Napier Samson

1904 Napier L48 Samson 15-Liter

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | February 29, 2024

Photo – Bonhams

The roots of Napier could be traced back to a company founded in 1808. The original founder’s grandson took over the company in 1895 at age 25. Just a few years later they were building motor cars. And race cars.

The L48 was built for setting records. It’s powered by a massive 15.0-liter inline-six that makes an incredible 240 horsepower. At Ormond/Daytona Beach in 1905 the car hit 104 mph over the flying mile. That was a world record, and it was the first car to hit 100 mph in the U.S. and the first British car to break that barrier. In 1908 it broke 130 mph at Brooklands.

Napier later sold the car for scrap, which is pretty terrible in terms of keeping your history alive. The engine went into a boat and survived, later being discovered in Australia, where a replica of the original 1904 L48 was constructed around it.

Sure, this isn’t the exact car that set the speed records, but the wonderful one-off motor did. It’s still worth a lot: with an estimate of $900,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info.

Samson Truck

1922 Samson Model 15

Offered by Mecum | Davenport, Iowa | November 19-21, 2020

Photo – Mecum

I agree that the title of this post is lame. “Samson Truck.” I could’ve called it “Samson Model 15,” but the likelihood of ever featuring another Samson truck is so low that I don’t think it’s getting confused with a different one. Why so unlikely? Well, Samson was a tractor manufacturer originally based out of Stockton, California…

Founded in 1900, the company eventually caught the eye of one Billy Durant in 1917. He shifted the company’s headquarters to Janesville, Wisconsin. Between 1920 and 1923, the brand turned out trucks in addition to tractors (along with a prototype passenger car). GM shuttered the brand in 1923 and shifted Chevrolet/GMC production to Janesville, which continued to operate until 2008.

Samson trucks were powered by a Chevy-sourced 26-horsepower inline-four. It’s unknown if this is the original body, but the radiator/cowl area certainly looks correct. The rest of the body could’ve been changed over the years. No windshield is present. This is a cool piece of forgotten GM history, and it’s selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $11,000.