Mobile Steam

1900 Mobile Steam Model 4 5.5HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The corporate history of the Mobile Company of America is very confusing. It was founded in Tarrytown, New York, by John B. Walker. Originally, Walker and his business partner (who, together, had bought the rights to the Stanley brothers’ first steam car design) were going to call the car something else. But they ended up fighting over it and Walker ended up with the Stanley rights. The Mobile was born.

Mobile only sold cars between 1900 and 1903. Most looked something like this Model 4 “Solid Seat Runabout” that originally retailed for $750 –  among the cheapest cars the company offered. This car is powered by 5.5 horsepower two-cylinder steam engine.

Only about 600 Mobile Steam cars were built and it is thought that only about 10-12 survive. This one has been well-restored and does run and drive. It should bring between $40,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

September 2017 Auction Highlights

We’re going to start (for the second recap in a row) with a sale from Worldwide Auctioneers. The Cadillac “Die Valkyrie” was sold for an undisclosed amount (which is kind of lame). The top (reported) sale was $539,000 for this 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

A previously-featured Stoddard-Dayton sold here as well, bringing $118,800. Now let’s talk about this sale. The Auburn sales are usually a buyer’s paradise. In fact, this year was the closest I’ve yet come to registering as a bidder and attempting to buy a car. I had my eye on this 1921 Packard Single Six Sedan.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

It had a pre-sale estimate of, I think, $20,000-$30,000 or something in that ballpark. I had a gut feeling that it would go low, as it was selling at no reserve. With buyer’s premium, I was willing to pay $15,000. The final bid? $14,850. Instead of being there, I was in the hospital, having a child. I’d say I did just fine on the weekend. Other cars will come along. Oh, you can check out more results here.

The other Auburn sale for September was that of Auctions America. The top two sales were both Duesenbergs that we featured. The SJ Sweep Panel Phaeton was #1, bringing $2,300,000. The other, Fleetwood-bodied Model J, sold for $990,000. A distant-relative of the Duesenbergs was the Buehrig Carriage-Roof Coupe that sold here for $25,850. We award Most Interesting to this 1974 AMC Hornet Hatchback. Seriously? Yes, this was the car from The Man With the Golden Gun that performed one of the greatest car stunts in movie history. It sold for $110,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Photo – Auctions America

Let’s hop to RM Sotheby’s London sale. Two of the cars that sold here have been featured on this site previously. They are this Marlboro Steam car (which sold for about $12,146) and this De Tomaso Nuovo Pantera mockup for about $25,348. The top sale was this 2004 Ferrari Enzo that brought approximately $2,383,042.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Hispano-Suiza K6 failed to sell and complete results can be found here.

Dragone Auctions held a sale in Lime Rock, Connecticut in early September. We featured an early Cadillac that brought $80,940. The top sale was another Caddy, this one a rakish 1931 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Victoria by Lancefield for $577,500. Check out full results here.

Photo – Dragone Auctions

Finally, Bonhams’ second Goodwood sale of the year. We only featured one car from this sale, the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Fastback, and it failed to sell. The top sale, however, was this 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona for $801,151. Check out more results here.

Photo – Bonhams

1920 Stearns-Knight

1920 Stearns-Knight L4 Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

F.B. Stearns and Company set up shop in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1898 (when Frank Stearns was only 19 years old). Production really got under way in 1901 and their cars were like most others of the time. In 1912 the company began using Knight sleeve-valve engines in their cars. It was from this point, until new corporate overlord Willys-Overland dissolved the marque 1930, that the company would be part of a handful of Knight-suffixed marques.

The L4 (or SKL4) was introduced in 1918 as a model name and it lasted through 1923. For 1920, it was the only Stearns-Knight offered and it could be had in eight different body styles. It would appear that this is a five-passenger touring, the slightly smaller alternative to the $225-more-expensive seven-passenger touring that was also offered. The engine is a 23 horsepower, 4.1-liter straight-four.

This well-patina’d and all-original example was discovered in a barn in 2003 in West Virginia. It is believed to be the only surviving 1920 Stearns-Knight Touring car out of a total 1920 production run of 3,850. It still runs and drives, having covered only 23,934 miles in the last nearly 100 years. This is a fantastic chance to get behind the wheel just like someone did 97 years ago. It should bring between $25,000-$35,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

August 2017 Auction Results, Pt. II

We’re going to pick up again in Monterey with Worldwide Auctioneers. The Benz Tourer we featured sold for $121,000. The top sale was $605,000 paid for this beautiful 1940 BMW 328 Roadster. Click here for more results.

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Next up, Russo & Steele in Monterey. Their top sale was a 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa for $1,155,000. The rest of their results can be found here.

Photo – Russo & Steele

Let’s hop across the Atlantic for a few European sales, beginning with Bonhams’ Beaulieu sale. The top sale was this 1921 Napier “Blue Bird” Homage for $342,679.

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a few old cars from this sale but the Sheffield-Simplex and Bayliss-Thomas failed to sell. The Vauxhall was a big seller, bringing $277,432. The Fiat Berlina sold for $25,309, the Daimler Tourer $22,331, the Vermorel $25,681, and the Calcott $23,820. And the Invicta Black Prince Wagon sold for $21,438 – which is probably the cheapest you’re going to find one of those. Click here for complete results.

Silverstone Auctions held The Salon Privé Sale in early September. We didn’t get to feature anything, but the top sale was this 1989 Porsche 911 (930) Turbo SE Flachbau Cabriolet in a pretty awesome shade of blue for $317,880. Click here for the rest of the results.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

And finally, H&H Classics’ early September sale held at the National Motorcycle Museum. We didn’t get to feature anything from this sale either, but in a sea of sub-$10,000 cars, this 1975 Jaguar XJ-S 5.3 Coupe stood out, bringing $50,306. Click here to see everything else.

Photo – H&H Classics

Ferrari 328 Conciso

1989 Ferrari 328 Conciso Concept Car

Offered by Bonhams | Chantilly, France | September 10, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

With the current Ferrari market on fire, there are only a few models that can be purchased by mere mortals. The 1986-1989 328 GTB/GTS is one of them. The 328 was an evolution of the 308, but it had a larger engine and enhanced styling. Over 6,000 were made (with over another 1,000 Turbo models also made). But, as you can see, this is no ordinary 328 GTS.

Built in 1993, this car is based on a 1989 328 GTS (which was the Targa model). The body was constructed by Bernd Michalak Design Studio of Germany and is all aluminium. It still has the same engine – a 270 horsepower, 3.2-liter V-8. Top speed is reportedly over 170 mph.

One intriguing part of this design is the fact that the car has no doors. You’re supposed to just step into the car (there isn’t a roof either – or roll bars – so you can’t do a Dukes of Hazzard-style entrance either). It does come with helmets for the driver and passenger though.

First presented at the 1993 Frankfurt Motor Show, it appeared the following year at the Geneva Motor Show as well. It bounced between owners on either side of the Atlantic before the current owner bought it in 1999. Major service was carried out in 2014 and it is road legal (at least in Belgium where it is currently registered).

Looking like a cousin of the Ford Indigo Concept Car of the mid-1990s, this car has covered approximately 6,000 miles since it was built. It’s obviously a one-off and is being sold without reserve (or a pre-sale estimate, though it should easily set a record for a Ferrari 328 at auction). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $138,690.

Frazer Nash Shelsley

1935 Frazer Nash Shelsley Sports

Offered by Bonhams | Chantilly, France | September 10, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

GN was a car company from the U.K. that went out of business in 1925. Founded by H.R. Godfrey and Archibald Frazer Nash, they specialized in cycle cars. Another venture of Godfrey’s was HRG. Frazer Nash, meanwhile, founded his own company whose early cars used GN parts. Cars from all three brands have visually similar characteristics.

The Shelsley was a very limited edition model produced between 1934 and 1936. This particular car is powered by a 1.7-liter straight-six (other engines could be had as well and Frazer Nash even built at least one Shelsley with a supercharger). This car features chain-driven rear wheels.

All Frazer Nash models are rare, but only six examples of the Shelsley were produced, which, remarkably, puts it sort of mid-pack among Frazer Nash models in terms of production numbers. This example has been in the care of the same owner for the last 22 years. Like all Frazer Nash’s, the Shelsley is sporty and rare, which leads to its pre-sale estimate: $240,000-$290,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $242,707.

Silver Dawn Fastback

1951 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Fastback Coupe by Pininfarina

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | September 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Bentley Continental Fastback of the 1950s is one of the most popular classic, post-war Bentleys. Rolls-Royce never built something quite like it, the exception being this one-off, coachbuilt Silver Dawn.

The Silver Dawn was built between 1949 and 1955. In all, 760 were made – almost all of them four-door sedans. The 1951 Silver Dawn was powered by a 4.6-liter straight-six and the power rating was “adequate” in RR terms.

This particular Silver Dawn was purchased as a chassis by an Italian and it was sent to Pininfarina for this body. It is the only Silver Dawn bodied by Pininfarina. Its cost in 1951 was extraordinary, costing the original owner roughly five times the price of an average home in the U.K. at the time. Displayed at the 1951 Turin Motor Show, it was restored by its current owners in 2014.

As a classically-bodied one-off, this Silver Dawn is one of the most stylish, coachbuilt post-war Rolls-Royces. It should bring between $580,000-$710,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ Goodwood lineup.

Update: Not sold.

Invicta Black Prince Wagon

1951 Invicta Black Prince Shooting Brake by Associated Coach Builders

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

I remember reading about the Invicta Black Prince when I was a little kid and I’ve always remembered that it is a rare, special car. In fact, most Invictas are pretty rare today. They company was founded in 1925 and sort of died in 1938. Those pre-war cars are pretty cool and sporty, competing with the likes of Lagonda.

The company was revived in 1946 and their goal was to build a Bentley/Rolls-Royce competitor. The Black Prince was an extraordinarily luxurious sedan offered until the company went bankrupt in 1950 (at which point they were acquired by Frazer Nash, who sold off the rest of the cars, including this one which the new owner had custom-bodied as an estate car). The cars were just too expensive, costing three times as much as a comparable Jaguar and almost as much as the Bentley. Side note, they tried to relaunch the marque as a sportscar maker in the 2000s, but they are now gone too.

The Black Prince is powered by a 127 horsepower, 3.0-liter straight-six. Because of slow sales, only 16 were made and only 12 of those still exist, including this one-off wagon. I don’t remember another Black Prince coming up for public sale in the last decade. The restoration on this car dates to the 1970s, which contributes to its seemingly low estimate of $28,000-$33,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $21,438.

Four 20s Cars from Bonhams (and one from the Teens)

1923 Daimler TS 6.30 Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams has been killing it with their Beaulieu Sale the past few years. Because this time of year is so jam packed with great sales, we ended up doing this sort of thing last year too. So we’re going to squeeze four cars from the 20s (and one from the teens) to make sure we’re capturing the most interesting cars that we aren’t likely to see again for some time.

The British version of Daimler was founded in 1896 and actually lasted through the 2007 model year. This large tourer from 1923 is powered by a 5.0-liter, sleeve-valve straight-six making 30 horsepower. It’s a model that dates back to 1913, so I guess it was a little long-in-the-tooth a decade later – but you’d be hard pressed to tell as this six-seat tourer looks quite nice. The body is by Maythorn.

The car does run and has been in present ownership since 1993. It should be a relatively affordable large classic as it carries a pre-sale estimate of $26,000-$32,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $22,331.


1928 Bayliss-Thomas 12/27HP Two-Seater Sports

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bayliss-Thomas was a company that is primarily known for a brand of motorcycles called “Excelsior.” These are not the same Excelsior bikes made in the U.S., as this company was based in Coventry. In 1920 they decided to start building cars, but couldn’t use “Excelsior” and had to settle for their corporate name, Bayliss-Thomas.

Produced only through 1929, the company managed to churn out just over 1,000 cars in a 10 year span. Introduced in 1925, the 12/27 featured a 27 horsepower 1.5-liter Meadows straight-four and a three-speed gearbox. Five body styles were offered with this Sports Tourer being among the smallest. This example has been on static display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, since 1974. It has been slowly restored but is not currently running. It’s certainly a rare car that isn’t seen often. In this state it should bring between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1925 Vauxhall 30/98HP OE Velox Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams features a lot (like, really a lot) of old Vauxhalls over the course of a year. And this site has been ignoring them for too long. These cars are highly sporty and very popular in their native Britain. It is said that this model is favored over 3-Litre Bentleys of the period.

The 30/98 was first introduced in 1913, designed primarily for competition. Most were built after WWI ended and this particular sub-model, the OE, started finding homes in 1923 (and it lasted through 1927). The engine by this point was a 4.2-liter straight-four that actually made 110 horsepower. The chassis is described as “lightweight” – or lightweight for 1925. This car can comfortably cruise at modern highway speeds – and then some, with racing models capable of over 100 mph.

Even with the adoption of four-wheel brakes for the OE, the design was quite dated by the time it went on sale. Only 312 examples of the OE 30/98 were built. This four-seat Velox tourer was bodied in-house and looks as if it was aimed squarely at the competition from Bentley. Imported from Australia decades ago, the current owner acquired this car in 2012 and performed a fresh restoration. This sporty piece of British motoring history should bring between $280,000-$330,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $277,432.


1925 Fiat 510 De Luxe Berlina

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

When one thinks of old Italian cars, it’s easy to think of just things that are sporty or just things that are small. But there were also big sedans – just like those from France, the U.K., and America. In fact, Fiat’s Tipo 510 was the biggest car they built at the time. It was available for the 1920 through 1925 model years.

The engine is a 3.4-liter straight-six making 46 horsepower (or 53 if you had the upgraded “S” version). Top speed in this version is about 60 mph. The “S” also had a shorter wheelbase, as Fiat offered the standard 510 in just one length.

This example was sold new to Denmark and the current owner acquired it in 2001. It’s been cared for by conscientious owners its entire life. One of the last 510s built (of about 14,000 total), this big Fiat should bring between $26,000-$32,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $25,309.


1914 Calcott 10½HP Two-Seater with Dickey

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Calcott Brothers started building bicycles in 1886 and, like many other bicycle manufacturers, turned to motorcycles – for them in 1904. The next logical step, cars, followed in 1913. The marque was acquired by Singer in 1926 and phased out after the head of the company passed away.

Bonhams is actually offering three different Calcott cars in this sale. This 10.5HP model is an example of the first model the company produced. Introduced in 1913, these were built through 1917. It’s powered by a 1.5-liter straight-four making, you guessed it, 10.5 horsepower. Most Calcotts were light cars and this one is quite pretty in bright blue with matching rims. This ex-museum car has been in storage since 2015 and needs a little work to make it roadworthy, but it’ll be worth it. It should bring between $19,000-$26,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $23,820.

Sheffield-Simplex

1908 Sheffield-Simplex 45HP Model LA2 Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Simplex was a popular word in the early days of the automobile. Famously, there was the Mercedes-Simplex, the Crane-Simplex, the plain-old Simplex and the American Simplex aka Amplex… among others. The Sheffield-Simplex was from, guess where, Sheffield, England. The company was founded in 1907 with financial backing from Earl Fitzwilliam, a man who made his fortune in coal. The last cars rolled off the line in 1920 and motorcycles continued on through 1927.

The first car produced in 1907 was the LA1 and the LA2 followed in 1908. It’s powered by a rather large 45 horsepower, 7.0-liter straight-six. When new, the LA2 was advertised as being sold without a gearbox, though it did actually have one. This is the only surviving Model LA2.

Re-imported into the U.K. from Australia in the 1970s, this example was thoroughly restored and has taken part in many rallies in the U.K. over the years. It is thought that the company only turned out about 1,500 cars in their 13 years of production (and most of those were built before WWI started). Only three are known to survive, with this being the oldest. It should bring between $190,000-$260,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.