Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Broadway, U.K. | August 5, 2022
Flint, Michigan’s Dort Motor Car Company was founded by Billy Durant and Dallas Dort in 1886. The company started out building carriages and at one point was the largest such builder in the country. Dort made a late switch to motorcars, and that’s mostly because Durant had founded General Motors in 1908 and remained as part owner of Dort until 1914.
Once he left Dort, the company was free to basically compete against him. So the first Dort cars rolled out for 1915. The first two years of production consisted of this: the Model 5 Touring. They sold 9,000 of them by the end of 1916. Power is from a 2.7-liter Lycoming inline-four rated at 17 horsepower.
The cars cost $695 when new, over $200 more than a Model T. The last Dorts were sold in 1924, and Dallas Dort died the following year. This car is one of two Dorts in the U.K. and has a pre-sale estimate of $12,000-$18,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 25, 2022
Perhaps the photographer should’ve stepped back 10 feet. C.T. electric trucks were produced by the Commercial Truck Company of America, which was based in Philadelphia. The company built, well, commercial trucks, many of which looked like this, from 1908 through 1928.
Power is from four General Electric electric motors, with one stationed at each wheel. They had a range of 40-50 miles, and this one was one of 20 used by the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post… into the 1960s! I once bid on one of these trucks, but that’s a story for a different day.
There are some of these funky trucks out there (pretty sure NATMUS has one). You can check out more about this one here.
Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 25, 2022
This poorly-photographed truck is too interesting not to feature here, regardless of its 2004-era cell phone photo shoot. Breeding Engineering was based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and they developed a steam-powered commercial chassis leading up to the outbreak of WWI.
WWI killed any hope for the truck, which was backburner-ed and never really completed. The chassis was later found in Sardinia, Ohio, while the engine had been relocated to Kentucky with the original designer’s grandson. The wood cab was built at the time of the restoration.
The steam engine is similar to that of a Stanley, but it’s since been modified to run on compressed air. Check out more about this one-off truck here and dream about what could’ve been in the world of steam-powered heavy commercial vehicles.
Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 24, 2022
This is another truck from Mecum’s sale of vehicles from the Hays Antique Truck Museum. But it’s most more “light duty” than other trucks. Had the segment existed, this probably would’ve fallen into the “full-size pickup” category of the WWI era.
Frank Brasie founded the Brasie Motor Truck Company in Minneapolis in 1913. In 1916, he renamed the marque Packet, which produced trucks for another year before everything closed down. It’s powered by a 12-horsepower inline-four with a friction disc transmission and chain drive.
This is said to be the only Packet in existence, and it’s obviously had a decent restoration at some point in the past when compared to its museum siblings. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2021
Packard was one of America’s grandest automobiles around the start of WWI. But they were also producing some pretty heavy-duty commercial vehicles at that time as well. We’ve actually featured a 3-ton variant of the Model E in the past, but this earlier 2.5-ton variant features a C-cab design.
Power is from an 8.6-liter inline-six good for about 60 horsepower. This truck was built in 1916 – the first year for shaft drive after Packard ditched its drive chains. This thing is pretty massive and sports a cool period-style corn starch livery.
Old commercial vehicles are always a treat as their survival rates are dismal at best. This one is coming out of a Packard-focused museum and will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The Indianapolis-based Cole Motor Car Company existed between 1909 and 1925. Their claim to fame is that they were an early adopter of the V8 engine, which was actually introduced with this model, 1916’s 8-50 (which was more or less identical to 1917’s Series 860).
A handful of body styles were offered, including this three-seat roadster. That’s right, three seats. It’s practically a McLaren F1, except that the driver and front-passenger seats are split apart, with a narrow pathway to the rear bench that has a backrest for someone to sit in the middle.
The V8 engine, curiously, was actually produced by a then-division of General Motors. It’s a 5.7-liter V8 and it was made by Northway. The factory rating was 39 horsepower. This car is listed as a project, but the seller (the Indy Motor Speedway Museum) has a video of it driving around. Bidding is up to $8,500 at the time of this writing, and the car will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Duxford, U.K. | October 14, 2020
John Willys bought Overland in 1908, with the company fully merging to become Willys-Overland in 1912. But the Overland marque remained separate from Willys, which didn’t actually start producing cars until 1915. Overland, which sold its first car in 1903, continued on as its own marque until 1926.
The auction catalog lists this as a 1915 Willys Model 83, but Willys never made a Model 83. Overland, however, did. And they did so in 1916. The Model 83 is powered by a 35-horsepower inline-four and rides on a 106″ wheelbase.
It was the nicer of the two Overland models for 1916 and was offered in quite a few different body styles, including the $750-when-new five-passenger touring. It is now expected to fetch between $9,000-$11,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019
The Owen Magnetic was a technical marvel of its day. Designed by engineer Justus B. Entz and produced by Raymond and Ralph Owen beginning in 1915, the car was famous for using an early series electric hybrid drivetrain.
Basically, the 34 horsepower straight-six powered a generator that turned the driveshaft, and in turn, the rear wheels. Speed was controlled by a selector on the steering wheel. It’s a pretty complicated set up, which made the cars super expensive when new. This one, for instance, would’ve cost $3,750. And it was the cheapest one you could get.
Between 1916 and 1919, the Owen Magnetic was actually built by the people behind the Rauch & Lang as well as the Baker Electric cars. It outlasted them, but ultimately folded in 1921, and the last two years’ worth of production were all headed overseas. This rare example should bring between $80,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 16, 2019
Paige-Detroit was a short-lived car company that sold what was essentially a crap-box car. So much so that the owner rebranded the company to “Paige” after two years. Ultimately the company merged into Graham Brothers in 1927.
Paige is interesting because, from the outset, they gave their models names. They all had boring “model names” much like other manufacturers (this car is a Model 6-46) but the body styles had fancy names like Brunswick Touring, Westbrook Runabout, and Dartmore Raceabout. This is an Ardmore Roadster.
It’s got a 29 horsepower straight-six engine and looks to be quite nice. It is selling in Scottsdale at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from Barrett-Jackson.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11, 2018
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Whaaat? That’s right, Buick once built trucks. And not like a Buick Rendezvous pseudo-SUV thing. Like real trucks. Between 1910 and 1918 the company’s passenger car chassis were used for commercial vehicles. It happened again in 1922 and 1923. Oldsmobile had similar offerings.
This is a D-4 Express and it’s powered by a straight-four engine. Apparently, with the exception of a repaint in 1951, the truck is entirely original, which is pretty amazing. Commercial vehicles were meant to be used and used hard. This one somehow survived without being completely worn out.
Trucks like this, even from Buick, were popular during WWI. This one was initially used as a service department truck for a Buick dealership in Indiana. Only one other example is thought to exist and this one should bring between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.