Ruxton Roadster

1930 Ruxton Model C Roadster by Baker-Raulang

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

How the Ruxton came to be is an interesting tale. William Muller designed the front-wheel drive prototype while working at Budd, a producer of car bodies. The idea was to sell the design to a manufacturer in exchange for the rights to build the bodies. Instead, a man named Archie Andrews showed up. He was on the board of Budd as well as Hupmobile.

But he couldn’t convince Hupmobile to build the car. So he set up New Era Motors in New York City and was going to do it himself. He finally convinced struggling Moon to take on production. But in doing so, he traded the rights to the design for a controlling interest in Moon, ousting the directors and installing Muller of all people as the head of the company. The Moon treasury was essentially raided to fund the project and Moon shortly ceased to exist.

The debacle also managed to take down Kissel, who had become entangled in Ruxton production. Nevermind that the name Ruxton came from the name of a man that Andrews hoped would invest in the project – but didn’t, and instead sued. After Ruxton closed, Andrews was booted from the Hupmobile board, And, to add insult to injury (literally), he died shortly thereafter.

The Model C was the only model Ruxton produced and they were powered by 100 horsepower, Continental straight-eight engines. Only 96 were built between 1929 and 1931, and they are fantastic (I’m a sucker for Woodlite headlights). They were also very expensive.

Only 12 roadsters were built, and they were bodied by “Baker-Raulang,” which was effectively the remnants of three once-distinct electric car makers that had been reduced to, well, not building their own cars. This car was one of the cars assembled by Kissel.

Ruxtons are interesting and rarely change hands. This one is expected to fetch between $350,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $747,500.

Ford Model C

1904 Ford Model C Tonneau

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

Photo – Bonhams

This is the final missing piece as far as pre-Model T Fords go. We’ve featured every other model, beginning with the Model A and Model AC, the Model B, Model F, Model K, Model N, Model R, and Model S. This is a fine example of the 1904 and 1905-only Model C.

The Model C uses the same engine as did the AC: a 10 horsepower, 2.0-liter flat-twin. Though 1904 was only the second year for Ford production, the Model C was a leap forward from the Model A. Mechanically similar to the AC, it is a more “modern-looking”  car (you know, for 1904) with a more conventional layout. Though it was sold side-by-side with the Model F in 1905, the F would ultimately replace the C in 1906.

This was a $950 car when new and only 870 examples were built between the two model years. It is thought that only about 20 remain. This particular example was built in Canada. It should sell for between $41,000-$53,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $104,482.

Thomas-Detroit Tourer

1907 Thomas-Detroit Model C Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 3, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Thomas-Detroit was a short-lived marque founded in 1906 after two former Oldsmobile employees had a chance encounter with E.R. Thomas of the Thomas Motor Company. The two ex-Olds employees, engineer Howard Coffin and salesman Roy Chapin, convinced Thomas to help fund their building of a slightly smaller car than Thomas was currently offering out of his Buffalo-based enterprise.

So Thomas-Detroit was set up in Detroit to build a 40HP car. It was offered in 1906, 1907, and 1908 only because Chapin and Coffin became tired of being managed from afar. They convinced Hugh Chalmers to buy out Thomas and the marque became Chalmers-Detroit for 1909 before becoming just Chalmers in 1911.

This Model C is powered by a 5.8-liter straight-four making 40 horsepower. It was offered as a Runabout, Touring car, Limousine, or Landaulette. This Touring would’ve cost $2,750 when new. Very few Thomas-Detroit motorcars were ever completed and sold before the company’s name changed. This one has been wonderfully restored and should bring between $125,000-$175,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $61,600.

1904 Stanley

1904 Stanley Model C Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Stanley brothers founded their first car company in 1897 but ended up selling the rights to that design to someone else. In 1902 they were back with a new, more modern-looking design. This 1904 Model C is a pretty early Stanley, but it’s not the earliest we’ve featured here on this site.

The Model C was offered in 1903 and 1904. It features a 6.5 horsepower twin-cylinder steam engine. It was the only 1903 model listed, but was the baby Stanley for 1904 (as there were two more powerful cars offered). The Model C cost $695 in 1904.

This particular car is fairly original. It has been repainted and a new boiler was installed within the last five years. It’s been sitting idle for almost that entire time, but with little effort it should be made roadworthy by its new owner. This car is expected to bring between $45,000-$65,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s Hershey lineup.

Update: Sold $55,000.

Car-Nation

1913 Car-Nation Model C Roadster

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Car-Nation. Get it? Carnation. Forrest Keeton found success with his Keeton automobile and so he launched a second brand: the Car-Nation Motorette Company. Both companies were purchased by Charles Schaeffer and merged into the American Voiturette Company. The Car-Nation marque only existed between 1912 and 1915.

It’s a cyclecar, and is powered by an 18 horsepower 2.2-liter straight-four. Three models were ever offered by the company and this is the Roadster. It was the least expensive at $495 – which was cheaper than a Model T.

This car was discovered in Maine in 1954 and restored. It spent a long time in a museum but is being offered from a private owner. Only two Car-Nation Model C Roadsters are known to exist and there can’t be that many Car-Nations out there in general. It should sell for between $35,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $24,200.

5 Great Classics

1919 Detroit Electric Model 75-A Four-Passenger Brougham

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Detroit Electric is one of the most famous names in electric automobiles. They built cars for a while, too, beginning in 1907 and lasting through the mid-to-late-30s. Later models are rarer than these post-WWI, upright, boxy cars. The company offered quite a large range of cars during this period – 1919 alone had six different model/body style combinations.

This car is powered by a 4.3 horsepower electric motor. It is mostly original but has been repainted. It’s an timeless design. This is the type of car you can use or restore and not feel bad about either choice. It should sell for between $40,000-$50,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $30,250.


1915 Cretors Model C Popcorn Wagon

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Charles Cretors invented the popcorn machine. His shop sold roasted peanuts but he wasn’t satisfied with the machine he had, so he built his own. His company started building horse-drawn popcorn wagons and for a brief time, actually offered motorized popcorn wagon trucks.

This truck features a Cretors chassis and a 4.0-liter Buda straight-four making 22.5 horsepower. The Harrah Collection acquired this example in 1963 and restored it to working perfection. It’s the ultimate toy/promotional vehicle/historical artifact. Only eight or nine of these were built and less than five survive. It’s really cool and will cost its new owner between $250,000-$325,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $231,000.


1916 Winton Six-33 Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Alexander Winton should be one of everyone’s automotive heroes – he’s definitely one of ours. Winton cars were always reliable, attractive, and well-built. The cars deserved to be around a lot longer than 1924, but the marque lived on in one form or another as a producer of engines until the 1960s.

The six-cylinder Winton Model 33 was built between 1916 and 1919. It uses a 5.7-liter straight-six making almost 34 horsepower. Body style could be had just about any way you wanted it and this seven-passenger touring was the largest of the four touring styles offered. It’s great and should bring between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $74,250.


1909 Petrel 30HP Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Petrel was a very short-lived automobile make from Wisconsin. Initial production in 1909 took place in Kenosha but by later that year they had relocated to Milwaukee, where they stayed until the plant closed in 1912. A six-cylinder car was offered in 1909 alongside the four, but the smaller cars were the sweet spot for the company.

This 30 horsepower straight-four is of 4.7-liters in displacement. It resembles a lot of other, early roadsters but that vibrant purple really sets it apart. And yes, that is the original color, although it was exquisitely restored 50 years ago. Less than 1,000 Petrels were built and it is thought that this is the only survivor. It should bring between $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Silver Ghost Landaulette by Barker

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

This is a huge car. And it’s gorgeous, too. The Landaulette body by Barker offers a downright cavernous passenger compartment fitted with all the luxuries available to the British motoring public on the dawn of WWI. The engine, chassis, and coachwork are all the matching originals. The car was restored between 2004 and 2005.

The 40/50HP Silver Ghost still stands as one of Rolls-Royce’s finest achievements. The engine is a 7.4-liter straight-six. While maybe not a fun driver’s car, it seems more fitting as one to be chauffeured around in. It has known ownership history since new and should bring between $500,000-$700,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $577,500.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019, $665,000.

Cretors Popcorn Wagon

1915 Cretors Model C Popcorn Wagon

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Charles Cretors invented the popcorn machine. His shop sold roasted peanuts but he wasn’t satisfied with the machine he had, so he built his own. His company started building horse-drawn popcorn wagons and for a brief time, actually offered motorized popcorn wagon trucks.

This truck features a Cretors chassis and a 4.0-liter Buda straight-four making 22.5 horsepower. The Harrah Collection acquired this example in 1963 and restored it to working perfection. It’s the ultimate toy/promotional vehicle/historical artifact. Only eight or nine of these were built and less than five survive. It’s really cool and will cost its new owner between $250,000-$325,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $231,000.

1906 Jewell

1906 Jewell Model C Runabout

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 5, 2015

Photo - Worldwide Auctioneers

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

The Jewell was a product of the Forest City Motor Car Company of Cleveland, Ohio. After the first year of production (1906, which didn’t go so well), the company moved to Massillon, Ohio, and renamed themselves “Jewel.”

This light runabout is either a Model B or Model C (it is listed in the catalog as “Runabout”). The difference was that the Model C had a top and while this is more of an umbrella, I’m considering it a “top” because I don’t see how a convertible top would be possible on this high-wheeler-esque design. I will, however, admit to liking the Oklahoma!-like parasol.

The engine is a single-cylinder making eight horsepower. It is one of three known with tiller steering (of Jewell or Jewel) of about 1,000 total cars produced by the company over their short lifespan (Jewel disappeared after 1909). And it sports a very nice restoration. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $29,700.

Schmidt Truck

1910 Schmidt Model C Prototype

Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10, 2013

1910 Schmidt Model C

This rare, all-original truck is being offered for sale from the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum. It has been on display for at least 10 years and was originally painted red and yellow – most of the yellow is still visible, but the original red paint is almost gone.

This is a preservationist’s dream. Everything is untouched and original (albeit, it doesn’t currently run and will need a slight mechanical freshening). This truck was the factory demonstrator for the Schmidt brothers, whose commercial trucks went on sale in 1911. The company closed just two years later in 1913. The truck was shown at shows and was never road-registered, has no serial number, and has only a small number of miles.

The engine, which is not working, is a two-cycle – and I can’t really see more of it to describe it further. It is estimated that Schmidt built less than 100 total vehicles and this was among the first. It should sell for between $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Hershey.

Update: Sold $18,700.

Vespa Ape

1963 Vespa Ape Model C

Offered by RM Auctions | Madison, Georgia | February 15-16, 2013

1963 Vespa Ape

Photo – RM Auctions

The iconic Vespa scooter was introduced by Piaggio in 1946. It was great for transporting people cheaply around the windy streets of Italy. It was not so great for transporting things. So Piaggio sent their designers back to the drawing board and in 1948 the Ape came to market. This Model C has an enclosed metal box at the rear and a bench seat up front. Payload was 770 pounds – about all the 5.8 horsepower 145.5cc single-cylinder can handle. The controls are still scooter-like and the rear box actually tips. It’s a useful little commercial vehicle. It should bring between $5,000-$10,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $25,300.