Offered by Osenat | Lyon, France | November 12, 2023
The Francon was produced by Truelle et Compagnie in France between 1922 and 1926. They were cyclecars – light runabouts. Beginning in 1923, they upgraded a bit with a larger, more modern engine. But modern wasn’t necessarily the company’s strong point. The earliest cars had wooden chassis!
This 1923 model has a two-stroke inline-twin of 664cc capacity. The water-cooled engine featured both cylinders cast in as a pair with aluminum pistons and a rated output of 14 horsepower. Top speed was 40 mph. The pictures are lacking, but apparently these had some kind of friction disc transmission?
This car was previously owned by a museum and was restored prior to 1994, when it was purchased by the current owner. Subsequent work was never completed, so the car has been a parked project for some time. This car has an estimate of $5,000-$7,500. Click here for more info.
Offered by H&H Classics | Buxton, U.K. | April 27, 2022
The Swift Motor Company operated out of Coventry, England, between 1900 and 1931. Early cars used De Dion engines, then the company moved into cyclecars. After WWI, cyclecars were gone and more a traditional model range took their place.
This M Type is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four that was rated at 12 taxable horsepower. The model was also known as the “12”. This attractive tourer sports some really cool wheels, the kind you only find on British cars of this era.
It was first restored in 1991 and again in 2013, with just 900 miles having been covered since. It now carries and estimate of $15,000-$20,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | December 11, 2021
Crossley Motors was founded in Manchester, England, in 1906. Passenger car production lasted through 1938, while commercial vehicles (and military trucks) were produced through 1945. After the war, the company focused on buses before being bought by AEC and phased out.
This inter-war “two-seater’ (it has a dickey seat in the back as well) was returned to the U.K. from Australia in 1990 and restored. Power is from an inline-four rated at approximately 20 horsepower when new.
Crossleys are around, but they aren’t super common. This one has a sporty body style with a 30-year-old restoration. It should bring between $27,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.
Update: Not sold, Brightwells September 2022.
Update: Sold, Brightwells, December 2022, $23,573.
Offered by Aguttes | Neuilly, France | March 21, 2021
Ernest Zurcher and Herman Luthi founded Zedel in Switzerland in 1896. In 1903, they set up a second manufacturing location in France, and it was successful enough that the Swiss location eventually closed, making Zedel a predominantly French marque thereafter. It was taken over by Donnet in 1919, and the marque was changed to Donnet-Zedel in 1924.
The Type P is said to feature a “large displacement” inline-four that was rated at 15 taxable horsepower when new. The body is the story here, though. It looks long and low. It is long, but I think the shadows are making the roof look much more “chopped” than it really is. It makes it look menacing.
The pre-sale estimate on this car is $12,000-$18,000. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.
Willys-Overland hopped on the sleeve-valve-engine train in 1914 when they launched the Willys-Knight brand. It came to be after Willys purchased New York’s Edwards Motor Car Company and moved their operations to the old Garford plant in Elyria, Ohio.
The Knight was available through 1933, and it was the only Willys-branded product offered between 1921 and 1930. Power is from a 3.0-liter Knight sleeve-valve inline-four rated at 40 horsepower when new. Sleeve-valve engines were expensive to produce, yet Willys built nearly half a million Knight-branded cars during the marque’s run.
This example presents well with shiny black wire-spoke wheels, nice blue paint, and a retractable black top. It is said to have remained with its original-owning family for about 90 years before being purchased by the consignor in 2015. It is now expected to fetch between $17,500-$22,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.
Update: Not sold, H&H Auctioneers online, August 2020.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019
1906 White Model F Touring
Thomas White‘s sewing machine business gave way to steam cars in 1900. The company was a pioneer in their field, but they ultimately saw the light and phased out steam cars in favor of gas-powered vehicles in 1912.
This 1906 Model F Touring was the second-cheapest car White offered in 1906 after the Model F Runabout. At $2,800, it wasn’t cheap. But the White was one of the more popular – and more well-built – steam cars of their day. This one looks great but would look better with a convertible top. It should bring between $40,000-$60,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $96,250.
1917 Chandler Type 17 Seven-Passenger Touring
Frederic Chandler worked for Lozier before he jumped ship in 1913 with a few of his fellow employees to form his own company. The Chandler was a hit and lasted through 1929, when it was acquired by Hupmobile and quickly phased out.
There were a lot of cars “in the middle” of the American market in the 1910s and 20s. Chandler was one of the better ones in that class. This 1917 model is powered by a 27 horsepower 4.4-liter inline-six. Five body styles were offered, and the seven-passenger touring sold new for $1,395. This time around it should bring between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $18,700.
1923 Gardner Model 5 Five-Passenger Sedan
The most interesting thing about this Gardner sedan, to me, is thinking about who purchased it in 1923. No one in 1923 knew that GM, Chrysler, and Ford would still be around 100 years later. But surely someone assumed Gardner would’ve been. After all, it was a well-regarded company from St. Louis that built a fair number of cars. It’s just hard to imagine someone wandering down to their local Gardner dealer and plunking down the cash.
Gardners were built from 1920 through 1931, and the company sort of inched upmarket each year, with their final offerings bordering on luxury cars. Kind of like Chrysler. But back in ’23, they were just another middle-class marque. The Model 5 could be had in a few styles, the sedan selling for $1,365. It kind of looks like a taxi and is powered by a 43 horsepower inline-four. It is expected to bring between $20,000-$30,000. But I bet it goes cheaper than that. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $13,200.
1930 Marquette Model 35 Five-Passenger Phaeton
GM’s “companion make” philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s gave us Pontiac and LaSalle. Both of which were relatively successful. In fact, Pontiac was so successful that GM killed off the brand that spawned it, Oakland. So they figured they’d give Buick a companion. And they did: Marquette.
It only lasted for a single model year. Six models were offered, all priced right at about $1,000. All Marquettes are powered by a 3.5-liter inline-six good for 67 horsepower. The Model 35 Phaeton sold for $1,020, and this is one of 889 such cars built.
In all, Marquette production totaled 35,007 before GM killed it off. This rare survivor should bring between $15,000-$25,000, which seems like a steal. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $15,950.
1933 Terraplane Deluxe Six Model KU Sedan
I was excited to feature an Essex. But I forgot that Hudson killed off the Essex marque in favor of Terraplane beginning in 1933. So instead of featuring a final-year example from Essex, we’re featuring a launch-year example of the Terraplane.
Terraplane offered six and eight-cylinder cars in 1933 that were essentially down-market Hudsons. A slew of body styles were offered, and the sedan cost $655 when new. A 3.2-liter inline-six good for 70 horsepower provided the oomph. This is a handsome car in good colors. It’s well-trimmed, with chrome bumpers and four suicide doors. The best part is it is usable and is expected to fetch only $15,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 7, 2019
If you were to say “there are zero automakers that can claim a 100% survivability rate among their cars (one-offs notwithstanding),” I think it would be easy to agree. And then A.B.F. comes along. Albert Ford was born in Canada but resided in England when he tried to get a company called All-British Ford off the ground in the 1920s.
It didn’t go great, but he did manage to complete two cars. Both of which still survive. This was the first of the two examples, and it is powered by a 1.2-liter V4. The body was actually purchased by Ford from the owner of a racing Alvis who was looking for something different. A.B.F. closed down shortly after, as the owner changed course to hospital furniture manufacturing.
Both cars were rescued from Mr. Ford’s garage after WWII. This one was restored in the 1950s and again in the late 1970s. It’s a pretty cool little car with great period bodywork. It is expected to bring between $75,000-$125,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 7, 2019
October in Pennsylvania is a great place to buy an old American car. But it should take no more than a quick glance to notice that this car is from the other side of the pond. It looks like an Austin or Morris of the same period but was built by Gwynnes Limited, an engineering company that dated back to 1856. They built a few thousand cars between 1920 and 1929.
The Eight was powered by an 850cc inline-four capable of 24 horsepower. About 2,250 examples were built, and it is said that this is the only example wearing this body. It is currently not in running order but is complete.
It’s been in the U.S. since 1975 and should bring between $15,000-$25,000 in 2019. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019
Harry C. Stutz resigned from Stutz in 1919 after losing control of the company. He then very quickly shuffled across town, in this case, Indianapolis, and launched the H.C.S. Motor Car Company. His first cars were delivered in 1920, and they were somewhat similar to the cars from his earlier venture.
An emphasis on the sporting nature of H.C.S. automobiles was important to the company, and an H.C.S. won the 1923 Indy 500. Production lasted through 1925. About 2,175 cars were produced in that time.
Between 1923 and 1925, the company offered the Series IV and Series VI. The IV, as seen here, was available in four body styles, with the 5-passenger “Model 4” touring car costing $2,200. Power was from a 52 horsepower straight-four. This one is expected to bring between $50,000-$75,000 at auction today. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Once the war broke out, the company built airplane engines, but did so unprofitably. So when automobile production resumed, they were building older designs, such as this Tipo 50B which, while launched in 1919, was based on a much earlier design. By 1924, Itala was in receivership with production ceasing in 1934. Fiat scooped up the remnants.
The car is powered by a 2.8-liter straight-four that made 41 horsepower. This example was delivered new to Australia where it was bodied by James Flood Coachworks of Melbourne. Restored in the 1980s, it was imported into the UK from New Zealand in 2017, and the engine was rebuilt. It’s a rare later car from an already rare marque and should bring between $35,000-$39,000. Click here for more from this sale.