Red Bug Electric

1924 Red Bug Electric Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The Smith Flyer went on sale in 1916, and it was a two-seat buckboard driven by a fifth wheel located out back. Briggs & Stratton bought the design in 1919, and it was sold as the Briggs & Stratton flyer thereafter. In 1924, they sold the rights to the Automotive Electric Service Corporation, who began to market the cars as the Red Bug (and sometimes the Auto Red Bug).

Between 1924 and 1928, two versions were offered: a gas-powered single-cylinder car and an electric one. They were more or less identical in looks and both cost $150. This 12-volt electric-powered version has only four wheels and was restored by its current owner.

Yes, these are real cars that you should be able to register for the road. The Indian motorcycle company allegedly bought the design in 1930, but no one really seems to know what happened, and they disappeared from the automotive landscape (though I couldn’t imagine driving one in the 1930s with a huge Duesenberg bearing down on you, much less an SUV today). This one should sell for between $11,000-$17,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $4,958.

January 2019 Auction Highlights

January means one thing: Scottsdale. And we’ll start there with Bonhams where the 1951 Maserati we featured was the top sale at $2,755,000. Most of the other really big money cars all missed the target, which might say something about the top of the market (but we’ll see as the other sales all wrap up). The other Frua-bodied car, the Fiat 1100C, sold for $577,000. We’ll award Most Interesting to this 1956 Lincoln Premiere Convertible – mostly because I really want one. I just don’t have the $50,400 it would’ve required to take this one home.

Photo – Bonhams

A previously-featured Abarth race car sold here for $16,800 – a long way from the $45k+ it brought at multiple previous auctions (weird, it has a different chassis number listed in this sale compared to previous sales, but has the exact same backstory). This car has changed hands multiple times in the last few years. Someone here either got a great deal, or the consignor finally unloaded an albatross at a loss (also, dibs on “Albatross at a Loss” as my next rap album name). Meanwhile, the Stevens-Duryea sold for $72,800. Click here for complete results.

Next up from Arizona is RM Sotheby’s, and there were a couple of cars that failed to meet their reserve, including a previously-featured Hispano-Suiza and the Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale. But another Ferrari was top dog at this sale, specifically this 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO that sold for $3,360,000.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The biggest money feature car we had was the Vector WX-3 at $615,500, with the WX-3R coming up right behind it at a cool $500,000. The Lesovsky-Offy brought $201,600, the Rolls-Royce State Landaulette $190,400, the Hooper Bentley $128,800, the Apollo 3500 GT $134,400, and the Lone Star Touring $44,800. Click here for complete results.

Barrett-Jackson’s catalog is so large that I don’t feel like scrolling through the entire thing trying to find highlights and the top sale. Their user interface leaves a little to be desired, so I’m just going to look through Saturday’s results and assume that the top sale was in their prime time lineup. What I found: the overall top sale was, as it usually is here, a charity lot. The first 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition went for $2,500,000.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

That crazy Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6 sold for $1,210,000, while the Paige Ardmore sold for $16,500 and the Ford Lightning Rod Concept $27,500. All of the results can be found here and you can scroll through them at your leisure if you have a spare five hours.

Next: Gooding & Company, where the 1902 Yale we featured brought $105,280, and the Ferrari 275 Prototype failed to sell. The biggest money was reserved for this 1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta for $7,595,000. Click here for more results.

Photo – Gooding & Company

Finally, we have Worldwide Auctioneers’ Scottsdale sale where this 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster was the overall top sale at $990,000.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Our three Indiana-built feature cars all sold, with the two Duesenbergs falling in “good deal” range. The Duesenberg Tourster sold for $605,000, and the other Duesey brought $506,000. The Auburn Boattail rounds it all out at $291,500. Click here if you want more results from this sale.

December 2018 Auction Highlights

The second of Bonhams’ early December sales was their London Olympia sale. The top sale was this 1921 Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Silver Ghost London-to-Edinburgh Tourer that sold for $352,292.

Photo – Bonhams

The Talbot Tourer we featured brought an also-impressive $242,200, as did the other Rolls-Royce at $176,146. The Healey Abbott failed to sell. Complete results can be found here.

Onward to RM Sotheby’s sale held at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The top sale was the huge price paid for this 1956 Ferrari 290 MM by Scaglietti: $22,005,000.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Mochet microcar we featured sold for $25,200, and a previously-featured Ferrari wagon sold for $313,000. Final results can be found here.

Aguttes held a sale in December that had a few cars sprinkled in, the most expensive of which ended up being this 1994 Ferrari 348 GTS for $74,305. Full results can be found here.

Photo – Aguttes

And now we’re into 2019, beginning with Mecum’s epic Kissimmee sale that lasted for almost two weeks. Somehow, a LaFerrari Aperta we featured failed to meet its astronomical, irrational reserve at a bid of over $6 million. However, its sister car from the same collection, a 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari was the overall top seller at this sale for $3,300,000. Which was below the pre-sale estimate. Go figure.

Photo – Mecum

Here’s a rundown of other feature cars from this sale that failed to find new homes: Pontiac El Catalina Prototype, Tramontana GT, Corvette ZR2, McLaren 675LT Spider, and the Brumos Edition Porsche (yet again).

Now onto some better news. The previously-featured Shelby GT500 Super Snake sold here – for almost double what it brought in 2013: $2,200,000. Other big dollar cars included Duesenberg J-255 for $935,000 and a Ford Torino King Cobra for $192,500.

The other two feature cars we have – both factory prototypes – both sold. The Ford Forty-Nine Convertible went for $51,700, and the Pontiac Trans Am Kammback sold for $40,700. Click here for complete results.

And finally, we move to another early January sale: Silverstone Auctions’ Autosport International sale. The Griffith we featured sold, but is still listed as “result to follow.” Once it’s posted we’ll update our Griffith page, so check back if you just have to know. The top seller was yet another Ferrari, this time a 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 for $257,360. Final results can be found here.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Five Old Convertibles from Bonhams

Five Old Cars from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019


1908 Clement-Bayard AC4I Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams has a great number of interesting, early cars in their Retromobile catalog this year. We’ll be featuring five of the most interesting pre-WWI tourers (okay four, and one landaulette). Clement-Bayard was founded by Adolphe Clement, whose career is worthy of its own post.

I usually picture smaller cars, or very early cars, when thinking of Clement-Bayard, but this car proves that they also built quite large, expensive tourers as well. This car is powered by a 2.4-liter straight-four. It is said to be original and unrestored, which is pretty impressive. It should sell for between $86,000-$110,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1911 Renault Type CC Torpedo

Photo – Bonhams

The Type CC was a mid-sized Renault built in 1911 and 1912. It is sometimes referred to as the 14CV and is powered by a 3.6-liter straight-four making 16 horsepower. I’ve seen one of these in person (or a model very similar) and they’re a little smaller than you might think. But they make great old car noises.

This one carries a body from Million-Guiet that has some nice details. Check out the shape of the lower part of the windshield, for instance. Good luck finding replacement glass. Partially-restored, this car should bring between $69,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1912 Hupmobile Model 32 Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

In a sea of old French cars offered by Bonhams in Paris, here’s an American one. The Hupp Motor Car Company of Detroit built cars from 1909 through 1940. They didn’t make it to the other side of WWII, but their cars were well-known and respected for many years prior.

The Model 32 went on sale in 1912 and is powered by a 32 horsepower straight-four engine. Production continued through 1915. This one was exported to Ireland in 1990 and was restored there in 2009. It’s a perfect example of an early American touring car and should sell for between $17,000-$23,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $18,267.


1913 FN Type 2700 Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

Gotta love the lighting assistant standing to the side in the photo above (though I’d gladly take that job). FN was a Belgian company, and quite a few of them have been sold from this very collection. Here’s a smaller Model 2000 version, for example.

While that car may physically look larger, it has a smaller engine. The car you see here is powered by a 2.7-liter straight-four. The 2700 was introduced shortly before WWI broke out, and it is thought that only 16 examples were produced before the company’s focus shifted to the war. This one doesn’t wear its original body (it was used as a fire engine at one point) but should still bring between $29,000-$40,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $22,181.


1912 Berliet Type AM 15HP Brougham de Ville

Photo – Bonhams

And finally, we have a Berliet – another French car. Not a full convertible, this car is described as a Brougham de Ville, which means the owner got to ride in the covered section out back while the chauffeur sat up front, exposed to the elements.

This car is powered by a 15 horsepower straight-four engine and was acquired by the collection from which it is being sold in 1963. The body was fitted during this time but is pretty accurate to what a car would’ve looked like in 1912. This one should command between $52,000-$63,000. More can be found here, and more from this sale can be found here.

Update: Sold $43,058.

Darracq Touring

1914 Darracq Model V-14 16hp Torpedo

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Alexandre Darracq founded his automobile company in Suresnes, France in 1896. In 1903 he sold the controlling interest in his company to a bunch of Englishmen. Darracq still ran the company from Paris, but things were going poorly by the time WWI broke out. By 1920, the company had purchased Clement-Talbot and Sunbeam and was renamed STD Motors – now a fully British company.

After that, French-built Darracqs were called Talbot-Darracqs for a brief bit before the Darracq name was dropped altogether. The two different companies have a convoluted history thereafter.

This French-built Model V-14 is powered by a 16 horsepower straight-four engine and was delivered new to Ireland. It looks much sportier than it probably is, but the car was once driven by Phil Hill, so who knows. It should bring between $46,000-$69,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Hanomag Kommissbrot

1928 Hanomag 2/10PS Kommissbrot

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Hanomag actually dates back to the 1830s when they were making steam engines and eventually farm equipment. In 1871 the company name became Hannoversche Maschinebau AG, which is where “Hanomag” comes from.

Their first true “vehicles” were built in 1905 and they were steam powered trucks. Their first automobile was the 1925 2/10PS, the car you see here. The nickname “Kommissbrot” translates to “loaf of rye bread” because of its shape, which, let’s be honest, is kind of alien. You can tell it’s old. But can you really place a date on a car that looks this unique?

Power is from a 503cc single-cylinder engine that was connected to the rear wheels via chain drive. They were produced through 1928 and could be had as a coupe or convertible, and 15,775 were built, though there aren’t many left. Hanomag continued to build cars up until WWII, when they turned to trucks, and truck production continued under the Hanomag-Henschel brand through 1974.

This example was restored as needed over time and has been in a Belgian collection since 1991. It should sell for between $17,000-$23,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $66,544.

Sears Model K

1909 Sears Model K

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

It may seem strange today in a world of store closings and impending bankruptcies, but Sears was once a titan among businesses. So big, in fact, that they decided to sell cars under their own name between 1908 and 1912.

Highwheelers were their specialty and this 1909 Model K is likely identical to the Model K they offered in 1910 through 1912. The major difference being that the 1.8-liter flat-twin only produced 10 horsepower in this early form.

Model differentiation came in the form of options. In this case, the Model K received mudguards, a convertible top, running boards, and cushioned tires. Price when new? $475. Price today? Between $21,000-$28,000. This one has been in a Belgian collection since 1978. You can find out more about it here and more from Bonhams here.

Update: Sold $22,181.

1912 Pilain

1912 Pilain Model 4S Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Pilain is a name that most old car folks usually associate with Rolland-Pilain, a company founded by Emile Pilain and business partner Francois Rolland. Emile gained some automotive background knowledge under the tutelage of his uncle Francois Pilain, who, in 1896, founded the company that built the car you see here.

Pilain was based in Lyon and built cars from 1896 through 1920 (sort of, see below). In 1904 the Model 4A was introduced and was powered by a 6.1-liter straight-four, and this Model 4S is probably more closely related to the 1912 Model 4T that was powered by a 4.2-liter straight-four. The catalog listing has very little information (and seems to insinuate that this car was built by Rolland-Pilain – though it was not).

Pilain went bankrupt in 1908 and resumed production in 1909. During WWI, their factory was used by Hotchkiss to build trucks. After the war, the company was liquidated and their assets were used to found the company S.L.I.M.-Pilain, meaning that the last real Pilains were built around 1914. This one should bring between $34,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $32,619.

Bellanger Torpedo

1920 Bellanger Type A Series 1 17CV Torpedo

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Bellanger was founded just outside of Paris in 1912 by Robert Bellanger and his brothers. The company only lasted until 1925, when Robert entered politics and sold the factory to Peugeot, who later sold it to Rosengart.

Early Bellanger cars used sleeve-valve engines, but the Type A is powered by a 3.2-liter straight-four rated at 17 taxable horsepower in the day. A four-door Torpedo touring body is fitted.

This particular example is coming out of a collection that Bonhams began liquidating last year. It’s full of rare French and Belgian marques from this era. A recommissioning is recommended as the car has not been used in recent years. When was the last time you saw one? It should sell for between $30,000-$35,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Stevens-Duryea DD

1914 Stevens-Duryea Model DD Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The fine automobiles produced by Stevens-Duryea were the result of a family falling-out. J. Frank Duryea stopped getting along with his brother Charles and split off from their family-named business. He partnered with the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company in 1901, and the Stevens-Duryea was born.

The Model DD was a 1914-only model. All of their cars were six-cylinder models by this point, and the DD is powered by a 48 horsepower, 7.5-liter side-valve straight-six. This car is bodied as a 7-Passenger Touring car, the least expensive body style offered at $4,800 when new.

With WWI arriving – though that had little to do with it – 1914 was the final year for Stevens-Duryea production. They returned in 1920 and ultimately lasted through 1927. But this car is from the end of their glory days. This example is all-original and unrestored and is one of only five examples of the Model DD still extant. It should sell for between $200,000-$300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $72,800.