Franklin Airman

1932 Franklin Airman Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Franklin, whose air-cooled cars first hit the market in 1903, decided to move slightly upmarket in the early 1930s with the introduction of a V12 model. This was bad timing, as the economy had crashed, and engineering an entirely new engine was a big financial outlay, one that would not be recouped. Franklin was gone after 1934.

Another thing that happened in the early 1930s was that Franklin switched from “Model 123” nomenclature to actually giving their models names. The Airman was introduced in 1932 and was joined by the Olympic in 1933. The Airman was their only product in 1932, and it was offered in a variety of body styles. Power came from a 4.5-liter air-cooled inline-six making 100 horsepower.

Franklin was America’s most successful manufacturer of air-cooled cars, and this later model is a rarity. This car appears largely original and carries an estimate of $25,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,150.

Statesman DeVille

1979 Statesman DeVille Sedan

Offered by Shannons | Online | August 19-26, 2020

Photo – Shannons (obviously)

Statesman was actually a standalone brand offered by General Motors in Australia. They were available from 1971 through 1984 and were sold through Holden dealerships. Statesmans (Statesmen?) were big cars that were better appointed than their Holden counterparts.

This is an HZ Statesman, which is the fourth generation. It was introduced in 1977 and was replaced in 1980. Two models were offered during this generation: DeVille and the Caprice. The car is powered by a 5.0-liter V8.

Equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes, a crushed velour interior, and a Radial Tuned Suspension. Statesmans are rarely seen outside of Australia, making this a great chance to grab one and export it. This car is expected to bring between $13,000-$17,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $21,486.

Voisin C4 S

1926 Voisin C4 S Two-Door Sedan

Offered by Artcurial | Gibel, France | TBD…

Voisin C4 S
Photo – Artcurial

Voisin built some fantastic luxury cars during its existence. At some point, Gabriel Voisin realized that he would have to build some volume models in order to survive. In 1921, he launched a small sedan called the C4.

It evolved into the C4 S in 1924, and that model lasted through 1926. It is powered by a 1.3-liter sleeve-valve inline-four that made 33 horsepower. This car is said to wear unique bodywork that is quite squared off at the front and more aerodynamic out back.

The car has been in this collection since 1968 and has not been used in recent years. It probably needs a little re-commissioning, but it’ll make for a cheap entry into Voisin ownership with a pre-sale estimate of $28,000-$39,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Marmon Model 68 Sedan

1928 Marmon Model 68 Sedan

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | March 18, 2020

Photo – H&H Classics

Marmon is an automobile marque that usually summons images of fancy speedsters, 16-cylinder coachbuilt classics, or the yellow Wasp that won the first Indy 500. But they also had to churn out cars like this, the Model 68, to stay afloat.

It was the “baby” Marmon for 1928, slotting in below larger, more powerful cars like the Model 78 and Model 75. It was powered by a 42 horsepower inline-eight, and only three factory body styles were offered, including this sedan that was advertised for $1,395 when new. It was the least expensive Marmon that year.

The Model 68 remained in production for 1929, but that car received a big power boost. This right-hand-drive example has been in the U.K. for a long time, probably since new. It should now sell for between $40,000-$45,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Duesenberg J-350

1930 Duesenberg Model J Sedan by Willoughby

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 15, 2020

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

I feel like it’s been a while since a Model J Duesenberg crossed the block. Here we have what was probably a very common version of the car: the sedan. Many Model Js have had their bodies swapped out for either reproductions or real-deal period bodies lifted from other cars.

Usually, these upgrades took the form of going to a dual cowl phaeton or some kind of two-door convertible. But there were plenty of rich people during the Depression that just wanted the best sedan money could buy. And, in this case, Willoughby was happy to deliver.

This car carries engine number J-350, which is a 6.9-liter straight-eight good for 265 horsepower. It is selling at no reserve, and will likely be a great way for someone to get into Model J ownership, as the sedans don’t carry the same values as the convertibles. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $605,000.

Sharknose Graham

1939 Graham Model 97 Sedan

Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | December 5-7, 2019

Photo – Mecum

The “sharknose” Graham was introduced for 1938 and it was a pretty radical design. The design lasted into 1940, and four models were offered in 1939: the Model 96 (which could be had in Special or Custom form) and the Type 97 (which was available in base or Custom form). Both Type 97 models were supercharged.

The 3.6-liter inline-six featured a Graham-designed supercharger that allowed for about 115 horsepower. The auction catalog does not note that this car is supercharged, but if it were a Model 97 from the factory, it would’ve been.

As great as the cars look today, they weren’t strong sellers when new. Graham managed to move only about 3,600 units in 1939. By 1940, they switched to producing the Hollywood, but the company was doomed. You can see more about this car here, and more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $22,550.

Ballot Sedan

1929 Ballot RH3 Sedan

Offered by Osenat | Chassieu, France | November 10, 2019

Photo – Osenat

Edouard Ballot got his start building engines. He even worked with Ettore Bugatti early in Bugatti’s career. Maurice Ballot later joined his brother, and Etablissements Ballot SA was formed in 1910. Engines were their main business until 1919 when they started building cars.

The company went racing right off the bat, competing in the 1919 Indy 500, as well as the Targa Florio, French Grand Prix, and more. More luxury-oriented cars followed, including the 1927 Type RH, which became the RH3 in 1929. The engine is a 3.0-liter inline-eight. This one was sold new in Marseilles and carries a fabric sedan body, which may be from Weymann.

Ballots are around but aren’t very common – especially those with big engines and nice coachwork. This example should sell for between $70,000-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $79,374.

Five Cars from RM in Hershey

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019


1906 White Model F Touring

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Thomas White‘s sewing machine business gave way to steam cars in 1900. The company was a pioneer in their field, but they ultimately saw the light and phased out steam cars in favor of gas-powered vehicles in 1912.

This 1906 Model F Touring was the second-cheapest car White offered in 1906 after the Model F Runabout. At $2,800, it wasn’t cheap. But the White was one of the more popular – and more well-built – steam cars of their day. This one looks great but would look better with a convertible top. It should bring between $40,000-$60,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $96,250.


1917 Chandler Type 17 Seven-Passenger Touring

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Frederic Chandler worked for Lozier before he jumped ship in 1913 with a few of his fellow employees to form his own company. The Chandler was a hit and lasted through 1929, when it was acquired by Hupmobile and quickly phased out.

There were a lot of cars “in the middle” of the American market in the 1910s and 20s. Chandler was one of the better ones in that class. This 1917 model is powered by a 27 horsepower 4.4-liter inline-six. Five body styles were offered, and the seven-passenger touring sold new for $1,395. This time around it should bring between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $18,700.


1923 Gardner Model 5 Five-Passenger Sedan

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The most interesting thing about this Gardner sedan, to me, is thinking about who purchased it in 1923. No one in 1923 knew that GM, Chrysler, and Ford would still be around 100 years later. But surely someone assumed Gardner would’ve been. After all, it was a well-regarded company from St. Louis that built a fair number of cars. It’s just hard to imagine someone wandering down to their local Gardner dealer and plunking down the cash.

Gardners were built from 1920 through 1931, and the company sort of inched upmarket each year, with their final offerings bordering on luxury cars. Kind of like Chrysler. But back in ’23, they were just another middle-class marque. The Model 5 could be had in a few styles, the sedan selling for $1,365. It kind of looks like a taxi and is powered by a 43 horsepower inline-four. It is expected to bring between $20,000-$30,000. But I bet it goes cheaper than that. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $13,200.


1930 Marquette Model 35 Five-Passenger Phaeton

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

GM’s “companion make” philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s gave us Pontiac and LaSalle. Both of which were relatively successful. In fact, Pontiac was so successful that GM killed off the brand that spawned it, Oakland. So they figured they’d give Buick a companion. And they did: Marquette.

It only lasted for a single model year. Six models were offered, all priced right at about $1,000. All Marquettes are powered by a 3.5-liter inline-six good for 67 horsepower. The Model 35 Phaeton sold for $1,020, and this is one of 889 such cars built.

In all, Marquette production totaled 35,007 before GM killed it off. This rare survivor should bring between $15,000-$25,000, which seems like a steal. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $15,950.


1933 Terraplane Deluxe Six Model KU Sedan

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

I was excited to feature an Essex. But I forgot that Hudson killed off the Essex marque in favor of Terraplane beginning in 1933. So instead of featuring a final-year example from Essex, we’re featuring a launch-year example of the Terraplane.

Terraplane offered six and eight-cylinder cars in 1933 that were essentially down-market Hudsons. A slew of body styles were offered, and the sedan cost $655 when new. A 3.2-liter inline-six good for 70 horsepower provided the oomph. This is a handsome car in good colors. It’s well-trimmed, with chrome bumpers and four suicide doors. The best part is it is usable and is expected to fetch only $15,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,700.

Five Cars from Indiana

1905 De Tamble-Miller High-Wheel Runabout Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Edward De Tamble‘s earliest cars were highwheelers. Series production didn’t start until 1908 in Indianapolis (and later, Anderson, Indiana), and this car predates that time. It carries a stamp calling it a De Tamble & Miller, but not much is really known about it.

Mostly original, it is thought that this was the prototype De Tamble, and it uses parts from the era, including the gearbox from a Ford Model F. It’s a one-off piece of early automotive history, and you can read more about it here.

Update: Sold $26,400.


1907 Kiblinger Model D High-Wheel Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

If you’re noticing a trend, yes, Indiana liked their highwheelers before 1910. The Kiblinger was a product of Auburn, Indiana, where they were built between 1907 and 1909. There are a few of them on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum. And this car was once on display there too.

The Model D was one of six models produced by the company, and it’s powered by a 10 horsepower, two-cylinder engine that is shared with similar cars from Sears. Speaking of similar cars, company president W.H. McIntyre shut down and re-branded the company as the McIntyre after they were sued for patent infringement by Success. You can read more about this car here.

Update: Sold $28,600.


1908 Mier Model A Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The short-lived Mier was built by the Mier Carriage and Buggy Company of Ligonier, Indiana in 1908 and 1909. Solomon Mier, and his son A.B., built about 100 cars during that time before returning to the horse-drawn buggy industry, where they managed to stay in business into the 1920s.

This Model A Runabout was one of two models offered in 1908. Power is from a 10 horsepower inline-twin. Of the 100 built, only two remain, making this a great chance to get your hands on a truly rare car. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1917 Elcar Model E Cloverleaf Roadster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Elcar actually traces its roots back to Pratt-Elkhart, which was one of Indiana’s highest-quality early cars. That company later became Pratt, which was quickly reformed as the Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company in 1915. They built the Elcar through 1931.

This was the only model available in 1917, and it is one of four body styles offered. The Cloverleaf Roadster retailed for $845 and is powered by a 34 horsepower, Lycoming inline-four. Prediction: this car sells for what would appear to be a great deal. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,400.


1931 Auburn Model 8-98A Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Somehow we’ve only featured one Auburn car prior to this. Indiana was a force in the early days of the automobile industry, and Auburn was one of its star products, which were offered between 1900 and 1937. They built some pretty fantastic cars in the mid-1930s, but everyone seems to forget that they built “normal”-looking cars like this alongside those wild boattail speedsters.

The 8-98 and the 8-98A were the only models offered in 1931. They were powered by a 98 horsepower straight-eight. Various body styles were available, and this sedan would’ve cost its new owner $1,195. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $19,800.

Cunningham V-7

1928 Cunningham V-7 Sedan

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 15, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

James Cunningham founded a carriage-building business with his songs in Rochester, New York in 1882 and then died in 1886. His son Joseph ran things from then on, and by 1911 they were in the automobile business. By 1916 they were selling V8-powered cars. Never inexpensive, the Cunningham car disappeared after 1929, with a few leftovers completed during the 1930s.

Cunningham also had a very confusing naming convention for their cars. It started innocently enough, but when the five-year-old Series V gave way to the V-4 in 1922, things got weird. All powered by the firm’s V8 engine, the models would be named V-4, V-5, V-6, V-7, and apparently even V-8. Things started to make sense just in time to go out of business.

The engine in this car is a 7.2-liter V8 rated at 106 horsepower when new. It likely would’ve cost its new owner in the neighborhood of $8,500 in 1928 – quite a sum. Later, this car was owned by Bill Harrah and remained in his collection until his death. The restoration is fresh as of 2016, and the car should now bring between $150,000-$220,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $80,000.