Crow-Elkhart

1912 Crow-Elkhart Model 52 Five-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The Crow was a brand of automobile introduced in 1911 by Martin E. Crow’s Crow Motor Car Company. For the two years prior to that, they were selling the Black Crow, a rebadged version of the Black highwheeler. For 1912, they updated their own cars to be called Crow-Elkhart, so everyone knew where in Indiana they were built.

Five different four-cylinder cars were offered in 1912 in multiple body styles, with each body style carrying its own model number. Pick a number, 50 through 60, and Crow-Elkhart had a car for you. The Model 52 was a five-passenger touring car powered by a 26 horsepower, 3.7-liter inline-four.

The company went belly-up in 1923 and very few examples of their products survive today. The car seen here was restored years ago and has spent its recent years unused in a private museum. One thing I like about it is that you can see the influence of the Black Crow highwheeler in this car’s exceptional ground clearance. It should sell for between $45,000-$55,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $60,480.

Five Old Convertibles from Bonhams

Five Old Cars from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019


1908 Clement-Bayard AC4I Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

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

Photo – Bonhams

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

Photo – Bonhams

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

Photo – Bonhams

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

Photo – Bonhams

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.

Update: Sold $43,058.

1912 Pilain

1912 Pilain Model 4S Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Pilain is a name that most old car folks usually associate with Rolland-Pilain, a company founded by Emile Pilain and business partner Francois Rolland. Emile gained some automotive background knowledge under the tutelage of his uncle Francois Pilain, who, in 1896, founded the company that built the car you see here.

Pilain was based in Lyon and built cars from 1896 through 1920 (sort of, see below). In 1904 the Model 4A was introduced and was powered by a 6.1-liter straight-four, and this Model 4S is probably more closely related to the 1912 Model 4T that was powered by a 4.2-liter straight-four. The catalog listing has very little information (and seems to insinuate that this car was built by Rolland-Pilain – though it was not).

Pilain went bankrupt in 1908 and resumed production in 1909. During WWI, their factory was used by Hotchkiss to build trucks. After the war, the company was liquidated and their assets were used to found the company S.L.I.M.-Pilain, meaning that the last real Pilains were built around 1914. This one should bring between $34,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $32,619.

Little Giant Bus

1912 Little Giant Model D Bus

For Sale at Hyman Ltd. | St. Louis, Missouri

Photo – Hyman Ltd.

This might be the most exciting classic commercial vehicle to be offered for public sale in years. You will never see another one. Especially not in this condition. Little Giant was the name under which a line of commercial vehicles from the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company were sold.

They were only actually offered between 1911 and 1917 – a very short time and were sold on a 1-ton chassis powered by a flat-twin engine and 2-speed gearbox. A few “factory” body styles were offered, including this bus (which appears to function more like a paddywagon).

Only 10 examples from this marque are thought to still exist, and as I said, you won’t find another in this condition. This one was found in 2009 and restored to “better than new condition” – which is a serious understatement. Even calling it a Concours restoration seems like you’re slighting the work put in. It really is amazing, and you can go buy it in St. Louis today. The price isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it. Click here for more info.

Baker Electric Convertible

1912 Baker Electric Model W Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Baker Motor Vehicle Company of Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1899 by Walter C. Baker. They built passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, and land speed record cars (yep). All electric. And many of them looked like conventional gasoline-powered automobiles of their time (not something every electric car company could say, though Baker built similar-looking cars too).

This particular car, an ex-Harrah car, had its motor replaced in the 1980s and is now powered by an 18 horsepower unit, and a partial restoration was carried out in 2012. This car looks like a normal convertible from 1912, except that it is essentially square (as long as it is wide, riding on an 80″ wheelbase), which is kind of unusual.

Four different body styles were offered in 1912, with this being the least expensive. In 1914, Baker would merge with Rauch & Lang and the final Bakers rolled off the line in 1916, though commercial vehicles soldiered on for a few more years. Thomas Edison’s first car was a Baker Electric. So if you have a 16-year-old out there waiting for their first ride, go ahead and buy this for them. Maybe they’ll invent something.

This car should bring between $85,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $192,500.

1912 Everitt Touring

1912 Everitt Six-48 Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11-12, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Barney Everitt left E-M-F in 1909 and he took William Metzger with him, leaving Walter Flanders out there on his own. The resulting car from this new E-M combo was the Everitt, a car produced in Detroit from 1910 through 1912.

The 1912 model line was the largest the company offered, with three distinct models. It was a big, solidly-built car. But then Flanders came crawling back and the company was renamed the Flanders Six in 1913. That company was ill-fated as Flanders joined Benjamin Briscoe’s United States Motor Company, which was a disaster (and Flanders brought his new company with him, which Briscoe promptly killed).

Anyway, this car, the handsome Everitt Six-48. It was the largest model the company offered and it’s powered by a 48 horsepower, straight-six. This is a five-passenger touring car (there was a larger, six-passenger version). It was restored in 2005 and looks great. This is one of the best styles of American cars of any era. They’re just grand. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $55,000.

Oldsmobile Defender Speedster

1912 Oldsmobile Defender Speedster

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 1, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Oldsmobile became part of General Motors in 1908 and cars like this make it seem like the General left Olds alone for the first few years of their relationship. This does not look like a General Motors product, yet by 1913, Oldsmobile cars started to look more or less like everything else on the market. This Defender Speedster looks expensive and high-quality, not something from a company consumed with mass production.

The 1912 Oldsmobile lineup consisted of this, the “small” Defender powered by a 35 horsepower, 4.4-liter straight-four, the mid-sized four-cylinder Autocrat, and the gargantuan Limited six. Open-top Defenders went for $3,000 in 1912, a pretty sizeable amount in its day.

This well-restored car has been in the same collection for the last 12 years. It’s a rare model (only available in 1912 and 1913) seldom seen today. A great example of what Oldsmobile once stood for, it should bring decent money in Auburn. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Thomas Flyer Roadster

1912 Thomas Flyer Model MC 6-40 Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

We’ve featured a number of Thomas Flyer motorcars over the years but all of them have been massive touring cars. What we have here is a sporty – but still quite large – two-seat roadster. Thomas Flyer touring cars are famous because of their win in the 1908 New York to Paris race.

Thomas built automobiles between 1903 and 1918. Their sweet spot was right around 1906 through 1912, and I would consider this a “later example” of the marque as their offerings really tapered off after 1912. The Model MC 6-40 was offered in 1912 only and it was the smaller of the two models Thomas sold that year. It’s powered by a 7.2-liter straight-six making 64 horsepower.

The two-passenger roadster (or runabout) was the entry-level Thomas Flyer for 1912. It cost $4,000 when new and should bring between $175,000-$225,000 at auction. The first time it was shown after the restoration was complete was in 2015. It hasn’t been used much since then and is ready for the new owner to use and show. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $196,000.

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.

Panhard by Vanvooren

1912 Panhard et Levassor X14 20CV Torpedo by Vanvooren

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Artcurial is offering a collection of Vanvooren-bodied automobiles at their Rétromobile sale. It’s one of the most packed auction catalogs I’ve ever seen and we will be featuring more cars from this sale than just about any other sale in the past seven years.

This big, beautiful Panhard is a Type 14, which was introduced in 1911. It features a 4.4-liter straight-four which was rated at 20 taxable horsepower. It’s a big Torpedo tourer and one of the earliest Vanvooren-bodied cars in the world.

Sold new to a customer in Buenos Aires, this car later made it’s way back to Europe. Unbelievably, it is 100% original (the up-close patina is incredible) and since 1995, it has been either in large private collections or museums. Because of it’s museum stints, it has not seen the road in quite some time and will require a little work to get it roadworthy. It should bring between $215,000-$315,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $365,050.