Rambler Model E Runabout

1903 Rambler Model E Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 2, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Thomas B. Jeffrey‘s Rambler premiered in 1900 and the first models went on sale to the public in 1902. The Model E was new for 1904 – it was the most basic model the company offered. This car is listed in the catalog as a 1903 model, meaning it was probably built at the end of that year.

Power is from a seven horsepower, single-cylinder engine. This car rides on a 78″ wheelbase, the shortest offered in 1904. It features tiller steering and seating for two.

This car was sold new in Virginia, where it remained with its original owner until 1956. It was restored twice, most recently in 1995 and has competed in the London-to-Brighton run on multiple occasions. It should bring between $60,000-$66,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $62,756.

Baker Electric Convertible

1912 Baker Electric Model W Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Baker Motor Vehicle Company of Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1899 by Walter C. Baker. They built passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, and land speed record cars (yep). All electric. And many of them looked like conventional gasoline-powered automobiles of their time (not something every electric car company could say, though Baker built similar-looking cars too).

This particular car, an ex-Harrah car, had its motor replaced in the 1980s and is now powered by an 18 horsepower unit, and a partial restoration was carried out in 2012. This car looks like a normal convertible from 1912, except that it is essentially square (as long as it is wide, riding on an 80″ wheelbase), which is kind of unusual.

Four different body styles were offered in 1912, with this being the least expensive. In 1914, Baker would merge with Rauch & Lang and the final Bakers rolled off the line in 1916, though commercial vehicles soldiered on for a few more years. Thomas Edison’s first car was a Baker Electric. So if you have a 16-year-old out there waiting for their first ride, go ahead and buy this for them. Maybe they’ll invent something.

This car should bring between $85,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $192,500.

1905 Northern Runabout

1905 Northern Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 12, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Charles King and Johnathan Maxwell founded the Northern Manufacturing Company in 1902 in Detroit. The company’s 1902 offerings strongly resembled the Curved-Dash Oldsmobile – and that’s because Maxwell and King both worked for Oldsmobile before setting out on their own.

We’ve featured a 1902 Northern before (as linked to above) and this car looks relatively similar. It’s still powered by a single-cylinder engine. But unlike in 1902 where that engine made only five horsepower, it was upgraded to a downright sporty seven horsepower for 1905. Northern offered two twin-cylinder cars in 1905 as well, which made this the budget offering at $650.

Both Maxwell and King would leave Northern to found their own marques and the company closed in 1908. This car is said to retain its original chassis, body panels, and even its rubber flooring. Not many of these are left and this one is about as accurate and original as they come. It should bring between $45,000-$65,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $52,250.

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.