Matheson Touring

1907 Matheson 50HP Four Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Frank and Charles Matheson hopped around a bit with their company, which they founded in 1903 – first in their hometown of Grand Rapids for a year, then to Holyoke, Massachusetts until 1905, then finally on to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where they built cars through 1912. After their luck ran out running their own firm, both men remained in the industry for decades to come.

In 1907, Matheson offered two different four-cylinder model lines. This “Big Four” is the larger of the two, and it is powered by a 50 horsepower, 8.0-liter inline-four and bad ass double chain drive. A shaft-driven six-cylinder car would arrive in 1909.

This car wears a large seven-passenger touring body, one of four styles offered in 1907 (though this body is a recreation constructed in the 1980s). The price when new would’ve been $5,500 – a fraction of the $250,000-$350,000 it is expected to bring later this week. Fun fact: William Randolph Hearst owned a pair of Mathesons. Only four Wilkes-Barre-built cars are known to exist today, and this is a pretty nice one. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $212,800.

1907 Tincher Touring

1907 Tincher Model H Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Thomas Tincher sold some seriously expensive cars between 1903 and 1909 (their 1904 90hp race car model cost $12k… in 1904!). Up until the formation of the South Bend-based Tincher Motor Car Company in 1907, his cars were all built by the Chicago Coach & Carriage Company.

The Model H was the only Tincher offered in 1906 and 1907. At $6,000 it was extremely pricey and was powered by a monstrous 60 horsepower, 7.7-liter inline-four. The company never built more than six cars in a single year and closed their doors in 1909 after being unable to make a profit with such a low production volume.

This is the only Tincher known to exist, and it’s going to be one of the more expensive brass era cars sold from this collection, with an estimate of $500,000-$700,000. Be sure to go to the catalog to check out the amazing paintwork. Click here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $423,000.

Two Knox Automobiles

1900 Knox Model A 5HP Runabout

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

How Harry A. Knox became to be an automobile manufacturer probably has something to do with how this car looks. His neighbor happened to be J. Frank Duryea, who along with his brother, was one of America’s first automobile producers. And their early cars looked a lot like this (three-wheelers included).

The auction catalog lists this as a c.1899, but my information says that Knox built their first 15 3-wheelers in 1900. Another 100 were built in 1901, and a 4-wheeler was added in 1902. This car is powered by a five horsepower, 1.6-liter single-cylinder engine.

The engine number is 28, which might mean this was actually built in 1901. In any case, it’s one of the earliest Knox cars around, and it is really, really cool. It should sell for between $100,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $106,400.


1910 Knox Model R Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Here’s a later Knox, and a much larger, more traditional example. When I think of this marque I think of tiny, early runabouts like this one. But later on, they certainly built big tourers as well.

The Model R was sold in 1910 through 1912 and it is powered by a 40 horsepower, 6.1-liter straight-four. It has shaft drive and is finished in an attractive combo of blue with red wheels. The restoration is described as older, but with big power on tap, it should be a nice, usable car.

The seven-passenger touring body style was only available on the Model R in 1912, after the wheelbase was extended to 122″. But who knows, anything is possible with old cars. This one should bring between $175,000-$250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $156,800.

1908 Welch

1908 Welch Model 4-L Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Brothers Fred and A.R. Welch built their first automobile in 1901 and entered production in 1903 in Chelsea, Michigan. The company moved to Pontiac, Michigan in 1904 and in 1909 they spun off a subsidiary producing a small car called the Welch-Detroit. General Motors acquired Welch in 1910 and quickly phased it out.

The 5.5-liter inline-four was rated at 50 horsepower and features an overhead camshaft and hemispherical combustion chambers. The OG Hemi. Only four “hemi-head” Welch cars are known to survive, and in 1908, this was the only body style you could get on a Model 4-L.

This car has known ownership history back to about 1910, and it was co-acquired by Henry Austin Clark Jr. in 1951. Restored prior to the early-1970s, it has been a mainstay in its current collection for decades. The Welch was one of the best cars in America in 1908, and this one should bring $250,000-$320,000 today. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $456,000.

Stearns-Knight Seven-Passenger Touring

1929 Stearns-Knight J-8-90 Seven-Passenger Touring

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Frank Stearns sold his company to John North Willys in 1925. From 1925 through 1930, when the Stearns-Knight brand was shuttered, it operated under the corporate umbrella of Willys-Overland.

This 1929 model, one of the last Stearns-Knight cars built (as 1930 production was minimal if it occurred at all), is an example of what is probably the greatest car the marque ever sold. It looks like a large Packard of the era and is powered by a 112 horsepower 6.3-liter straight-eight sleeve-valve engine.

Only 388 of this model were built between 1928 and 1929 – only 11 survive today. This chassis originally sported a sedan body, but by the time the restoration began, the body was in too bad of shape to restore. So a factory-correct seven-passenger touring body was constructed for it. And it’s gorgeous. The J-8-90 was the pinnacle (and sort of the end of the line) for the decades of Knight-engined automobiles in the United States. You’re unlikely to come across one of these for sale in the wild because they are that good. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $132,000.

Five More Cars from Bonhams

1907 Stearns 60HP Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by  Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We will be featuring a Stearns-Knight in a few days. Stearns-Knight is the company that Stearns became in 1912. Stearns started building cars back in 1901 when company founder Frank Stearns wanted to build the best cars in the world. He did it: Stearns cars were big from the get-go and this car is no exception.

This 1907 Stearns is powered by a 8.7-liter straight-six making 60 horsepower. It’s a big car – really big – but it’s perfectly proportioned. It was restored a while ago but looks great. It’s an ex-Harrah car and should sell for between $650,000-$850,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1913 Napier Type 44 Touring by Cunard

Offered by  Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We’ve featured a lot of cars from the Hershey-area auctions this year (as in the most we’ve ever featured from a single week’s worth of auctions). This is because there have been so many rare cars – most of which have been American. But here is a British tourer. Napier built cars and seriously powerful engines for both marine and aircraft use.

They even had an American arm for about a decade. But this is a British-built Type 44 that features a 4.7-liter straight-six making 35 horsepower. While this car looks nicely patina’d, it has actually been restored (back in the 1960s). It has a great look to it and is a complete driver. It should bring between $150,000-$180,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1908 Rainier Model D 45/50HP Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by  Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Do you find this car to be in terrible shape or in great shape? I guess that’s a matter of perspective. It’s almost 110 years old and although it doesn’t currently run or drive, getting it to that point would win you awards in any preservation class anywhere. Rainier (originally of Flushing, New York, later of Saginaw, Michigan) built cars from 1905 through 1911. It was short-lived, for sure, but the cars were big – and powerful.

The engine in the 1908 and 1909 Model D is a 6.8-liter straight-four making 45/50 horsepower. John T. Rainier’s company was swallowed by General Motors in 1911 but they quickly phased it out in favor of Marquette. This is the only surviving Rainier Model D and it should bring between $250,000-$350,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $253,000.


1910 White Model GA 20HP Tourer

Offered by  Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We’ve become a fan lately of early White motorcars. Steam cars are always interesting, something White heavily invested in for most of its passenger car-building life, but the gasoline cars are interesting too, as they are a little less remembered.

The Model GA was built for 1910 and 1911. It was the entry-level gasoline model and was offered in a variety of body styles. The engine is a 3.7-liter straight-four making 20 horsepower. It’s a nicely-finished driver, perfect for tours. It should sell for between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,400.


1910 Buick Model 16 Toy Tonneau

Offered by  Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 5, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

David Dunbar Buick is one of our automotive heroes. He created what is now the oldest active American automobile manufacturer. It’s because the company started building quality products and continued doing so for decade after decade. Sure, they’ve had their issues in the past thirty years building anything remotely exciting (GNX aside), but these early cars are interesting.

The Model 16 was built 1910 only, smack in the middle of what would even today qualify as a full model range. The engine is a 5.2-liter straight-four making 48 horsepower – which is actually quite a lot for a car in this class in 1910. The restoration is relatively new and very nice. This is a quick car and would be a lot of fun to own. It can be yours for between $50,000-$60,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ lineup.

Update: Sold $68,200.

1912 Packard Touring

1912 Packard Model 30 Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 15-16, 2015

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

What I like most about this car is that I can imagine it being 1912 (well, as best I can) and being the rich guy who is being chauffeured around in this giant thing. The looks such a giant touring car must’ve gotten back in the day must have been awesome. The Model 30 was an expensive ride in 1912, costing around $4,200 in Seven-Passenger Touring form. It was the cheapest body style you could get on this, Packard’s big four for 1912.

The engine is a 7.1-liter straight-four making 30 horsepower. This car has a nice Victoria top to shade wealthy passengers while the chauffeur bakes up front. White tires on white rims accented by body color paint really make this thing pop visually. We love white tires.

Of the 1,250 Model 30s built in 1912 (which was the final year for the model introduced in 1907), it is thought that there are only about 10 left, with this being, perhaps, the best. Actually it is the best as the interior is remarkably original. It was formerly in the Harrah Collection and should bring between $325,000-$375,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Gooding’s auction lineup.

Update: Sold $280,000.

A Pretty LaSalle

1931 LaSalle Series 345A Seven-Passenger Touring by Fleetwood

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Plymouth, Michigan | July 25, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

When Alfred P. Sloan took over at General Motors, he instituted many things that would transform the industry. One such initiative was the companion marque program, where each existing GM make (sans Chevrolet) would be allotted a secondary marque to fill price gaps between other makes. Cadillac’s companion make was LaSalle.

LaSalle’s were essentially “baby Cadillacs” and they were not a commercial success. But they did have a profound impact on GM. While the cars were built by Cadillac, their styling was no longer done in the engineering department. Instead, Harley Earl and his gang were given their own department. All LaSalle’s were eight-cylinder cars. This Series 345A features a 5.8-liter V-8 making 95 horsepower.

The body is actually by Fleetwood – it was one of five body styles offered by LaSalle in 1931 that were built by Cadillac’s in-house coachbuilder (of the 12 total body styles they offered that year). It cost $2,345 in 1931. This is an actual Fleetwood Seven-Passenger Touring body, but it likely did not come on this chassis originally.

LaSalle was phased out after 1940 and while the marque isn’t exceptionally rare today, this is easily the best-looking LaSalle I’ve ever seen. This is thought to be one of less than 12 of this style to survive. It is fresh off restoration and should sell for between $80,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $77,000.

1911 Lozier Touring Car

1911 Lozier Model 51 Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2013

1911 Lozier Model 51 Seven-Passenger Touring

Lozier built big, expensive cars first in Plattsburgh, New York, and then in Detroit. They didn’t build many but the ones that they did make are majestic. They were some of the most expensive cars available in their day. This one cost a whopping $5,995 in 1911 – about $150 more than the price of the average house.

The engine is a 51 horsepower (hence the model name) 9.1-liter T-head six-cylinder. But it’s no ordinary 1911 car. This car was once in the Henry Ford Museum before being sold to a private collector in 1968. That collector, Ken Pearson, restored the car for the first time – but he upgraded it along the way. He wanted to be able to drive this thing across the country without worrying about reliability – so he rebuilt it “to modern tolerances.”

With only a few thousand Loziers built, they’re certainly rare. Finding one that has been restored to a state like this one is even harder to do. The restoration is older and has had “tens of thousands of miles” put on it since, but shows near-new. A luxury car through and through, this car should sell for between $400,000-$600,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM at Amelia Island.

Update: Sold $1,100,000.

Update II: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2016, $990,000.

Pierce-Arrow Touring Car

1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Series 4 Seven-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Auctions | Phoenix, Arizona | January 18, 2013

1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Series 4 Seven-Passenger Touring

This big seven-passenger Pierce-Arrow is interesting because it was specifically ordered without jump seats. So, if you wanted to fit seven people in it, five of them would’ve had to sit on the back bench. Good luck. I’m not sure why they didn’t just call it a “five-passenger touring” – but I guess the body is the same.

And the body has those headlights faired into the fenders, which was a Pierce-Arrow patented design. The company introduced it’s 48 horsepower six cylinder in 1909 – at the latest, perhaps earlier. So this should have been a dinosaur by 1919 – except that WWI interrupted auto production for a few years and, by 1919, this thing – while rated at 48 horsepower – might have produced substantially more – like, say around 90. But whatever, you aren’t buying it for speed. The engine is an 8.6-liter straight six – and it went head-to-head with the V12s from Packard and Peerless.

This car was used in the mountains as a chauffeured hunting and fishing car. It was recently restored by the third owner of the car, from whom it is being sold. It’s a cool-looking car – especially with those headlights, which look like some sort of coachbuilt custom touch but were in fact, factory designed. And, of course, those white tires. It should sell for between $190,000-$230,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Arizona.

Update: Sold $181,500.