Lee Roy Hartung Highlights

Auctions America by RM recently spent three days in Illinois offering up all sorts of stuff from the collection of the late Mr. Lee Roy Hartung. He had acquired an extensive collection of everything from bicycles to license plates to seemingly every variation of the Model A under the sun. Here’s a rundown of some of the automotive highlights from the auction:

The 1950 Edwards R-26 Roadster was the project of Sterling Edwards. It was built in California – one of many small fiberglass sports car start-ups that appeared on the west coast in the 1950s. The R-26 was a one-off that won the inaugural Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (they honored contemporary sports cars before switching to the classics they honor now). Hartung acquired the body later and re-assembled the car using period parts from other cars. It sold in a somewhat dilapidated condition for $143,750.

(Edwards R-26 Roadster)

One car sold at the auction is a car that I’ve read a lot about but never actually seen – because they were built and used up back in the day. Ran into the ground because they were work cars. What I’m talking about is a 1925 Hertz Model D-1 Five-Passenger Touring. John D. Hertz founded a cab company in 1914 and in 1920 founded the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company to build his own taxis. A few years later he acquired a car rental company and renamed it Hertz. Not a man content on buying products from other people, Hertz decided to build his own cars that he would hire out. Enter the Hertz Model D-1. It’s a 6-cylinder original car from another era and they just don’t show up anymore. It was sold for $12,650 and would probably be quite fascinating if restored.

Finally, the most eye-popping car offered was the 1950 Veritas BMW. Veritas was founded by former BMW employees who decided to build their own car around pre-war BMW components. Their company lasted until 1953 and they turned out a few varieties: coupes, convertibles, and some that resembled downright race cars. German coachbuilder Spohn (who I primarily associate with Maybach) decided to build a one-off body for a Veritas based on General Motors’ Le Sabre Concept (which there is a picture of at the bottom of the page). It’s pretty close. Look at the tail-fins: fins that big didn’t become commonplace for another seven to nine years. This car hasn’t been seen in some time and sold in un-restored condition for $195,500.

Harley Earl’s Le Sabre Concept:

Complete results can be found at the Auctions America site here.

Triumph 1800 Roadster

1948 Triumph 1800 Roadster

To be offered at Bonhams, Yorkshire, November 16, 2011

(Photo not of actual car. Imagine if this was blue and looked like a daily driver.)

This was the first car Triumph put on sale after the end of the war. It was originally fitted with a 1.8 liter straight-4 (although those were replaced by a 2.0 liter unit beginning in 1948). A total of 2,501 of both models were produced, making this car fairly rare compared to it’s successor, the TR2 (of which more than 8,000 were built).

The 1800 had a top speed of 75 mph and could hit 60 in a sprightly 34.4 seconds. The car had the pre-war looks to match its pre-war performance and was the end of the line for classical styling before the arrival of the TR2.

The car being sold by Bonhams is blue and was apparently used as a daily driver by its owner (who bought the car in the early 1960s). It’s described as being in “rolling restoration” condition – but driveable. It’s an attractive classic British design and it can be had cheap with a pre-auction estimate of £8,000-£10,000 ($12,000-$16,000).

More info on the car (and the actual picture) can be found here. More info on Bonhams Harrogate sale can be found here.

Update: Not Sold.

Bonhams Veteran Motor Cars, London 2011

Bonhams recently conducted their Veteran Motor Cars and Related Automobilia sale in London. Seven of the eight London-to-Brighton eligible automobiles sold. The lot list for this auction is one of the most interesting in recent memory. It’s very rare when there is an auction when none of the lots are ordinary. There is an E-Type or classic Ferrari, which certainly aren’t everyday, but neither are they as far out there as an 1898 Fisson Wagonette.

Top Sales, well I guess I’ll just run through them all (each car is linked to its catalog description):

The bargains of the sale were the two American-made cars. First a 1904 Pope-Tribune Model II 6hp Two-Seat Runabout sold for £34,500 or roughly $55,400. The more obscure American car (yes, they come much more obscure than a Pope-Tribune) was the 1898 Daley Quadricycle built by M.H. Daley of Charles City, Iowa. It sold for £44,400 or $71,000.

The next two cars sold for just over $100,000 each. First the 1901 Sunbeam-Mabley Cycle Car seen here with its awkward 1x2x1 wheel layout:

The original intention was to break the mold of turning a horse and carriage into a horseless carriage – try a different design out. Well that they did and they produced about 130 of them between 1901 and 1903 with less than five known to exist. £65,300.

The other $100,000 car (or £66,400) was a 1902 Deckert 8hp Two-Seater built in Paris by H. Deckert. The company lasted from 1901 until 1906 and this is the only known survivor.

A 1902 Renault Type G 8hp Two-Seater sold for about $143,000 (£89,500). The car is interesting in that it’s almost 110 years old, but in its present company it gets overshadowed.

The two biggest sales of the auction were the 1898 Fisson 8hp Twin-Cylinder Six-Seat Wagonette – produced in the last year of Fisson production which began only two years prior. The car is beautiful and the only one like it left. It brought £156,600, or $251,500.

Finally, we come to the biggest of the sale, the 1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F 6hp Wagonette which brought £158,800 or $255,000.

The front shot of the car doesn’t quite impart the same magnificence of this car as do other angles. Panhard et Levassor built a fair number of cars, even early – and they are still in business today producing light military vehicles after giving up car production in the 1960s. This M2F Wagonette isn’t all that rare either as Gooding & Company sold one earlier this year for $396,000. Comparatively, this car was a steal.

Complete results can be found here.

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.

A Stunning 1959 BMW 507

1959 BMW 507 Roadster

To be offered by RM Auctions

at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, January 19/20, 2012

With the plethora of cars to come up for auction in Arizona in January, I probably should have started going through them months ago. But they weren’t available months ago so I’m starting today and we’re going to start with this beautiful, somewhat Gothic-looking 1959 BMW 507 being offered by RM Auctions. It’s one of only 252 built – which is startlingly rare. It’s possibly the most beautiful BMW ever built.

Black with black wheels – what a combo! The tan interior is a nice touch that will brighten your day if you are lucky enough to ever sit in this car. It is, without a doubt, the most stunning color-combo I’ve ever seen on a 507. It has been fully restored with a 3.2-liter (okay, 3168cc) V8 producing 150 horsepower through a 4-speed manual. It will hit speeds over 120 mph – which seems slow, but this car was produced in the 1950s (1956-1959). Plus, it looks like it’s doing half that standing still.

The 507 almost bankrupted BMW – it’s planned price point was $5,000 USD at 5,000 units per year, but soaring production costs sent the price soaring as well, eventually reaching $10,500 – and BMW still lost money on each one built. Not many 507s have come up for auction in the past few years. RM sold two earlier this year for slightly over $1 million USD each and Gooding & Company sold one in 2009 for around $900,000. From the looks of it, this car will top all three.

RM has not yet published auction estimates or a catalog description but you can find the car here and information on the sale here.

Update: Sold $990,000.