5 American Classics from Bonhams

1923 Dort 25-K Five-Passenger Sport Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Like Moon, Dort was an automobile manufacturer from the 1920s that featured solid rims on a lot of their cars. It was a company that was co-founded by Billy Durant (and Josiah Dort) as the Flint Road Cart Company in the 1880s. Dort started building cars in 1917 (Durant had already jumped ship). Josiah Dort died in 1923 and 1924 was the final year for Dort automobiles.

The 25-K is powered by a 3.2-liter straight-six. It was Dort’s big car and the five-passenger Sport Touring was one of eight body styles offered. This particular car was once owned by William Harrah and JB Nethercutt. It should sell for between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $18,700.


1917 Briscoe Model B 4-24 Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Benjamin Briscoe was a big name in the early days of the automotive industry. He was the first major shareholder of Buick. He was half of Maxwell for a time as well. He founded his own car company in 1914 after the failure of the United States Motor Company – an early conglomerate of manufacturers, a sort of precursor to General Motors.

Briscoe built four-cylinder cars through 1921. This 24 horsepower example sports five-passenger touring body style that is simple yet attractive. Briscoes are pretty rare today and for $18,000-$24,000, this is a good chance to acquire a piece of motoring history. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $28,600.


1908 International Model A Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

International Harvester is best known for their agricultural equipment and tractors. Today, as Navistar International, they build trucks. But when they first got in to road-going vehicles, high-wheelers were their strong suit. Their 1907 vehicles were very basic, but this 1908 is a little more advanced.

The Model A was the only model offered in 1908 – in runabout form only (be it two or four passenger, like this one). This car uses a flat-twin making 14 horsepower. It’s all original, which is amazing because these cars were popular in the most rural of areas. This one should bring between $40,000-$50,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $74,800.


1919 Cleveland Model 40 Two-Passenger Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

There have been more than a handful of automobile companies that carried the name “Cleveland.” All of them were based in – you guessed it – Cleveland, Ohio. This Cleveland (the longest-running company with that name) built cars that were essentially smaller versions of the Chandler (and Chandler denied any relation). The company popped up in 1919 and lasted through 1926.

The Model 40 was built in 1919 and 1920 and uses a six-cylinder engine making 45 horsepower. That’s a lot, actually, considering that this example exists in two-passenger Roadster form. It’s a hot rod – tiny and powerful. Only 4,836 examples of the Model 40 were built and this one should provide its new owner with some inexpensive fun for between $15,000-$25,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $7,700.


1916 Mecca Thirty Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Jackpot. We love when cars like this come up for sale. If you’ve been following along, we’ve featured a couple of batches of rare, old American cars from manufacturers that weren’t around for very long. And this one was not around long at all – just two model years. The first year was a stillborn cyclecar. Series production occurred in 1916 only.

This car, with its 3.1-liter straight-four making 23 horsepower, sports a five-passenger touring body style – the largest offered by Mecca. This is thought to be the only surviving Mecca automobile. A rare treat indeed. It should bring between $15,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $13,200.

Sperry Electric

1900 Cleveland Sperry System Electric Stanhope

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Elmer A. Sperry invented some electric arc lamps and electric mining equipment before he moved to Cleveland in the 1890s. He was there to help establish an electric railway company, but started fooling around with automobiles and produced his first electric car in 1898. The Sperry Electric went on sale in 1899 under the name Cleveland Sperry System. In the car’s final year, 1901, they were just called “Sperry.”

They are powered by a 3.5 horsepower electric motor and could be had in one of eight body styles. This is a three-seat stanhope. Sperry sold their patents to the Cleveland Machine Screw Company in 1901 and they produced the car under the Cleveland marque from 1902 through 1904. Part of Sperry’s electric engineering company still exists today as part of Honeywell.

This car is one of two Sperrys known to exist. It has known history for the last 25 years and has been run in many rallies and shown at many shows around the U.K. It should sell for between $77,000-$83,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $88,151.

Auctions America Las Vegas Highlights

The other big motorcycle auction in Sin City was brought to you by Auctions America (January 12-14, 2012). The big talk of this auction was the 1894 Roper Steam Motorcycle that we featured over a month ago. It was supposed to break all motorcycle auction records when it sold. Unfortunately, it did not sell – nor did a number of other high-profile motorcycles offered at this sale.

That said, there were still some significant money changing hands and some bargains to be had as well. One that qualifies as both was this 1910 Flying Merkel V-Twin Belt DriveFlying Merkels are extremely rare and valuable: the pre-sale estimate on this one was $175,000-$200,000. It sold at no reserve for $77,500. A steal and the second highest price paid for a motorcycle at this auction. The distinction of Top Sale went to a 1964 Ducati 250 F3 Corsa at $81,200 that once belonged to 4-time Grand Prix motorcycle champion Walter Villa (this is according to their published results online. I read a story at AutoWeek.com that said the Merkel was the top sale).

One of my favorites from this sale was this 1926 Cleveland Fowler powered by a 600cc four-cylinder engine – of which just 100 were made. This one supposedly belonged to Steve McQueen – a name that increases the value of just about anything its attached to, especially things with wheels and engines. There didn’t seem to be any documented proof of this connection but the legend worked its magic: the bike sold for $76,160.

Pretty good lookin’, eh?

There were BSAa and Triumphs too numerous to count, but there was also the occasional bizarro-bike. Like this 2010 Confederate Fighter P120 – one of 50. Looking like it rode off the set of Terminator, it packs 160 horsepower and an all-aluminum monocoque. I’m guessing it rides about as scary as it looks:

There were a number of Harleys for sale in Las Vegas – and a bunch of “Anniversary” models from the manufacturer who is king of anniversary models (seriously, every 5 years). My Harley pick of the auction is this 1990 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy – one truly awesome looking bike. There is something about the styling of this Harley that stands out above the rest. I don’t know… but I think something about it’s $10,080 sale price is attractive too. Ah, the air of affordability!

Over 350 motorcycles sold and to browse through the full results, click here.