Pre-auction estimate:$400,000 - $450,000.
  • DUKW amphibious truck (United States)
    Pre-auction estimate: $50,000 - $75,000.
  • Conqueror Mk II (Great Britain)
    Pre-auction estimate: $150,000 - $200,000.
  • Humber Mk IV armoured car (Great Britain)
    Pre-auction estimate:$75,000 - $100,000.
  • 2 Pound Attack Carrier (Australia)
    Pre-auction estimate:$75,000 - $100,000.
  • FV3901 Churchill Toad flail tank (Great Britain)
    Pre-auction estimate: $400,000 - $500,000.
  • Infantry Tank Mk III, Valentine Mk V (Great Britain)
    Pre-auction estimate: $100,000 - $150,000.
  • SCUD-A missile launcher (Soviet Union)
    Pre-auction estimate: $300,000 - $350,000.
  • Flak 36 "88" anti-aircraft gun (Germany)
    Pre-auction estimate: $100,000 - $150,000.
  • Radar 1S12/1RL1238 (Soviet Union)
    Pre-auction estimate:$50,000 - $75,000.
  • M4A3 (105) HVSS Sherman (United States)
    Pre-auction estimate: $200,000 - $250,000.
  • M50 Sherman tank (Israel)
    Pre-auction estimate: $300,000 - $350,000.
  • M3A1 Stuart Tank (United States)
    Pre-auction estimate: $100,000 - $150,000.
  • PT-76B amphibious tank (Soviet Union)
    Pre-auction estimate: $200,000 - $250,000.


Come 11-12 July, more than 100 vehicles, among them vintage SCUD missile launchers and amphibious tanks, are set to be auctioned in California.

The Jacques M Littlefield Collection is thought to be the most significant private trove of military vehicles in the world, comprising a veritable what’s what of Cold War-era tactical hardware. Auctions America, a division of Ontario-based RM Auctions, will liquidate much of the collection’s contents, at no reserve price.

Littlefield, a former computer engineer who died in 2009 and who amassed nearly 200 military vehicles over 25 years, housed his collection within various structures in the Silicon Valley enclave of Portola Valley. In November 2013, it was announced that the collection would be consolidated with that of the Collings Foundation, a non-profit group with facilities in Stow, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Proceeds from the July auction will finance the relocation and housing of roughly 80 of Littlefield’s most historically significant vehicles.

That’s not to say the sale will lack firepower. Among the auction’s highlights is a camouflage-correct, West German Leopard 1A1A1 Main Battle Tank, with a pre-auction estimate ranging from $400,000 to $450,000. A comparatively petite M37 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage swells its chest with a pre-auction estimate of $200,000 - $250,000. And if you’re in the market for mid-century Soviet missile launchers, well...

Further details about the auction’s individual lots can be found at the Auctions America website.

(All photography courtesy Auctions America)