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.

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.

Premier Tonneau

1904 Premier Model F 16HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

George B. Weidely sold his first car in 1902 and his Premier Motor Manufacturing Company continued to build four, and primarily six, cylinder cars through 1925. Based in Indianapolis, the brand was at the heart of one of America’s major early automobile manufacturing cities.

The 1904 Premier range was the first year they offered multiple models. This, the Model F, was the mid-range model and the top trim four-cylinder car the firm sold, priced at $1,400 when new. It’s powered by a 16 horsepower four-cylinder engine. The only body style offered was the Rear-Entrance Tonneau you see here.

This particular example was restored in 1999 and is finished in Brewster Green and Canary (yellow). Only two 1904 Premiers have survived, the other being the more-expensive-when-new Two-Cylinder model that is in possession of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Even though this is an American automobile, it is London-to-Brighton eligible and should sell for between $175,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $341,000.

Knox Surrey

1904 Knox Two-Cylinder 16/18HP Tudor Surrey

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

It’s strange, but this is the first Knox automobile we’ve featured on the site. It’s weird because Knox automobiles aren’t that rare and it seems that at least one of them changes hands publicly each year. Harry Knox got into the automobile business because he was encouraged to do so by his neighbor. Usually this isn’t a great reason for starting a business, but in this case, Springfield, Massachusetts-based Knox was neighbors with a guy named J. Frank Duryea, one of the brothers behind one of America’s pioneering car companies.

Knox built passenger cars between 1900 and 1914 (and they continued building trucks and tractors through 1924). 1904 was the first year for the two-cylinder Knox, and this car is powered by a 4.5-liter twin making 16 horsepower.

The ownership history on this car is known since new. In the 1940s the car was rescued, as it had been converted as the power source for farm equipment. It passed around through a few collections and museums in the ensuing decades, with the most recent restoration work having been completed in 2012. It is London-to-Brighton eligible and completed the run in 2016.

Four body styles were offered on the 1904 Two-Cylinder Knox and this one features a soft-top Tudor Surrey. It is estimated to bring between $200,000-$225,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $292,600.

1904 Renault

1904 Renault Type N-B 14/20HP Four-Cylinder Swing-Seat Tonneau

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Every year there are a number of pre-1910 Renaults that come up for sale. Bonhams almost always has at least one at their London-to-Brighton sale and we never get to feature them. That changes this year, as Bonhams has multiple Renaults and we’ve selected this one – the earliest Renault we’ve yet featured.

The first of Louis Renault’s cars were single-cylinder De Dion-powered. Four-cylinders came in 1904 – this one is 3.0-liters in capacity and makes 14/20 horsepower. The body on this car looks remarkably like the Aster that is also offered at this sale.

The history of this car is that one family owned it from the 1920s through the 1980s when it was bought by the present owner, who restored it completely. It’s been upgraded slightly to run more reliably and has nice weather protection for a car its age. This, one of the first four-cylinder Renaults, should bring between $310,000-$340,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $340,429.

A French Aster

1904 Aster 16/20HP Four-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Aster was a French marque that built motorized vehicles between 1900 and 1910. They were also a major engine manufacturer – at one point they claimed to be the provider of engines for over 130 other companies. They should not be confused with the British Aster marque of the 1920s (though the British company started out building engines under license from this one).

This car is powered by a 2.7-liter straight-four making 16/20 horsepower. It’s well-appointed and Bonhams makes the case that it’s about as perfect a car for entrance in the London-to-Brighton run as you can get. The body that is on this car is not original to the chassis, but is period correct and was applied during a restoration.

What you see here is a runner – this is a veteran car that you can drive considerable distance with a fair amount of confidence, because, as the lot description says, it is a practical old car. Or as practical as a 112 year old car can be. It should sell for between $290,000-$340,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $263,484.

Garrard Forecar

1904 Garrard Suspended Forecar

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 3, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

While this car is technically being sold as a restoration project, it is still very interesting. Charles Garrard started importing Clement engines from France in 1902. His idea was to attach them to tricycle frames and build Forecars, a popular, if not dangerous, style of transport in England in the day (nothing like having your passenger be your front bumper!).

They were originally called Clement-Garrards, until 1904 when he dropped the Clement part. Garrard ceased production shortly thereafter, making this 1904 model very rare. This tricar is powered by a four horsepower v-twin and should sell for between $21,000-$31,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Five Pre-1920 Cars

Five Pre-1920 Cars

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 3, 2016


1913 Chalmers Model 17 36HP Five-Passenger Tourer

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Chalmers was formed in 1908, sort of, when Hugh Chalmers bought out ER Thomas from Thomas-Detroit. Early cars were badged Chalmers-Detroit, before becoming just Chalmers in 1911. The marque lasted through 1924 after merging with Maxwell in 1922. This merged company is known today as “Chrysler.”

The 1913 Model 17 was the mid-range model, offered in six body configurations with the Five-Passenger Tourer being the least expensive at $1,950. It is powered by a 36 horsepower straight-four. This example was imported into the U.K. in 2005 and mechanically restored shortly thereafter. It’s a runner and driver, with a lot of original pieces left, like the interior. It should sell for between $26,000-$32,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $39,879.


1908 Clyde 8/10HP Silent Light Roadster

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Clyde is a very interesting automobile manufacturer from Leicester that was founded by George Wait as a bicycle manufacturer in 1890. Automobiles came in 1901. Remarkably, by the time the company closed up shop in 1930, only about 260 cars had been produced.

This car is powered by a twin-cylinder White & Poppe engine and was owned by the company founder in the 1950s. It was restored in the early 1960s an then put on display in a museum from 1962 through 2003, when it went to America. Now it’s back in the U.K., having covered only about 100 miles since its restoration. It is one of three Clydes known to exist and should bring between $26,000-$39,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1909 Briton 7HP

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Briton Motor Company was based in Wolverhampton and was founded as an offshoot of the Star Cycle Company under the direction of Edward Lisle, Jr. The first cars appeared in 1909 and the marque lasted through 1928, although it was dormant for a few years in between.

Among the first models the company produced was the 7HP “Little Briton” – a seven horsepower, twin-cylinder runabout that seats two. It was a light car and it was cheap. Only five of these remain and this is the oldest, having been delivered new to Ireland. Forty years ago it was stashed in a barn and only discovered again in 2015, when it was restored to running condition and refurbished as needed. It should bring between $21,000-$26,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1904 Garrard Suspended Forecar

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

While this car is technically being sold as a restoration project, it is still very interesting. Charles Garrard started importing Clement engines from France in 1902. His idea was to attach them to tricycle frames and build Forecars, a popular, if not dangerous, style of transport in England in the day (nothing like having your passenger be your front bumper!).

They were originally called Clement-Garrards, until 1904 when he dropped the Clement part. Garrard ceased production shortly thereafter, making this 1904 model very rare. This tricar is powered by a four horsepower v-twin and should sell for between $21,000-$31,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1914 Rochet-Schneider 12HP Limousine by Allignol

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Rochet-Schneider was a French automobile marque – and by the time this car was built in 1914, it was already a very old one. Edouard Rochet and Theophile Schneider joined forces (as did their families’ legacy businesses) in 1894 to produce automobiles. Production would last through 1932.

This car has known history back to 1954 and was restored in the late 1990s (with the exception of the interior). It is powered by a 12 horsepower, 2.6-liter engine, capable of long distances at 40 mph. While French cars of this era aren’t the most powerful or the fastest, this model, with Limousine coachwork by Allignol, is rather imposing. It should bring between $23,000-$28,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $23,007.

Big Mercedes-Simplex

1904 Mercedes-Simplex 28/32 Five-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Monterey, California | August 19, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Mercedes-Simplex was one of the premier cars of the pre-1910 era. They were big, powerful, and fast. The Simplex was produced by Daimler between 1902 and 1909 and was the successor to the Mercedes 35HP, a car largely considered as the “first modern automobile.”

There were multiple Simplex models, the largest being the 60 HP model. This is the mid-range 28/32HP – meaning it is powered by a 32 horsepower 5.3-liter straight-four. It will do 65 mph+. Imagine being able to keep up on the interstate today in a car from 1904… that has dual chain drive.

When new, a Simplex would have cost roughly $7,500 – an absolute fortune in 1904. This example was sold new in England and later used by the British military during WWI. It was discovered on a farm in the 1970s and has been completely restored (and “refurbished” a couple of times since the restoration was completed). It’s extremely usable and has seen its fair share of use at the London-to-Brighton run.

In total, 1,500 Mercedes-Simplex cars were built and only 20 pre-1905 Mercedes cars still survive. Only six of those are this model. It’s a beautiful machine and should bring between $2,500,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,805,000.