1897 Daimler Tonneau

1897 Daimler Twin-Cylinder 4HP Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

We have featured a four-horsepower 1897 Daimler before, believe it or not, but that car was a wagonette. This is a more passenger-friendly tonneau. It was built by Daimler in England, which at the time was just a year-old company.

In fact, this car was just the second built by the British Daimler. It is powered by the oldest known Daimler engine, which is a 1.6-liter vertical twin that was rated at four horsepower. Its first owner is known, and it was demonstrated for the future King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace before taking part in the London-to-Bright Run. In 1897.

Updates were performed by Daimler in 1900, and some of them have been undone (for instance, someone backdated it to its original tiller steering configuration). It’s participated in more than 50 London-to-Brighton runs. It’s now got an estimate of $255,000-$310,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $427,144.

1897 Daimler

1897 Daimler Twin-Cylinder 4HP Rougemont Wagonette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Daimler, which is technically a “dormant” brand as of 2008, was founded in Coventry in 1896 by Frederick Simms. He acquired the rights to build Gottlieb Daimler’s cars in the U.K. Eventually they’d move away from the German designs and by the time the end came, their cars were just badge-engineered Jaguars.

This car is powered by a 1.5-liter straight twin rated at four horsepower. Apparently, they were able to increase the power rating by two the following year. This car is a performer: it is described as a “reliable early finisher on the London-Brighton Run.” This is the sort of prototypical vehicle we imagine taking part in that event.

Ownership history is known back to 1905 (which is pretty incredible) and the current owner has had the car for nearly 20 years. This car has never been restored, but just repaired and redone as needed. It’s remarkable. As one of the earliest known surviving British Daimlers, it should sell for between $240,000-$270,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $295,661.

A Rare Delin

1901 Delin 4HP Voiturette

Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | December 1, 2015

Photo - Coys

Photo – Coys

Joesph Delin began producing bicycles under the name of Derby in 1890 in Belgium. Eight years later, he re-organized the company to include the manufacture of automobiles and his first car appeared the following year.

This car, although called a “4HP”, is actually rated somewhere between 6.5 and eight horsepower. This was the mid-range model for their 1901 lineup that consisted of four models. Sadly, Mr. Delin died that year and the company was liquidated shortly thereafter. Delin was a short-lived marque.

Only three Delin automobiles survive today. This example wears chassis #4, making it one of their first cars. It’s in excellent condition and has known ownership back to the 1960s and it’s said that this car can achieve 34 mph – which, we’re sure, is terrifying. It is expected to bring between $88,000-$106,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update II: Sold, Coys Spring Classics, March 2016 $93,610.

1899 Panhard-Levassor

1899 Panhard et Levassor Type M2E 4HP Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

If I were handed the photo above with no information and told to guess the year of manufacture, I would probably guess 1902 or 1903. This is what cars looked like in 1902 and 1903, for the most part. But no, this is from 1899. While three to four years might not seem like much, these particular three to four years were light years in terms of automotive development. And Panhard-Levassor was at the forefront of it.

Most pre-1900 cars had a more “horseless carriage” look to them, but René Panhard devised this layout – the now-ubiquitous front-engined, rear-wheel drive car (with a clutch, gearbox, and rear differential). All successful automobiles thereafter adopted this (more or less).

Then again, by 1899, Panhard-Levassor had almost 10 years of automobile production under their belt. This car is powered by a vertical 1.2-liter twin-cylinder engine making four horsepower. The original owner is known, but the car wasn’t restored until its 100th birthday. And now its the perfect car for the London-to-Brighton run. It should bring between $460,000-$540,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.