Five Pre-War Sedans from Bonhams

Five Pre-War Sedans from Bonhams

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 8, 2018


1908 De Dion-Bouton Type AX 15HP Double Berline

Photo – Bonhams

De Dion-Bouton was arguably the first automotive giant. Founded in 1883, they (and more specifically, their single-cylinder engines) were a mainstay in the earliest days of the automobile industry. The company declined significantly after WWI and they were gone by 1932.

This is a Model AX and it was part of De Dion’s first line of four-cylinder cars. It’s powered by a 15 horsepower four-cylinder unit. The body is a Double Sedan, which means it has two passenger compartments attached. It’s a great early body style and kind of looks like one of those Model T House Cars that are out there. The body was built by Roussille & Fils. This car had an active life in collector circles until recently but it’s a pretty nice example of a big, early car. It should sell for between $110,000-$130,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $227,019.


1924 Turcat-Mery 15/25HP Model SG Saloon

Photo – Bonhams

Some of the best Turcat-Mery’s are sporty tourers. The company was around from 1899 through 1928 and they had to produce a few more standard designs, you know, in order to keep income flowing in.

Before disappearing in 1928, they had financial issues (actually, back in 1921). Once they got production running again, the Model SG was among the first cars rolling back out of the factory. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter straight-four rated at 16 horsepower. This particular example has been on museum display since 1987. It’s not quite roadworthy at the moment, but it does look really good. It should bring between $24,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $29,796.


1928 Minerva Type AK Landaulette

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a number of Minervas recently and here’s a slightly newer one. The Type AK was available from Minerva for a decade: 1927 through 1937. This example is in fairly original shape (or at least sporting an older restoration). The rear compartment seats up to five, which makes this pretty limousine-ish.

It’s powered by a 6.0-liter Knight sleeve-valve straight-six making 150 horsepower. It’s described as a Landaulette, which may mean that the top can be removed from half of this car, but no mention is made of that in the lot description, nor are there photos of the car in this state. Either way, it’s a pretty desirable car from a rare exotic make and it should bring between $85,000-$120,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $78,037.


1910 Renault 35CV Type AIB Open-Drive Limousine

Photo – Bonhams

Here is another Double Sedan from another early French automotive powerhouse (that is, remarkably, also green). It’s actually a little more complex than the De Dion-Bouton offered above. The rear compartment is large and has limousine-quantity seating. The driver’s compartment has a removable hard-top if you wish to subject your chauffeur to the elements.

This model from Renault was new for 1907 and features a 7.4-liter straight-four making 30 horsepower. This car was delivered new to the U.S. and spent nearly 40 years on display at the Henry Ford Museum before making it’s way to the U.K. in the 1970s. It’s been on display in Ireland for about the last 25 years and it is almost entirely original. Even in its current not-running condition, it should bring between $85,000-$110,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $195,385.


1938 Minerva Type F/M8 Limousine

Photo – Bonhams

Here’s yet another Minerva, this one much closer to WWII than any of the others. This was actually from the final year of Minerva passenger car production. They weren’t building many cars per year by this point, which makes this pretty rare. It would have been called a Type F in Belgium, but when imported to the U.K. the importer decided to call it an M8.

It’s powered a 4.0-liter straight-eight and has a big limousine body. This would have been a pretty nice car for whatever Londoner purchased it new (and perhaps purchased it off the stand at the 1938 London Motor Show). It has had a light restoration but could probably use a good looking-over before use. It should bring between $49,000-$58,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $99,320.

4 Pre-WWI Minervas

Pre-WWI Minervas

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 8, 2018


1907 Minerva Type K 40HP Transformable Open-Drive Limousine Torpedo

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams managed to snag an unreal collection of Minerva automobiles for their Rétromobile sale. This is the oldest of the bunch, dating to 1907 – which was just five years after the Belgian firm built their first cars.

The Type K features a 40 horsepower 6.2-liter straight-six. This car was aimed squarely at the top of the market – right at Rolls-Royce. It’s a gigantic car, with an open (or covered) driver’s compartment and an enclosed limousine rear (but also with a removable top… which I guess makes this entire car technically a convertible). The body is by Belvallette et Cie. It was purchased new off of Minvera’s stand at the 1907 Paris Auto Salon.

It was discovered in 1966 and immediately placed in a museum. In 1981 it changed hands again and the collection it is coming out of acquired it in 1995. Did I mention that this 111-year-old car is entirely original? It’s been expertly preserved and it should bring between $420,000-$550,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $744,906.


1910 Minerva Model S 26HP Open-Drive Landaulette

Photo – Bonhams

The 1910 Minerva range consisted of three models, the entry-level 16HP, the top-of-the-line 38HP, and this, the mid-range 26HP Model S. The engine is a Knight sleeve-valve 4.1-liter straight-four. The body looks extremely complicated with a retractable top out back and a removable hardtop for the driver, which when both are down, leaves a little piece of roof sticking up in the middle.

This car was delivered new to France and returned to Belgium in 1918. The current collection acquired the car in 1999 and there was a restoration, but no one seems to know when it was performed. At any rate, it’s aged nicely and should bring between $110,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $205,736.


1911 Minerva Model Z 38HP Open-Drive Limousine

Photo – Bonhams

This Minerva looks a little bit newer than 1911, which I guess is a testament to its great design. The Model Z was the “big” Minerva for 1911, powered by a 6.3-liter Knight sleeve-valve straight-four making 38 horsepower. The body almost has a “C-Cab” look to the driver’s compartment, which is very stylish. Unfortunately, the coachbuilder is unknown.

This car was delivered new to Spain and entered the current collection more than 30 years ago. It’s thought to be mostly original, but it will require some freshening as it’s been sitting for a few years. Compared to some of the other Minervas in this sale, this car is on the cheap side, with a pre-sale estimate of $55,000-$67,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $87,969.


1912 Minerva Model CC 38HP Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

Just like in 1910 and 1911, the 1912 Minerva line consisted of three models of differing power outputs with this, the 38HP model being the largest. It’s powered by a sleeve-valve 7.2-liter straight-four rated at 38 horsepower. That large displacement coupled with the Knight engine made for exceptionally smooth running.

This is a big touring car equipped with a second windshield for the rear passengers. Delivered new to the U.K., this car was pulled from a Scottish barn in the 1960s and restored as-needed before the end of the 1970s. It’s been on static display in this collection for up to the last 15 years, which means it’ll need a little TLC if you want to take it out on the road. It should sell for between $55,000-$67,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $156,075.

1913 Minerva Tourer

1913 Minerva Type DD 14HP Victoria Tourer by Cann & Co

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 6, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Minerva built very nice luxury automobiles between 1902 and 1938, with production of other vehicles picking up after the war and continuing until 1956. Their cars of the 1930s are right up there with Packards and Rolls-Royces and the like, except they were from Belgium. In fact, the Minerva dealer in London in the early years was Charles Rolls (who would become half of Rolls-Royce).

Minerva offered a range of vehicles in 1913. The Type DD uses a 2.1-liter straight-four making 14 horsepower. Minerva cars from 1910 used Knight sleeve-valve engines, this car included. The body is said to be by Cann & Company of London as it wears that company’s tag on the body.

But the history of this car says it was discovered in Australia in 1962 and taken to California. The Australians said the body was local and the rear half of the body had been removed and replaced with a pickup-like rear end. A Minerva Ute. But it has been restored to what it should have looked like in 1913. It is road-ready and should sell for between $67,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ auction lineup.

Update: Sold $66,726.

Minerva Off-Roader

1957 Minerva C22

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2013

1957 Minerva C22

Minerva built some of the grandest European automobiles of the 1930s. But then war broke out and ruined their business model – as happened to just about every other manufacturer (some adapted well and prospered during the war by building military vehicles).

So when the war ended, Minerva was borderline broke and couldn’t develop anything on their own. So they looked to the U.K. and some of their manufacturers to see if there was anything they could license. They found a few, among them, the Land Rover. The Series I Land Rover was introduced in 1948 and Minerva picked up the license shortly thereafter. The trucks arrived in Belgium as complete knock-down kits, which they then assembled, badged as “Minerva”s and sold to the Belgian army. The difference being that Land Rover’s were aluminium-bodied and the Minervas used steel.

By 1956, the licensing agreement ended and Minerva developed its “own” version of the Land Rover. There were two versions: a long wheelbase and a short wheelbase. The C22 was the LWB version and both were intended for civilians. The engine is a 2.3-liter straight-four. Very few of either model were made before Minerva shuttered its factory. In fact, it is estimated that only three C22s were built and only a few dozen C20s. So it’s very rare. It should sell for between $33,000-$46,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Paris.

Update: Sold $55,500.

Minerva Convertible Sedan

1931 Minerva Model AL “Windswept” Convertible Sedan by Rollston

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2013

1931 Minerva Model AL Windswept Convertible Sedan by Rollston

Minerva is one of the great makes of the 1930s. They built big, powerful, imposing cars for the rich elite. The cars came adorned in the fanciest coachwork from the most respected of coachbuilders. This particular Minerva meets all of the above criteria.

Dutchman Sylvain de Jong started manufacturing bicycles under the name Minerva in Antwerp, Belgium in 1897 before moving onto automobiles. In 1930, the Model AL was introduced. It uses a 6.6-liter sleeve-valve straight-eight making between 120-130 horsepower. The wheelbase of 152 inches was one of the longest you could get, giving the folks at Rollston a lot of room to work with when crafting this exquisite “windswept” convertible sedan. The “windswept” referring to the distinct “in-motion” look the car has when sitting still – the sharp angle of the doors, A & B pillars and roofline.

Rollston provided some of the most expensive coachwork you could buy in the 1930s and the Minerva AL chassis was also near the top of its own list. In fact, it was so expensive, only about 50 were ever built and you had to have deep pockets to get one. This car was purchased new by the son-in-law of R.J. Reynolds (of tobacco fame). Over the years, it has maintained its exclusive price, with a pre-sale estimate of $900,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Scottsdale.

Update: Did not sell.

Update II: Sold, RM Auctions, New York, 2013: $660,000.