For the past six Saturdays on Prime Find of the Week, we’ve focused on the best of the best in Grand Touring Coupés from varying countries, which can be purchased on a budget. The fact that we’ve spent that long on these executive tourers is probably a clear indication of just how fond I am of that particular market segment. However, that’s not to say that a simple, slow and rudimentary classic car can’t give an enthusiast just as much pleasure and enjoyment. Just take this fabulously bizarre little creation from the late 40’s Czechoslovakia.
These quirky little Czech peoples-cars were fairly short-lived, being produced only between 1946 and 1952. They were however heavily based on the Jawa Minor which was introduced as early as 1937. They shared the same basic construction, front wheel drive, and a water-cooled two-stroke 615cc two cylinder engine. However, during World War II the Jawa was secretly redesigned and improved to become the Aero Minor II once the war ended. Regardless of whether we’re looking at the Jawa or the Aero, this little Minor pre-dates the much better known Minor designed by Alec Issigonis.
The Aero Minor II had a fairly aerodynamically inspired bodywork, and was offered either with a two-door saloon body or as an estate – either all steel or as a proper woody in the so-called “Normandy” version. There were even a few coachbuilt 2-seater convertibles. Quite a few were sold outside of the Eastern Block going as far afield as Sweden, Egypt and Brazil. However, their big claim to fame was when they used a very reworked open cockpit sports version of the Aero Minor to win the 750cc class at both Le Mans and the Spa 24 Hour in 1949, and then repeated the feat again at Le Mans the following year. Production ceased in early 1952 with approximately 14,000 examples leaving the Czech factory. The planned successor, the Aero Minor III, with a more substantial and up-to-date bodystyle and a slightly enlarged engine never saw production.
This particular Aero Minor II is the very charming Normandy Estate version with the whole rear bodywork made in wood. It’s a 1950 car and seems to present in very original and largely tidy condition. It’s Lot 287 at quite a big and varied auction for classic vehicles and automobilia in Rotterdam on the 17th November. The description of the Aero in the auction catalogue is annoyingly lacking of any useful information, but it’s such a rare and interesting little piece of East Block automotive history, that it might just be worthwhile travelling to the Netherlands for an in-the-flesh inspection on one of the three viewing days leading up to the actual auction day? The estimate is set at Euro 5,000 – 7,500, which currently equates to somewhere between £ 4,400 and 6,500. Admitted, with my limited knowledge of the current Aero Minor market (is there even such a thing?), I can’t possibly tell you whether that’s to be regarded as a steal or a rip-off. I do however feel that at least some of the other estimates in the catalogue are perhaps a bit optimistic. Still, we obviously also don’t know where the minimum reserve is at.
Here are some pictures borrowed from the Auction catalogue:
Here’s the link to Lot 287 at the Epic Classic Auction in Rotterdam:
1950 Aero Minor II Normandy
Needless to say, you won’t get much in the way of speed, luxury or style in this utilitarian little East Block estate. But even so, I still reckon it might very well deliver at least as many ‘smiles per mile’ – if not more – as those big executive coupés we have been featuring in Prime Find of the Week over the last few Saturdays…
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to firstname.lastname@example.org