Thomas-Detroit Tourer

1907 Thomas-Detroit Model C Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 3, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Thomas-Detroit was a short-lived marque founded in 1906 after two former Oldsmobile employees had a chance encounter with E.R. Thomas of the Thomas Motor Company. The two ex-Olds employees, engineer Howard Coffin and salesman Roy Chapin, convinced Thomas to help fund their building of a slightly smaller car than Thomas was currently offering out of his Buffalo-based enterprise.

So Thomas-Detroit was set up in Detroit to build a 40HP car. It was offered in 1906, 1907, and 1908 only because Chapin and Coffin became tired of being managed from afar. They convinced Hugh Chalmers to buy out Thomas and the marque became Chalmers-Detroit for 1909 before becoming just Chalmers in 1911.

This Model C is powered by a 5.8-liter straight-four making 40 horsepower. It was offered as a Runabout, Touring car, Limousine, or Landaulette. This Touring would’ve cost $2,750 when new. Very few Thomas-Detroit motorcars were ever completed and sold before the company’s name changed. This one has been wonderfully restored and should bring between $125,000-$175,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Four Oddities from Artcurial

Four Oddities from Artcurial

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 10, 2018


1907 Chameroy Tonneau

Photo – Artcurial

What? Never heard of a Chameroy Tonneau? Artcurial is presenting a collection of true oddball cars at Rétromobile and I love it. Automobiles Chameroy of Le Vesinet offered automobiles for only four years, from 1907 through 1910.

This 1907 model features a V-4 engine making “at least 9 horsepower.” It is likely an Aster engine and probably the largest car Chameroy built (which would likely make it the Type D, but that’s just an inference on my part). Chameroy was apparently more famous for their own special “non-skid tires” and may have had more success with them. As it is, this is the only known example of their cars to survive. It should bring between $12,000-$18,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $33,585.


1907 Louis Pouron 8HP

Photo – Artcurial

This little two-seat French roadster was not built by an automobile company. Instead, it was built by a French railway employee, likely while he was on strike (just kidding!).

It’s powered by an eight horsepower De Dion single-cylinder engine from 1903. Not much else is known about the car’s history or its builder. The collection of Michel Broual, of which this is being sold from, acquired it after many years of waiting as the car wound up in a shed that had sort of been made smaller around the car so it could not be removed. The owner refused to allow anyone to trample his garden and someone else snuck in and bought it out from under Broual who would have to wait years to buy it from that gentleman. Kind of weird story. But hey, it’s kind of a weird, one-off car. It should bring between $12,000-$18,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $16,062.


1907 Contal Mototri Type B

Photo – Artcurial

Camille Contal’s Mototri was a forecar built in France. Unlike many of its counterparts, this was not a motorcycle fitted with a front-facing chair. It was designed from the ground up as a tri-car.

First introduced at the 1905 Paris Auto Salon, the Contal would be sold to the public in 1907 and 1908. 1907 was a good year publicity-wise for the firm as one of their Mototris competed in the Peking-Paris race (even if it didn’t do very well). The Mototri could be had as you see here or as a delivery wagon. Compared to many of the cars in this collection, this one seems to be in quite decent shape. It should bring between $18,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $65,709.


1925 SIMA-Violet Type VM

Photo – Artcurial

Ah, the SIMA-Violet. When I think “cyclecars” this is one of the first cars to come to mind (this is a close second). SIMA-Violet’s name comes from SIMA (Société Industrielle de Matériel Automobile) and the last name of the company’s founder: Marcel Violet.

The company produced their unique take on the cyclecar between 1924 and 1929. Most are two-seaters with the seats offset so that the driver sat farther forward than the passenger. They were all powered by a 497cc two-stroke twin designed in-house that was geared to do 60+ mph (no thank you). If you ever want to see a great example of one of these up close, head to the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville. The blue example on offer here should sell for between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $32,124.

4 Pre-WWI Minervas

Pre-WWI Minervas

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 8, 2018


1907 Minerva Type K 40HP Transformable Open-Drive Limousine Torpedo

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams managed to snag an unreal collection of Minerva automobiles for their Rétromobile sale. This is the oldest of the bunch, dating to 1907 – which was just five years after the Belgian firm built their first cars.

The Type K features a 40 horsepower 6.2-liter straight-six. This car was aimed squarely at the top of the market – right at Rolls-Royce. It’s a gigantic car, with an open (or covered) driver’s compartment and an enclosed limousine rear (but also with a removable top… which I guess makes this entire car technically a convertible). The body is by Belvallette et Cie. It was purchased new off of Minvera’s stand at the 1907 Paris Auto Salon.

It was discovered in 1966 and immediately placed in a museum. In 1981 it changed hands again and the collection it is coming out of acquired it in 1995. Did I mention that this 111-year-old car is entirely original? It’s been expertly preserved and it should bring between $420,000-$550,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $744,906.


1910 Minerva Model S 26HP Open-Drive Landaulette

Photo – Bonhams

The 1910 Minerva range consisted of three models, the entry-level 16HP, the top-of-the-line 38HP, and this, the mid-range 26HP Model S. The engine is a Knight sleeve-valve 4.1-liter straight-four. The body looks extremely complicated with a retractable top out back and a removable hardtop for the driver, which when both are down, leaves a little piece of roof sticking up in the middle.

This car was delivered new to France and returned to Belgium in 1918. The current collection acquired the car in 1999 and there was a restoration, but no one seems to know when it was performed. At any rate, it’s aged nicely and should bring between $110,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $205,736.


1911 Minerva Model Z 38HP Open-Drive Limousine

Photo – Bonhams

This Minerva looks a little bit newer than 1911, which I guess is a testament to its great design. The Model Z was the “big” Minerva for 1911, powered by a 6.3-liter Knight sleeve-valve straight-four making 38 horsepower. The body almost has a “C-Cab” look to the driver’s compartment, which is very stylish. Unfortunately, the coachbuilder is unknown.

This car was delivered new to Spain and entered the current collection more than 30 years ago. It’s thought to be mostly original, but it will require some freshening as it’s been sitting for a few years. Compared to some of the other Minervas in this sale, this car is on the cheap side, with a pre-sale estimate of $55,000-$67,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $87,969.


1912 Minerva Model CC 38HP Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

Just like in 1910 and 1911, the 1912 Minerva line consisted of three models of differing power outputs with this, the 38HP model being the largest. It’s powered by a sleeve-valve 7.2-liter straight-four rated at 38 horsepower. That large displacement coupled with the Knight engine made for exceptionally smooth running.

This is a big touring car equipped with a second windshield for the rear passengers. Delivered new to the U.K., this car was pulled from a Scottish barn in the 1960s and restored as-needed before the end of the 1970s. It’s been on static display in this collection for up to the last 15 years, which means it’ll need a little TLC if you want to take it out on the road. It should sell for between $55,000-$67,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $156,075.

Ford Model K

1907 Ford Model K Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 19, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Before Henry Ford conquered the world with basic, affordable transportation, he spent the early years in his company just trying to keep it going (after two failed attempts). In 1904, he introduced the Model B which was Ford’s “upscale” model (because it had brass and wood trim and a decent engine). In 1906, it was replaced by the Model K, which was positioned at the top of the automobile market.

Ford didn’t really want to build this car, but his investors did. Featuring on the first  commercially available six-cylinder engines, the Model K is powered by a 6.6-liter straight-six that makes 40 horsepower. Priced at $2,500, it was the most expensive Ford product to date. Different body styles were offered and it was available through 1908. In 1907, the Model K was the best-selling six-cylinder car in the world, with nearly 500 sold.

Ford offered three other models in 1907: the Model N, Model R, and Model S. Come 1909, they would be selling only one model: the Model T. About 1,000 Model Ks were built in total and only 10 Roadsters are known to exist. This one has been only owned by two different families in the past 110 years. It was restored – nearly half a century ago. It’s a really cool, rare Ford from the pre-T era. In this barn-find condition, it should bring between $175,000-$275,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s Arizona lineup.

Update: Sold $252,000.

Cadillac Model M

1907 Cadillac Model M Touring

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Early Cadillacs were actually designed by Henry Leland, as he had yet to sell the company to General Motors (which would happen in 1909). So this early Caddy is one from their brief independent era. The Model M was introduced in 1906 and lasted through 1908, though the models from the final year were sold as delivery vans only.

Cadillac offered two different one-cylinder cars in 1907: the Model K and Model M. The M differed from the K in that the wheelbase was an inch longer and you could purchase a few additional body styles. The engine was the same: a 1.6-liter single-cylinder, mounted horizontally that made an advertised 10 horsepower.

When new, this would have been a $1,000 car. Today, it should bring between $80,000-$100,000. The restoration is so fresh that the car has yet to be shown at any major shows. It’s an interesting – and rare – model from Cadillac’s pioneering era. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $93,500.

1907 Friswell

1907 Friswell 6HP Two-Seater

Offered by Brightwells | Bicester, U.K. | October 25, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

Louis Delage was a Frenchman who ended up founding one of France’s snazziest automobile manufacturers in 1905. Around that same time, a company called Friswell popped up in London and they sold the Peugeot Bebe.

Those single-cylinder cars were replaced for 1906 with a car that they sold under the Friswell marque. The design utilized an 885ccc single-cylinder engine that makes 6.5 horsepower. It features a three-speed transmission and shaft drive. Oh, and it was likely designed (at least in part) by Louis Delage.

Friswell disappeared after 1907. This car is one of what has to be only a few survivors (if that number is greater than one) from a two-year-only marque. The pre-sale estimate is between $23,250-$28,500. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $31,508.

Wolfe Touring Car

1907 Wolfe Four Five-Passenger Touring

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo – Gooding & Company

Maurice Wolfe, a car dealer in Minneapolis, lent his name to this automobile, which was produced by the H.E. Wilcox Motor Car Company. The company was founded by Wolfe and brothers John F. and H.E. Wilcox. It built a few hundred cars between 1907 and 1909.

For the first two years of Wolfe production, their cars used a 24 horsepower straight-four engine from Continental. Only Five-Passenger Tourers were offered, though in 1909 you could get a four-passenger Roadster. When new, this car commanded a price of $1,800.

After 1909, the Wolfe became the Wilcox, which lasted through 1911. Maurice Wolfe moved to Indiana and built the Clark and Meteor automobiles. This car is one of about 30 built in 1907 (an additional ~170 cars would be built between 1908 and 1909). Restored in 2010, it is in running condition and is being sold to benefit a cancer research center in Seattle. It should sell for between $50,000-$70,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $49,500.

Stoddard-Dayton Runabout

1907 Stoddard-Dayton Model K Runabout

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 21, 2016

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

I’m trying to think of a good comparison… what company from today is the modern equivalent of Stoddard-Dayton? They were sporty, luxurious cars but not extraordinarily extravagant. If they were still around they would probably compete against the likes of Maserati or Cadillac. Somewhere in there.

In 1908, Stoddard-Dayton would move to a number/letter model name combination (think the last number of the year in front of the model letter, like Model 8-H, for a 1908 Model H). But in 1907, the models were standalone, and the Model K was the top of the range. It was only offered in this three-passenger Runabout form.

The engine is a 30 horsepower 5.5-liter straight-four. The Model K, new for 1907, would continue on through 1911 (albeit, with a numerical prefix). This example was discovered in a barn in South Dakota and the engine was overhauled in 2015. It’s a quick, rare early sporting machine (with white tires!) and is one of three known to exist. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $200,000.

Update II: Sold, Worldwide Auctioneers, Auburn 2017, $118,800.

Five Pre-1910 Cars

1909 Sears Model H

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

If you didn’t know that American’s legendary department store catalog offered automobiles, well here’s your history lesson. Between 1908 and 1912, Sears sold cars (high wheelers for the most part because the target audience were rural Americans who ordered things from catalogs). They did it again for a few years in the 1950s with the Allstate.

The Model H uses a 10 horsepower flat-twin and was identical to the 1908 model. The lineup started at model G and ran to the Model L, with each successive letter adding a few more creature comforts and/or styling bits. The restoration here is over a decade old but it is a perfect runner, as Sears’ cars were definitely rugged and reliable. It should bring between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $24,750.


1907 Victor Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Here’s an interesting one. The lot description makes it seem like there is a little uncertainty as to which of the many Victor automobile marques this is actually related to. Some historical work was carried out and it was determined that this is related to the Overman company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, who produced the Victor Steam car between 1899 and 1903. Our sources don’t show production after 1903, so I’ll take RM’s word for it (they’re pretty smart).

It is powered by a 15 horsepower flat-twin and the restoration dates back to 1967. An early car without a crystal clear birth certificate is always interesting. This car will be a talking point wherever it goes and the new owner will have something absolutely unique and fun. It should bring between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $22,000.


1903 Pierce Model 6.5 Stanhope

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

This pre-Arrow Pierce is one of the oldest cars on offer during the Hershey festivities this year. This car is concurrently referred to as a “Fourth Model”, a Model 6-6½, and a Single-Cylinder Stanhope. Pierce offered three models in 1903, and this was the mid-range product.

The engine is a single-cylinder, 6.5-horsepower unit. It has single-family ownership back to 1948. The car was never completely restored, just brought up to good-looking usable condition around 1948. It is usable today. Less than 150 off these were built and this one could bring between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $57,750.


1903 Columbus Electric Folding-Top Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

One great thing about the early days of automobiles is that there were just so many companies. And some names re-appear multiple times but separately. Columbus is one such name. There were at least four different Columbus makes (not including Columbia). At least two of them built electric cars at some point. This Columbus, Ohio-built example is from the Columbus Buggy Company who built electric cars between 1903 and 1915.

The 1903 through 1905 Folding-Top Runabout was the only model offered by the company. It is powered by a low-power DC electric motor. It’s simple, pretty, and basically, an historical artifact. Only bits of this car have actually been redone, meaning it is partly original. It should bring between $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1908 Holsman High-Wheel Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Holsman of Chicago built high-wheelers between 1902 and 1910. Quite a few of them remain, which is fortunate because as you can see, they can actually be quite pretty. Look how big those wheels are! The black paint is nice and shiny with gorgeous red pin striping.

Holsman offered four models in 1908, all high-wheelers. They were all powered by a 12.8 horsepower 1.6-liter flat-twin. Three of the models were Runabouts – models 5, 9, and 10. It is unclear which of these models this car represents, as well as what the difference between those model designations even is. What a good-looking car. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $38,500.

Victor Runabout

1907 Victor Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Here’s an interesting one. The lot description makes it seem like there is a little uncertainty as to which of the many Victor automobile marques this is actually related to. Some historical work was carried out and it was determined that this is related to the Overman company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, who produced the Victor Steam car between 1899 and 1903. Our sources don’t show production after 1903, so I’ll take RM’s word for it (they’re pretty smart).

It is powered by a 15 horsepower flat-twin and the restoration dates back to 1967. An early car without a crystal clear birth certificate is always interesting. This car will be a talking point wherever it goes and the new owner will have something absolutely unique and fun. It should bring between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $22,000.