How Are These Two Cars Different?

1901 Crestmobile Model B 3½HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Founded in 1900 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Crest Manufacturing Company was a supplier to other early automobile manufacturers. They finally realized that they built so many parts that they could just build their own car – and so they did. The first “Crest”-branded automobiles were three-wheelers but by 1901 the four-wheeled Crestmobile was available.

Three models were offered at the start, with the mid-range Model B sporting a 3.5 horsepower single-cylinder engine mounted out front that can be pull-started with a leather strap. This car resembles many other cars from the period, including the Toledo Steam car below.

Part of this particular collection since 1943, the Crestmobile you see here has been restored (though the date is unknown). Crestmobiles were only offered through 1905 before the marque disappeared. This one, perhaps the finest in existence, should sell for between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $39,600.


1902 Toledo Junior Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Okay, so maybe this doesn’t look exactly like the Crestmobile above, but you get the idea that they are pretty similar – except that this is a steam car. The Toledo was built by the International Motor Car Company of Toledo, Ohio, between 1901 and 1903. Beginning in 1904, once the company had been acquired by Col. Albert Pope, the cars were known as the “Pope-Toledo.”

Five different steam cars were offered by Toledo in 1902, with this Junior Runabout being the cheapest, costing $800 when new. This was also the last year the company offered steam cars, turning to more conventionally-styled gasoline-powered cars in 1903 before their acquisition.

This car sports an older restoration and it probably hasn’t been used all that much. It will require a little attention (and a boiler inspection) before use. This is a great opportunity to acquire a well-built early steamer at a fraction of the cost of a Stanley. It should bring between $33,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $34,673.

Eldredge

1903 Eldredge 8HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams’ London-to-Brighton sale is always full of interesting veteran cars – but most of them are usually European. But here we have an interesting American automobile. The National Sewing Machine Company began building bicycles in 1894 and followed it with cars from 1903 to 1906. The Eldredge name comes from the president of the sewing machine company that was based in Belvidere, Illinois.

This wonderfully brassy runabout is similar to others of the day with one major exception: it has a steering wheel on the left-hand side of the car. The first few Eldredges had tiller steering but the company became one of the first to feature LHD steering wheels. It’s kind of amazing to think today that this was something that someone actually had to be the first to do.

The engine is an eight horsepower flat-twin. This was the only body style that Eldredge ever offered and about 600 were sold over four years. This is one of three examples from the marque that are known to exist and it has known history going back to the 1960s. It should bring between $60,000-$73,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

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.

1900 Gasmobile

1900 Gasmobile Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This Gasmobile is a great example of early American motoring. This car was built by the Automobile Company of America, which was founded in New York City in 1899 by John H. Flagler. The cars were marketed under the “American” brand name for 1899 and Flagler changed the name to Gasmobile for 1900 because it was “more descriptive.”

Cars built in 1899 and 1900 were identical except for the badging. The final cars were built in 1902 (which included a 35 horsepower six-cylinder car shown at the New York Auto Show). That six-cylinder car was a long way from this three horsepower, single-cylinder Runabout built only two years earlier.

This chassis was discovered in a warehouse in the 1950s and restored. No word on if the current restoration dates to the 1950s or not, but it looks quite nice, if a little dated. It’s something you could use (lightly) and show – and draw a crowd wherever you go. The Gasmobile was considered one of America’s finest early cars but the company folded anyway (Flagler moved on to the short-lived Panam car). This is one of only a few survivors and you can check out more about it here. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Withdrawn.

Mobile Steam

1900 Mobile Steam Model 4 5.5HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The corporate history of the Mobile Company of America is very confusing. It was founded in Tarrytown, New York, by John B. Walker. Originally, Walker and his business partner (who, together, had bought the rights to the Stanley brothers’ first steam car design) were going to call the car something else. But they ended up fighting over it and Walker ended up with the Stanley rights. The Mobile was born.

Mobile only sold cars between 1900 and 1903. Most looked something like this Model 4 “Solid Seat Runabout” that originally retailed for $750 –  among the cheapest cars the company offered. This car is powered by 5.5 horsepower two-cylinder steam engine.

Only about 600 Mobile Steam cars were built and it is thought that only about 10-12 survive. This one has been well-restored and does run and drive. It should bring between $40,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Studebaker-Garford

1910 Studebaker-Garford G7 Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Monterey, California | August 19, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Studebaker is one of America’s greatest automobile marques, even if they went out of business in 1967. The company could trace its roots back to 1852 and in 1902 its first cars went on sale. Arthur Lovett Garford was a business man from Elyria, Ohio, who was successful in the bicycle industry. In 1904, he teamed up with Studebaker to build and sell cars.

Garford provided the chassis, Studebaker the engines. Up through 1911, the cars were branded as Studebaker-Garford (and here and there as each marque separately, as both tested the limits of their marketing agreement). The G7 was the name in 1910 for what was the Model D in 1909 and what became the G8 in 1911. It is powered by a 40 horsepower 5.4-liter straight-four.

The history of this example isn’t well known and it’s not clear that the body is original (records show that only Touring cars and Limousines were offered on the G7, while this is a sportier Runabout). This is a former Japanese museum car that is now back in the States. Studebaker-Garford isn’t a marque that shows itself often at auctions and this one should sell for between $80,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $126,500.

Brush Runabout

1909 Brush Model B Runabout

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | May 7, 2016

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

The Brush Motor Car Company was founded in 1907 on the basis that a light car didn’t need as much power to do things just as well as big, heavy, powerful cars. So, you know, like a Lotus.

The problem became that Brush was backed by Benjamin Briscoe’s brother. And when Briscoe went marque collecting for his United States Motor Company, he grabbed Brush. But Briscoe’s venture was doomed and Brush went down when its parent company did in 1913.

In 1909, Brush offered a Model A and a Model B. The Runabout was the only body style offered on the Model B. It is powered by a 20-ish horsepower single-cylinder engine and cost $500 when new. Everything on this car is bright red and it just looks like a museum car – which it is. It should sell for between $20,000 and $30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $9,900.

Stoddard-Dayton Runabout

1907 Stoddard-Dayton Model K Runabout

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 21, 2016

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

I’m trying to think of a good comparison… what company from today is the modern equivalent of Stoddard-Dayton? They were sporty, luxurious cars but not extraordinarily extravagant. If they were still around they would probably compete against the likes of Maserati or Cadillac. Somewhere in there.

In 1908, Stoddard-Dayton would move to a number/letter model name combination (think the last number of the year in front of the model letter, like Model 8-H, for a 1908 Model H). But in 1907, the models were standalone, and the Model K was the top of the range. It was only offered in this three-passenger Runabout form.

The engine is a 30 horsepower 5.5-liter straight-four. The Model K, new for 1907, would continue on through 1911 (albeit, with a numerical prefix). This example was discovered in a barn in South Dakota and the engine was overhauled in 2015. It’s a quick, rare early sporting machine (with white tires!) and is one of three known to exist. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $200,000.

Update II: Sold, Worldwide Auctioneers, Auburn 2017, $118,800.

Stanley Steamer

1903 Stanley CX 6.5HP Steam Runabout

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Stanley is an iconic American automobile. The Stanley brothers built one of America’s largest early automotive manufacturers and they did it on the basis of steam. While the coffin-nose Stanleys are quite famous, it’s these earlier, simpler-looking cars that helped make the company what it became.

1903 was the third year for Stanley production and three models were offered, with the two-cylinder Model CX being at the top of the heap. The CX was an eight horsepower car and the Model C was the 6.5 horsepower car. Both had identical bodies. So take your pick as to what this car really is.

The car is in great shape and has had work done recently to keep it going. It’s a runner and a driver that can be used with pride. Steam cars take a special sort – as well as $54,000-$62,000. Click here for more info and here for more from one of our favorite sales of the year.

Update: Sold $61,742.

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.