Panhard Wagonette

1899 Panhard et Levassor Type M2F 6HP Twin-Cylinder Wagonette

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

In today’s market, the hot segment is SUVs, particularly small SUVs. Mazda has the CX-5, Honda has the CR-V, and Toyota has the RAV4 (among many, many others). But think back to just prior to the turn of the century (as if any of us were there). There were a fair number of automakers and they were all competing for business. But they all produced completely different vehicles, right? Well, apparently, in the late 1890s, the Wagonette was a popular segment to be in. Check out this Daimler (and this one) and this Fisson. Who knew?

This Type M2F Wagonette is powered by a 1.7-liter straight-twin making six horsepower. It is thought that it was discovered alongside two other extremely old cars in France in the 1960s. The restoration on this car is a few decades old, but it’s seen continual use (such as the at the London-to-Brighton run) and has been kept in very nice condition.

There are some of these out there, but I’m not sure how many were actually built. It is one of very few early Panhards in the U.S. and is a great example of what was once a popular car. It should bring between $250,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Not sold.

1899 Vivinus

1899 Vivinus 3½HP Two-Seater Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Alexis Vivinus was a Belgian bicycle maker who began his company in the 1890s. As many others did, he made the transition from bicycles to motorcars. Ateliers Vivinus S.A. sold its first car in 1895 and was out of business in 1912. Mr. Vivinus then went on to work at Minerva.

The first Vivinus cars were Benz’s built under license but the car you see here was one designed in-house. This single-cylinder car makes 3.5 horsepower and was simple and reliable to enough to be licensed by other manufacturers around Europe, including Georges Richard.

The current owner of this car acquired it in 1986 from the same family that bought it new, which is pretty incredible. It was restored when purchased and has been well maintained since. It’s a usable example of a well-built 19th Century car and it should bring between $26,000-$33,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $76,845.

Phebus Forecar

1899 Phebus 2¼hp Forecar

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | October 12, 2016

Photo - H&H Classics

Photo – H&H Classics

Phebus was a French automobile marque produced by the Noe Boyer & Cie company from the Paris area. They only existed for a few years – building vehicles between about 1899 (or 1898) and 1903. While many of their vehicles were tricycles and motorcycles, they did produce a few four-wheelers, too.

This is a single-cylinder Veteran car that makes, as its name implies, 2.25 horsepower. It technically seats two, but if you look at the car, it just kind of seems like a huge motorized wheelchair for one. I guess people were smaller almost 120 years ago.

This particular car sold at a Bonhams auction in 2009 for $63,000 and is expected to bring between $64,000-$77,000. It seems unlikely that you’ll ever find another one quite like it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update II: Not sold, H&H Classics, Chateau Impney, 12/16.

Locomobile Steam

1899 Locomobile Style 2 Stanhope

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 3, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Around the turn of the century, Locomobile was among America’s largest automobile manufacturers. In fact, in 1901 and 1902, they were the largest (this was right before Oldsmobile and Ford reinvented mass production). The company was founded in 1899 by John B. Walker and Amzi L. Barber. The two of them purchased a design by the Stanley brothers and sold their first steam cars in 1899.

Costing $600 when new, the 1899 and 1900 Locomobiles were identical and only available in this body style. While they are rare, there are a good number of them still around and we’re amazed we’ve yet to feature one. The steam engine powering this Locomobile develops four horsepower at 150 psi.

This particular example has had two owners from new with the family that currently owns it having acquired it in 1930. It was restored 60 years ago and is used infrequently, thus the decision to part with the car. It’s one of the best examples around with a clear, known history and it should bring between $45,000-$65,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

1899 Panhard-Levassor

1899 Panhard et Levassor Type M2E 4HP Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

If I were handed the photo above with no information and told to guess the year of manufacture, I would probably guess 1902 or 1903. This is what cars looked like in 1902 and 1903, for the most part. But no, this is from 1899. While three to four years might not seem like much, these particular three to four years were light years in terms of automotive development. And Panhard-Levassor was at the forefront of it.

Most pre-1900 cars had a more “horseless carriage” look to them, but René Panhard devised this layout – the now-ubiquitous front-engined, rear-wheel drive car (with a clutch, gearbox, and rear differential). All successful automobiles thereafter adopted this (more or less).

Then again, by 1899, Panhard-Levassor had almost 10 years of automobile production under their belt. This car is powered by a vertical 1.2-liter twin-cylinder engine making four horsepower. The original owner is known, but the car wasn’t restored until its 100th birthday. And now its the perfect car for the London-to-Brighton run. It should bring between $460,000-$540,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Star Benz

1899 Star Benz 3.5HP Vis-a-Vis

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

England’s Star Motor Company built its first car in 1898 and it was a German Benz vehicle built under license in Wolverhampton. The company continued to build this model through 1902. This car is one of those.

The engine is a single-cylinder making 3.5 horsepower of Benz’s design. Star was one of England’s largest automobile manufacturers before WWI. A series of ownership changes, coupled with the Great Depression, spelled the end to what could have been one of England’s biggest post-World War II automakers.

This car has known ownership back to 1932 and it was restored in 1954. It has run in over a dozen London-to-Brighton runs – going back to 1938! For the past three decades, this car has been on museum display, so it’ll need a little work to get it roadworthy – but it looks great considering the restoration is over 60 years old. It should sell for between $92,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $141,463.

Bruneau Quadricycle

1899 Bruneau Quadricycle

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | June 14, 2015

Photo - Osenat
Photo – Osenat

Bruneau is a very rare manufacturer of early motorcycles, tricycles, and but a handful of quadricycles. Based in Tours, France, very little is known about this marque other than where they were located and what they built. The company existed as early as 1899 and lasted at least up until the outbreak of WWI.

This car is powered by the ubiquitous De Dion single-cylinder engine and features a vis-à-vis seating arrangement. The family of the original owner of this vehicle sold it to the current owner in the 1960s. This is a two-owner car from 1899. It is thought only three of these were built and this is the only one left. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $45,600.

Three Turn-of-the-Century Cars

Three Veteran Automobiles

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | June 14, 2015


1899 Bruneau Quadricycle

Photo - Osenat

Photo – Osenat

Bruneau is a very rare manufacturer of early motorcycles, tricycles, and but a handful of quadricycles. Based in Tours, France, very little is known about this marque other than where they were located and what they built. The company existed as early as 1899 and lasted at least up until the outbreak of WWI.

This car is powered by the ubiquitous De Dion single-cylinder engine and features a vis-à-vis seating arrangement. The family of the original owner of this vehicle sold it to the current owner in the 1960s. This is a two-owner car from 1899. It is thought only three of these were built and this is the only one left. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $45,600.


1901 Phébus Quadricycle

Photo - Osenat

Photo – Osenat

Noé Boyer was the director of a branch of Clément-Gladiator – Noé Boyer et Cie – and it would appear that his company built eerily similar quadricycles as those that Clément was putting out. It’s got a bicycle seat in the rear for the driver and the passenger sits in the compartment out front… to act as both windshield and front bumper.

This is powered by a single-cylinder De Dion engine. Phébus built quadricycles up to 1903, when they stopped producing vehicles altogether. But at the same time these primitive cars were on sale, the company was also selling the more traditional Phébus-Aster. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $59,280.


1902 Clément Tricycle

Photo - Osenat

Photo – Osenat

Clément is a fairly well-known brand among early automobiles. We’ve documented the tangled history of some of Adolphe Clément-Bayard’s companies before and this is kind of a different branch. He founded Clément cycles in 1878 to build bicycles. Motorized bicycles and tricycles came in 1902 after he merged with Gladiator.

This tricycle is powered by a single-cylinder De Dion engine and it is a runner. Use it in the next London-to-Brighton run, if you wish. Clément Cycles morphed into part of Clément-Bayard in 1903 and vehicles like this pretty much disappeared from the automotive landscape shortly thereafter. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $39,900.

1899 Peugeot

1899 Peugeot 3CV Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Peugeot is one of, if not the, oldest continuously operating automobile manufacturer in the world. The company goes back to 1810, when they were producing coffee mills. They started building cars in 1890 and Armand Peugeot left the family company in 1896 to found the automobile company we know today.

I find it amusing that Peugeot designated this the Type 26 – many decades after it was built (like they went back and gave their early nameless models official names). It was new for 1899 and uses a rear-mounted flat-twin.

It’s known when and where this car was bought new but most of its history really isn’t known until about 2001. It’s a great car for old car rallies, and that’s where this car sends most of its time. It’s interesting to see a car from a modern manufacturer that is so old. It should sell for between $100,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $115,075.

Crouch Steam Car

1899 Crouch Steam Runabout

Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2014

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

It’s incredible that cars like this survive. W. Lee Crouch began in a machine shop in New Brighton, Pennsylvania in 1895 when he built a gasoline-powered automobile. In 1896, he tried again, finishing the car and entering it in a race (where it did not finish). A few years later he was back at it, this time with steam.

It is thought that Crouch only built three cars – the last two being steamers and this one being both the only survivor, and the only one built by the Crouch Automobile Manufacturing & Transportation Company in Baltimore. It is also thought that all of his previous creations were cannibalized for parts for this car, which uses a twin-cylinder steam engine that puts out eight horsepower (that was probably adapted for an automobile from some sort of marine engine).

It features tiller steering and runs and drives great. It’s a usable, pre-1900 steam car. The story is that this car was discovered in the basement of the original Baltimore Crouch factory during WWII, long after Mr. Crouch had moved on (he was in Ohio by 1914 trying to get a cyclecar company off the ground). It was sold to scrappers, who saved it. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen anymore.

Anyway, this is the only Crouch in existence and it should cost between $60,000-$90,000. You can read more about it here and see more from RM here.

Update: Sold $93,500.