1897 Daimler

1897 Daimler Twin-Cylinder 4HP Rougemont Wagonette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Daimler, which is technically a “dormant” brand as of 2008, was founded in Coventry in 1896 by Frederick Simms. He acquired the rights to build Gottlieb Daimler’s cars in the U.K. Eventually they’d move away from the German designs and by the time the end came, their cars were just badge-engineered Jaguars.

This car is powered by a 1.5-liter straight twin rated at four horsepower. Apparently, they were able to increase the power rating by two the following year. This car is a performer: it is described as a “reliable early finisher on the London-Brighton Run.” This is the sort of prototypical vehicle we imagine taking part in that event.

Ownership history is known back to 1905 (which is pretty incredible) and the current owner has had the car for nearly 20 years. This car has never been restored, but just repaired and redone as needed. It’s remarkable. As one of the earliest known surviving British Daimlers, it should sell for between $240,000-$270,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $295,661.

Decauville Tonneau

1901 Decauville 8½ HP Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Paul Decauville started building railway locomotives, rail cars, and train tracks in the 1980s. His company (which dated back to 1854) was at the forefront of industrial rail: their tracks were easy to set up and disassemble and move, making them perfect for farms, construction, and the military. In 1898, the first Decauville automobile was produced.

The 8½ HP model was introduced in 1901 and followed in the footsteps of the earlier 8HP – the brand’s first front-engined and modern-looking car. The power comes from a 1.4-liter twin-cylinder engine. The final Decauville cars were produced in 1911.

This example has known ownership history back through WWII. The current restoration was completed in the 1950s and it has been used extensively – it’s completed the London-to-Brighton run 28 times between being restored and 1984. It should sell for between $130,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $186,540.

1904 Humber

1904 Humber 8.5HP Twin-Cylinder Two Seater

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 15, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Humber was a British marque whose roots trace back to a bicycle shop in the 1860s. Cars came about in 1898 and the company was absorbed into the Rootes Group in 1932. Chrysler eventually became the majority owner and the marque was phased out in 1979. Peugeot currently owns the name.

This car is powered by a 1.3-liter straight-twin making 8.5 horsepower. The original owner registered this car on the Isle of Wight – the 39th motorcar registered there. It has had two owners since 1950 and was restored in 2000.

It’s a nice old car in working order. It is eligible for the London-to-Brighton run and only a few examples of early Humbers are known. This one should sell for between $150,000-$200,000 – a long way from its $1,260 original cost. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $148,500.

Update II: Not sold, Bonhams Carmel 2017.

Update III: Not sold, Bonhams Philadelphia 2017.

Update IV: Sold, Bonhams London-to-Brighton 2017, $81,250.

1901 Panhard Tonneau

1901 Panhard et Levassor Twin-Cylinder 7HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Labourdette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a 1902 Panhard et Levassor about a week and a half ago. It’s similar to this car, but also quite different – especially when it comes to the body. This has a body by famed French coachbuilder Henri Labourdette. It’s a rear-entrance tonneau with a big, tall hardtop (yet zero weather protection).

This body is actually original to this car, which is very rare for a car that is almost 115 years old. The engine is a 1.7-liter twin making seven horsepower. The original owner of this car is known and it was the 11th car registered in Toulouse. At some point, probably around WWI, it was stashed away in the basement of a castle.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the car was rescued and restored. I like that the front and rear tires are of differing diameter. This is a great example of an early motorcar – and the top retains its original leather. It should sell for between $320,000-$400,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this auction’s lineup.

Update: Sold $413,767.

1902 Autocar Type VIII

1902 Autocar Type VIII 10HP Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Autocar is famous for being the oldest continually operating motor manufacturer in the United States. They haven’t built road cars since 1911, but they’ve been producing trucks since 1899.

Autocar offered quite a number of vehicles in their short passenger car producing lifetime, but the 1902 line was limited to just a few body styles. This car uses a two-cylinder engine making 10 horsepower.

The restoration here dates to prior to 1978 and the car was dated as a 1902 in the 1970s but it could be a 1904. Anyway, the engine was rebuilt in 1980 and it has been part of numerous tours and events. It will do a comfortable 25-30 mph, for you speed demons. It’ll sell for between $120,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.

Update: Not sold.

1898 Daimler

1898 Daimler Twin-Cylinder 6HP Wagonette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Daimler has an interesting history. Gottlieb Daimler set up his company in Germany in 1890. But a second Daimler popped up in Coventry in 1896. The British concern bought the rights to the Daimler name and their early cars used Panhard chassis and German Daimler engines. The German Daimler survives as the company that owns Mercedes-Benz. The British Daimler is owned by Jaguar and has been dormant for a few years.

Not much is known about this car’s early days but it was rescued in 1931. A subsequent restoration found that this car was actually hot rodded around 1902 and fitted with a more powerful engine and “modern” parts. It was restored in the 1970s and has been in a Japanese collection for 20 years. Everything has since been converted back to original specification (with the exception of the ignition).

After two decades in a museum, this car has been recommissioned and it does run. I’m not sure how fast this car’s six horsepower twin will propel this large vehicle, but it is a very early car and not the type that comes up for sale often. It should sell for between $320,000-$400,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Swift Cyclecar

1913 Swift 7HP Twin-Cylinder Two-Seater Cyclecar

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 6, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Swift Motor Co Ltd. of Coventry began as a sewing machine manufacturer. They turned to cars in 1900 and their specialty was those of the small variety. Swift were among the pioneers of the cyclecar movement that swept the world (most of Europe and the U.S.) between 1910 and the 1920s.

The twin-cylinder cyclecar was introduced by Swift in 1912 (replacing a single-cylinder model). The engine is a 972cc twin making seven horsepower. The car is tiny, light, and will seat two. I quite like the looks of it.

This car has been known in the collector world since 1959 and was used regularly up until 1968 before it became more of a static showpiece. The interior is mighty old if not original – same for the engine. It is a driver and the body and brass are in great shape. It should sell for between $23,000-$27,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $33,826.

An Incredible, 1901 Benz

1901 Benz Ideal 7HP Twin-Cylinder “Contra-Motor” Vis-a-Vis

Offered by Bonhams | Stuttgart, Germany | July 12, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

What’s so incredibly cool about this horseless carriage cannot be summed up in just one point. First, it’s from Benz – the originator of the automobile (you could argue otherwise, but we’ll ignore you). And it’s about as early a Benz as you can get your hands on that isn’t a replica or on permanent display.

The Benz Ideal was an evolution (and final iteration) of the Benz Patent Motorwagen, the earliest of automobiles, that featured a horizontally-mounted single-cylinder engine between the rear wheels. By 1901, competitors were many and they had advanced in design. So for the Ideal, Benz kept the engine between the rear wheels but added coachwork up front to make it look like many of the other vehicles on the market.

The Ideal, towards the end of its run (read: 1901), was offered with a two-cylinder engine. It’s a 2.1-liter flat-twin making seven horsepower. Ownership history here is known from new and this car completed (and won its class) in the London-to-Brighton run in 1937. The restoration was completed in 1972. You can purchase this fascinating piece of automobile history – and use it – for between $150,000-$200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ inaugural Mercedes-Benz sale.

Update: Sold $641,004.

Lacoste & Battmann

1903 Lacoste et Battmann 12hp Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 1, 2013

1903 Lacoste et Battmann 12hp Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

I’ll start by saying that this car is described as “believed 1903 Lacoste et Battmann” – meaning no one’s really sure what this is. It was believed to be a Regal for many years until 2000 when an expert said it might actually be a Lacoste et Battmann. But if it were a Regal, it would still be a Lacoste et Battmann.

Here’s why: Lacoste & Battmann was founded in 1897 by Jacques Lacoste in Paris. But they rarely sold cars under their own name. In fact, they built cars for other companies – as many as seven different marques. Regal was one of those seven companies.

This car was purchased by its second owner at auction in 1908. It was worn out and restored (after only five years!) and put back on the road in 1910. The car has been in the same family since. The second restoration (which was mechanical in nature only) was completed in 2001.

The engine is a 2.4-litre two-cylinder making 12 horsepower. If this truly is a Lacoste et Battmann, it is very rare. Even if it isn’t, it is very likely one of their cars that was marketed under a different name – and the rarity remains. The company closed up shop in 1913. This example – with 1908-era interior and exterior – should sell for between $210,000-$260,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $123,920.

1903 Barré Tonneau

1903 Barré Twin-Cylinder Fout-Seat Tonneau by Labourdette

Offered by Bonhams | London, England | November 2, 2012

Gaston Barré, like many early automobile producers, started with a bicycle shop. He opened his in 1894 but by 1899 realized what the new wave was going to be and started constructing quadricycles. Later that year he received some backing from a wealthy local in Niort and moved to a larger facility. Automobile production started in 1900 and Barré quickly became one of the many French automobile companies that rallied a strong following and had a steady output of cars for a number of years.

What helped Barré become a fairly large regional manufacturer was that he came up with the idea of post-sale service. Barré would support his cars in private hands when they entered them in events. He expanded with a Parisian office and during the first World War he built military vehicles. After the war, the pre-war models remained with little changes and the company had to be reorganized in 1927 but it could never get past its out-of-date designs. Production stopped in 1930 and the firm was liquidated in 1933. About 2,500-3,000 Barré’s were produced over the years.

This twin-cylinder Barré has four-seat tonneau coachwork from Henri Labourdette of Paris. Barré’s are known for their dependability and build-quality and this car, at almost 110 years old, is no exception. It is expected to sell for between $190,000-$240,000. For more information click here. And for more from Bonhams in London, click here.

Update: Sold $214,000.