Grout Steam Car

1902 Grout Model H Steam Runabout

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Grout was built in Orange, Massachusetts between 1899 and 1912. The company was founded by brothers C.B., Fred, and Carl Grout, along with their father William who happened to own a sewing machine business. The company history was full of family drama, and the brothers left town after trying to force their dad out (and failing).

Steam cars came first, and gasoline vehicles followed. The Model H was likely built in 1903 and was the cheapest car they offered that year at $775. This steam-powered runabout is London-to-Brighton eligible and has spent quite a few years in museums.

It should sell for between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

1907 Tincher Touring

1907 Tincher Model H Seven-Passenger Touring

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

Photo – Bonhams

Thomas Tincher sold some seriously expensive cars between 1903 and 1909 (their 1904 90hp race car model cost $12k… in 1904!). Up until the formation of the South Bend-based Tincher Motor Car Company in 1907, his cars were all built by the Chicago Coach & Carriage Company.

The Model H was the only Tincher offered in 1906 and 1907. At $6,000 it was extremely pricey and was powered by a monstrous 60 horsepower, 7.7-liter inline-four. The company never built more than six cars in a single year and closed their doors in 1909 after being unable to make a profit with such a low production volume.

This is the only Tincher known to exist, and it’s going to be one of the more expensive brass era cars sold from this collection, with an estimate of $500,000-$700,000. Be sure to go to the catalog to check out the amazing paintwork. Click here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $423,000.

Pullman Light Touring

1908 Pullman Model H Light Touring

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Model H was Pullman’s entry-level model in 1908 – the only year this model was produced. There were four other models above it in the Pullman line but the Model H was the only model available in more than one body style: it could be had as a Runabout or Detachable Tonneau.

Costing just under $1,900 when new, it was not inexpensive… but that should be pretty obvious as it is a big car with a good amount of brass. The powerplant is a 20 horsepower 2.7-liter straight-four. This example was restored a while ago, but the body and interior have been well maintained (though the engine has been rebuilt more recently, making it a great driver).

Only 873 Pullmans were built in 1908 and this is the oldest, known, surviving restored Pullman in existence. That means there aren’t any cars from this manufacturer from 1905, 1906, or 1907 that are still around (or apparently in restored condition). At any rate, opportunities to acquire a car from this rare marque don’t happen often and RM has two of them at this sale. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $51,700.

Five Pre-1910 Cars

1909 Sears Model H

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

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

If you didn’t know that American’s legendary department store catalog offered automobiles, well here’s your history lesson. Between 1908 and 1912, Sears sold cars (high wheelers for the most part because the target audience were rural Americans who ordered things from catalogs). They did it again for a few years in the 1950s with the Allstate.

The Model H uses a 10 horsepower flat-twin and was identical to the 1908 model. The lineup started at model G and ran to the Model L, with each successive letter adding a few more creature comforts and/or styling bits. The restoration here is over a decade old but it is a perfect runner, as Sears’ cars were definitely rugged and reliable. It should bring between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $24,750.


1907 Victor Runabout

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

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Here’s an interesting one. The lot description makes it seem like there is a little uncertainty as to which of the many Victor automobile marques this is actually related to. Some historical work was carried out and it was determined that this is related to the Overman company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, who produced the Victor Steam car between 1899 and 1903. Our sources don’t show production after 1903, so I’ll take RM’s word for it (they’re pretty smart).

It is powered by a 15 horsepower flat-twin and the restoration dates back to 1967. An early car without a crystal clear birth certificate is always interesting. This car will be a talking point wherever it goes and the new owner will have something absolutely unique and fun. It should bring between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $22,000.


1903 Pierce Model 6.5 Stanhope

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

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

This pre-Arrow Pierce is one of the oldest cars on offer during the Hershey festivities this year. This car is concurrently referred to as a “Fourth Model”, a Model 6-6½, and a Single-Cylinder Stanhope. Pierce offered three models in 1903, and this was the mid-range product.

The engine is a single-cylinder, 6.5-horsepower unit. It has single-family ownership back to 1948. The car was never completely restored, just brought up to good-looking usable condition around 1948. It is usable today. Less than 150 off these were built and this one could bring between $75,000-$100,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $57,750.


1903 Columbus Electric Folding-Top Runabout

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

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

One great thing about the early days of automobiles is that there were just so many companies. And some names re-appear multiple times but separately. Columbus is one such name. There were at least four different Columbus makes (not including Columbia). At least two of them built electric cars at some point. This Columbus, Ohio-built example is from the Columbus Buggy Company who built electric cars between 1903 and 1915.

The 1903 through 1905 Folding-Top Runabout was the only model offered by the company. It is powered by a low-power DC electric motor. It’s simple, pretty, and basically, an historical artifact. Only bits of this car have actually been redone, meaning it is partly original. It should bring between $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1908 Holsman High-Wheel Runabout

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

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Holsman of Chicago built high-wheelers between 1902 and 1910. Quite a few of them remain, which is fortunate because as you can see, they can actually be quite pretty. Look how big those wheels are! The black paint is nice and shiny with gorgeous red pin striping.

Holsman offered four models in 1908, all high-wheelers. They were all powered by a 12.8 horsepower 1.6-liter flat-twin. Three of the models were Runabouts – models 5, 9, and 10. It is unclear which of these models this car represents, as well as what the difference between those model designations even is. What a good-looking car. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $38,500.

1913 Alco Touring Car

1913 Alco Six Model H Five-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Auctions, Boca Raton, Florida, February 24-25, 2012

The American Locomotive Company was formed in 1901 as the result of a merger between eight smaller locomotive manufacturers. This made Alco the second-largest steam locomotive producer in the United States.

In 1906 the company began producing Berliet automobiles under license (as American Berliet). This license agreement was trashed in 1908 in favor building their own cars. Alco cars won the Vanderbilt Cup in 1909 and 1910 and competed in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Alco was also the first automobile company at which man named Walter P. Chrysler worked before he left in 1911 to join Buick.

In 1913 Alco shifted their focus back to locomotives (they had lost an average of over $450 on every car sold since 1906), producing their last steam locomotive in 1948 and final diesel locomotive in 1969.

The car seen here is a six-cylinder Model H from the final year of production. It is believed that this car was featured on the Alco stand at the 1913 New York Auto Show. It has 60 horsepower and after the completion of restoration in the mid-1990s, the car was “mechanically updated” in order to take place in brass-era tours. So it’s a driver.

Only six of these cars are known to exist and this one is a glorious example. There is something undeniably stately and imposing about large brass-era touring cars. The estimate on this car is $400,000-$600,000 and is offered from the Milhous Collection. For the complete catalog description, click here and to see all of the other interesting things available at this sale, click here.

Update: Sold $506,000.