Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2023
So what is this exactly? Well, it’s described as a Rhodia – and that’s what the badge on the radiator surround says. But even browsing some fairly comprehensive automotive encyclopedias won’t help you find any info about the company.
Bonhams doesn’t provide much insight either, but they do mention that it was built in the U.S. and is “one of a few” exported to the U.K. for use as an ambulance during WWI. But, if you consult the Beaulieu Encyclopedia, there is a mention of Rhodia as a British manufacturer that existed sometime between 1914 and 1922. It notes that the ambulance you see here is the only evidence of its existence.
This truck, which is powered by an inline-four engine, is said to have been discovered in a garage in 1977, having been shut in there since 1939. It was previously registered as a taxi in Scotland in the 1920s, and it was restored by the current owner, with work wrapping in 2016. If you’re in the market for a mystery – and have the money/skill to build your own replacement parts from scratch, this is the historic WWI ambulance for you. It has an estimate of $18,000-$25,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | August 31-September 2, 2023
Lozier was one of America’s grand marques in the years leading up to the first world war. Many of their cars were very large tourers and even very large two seaters. This car, however, (and it may just be Worldwide’s photos where the car is a mere spec in an expansive background) looks to be about the smallest Lozier one can find.
The Model 84 was offered in 1914. It was powered by a 6.0-liter inline-four that was rated at just under 29 horsepower when new (but actually put out about 56 horsepower). Lozier built four-cylinder cars off and on, but this had the lowest rated output of any Lozier car.
Two body styles were offered: a seven-passenger tourer and a two-seat runabout. Both cost $2,100 when new. I love the bodywork on this car as there is so much extra chassis, as if they needed the spare tire to be mounted horizontally to look like a fifth-wheel hitch. Anyway, read more about this car here.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18-19, 2023
Few cars are as truly fantastic for their era – or in general – as the Mercer Raceabout. The first Raceabouts appeared in 1911, and the sporty, low-slung model would continue to be available – in name at least – through the end of Mercer production in 1925.
But its these early ones that are really special. Later cars got more bodywork and appeared as two-seat sports cars for their day. But pre-1915, these cars were bare bones. In 1914, power was provided by 4.9-liter T-head inline-four that made 58 horsepower. This car could do 60 mph with ease in a time when most cars on the road couldn’t really crest half that. One finished second in the 1913 Indy 500.
They weren’t cheap, however. This Model J would’ve cost $2,600 in 1914. This one was restored in 1967 and has been with the same owner since 1971. Just look at it. It’s one of the best cars of all time.
You know how people say no one wants old cars, especially as the people who lusted after them when they were younger die off? Well, everyone who wanted one of these when they were new is long gone. Yet this one still has an estimate of $3,000,000-$4,000,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | July 14, 2023
Here’s a fun secret: most “old” Bugattis really aren’t what they started as. So much has been replaced over the years that, often times, more is new than is old. The other bucket is “assembled cars” that used bare Bugatti frames (or frames “believed to have been from a Bugatti”), reconstructed coachwork, and maybe some period mechanical components.
These trade hands often as “real” Bugattis but there is very little real about them. This car is described by Bonhams as a 1914 Bugatti Type 22-Style tourer, which is more honest than most. It was not born this way. The Bugatti Type 22 was introduced in 1913 as an updated replacement for the Type 15. It featured an oval radiator, a larger body, and quarter-elliptic springs.
This car was built around a Bugatti inline-four engine. The frame is thought to have been from 1924-1926 and has been shortened. The gearbox is also from the mid-’20s. There’s then more swapping around of bits in its history – and creation of the missing ones. Now what you have is true Bugatti power moving what could be referred to as a recreation. As this is a pretty regular occurrence in Bugatti circles, the estimate here is still a hefty $155,000-$200,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 24, 2023
The Stegeman Motor Car Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was founded in 1911 and produced heavy trucks through 1917. The actually offered at least six models of varying capacity – up to seven tons.
You can tell this is one of the heavier trucks because it utilizes solid rubber tires. Lighter trucks used pneumatic ones. It’s a three-ton truck powered by an inline-four engine. It’s also got a three-speed manual transmission and an open-cab body with a stake bed.
Later Stegemans could be had with a six-cylinder engine and electric start. This particular example is one of three from the manufacturer in the U.S. known to exist. You can read more about it here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2022
The Model 79 was one of two products sold by Overland in 1914, the other was the Model 46. The Model 79 was offered in three body styles: a roadster, coupe or touring, the latter of which cost $950 when new.
Power is provided by a 35-horsepower inline-four. This one was sold new in Wyoming to a sheep rancher. In 1914, cars had been on sale for a bit, approximately 14 years. Yet, this was the first car for the family of its first owner. Makes you wonder when the last hold outs finally converted to automobiles.
Touring cars from this era are just great, and this one is no exception. It’s actually being sold by the family of its first owner – and at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2022
E.R. Thomas‘s automobile company got off to a modest start in 1902. But it only took about five years for them to make quite a name for themselves by winning the 1908 New York to Paris Race with an ’07 Model 35.
Their cars were some of the nicest you could buy in the U.S. prior to WWI. The Model K 6-70 was introduced in 1908 and featured a 140″ wheelbase and a preposterous 12.8-liter inline-six. That car made 70 horsepower. If that was not enough, you could order, as a factory option, an increased cylinder bore that would up the displacement and also the power – to 88 horsepower.
Thomas actually ran out of money in 1912, and after that they sold the Model K chassis for truck use, which is how this car was initially configured. Used as a fire truck by a few cities, it was eventually spotted and purchased by Bill Harrah in 1959. It would be one of nine Thomas cars he owned (including the New York-Paris race winner). It wasn’t until its next owner in the 1980s that the car was rebodied in Flyabout fashion.
Only about 500 Model K 6-70/90 cars were built in total, and only 10 are known to exist. This one has an interesting history, which you can read more about here.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 19-20, 2022
Elwood Haynes was a pioneer in the American automotive industry, having built one of the earliest cars in the country and having designed the first American car that could be mass produced. In 1904, he parted ways with the Apperson brothers and set out on his own.
The Haynes Automobile Company last until 1925, and in 1914, the company’s range consisted of three models. The Model 27 was the largest, powered by a 50-horsepower, 7.7-liter inline-six. Three body styles were offered, including this seven-passenger tourer, which is believed to be one of two Model 27 tourers to survive.
This example remained in the family of the original owner until the 1980s and remained in Iowa until 2007. It later won a preservation class award at Pebble Beach and is now being sold at no reserve with an estimate of $100,000-$130,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
This car looks like a toy. From pretty much every angle, too. The body is by Carrosserie Chauvet, a coachbuilder that was active in the north of France from 1912 until 1929. This is their only surviving body on a Bugatti. It’s a small boattail torpedo with two tiny seats up front and maybe more seating under a hard tonneau behind a second cowl? Hard to say. The photos really leave a lot to the imagination.
The top looks like it would get ripped off of this thing at about 20 mph. Which is probably a good cruising speed here, as the car is powered by a bright red, Ettore Bugatti-signatured 1.4-liter inline-four that made about 30 horsepower.
The Type 22 was a road car, and they were built from 1913 through about 1922. Production totals are not widely known, but it was not many. And even less are left. This one has an estimate of $200,000-$250,000. Read more about it here.
Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 25, 2022
Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company sounds an awful lot like the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company. And that’s probably because both were founded in Springfield, Ohio, by Edwin S. Kelly. The trucks were sold under the Kelly marque from 1910 through 1912, when Springfield was appended.
Kelly actually started his truck company in 1910, 15 years after selling his tire company, after having purchased the Frayer Miller Auto Company. The K-40 was their biggest offering, launching alongside the smaller K-31 and K-35 in 1912.
This K-30 is a bare-chassis example powered by a 6.8-liter T-head inline-four of the company’s own design. It’s got chain drive and was a well-regarded truck when new. You can see more about it here.