Curved-Dash Olds

1904 Oldsmobile Model 6C Curved-Dash Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 4-5, 2023

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The CDO, or Curved-Dash Oldsmobile, was the first “mass-produced automobile.” That means it was built on an assembly line with interchangeable parts instead of being hand-built, with each car being slightly different. It went on sale in 1901 and would remain available through 1906, at which time it was woefully out of date. Oldsmobile didn’t even really advertise it that year.

In 1904, the CDO was sold as the Model 6C, and 2,500 were built that year alone (in all, about 19,000 CDOs would be built). Power is provided by a 1.6-liter horizontal single that was rated at seven horsepower.

They all had tiller steering, as this one does. And it retains a folding soft top. It’s got known history back to during WWII. Now it has an estimate of $45,000-$50,000. Click here for more info.

Pope-Toledo Racer

1904 Pope-Toledo Two-Seat Racer

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2023

Photo – Bonhams

Colonel Pope founded five different car companies, four of which had his name attached to them. The Pope-Toledo was built in Toledo, Ohio, from 1903 to 1909. After it closed, the factory was sold to Overland.

A Pope-Toledo competed in the first Vanderbilt Cup in 1904. Not this car, though. This is an assembled car that uses a 24-horsepower Pope-Toledo frame, a post-1904 3.4-liter inline-four, and a reconstructed body imitating that used by the Vanderbilt Cup car, which was driven by Herb Lytle. Lytle previously owned this engine, which is larger than a stock Pope-Toledo unit.

The car’s low bodywork implies sport, and the fact that it has dual chain drive implies some kind of speed. This may not look the part, but for 1904, it was a performance car. Then again, the car as we see it is not from 1904 but from many decades later. It has an estimate of $200,000-$300,000. Click here for more info.

First-Year Pope-Hartford

1904 Pope-Hartford Model B Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Gooding & Company | Lynchburg, Virginia | April 7, 2023

Photo – Gooding & Company

Pope-Hartford was one of several automobile manufacturers under the Pope Manufacturing Company umbrella. It was the longest lived, lasting from 1904 through 1914. The company’s first two products in 1904 were the Model A, a runabout, and the Model B, the tonneau as shown here.

The Model B actually carried over into 1905 as well. It’s powered by a 2.1-liter single that was rated at 10 horsepower at a leisurely 900 rpm. It cost $1,000 when new. The catalog states it was, perhaps, sold new to McKinley/Roosevelt’s Secretary of State.

It’s been under current ownership since 2019, four years after it won a preservation class award at Pebble Beach. It now has an estimate of $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.

An Early Lagonda

1904 Lagonda 10HP Tricar

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

There’s nothing scarier on Halloween than being the front passenger in a tricar. You are the bumper and crumple zone.

Wilbur Gunn was actually born in the United States. He was an opera singer that became a British citizen in the 1890s and got his start in the automotive realm by building motorcycles in his backyard around 1904. He named them Lagonda, after a place in Ohio. Naturally.

The first four-wheeled cars arrived in 1907, meaning this tricar predates Lagonda “cars.” It’s thought to be the oldest known example of the marque and is powered by a 1.2-liter V-twin that was rated at 10 or 12 horsepower, depending on which rating system you subscribed to.

A Lagonda tricar was victorious in its class in a London-Edinburgh trial in 1906. This car is considered a prototype of its kind and is the only Lagonda eligible for the London-to-Brighton run. It was restored in 1936 and again in the 1990s (and in the ’90s it was Lagonda that did the work). It’s been under current ownership since 2004. The estimate is $85,000-$90,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

1904 Siddeley

1904 Siddeley 12hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Siddeley is a fairly well-known name in the historical British car world. However, most of the time it is connected to other names, like Deasy, Wolseley, or, most famously, Armstrong. But the first Siddeleys were built by John Davenport Siddeley’s Siddeley Autocar Company, which was founded in 1902. The cars were actually built by Vickers and were based on Peugeots.

In 1905, J.D. Siddeley became the manager of Wolseley and then added his name to that brand. In 1909, he left Wolseley (and so did his name) and took over Deasy, again appending his name to that marque’s as well. In 1919, Siddeley-Deasy was bought by Armstrong Whitworth. Armstrong-Siddeley cars remained in production until 1960. The Siddeley name stuck around on various aircraft companies through a few mergers, eventually winding up as part of BAE Systems.

So that’s the history. Here’s this car. It is said that 31 examples of the 12hp model were built, with this being the only survivor. It’s powered by a vertical twin that can push the car to 28 mph, never exceeding 1,800 rpm (and dropping as low as 80 rpm!). The rear-entrance tonneau body was fabricated in the ’90s to replace a replacement two-seater (previously added in lieu of the original tonneau body).

A former London-to-Brighton participant, this car should sell in the $125,000-$155,000 range. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $170,857.

Nine-Passenger C.G.V.

1904 C.G.V. Type 75 Nine-Passenger Tourer

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Two days ago we featured a car called an S.G.V., which was built in Pennsylvania. Well this completely unrelated C.G.V. was built in France. The company was named for its founders, Fernand Charron, Leonce Girardot, and Emile Voigt, the three of which were racing drivers or racing cyclists.

The company built cars between 1901 and 1906, at which time Girardot and Voigt left the firm. Automobiles Charron continued on through 1930. This is a very large car for 1904, and it’s believed to be the only Type 75 that survives.

The auction catalog does not mention what this car would’ve been powered by when new (C.G.V. offered 9.8-liter and later 12.9-liter engines beginning in 1905), but it does say it was fitted with a 75-horsepower Seagrave fire truck engine circa 2000. It was refurbished in the late 2000s and can hit 70 mph in third gear. It has four gears.

C.G.V.s were borderline obscenely expensive when new, but no pre-sale estimate is available for this one. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Rover 8HP

1904 Rover Eight

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | June 18, 2022

Photo – Brightwells

Rover was one of the U.K.’s longest-running automotive marques. The Rover Company Limited got its start as so many others did, with bicycles. They were founded in 1878, and motorcycles followed in 1902. The first Rover car was 1904’s Eight, an example of which we have here.

The first Eights were powered by a 1.3-liter single cylinder that made eight horsepower. A 1.0-liter sleeve-valve single was offered for the model’s final two years of production in 1911 and 1912. The car had a backbone frame that was essentially just the running gear, and this evolved into an ash chassis by 1907.

This first-year Rover is said to be the oldest surviving Rover in private hands and one of the earliest Rovers built. It has known history back to 1921 and is a former London-to-Brighton participant. It has a pre-sale estimate of $85,000-$90,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $122,595.

1904 Brennan

1904 Brennan 14/18HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 5, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Brennan – or, officially, the Brennan Manufacturer Company – was an engine-building company based in Syracuse, New York. Founded by Patrick Brennan in 1897, the company produced engines for other manufacturers, including Selden. Between 1902 and 1908, Brennan sold their own car. Brennan actually survived as a marine engine outfit until 1972.

Brennan built their cars to suit, which was not very economical. The cars were too expensive despite the engineering behind them. The engines were good though: this car has a flat-twin that made 14 horsepower at 700 rpm and 18 horsepower at 1,000 rpm. Pretty stout for 1904.

This particular example is said to have resided in the Henry Austin Clark Museum before relocating to the U.K. in a sad state in 1990. The restoration was completed in 2005, and the car is a London-to-Brighton veteran. It now carries an estimate of $110,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $154,260.

De Dion Model Y

1904 De Dion-Bouton Model Y 6hp Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 1, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

De Dion-Bouton was the first automotive giant. Founded in 1883, the company actually lasted until 1953, though automobile production ceased in 1932. This 1904 Model Y was from their heyday.

The Type Y is powered by a 700cc single-cylinder engine making six horsepower. De Dion was selling six-cylinder cars at this time, so this would’ve been their bargain-basement model.

It’s a London-to-Brighton veteran that was sold new in the U.K. and was discovered on a sheep farm in New Zealand in 1967. Of course it was a sheep farm. Today, it should bring between $71,000-$84,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $74,468.

Carter Electric Motorette

1904 Carter Electric Motorette

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | August 31, 2019

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

This is a pretty tiny vehicle. Although Worldwide Auctioneers doesn’t provide anything in the background of these photos to help with scale, I would imagine it’s about wide enough to seat a person and a half. In England, these were known as “invalid cars” – basically street-legal motorized wheelchairs.

But… it has a US license plate and is street legal here, too. It was built in England by a company I have no further information about. Its first owner purchased it there and later imported it into Vermont, where it was used regularly up through 1942. It’s been on long-time museum display and still shows fairly well, save for a flat front tire.

It has a convertible top, tiller steering, and 20-mile range when traveling at a top speed of 18-20 mph. Not bad for 115 years old. You will likely never see another, and this one will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,925.

Update: Sold, Worldwide Auctioneers, “Scottsdale in Auburn” 2020, $19,040.