Mercedes-Simplex Raceabout

1908 Mercedes-Simplex 65HP Two-Seater Raceabout

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Daimler marque became “Mercedes” in 1902 and the Mercedes-Simplex is largely considered to be the first “modern” car – a departure from the horseless carriages that preceded it. Available as a number of models between 1902 and 1910, the Simplex had engines ranging from 18 horsepower all the way up to 65 – as in the beast you see here.

The 65 horsepower (which is available at a rumbling 1200 rpm) comes from a very large 9.4-liter straight-four that. A normal 65HP Simplex would only have 9.2-liters, but this one has probably had many engine rebuilds over the course of its life, thus slightly increasing its displacement.

The biggest of all Simplexes, this model was offered between 1903 and 1909. The chassis you see here originally sported a 40/45HP engine when it was sold new in New York. It was acquired by Lindley Bothwell in the 1930s or 40s already sporting this… sporting body. What the original coachwork looked like is a secret lost to time.

This is going to be one of the more expensive cars to find a new home at this sale and no pre-sale estimate is available. These big horsepower, early German machines are incredibly hard to come by today. This is a rare chance to acquire one with known history going back 80 years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,072,500

Austro-Daimler

1912 Austro-Daimler Touring Victoria

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | October 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Daimler was a German marque (there was also a British one) who set up an Austrian subsidiary in 1899 (it became independent around 1905). These cars were built under the Austro-Daimler marque until 1934 when Austro-Daimler AG merged with Steyr, becoming Steyr-Daimler-Puch. During the 1930s, the company produced some very nice, large cars. As you can see above, they were doing the same thing before WWI.

The weird thing about this car is that it carries no chassis plate and the only markings on the car at all are on the radiator, which appears to be British. It is thought that this might be one of very few Austro-Daimlers built in and/or for the U.K.

The engine is not native to this car, but it has probably been in it for most of its life. It’s a Wisconsin M-Series, an 11.9-liter straight-four monster. The bodywork is British and likely from a major coachbuilder, but no one knows which one. The stuffing is coming out of the front seats, making it a prime candidate for restoration. Oh, and this car has appeared in a couple of films, namely Chaplin and Titanic. It should bring between $120,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $176,000.

Two-Cylinder Packard

1902 Packard Model G Four-Passenger Surrey

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

If you told me this was being offered straight out of the Harrah Collection, I’d believe you. If you’ve ever wandered through the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada, you’d know that the first part of it is full of cars just like this (and if you haven’t, DO IT).

Only 400 Packards were built between the company’s founding in 1899 and the end of 1903. Packard offered two models in 1903: one was the single-cylinder Model F and the other was this, the twin-cylinder Model G. It was the only two-cylinder model Packard ever sold and this is the only one left. That engine is a 6.0-liter flat-twin that makes 24 horsepower. Those are some massive cylinders, at three liters a piece.

The Model G is a massive automobile: it weighed in at over 4,000 pounds – even with aluminium fenders! Only four of these were built and they were fabulously expensive, with one reputedly going to a Rockefeller. This one has been in this collection for over seven decades and was damaged in a fire some years ago. The body was exactingly rebuilt and, as they say, it “ran when parked.” This piece of Packard history – one of the oldest Packards in private hands – should bring between $250,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $423,500.

Barney Oldfield’s Benz

1908 Benz 75/105HP Prinz-Heinrich Raceabout

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Benz has some automotive connotations, namely its current existence as half of Mercedes-Benz. But if you think back about Benz and know enough to know that Benz sort of started this whole car thing, you probably think of the Benz Patent Motorwagen. But they also built some amazing sports cars. Two engineers working for Benz in the early days developed what is, perhaps, the world’s first road-going sports car. It was built to compete in the Prinz-Heinrich Tour – a demanding 1,200 mile rally.

Hans Nibel and Georg Diehl created this car to compete in that race (note: this car is listed as a “circa 1908” but the catalog makes it seem like this model was first shown closer to 1910). It features a live rear axle and shaft drive (most big power cars from this era sported two semi-frightening chains that drove the rear wheels). The engine is fantastic for 1908: it’s a 7.3-liter straight-four that made 105 horsepower, which is a lot for the time. A team of three of these competed in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup.

This model was only available through 1912 and very few were made as they were quite expensive. Only a handful survive – including, probably, the three Vanderbilt Cup cars. We pick up the history of this car around 1915 when it was being used by Barney Oldfield in appearances all over the country. He eventually sold it to a brewer in L.A. before it made its way into the Lindley Bothwell collection in the 1930s (where it’s been since).

Restored in 2006, just in time for the 2006 Goodwood Revival, this is an incredible piece of history with just three known owners going back 100 years. This is the type of car that only exists in one of three places: 1. museums 2. historical photos or 3. long-term European collections that are rarely, if ever, broken up. But here it is, straight from Los Angeles for you to bid on. No estimate is being provided because it’s one of the big money cars from this sale (which is likely to be remembered for some time). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,870,000.

October 2017 Auction Highlights, Pt. III

October was a busy month. This is our third results rundown and we start with Barrett-Jackson in Las Vegas. There wasn’t any time to feature anything from this sale, but the biggest money went to this 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder for $1,760,000. Click here for more results.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

Across the ocean we go to our next sale, Osenat in France. We didn’t get to feature anything, but the top sale was this 1968 Lancia Flaminia Coupe for $97,518. Click here to see the rest of their lots.

Photo – Osenat

Let’s stay in France for Leclere’s Parisian motorcars sale. Again, we lacked a feature car here but the biggest money went to this 1982 Renault 5 Turbo privateer rally car for $197,358. The rest of their sales can be found here.

Photo – Leclere

Brightwell’s Bicester Classic & Vintage Cars sale was held in October and we were able to feature three cars from this one. Of those three, the Autovia sedan brought the most at $98,463. The top sale overall was $160,167 for this 1976 Ferrari 308 GTB.

Photo – Brightwells

The Friswell we featured sold for $31,508 and the Calthorpe beat its estimate, bringing $27,569. Everything else can be found here.

And finally, Bonhams in Padua, Italy. Our lone feature car, the Abarth Monomille GT, sold for $120,111. The top sale overall? This 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster for $1,040,968. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Bonhams

How Are These Two Cars Different?

1901 Crestmobile Model B 3½HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Founded in 1900 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Crest Manufacturing Company was a supplier to other early automobile manufacturers. They finally realized that they built so many parts that they could just build their own car – and so they did. The first “Crest”-branded automobiles were three-wheelers but by 1901 the four-wheeled Crestmobile was available.

Three models were offered at the start, with the mid-range Model B sporting a 3.5 horsepower single-cylinder engine mounted out front that can be pull-started with a leather strap. This car resembles many other cars from the period, including the Toledo Steam car below.

Part of this particular collection since 1943, the Crestmobile you see here has been restored (though the date is unknown). Crestmobiles were only offered through 1905 before the marque disappeared. This one, perhaps the finest in existence, should sell for between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $39,600.


1902 Toledo Junior Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Okay, so maybe this doesn’t look exactly like the Crestmobile above, but you get the idea that they are pretty similar – except that this is a steam car. The Toledo was built by the International Motor Car Company of Toledo, Ohio, between 1901 and 1903. Beginning in 1904, once the company had been acquired by Col. Albert Pope, the cars were known as the “Pope-Toledo.”

Five different steam cars were offered by Toledo in 1902, with this Junior Runabout being the cheapest, costing $800 when new. This was also the last year the company offered steam cars, turning to more conventionally-styled gasoline-powered cars in 1903 before their acquisition.

This car sports an older restoration and it probably hasn’t been used all that much. It will require a little attention (and a boiler inspection) before use. This is a great opportunity to acquire a well-built early steamer at a fraction of the cost of a Stanley. It should bring between $33,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $34,673.

1899 Vivinus

1899 Vivinus 3½HP Two-Seater Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Alexis Vivinus was a Belgian bicycle maker who began his company in the 1890s. As many others did, he made the transition from bicycles to motorcars. Ateliers Vivinus S.A. sold its first car in 1895 and was out of business in 1912. Mr. Vivinus then went on to work at Minerva.

The first Vivinus cars were Benz’s built under license but the car you see here was one designed in-house. This single-cylinder car makes 3.5 horsepower and was simple and reliable to enough to be licensed by other manufacturers around Europe, including Georges Richard.

The current owner of this car acquired it in 1986 from the same family that bought it new, which is pretty incredible. It was restored when purchased and has been well maintained since. It’s a usable example of a well-built 19th Century car and it should bring between $26,000-$33,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $76,845.

Salvesen Steam Cart

1896 Salvesen Steam Cart

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

It’s Halloween and what’s scarier than a big, loud steam engine? I’m not so sure I’d call this a car so much as a locomotive that can be driven on the street. I mean, look at the crew involved to operate it. It’s incredible!

This vehicle was designed by a member of the Salvesen family, a wealthy Scottish family involved in shipping and transport since the 1870s. It is powered by a coal-fired boiler, two-cylinders and chain drive. The photo above shows a pull cart behind but the catalog photography does not. It has two rows of seating.

It was part of two large collections spanning many decades. The current owners bought it in 2004 and it has competed in every London-to-Brighton run since, failing to finish only once. This one-of-a-kind vehicle from Victorian England is truly awesome. That it still runs and is driveable is icing on the cake. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it’ll take between $200,000-$270,000 to take it home. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $207,516.

October 2017 Auction Highlights, Pt. II

We’re leading off with another Bonhams sale. This one, The Zoute Sale, was held in Belgium. The top sale was the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet for $1,404,840 (and the Aston Martin DB AR1 failed to meet its reserve). We’ll give Most Interesting to this 1928 Rally ABC Sports that sold for $168,288. Click here for more results.

Photo – Bonhams

Next up, another sale from Mecum, this time from Chicago. The top sale here was a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/400 Convertible that brought $115,000.

Photo – Mecum

A previously-featured Stellite sold here for a frustrating $3,500 (frustrating because I should’ve bought it. Attention new owner: I’ve give you $4,500 for it). Click here for everything else.

Artcurial held an all-Mercedes-Benz sale (or at least, an all-Daimler AG sale) at the Mercedes-Benz Center in Rueil-Malmaison, France. The ’68 600 Pullman Limousine we featured failed to sell. The top sale was this 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster for $1,670,228. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Artcurial

Next up, Brightwells’ Modern Classics sale. We featured an Evante Mk II that failed to sell. The top sale was this 1987 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth for $51,304. All of their other lots can be found here.

Photo – Brightwells

Finally, Silverstone Auctions’ Porsche sale. We didn’t get to feature anything from this sale, but this 1998 Porsche 911 Turbo S brought the most money: $333,913. Click here for complete results.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Eldredge

1903 Eldredge 8HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams’ London-to-Brighton sale is always full of interesting veteran cars – but most of them are usually European. But here we have an interesting American automobile. The National Sewing Machine Company began building bicycles in 1894 and followed it with cars from 1903 to 1906. The Eldredge name comes from the president of the sewing machine company that was based in Belvidere, Illinois.

This wonderfully brassy runabout is similar to others of the day with one major exception: it has a steering wheel on the left-hand side of the car. The first few Eldredges had tiller steering but the company became one of the first to feature LHD steering wheels. It’s kind of amazing to think today that this was something that someone actually had to be the first to do.

The engine is an eight horsepower flat-twin. This was the only body style that Eldredge ever offered and about 600 were sold over four years. This is one of three examples from the marque that are known to exist and it has known history going back to the 1960s. It should bring between $60,000-$73,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.