1903 Gladiator

1903 Gladiator 10HP 2-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | March 19, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Alexandre Darracq co-founded the Gladiator Cycle Company with Paul Aucoq in 1891 in the northeast part of Paris. Gladiator became part of the tangled mess of companies that came into contact with Adolphe Clement. So here it goes: in 1896, Clement bought out Gladiator from Darracq (who then went on to other automotive endeavors) and renamed the company Clement-Gladiator.

Cars came around 1901 (and motorcycles from 1902). In 1903 there was a split and Clement-Talbot became its own thing, while Clement-Gladiator remained in France. All shaft-driven cars were badged Clement-Gladiator after this point, while chain-driven cars were just called Gladiators. In 1907, all cars became Gladiators after the company was taken over by Vinot et Deguingand. The brand disappeared after 1920.

This chain-drive Gladiator was produced during the Clement years and is powered by a 1.7-liter twin-cylinder Aster engine making 10 horsepower. The current owner acquired it in 1990 and had the engine rebuilt. It’s been used extensively on the London-to-Brighton run (and we mean “extensively” – it’s completed the run 24 of the 25 times it’s attempted it) and the coachwork is original, but may have had some restorative work done to it long ago. It’s a great old car, and should bring between $160,000-$200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $175,291.

A French Aster

1904 Aster 16/20HP Four-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Aster was a French marque that built motorized vehicles between 1900 and 1910. They were also a major engine manufacturer – at one point they claimed to be the provider of engines for over 130 other companies. They should not be confused with the British Aster marque of the 1920s (though the British company started out building engines under license from this one).

This car is powered by a 2.7-liter straight-four making 16/20 horsepower. It’s well-appointed and Bonhams makes the case that it’s about as perfect a car for entrance in the London-to-Brighton run as you can get. The body that is on this car is not original to the chassis, but is period correct and was applied during a restoration.

What you see here is a runner – this is a veteran car that you can drive considerable distance with a fair amount of confidence, because, as the lot description says, it is a practical old car. Or as practical as a 112 year old car can be. It should sell for between $290,000-$340,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $263,484.

Decauville Tonneau

1901 Decauville 8½ HP Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Paul Decauville started building railway locomotives, rail cars, and train tracks in the 1980s. His company (which dated back to 1854) was at the forefront of industrial rail: their tracks were easy to set up and disassemble and move, making them perfect for farms, construction, and the military. In 1898, the first Decauville automobile was produced.

The 8½ HP model was introduced in 1901 and followed in the footsteps of the earlier 8HP – the brand’s first front-engined and modern-looking car. The power comes from a 1.4-liter twin-cylinder engine. The final Decauville cars were produced in 1911.

This example has known ownership history back through WWII. The current restoration was completed in the 1950s and it has been used extensively – it’s completed the London-to-Brighton run 28 times between being restored and 1984. It should sell for between $130,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $186,540.

1904 Columbia

1904 Columbia Mark XLIII Two-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Although many car companies bore his name, Columbia did not bear the name of Albert Pope, who first began building electric automobiles under the Columbia name in 1897. Gasoline-powered cars followed in 1899. Pope’s Columbia merged with the Electric Vehicle Company to form the Columbia Automobile Company in 1899 as well.

The 1904 Mark XLIII was the only two-cylinder car offered by the company that year and it could only be had in 2.9-liter 12/14 horsepower, four-passenger rear-entrance tonneau form. A four-cylinder car was also offered alongside no less than 35 electric variants. Their range was huge – I’m not sure any other American manufacturer was offering this many different cars in 1904. In 1911, the trend had reversed and gasoline was the dominant power source. That year, the company became part of the United States Motor Company, which failed in 1912, taking Columbia with it.

This car was restored in the 1960s and has been owned by the current owner since 2004. It’s very nice. Surviving early Columbias are mostly electrics, which makes this car quite rare. It should bring between $140,000-$170,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $121,950.

MMC Tonneau

1904 MMC 8HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

MMC is the abbreviation for the creatively-named Motor Manufacturing Company. Harry J. Lawson invented the “Safety Bicycle” in the 1870s and later saw the future: automobiles. His plan was to basically own all British motor production by acquiring as many patents as possible. He organized the Great Horseless Carriage Company in 1896. It failed quickly and was re-organized as the MMC in 1898. This company actually built some cars but went bankrupt in 1904. They built a few cars between 1904 and 1907 and were gone by 1908.

This car appears to have an eight-horsepower single-cylinder engine and known ownership history back to 1953. The restoration was finished in 1960, just in time for the car to be featured in a number of films in the 1960s. It was last used on the road in the 1960s and had some touch up work done in the 80s.

It is not road-ready, but it is rare, coming from a marque that had but a brief history and is fairly unknown. MMC is perhaps best known as having been founded by Lawson, who was later convicted of fraudulently raising money for his businesses – including this one. It should bring between $61,000-$92,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $79,383.

1901 Panhard Tonneau

1901 Panhard et Levassor Twin-Cylinder 7HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Labourdette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a 1902 Panhard et Levassor about a week and a half ago. It’s similar to this car, but also quite different – especially when it comes to the body. This has a body by famed French coachbuilder Henri Labourdette. It’s a rear-entrance tonneau with a big, tall hardtop (yet zero weather protection).

This body is actually original to this car, which is very rare for a car that is almost 115 years old. The engine is a 1.7-liter twin making seven horsepower. The original owner of this car is known and it was the 11th car registered in Toulouse. At some point, probably around WWI, it was stashed away in the basement of a castle.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the car was rescued and restored. I like that the front and rear tires are of differing diameter. This is a great example of an early motorcar – and the top retains its original leather. It should sell for between $320,000-$400,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this auction’s lineup.

Update: Sold $413,767.

1902 Autocar Type VIII

1902 Autocar Type VIII 10HP Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Autocar is famous for being the oldest continually operating motor manufacturer in the United States. They haven’t built road cars since 1911, but they’ve been producing trucks since 1899.

Autocar offered quite a number of vehicles in their short passenger car producing lifetime, but the 1902 line was limited to just a few body styles. This car uses a two-cylinder engine making 10 horsepower.

The restoration here dates to prior to 1978 and the car was dated as a 1902 in the 1970s but it could be a 1904. Anyway, the engine was rebuilt in 1980 and it has been part of numerous tours and events. It will do a comfortable 25-30 mph, for you speed demons. It’ll sell for between $120,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.

Update: Not sold.