Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 25, 2022
Perhaps the photographer should’ve stepped back 10 feet. C.T. electric trucks were produced by the Commercial Truck Company of America, which was based in Philadelphia. The company built, well, commercial trucks, many of which looked like this, from 1908 through 1928.
Power is from four General Electric electric motors, with one stationed at each wheel. They had a range of 40-50 miles, and this one was one of 20 used by the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post… into the 1960s! I once bid on one of these trucks, but that’s a story for a different day.
There are some of these funky trucks out there (pretty sure NATMUS has one). You can check out more about this one here.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | October 28, 2021
Billy Durant’s second automobile empire after GM was Durant Motors. It only lasted for a decade, from 1921 through 1931, but he did manage to assemble a small contingent of brands, including Durant, Flint, Mason, and Star. He even expanded overseas.
But the Star name was already in use in the U.K. So Durant rebranded his Star cars as the Rugby for the British Commonwealth. It was a relative success. About 70,000 Model Fs were churned out under the various Durant brands across all markets. This car is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four that was rated at 35 horsepower when new.
The great thing about Stars is that they are very inexpensive today, even for a nice one, which this looks to be. The pre-sale estimate is only $10,000-$11,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 2-5, 2021
The earliest Cadillacs were single-cylinder cars. The first multi-cylinder cars appeared in 1905, the same year in which the single-cylinder Model F was built. It was their most expensive of four single-powered models that year.
The F was identical to the Model E save for a two-inch-longer wheelbase. It was also available as a touring car with a non-detachable tonneau and two side doors – a first for a single-cylinder Cadillac. That single displaces 1.6 liters and made nine horsepower. The front hood is just for show – the engine is mounted under the seats.
Cadillac sold 4,029 cars of all types in 1905. The touring car variant oft he F (a delivery van was also available) retailed for $950 new. You can read more about this one here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019
1906 White Model F Touring
Thomas White‘s sewing machine business gave way to steam cars in 1900. The company was a pioneer in their field, but they ultimately saw the light and phased out steam cars in favor of gas-powered vehicles in 1912.
This 1906 Model F Touring was the second-cheapest car White offered in 1906 after the Model F Runabout. At $2,800, it wasn’t cheap. But the White was one of the more popular – and more well-built – steam cars of their day. This one looks great but would look better with a convertible top. It should bring between $40,000-$60,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $96,250.
1917 Chandler Type 17 Seven-Passenger Touring
Frederic Chandler worked for Lozier before he jumped ship in 1913 with a few of his fellow employees to form his own company. The Chandler was a hit and lasted through 1929, when it was acquired by Hupmobile and quickly phased out.
There were a lot of cars “in the middle” of the American market in the 1910s and 20s. Chandler was one of the better ones in that class. This 1917 model is powered by a 27 horsepower 4.4-liter inline-six. Five body styles were offered, and the seven-passenger touring sold new for $1,395. This time around it should bring between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $18,700.
1923 Gardner Model 5 Five-Passenger Sedan
The most interesting thing about this Gardner sedan, to me, is thinking about who purchased it in 1923. No one in 1923 knew that GM, Chrysler, and Ford would still be around 100 years later. But surely someone assumed Gardner would’ve been. After all, it was a well-regarded company from St. Louis that built a fair number of cars. It’s just hard to imagine someone wandering down to their local Gardner dealer and plunking down the cash.
Gardners were built from 1920 through 1931, and the company sort of inched upmarket each year, with their final offerings bordering on luxury cars. Kind of like Chrysler. But back in ’23, they were just another middle-class marque. The Model 5 could be had in a few styles, the sedan selling for $1,365. It kind of looks like a taxi and is powered by a 43 horsepower inline-four. It is expected to bring between $20,000-$30,000. But I bet it goes cheaper than that. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $13,200.
1930 Marquette Model 35 Five-Passenger Phaeton
GM’s “companion make” philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s gave us Pontiac and LaSalle. Both of which were relatively successful. In fact, Pontiac was so successful that GM killed off the brand that spawned it, Oakland. So they figured they’d give Buick a companion. And they did: Marquette.
It only lasted for a single model year. Six models were offered, all priced right at about $1,000. All Marquettes are powered by a 3.5-liter inline-six good for 67 horsepower. The Model 35 Phaeton sold for $1,020, and this is one of 889 such cars built.
In all, Marquette production totaled 35,007 before GM killed it off. This rare survivor should bring between $15,000-$25,000, which seems like a steal. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $15,950.
1933 Terraplane Deluxe Six Model KU Sedan
I was excited to feature an Essex. But I forgot that Hudson killed off the Essex marque in favor of Terraplane beginning in 1933. So instead of featuring a final-year example from Essex, we’re featuring a launch-year example of the Terraplane.
Terraplane offered six and eight-cylinder cars in 1933 that were essentially down-market Hudsons. A slew of body styles were offered, and the sedan cost $655 when new. A 3.2-liter inline-six good for 70 horsepower provided the oomph. This is a handsome car in good colors. It’s well-trimmed, with chrome bumpers and four suicide doors. The best part is it is usable and is expected to fetch only $15,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1904 Haynes-Apperson Model F Rear-Entrance Tonneau
Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019
Haynes-Apperson is a manufacturer that few know about. But it is one of the most important. Elwood Haynes, who would later hold a patent on stainless steel, partnered with brothers Elmer and Edgar Apperson in 1894 to build a motorcar. A company sprang up in 1898, the first in Indiana (Kokomo, to be exact), and was soon churning out cars as fast as they could. Haynes was a difficult guy to get along with from a business perspective, and the Apperson brothers departed the company in 1902. Haynes-Apperson became just Haynes in 1904.
In 1904, the last year before the name change, the company produced a car called the Model F. It is powered by a flat-twin capable of 18 horsepower. It featured left-hand drive, an adjustable steering column, and a bunch of brass, making it seem rather opulent for the time.
This example was restored by its late owner and is one of two known examples of the Model F in the world. Long overlooked, Haynes-Apperson deserves to be appreciated as one of America’s first, and thereby most important, automobile manufacturers. This car should sell for between $180,000-$240,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
1906 Ford Model F Twin-Cylinder Side-Entrance Tonneau
Offered by Bonhams | Hillegom, Netherlands | June 23, 2018
Photo – Bonhams
The first Ford, the Model A, was a two-cylinder car. In 1904 they introduced their first four-cylinder, which carried over into 1905. 1906 would see Ford launch their first six-cylinder car, but they still introduced a new two-cylinder car in 1905. That is the Model F. It would be Ford’s last two-cylinder car after it exited production at the end of 1906.
Only two Model F body styles were offered in 1905 and just this, the two-door, four-passenger touring car, carried over to 1906. It’s powered by a 2.1-liter flat-twin making 16 horsepower, a good jump over earlier 10 horsepower twins. Fun note on the Model F: you know how Ford was famous for only selling black Model Ts? Well, to adjust the famous phrase, “you can get a Model F in any color you want so long as it’s green.” Kind of weird, yeah? It’s like Henry bought his paint in bulk and used it exclusively until it was gone.
The Model F was a strong seller but, even with its advanced price, they did not survive. It’s thought that less than 50 remain today of the 1,250 sold in two years of production. This car was delivered new to Iowa where it remained for some time. The restoration dates to the late 1990s, right before it was added to the current museum collection in the Netherlands. When new this was an $1,100 car and it should bring between $47,000-$64,000 today. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
George B. Weidely sold his first car in 1902 and his Premier Motor Manufacturing Company continued to build four, and primarily six, cylinder cars through 1925. Based in Indianapolis, the brand was at the heart of one of America’s major early automobile manufacturing cities.
The 1904 Premier range was the first year they offered multiple models. This, the Model F, was the mid-range model and the top trim four-cylinder car the firm sold, priced at $1,400 when new. It’s powered by a 16 horsepower four-cylinder engine. The only body style offered was the Rear-Entrance Tonneau you see here.
This particular example was restored in 1999 and is finished in Brewster Green and Canary (yellow). Only two 1904 Premiers have survived, the other being the more-expensive-when-new Two-Cylinder model that is in possession of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Even though this is an American automobile, it is London-to-Brighton eligible and should sell for between $175,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 20, 2017
Photo – Mecum
Ransom E. Olds’ second company, REO, went out of business in 1975 after 30 years of producing nothing but trucks. Those trucks were a mainstay of the business since 1910 and have, whether you know it or not, kept the brand famous ever since. The Reo Speedwagon was a series of exceptional trucks that kept the business going for decades.
This Model F is powered by a straight-six that runs the rear wheels through a 3-speed transmission. It rides on 12 spoke wooden wheels with metal rims. There’s brass and chrome spotted throughout and it’s bodied as a transport bus. We love old commercial vehicles because they’ve survived against all odds – this one is no different. If it was used as a bus in the 1920s, it was probably abused and someone took the time to save it.
This is one of just 12 Speedwagons built in 1926. It’s been restored and is stated to be “wonderful for parades,” which is probably true because what else are you going to use it for? Mecum sold this bus in 2015 for $80,000 against an estimate of $75,000-$125,000 prior to any road testing. Now it is apparently running and is estimated to bring between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
I do love those tires. Why aren’t any modern cars equipped with solid white tires? I guess people would complain about having to keep them clean, but it would certainly make a statement. Anyway, the Dolson Automobile Company (known as J.L. Dolson & Sons until 1906) of Charlotte, Michigan, produced big 60hp touring cars from 1904 through 1907 – meaning this car came from the final year of production. This four-cylinder car would have cost about $3,250 in 1907 – hardly cheap.
It is a well-equipped car and even features galvanized steel (a rarity in the day), which should have improved the car’s chance of long-term survival. But Dolson isn’t a marque you see too often. Later in the company’s short existence, they introduced a 20hp flat-twin model as well as a 28/30hp four-cylinder.
However, even though the cars were of a very high quality, success wasn’t to be and Dolson was liquidated in 1908 after production ceased the year prior. This is a rare opportunity to get your hands on one. The cost? $110,000. For more information, click here.
Update: Sold, RM Auctions, St. Johns, Michigan, 2012 – $74,250.