Five Cars from Indiana

1905 De Tamble-Miller High-Wheel Runabout Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Edward De Tamble‘s earliest cars were highwheelers. Series production didn’t start until 1908 in Indianapolis (and later, Anderson, Indiana), and this car predates that time. It carries a stamp calling it a De Tamble & Miller, but not much is really known about it.

Mostly original, it is thought that this was the prototype De Tamble, and it uses parts from the era, including the gearbox from a Ford Model F. It’s a one-off piece of early automotive history, and you can read more about it here.

Update: Sold $26,400.


1907 Kiblinger Model D High-Wheel Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

If you’re noticing a trend, yes, Indiana liked their highwheelers before 1910. The Kiblinger was a product of Auburn, Indiana, where they were built between 1907 and 1909. There are a few of them on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum. And this car was once on display there too.

The Model D was one of six models produced by the company, and it’s powered by a 10 horsepower, two-cylinder engine that is shared with similar cars from Sears. Speaking of similar cars, company president W.H. McIntyre shut down and re-branded the company as the McIntyre after they were sued for patent infringement by Success. You can read more about this car here.

Update: Sold $28,600.


1908 Mier Model A Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The short-lived Mier was built by the Mier Carriage and Buggy Company of Ligonier, Indiana in 1908 and 1909. Solomon Mier, and his son A.B., built about 100 cars during that time before returning to the horse-drawn buggy industry, where they managed to stay in business into the 1920s.

This Model A Runabout was one of two models offered in 1908. Power is from a 10 horsepower inline-twin. Of the 100 built, only two remain, making this a great chance to get your hands on a truly rare car. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1917 Elcar Model E Cloverleaf Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Elcar actually traces its roots back to Pratt-Elkhart, which was one of Indiana’s highest-quality early cars. That company later became Pratt, which was quickly reformed as the Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company in 1915. They built the Elcar through 1931.

This was the only model available in 1917, and it is one of four body styles offered. The Cloverleaf Roadster retailed for $845 and is powered by a 34 horsepower, Lycoming inline-four. Prediction: this car sells for what would appear to be a great deal. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,400.


1931 Auburn Model 8-98A Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Somehow we’ve only featured one Auburn car prior to this. Indiana was a force in the early days of the automobile industry, and Auburn was one of its star products, which were offered between 1900 and 1937. They built some pretty fantastic cars in the mid-1930s, but everyone seems to forget that they built “normal”-looking cars like this alongside those wild boattail speedsters.

The 8-98 and the 8-98A were the only models offered in 1931. They were powered by a 98 horsepower straight-eight. Various body styles were available, and this sedan would’ve cost its new owner $1,195. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $19,800.

Two Knox Automobiles

1900 Knox Model A 5HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

How Harry A. Knox became to be an automobile manufacturer probably has something to do with how this car looks. His neighbor happened to be J. Frank Duryea, who along with his brother, was one of America’s first automobile producers. And their early cars looked a lot like this (three-wheelers included).

The auction catalog lists this as a c.1899, but my information says that Knox built their first 15 3-wheelers in 1900. Another 100 were built in 1901, and a 4-wheeler was added in 1902. This car is powered by a five horsepower, 1.6-liter single-cylinder engine.

The engine number is 28, which might mean this was actually built in 1901. In any case, it’s one of the earliest Knox cars around, and it is really, really cool. It should sell for between $100,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $106,400.


1910 Knox Model R Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Here’s a later Knox, and a much larger, more traditional example. When I think of this marque I think of tiny, early runabouts like this one. But later on, they certainly built big tourers as well.

The Model R was sold in 1910 through 1912 and it is powered by a 40 horsepower, 6.1-liter straight-four. It has shaft drive and is finished in an attractive combo of blue with red wheels. The restoration is described as older, but with big power on tap, it should be a nice, usable car.

The seven-passenger touring body style was only available on the Model R in 1912, after the wheelbase was extended to 122″. But who knows, anything is possible with old cars. This one should bring between $175,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $156,800.

1902 Yale

1902 Yale Model A Detachable Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Yale was a product of the Kirk Manufacturing Company, a bicycle manufacturer from Toledo, Ohio. It went on sale in the summer of 1902. The company produced two-cylinder cars through 1905, when a four-cylinder arrive just in time for the company to close. The reason they gave? They were “too busy” to make cars. Bankruptcy followed in 1906.

This Model A is from the first year of manufacture and is powered by a 3.2-liter flat-twin making 10 horsepower. Annual developments saw the power rating grow to 16 by 1905. The detachable rear-entrance tonneau was the only body style offered for the first two years.

Fun story, the original owner of this car lost it in a poker game to famed lawman Pat Garrett, who was killed a few years later. This car was used in his funeral procession and ultimately restored a few owners later in the 1950s (and again later on). It’s a rare early American automobile that should bring between $90,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $105,280.

Ford’s First Model

1903 Ford Model A Open Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Hillegom, Netherlands | June 23, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Henry Ford had two companies that failed before the Ford Motor Company finally found its footing. The first model that they put on sale was the Model A, the original Model A, not the one from the late-20s. It was only sold in 1903 and transformed into the Model AC for 1904.

The engine is a 1.6-liter flat-twin. Horsepower was rated at eight. Two body styles were offered: a two-passenger runabout or a larger four-seat tonneau as you see here. This car would’ve cost $850 when new but it was handily outsold by other cars at the time. Ford wouldn’t perfect that famous low-price approach for another decade or so.

Ford maintains that they built 670 examples of the Model A, though other sources differ. The exact history of this particular car is unknown at the time of this writing, but it is coming out of an all-Ford museum in the Netherlands. If you want to know more about it, click here. It’s expected that this early piece of American automotive history should bring between $75,000-$95,000. Click here for more from this museum liquidation.

Update: Sold $167,440.

Cadillac Model A

1903 Cadillac Model A Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Dragone Auctions | Lime Rock, Connecticut | September 3, 2017

Photo – Dragone Auctions

When the Henry Ford Company went belly-up in 1902, the company’s investors brought in Henry Leland to appraise what was left. Instead of giving them an assessment, Leland convinced them to reorganize the firm and the Cadillac Automobile Company was formed. It’s first model was this runabout that used a Leland-designed engine.

The first Cadillacs were built at the end of 1902 and these were not technically called “Model As.”  There were some of the same model built in 1903 (as 1904 models) that differed only in that they had more power and a detachable top. These were officially called “Model As.” This is likely one of the cars constructed in 1902 that pre-dated the official Model A, but most people just put all of these cars under the Model A umbrella. Confused yet?

That Leland-designed engine is a 1.6-liter single-cylinder that makes 6.5 horsepower (which correctly dates this as a 1903 model built in 1902). This perfectly restored example is one of just 2,497 examples built. It cost $850 when new and will bring likely at least 100 times that next weekend. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $80,940.

ReVere Touring

1920 ReVere Model A Four-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Named for Paul Revere, the ReVere Motor Car Corporation of Logansport, Indiana, was founded in 1918. It sprung up with a lot of fanfare and its chassis engineer was none other than Gil Andersen, the Norwegian-born pole sitter for the second running of the Indianapolis 500.

The first ReVere models were built in 1919 and the 1920 models were exactly the same. The Model A featured a marvelous engine from Duesenberg. It’s a 5.9-liter straight-four making 106 horsepower. It is touted as the most powerful American car of its day. The body is aluminium – it was made to go fast. And why wouldn’t it? It had three keys of speed going for it: an engine designed by the Duesenberg brothers, a factory within an hours drive of Indianapolis, and two race car drivers on the development payroll. Demonstration runs in the cars were performed by Cannonball Baker.

Unfortunately, the people at the top of the managerial heap at ReVere were more interested in robbing investors. The company was more or less a front to sell stock and rip people off. It worked and they raised a lot of money – but only built a few cars. The company was shut down in 1922 and one of the early founders (Adolph Monsen) tried to relaunch it, but ReVere was gone for good after 1926.

It is believed that only six ReVere automobiles exist today. Despite being run by con artists, the company managed to build great cars. This one is mostly original and does run and drive. It should bring between $125,000-$175,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $137,500.

Duesenberg Model Y

1927 Duesenberg Model Y Phaeton Prototype by McFarlan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6-7, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Never heard of the Duesenberg Model Y? Well it’s a very important car – and as we here are Duesenberg fanatics, it is a brilliantly exciting one as well. The Model Y was the prototype for the legendary Model J. Two were produced and only this one survives (the other one was actually sold to Frank Morgan of The Wizard of Oz and subsequently lost to time).

This prototype originally used a 6.8-liter straight-eight engine that reportedly put out about 200 horsepower. This engine was based on the Model A’s 88 horsepower, 4.2-liter straight-eight (which this car is now powered by). This car was given to August Duesenberg and he was told he had to destroy the chassis. So he put the engine in a race car and put the body (which was styled and built by McFarlan, the automobile company that shut down around the time this car was built) on a Model A chassis and sold it to a local businessman.

This amazing car has been in the ownership of the same family since 1957. It was last restored prior to their purchase and has been on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum for a long time. This is the first time it has been offered for sale in six decades. It’s a milestone automobile and the price it brings will be very interesting. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $340,000.

Fuller Touring

1908 Fuller Model A Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Monterey, California | August 19, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

There were a couple of early manufacturers that went by the trade name of Fuller in the United States. The one we are talking about today was built by the Angus Automobile Company of Angus, Nebraska. The company was founded by Charles Fuller and existed between 1908 and 1910.

The Model A (also known as the Four-30) was offered as a Runabout or the Touring car you see here. The engine is a 4.0-liter straight-four making 40 horsepower. Only about 600 Fullers were built in total (they weren’t cheap but they were very well made) – but at least one still survives!

And the story behind this car is pretty incredible. It goes: a young man saw a Fuller in his hometown and set out on a lifelong quest to have one. Except instead of being able to buy one (as two World War scrap drives had destroyed most of them), he had to piece one together, scouring the country for parts over decades. The car was completed in 1967 and is being sold out of the family that constructed it. It will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $11,000.

1914 Saxon

1914 Saxon Model A Roadster

Offered by H&H Classics | Chateau Impney, U.K. | July 10, 2016

Photo - H&H Classics

Photo – H&H Classics

The Saxon was a car that was originally conceived by Hugh Chalmers, who had been successfully producing cars under his own name for some time. The cars went on sale at the tail end of 1913, being built in Detroit (the company would move to Ypsilanti in 1922 as a last-ditch effort to save the company, which failed later that year).

1913 through 1915 Saxon production consisted of a single model, the Model A, and it was offered as a two-passenger Roadster only. Costing $395 when new, the car is powered by a 1.4-liter straight-four making 12 horsepower.

This example is thought to be the second-oldest Saxon in existence and was restored in the late 1970s for Don “Big Daddy” Garlits. This is not the type of car I picture Don Garlits driving around in. Anyway, it’s been in the U.K. since 2011 and was once owned by the grandson of the Saxon Motor Company founder. It should sell for between $15,000-$19,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $14,953.

K-R-I-T Roadster

1912 K-R-I-T Model A Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 5, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

If you’ve even ever heard of the K-R-I-T Motor Car Company of Detroit, the one thing you probably know about them is that their emblem was a swastika. Fun fact. Fortunately, K-R-I-T, which was founded in 1909, went out of business in 1916 – well enough in advance of the downfall of the original meaning of the swastika, which means lucky or auspicious.

Krit (as the marque was spelled from 1913 onward) offered four different models of its four-cylinder model in 1912. The Model A was the short wheelbase version and the least expensive. It was the Roadster form and cost $800 new. It’s powered by a 22.5 horsepower 2.9-liter straight-four.

It’s an attractive and sporty early American car from a little-known, short-lived manufacturer. This example was actually used in Boardwalk Empire, which is pretty cool. It should sell for between $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $24,200.