Mercedes-Simplex Raceabout

1908 Mercedes-Simplex 65HP Two-Seater Raceabout

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

Photo – Bonhams

The Daimler marque became “Mercedes” in 1902 and the Mercedes-Simplex is largely considered to be the first “modern” car – a departure from the horseless carriages that preceded it. Available as a number of models between 1902 and 1910, the Simplex had engines ranging from 18 horsepower all the way up to 65 – as in the beast you see here.

The 65 horsepower (which is available at a rumbling 1200 rpm) comes from a very large 9.4-liter straight-four that. A normal 65HP Simplex would only have 9.2-liters, but this one has probably had many engine rebuilds over the course of its life, thus slightly increasing its displacement.

The biggest of all Simplexes, this model was offered between 1903 and 1909. The chassis you see here originally sported a 40/45HP engine when it was sold new in New York. It was acquired by Lindley Bothwell in the 1930s or 40s already sporting this… sporting body. What the original coachwork looked like is a secret lost to time.

This is going to be one of the more expensive cars to find a new home at this sale and no pre-sale estimate is available. These big horsepower, early German machines are incredibly hard to come by today. This is a rare chance to acquire one with known history going back 80 years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,072,500

Barney Oldfield’s Benz

1908 Benz 75/105HP Prinz-Heinrich Raceabout

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

Photo – Bonhams

Benz has some automotive connotations, namely its current existence as half of Mercedes-Benz. But if you think back about Benz and know enough to know that Benz sort of started this whole car thing, you probably think of the Benz Patent Motorwagen. But they also built some amazing sports cars. Two engineers working for Benz in the early days developed what is, perhaps, the world’s first road-going sports car. It was built to compete in the Prinz-Heinrich Tour – a demanding 1,200 mile rally.

Hans Nibel and Georg Diehl created this car to compete in that race (note: this car is listed as a “circa 1908” but the catalog makes it seem like this model was first shown closer to 1910). It features a live rear axle and shaft drive (most big power cars from this era sported two semi-frightening chains that drove the rear wheels). The engine is fantastic for 1908: it’s a 7.3-liter straight-four that made 105 horsepower, which is a lot for the time. A team of three of these competed in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup.

This model was only available through 1912 and very few were made as they were quite expensive. Only a handful survive – including, probably, the three Vanderbilt Cup cars. We pick up the history of this car around 1915 when it was being used by Barney Oldfield in appearances all over the country. He eventually sold it to a brewer in L.A. before it made its way into the Lindley Bothwell collection in the 1930s (where it’s been since).

Restored in 2006, just in time for the 2006 Goodwood Revival, this is an incredible piece of history with just three known owners going back 100 years. This is the type of car that only exists in one of three places: 1. museums 2. historical photos or 3. long-term European collections that are rarely, if ever, broken up. But here it is, straight from Los Angeles for you to bid on. No estimate is being provided because it’s one of the big money cars from this sale (which is likely to be remembered for some time). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,870,000.

Sheffield-Simplex

1908 Sheffield-Simplex 45HP Model LA2 Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Simplex was a popular word in the early days of the automobile. Famously, there was the Mercedes-Simplex, the Crane-Simplex, the plain-old Simplex and the American Simplex aka Amplex… among others. The Sheffield-Simplex was from, guess where, Sheffield, England. The company was founded in 1907 with financial backing from Earl Fitzwilliam, a man who made his fortune in coal. The last cars rolled off the line in 1920 and motorcycles continued on through 1927.

The first car produced in 1907 was the LA1 and the LA2 followed in 1908. It’s powered by a rather large 45 horsepower, 7.0-liter straight-six. When new, the LA2 was advertised as being sold without a gearbox, though it did actually have one. This is the only surviving Model LA2.

Re-imported into the U.K. from Australia in the 1970s, this example was thoroughly restored and has taken part in many rallies in the U.K. over the years. It is thought that the company only turned out about 1,500 cars in their 13 years of production (and most of those were built before WWI started). Only three are known to survive, with this being the oldest. It should bring between $190,000-$260,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Big, Early Hotchkiss

1908 Hotchkiss 16/20HP Type T Roi des Belges by A. Descoins & Fils

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | June 30, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Hotchkiss began life as an arms manufacturer and moved into cars in 1903. They survived WWII and some of their post-war cars are pretty attractive. They merged with Delahaye in 1954 and passenger car production stopped the following year. The marque soldiered on with commercial vehicles until 1971.

Hotchkiss was one of a few fairly large French automakers that existed prior to the outbreak of WWI that built properly large touring cars. This is not a small automobile. It seems like that the larger the company in France in this period, the smaller the cars. De Dion-Bouton, Renault, and Panhard et Levassor all produced relatively small cars at this time (sure, they made some large ones too).

What’s remarkable is that the Type T was the company’s smallest model for 1908! It’s powered by a 3.1-liter straight-four rated at 16/20 horsepower. The Type T was not built in large numbers and this example was discovered in a barn. The restoration finished up in 1998 and it’s still spectacular. The current owner bought it in 2000 and has taken pride in driving it thousands of miles in rallies. It’s the oldest Hotchkiss known to have its original body and it should sell for between $100,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $212,710.

Pullman Light Touring

1908 Pullman Model H Light Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6-7, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Model H was Pullman’s entry-level model in 1908 – the only year this model was produced. There were four other models above it in the Pullman line but the Model H was the only model available in more than one body style: it could be had as a Runabout or Detachable Tonneau.

Costing just under $1,900 when new, it was not inexpensive… but that should be pretty obvious as it is a big car with a good amount of brass. The powerplant is a 20 horsepower 2.7-liter straight-four. This example was restored a while ago, but the body and interior have been well maintained (though the engine has been rebuilt more recently, making it a great driver).

Only 873 Pullmans were built in 1908 and this is the oldest, known, surviving restored Pullman in existence. That means there aren’t any cars from this manufacturer from 1905, 1906, or 1907 that are still around (or apparently in restored condition). At any rate, opportunities to acquire a car from this rare marque don’t happen often and RM has two of them at this sale. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $51,700.

Galloway Wagon

1908 Galloway Dual Purpose Vehicle

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 3, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Galloway was an American automobile built by the William Galloway Company of Waterloo, Iowa, between 1908 and 1911. The lone product of the company between 1908 and 1910 was this so-called Dual Purpose Vehicle, named because it was meant to “drive to church on Sunday and be put to work on Monday.”

Having been built in Iowa, the Highwheeler design was probably apt, as it could be used by country folk to get around on the rough, unpaved roads of the day. The engine is a 14 horsepower flat-twin and the tires are solid.

Costing $570 when new, this extremely rare example is expected to bring between $10,000-$20,000 at auction. This wagon is almost all-original (except for a very old repaint) and has been in the same ownership since the 1930s(!). It’s not running now but has in recent years and can probably be made streetable with relative ease. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $26,400.

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.

Fuller Touring

1908 Fuller Model A Touring

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

There were a couple of early manufacturers that went by the trade name of Fuller in the United States. The one we are talking about today was built by the Angus Automobile Company of Angus, Nebraska. The company was founded by Charles Fuller and existed between 1908 and 1910.

The Model A (also known as the Four-30) was offered as a Runabout or the Touring car you see here. The engine is a 4.0-liter straight-four making 40 horsepower. Only about 600 Fullers were built in total (they weren’t cheap but they were very well made) – but at least one still survives!

And the story behind this car is pretty incredible. It goes: a young man saw a Fuller in his hometown and set out on a lifelong quest to have one. Except instead of being able to buy one (as two World War scrap drives had destroyed most of them), he had to piece one together, scouring the country for parts over decades. The car was completed in 1967 and is being sold out of the family that constructed it. It will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $11,000.

1908 Sizaire-Naudin

1908 Sizaire-Naudin Type F1 8HP Sport

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 5, 2016

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

Sizaire-Naudin was a French marque that existed between 1903 and 1921. The Sizaire name lived on for a few years after 1921 in a few different forms. The company was founded by brothers Georges and Maurice Sizaire and their friend Louis Naudin in Courbevoie.

The car features unique styling at the front. The engine cover has a cyclops-like design to it and the eight horsepower single-cylinder engine resides beneath. Microcars aside, single-cylinder cars (especially of this size) went out of favor by about 1904. Still, this car is capable of 49 mph.

Sold new in Nice, the car is as it would’ve been when it was new and has been restored as needed over time, with major work being carried out in the 1980s and around 2000. It’s a rare marque and a fine example that should bring between $70,000-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $133,561.

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.