Detroiter Speedster

1912 Detroiter Type A Speedster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Detroiter was a Detroit, Michigan-based car company that operated from 1912 through 1917. It was founded by Claude Briggs and John Boyle as the Briggs-Detroiter Company. They produced conventional touring cars and coupes using purchased engines.

But they also built some really sharp-looking Speedsters beginning in 1914. This car was actually ordered as a bare chassis by a Detroiter dealer in Indiana. He wanted a Mercer but could get a deal on a Detroiter, so he built a Mercer-style body on the chassis he bought. It ended up being the prototype for later Detroiter Kangaroo Speedsters.

Power is from a 25 horsepower Turner & Moore inline-four cylinder engine. This, the oldest-known Detroiter in existence, will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

1912 Simplex

1912 Simplex Model 38 Touring

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Pacific Grove, California | August 15, 2019

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

The “Three Ps” of Packard, Peerless, and Pierce-Arrow get all of the glory as America’s best early cars. But there were some pretty good “S”s too. And Simplex was foremost among them. Between 1907 and 1914, Simplex turned out some of the greatest cars you could buy at the time. For 1915, they became Crane-Simplex (or Simplex Crane).

The Model 38 sat at the lower end of the 1912 and 1913 Simplex lineup. Powered by a 38 horsepower, 7.8-liter inline-four, the cars could be had in two wheelbases. The car you see here is the short wheelbase at 127″. It’s a four-passenger touring car, which would’ve cost $4,850 when new. That was a lot in 1912.

The body appears to be a replacement, as it is described as being “in the style of Holbrook.” It also has kind of a funky inward lean to it, but I think it may just be an odd photo angle. Completely restored, this is a useable brass era car, with enough power to comfortably use on tours. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

1912 Cartercar

1912 Cartercar Model R Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Byron Carter left Jackson in 1905 and set up his own company across town in Jackson, Michigan. He bounced from there to Detroit before settling in Pontiac, Michigan in 1907. Cars continued to roll out of the factory through 1915. Carter unexpectedly in 1906 and Cartercar was purchased by GM in 1909. It was phased out to make room for additional Oakland production.

Cartercars were famous for their friction drive transmission, which was the pre-WWI equivalent of a modern CVT. The Model R is powered by a 40 horsepower, 4.1-liter inline-four. It was the brand’s mid-range model in 1912, and the tourer was positioned in the middle of that range at $1,600.

This car carries a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-$35,000 and for 20 grand, I think it is the car I want most out of this collection. It’s kind of weird to think that a brand of GM automobile is so rare today, but Cartercars are not easy to come by. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $47,040.

Haynes & Apperson

1912 Haynes Model 19 Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Elwood Haynes teamed up with Elmer and Edgar Apperson in 1894 to build one of America’s first gasoline-powered automobiles. They began selling their cars in 1898, and the Apperson brothers left the company in 1904 to form their own venture.

Haynes soldiered on under his own name through 1925. Two possibilities exist with this car: A. It is a 1910 Model 19, the only model offered by Haynes that year. B. It is a 1912 Model 20 Roadster. It is powered by a 4.6-liter inline-four that would’ve made 36 horsepower in 1910 and 30 horsepower in 1912, the latter of which is listed in the catalog. Who knows? We’ll go with the combo of facts stated in the catalog.

Either way it, bizarrely, carries a wicker body. So it would be right at home in your grandmother’s living room. It’s certainly unique in that regard, and it is also a nice piece of American history. It should bring between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $40,320.


1920 Apperson Model 8-20 Anniversary Tourster

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

When the Apperson brothers parted ways with Elwood Haynes in 1904, they remained in Kokomo, Indiana and built their own cars through 1926. The fun thing about Apperson was that they were one of the first American car companies to apply “names” to their cars other than “Model X, Y, and Z.” The Jack-Rabbit put them on the map.

They were also early adopters of the V8, selling their first such example in 1915. The Anniversary model was sold in 1919 in celebration of the company’s 15th anniversary. It became a mode unto itself in 1920, and the Tourster variant was again available in 1921.

Power is from a 60 horsepower, 5.4-liter V8. Apperson built a lot of cars back in the 20s, but it’s through that less than 25 remain. This one, with its body-color disc wheels that really sell the whole Jazz Age look, should sell for between $25,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $47,040.

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.