1923 Rickenbacker Model B6 Coupe
Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 4, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
Recently I was able to spend some time at America’s Packard Museum in Dayton, Ohio, and, in their really cool building, they’ve restored a Packard sales manager’s office as it would’ve looked in the 1920s. Within the office sits a book – the actual Dayton, Ohio, automobile register from 1923(ish), open to a random page. I was reading it, looking at the different marques of cars registered in the area that year, and among the many Fords and Maxwells was a lone Rickenbacker. And it blew my mind.
There were so many auto manufacturers operating in America in the 1920s (not to mention the oddball import). They were around. They aren’t nearly as rare as they are today. They were just another car. But the odds of seeing one in Dayton, Ohio, seems really small. Just think, maybe people in 60 years will wonder “what did America’s roads look like when they were populated with Merkurs and Geos?”
Anyway, it was mind-blowing because Eddie Rickenbacker, man among men, had a little car company that only existed between 1922 and 1927. His cars were excellent but not well received (Eddie’s competition did their best to shut him down). This car is powered by a 58 horsepower, 3.6-liter straight-six. It has four-wheel brakes – the Rickenbacker was the first car in its class with this now-standard feature.
This example has been restored and is probably the only Rickenbacker currently on the market, as they are quite sought after. It should bring between $60,000-$80,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
1926 Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport
Offered by RM Auctions | Monterey, California | August 15-16, 2014
Photo – RM Auctions
I’m not sure who the modern-day Eddie Rickenbacker is. We really don’t have one – there are not jack-of-all-trades celebrities any more, in fact, most celebrities don’t have a single talent about them. Eddie raced Duesenbergs at Indy (hell, at one point, he owned the speedway!). He was America’s #1 flying ace in WWI. He was a celebrity when the war was over. And in 1922, he attached his name to an automobile built by the men behind E-M-F.
The first Rickenbacker automobiles weren’t anything super exciting (although they were among the first cars with four-wheel brakes). The company lasted from 1922-1927, and in 1926, they introduced the best thing they ever made: the Super Sport. It uses a 107 horsepower 4.4-liter straight-eight. The bodies were essentially the passenger compartment of an airplane (seriously, go to RM’s site and check out the pictures – what a design).
This particular Super Sport was shown on the stand at the 1926 New York Auto Show. Someone in Michigan bought it off the stand. The copper wire wheels, bumpers and trim are outstanding – as is the flying airplane hood ornament. This car is a stunner. The original owner willed the car to his grandson, who sold it to Bill Harrah after one of Harrah’s guys tracked this, the only surviving Super Sport, down.
Only 14-17 Super Sports were ever completed – and this is the one complete one in the world. It really is incredible. It should sell for between $600,000-$800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.
Update: Sold $946,000.