Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 2024
Based north of Paris, Delaunay-Belleville was one of France’s – and the world’s – most lauded marques prior to WWI. These were top-tier luxury cars that sat at the very top of the market. Many of their cars were coachbuilt, including this one, with the body here thought to have been produced by Audineau.
The company’s fortunes dipped during the 1920s and they lost some of their brand cachet. Somehow, the company survived WWII and even offered cars up until 1950, presumably on a by-order basis.
The HB6 (not to be confused with cross-town rival Hispano-Suiza’s later H6B), was a pre-WWI model powered by a 4.5-liter inline-six rated at 25 taxable horsepower. Just 1,308 examples were built from 1911 through 1914. This one remained unsold until 1919, when it was purchased new by the current owner’s grandfather, who used it during his wedding four years later. The car was then laid up in stables for 90 years. It now has an estimate of $162,000-$271,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2023
Lanchesters, especially early cars, bore some unconventional designs. Like someone smashed the front end in and pushed it back a couple of feet. The Lanchester 25 was produced between 1912 and 1914 and is one of those designs. Where is the engine at!?
Well, it’s in the cockpit, that’s where, stationed between the driver and passenger seat. It’s a front-mid-engined design, like a first-gen Ford Econoline. The engine is a 3.1-liter inline-four. It’s water cooled, with the radiator out front… but behind the front axle.
This is the only known example of this model that still exists. Restored in the 1980s and ’90s, the car has been in the same family for the last 40+ years. It’s a old car rally veteran and has an estimate of $175,000-$195,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 4-5, 2023
The Michigan Buggy Company of Kalamazoo has one of the more colorful histories of any short-lived pre-war auto manufacturer. They first car debuted in 1904, and it was a small single-cylinder buggy without reverse. Regular production of a more typical automobile started in 1911.
But it’s amazing they sold any cars at all. Most of the officers at the company were involved in some kind of fraud. In 1912, the company offered two models: the Four-33 and the Four-40, the latter of which is powered by an L-head Buda inline-four that made 40 horsepower. It wasn’t really a bad car either.
Michigan ceased production after 1913, and the factory was eventually bought by the United States Motor Car Company, and their Greyhound would be built there. The car shown here has been restored and now has an estimate of $50,000-$70,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 4-5, 2023
This was the first time the Marquette marque was introduced under General Motors. Billy Durant bought up Rainier and Welch-Detroit, both of which were making pretty nice cars. But both were losing money. He propped up the Marquette-Buick name to use on race cars before the Marquette road car debuted in 1911.
It was very closely related to the Rainier, making it a pretty nice car that would’ve retailed for about $3,000 in its day. A Model T was about $650. Around the time that this car got off the ground, Durant lost control of GM, and the new people in charge scuttled the marque. GM would bring the Marquette name back for 1930 as the one-year-only companion make for Buick.
This Model 25 Touring is powered by a 40-horsepower, 6.8-liter inline-four and is one of only a few known to exist. It has an estimate of $60,000-$80,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2023
This was a fancy car for some, presumably, Parisian back in the day. The Landaulette bodywork featured an exposed chauffeur’s compartment – well, it at least has a roof and a windscreen. Chances are they could’ve had side curtains for it too. But the passenger, and likely owner of the car, sat in back in an enclosed box.
The Type 43 was produced by Delahaye from 1911 through 1914. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter inline-four that was rated at 28 horsepower and paired with a four-speed manual transmission. As war approached, the Type 43 became the basis for some trucks as well.
This car was imported to the U.K. from France in 1991 and restored the following year. It’s been drained and sitting in storage since 2000. Recommissioning will be required. It has an estimate of $56,000-$69,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 2, 2023
The Crane & Whitman Company, founded by engineers Henry Crane and Allen Whitman, sprang up in 1906 and was known for their engines. Speedboat work came in 1907, when Crane developed a 200-horsepower V8 that would help set a motorboat speed record.
The Crane Motor Car Company was set up in 1909, and their first model, the Model 3, was ready for 1912. They were powered by a 110-horsepower, 9.2-liter inline-six. They were “premium” cars at a premium price: $9,000 for a bare chassis that you had to have bodied elsewhere. This one was bodied by a small coachbuilder called F.R. Wood in New York.
Less than 60 cars were produced by Crane through 1914, when they were acquired by Simplex. This is one of two survivors of what was one of America’s finest pre-WWI automobiles. The estimate is $180,000-$220,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February, 1 2023
Cars today are pretty uniform. Barely anything aside from grille shape and badging differentiates one blob pod from another. But back in the early days of the automobile, things were much less standardized and much more freeform. Some cars from that era are rolling identity crises.
Take this relatively grand Hispano-Suiza. It looks like it’s riding on a truck chassis (though to be fair many large cars of the era essentially were), with a truck-like engine compartment housing the 2.6-liter inline-four that made approximately 30 horsepower when new. The 15/20 model designation was based on taxable horsepower.
Moving rearward, there is an open driver’s compartment with a folding windscreen in front of an enclosed passenger compartment. It’s like three different people designed three different parts of the car and pasted it together. But that’s how you spelled luxury in 1912. The 15/20 model went on sale in 1909, and about 500 were built through 1914.
These cars were launched when Hispano-Suiza only had a Spanish factory, and before they opened their more famous French arm. The catalog here states that the car was restored over a six-year span, but doesn’t say when that was. It is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info.
1912 Simplex Model 50 Five-Passenger Torpedo Tourer
Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 27, 2023
The Simplex 50 was one of, if not the, finest pre-WWI American car built. It was the launch model for Simplex, a company that was formed when Herman Broesel purchased the company that made the S&M Simplex. Engineer Edward Francquist had just finished designing the engine for the Model 50, so it was the first car launched under the new Simplex marque.
The Model 50 remained on sale from 1910 through 1916. It was their most popular – although not their most powerful – model, powered by a 50-horsepower, 9.8-liter inline-four. It was a massive thing connected to a four-speed manual transaxle and dual chain drive. In 1912, this was a sports car, even though it seats five in a big Quimby-built touring car body.
About 250 Simplex 50HPs were built, and this one was purchased new by a Vanderbilt for his fiancée, tennis player Eleonora Sears. They never got married, but she kept the car for about a quarter century. It was most recently restored in the 2000s. This is one of the best pre-WWI cars you can buy, regardless of where it was built. The estimate is a hearty $2,500,000-$3,500,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Newport, Rhode Island | September 30, 2022
S.G.V. stood for the last names of company founders Herbert Sternberg, Robert Graham, and Fred Van Tine. The company was based in Reading, Pennsylvania, from 1911 through 1915. Van Tine designed the car, which was based around the ideas of the period Lancia. They were expensive cars in their day and were owned by people with names like Astor and Vanderbilt, not to mention far-flung royalty.
At their peak they were making about 40 cars per month. But not many are left. This one is powered by a 25-horsepower, 3.1-liter inline-four. It’s likely a Model B with some custom coachwork. It has known ownership history since new.
This is the first time, in 110 years, that this car has come up for public sale. It’s got an estimate of $75,000-$125,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 10, 2022
Mors was one of the earlier French automobile manufacturers, having been founded by Emile Mors in 1897. They built quality, if not expensive cars, pretty much right from the outset. Even some of their veteran cars were pretty massive.
They were one of the first to use engines in a V configuration, however, this car is powered by a 2.1-liter inline-four. This car would’ve been made during the time when Mors was led by Andre Citroen, who stepped in as chairman after a 1908 near-bankruptcy.
But Citroen’s leadership wasn’t that benevolent, as he bought the company outright in 1925 and shuttered it so he could have the plant for his own cars. The pre-sale estimate here is $19,500-$25,000. Click here for more info.