How Are These Two Cars Different?

1901 Crestmobile Model B 3½HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Founded in 1900 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Crest Manufacturing Company was a supplier to other early automobile manufacturers. They finally realized that they built so many parts that they could just build their own car – and so they did. The first “Crest”-branded automobiles were three-wheelers but by 1901 the four-wheeled Crestmobile was available.

Three models were offered at the start, with the mid-range Model B sporting a 3.5 horsepower single-cylinder engine mounted out front that can be pull-started with a leather strap. This car resembles many other cars from the period, including the Toledo Steam car below.

Part of this particular collection since 1943, the Crestmobile you see here has been restored (though the date is unknown). Crestmobiles were only offered through 1905 before the marque disappeared. This one, perhaps the finest in existence, should sell for between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $39,600.


1902 Toledo Junior Runabout

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

Photo – Bonhams

Okay, so maybe this doesn’t look exactly like the Crestmobile above, but you get the idea that they are pretty similar – except that this is a steam car. The Toledo was built by the International Motor Car Company of Toledo, Ohio, between 1901 and 1903. Beginning in 1904, once the company had been acquired by Col. Albert Pope, the cars were known as the “Pope-Toledo.”

Five different steam cars were offered by Toledo in 1902, with this Junior Runabout being the cheapest, costing $800 when new. This was also the last year the company offered steam cars, turning to more conventionally-styled gasoline-powered cars in 1903 before their acquisition.

This car sports an older restoration and it probably hasn’t been used all that much. It will require a little attention (and a boiler inspection) before use. This is a great opportunity to acquire a well-built early steamer at a fraction of the cost of a Stanley. It should bring between $33,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $34,673.

Two Almost-Cars

1901 Royal Enfield 4½HP Forecar Quadricycle

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

Photo – Bonhams

Royal Enfield was, primarily, a motorcycle manufacturer that was born out of a company that made bicycles. The company lasted until about 1970, though new bikes from the marque can still be acquired as the Indian arm of the company has remained active since 1949.

What we have here is a “Forecar” – meaning that the vehicle’s passenger doubles as the front bumper and crumple zone. The quadricycle portion essentially means that they strapped two motorcycles together (sort of). Enfield’s first true vehicles were in fact quadricycles and tricycles. Motorcycles didn’t technically enter the picture until 1900, so this design actually predates Royal Enfield motorcycles. This one is powered by a single-cylinder De Dion-Bouton engine.

Having resided in an Italian museum for many decades, the current owner bought this in 2007. The restoration dates to the 1950s so it definitely needs a little attention before use. It should bring between $33,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $66,332.


1904 La Libellule V-Twin Tricar

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

Photo – Bonhams

Every year at this sale it seems like Bonhams manages to consign at least one car from a marque that has such an obscure history that no one really knows anything about it.

Enter La Libellule, or The Dragonfly. These early three-wheeled forecars were available from a number of manufacturers. It was essentially a motorcycle with two wheels at the front that support a wicker basket that you could plop an easily-influenced friend (or enemy) into. It’s like having a sidecar, but in front of you.

Not much is known about this company other than no records of it really exist prior to 1906, which is why this is listed as a “circa 1904” in the catalog. It’s had three owners since 1921 and has been in the same collection since about 1960. The restoration dates to the 1980s, when it first competed in the London-to-Brighton run. It should bring between $27,000-$33,000 today. Click here for more info and here for more from this amazing sale.

Update: Sold $42,211.

Schaudel Tonneau

1901 Schaudel 10HP Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

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

Photo – Bonhams

Charles Schaudel’s little French car company lasted a very brief time. He built his first car in 1900 and by 1902 he had sold out to his brother-in-law, who changed the name of the company to Motobloc (which lasted until 1931).

The engine is a 10 horsepower two-cylinder unit that is mounted transversely (and, with its gearbox configuration, it is noted in the catalog that this car sports the same drivetrain layout as the original Mini). The engine was rebuilt in 2016 after taking part in 12 London-to-Brighton runs, which means it is fresh and ready to go this year.

Only two Schaudel-branded automobiles are known to exist and this one has appeared on British television on multiple occasions. This is a pretty awesome find from a really obscure company. There’s really no reason something made in such limited numbers should still exist, but we’re sure glad it does. This one should bring between $170,000-$210,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $192,834.

Update: Sold, Bonhams London-to-Brighton 2018, $156,891.

Decauville Tonneau

1901 Decauville 8½ HP Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Paul Decauville started building railway locomotives, rail cars, and train tracks in the 1980s. His company (which dated back to 1854) was at the forefront of industrial rail: their tracks were easy to set up and disassemble and move, making them perfect for farms, construction, and the military. In 1898, the first Decauville automobile was produced.

The 8½ HP model was introduced in 1901 and followed in the footsteps of the earlier 8HP – the brand’s first front-engined and modern-looking car. The power comes from a 1.4-liter twin-cylinder engine. The final Decauville cars were produced in 1911.

This example has known ownership history back through WWII. The current restoration was completed in the 1950s and it has been used extensively – it’s completed the London-to-Brighton run 28 times between being restored and 1984. It should sell for between $130,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $186,540.

Steam Race Car

1901 Milwaukee Steam Racer

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

Photo - H&H Classics

Photo – H&H Classics

The Milwaukee Automobile Company was founded in 1899 by W.H. Starkweather, Herman Pfiel, and W.G. Smith to build cars that were not a “radical departure from all other types” of automobiles… except that they were using steam power. Most of the early American steam car manufacturers built cars that looked relatively similar but this car, while similar, is fairly different.

The first Milwaukee Steam cars appeared in 1900 (here’s one) and they lasted only through 1902. In 1901, they went to the Chicago Auto Show and exhibited this racer – not a body style that many struggling manufacturers would’ve dared to build. Not much is known about what it was used for in period, but it is thought that it competed in a half-mile race in Illinois in 1901.

This car has been restored to 1901 condition and is eligible for the London-to-Brighton run. You really don’t find racing vehicles from this era that aren’t on long term museum display. It’s even harder to find one that is steam powered and from a three-year-only manufacturer. This should bring between $65,000-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

A Rare Delin

1901 Delin 4HP Voiturette

Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | December 1, 2015

Photo - Coys

Photo – Coys

Joesph Delin began producing bicycles under the name of Derby in 1890 in Belgium. Eight years later, he re-organized the company to include the manufacture of automobiles and his first car appeared the following year.

This car, although called a “4HP”, is actually rated somewhere between 6.5 and eight horsepower. This was the mid-range model for their 1901 lineup that consisted of four models. Sadly, Mr. Delin died that year and the company was liquidated shortly thereafter. Delin was a short-lived marque.

Only three Delin automobiles survive today. This example wears chassis #4, making it one of their first cars. It’s in excellent condition and has known ownership back to the 1960s and it’s said that this car can achieve 34 mph – which, we’re sure, is terrifying. It is expected to bring between $88,000-$106,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update II: Sold, Coys Spring Classics, March 2016 $93,610.

Albion Dogcart

1901 Albion 8HP A1 Dogcart

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Albion is a Glasgow, Scotland-based manufacturer that was founded by Thomas Blackwood Murray and Norman Osborne Fulton in 1899. That’s right, is – this company is still active, although they haven’t built a road-going vehicle since it’s last bus left the line in 1972 (passenger cars ceased in 1915). Today they make just axles for other car companies.

The rear-mounted engine in this A1 Dogcart is a 2.1-liter twin-cylinder making eight horsepower. We’ve always found “Dogcart” to be an interesting name for a car’s body style. Traditionally, it refers to a one-horse carriage with four-seats: two facing forward, and two facing backward. If you didn’t know this, perhaps you might think Albion was slamming the physical appearance of their customers. It’s a term we almost exclusively relate to the London-to-Brighton run.

This car has been in the same family since the 1960s and has competed in the London-to-Brighton run many times. These super-early cars are always fascinating. This one should bring between $170,000-$220,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $225,647.

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.

1901 Croizemarie

1901 Croizemarie Type AC Voiturette

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 6, 2015

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

Well this is an interesting one. It’s fairly rare – but not unheard of – that a car shows up in an auction and no one knows a thing about it. Croizemarie is one such company and their minuscule Type AC Voiturette is one such example.

It’s powered by a single-cylinder De Dion engine – the most popular engine in the automotive world in 1901. Many manufacturers used them and built some of their own parts. The catalog states that the body might be a few years newer than the engine/chassis combination.

This car entered the automotive world more recently in 1999 as an unrestored example that had been in the same family since 1921. A restoration was carried out in the last few years and the car runs, but hasn’t really been used. It’s unlikely another one of these exists and it should sell for between $71,000-$95,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update II: Sold, Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015, $35,237.

1901 Panhard Tonneau

1901 Panhard et Levassor Twin-Cylinder 7HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Labourdette

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a 1902 Panhard et Levassor about a week and a half ago. It’s similar to this car, but also quite different – especially when it comes to the body. This has a body by famed French coachbuilder Henri Labourdette. It’s a rear-entrance tonneau with a big, tall hardtop (yet zero weather protection).

This body is actually original to this car, which is very rare for a car that is almost 115 years old. The engine is a 1.7-liter twin making seven horsepower. The original owner of this car is known and it was the 11th car registered in Toulouse. At some point, probably around WWI, it was stashed away in the basement of a castle.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the car was rescued and restored. I like that the front and rear tires are of differing diameter. This is a great example of an early motorcar – and the top retains its original leather. It should sell for between $320,000-$400,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this auction’s lineup.

Update: Sold $413,767.