John Tojeiro was one of the most legendary names in mid-century motorsport design. After serving for the Royal Navy’s FAA in WW2, Tojeiro went on to have one of the era’s most illustrious race car engineering and design careers. And while Portuguese-Born, UK-raised vehicular guru is best-remembered for his development of the pioneering mid-engined performance car, the Ecurie Ecosse, as well as what eventually became the forerunner to the iconic Shelby Cobra, one of Tojeiro’s most fascinating projects was a one-off endeavor known as the 1959 Tojeiro California Spyder, that he never brought to complete fruition.
Taking a host of lessons learned in other development Tojeiro had under his belt, this car was the last front-engined race-car he would ever build, drawing ample inspiration from Le Mans racers of the era. Eventually, John abandoned the vehicle to focus his attention elsewhere, leaving the California Spyder to sit dormant for years, before being acquired by an American “automotive archaeologist” who proceeded to complete the long-overdue project, shoehorning a 5.0L GMC inline-six that makes more than 300hp and 325ft-lbs of torque. This one-of-one car is now headed to auction at RM Sotheby’s upcoming Open Roads sale where it’s expected to fetch between $90,000 and $140,000.