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.

The Hupp Comet

1932 Snowberger-Hupmobile

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2016

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Russ Snowberger is a name that has been associated with the Indianapolis 500 since the 1920s. Snowberger was a very talented mechanic and engineer – but he was also a skilled driver. He competed in the Indy 500 15 times from 1928 through 1947. His best finish was 5th (twice) – one of those was in this very car.

Snowberger was interesting in that he built his own cars. Not very many drivers have entered a car at Indy with a chassis bearing their own name. Not even Louis or Gaston Chevrolet. All of the Snowberger chassis that competed in Indy were Studebaker powered. Except one. This one.

Hupmobile made a sponsorship deal with Snowberger to use a Hupp engine at Indy. This was the only Hupmobile-powered car to ever run the 500 as the company ran out of marketing dollars and Snowberger had to return the engine (which later made its way in a Bonneville land speed car). John Snowberger, Russ’ son, later acquired the engine and restored the “Hupp Comet” to as you see it today.

This is a rare chance to acquire a famous Indy 500 race car from one of the race’s early legends and owner/drivers. You can read more about it on Mecum’s site here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $310,000.

Update: Not sold, Mecum Kissimmee 2017, high bid of $270,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Indianapolis 2017, $205,000.

A Tiny Hupmobile

1909 Hupmobile Model 20 Two-Passenger Runabout

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Houston, Texas | May 3, 2014

Photo - Worldwide Auctioneers

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Hupmobile was an American automobile marque produced by the Hupp Motor Company in Detroit from 1909 through 1940. That means the car you see here is from their first year of manufacture.

As you can see, this car is very light and very small. It covered the essentials of motoring in 1909 but today it’s cute and would make a great little car to putt around town in. The engine is a 16.9 horsepower 2.0-liter straight-four. I’m guessing the “20” in Model 20 comes from the displacement. This thing cost $750 when new and about 1,600 were built in 1909 alone. More body styles would be added the following year and the Model 20 would last until 1915.

This car has been restored to a condition that is about as fantastic as you will find a launch-year Hupmobile. It is well-equipped and is described as running and driving very well. It should sell for between $60,000-$80,000. And boy do I love the white tires with the white body! Read more here and see more from Worldwide’s Houston Classic here.

Update: Sold $66,000.

Bonhams Preservation Sale Highlights (10/12)

Bonhams held a really interesting sale at the Simeone Foundation in Philadelphia on October 8, 2012. Many of the cars were unrestored survivors but not offered from the Simeone Foundation itself (unfortunately). And some of them were quite interesting, the most interesting of which, I think, still has to be the Woods Mobilette cyclecar that we featured. It sold for $48,300. Our featured Hahn pickup failed to sell. Top sale went to a one-owner 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona for $357,000.

The “interesting sales” portion of this sale consisted of, well… most of the sale. This 1960 Facel-Vega Excellence Sedan is pretty rare and the price showed it, even in “used-car” condition, at $159,000.

But old cars were the name of the game. And barn finds at that. Check out this 1928 Packard Custom Eight Series 4-43 7-Passenger Touring and how, well, creepy it looks. Love it. It sold for $36,000.

And they got even older still: this 1903 Knox Model C Runabout was the oldest car that sold and it brought $69,000.

This 1917 Crane-Simplex Model 5 Dual-Cowl Victoria had wonderful Phaeton coachwork by Farnham & Nelson and is the type of car people dream about coming across in an old garage somewhere. It has never been restored – just preserved, which was the name of the game here and it’s incredible the kind of cars they found that hadn’t been restored. This one sold for $208,500.

Our two other feature cars both sold: the 1904 Buckmobile Runabout for $46,000 and the 1910 McIntrye High-Wheeler for $37,950. Another car I kind of liked was this 1913 Hupmobile Model 32 convertible. It looks gigantic for being a two-seater. It sold for $32,200.

This barn-fresh 1931 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A with Lancefield Faux-Cabriolet coachwork was offered publicly for the first time since 1961. It sold for $186,500.

Not everything was priced exorbitantly. There were some steals to be had. Were I there, I would have definitely bid on this 1926 Buick Standard Six Model 20 Coupe – and probably right up to its $6,900 sale price.

And there were other cars that were just as attractive – in both style and price. You can check them all out here. In any case, this sale proves that there are people who love cars in original condition – even if that means unsightly rust and/or wear. Over-restored cars are pretty on TV or on the lawn at Pebble Beach. But those cars aren’t any fun and they are completely devoid of personality. Give me an 80+ year old car with scrapes and dings and chipped paint and torn seats over some trailer-queen exotic any day.