Apperson Anniversary Touring

1919 Apperson 8-19 Anniversary Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

We may think “Michigan” today when we think of the American automobile industry, but Indiana was a hotbed for car manufacturers prior to the Great Depression. Founded in exotic Kokomo, Indiana, in 1901 by brothers Edgar and Elmer Apperson, the company sprang up when the brothers left the Haynes-Apperson company – one of America’s first car companies.

The company closed in 1926, but for a while they were turning out a lot of cars. They were one of a few early manufacturers who had a little marketing fun with their model names. Instead of Model A-B-C, they gave their cars names, like the Jack Rabbit. This car, technically a Model 8-19, was sold with a seven-passenger body style called the Anniversary Touring (named because it celebrated the 25th anniversary of Haynes-Apperson). The engine is a 34 horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8, which sounds awfully modern, doesn’t it?

It is thought that as few as 20 Appersons still exist, which is a shame because early V-8 cars are quite interesting. No pre-sale estimate has been published yet, but this is, so far, one of the more interesting lots available between the two fascinating Pennsylvania auctions in October. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $24,750.

An American Fiat

1912 American Fiat Model 56 7-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 14, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

A lot of European firms opened an American arm in the early days of the automobile: De Dion-Bouton, Austin, Berliet, Napier, and perhaps most famously, Rolls-Royce, among others. Fiat did, too, and unlike Rolls-Royce (but like the others mentioned above), these cars are often referred to as American Fiats with “American” in the brand name, and not simply specified in the model name (like a Rolls-Royce “Springfield” Ghost).

Anyway, American Fiat was around from 1910 through 1918, when it was cheaper to open another factory than to pay import taxes. The Type 56 was built between 1912 and 1916, the largest car offered in any of those years. It is powered by an 8.6-liter straight-six making an estimated 50 horsepower.

The body is a Seven-Passenger Touring, which was just one of two body styles offered in 1912 (the range would proliferate with time). They were big cars and they weren’t cheap. It’s thought that this car cost in the neighborhood of $4,500 when new. The man who restored this car acquired it in 1952 and it was in his family until 2013. While I don’t know how many were built, not many of these survive. It’s pretty awesome, actually, and should bring between $175,000-$225,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: $130,000.