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.

A Pair of Pope-Toledos

1904 Pope-Toledo Four-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Once upon a time, there was a car called the Toledo, and it produced between 1901 and 1903, in… well, Toledo, Ohio. They sold both steam and gasoline-powered cars. In 1904, Albert Pope bought the factory, and the cars became known as the Pope-Toledo, though they were gasoline-only. Of all of his different brands, these were the best cars that Pope built. His flagship marque, if you will.

1904 was the first year for Pope-Toledo production and two models were offered: a twin and a four-cylinder. This is a nice example of the latter and would’ve cost $3,500 when new. It is powered by a 24 horsepower, 3.4-liter inline-four.

It looks to be a great example – and it’s wearing white tires! It should sell for between $150,000-$220,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $134,400.


1906 Pope-Toledo Model XII Roi-des-Belges Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Here’s another great, large Pope-Toledo. The company’s 1906 model range consisted of three models, with the Type XII being the most expensive, largest, and most powerful. A few body styles were offered and this car carries a five-passenger Roi-des-Belges touring car body. The whole package would’ve come out to about $5,000 when new.

Power is from a 5.8-liter inline-four good for 35/40 horsepower. Pope-Toledo only lasted through 1909, and they aren’t too common today. This one has known history back to the 1950s and should bring between $280,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $318,500.

Three Classics from Bonhams

1904 Peerless Type 8 Style K King of Belgium Touring by Quinby

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Peerless was one of the finest American motor cars you could buy before WWII. And their obsession with quality started early, even if these early cars were a little more innovative than their later creations.

The Type 8 was one of three models you could buy from the company in 1904. This car carries “King of Belgium” coachwork from the J.M. Quinby Company of Newark, New Jersey, and power is from 24 horsepower inline-four.

This car has been in collector hands since the 1950s and was first restored in the 60s. It’s the type of car you only ever see in museums. But it can be yours – for between $400,000-$480,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $698,000.


1904 Thomas Flyer Model 22 Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The first Thomas cars were sold in 1903, but the 1904 Flyer would be the car that would take the company to great heights before they ultimately went out of business in 1918. In 1904, the Flyer was the company’s first multi-cylinder automobile: a 24 horsepower, 4.3-liter inline-three.

This car is being sold from the estate of Harold Coker, who owned quite a few Thomas Flyers. It is said that this is the only Model 22 Flyer remaining, making it the earliest such example of the legendary name that won the famed New York to Paris race in 1908. It should bring between $400,000-$500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $489,000.


1906 Stevens-Duryea Model U Five-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

After the Duryea brothers parted ways, Frank teamed up with the Stevens Arms Company to begin production of a finely engineered automobile called the Stevens-Duryea. The company existed in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts from 1901 through 1927. These big early tourers were really their best stuff.

The Model U was technically a 1907 model, but it doesn’t matter. Because it’s awesome. Power is from a 35 horsepower, 5.5-liter inline-six. Ten examples of the Model U are said to exist, which is good news. Hopefully, they’ll be around for a long time to come. This particular car should bring between $175,000-$225,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $173,600.

Haynes-Apperson

1904 Haynes-Apperson Model F Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Haynes-Apperson is a manufacturer that few know about. But it is one of the most important. Elwood Haynes, who would later hold a patent on stainless steel, partnered with brothers Elmer and Edgar Apperson in 1894 to build a motorcar. A company sprang up in 1898, the first in Indiana (Kokomo, to be exact), and was soon churning out cars as fast as they could. Haynes was a difficult guy to get along with from a business perspective, and the Apperson brothers departed the company in 1902. Haynes-Apperson became just Haynes in 1904.

In 1904, the last year before the name change, the company produced a car called the Model F. It is powered by a flat-twin capable of 18 horsepower. It featured left-hand drive, an adjustable steering column, and a bunch of brass, making it seem rather opulent for the time.

This example was restored by its late owner and is one of two known examples of the Model F in the world. Long overlooked, Haynes-Apperson deserves to be appreciated as one of America’s first, and thereby most important, automobile manufacturers. This car should sell for between $180,000-$240,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $190,400.

1904 Wolseley

1904 Wolseley 6HP Two-Seater Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 2, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Did you know the Wolseley name is owned by the Chinese auto conglomerate SAIC? It’s dormant currently, but the name can be traced back to 1901 when Herbert Austin teamed up with Vickers to build cars. Austin was the head of the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company, thus the name. He would leave Wolseley in 1905 to go found Austin.

Their 6HP model went on sale in 1904. It’s powered by, well, a six horsepower single-cylinder engine mounted up front. Outward appearances suggest that the engine is 100% radiator. We like that single, centered headlight, though.

It’s a tiny 2-seater with a big, upright windscreen that doesn’t appear tall enough to protect the occupants’ faces. That or the steering wheel is just monumentally high. This car has mostly known ownership history, and Bonhams notes that this car should bring between $98,000-$100,000, which is a bizarrely tight range. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $89,652.

Twin-Cylinder Star

1904 Star 7HP Twin-Cylinder Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 2, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Star, like many early motor manufacturers, got their start as a cycle company. Edward Lisle’s company produced its first car in 1898, and by the time WWI broke out, the company was one of Britain’s largest automobile companies.

Introduced in 1900, the twin-cylinder Star was one of a few models the company was producing that were based on the pioneering designs of Panhard and Mercedes. It’s powered by a 1.4-liter straight-twin producing seven horsepower.

This car cost £320 when new and should bring between $110,000-$130,000 early next month. It has participated in the London-to-Brighton run multiple times and can be your ticket into that event too. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $113,559.

Ford Model C

1904 Ford Model C Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Hillegom, Netherlands | June 23, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

This is the final missing piece as far as pre-Model T Fords go. We’ve featured every other model, beginning with the Model A and Model AC, the Model B, Model F, Model K, Model N, Model R, and Model S. This is a fine example of the 1904 and 1905-only Model C.

The Model C uses the same engine as did the AC: a 10 horsepower, 2.0-liter flat-twin. Though 1904 was only the second year for Ford production, the Model C was a leap forward from the Model A. Mechanically similar to the AC, it is a more “modern-looking”  car (you know, for 1904) with a more conventional layout. Though it was sold side-by-side with the Model F in 1905, the F would ultimately replace the C in 1906.

This was a $950 car when new and only 870 examples were built between the two model years. It is thought that only about 20 remain. This particular example was built in Canada. It should sell for between $41,000-$53,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $104,482.

1904 Ford Model B

1904 Ford Model B Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Hillegom, Netherlands | June 23, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

The first Fords, namely the Model A, were transportation. This was Ford’s way of getting into the market. After selling a few hundred, he was able to expand his focus. Naturally, the next car he would build would be the Model B and it was a much different car than the A (and AC) before it.

The Model B was Ford’s first front-engined car. And it was kind of luxurious, featuring brass trim with some polished wood throughout. Not just simple transportation. It was a relatively big car, too. Priced at $2,000 in 1904, the Model B was more than double the price of any other car in Ford’s line. It’s powered by a 4.6-liter straight-four making 24 horsepower. This made it Ford’s first four-cylinder car as well.

This car is coming out of a museum and sports white tires, something we love. The Model B was available in 1904 and 1905 before being supplanted by the even more luxurious Model K. Ford would produce another car called the Model B in the 1930s, but this one is much, much rarer. It should bring between $64,000-$82,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $488,924.

The Dragonfly

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.

1904 Stanley

1904 Stanley Model C Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Stanley brothers founded their first car company in 1897 but ended up selling the rights to that design to someone else. In 1902 they were back with a new, more modern-looking design. This 1904 Model C is a pretty early Stanley, but it’s not the earliest we’ve featured here on this site.

The Model C was offered in 1903 and 1904. It features a 6.5 horsepower twin-cylinder steam engine. It was the only 1903 model listed, but was the baby Stanley for 1904 (as there were two more powerful cars offered). The Model C cost $695 in 1904.

This particular car is fairly original. It has been repainted and a new boiler was installed within the last five years. It’s been sitting idle for almost that entire time, but with little effort it should be made roadworthy by its new owner. This car is expected to bring between $45,000-$65,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s Hershey lineup.

Update: Sold $55,000.