1903 Brown Tonneau

1903 Brown 8HP Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2023

Photo – Bonhams

Brown Brothers Ltd was a short-lived automaker out of London. They were around for a about decade, selling cars between 1901 and 1913. What’s interesting is that they company did not have a manufacturing facility. Instead, they had their stuff made elsewhere, including by Star.

This early example is powered by a two-cylinder engine that was rated at eight horsepower. The car is of decent size, sporting a large body for its day. This is said to be the 102nd car the company built. What’s fun is that Bonhams has two from this make in this same auction.

In 1904, the car went to New Zealand. A restoration was begun at some point, and, before it was finished, the car was sold to Brown Brothers back in the U.K. The restoration was obviously completed, and the car has been used in the London-to-Brighton run a number of times over the years. It now has an estimate of $160,000-$200,000. More info can be found here.

1904 Siddeley

1904 Siddeley 12hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Siddeley is a fairly well-known name in the historical British car world. However, most of the time it is connected to other names, like Deasy, Wolseley, or, most famously, Armstrong. But the first Siddeleys were built by John Davenport Siddeley’s Siddeley Autocar Company, which was founded in 1902. The cars were actually built by Vickers and were based on Peugeots.

In 1905, J.D. Siddeley became the manager of Wolseley and then added his name to that brand. In 1909, he left Wolseley (and so did his name) and took over Deasy, again appending his name to that marque’s as well. In 1919, Siddeley-Deasy was bought by Armstrong Whitworth. Armstrong-Siddeley cars remained in production until 1960. The Siddeley name stuck around on various aircraft companies through a few mergers, eventually winding up as part of BAE Systems.

So that’s the history. Here’s this car. It is said that 31 examples of the 12hp model were built, with this being the only survivor. It’s powered by a vertical twin that can push the car to 28 mph, never exceeding 1,800 rpm (and dropping as low as 80 rpm!). The rear-entrance tonneau body was fabricated in the ’90s to replace a replacement two-seater (previously added in lieu of the original tonneau body).

A former London-to-Brighton participant, this car should sell in the $125,000-$155,000 range. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $170,857.

1897 Daimler Tonneau

1897 Daimler Twin-Cylinder 4HP Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

We have featured a four-horsepower 1897 Daimler before, believe it or not, but that car was a wagonette. This is a more passenger-friendly tonneau. It was built by Daimler in England, which at the time was just a year-old company.

In fact, this car was just the second built by the British Daimler. It is powered by the oldest known Daimler engine, which is a 1.6-liter vertical twin that was rated at four horsepower. Its first owner is known, and it was demonstrated for the future King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace before taking part in the London-to-Bright Run. In 1897.

Updates were performed by Daimler in 1900, and some of them have been undone (for instance, someone backdated it to its original tiller steering configuration). It’s participated in more than 50 London-to-Brighton runs. It’s now got an estimate of $255,000-$310,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $427,144.


1902 MMC 10HP Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

MMC seemed to have been named in a hurry. The Motor Manufacturing Company didn’t get a fancy name, probably because company backer Harry J. Lawson was in a hurry. MMC was formed out of the remnants of the Great Horseless Carriage Company in 1898. The company went out of business in 1904 when Lawson was sent to prison for fraud. It reorganized twice before disappearing for good in 1908.

The 1902 model line included three front-engined options: a single, a twin, and a four-cylinder car. This car is the middle offering, powered by a 2.1-liter vertical twin rated at 10 horsepower.

This example has known history back to 1951, when it was found in a scrapyard. It took a while to get it back on the road, with the reconstructed body not being completed until the 1990s. It now carries an estimate of $195,000-$250,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $281,915.

Le Papillon Bleu

1901 Panhard et Levassor 7hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 1, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

This is a car with a story. It was ordered new by Chevalier Rene de Knyff, a Belgian who happened to be one of the most successful racing drivers of his era. He won five of the 18 races he entered between 1897 and 1903. And remember, in those days, a race was held between two cities.

He also happened to be the president of Panhard after Mr. Levassor’s death in 1897. He drove Panhards in competition and ordered this one especially for himself. It is said that the car was one of the most well-built Panhards of its day, with de Knyff putting his best people on its assembly.

Power is from a seven-horsepower twin-cylinder engine, likely of 1.6-liters in capacity. The body is from J. Rothschild. The car is finished in light blue over a bordello-esque gorgeous red cloth. Named The Blue Butterfly, the car was purchased from Panhard/de Knyff by an Englishman who paid an exorbitant sum, as de Knyff didn’t really want to sell it all.

Its trail goes quiet until the 1920s when it is made apparent by the car’s next owner that it is very much still road-registered. It competed in the inaugural London-to-Brighton commemorative run. In 1927. It did it again in 1928.

And it’s done it 60 more times, 25 of which over the last 27 years with its current owner. This was considered a racing car in its day, with a “semi-racing” engine and a “lightweight” body. Only 992 6/7HP Panhards were built, and this is likely the most well-traveled and most famous among them. It is expected to fetch between $250,000-$320,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $573,410.

Columbus Autobuggy

1907 Columbus 10HP Twin-Cylinder Autobuggy

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

Photo – Bonhams

There were quite a few Columbus and Columbia-branded automobiles in the early days of motoring. The Columbus Electric was a fairly popular one, and there was another, completely separate “Columbus” that operated in 1913 and 1914. But this car was built by the Columbus Buggy Company, who could trace their history as a buggy manufacturer back to the Civil War-era.

This car is actually a relative to the Columbus Electric, as a few investors purchased the gasoline-powered side of the business in 1905. They sold gasoline-powered Columbus highwheelers like this in 1907 and 1908. The cars were engineered by none other than Eddie Rickenbacker and are powered by a 1.6-liter twin-cylinder engine making 10 horsepower.

They sold these for $750 before moving on the Firestone-Columbus, a more modern automobile. This car has rope drive and, it would appear, a whip in case it all goes to hell and you need a horse to pull you. That, or to scare children and/or peasants out the way. This car should sell for between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $62,750.

1894 Peugeot

1894 Peugeot Type 5 2½HP Twin-Cylinder Two-Seater

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

Photo – Bonhams

This is the type of car I love to write about. It is right up there among the oldest cars ever featured on this site (though Bonhams refers to it as an “1894-5”). Peugeot built their first car in 1889. This car carries chassis number 164, making it a pretty early car. They built 40 cars in 1894, and 72 in 1895. This sounds basic, but they were the first company to put rubber tires on their cars.

The Type 5 is powered by a 1.0-liter V-twin making 2.5 horsepower – a Daimler design built under license by Panhard et Levassor. It is believed that Peugeot retained this car for over a year before selling it and it could’ve actually been completed sometime in late 1893, but it wasn’t officially sold until 1895. It is also thought that this could be one of five famous Type 5 cars used in a Paris-Rouen race in 1894.

Only 14 examples of the Type 5 were built. This one still runs, drives, and is used – as it is entered in this year’s London-to-Brighton run. This is as much a piece of history as it is a usable car. It’s the type of thing you only see in factory museums. This car is estimated to bring between $400,000-$530,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $463,202.

Twin-Cylinder Star

1904 Star 7HP Twin-Cylinder Two-Seater

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

Photo – Bonhams

Star, like many early motor manufacturers, got their start as a cycle company. Edward Lisle’s company produced its first car in 1898, and by the time WWI broke out, the company was one of Britain’s largest automobile companies.

Introduced in 1900, the twin-cylinder Star was one of a few models the company was producing that were based on the pioneering designs of Panhard and Mercedes. It’s powered by a 1.4-liter straight-twin producing seven horsepower.

This car cost £320 when new and should bring between $110,000-$130,000 early next month. It has participated in the London-to-Brighton run multiple times and can be your ticket into that event too. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $113,559.

1902 Liberia

1902 Liberia 12HP Twin-Cylinder 2/4-Seater Detachable Tonneau

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

Photo – Bonhams

Gustave Dupont founded his car company in 1900 near Paris, in a commune of which he was the mayor. Dupont himself drove his cars in competitive events and rallies, never doing well, but always finishing. Liberias were on display at 1901 Paris Motor Show, but the company was bankrupt before the end of 1902.

All Liberia automobiles used one of two Aster engines. This car uses the larger, 12 horsepower Aster twin-cylinder unit. The body was built by the little-known Carrosserie L. Barjou. The catalog calls this a c.1902 Dupont-Liberia, but reference materials list it simply as “Liberia,” with Dupont being the man behind the curtain, as it were.

This example is one of two known examples of the marque to still exist, and as you can see it is in a condition that certainly looks original, even though it may have been repainted at some point in the past and wears replacement tires. As a rare survivor, it should bring between $160,000-$180,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $149,420.

Ford Model F

1906 Ford Model F Twin-Cylinder Side-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Hillegom, Netherlands | June 23, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

The first Ford, the Model A, was a two-cylinder car. In 1904 they introduced their first four-cylinder, which carried over into 1905. 1906 would see Ford launch their first six-cylinder car, but they still introduced a new two-cylinder car in 1905. That is the Model F. It would be Ford’s last two-cylinder car after it exited production at the end of 1906.

Only two Model F body styles were offered in 1905 and just this, the two-door, four-passenger touring car, carried over to 1906. It’s powered by a 2.1-liter flat-twin making 16 horsepower, a good jump over earlier 10 horsepower twins. Fun note on the Model F: you know how Ford was famous for only selling black Model Ts? Well, to adjust the famous phrase, “you can get a Model F in any color you want so long as it’s green.” Kind of weird, yeah? It’s like Henry bought his paint in bulk and used it exclusively until it was gone.

The Model F was a strong seller but, even with its advanced price, they did not survive. It’s thought that less than 50 remain today of the 1,250 sold in two years of production. This car was delivered new to Iowa where it remained for some time. The restoration dates to the late 1990s, right before it was added to the current museum collection in the Netherlands. When new this was an $1,100 car and it should bring between $47,000-$64,000 today. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.

Update: Sold $109,840.