A French Aster

1904 Aster 16/20HP Four-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Aster was a French marque that built motorized vehicles between 1900 and 1910. They were also a major engine manufacturer – at one point they claimed to be the provider of engines for over 130 other companies. They should not be confused with the British Aster marque of the 1920s (though the British company started out building engines under license from this one).

This car is powered by a 2.7-liter straight-four making 16/20 horsepower. It’s well-appointed and Bonhams makes the case that it’s about as perfect a car for entrance in the London-to-Brighton run as you can get. The body that is on this car is not original to the chassis, but is period correct and was applied during a restoration.

What you see here is a runner – this is a veteran car that you can drive considerable distance with a fair amount of confidence, because, as the lot description says, it is a practical old car. Or as practical as a 112 year old car can be. It should sell for between $290,000-$340,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $263,484.

1924 Aster

1924 Aster 18/50HP Coupe

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 7, 2013

1924 Aster 1850HP Coupe

Photo – Bonhams

Aster started as an engine-building company in Wembley, England. They were building licensed versions of French engines and moved to aircraft engines during WWI, when they acquired the name Aster.

In 1922, they started building luxury automobiles. The 18/50hp was their first model and it was built from 1922 through 1924. It uses a 2.6-liter straight-six making 50 horsepower. They were expensive and bought by well-known people such as the man who would later become King George VI.

In 1924, the engine was upgraded and the model became the 20/55. In 1927, the company merged with Arrol-Johnston and the Aster name disappeared after 1930. This is a car from a short-lived and rarely-heard of marque. Only about 170 Asters were ever built and this is one of two known to survive (both are in this sale and the other one is a half-restored project). This one is in original, unrestored condition and should sell for between $28,000-$37,000 – which seems like a bargain considering it was an expensive car when new and it’s the only one like it left. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ sale.

Update: Sold $39,413.

Update II: Sold, Brightwells Classic & Vintage, April 2017, $32,292.