Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019
We’ve chronicled the story of George Selden, the man who was granted a patent for an internal combustion-powered automobile in 1895. He received a royalty on every car built in the U.S. until Henry Ford quit paying him, initiated a lawsuit, and brought the whole Selden Patent to an end in 1911.
Selden did build cars in his own right in Rochester, New York between 1907 and 1914, with commercial vehicles continuing on through 1932. The example above is from 1911, a year in which Selden offered six different models. The Model 40R was only offered as a three-passenger Varsity Roadster, which cost $2,500 when new.
Power is from a 40 horsepower, 5.8-liter inline-four, and the car remained with the same family from new until 1983. It was restored in 1996 to the condition you see here. Remarkably, this is one of only six Selden automobiles to survive. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019
The De Tamble Motor Company got its start in Indianapolis in 1908 when Edward De Tamble began building cars. They moved to Anderson, Indiana the following year and the company went through many rounds of managerial and ownership changes in its short life. By 1913 the company was bankrupt and the president, Charles H. Walters, was in jail.
The 1911 model year offered five models, including a two-cylinder roadster, which was the company’s initial offering. The sporty Model G Runabout (yes, De Tamble did have a little competition history in their blood) was only sold in this year and is powered by a 36 horsepower inline-four. It cost $1,000 when new, the second cheapest car the company sold after the twin.
Only about 2,000 De Tamble automobiles were built in six years of production, and this is the first one I can recall coming up for sale in the last nine or so years. And it’s in Portugal of all places. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019
Rochet-Schneider was one of France’s oldest carmakers. Edouard Rochet’s bicycle company was joined by Theophile Schneider in 1894 and cars followed the next year. Into the 1920s they began to focus more on commercial vehicles and their last passenger car debuted in 1931. Berliet bought them out in 1932.
This example is powered by a 12 horsepower straight-four engine and wears a nicely-painted green Torpedo touring body. The story on this car is that its first owner was killed during WWI, and the car remained in the barn he had left it until the 1980s when it was rediscovered. The next owner took 10 years to track down the rightful inherited owners and finally bought it in the 1990s.
It was restored to the condition you see here, with the work wrapping in 2003. It is now being offered at no reserve with a pre-sale estimate of $40,000-$55,000. Find out more about it here and see more from this auction here.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019
1908 Clement-Bayard AC4I Tourer
Bonhams has a great number of interesting, early cars in their Retromobile catalog this year. We’ll be featuring five of the most interesting pre-WWI tourers (okay four, and one landaulette). Clement-Bayard was founded by Adolphe Clement, whose career is worthy of its own post.
I usually picture smaller cars, or very early cars, when thinking of Clement-Bayard, but this car proves that they also built quite large, expensive tourers as well. This car is powered by a 2.4-liter straight-four. It is said to be original and unrestored, which is pretty impressive. It should sell for between $86,000-$110,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Not sold.
1911 Renault Type CC Torpedo
The Type CC was a mid-sized Renault built in 1911 and 1912. It is sometimes referred to as the 14CV and is powered by a 3.6-liter straight-four making 16 horsepower. I’ve seen one of these in person (or a model very similar) and they’re a little smaller than you might think. But they make great old car noises.
This one carries a body from Million-Guiet that has some nice details. Check out the shape of the lower part of the windshield, for instance. Good luck finding replacement glass. Partially-restored, this car should bring between $69,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Not sold.
1912 Hupmobile Model 32 Tourer
In a sea of old French cars offered by Bonhams in Paris, here’s an American one. The Hupp Motor Car Company of Detroit built cars from 1909 through 1940. They didn’t make it to the other side of WWII, but their cars were well-known and respected for many years prior.
The Model 32 went on sale in 1912 and is powered by a 32 horsepower straight-four engine. Production continued through 1915. This one was exported to Ireland in 1990 and was restored there in 2009. It’s a perfect example of an early American touring car and should sell for between $17,000-$23,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $18,267.
1913 FN Type 2700 Tourer
Gotta love the lighting assistant standing to the side in the photo above (though I’d gladly take that job). FN was a Belgian company, and quite a few of them have been sold from this very collection. Here’s a smaller Model 2000 version, for example.
While that car may physically look larger, it has a smaller engine. The car you see here is powered by a 2.7-liter straight-four. The 2700 was introduced shortly before WWI broke out, and it is thought that only 16 examples were produced before the company’s focus shifted to the war. This one doesn’t wear its original body (it was used as a fire engine at one point) but should still bring between $29,000-$40,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $22,181.
1912 Berliet Type AM 15HP Brougham de Ville
And finally, we have a Berliet – another French car. Not a full convertible, this car is described as a Brougham de Ville, which means the owner got to ride in the covered section out back while the chauffeur sat up front, exposed to the elements.
This car is powered by a 15 horsepower straight-four engine and was acquired by the collection from which it is being sold in 1963. The body was fitted during this time but is pretty accurate to what a car would’ve looked like in 1912. This one should command between $52,000-$63,000. More can be found here, and more from this sale can be found here.
Offered by Historics at Brooklands | Brooklands, U.K. | November 24, 2018
Photo – Historics at Brooklands
Sunbeam was founded by John Marston in 1888 and started producing cars around the turn of the century. The 12/16HP model was introduced in 1910 and was produced up until the outbreak of WWI in 1914.
Power was from a 2.4-liter T-head inline-four rated at 16 horsepower. Later in 1911, the cars received an upgraded 3.0-liter unit, making this an early 1911 car. It was fairly conventional, with shaft-drive and a 4-speed transmission.
This attractive white tourer was on museum duty for 37 years before being purchased by the current owner in 2011. About 4,950 examples of this model were built, and this one should bring between $48,000-$58,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | November 4, 2018
Photo – Artcurial
Yes, please. What’s not to love about a round grille, pre-WWI French touring car? Especially one that is finished in red, green, wood, and brass. Delaunay-Belleville was founded in 1903 and they quickly became a premier French luxury marque. They were the choice cars for some of Europe’s top kings of the time.
Power is from a 4.8-liter straight-four rated at 22 taxable horsepower when new. It’s a big tourer, but the French weren’t exactly known for stuffing big engines in their cars (then or now). Gotta love a car whose windshield doesn’t extend up to meet the top, so the top is instead anchored to the front fenders with leather straps.
Only about 100 HB4 cars were produced by the factory and only a handful remain. This one has known history back to the 1970s. Delaunay-Belleville actually lasted until the late 1940s, but cars from this pre-WWI era were their finest work. This one should bring between $105,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2018
Photo – Bonhams
Robert Breese worked at De Dion-Bouton and Renault, among others, before deciding he wanted to build his own cars. He wanted to produce them in America, and he managed to make a few prototypes while still in Paris that he was going to take home with him to begin production.
It’s thought that he managed to produce three examples, two of which survive (and they’re both in this sale). Breese would produce other cars in the U.S. later, but this was his start. While this example is powered by a lowly 7.5 horsepower straight-four, this car can hit 70 mph. It’s that light.
This example has known history back to 1927 and was restored in the early 1960s. It shows pretty well for a 55-year-old restoration, signs of care by the family that has owned it since the work was completed. This car is expected to bring between $100,000-$130,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11-12, 2018
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
There were a lot of car companies before 1920 that had the word “American” as part of their name. There was American, who was famous for their Underslung models, and then there were European marques like Austin, Fiat, and De Dion-Bouton, who all had American arms and thus named them separately.
What we have here is a one-off car built in 1911 by Martin Burzynski of Detroit, Michigan. He never wanted to produce cars and never even bothered setting up a company to do so. Instead, Burzynski had a patent on an aluminum-sidewalled tire with spring-loaded canvas and rubber treads. This car was built as a test vehicle for those tires.
Ultimately unsuccessful, this car only saw about 200 miles through the mid-1940s. It features a 60hp Wisconsin straight-six and a bunch of other off-the-shelf parts from other manufacturers. Perhaps the most interesting bit is that three of the original aluminum tires are included. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Bicester, U.K. | April 11, 2017
Photo – Brightwells
De Dion-Bouton was the first automotive giant. By 1900 they were producing 400 cars a year and over 3,000 engines that were used by car makers all over the world. Single-cylinder De Dion engines were ubiquitous in the early days of the automobile.
In 1911, the DE1 was the entry-level De Dion-Bouton offering and it’s powered by one of those legendary single-cylinder engines. In this case, a 720cc unit capable of six horsepower. It was among the final cars to carry their famous single-cylinder as the company moved toward larger cars. Ultimately the company ceased car production in 1932.
The history of this model is known back only a few decades. Within the last ten years the car has been repainted and the engine rebuilt. It’s well-optioned for a car of its age, carrying many period accessories. Brightwells took this car to auction a few months ago and we regrettably failed to feature it. Lucky for us it didn’t meet its reserve and it’s back for us to oogle. It should bring $35,000-$40,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018
1931 Villard Type 31A
Photo – Artcurial
Sté de Automobiles Villard existed in France between 1925 and 1935. They were primarily known for building a three-wheeled cyclecar. They sold some four-wheeled cars in 1927 and in 1931 introduced this as their “export” model. The intent for this particular model was to be sold in the United States, but it seems unlikely Villard ever moved many of them there.
It’s powered by a 500cc V-4. It’s said that this is the only such Villard known to exist, which might mean that it is the original prototype (which was known to have survived after successfully finding its way to the U.S.). In all, only 20 Villard automobiles of any type are known to exist. This one, in relatively good shape, should bring between $9,500-$15,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $21,903.
1922 EHP Type B3
Photo – Artcurial
EHP, which stands for Établissememts Henri Precloux, after the man who founded it, built cars out of La Garenne-Colombes, Paris, between 1921 and 1929. EHP cars are notable for being shaft-driven and also for their competition outings, something many cyclecar manufacturers did not do.
This Type B3 is powered by a 893cc SCAP straight-four. A tiny, two-seat coupe, this car is in need of a full restoration. EHP cars aren’t seen often and this one should bring between $7,000-$12,000. Interesting note… there were all these guys who founded car companies before 1930 and when they failed, no one really knows what happened to them. Well it turns out that, in the 1960s, Henri Precloux was working as a welder in Paris. Fun fact. Click here for more about this car.
Update: Sold $26,284.
1925 Monet & Goyon Type VM2 Cyclecar
Photo – Artcurial
Here is a cyclecar from a cycle manufacturer. Monet-Goyon was founded in 1917 by Joseph Monet and Adrien Goyon in France. As a motorcycle manufacturer, the company existed until 1959 – which is a fairly long time and their post-war bikes are fairly common. But few remember that for a few years in the 1920s they experimented with light automobiles.
The Type VM2 is powered by a 350cc single-cylinder Villiers engine making six horsepower. It has chain-drive and is apparently very light. Not many examples of Monet & Goyon’s four-wheeled vehicles still exist and few are as complete (if not as original) as this. It should bring between $7,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $7,301.
1911 Renault CB Surbaisse
Photo – Artcurial
We’ve done a couple of these posts the last few weeks featuring really obscure marques of cars. While this may be a Renault, it is too bizarre to pass up. The Type CB was introduced in 1911 and was Renault’s mid-range model, featuring a 12 horsepower straight-four.
The body is a Victoria-type with an uncomfortable front bench for the chauffeur (featuring no seat back… good posture required). The rear has a convertible top, which only does you any good if the sun is behind you. Otherwise you’re A) still getting burned by the sun; B) still getting wet and; C) still getting hit with bugs. This honestly just looks like a horse-drawn carriage you’d find in Central Park but with a big air-cooled motor up front. It’s unusual and should bring between $42,500-$67,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.