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.

1911 Mercedes 28/50

1911 Mercedes 28/50 PS Roi des Belges Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, England | June 30, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

What’s not to love about a big, pre-Benz Mercedes touring car? The Mercedes marque dates back to about 1900 when Emil Jellinek and Wilhelm Maybach came together to produce what would ultimately become the template for all modern cars. Of course, in 1926, Mercedes merged with Benz to become the company we all know today.

This is the 28/50 PS model and it’s powered by a 50 horsepower, 7.2-liter straight-four engine. This particular car was originally bodied in France but, because of its hearty engine and chassis combination, had at some point been converted into a bus. The current family who owns the car acquired it in 1957 and had it restored in the early 1960s.

During that restoration, the current body you see above was constructed and done so convincingly in the style of something available in 1911. It remains in running condition, having been used sparingly over the past few years. It is expected to bring between $390,000-$510,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams at Goodwood.

Update: Sold $467,080.

Delahaye Charabanc

1911 Delahaye Type 413a Charabanc

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 7, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Émile Delahaye’s automotive concern was founded in 1894 in Tours, France. The company is primarily known for their beautiful, windswept, coachbuilt beauties of the 1930s. But the company built more than just luxury cars, in fact in the early 1900s they began building heavy commercial vehicles and fire trucks.

This, the Type 413a, was originally built as a fire truck and and was used in southeast France. It didn’t last long, as newer, better equipment quickly came along. So the fire truck made its way to a museum where it stayed until 1973. It was purchased out of the museum by collector Michael Banfield, the liquidation of whose collection we featured prominently here on the site.

The present owner acquired it at that sale and replaced the fire engine with this 12-seat Charabanc body. The engine is a 3.0-liter straight-four and the restoration is fresh, having been completed earlier this year. While the loss of an original 100-year-old fire engine isn’t great news, the new body this car carries makes it more functional and likely to survive another 100 years. It’s very cool and reminiscent of those Stanley Mountain Wagons. It should bring between $75,000-$99,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $78,276.

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s, Hershey 2018.

Update: Sold, Bonhams Quail 2019, $86,800.

Chalmers Pony Tonneau

1911 Chalmers Thirty Pony Tonneau

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

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

1911 was the first year that Chalmers built cars under the “Chalmers” marque. Prior to that, all of the cars were badged as Chalmers-Detroit, referencing the Thomas-Detroit automobile company that Hugh Chalmers purchased in 1908.

But that doesn’t mean the model was new – the Thirty was introduced in 1909 (and lasted through 1913). A 30 horsepower, 3.7-liter straight-four powers this car and when carrying this attractive and borderline-sporty Pony Tonneau body, the new owner would’ve been set back $1,600 in 1911. It was a mid-range price for the Thirty.

This is a great brass era car that can be driven and used (it had an electric starter and other bits added to it during its most recent restoration to make it livable). It should bring between $125,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Hershey.

Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this car in person:

Update: Sold $71,500.

1911 Packard Limousine

1911 Packard Model 30 Limousine

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 12, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Model 30 Packard was new for 1907 and lasted through 1912. It was their stalwart and most popular model. This particular car is listed as a “UEFR” – which likely means it was a 1912 model – but production of the UE series Model 30s actually began in the summer of 1911. Make of that what you will.

It is powered by a 7.1-liter straight-four putting out about 60 horsepower. Eight body styles were offered for 1911 and this open-drive Limousine was among the most expensive, costing its owner approximately $5,450 when new. This car was sold new to a lady in New Orleans where it remained until 1947.

In 1947 the car was in the possession of the chauffeur of the original owner and he traded the machine to a 19-year-old college student for a bottle of whiskey. Yeah. Good luck making that deal today. That 19-year-old, exhibiting a case of “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” drove the car back to Houston from the French Quarter. It’s been in Texas since and has never been restored but has been used gently over the years. It’s an amazing survivor. Only 1,250 “UE” Model 30s were built and the Limousine is rare. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $137,500.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Hershey 2018, $71,500.

Marion Roadster

1911 Marion Model 30 A Roadster

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | November 25, 2015

Photo - Brightwells

Photo – Brightwells

Marion was a marque produced by a few different companies in the early days of the automobile. The company that produced this car in 1911 was the most prolific. Based in Indianapolis, Marion was one of the first companies to build a sports car: the Bobcat.

But their bread and butter were more standard cars in an array of body styles. The 1911 range included the Model 30 and 40. The 30 (seen here) uses a 30 horsepower, 3.7-liter straight-four. It was offered in four styles, with this Model A Roadster being the least expensive and smallest.

This car spent most of its life in the American Northeast before being exported to the U.K. in 1991. It was restored in the mid-1990s and has been used steadily since. It should sell for between $30,000-$46,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Brightwells’ lineup.

Update: Sold $30,211.

1911 National Roadster

1911 National Model 40 Speedway Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The 1911 National was offered as a single model – the Model 40. The Speedway Roadster was the smallest and most affordable style. Its name is a reference to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – a nearby motoring landmark, as National was based in Indianapolis. In fact, Arthur Newby, who founded National, also co-founded the Speedway – and 1911 was the inaugural year of the Indy 500.

This car is powered by a 40 horsepower 7.3-liter straight-four. National won the 1912 Indy 500 with a car closely resembling this one. Discovered in Atlanta in the 1950s, this car has been restored twice, the most recent of which was in the last 10 years. It should bring between $200,000-$275,000. Click here for more info.

Update: $385,000.

Five Final Cars from RM in Hershey

1911 National Model 40 Speedway Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The 1911 National was offered as a single model – the Model 40. The Speedway Roadster was the smallest and most affordable style. Its name is a reference to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – a nearby motoring landmark, as National was based in Indianapolis. In fact, Arthur Newby, who founded National, also co-founded the Speedway – and 1911 was the inaugural year of the Indy 500.

This car is powered by a 40 horsepower 7.3-liter straight-four. National won the 1912 Indy 500 with a car closely resembling this one. Discovered in Atlanta in the 1950s, this car has been restored twice, the most recent of which was in the last 10 years. It should bring between $200,000-$275,000. Click here for more info.

Update: $385,000.


1914 Case Demonstrator Delivery Truck

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Case automobile was produced by the same company that made agricultural equipment in Racine, Wisconsin, between 1911 and 1927. The 1914 Case Model 35 was only offered as a five-passenger touring car. This is obviously not one of those. John Dorton was an inventor and salesman from Kansas. He invented the Human Eye Auto Lamp, a kind of headlight that steers with the car. This was his demonstrator vehicle.

It’s fitted with a bunch of other one-off features including a steam organ that could be operated from the driver’s seat. It’s a really interesting one-of-a-kind truck and is powered by a 35 horsepower 5.1-liter straight-four. It should sell for between $75,000-$125,000. Click here for more info. It’s really worth checking out.

Update: Sold $47,000.


1912 Mitchell Model 5-6 Baby Six Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Like Case, Mitchell was also from Racine, Wisconsin. The company was founded as a wagon maker by Henry Mitchell and his son-in-law (William Lewis) would help steer the company toward automobile production in 1903. Mitchell would produce cars for the next 20 years.

The 1912 catalog offered five modes, with the Model 5-6 Baby Six as the second most powerful. The engine is a 6.0-liter straight-four making almost 34 horsepower. The Roadster was one of two body styles offered and this one is mostly original (although it had been repainted). It should bring between $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1916 Republic Beer Truck

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Microbreweries are everywhere these days. If one of them were looking for an absolutely great promotional vehicle, this would be that. This is an all-original truck from the Republic Motor Truck Company of Alma, Michigan. They built trucks from about 1913 through 1929 (at which point they merged with American-LaFrance).

The engine in this beast is a 3.6-liter Continental straight-four. The truck has not run in a long time so it would require a pretty hefty mechanical overhaul to be usable. And those solid rubber tries are probably older than just about anybody reading this. Which is pretty amazing. This is one of two known 1916 Republics to survive and this one should bring between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $19,800.


1905 Thomas Flyer Model 25 Five-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 201

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

We featured another Thomas Flyer a week or two ago and here is another one from the same collection. While that other car was constructed using various Thomas parts, this car is considered to be “the most authentic 1905 Thomas.”

It has been restored – many years ago – and driven quite a bit since. It has resided it some large collections over the years – but not the Harrah Collection, although it is said that this is a car Harrah tried to get his hands on for years. The Model 25 is powered by a 40 horsepower 7.1-liter straight-four. This would be a great classic to own. The estimate is a wide $375,000-$500,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s awesome lineup.

Update: Sold $220,000.

Five Pre-1920 Cars from RM’s Hershey Sale

1911 Stanley Model 63 Toy Tonneau

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

It’s everyone’s favorite steam car – the Stanley steamer. The company’s 1911 range was robust, with the Model 63 being one of two 10 horsepower models offered. It was available only in this body style with seating for five.

It is powered by a two-cylinder steam engine making 10 horsepower. The 60-Series cars from Stanley were in production from 1910 through 1913. In all, 1,165 were built with 219 of those being the Toy Tonneau. Steam cars aren’t everyone’s thing as they take special dedication and know-how to operate. But those that love them really love them. This car sort of defines early steam motoring and it has been fully restored. Check out more info here.

Update: Sold $115,500.


1907 Procter Two-Passenger Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Procter is a marque that doesn’t appear in most automotive history books (and if it does it is often misspelled as “Proctor”). That’s because the company was more of a person than an actual company. And Albert Procter only built one car. This one.

Originally fitted with a single-cylinder engine, the car was later upgraded to use 1.6-liter twin-cylinder engine from a 1903/4 Ford Model A. It produces eight horsepower. Procter built the car for himself, instead of purchasing another man’s product. He only ever wanted to build one car. So that’s what he did.

Procter’s daughter sold the car before WWII and the engine was stripped out of it. But the car survived and passed between collections before finally being given a new engine. It’s not road-worthy as it is all-original, but it could be made to run. Click here for more information.

Update: Sold $18,700.


1914 Cadillac Four Speedster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Cadillac offered only one model line in 1914 – the Four, so named because of it’s mighty 6.0-liter straight-four engine that pumped out 40/50 horsepower. The Four was offered in a variety of body styles (seven to be exact), none of which was a Speedster

This car was sold new in Jersey City, New Jersey and has known history back to 1979 when its then-owner fitted this racy two-passenger Speedster body on it. The car looks quite sporting and rather imposing. The body is described as “Mercer-style,” but if I were to hazard a guess I would say that if this car were bearing down on you, you would notice it is quite a bit larger than a comparable Mercer. It needs a quick mechanical freshening to go motoring but is otherwise excellent. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $46,750.


1910 Cameron Model 24 Open-Back Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Cameron was one of what has to be quite a limited number of automobile manufacturers to set up shop in Rhode Island. They operated there from 1902 through 1906 before moving to Massachusetts (before finally settling on Connecticut until they went out of business in 1920). The company was founded by the Everett and Forrest Cameron.

Early cars had twin-cylinder engines, but a large number of four-cylinder models would be offered – and even some sixes. This car is powered by a 2.9-liter straight-four making 24 horsepower. The Model 24 was only offered in this basic body style and only for one model year (which may have been 1911). This example is in great shape and is ready to go. Click here for more information.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1915 Studebaker Model SD-4 Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Studebaker was one of America’s great companies. With roots back to the 1850s, the company adapted and lasted through 1967 when times just got too rough. But back in earlier, happier days, their products were sought-after by the masses. And that’s why I like this car so much. If you’ve ever seen footage shot in a big city, like New York, sometime around 1920, give or take, you may have noticed the abundance of automobiles swarming the streets. And they all look more or less the same from a distance. Quite a large number of them are probably Model T Fords. But then you have to realize that some of them are very rare cars today.

This Studebaker looks like it could’ve been used in an episode of Boardwalk Empire or something. It’s generic enough without being too generic. This was an everyday car. And that’s why it’s so interesting. The SD-4 was powered by a 3.2-liter straight-four making 30 horsepower. Studebaker’s four-cylinder model was renamed with every year, so the SD-4 was for 1915 only. It was available as a two-passenger Roadster or a this four-passenger Touring. You know this was somebody’s family sedan – 100 years ago. Think of the stories… and check out more here from RM.

Update: Sold $16,500.

1911 Stanley

1911 Stanley Model 63 Toy Tonneau

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

It’s everyone’s favorite steam car – the Stanley steamer. The company’s 1911 range was robust, with the Model 63 being one of two 10 horsepower models offered. It was available only in this body style with seating for five.

It is powered by a two-cylinder steam engine making 10 horsepower. The 60-Series cars from Stanley were in production from 1910 through 1913. In all, 1,165 were built with 219 of those being the Toy Tonneau. Steam cars aren’t everyone’s thing as they take special dedication and know-how to operate. But those that love them really love them. This car sort of defines early steam motoring and it has been fully restored. Check out more info here.

Update: Sold $115,500.