1922 Stanley

1922 Stanley Model 735B Touring

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

By the time World War I broke out, the electric starter had already been invented and applied on numerous gasoline-powered automobiles. This wonderful, ease-of-use invention, coupled with the efficiency and cost savings of gas cars, was bad news for steam cars.

Stanley’s first car went on sale in 1901. The last car they listed was in 1927 but only a few cars were built after 1925. The Model 735 was introduced in 1918 and the the following year it was split between A (four-passenger touring) and B (seven-passenger touring) models, though to be fair there were also C and D models offered off and on until the 735 returned to a single model in 1922.

The engine is a steam-powered (this car has been recently converted to use gasoline to heat the boiler, which makes it a little more user-friendly), 20 horsepower two-cylinder, which helped make the Model 735 one of the best-selling Stanleys in company history. Despite the increasing obsolescence of steam cars, over 1,700 Model 735s were built and this one is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

1924 Stanley

1924 Stanley 750B 20HP Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 7, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Stanley Steamer is one of the legendary early American automobiles. Twin brothers Francis and Freeland Stanley started building steam cars in the late 1800s. In those days, it was steam vs. gasoline vs. electrics. Gasoline-powered cars won out and by the end of WWI, steam cars were antiquated and just not as user-friendly as their internal combustion counterparts.

But Stanley soldiered on for as long as they could, with their final cars being sold during the 1927 model year. This car is powered by a 20 horsepower, twin-cylinder steam engine. The restoration you see above was actually carried out in the 1960s and it was exported to the U.K. only in 2012.

A couple of things about this car, first: my records indicate that the 1924 Stanley was actually the Series 740, not 750. Second, it is stated in the lot description that, according to the vendor, only four Stanleys were produced after this car but their whereabouts are unknown, which isn’t exactly true as we featured one right here. But this car is definitely one of the final Stanleys, as the company may have not built any cars in 1926 or 1927. And regardless, the car is wonderful and the last of its kind – something you’d expect to see in the 20s, but not today. It should bring between $62,000-$75,000 – and at either price it is a bargain. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

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-1920 Cars from RM’s Hershey Sale

1911 Stanley Model 63 Toy Tonneau

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

It’s everyone’s favorite steam car – the Stanley steamer. The company’s 1911 range was robust, with the Model 63 being one of two 10 horsepower models offered. It was available only in this body style with seating for five.

It is powered by a two-cylinder steam engine making 10 horsepower. The 60-Series cars from Stanley were in production from 1910 through 1913. In all, 1,165 were built with 219 of those being the Toy Tonneau. Steam cars aren’t everyone’s thing as they take special dedication and know-how to operate. But those that love them really love them. This car sort of defines early steam motoring and it has been fully restored. Check out more info here.

Update: Sold $115,500.


1907 Procter Two-Passenger Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Procter is a marque that doesn’t appear in most automotive history books (and if it does it is often misspelled as “Proctor”). That’s because the company was more of a person than an actual company. And Albert Procter only built one car. This one.

Originally fitted with a single-cylinder engine, the car was later upgraded to use 1.6-liter twin-cylinder engine from a 1903/4 Ford Model A. It produces eight horsepower. Procter built the car for himself, instead of purchasing another man’s product. He only ever wanted to build one car. So that’s what he did.

Procter’s daughter sold the car before WWII and the engine was stripped out of it. But the car survived and passed between collections before finally being given a new engine. It’s not road-worthy as it is all-original, but it could be made to run. Click here for more information.

Update: Sold $18,700.


1914 Cadillac Four Speedster

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Cadillac offered only one model line in 1914 – the Four, so named because of it’s mighty 6.0-liter straight-four engine that pumped out 40/50 horsepower. The Four was offered in a variety of body styles (seven to be exact), none of which was a Speedster

This car was sold new in Jersey City, New Jersey and has known history back to 1979 when its then-owner fitted this racy two-passenger Speedster body on it. The car looks quite sporting and rather imposing. The body is described as “Mercer-style,” but if I were to hazard a guess I would say that if this car were bearing down on you, you would notice it is quite a bit larger than a comparable Mercer. It needs a quick mechanical freshening to go motoring but is otherwise excellent. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $46,750.


1910 Cameron Model 24 Open-Back Runabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The Cameron was one of what has to be quite a limited number of automobile manufacturers to set up shop in Rhode Island. They operated there from 1902 through 1906 before moving to Massachusetts (before finally settling on Connecticut until they went out of business in 1920). The company was founded by the Everett and Forrest Cameron.

Early cars had twin-cylinder engines, but a large number of four-cylinder models would be offered – and even some sixes. This car is powered by a 2.9-liter straight-four making 24 horsepower. The Model 24 was only offered in this basic body style and only for one model year (which may have been 1911). This example is in great shape and is ready to go. Click here for more information.

Update: Sold $55,000.


1915 Studebaker Model SD-4 Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8-9, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Studebaker was one of America’s great companies. With roots back to the 1850s, the company adapted and lasted through 1967 when times just got too rough. But back in earlier, happier days, their products were sought-after by the masses. And that’s why I like this car so much. If you’ve ever seen footage shot in a big city, like New York, sometime around 1920, give or take, you may have noticed the abundance of automobiles swarming the streets. And they all look more or less the same from a distance. Quite a large number of them are probably Model T Fords. But then you have to realize that some of them are very rare cars today.

This Studebaker looks like it could’ve been used in an episode of Boardwalk Empire or something. It’s generic enough without being too generic. This was an everyday car. And that’s why it’s so interesting. The SD-4 was powered by a 3.2-liter straight-four making 30 horsepower. Studebaker’s four-cylinder model was renamed with every year, so the SD-4 was for 1915 only. It was available as a two-passenger Roadster or a this four-passenger Touring. You know this was somebody’s family sedan – 100 years ago. Think of the stories… and check out more here from RM.

Update: Sold $16,500.

A Late Stanley Steamer

1925 Stanley Model SV 252A Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 6, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Stanley Steamer is one of the most beloved American automobiles of all time. Beginning in 1897, the Stanley brothers (who were actually twins) began producing steam automobiles in Watertown, Massachusetts. They were the #1 American automobile manufacturer in terms of production through 1899. The sold the early company to Locomobile and moved on to build the coffin-nose Stanleys everyone recognizes leading up to WWI.

Steam-powered cars didn’t do so well after about 1910, but Stanley soldiered on, sticking with the propulsion that got them that far. In 1923, bankruptcy came calling and the company was reorganized as the Steam Vehicle Corporation of America (SVCA). In 1925, they introduced the Model SV which uses a 20 horsepower, two-cylinder steam engine.

SVCA only built five Model SV Sedans and 48 Touring models in 1925. The car here is the only surviving unrestored 1925 Touring car. There are a couple restored cars out there and only one of those approaches factory-correct. This is thought to be the SV prototype that was built in 1924 before being re-bodied and sold to the public a year later.

It is unrestored, original, and running. Stanley only completed a handful of cars in 1926 and 1927 models may or may not have actually been built (if you have proof, we’d love to see it). At any rate, this car should sell for between $70,000-$90,000, which seems like a bargain. Read more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Not sold.

Stanley Mountain Wagon

1915 Stanley Model 820 Mountain Wagon

Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 12, 2012

Need to transport 12 people somewhere and don’t want to drive the same bland, 12-passenger Ford E-Series van as everyone else? Could I interest you in a 12-passenger convertible? There is even one surviving 15-passenger variant. Regardless of how many passengers you can carry, the Stanley Mountain Wagon is one of the coolest cars of all time.

These vehicles were available from 1908 to 1916 and used a 30 horsepower, two-cylinder steam engine. They were used for things like sightseeing tours in Yellowstone National Park. There is one just like this at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, and, although it appears average in size in the picture here – they are massive in real life. The wheelbase is only an inch shorter than that of a Ford Excursion – the veritable limousine among SUVs. And they are tall. When I saw the one in Reno, I became instantly fascinated. I just stood there are stared at it and inspected it – perhaps even creeping onto the gravel beyond where you are supposed to stand. Oops, don’t worry, I didn’t hurt anything.

This one has known ownership since WWII, including some well known and important collections. This is also the only Stanley Model 820 with its original, Stanley-built body – although it was restored a number of years ago. Steam vehicles are really cool to start with, but when you add in a very strange bodystyle like this, it just makes it even cooler. This is expected to sell for between $200,000-$250,000. For more information, click here. And for more from RM at Hershey, click here.

Update: Not sold.

RM St. John’s Highlights 2012

RM’s sale in St. John’s, Michigan (okay, it was actually held in Plymouth) had a bunch of really old, really cool cars. The top sale was the SJ Duesenberg we featured for $957,000. One of the stars of the show was this 1928 Cadillac Series 341-A V8 Town Sedan that was once owned by Al Capone. It is bulletproof – literally, which is way cool. It sold for $341,000.

1928 Cadillac Series 341-A V-8 "Al Capone" Town Sedan

Other interesting sales included this 1907 Locomobile Model E Roadster for $74,250.

1907 Locomobile Model E Roadster

A couple of other pre-WWI American automobiles included a 1911 Overland Model 46 Torpedo Roadster (top) for $35,200 and a 1912 Chalmers Model 9 Torpedo Roadster (bottom) for $57,750. Also, our featured 1909 Washington sold for $71,500.

1911 Overland Model 46 Torpedo Roadster

1912 Chalmers Model 9 Torpedo Roadster

One car I really liked was this 1924 Moon Series A Five-Passenger Touring. There’s something about solid, painted wheel rims on 1920s-era cars that I’m really drawn too. I think it’s because it looks more period-correct than any other type of wheel – wooden spokes included. This one sold for $26,400.

1924 Moon Series A Five-Passenger Touring

A few months ago we featured a 1907 Dolson Model F, which was for sale at a dealership in St. Louis for $110,000. Well, it sold at this auction for $74,250. Sometimes it pays to wait. Another car we featured, specifically for this auction, was a 1914 Detroit Electric Model 46 Cape Top Roadster. It sold for $99,000. There were a number of other “alternatively powered” vehicles at this sale. Another Detroit Electric was this 1918 Model 75 Brougham that brought $44,000.

1918 Detroit Electric Model 75B Brougham

The other electric cars were a 1912 Baker Model V Special Extension Coupe (top, $148,500) and a 1922 Milburn Electric Model 27L Light Brougham (bottom, $56,100).

1912 Baker Model V Special Extension Coupe

1922 Milburn Electric Model 27L Light Brougham

A different type of propulsion popular in the early days of motoring was steam, and it was represented at this sale as well, by this 1911 Stanley Model 63 Toy Tonneau which sold for $165,000.

1911 Stanley Model 63 Toy Tonneau

And finally, the “Rolls-Royce of fire engines,” Ahrens-Fox. They are very rare and there were two of these at this sale, the top selling one went for $198,000. It was this 1925 N-S-4 Triple Combination Pumper.

1925 Ahrens-Fox N-S-4 Triple Combination Pumper

For complete results, click here.