ReVere Touring

1920 ReVere Model A Four-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Named for Paul Revere, the ReVere Motor Car Corporation of Logansport, Indiana, was founded in 1918. It sprung up with a lot of fanfare and its chassis engineer was none other than Gil Andersen, the Norwegian-born pole sitter for the second running of the Indianapolis 500.

The first ReVere models were built in 1919 and the 1920 models were exactly the same. The Model A featured a marvelous engine from Duesenberg. It’s a 5.9-liter straight-four making 106 horsepower. It is touted as the most powerful American car of its day. The body is aluminium – it was made to go fast. And why wouldn’t it? It had three keys of speed going for it: an engine designed by the Duesenberg brothers, a factory within an hours drive of Indianapolis, and two race car drivers on the development payroll. Demonstration runs in the cars were performed by Cannonball Baker.

Unfortunately, the people at the top of the managerial heap at ReVere were more interested in robbing investors. The company was more or less a front to sell stock and rip people off. It worked and they raised a lot of money – but only built a few cars. The company was shut down in 1922 and one of the early founders (Adolph Monsen) tried to relaunch it, but ReVere was gone for good after 1926.

It is believed that only six ReVere automobiles exist today. Despite being run by con artists, the company managed to build great cars. This one is mostly original and does run and drive. It should bring between $125,000-$175,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $137,500.

1920 Detroit Electric

1920 Detroit Electric Model 82 Brougham

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Plymouth, Michigan | July 30, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Some things come back around and right now, thanks to Tesla, electric cars are hot. But back in the early days of the automobile, when different propulsion systems were fighting for supremacy, electric cars were fairly popular as well.

Part of the reason for their popularity was the ease with which one could operate such a car. There was no crank, no warming up. You just got in and went. This car is powered by a 4.3 horsepower electric motor.

Only 95 of this type were made, making it quite rare today. Remarkably, this example has known ownership history from new and was originally purchased in Canada. Today, it should bring between $60,000-$80,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $66,000.

1920 Franklin Sedan

1920 Franklin 9-B Sedan

Offered by Mecum | Anaheim, California | November 12-14, 2015

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

The great air-cooled Franklin was one of those early automobile companies that lasted quite a number of years and built quite a number of automobiles – but did so on their own terms, like Stanley or Detroit Electric, to name a few. Air-cooled engines were simpler – less parts. And that’s what Franklin bet their company on. And it worked: they were in business for over 30 years.

The 1920 range consisted of two models: the 9 and 9-B. They both uses a six-cylinder engine making about 25 horsepower. The 9-B was slightly more upscale and expensive. This car is a rare “V-windshield” model, which is a pretty unusual feature. The body is also made out of aluminium.

Only six 9-Bs are known to have the V-windshield (the 9-B was built for three years: 1920-1922). Only 10,552 Franklins were built in 1920. This is a very nice example that was in a recent collection for 35 years. You can be next. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Sold $13,500.

Five Cars from the 1920s

1927 Whippet Model 96 Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

General Motors wasn’t the only American automaker expanding its brands in the 1920s. Willys-Overland was one of a number of other companies to get in on the game. Whippet was a marque introduced for the 1926 model year. It didn’t last long – it was gone after 1930 – but it did have an impact: boosting Willys into third place in the U.S.

The Model 96 was the smaller option in the Whippet line and was produced in every model year. It is powered by a 30 horsepower 2.2-liter straight-four. This car looks great. It was formerly part of the AACA Museum and has been used in Boardwalk Empire – which is something we’ve talked about in other posts. Interesting. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $23,100.


1929 Roosevelt Eight Sedan by Hayes

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Roosevelt is a very rare American automobile make. It was built by Marmon and introduced in 1929 – great timing. It was a smaller version of the larger Marmons and was the first American car with a straight-eight engine to be offered for sale for less than $1,000. The engine is actually a 3.3-liter straight-eight, making 77 horsepower.

The Eight (Roosevelt’s only model) was offered in four body styles with the Sedan being the cheapest and least fanciful. Named for Teddy Roosevelt, this rare survivor would be an awesome addition to a collection. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $10,450.


1924 Oldsmobile Model 30-B Turtle Deck Speedster by Schutte

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The 1924 Oldsmobile line consisted of a single model offered in a range of factory body styles and apparently coachbuilt ones as well. The engine is a 2.8-liter straight-six making 42 horsepower.

The story here is this awesome bod. The aluminium radiator looks like it was milled out of a solid block of metal. The solid metal wheels are amazing. The car only has a single door – on the passenger side of the car. It is full of special one-off features with an unusual body style from a smaller coachbuilder. It is thought that less than 10 Schutte-bodied cars exist and we’ve now featured two of them. Check out more on RM’s site.

Update: Sold $71,500.


1923 Wills Sainte Claire B-68 Gray Goose Special

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Like Roosevelt, Wills Sainte Claire was another short-lived American automobile manufacturer of respectable quality. This car, which is all-original, is a 68-series car. The variations of the Model 68 were built from 1922 through 1926. 1927 was the only year it wasn’t built.

It was Wills Sainte Claire’s largest model, using a 4.4-liter V-8 making 67 horsepower. In 1924, the Model 68 was offered in a bunch of body styles with the most interesting being the Gray Goose Special seen here (which is essentially a four-door touring car). This one has known ownership history from new and has only been owned by two different families in that time. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $57,200.


1920 Rauch & Lang Electric Model C-45 Dual Drive Coach

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Rauch & Lang traces its history back to Jacob Rauch, a blacksmith in Cleveland who opened his shop in 1853. Charles Lang was a real estate man from nearby and moved the company toward wagon building. In 1905, they turned to electric cars and became one of America’s premier electric car builders in the early days of automobiles.

They built cars through 1928 and this 1920 Model C-45 is how most of them looked. The company moved from Cleveland to Massachusetts in 1920 (after having merged with Baker Electric in 1917) and this car was the final example produced in Cleveland. It uses a three horsepower electric motor. This car can be driven from the left hand seat either in the front or rear, which is pretty interesting. Try that in your Buick. Click here to see more about this car.

Update: Sold $66,000.

1920 Rauch & Lang

1920 Rauch & Lang Electric Model C-45 Dual Drive Coach

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Rauch & Lang traces its history back to Jacob Rauch, a blacksmith in Cleveland who opened his shop in 1853. Charles Lang was a real estate man from nearby and moved the company toward wagon building. In 1905, they turned to electric cars and became one of America’s premier electric car builders in the early days of automobiles.

They built cars through 1928 and this 1920 Model C-45 is how most of them looked. The company moved from Cleveland to Massachusetts in 1920 (after having merged with Baker Electric in 1917) and this car was the final example produced in Cleveland. It uses a three horsepower electric motor. This car can be driven from the left hand seat either in the front or rear, which is pretty interesting. Try that in your Buick. Click here to see more about this car.

Update: Sold $66,000.

Packard Grocery Truck

1920 Packard Model E Truck

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

Photo - Hyman Ltd.

Photo – Hyman Ltd.

Packard, which stands as one of America’s greatest automobile manufacturers of all time, was also quite the commercial vehicle manufacturer in their day. This behemoth was one of many such trucks built by the company between 1905 and 1923.

It’s powered by a four-cylinder engine and has a 3-ton capacity. The truck is fabulously restored and has been painted with the name of a grocer in Pennsylvania who found the truck and had it restored. The grocer had their own fleet of similar trucks in the 1920s.

Commercial vehicles tend to cease to exist after 30 years or so, so to find one that is almost 100 years old is incredible. It was restored to perfection about 25 years ago but it still looks amazing. If you own a grocery store, this is the vehicle for you. It is for sale in St. Louis for between $70,000 and $80,000. Click here for more info.

Cadillac Type 59

1920 Cadillac Type 59 Four-Passenger Phaeton

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 10-12, 2014

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

I really love the look of 1920s Cadillacs. There were some very fancy cars available for purchase in the 1920s but it’s really hard to beat the good looks and understatement of this car.

The Type 59 was the second-to-last version of the Type 51. The Type 51 was new for 1915 and a war broke out right after that. It was Cadillac’s first V-8 powered car. The Type 59 was built for 1920 and 1921 only and uses a 5.1-liter V-8 making about 31 horsepower.

This car is in very nice and very usable shape – which is a big win for anyone looking to purchase it. You can read more here and check out more from Mecum in Houston here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $25,000.

Update II: Sold, Mecum Kansas City, 2014 for $24,250.

Kissel Gold Bug

1920 Kissel 6-45 Gold Bug Speedster

For Sale at Hyman Ltd | St. Louis, Missouri

Tracing the evolution of sports cars is fairly easy until you get back to about 1945. Cars of the Post-War sports car craze are easy to distinguish from more mundane automobiles. Trying to trace it back before the war gets a little trickier. Sure, there were race cars and specials and cars you could drive to Le Mans, race, and drive home. But as far as the earlier cars go, you’re looking at Genesis (or one of a few that qualify for that title).

The Mercer Raceabout and the Stutz Bearcat are two of America’s first sports cars. The Kissel 6-45 Speedster, nicknamed “Gold Bug” (due to it’s signature color) is the third. The Kissel Motor Car Company was founded by Louis Kissel in Hartford, Wisconsin in 1906. They built high-quality cars, trucks, and emergency vehicles. After WWI ended, they saw a market niche they could fill for the exciting decade to come. So in 1919 they introduced the Gold Bug Speedster and it was far and away their most popular model.

The low-slung two seater – with two additional seats that extend out of the body over the running boards for the crazy and/or brave – is powered by a 61 horsepower six-cylinder engine. Performance is sporty – thus it being known as an early sports car. Kissel closed shop in 1930 after producing some 35,000 vehicles. Only about 150 are known to exist today. This one can be yours for $159,500. For more information and photos, click here.

Here are some videos of a similar car:


Premier’s 1920 Push-Button Transmission

1920 Premier Model 6-D Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 12, 2012

There is something about the way the top folds back on some 1920s-era seven-passenger touring cars that makes them look gigantic. And it is a pretty big car – the wheelbase is 10 inches longer than that of a brand new Chevrolet Tahoe.

Premier was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1903 by George A. Weidely and Harold O. Smith. The corporate name of the company would evolve five different times before it went out of business in 1925.

This big touring car has a 3.4-liter straight six making 65 horsepower. It is also equipped with a Cutler-Hammer electro-magnetic shift transmission. It was essentially a push-button transmission with controls mounted on the steering column. The driver could push the button for the gear they wanted to select and the transmission would execute the shift electronically in one-fifth of a second. A modern Ferrari F1 car can shift in less than 100 milliseconds – making the technology on this Premier seem like Fred Flintstone Formula One. It’s still really cool though (you couldn’t get this technology on a Packard until the 1940s).

This car comes from the collection of John O’Quinn and should sell for between $30,000-$50,000. For more information, click here. And for more from RM at Hershey, click here.

Update: Sold $63,250.

Bugatti Brescia

1920 Bugatti Type 13

Offered by Gooding & Company | Monterey, California | August 19, 2012

Photo – Gooding & Company

Look at this little snub-nosed dart. It reminds me of one of those little short, stubby guns – completely innocuous looking, but it’ll still pack a punch. A pocket pistol – it’s the Derringer of Bugattis.

The Bugatti Type 13 was the car that really launched Bugatti as a manufacturer. The first cars were built around 1910, but World War One interrupted things and production – and racing – resumed in 1920. In 1921, Bugatti Type 13s swept the top four spots at the Brescia Grand Prix, earning the car the nickname “Brescia” thereafter.

This car left the factory in 1920 as a Type 22, which was a larger, road-going version of the Type 13. It still had the same 50 horsepower 1.5-liter inline four. The car was brought to America after the Second World War, where it was acquired by a collector who had the chassis shortened and bodywork adjusted to Type 13 specification. In the 1980s it was purchased by a Japanese collector and the car underwent a restoration while in his possession.

In 1998 it was purchased by its current owner, who has raced it on occasion. I remember seeing this on track during the Monterey Historics a few years ago. It was a field of Bugattis, mostly Grand Prix cars, like the Type 37 and Type 35. Those big powerful cars took off immediately, leaving this little guy as well as a large road-going convertible to fight it out amongst each other way at the back. Neither car was quick, but you could tell that each driver was having a complete blast. And that’s why you own a Bugatti.

This is an early Bugatti and while it may not have elegant coachwork or a very sporting Grand Prix body (the only real bodywork is a small box behind the engine with a cushion on it… sort of primitive in a way) no one will mistake it for anything else. The pre-sale estimate is $250,000-$350,000. For more information, click here. And for more from Gooding in California, click here.

Update: Sold $379,500.

Update II: Sold, Artcurial Paris 2016, $400,683.

S/N #981.