Five Cars from Indiana

1905 De Tamble-Miller High-Wheel Runabout Prototype

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Edward De Tamble‘s earliest cars were highwheelers. Series production didn’t start until 1908 in Indianapolis (and later, Anderson, Indiana), and this car predates that time. It carries a stamp calling it a De Tamble & Miller, but not much is really known about it.

Mostly original, it is thought that this was the prototype De Tamble, and it uses parts from the era, including the gearbox from a Ford Model F. It’s a one-off piece of early automotive history, and you can read more about it here.

Update: Sold $26,400.


1907 Kiblinger Model D High-Wheel Runabout

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

If you’re noticing a trend, yes, Indiana liked their highwheelers before 1910. The Kiblinger was a product of Auburn, Indiana, where they were built between 1907 and 1909. There are a few of them on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum. And this car was once on display there too.

The Model D was one of six models produced by the company, and it’s powered by a 10 horsepower, two-cylinder engine that is shared with similar cars from Sears. Speaking of similar cars, company president W.H. McIntyre shut down and re-branded the company as the McIntyre after they were sued for patent infringement by Success. You can read more about this car here.

Update: Sold $28,600.


1908 Mier Model A Runabout

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The short-lived Mier was built by the Mier Carriage and Buggy Company of Ligonier, Indiana in 1908 and 1909. Solomon Mier, and his son A.B., built about 100 cars during that time before returning to the horse-drawn buggy industry, where they managed to stay in business into the 1920s.

This Model A Runabout was one of two models offered in 1908. Power is from a 10 horsepower inline-twin. Of the 100 built, only two remain, making this a great chance to get your hands on a truly rare car. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1917 Elcar Model E Cloverleaf Roadster

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Elcar actually traces its roots back to Pratt-Elkhart, which was one of Indiana’s highest-quality early cars. That company later became Pratt, which was quickly reformed as the Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company in 1915. They built the Elcar through 1931.

This was the only model available in 1917, and it is one of four body styles offered. The Cloverleaf Roadster retailed for $845 and is powered by a 34 horsepower, Lycoming inline-four. Prediction: this car sells for what would appear to be a great deal. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,400.


1931 Auburn Model 8-98A Sedan

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Somehow we’ve only featured one Auburn car prior to this. Indiana was a force in the early days of the automobile industry, and Auburn was one of its star products, which were offered between 1900 and 1937. They built some pretty fantastic cars in the mid-1930s, but everyone seems to forget that they built “normal”-looking cars like this alongside those wild boattail speedsters.

The 8-98 and the 8-98A were the only models offered in 1931. They were powered by a 98 horsepower straight-eight. Various body styles were available, and this sedan would’ve cost its new owner $1,195. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $19,800.

Rigling-Studebaker

1931 Rigling-Studebaker

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 17, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

WWI ace Eddie Rickenbacker became the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1927. For 1930 he introduced a new set of rules that required a riding mechanic and also increased the allowable engine displacement. The result was an influx of off-the-shelf parts used on cars, many of which were just heavily modified versions of street cars.

This car was built by Studebaker’s head of testing, George Hunt, in collaboration with land speed racer Ab Jenkins. The chassis was purchased from fabricator Rigling and Henning, and a Studebaker President 336ci straight-eight was stuffed under the custom aluminum bodywork. It features four Winfield carburetors and produces 205 horsepower. It’s competition history includes:

  • 1931 Indianapolis 500 – 18th, DNF (with Tony Gulotta)
  • 1931 Pikes Peak Hill Climb – 1st (with Chuck Myers)
  • 1932 Indianapolis 500 – 6th (with Zeke Meyer)
  • 1933 Indianapolis 500 – 12th (with L.L. Corum)

After 1933, the car was run by Jenkins on the Bonneville Salt Flats and was later used by his son as a road car. The restoration was completed in the early 1980s, and it is now expected to bring between $500,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company.

Update: Sold $1,105,000.

Two Old Cars from Bonhams

1921 Wasp Model 211 Rickshaw Victoria

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

Photo – Bonhams

Karl Martin was at first an oil man, then a coachbuilder, and then, in 1919 when he ended up in Bennington, Vermont, an automobile manufacturer. The Martin Wasp Corporation built cars from 1920 through 1924. Not very long. The catalog has this listed as a “Martin Wasp” but the cars were sold under the “Wasp” name.

They were powered by relatively ordinary 72 horsepower, 5.8-liter Wisconsin inline-fours (and later sixes), but the styling was quite unique. These were long, low cars that wore touring coachwork Martin described as “rickshaw phaetons.” Douglas Fairbanks bought one as a gift for his wife, Mary Pickford.

The cars were very expensive – this one would’ve cost $5,000 when new. Only 14 four-cylinder – and three six-cylinder – cars were built. The one you see here was actually assembled in the 1940s from leftover unused new parts that Martin retained after the factory had closed. Still, with only two other “real” Wasps in existence, it is pretty special. It should bring between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $51,520.


1931 Detroit Electric Model 99 Coupe

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

Photo – Bonhams

Electric cars have always had this weird “science fair project” look about them. Even from the beginning. Part of it is because of packaging – they have different things they have to carry, necessitating different designs. Part of it is function – modern cars are trying to show they are eco-friendly with weird hubcaps, etc.

But this looks like a Ford Model A coupe. Or, as it was bodied by Fisher, a period Chevrolet. You would have no idea it was powered by a 15 horsepower DC electric motor if it didn’t say “electric” in the name.

It was part of the Harrah collection for many years and remains in original condition. The company only built 131 cars in 1931, and this is the only survivor. It may be the “newest” Detroit Electric in existence, as production petered out pretty dramatically after 1932. It should bring between $30,000-$60,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $67,200.

Duesenberg J-348

1931 Duesenberg Model J Custom Berline by Judkins

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 16, 2019

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Classic cars don’t always make for great drivers. They can be pretty, historical, or just fun to say you own, but not everyone takes them out and drives them. The great part – well one of many – about a Duesenberg Model J is that it has enough performance to keep pace with today’s traffic, though I suspect the brakes aren’t quite what you’re used to.

This Model J is a long-wheelbase example carrying its original Custom Berline sedan body by Judkins. The car has never been restored, just serviced as-needed to keep it roadworthy. The engine is a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight, and, strangely, the auction listing makes not one note of which engine this car carries. A little internet sleuthing reveals it is most likely J-348.

It was delivered new to the daughter of Billy Durant, and was purchased by the current owner in 2001. Being sold without reserve, it’s a great opportunity to acquire an all-original Model J… that you can still go out and enjoy. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $506,000.

Duesenberg J-475

1931 Duesenberg Model J SWB Sport Convertible Sedan by Derham

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Pacific Grove, California | August 23, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

I’ve said many times before that the Model J is one of the best cars ever built. Want proof? Look at auction catalogs surrounding big auction weekends (like Monterey/Pebble Beach) and what is the one, classic American car that every auction house has? A Model J. They don’t all have Pierce-Arrows, they don’t all have Cadillac V-16s. But they all have a Model J. Or two. This year Worldwide Auctioneers has two. Gooding & Company has two. Mecum has two. They all come out of the woodwork this time of year.

This Model J has engine number 475 and that engine is a 6.9-liter straight-eight developing a mighty 265 horsepower. It’s a four-door Convertible Sedan but it’s also on the “short” Model J wheelbase (still a massive 11, almost 12, feet). Derham built five examples of their Sport Convertible Sedan, and this is one of three that remain.

This car has known ownership history from new and the current owner acquired J-475 in 1974 as what was essentially a project car. It was restored during the mid-1980s and has been on museum duty for the last two years. It’s been serviced and freshened since and can now be yours. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,320,000.

Duesenberg J-488

1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Derham

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 25, 2018

Photo – Gooding & Company

This black Model J is one of five such units produced by the Derham Body Company of Philadelphia. Derham traced their roots back to Joseph Derham’s 1887 carriage factory and later produced bodies for the likes of Stutz, Pierce-Arrow, Cadillac, Duesenberg, and more.

This is a Duesenberg Model J – one of the greatest cars ever built. This particular car is supercharged, and thus is a retroactive “Model SJ.” But the supercharger isn’t original. When supercharged, the 6.9-liter straight-eight makes 320 horsepower. This car began life as a factory demonstrator and was later owned by Jean Harlow’s 1930s husband as well as Buster Keaton’s son, James Talmadge.

At some point early in this car’s life, parts of the engine were exchanged with the factory-supercharged J-208. When the current owner acquired the car in 1977, he set about making it whole again. He located J-208 and swapped the parts back, making both cars better for it. He later sourced a supercharger, taking J-488 back to how it would’ve been set up in the late-1930s.

And now here it is, wonderfully restored and correct – on sale for the first time in 41 years. It should bring between $1,750,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Blower Bentley

1931 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | July 13, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

The first Bentley was the 3-Litre model. In 1927, W.O. Bentley increased the displacement of the car and it became the 4½-Litre (the larger 6½-Litre was already on sale). These cars competed at Le Mans with the legendary “Bentley Boys” at the helm. One of them won it in 1928.

Then in 1929, Bentley and one of his engineers, Amherst Villiers, strapped a supercharger to the 4.4-liter straight-four. The Blower Bentley was born and it was an instant legend, setting several speed records. Horsepower jumped to 175 compared to the 110 from the normal car. Speeds of 100 mph were easily achieved, even on open roads.

This car originally carried a sedan body – one of three such cars delivered. Bentley had to homologate this model for racing, so 50 had to be built (and they were). This was the last of the first batch of 25 cars. The second owner wrecked it in 1935 and when Bentley rebuilt it, the engine was split from the car and fitted to a 3-Litre chassis. In 1984, the owners of the car decided to put it back the way it was supposed to be.

They sourced as many of the original parts as they could including the correct engine. It was re-bodied in Vanden Plas Tourer form and the project wrapped up in 1993. With two owners since, this rare and highly desirable Blower Bentley should bring between $2,700,000-$3,300,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ lineup.

Update: Sold $2,654,569.

Four More from Artcurial

Four More from Artcurial

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018


1931 Villard Type 31A

Photo – Artcurial

Sté de Automobiles Villard existed in France between 1925 and 1935. They were primarily known for building a three-wheeled cyclecar. They sold some four-wheeled cars in 1927 and in 1931 introduced this as their “export” model. The intent for this particular model was to be sold in the United States, but it seems unlikely Villard ever moved many of them there.

It’s powered by a 500cc V-4. It’s said that this is the only such Villard known to exist, which might mean that it is the original prototype (which was known to have survived after successfully finding its way to the U.S.). In all, only 20 Villard automobiles of any type are known to exist. This one, in relatively good shape, should bring between $9,500-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $21,903.


1922 EHP Type B3

Photo – Artcurial

EHP, which stands for Établissememts Henri Precloux, after the man who founded it, built cars out of La Garenne-Colombes, Paris, between 1921 and 1929. EHP cars are notable for being shaft-driven and also for their competition outings, something many cyclecar manufacturers did not do.

This Type B3 is powered by a 893cc SCAP straight-four. A tiny, two-seat coupe, this car is in need of a full restoration. EHP cars aren’t seen often and this one should bring between $7,000-$12,000. Interesting note… there were all these guys who founded car companies before 1930 and when they failed, no one really knows what happened to them. Well it turns out that, in the 1960s, Henri Precloux was working as a welder in Paris. Fun fact. Click here for more about this car.

Update: Sold $26,284.


1925 Monet & Goyon Type VM2 Cyclecar

Photo – Artcurial

Here is a cyclecar from a cycle manufacturer. Monet-Goyon was founded in 1917 by Joseph Monet and Adrien Goyon in France. As a motorcycle manufacturer, the company existed until 1959 – which is a fairly long time and their post-war bikes are fairly common. But few remember that for a few years in the 1920s they experimented with light automobiles.

The Type VM2 is powered by a 350cc single-cylinder Villiers engine making six horsepower. It has chain-drive and is apparently very light. Not many examples of Monet & Goyon’s four-wheeled vehicles still exist and few are as complete (if not as original) as this. It should bring between $7,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $7,301.


1911 Renault CB Surbaisse

Photo – Artcurial

We’ve done a couple of these posts the last few weeks featuring really obscure marques of cars. While this may be a Renault, it is too bizarre to pass up. The Type CB was introduced in 1911 and was Renault’s mid-range model, featuring a 12 horsepower straight-four.

The body is a Victoria-type with an uncomfortable front bench for the chauffeur (featuring no seat back… good posture required). The rear has a convertible top, which only does you any good if the sun is behind you. Otherwise you’re A) still getting burned by the sun; B) still getting wet and; C) still getting hit with bugs. This honestly just looks like a horse-drawn carriage you’d find in Central Park but with a big air-cooled motor up front. It’s unusual and should bring between $42,500-$67,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $36,505.

Four Cars from Rétromobile

Four Cars from Rétromobile

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018


1947 Dolo Type JB10

Photo – Artcurial

There were a lot of car companies that popped up after World War Two showing prototypes at auto shows and then promptly disappearing. Dolo was one such marque. Usually these cars exist only in grainy scans of old sales literature developed when the company’s founders thought they had a chance to make it big.

The JB10 was shown by Brun, Dolo & Galtier at the 1947 Paris Auto Salon. It was a front-wheel drive car powered by a 592cc flat engine making 23 horsepower. I don’t believe the engine is still with this car, however. The roof was a Plexiglas dome, which is kind of weird. The company went around taking orders (and payments) but never honored them. The company did build a second car but its whereabouts are unknown.

This car was discovered in storage at the Montlhéry circuit and entered the collection it is being offered from in 1967. It’s all-original and was originally blue. As a one-off it should bring between $7,500-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $33,585.


1931 Salomon Prototype

Photo – Artcurial

Jean-Marie-Jules Salomon co-founded Le Zebre early in his career. He later worked for Citroen and then Peugeot. From 1928 through 1939 he worked at Rosengart. While at Rosengart (which did pretty well building light cars themselves), Salomon designed and built his own cyclecar prototype.

This light, two-seat roadster features a tubular axle and front brakes. The body is aluminium, which wasn’t all that common in 1931. It’s powered by a two-stroke single-cylinder engine. It’s in pretty original condition and would require a full restoration (it’s missing things like gauges, the entire floor, you know… some basics). But still, it’s a unique car from the 1930s and it can be yours for between $12,000-$18,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $7,301.


1927 Taupin 1100 Prototype

Photo – Artcurial

Here’s yet another one-off prototype car from this same collection. Not much is known about this history of this car, other than it seems to be assembled and custom made. The radiator is from a Darmont. The engine is a SCAP unit of 1.1-liters.

It was built by an actual engineer, so there was some thought put into it. The wheels have independent suspension, so it sits very low. It’s almost like the grandfather of the Ariel Atom… if an Atom only had three wheels. Customized by the owner to add such creature comforts as a cushion to sit on, this thing is largely original and just might be in running condition. It should cost the next owner between $6,000-$9,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $23,363.


1948 De Coucy Prototype Record

Photo – Artcurial

What we have here was someone’s – a Count de Coucy, to be more specific – idea of a land speed record car. A trained engineer, de Coucy built some high-revving engines of his own design – we’re talking engines that revved to 10,000 rpm in the 1930s. In 1935, he designed a 500cc engine capable of that 10,000 rpm.

Unfortunately, he was arrested by the Germans during WWII as a part of the Resistance and then his workshop was bombed in 1943. In 1948 he took the chassis from a Formula One car he was working on and built a single-seater enclosed record car. The 500cc engine never made it in, but it now carries a 1.1-liter straight-four instead (which is not completely installed). The car was never run and is being sold in hopes that someone will pick up the cause. It should bring between $6,000-$9,500. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $55,488.

1931 Oakland Sedan

1931 Oakland Model 301 Custom Sedan

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 6-8, 2017

Photo – Mecum

Edward Murphy and Alanson Brush got together in 1906 after one of Brush’s designs was rejected by Cadillac. They started building their own car in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1907. But before production really gained any steam, Brush left to found his own company and Murphy died. Enter William Durant who scooped up Oakland and added it to GM’s growing stable of brands.

Some early Oaklands were rather large, but the company was a mid-range GM brand, slotting in between Chevrolet and Buick. In 1926, Pontiac was introduced and it outsold the Oakland it was marketed alongside. 1931 was the final year for Oakland and the Model 301 was the only model produced that year. Six body styles were offered, with the Custom Sedan being the largest and most expensive. It’s powered by a 4.1-liter V-8 making 85 horsepower, so it’s no slouch. The car is also much larger than the picture above does justice as its 117″ wheelbase is five inches longer than that of a new Ford Explorer.

This car is in beautiful shape with two-tone green paint and gray interior. Pontiacs outsold Oaklands by a wide margin, making this car extremely rare – as are most Oaklands built in the final years of the marque. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Sold $30,000.