Offered by Bonhams | Newport, Rhode Island | October 1, 2021
The American Locomotive Company (ALCO) was founded in 1901 when seven smaller companies merged together. Based in Schenectady, New York, the company branched out into automobiles in 1909 and remained in the space through 1913. In that time they built some very high-quality automobiles out of their Providence, Rhode Island, factory. Walter Chrysler was the plant manager. Early cars were French Berliets produced under license.
Early on, Alco boasted that 19 months were required to churn out a car. The 40HP was produced between 1909 and 1912, and it’s powered by a 454! Well, it is 454 cubic inches – or 7.4 liters – but it’s an inline-four, not a V8. So the engine is, in a word, gigantic. It produced about 60 horsepower.
This example has had two owners since 1966. Alco built about 5,000 cars and lost money on each of them, thus the company’s short existence. This one is expected to bring between $350,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | May 20, 2021
The Speedster body style is a popular one that people slapped on old car chassis during restorations that have occurred pretty much since the 1940s. Everyone wanted a Mercer Raceabout, a Stutz Bearcat, or a Marion Bobcat. It’s rare to see such a car that is as it was from the factory.
Hudson’s Model 33 was produced in 1911 and 1912, Hudson’s second and third year of existence. The Mile-A-Minute Roadster was a factory model offered in 1912. The name denotes the car’s ability to reach 60 mph, which was no small feat in 1912. The 3.7-liter inline-four made 33 horsepower.
Only 5,708 Model 33s were built this year, very few of which were in this style. Even fewer survive. This one should sell for between $80,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | May 20, 2021
Harry C. Stutz’s Indianapolis-based company produced their first cars in 1911. The following year they cemented their legacy with this, the Bearcat. Stutz continued to use the name on sporty models into the 1930s. But it was this, the original “Bear Cat”, that Stutz is most well-known for.
The 1912 Series A was offered in five body styles, and the Bearcat cost $2,000 when new. Not cheap. It’s got a low-slung frame, minimal bodywork, two seats, and a 60-horsepower, 6.4-liter Wisconsin inline-four. It was the first sports car.
This particular Bearcat is the oldest known Stutz car in existence. It was restored most recently in 2007-2008 and is expected to bring between $650,000-$850,000, which seems like a steal as this is one of America’s all-time great cars. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | Online | December 2020
So the story goes that John Lambert built his first gasoline-powered car in 1891, beating both the Duryea brothers and Elwood Haynes to the punch as having built America’s first gas-powered car. Lambert advertised that car for $500, but never actually sold any. A few years later, he got a visit from Haynes, who informed him that the Haynes would be advertised as “America’s first car.” Not quite true, Mr. Haynes.
Lambert never challenged it, and he didn’t start building cars for commercial sale until 1906. The Lambert Automobile Company was a subsidiary of the Buckeye Manufacturing Company that also owned several automotive suppliers. The company stopped producing cars in 1917.
The Model 66 was only built in 1912 and was available as a four- or five-passenger touring car. This five-passenger variant retailed for $1,500 when new and is powered by a 35-horsepower inline-four. This example was restored within the past 10 years and is now up for auction on BaT. The auction ends Monday. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | November 11-20, 2020
Kissel, who still badged their automobiles “Kissel Kars” in 1912 (and would do so through 1918), is most famous for their 1920s sports car, the Gold Bug Speedster. But for a decent amount of time before and after the Gold Bug, they produced a wide variety of other cars.
Kissel Kar’s “Thirty” was sold in 1912 and 1913. Power was from a 30-horsepower inline-four, though the engine’s rating would dip a bit for 1913. The Semi-Racer body style appears to be mostly marketing talk, as this looks like many other convertibles offered around the same time. It was one of four styles offered in 1912, and one of two that would make the jump to ’13.
The example presents fairly well, and the white tires are always a selling point. No pre-sale estimate is available, but you can read more about this car here. The rest of RM’s lineup is available here.
Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 11, 2020
The H.H. Babcock Motor Company started as a carriage company in Watertown, New York, sometime before the Civil War. They entered the automotive arena in 1909 with a high-wheeler that eventually gave way to the more traditional touring cars like the one you see here in 1911.
This Model H touring car comes from the final year of Babcock production. It was the smallest model in the 1912 range, riding on a 114″ wheelbase and powered by a 32-horsepower 4.6-liter inline-four.
It’s pretty original, having sat in a Boston-area garage for many years. It’s being offered out of the Petersen Automotive Museum Vault Collection with an estimate of $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by The Vault | Online | October 1-14, 2020
The Little Motor Car Company was founded by William Little and Billy Durant after Durant was forced out of GM. He went out and bought the Flint Wagon Works and set up Little and another marque, Mason. The company launched in 1911, and in 1912 Durant set up Republic Motors as Little’s corporate parent.
Republic also controlled the newly-formed Chevrolet, and some early Chevys were just re-badged Littles. Eventually, the Little plant starting building Chevrolets, which were more or less identical. Because the Chevrolet name was more marketable, Little was shut down by the end of 1913.
This four-cylinder roadster was built in 1912 and made 30 horsepower. It wears an older restoration, and it’s one of about 3,500 Littles produced. It is selling at no reserve. More info is available here, and more from this sale can be viewed here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-5, 2020
Many early car companies were started by engineers or industrialists. Chalmers was founded by a sales guy (sort of). The short version is the Thomas car company would become the Thomas-Detroit car company in 1906. Hugh Chalmers was a high-up at National Cash Register in Dayton, Ohio, and he was a helluva salesman. He was lured to a struggling Thomas-Detroit in 1908.
One of the conditions was that the name be changed to Chalmers-Detroit (sorry, E.R. Thomas). By 1910, they dropped the “Detroit” and were known simply as Chalmers through 1924. Chalmers had officially merged with Maxwell in 1922 after a being sort of common-law married for the previous few years. Walter Chrysler bought out Maxwell/Chalmers in 1923, and the rest is history.
1911 was actually Chalmers’ best year when they were the 8th largest automaker in the U.S. The 1912 range consisted of four models, including the 30-horsepower, 3.7-liter inline-four-powered Model 11. This large tourer is expected to bring between $18,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | August 29, 2020
I’m sitting here browsing the ultimate automotive encyclopedia. It’s three volumes and weighs a ton. It covers everything. But it does not mention the Austro-Adler. Here is the story: Adler, the German car company, built their first car in 1900. In 1907, a shop opened in Vienna. They were selling Adlers as Austro-Adlers, and that’s because the cars underwent a sort of “final assembly” there to get around import taxes.
It was gone by 1918, and it is unknown how many cars they moved. This is the only known survivor, and it is fantastic. It’s a boxy touring car with a sporty folding windshield and big artillery spoke wheels that are wearing white letter tires.
This model was not an actual Adler model. It is thought that perhaps the Austrians bumped up the power ratings for resale. The prevailing theory is that this is actually an Adler 7/17 model renamed for resale. It’s got an inline-four that I would estimate to be around 1.8-liters in capacity. This unusual and rare tourer is expected to sell for between $59,000-$82,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 16, 2020
I. Love. Wintons. Alexander Winton is one of the most important figures in the early days of the automobile. He was the first person to formally set up production of cars in the U.S. A Scottish immigrant, Winton switched from bicycle production to experimenting with gasoline engines in 1896.
His first cars were sold in 1897. He sold 100 of them in 1899. By the teens, the company was fighting against the likes of Packard and Lozier near the upper end of the market, selling exclusively six-cylinder cars. Unfortunately, they ceased production in 1924. Cool fact: Winton set up a diesel engine building business that was ultimately sold to GM in 1930. It is still around as part of EMD.
This Model 17-C is powered by a 48 horsepower 7.5-liter inline-six. It was restored long ago and still remains well out of my price range, with an estimate of $200,000-$300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.