October 2014 Auction Highlights

First up in October is Bonhams’ always interesting Preserving the Automobile sale in Philadelphia. The top sale was this 1907 American Underslung 50HP Roadster for $1,430,000.

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We featured three cars from this sale, and the Stanley failed to sell. The Cunningham brought $162,250 and the National $28,050. Check out full results here. Next up is H&H Auctions’ Imperial War Museum Sale. A previously feature Puritan Steam Car showed up here, but failed to sell. The top sale was this 1923 Bentley 3-Litre Tourer for $252,500.

Photo - H&H Auctions

Photo – H&H Auctions

Our featured Regal Underslung sold for $39,477. Check our full results here. Next up in October was RM’s Hershey sale where this 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster by Fleetwood with single-family ownership since 1933 sold for $1,100,000.

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

We featured a bunch of cars from this sale, so here’s the rundown: the Dodge Royal Pace Car brought $49,500; the Zoe Zipper $13,200; the 1923 Yellow Cab $33,000; the G.N. Cyclecar $110,000.

A previously featured 1905 Fiat that failed to sell in 2013 finally sold here for $825,000. The International Charette sold for $77,000 and the Spacke Cyclecar $38,500. The Staver Roadster blew away its estimate, selling for $132,000. The Queen sold for $52,250, the Orient Buckboard $30,250, and the 1902 Covert $44,000. The Armstrong Phaeton failed to sell. Check out full results here.

The fourth auction of this round-up is Bonhams’ Zoute sale where this 1989 Ferrari F40 (which was formerly owned by Nigel Mansell) sold for $881,337. A previously featured Jaguar Bertone Prototype sold for $76,382. Check out full results here.

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Finally, Mecum’s Chicago sale. There was a litter of low-mileage Ford GTs and this 2006 Heritage Edition was the top sale at $475,000. Our featured Buick GNX sold for $97,500. Click here for full results.

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

A Beautiful American Underslung

1914 American Underslung Model 644 Four-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2013

1914 American Underslung Model 644 Four-Passenger Touring

American Underslungs are, I think, some of the prettiest pre-WWI American cars built. They are very distinctive with their low-slung chassis (hence the name) and those big, almost over-sized, white tires. Not to mention the gigantic emblem on the grille and the way the front fenders curve at sharp angles and fall dramatically back toward the passengers.

Even though this is a moderately big car, it still seems sporty. Strangely, it only accommodates four passengers, despite being a longish-wheelbase touring car. The low center of gravity (the frame is below the axles) provided for awesome handling, yet the bottom of the car was still high enough to scrape atop ruts ground into early, dirt roads. It might not look sporty, but many regard this as “Sports Car Genesis.”

The American Motor Car Company of Indianapolis built more traditional, upright touring cars when they were founded in 1906 (we featured one of them here). Underslungs came a year later. This particular car is from 1914, the last year the company was in business. It was part of the Harrah Collection for a long time before going to Europe in the 1980s. In about 2005, it was acquired by the current owner. The body was restored under Harrah’s ownership, but the interior is all-original, which is incredible. The engine is a 7.4-liter T-head six-cylinder making 60 horsepower.

These cars are very rare – most are in museums, so getting the chance to buy one almost never happens. It sucks I don’t have the money. Only three four-passenger Underslungs are known to still exist. This one should sell for between $550,000-$700,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Carmel, California.

Update: Sold $748,000.

A Pre-Underslung American

1906 American Tourist Roi des Belges Touring

Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11-12, 2012

Photo – RM Auctions

This car, offered from the endless estate of John O’Quinn, was built by the American Motor Car Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. That company is more famously known as “American Underslung” – the name by which their vehicles were badged beginning in 1907, when they introduced their revolutionary (and awesome looking) “underslung” chassis (where the frame is low and between the axles).

But in 1906, their first year for production, the cars were more traditional in design. In fact, the chassis here was designed by non other than Harry C. Stutz – prior to him making it big on his own. The engine is a 35/40 horsepower 5.5-liter L-head straight-four with a three-speed manual transmission sending power through the rear wheels.

The name of the car is simply “American” with “Tourist” being the model designation. I don’t know if I need to explain that, but I’m used to car companies where the word “American” is directly followed by something like “Austin” or “Bantam” or “Underslung” and my mind wants to refer to this as an “American Tourist” – but I guess if that were true it would have to be wearing shorts and gym shoes and shouting loudly in slow, plain English (what a European once told me “gives you away as an American”).

In any case, this car was restored in the 1960s but has been preserved in a museum-quality state ever since. It is expected to sell for between $175,000-$250,000. For more information, click here. And for more from RM at Hershey, click here.

Update: Sold $110,000.

Holsman High-Wheeler

1906 Holsman Model G-10 High-Wheel Runabout

To be offered by Bonhams’ at their “Classic California” sale on November 12, 2011

We said we would bring you the interesting and unusual. This definitely qualifies as the latter. High-Wheelers were a style of early automobile where the wheels were, well, high – providing significant ground clearance for the unpaved roads of rural, turn-of-the-century America. They eventually fell out of favor in the teens as America’s infrastructure improved and pneumatic tires became the norm. Imagine the “comfort” offered by solid-state wooden wagon wheels on hard pavement – or any other surface for that matter.

The Holsman Automobile Company was founded in 1903 in Chicago, Illinois and built a variety of cars using a variety of engines ranging from this single-cylinder model up to 26 horsepower 4-cylinders. Early models utilized rope drive but the company switched to steel cables and finally chains. This model sports rope drive to the rear wheels. This car is currently not running but was parked in running condition (a long time ago).

Gooding & Company sold a Holsman, a 1908 Model 10-K. This is a G model and it’s current condition means it will probably come in below Gooding’s result of about $45,000 in 2010. For more information on the car, check the details on the Bonhams website here and for the entire auction catalog, click here.

Update: Not Sold.