1904 Wolseley

1904 Wolseley 6HP Two-Seater Voiturette

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

Photo – Bonhams

Did you know the Wolseley name is owned by the Chinese auto conglomerate SAIC? It’s dormant currently, but the name can be traced back to 1901 when Herbert Austin teamed up with Vickers to build cars. Austin was the head of the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company, thus the name. He would leave Wolseley in 1905 to go found Austin.

Their 6HP model went on sale in 1904. It’s powered by, well, a six horsepower single-cylinder engine mounted up front. Outward appearances suggest that the engine is 100% radiator. We like that single, centered headlight, though.

It’s a tiny 2-seater with a big, upright windscreen that doesn’t appear tall enough to protect the occupants’ faces. That or the steering wheel is just monumentally high. This car has mostly known ownership history, and Bonhams notes that this car should bring between $98,000-$100,000, which is a bizarrely tight range. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $89,652.

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.

Mercedes-Simplex Raceabout

1908 Mercedes-Simplex 65HP Two-Seater Raceabout

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Daimler marque became “Mercedes” in 1902 and the Mercedes-Simplex is largely considered to be the first “modern” car – a departure from the horseless carriages that preceded it. Available as a number of models between 1902 and 1910, the Simplex had engines ranging from 18 horsepower all the way up to 65 – as in the beast you see here.

The 65 horsepower (which is available at a rumbling 1200 rpm) comes from a very large 9.4-liter straight-four that. A normal 65HP Simplex would only have 9.2-liters, but this one has probably had many engine rebuilds over the course of its life, thus slightly increasing its displacement.

The biggest of all Simplexes, this model was offered between 1903 and 1909. The chassis you see here originally sported a 40/45HP engine when it was sold new in New York. It was acquired by Lindley Bothwell in the 1930s or 40s already sporting this… sporting body. What the original coachwork looked like is a secret lost to time.

This is going to be one of the more expensive cars to find a new home at this sale and no pre-sale estimate is available. These big horsepower, early German machines are incredibly hard to come by today. This is a rare chance to acquire one with known history going back 80 years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,072,500

1899 Vivinus

1899 Vivinus 3½HP Two-Seater Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Alexis Vivinus was a Belgian bicycle maker who began his company in the 1890s. As many others did, he made the transition from bicycles to motorcars. Ateliers Vivinus S.A. sold its first car in 1895 and was out of business in 1912. Mr. Vivinus then went on to work at Minerva.

The first Vivinus cars were Benz’s built under license but the car you see here was one designed in-house. This single-cylinder car makes 3.5 horsepower and was simple and reliable to enough to be licensed by other manufacturers around Europe, including Georges Richard.

The current owner of this car acquired it in 1986 from the same family that bought it new, which is pretty incredible. It was restored when purchased and has been well maintained since. It’s a usable example of a well-built 19th Century car and it should bring between $26,000-$33,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $76,845.

1907 Friswell

1907 Friswell 6HP Two-Seater

Offered by Brightwells | Bicester, U.K. | October 25, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

Louis Delage was a Frenchman who ended up founding one of France’s snazziest automobile manufacturers in 1905. Around that same time, a company called Friswell popped up in London and they sold the Peugeot Bebe.

Those single-cylinder cars were replaced for 1906 with a car that they sold under the Friswell marque. The design utilized an 885ccc single-cylinder engine that makes 6.5 horsepower. It features a three-speed transmission and shaft drive. Oh, and it was likely designed (at least in part) by Louis Delage.

Friswell disappeared after 1907. This car is one of what has to be only a few survivors (if that number is greater than one) from a two-year-only marque. The pre-sale estimate is between $23,250-$28,500. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $31,508.

Four 20s Cars from Bonhams (and one from the Teens)

1923 Daimler TS 6.30 Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams has been killing it with their Beaulieu Sale the past few years. Because this time of year is so jam packed with great sales, we ended up doing this sort of thing last year too. So we’re going to squeeze four cars from the 20s (and one from the teens) to make sure we’re capturing the most interesting cars that we aren’t likely to see again for some time.

The British version of Daimler was founded in 1896 and actually lasted through the 2007 model year. This large tourer from 1923 is powered by a 5.0-liter, sleeve-valve straight-six making 30 horsepower. It’s a model that dates back to 1913, so I guess it was a little long-in-the-tooth a decade later – but you’d be hard pressed to tell as this six-seat tourer looks quite nice. The body is by Maythorn.

The car does run and has been in present ownership since 1993. It should be a relatively affordable large classic as it carries a pre-sale estimate of $26,000-$32,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $22,331.


1928 Bayliss-Thomas 12/27HP Two-Seater Sports

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bayliss-Thomas was a company that is primarily known for a brand of motorcycles called “Excelsior.” These are not the same Excelsior bikes made in the U.S., as this company was based in Coventry. In 1920 they decided to start building cars, but couldn’t use “Excelsior” and had to settle for their corporate name, Bayliss-Thomas.

Produced only through 1929, the company managed to churn out just over 1,000 cars in a 10 year span. Introduced in 1925, the 12/27 featured a 27 horsepower 1.5-liter Meadows straight-four and a three-speed gearbox. Five body styles were offered with this Sports Tourer being among the smallest. This example has been on static display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, since 1974. It has been slowly restored but is not currently running. It’s certainly a rare car that isn’t seen often. In this state it should bring between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.


1925 Vauxhall 30/98HP OE Velox Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams features a lot (like, really a lot) of old Vauxhalls over the course of a year. And this site has been ignoring them for too long. These cars are highly sporty and very popular in their native Britain. It is said that this model is favored over 3-Litre Bentleys of the period.

The 30/98 was first introduced in 1913, designed primarily for competition. Most were built after WWI ended and this particular sub-model, the OE, started finding homes in 1923 (and it lasted through 1927). The engine by this point was a 4.2-liter straight-four that actually made 110 horsepower. The chassis is described as “lightweight” – or lightweight for 1925. This car can comfortably cruise at modern highway speeds – and then some, with racing models capable of over 100 mph.

Even with the adoption of four-wheel brakes for the OE, the design was quite dated by the time it went on sale. Only 312 examples of the OE 30/98 were built. This four-seat Velox tourer was bodied in-house and looks as if it was aimed squarely at the competition from Bentley. Imported from Australia decades ago, the current owner acquired this car in 2012 and performed a fresh restoration. This sporty piece of British motoring history should bring between $280,000-$330,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $277,432.


1925 Fiat 510 De Luxe Berlina

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

When one thinks of old Italian cars, it’s easy to think of just things that are sporty or just things that are small. But there were also big sedans – just like those from France, the U.K., and America. In fact, Fiat’s Tipo 510 was the biggest car they built at the time. It was available for the 1920 through 1925 model years.

The engine is a 3.4-liter straight-six making 46 horsepower (or 53 if you had the upgraded “S” version). Top speed in this version is about 60 mph. The “S” also had a shorter wheelbase, as Fiat offered the standard 510 in just one length.

This example was sold new to Denmark and the current owner acquired it in 2001. It’s been cared for by conscientious owners its entire life. One of the last 510s built (of about 14,000 total), this big Fiat should bring between $26,000-$32,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $25,309.


1914 Calcott 10½HP Two-Seater with Dickey

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Calcott Brothers started building bicycles in 1886 and, like many other bicycle manufacturers, turned to motorcycles – for them in 1904. The next logical step, cars, followed in 1913. The marque was acquired by Singer in 1926 and phased out after the head of the company passed away.

Bonhams is actually offering three different Calcott cars in this sale. This 10.5HP model is an example of the first model the company produced. Introduced in 1913, these were built through 1917. It’s powered by a 1.5-liter straight-four making, you guessed it, 10.5 horsepower. Most Calcotts were light cars and this one is quite pretty in bright blue with matching rims. This ex-museum car has been in storage since 2015 and needs a little work to make it roadworthy, but it’ll be worth it. It should bring between $19,000-$26,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $23,820.

Bayliss-Thomas

1928 Bayliss-Thomas 12/27HP Two-Seater Sports

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bayliss-Thomas was a company that is primarily known for a brand of motorcycles called “Excelsior.” These are not the same Excelsior bikes made in the U.S., as this company was based in Coventry. In 1920 they decided to start building cars, but couldn’t use “Excelsior” and had to settle for their corporate name, Bayliss-Thomas.

Produced only through 1929, the company managed to churn out just over 1,000 cars in a 10-year span. Introduced in 1925, the 12/27 featured a 27 horsepower 1.5-liter Meadows straight-four and a three-speed gearbox. Five body styles were offered with this Sports Tourer being among the smallest. This example has been on static display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, since 1974. It has been slowly restored but is not currently running. It’s certainly a rare car that isn’t seen often. In this state, it should bring between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Lea-Francis Hyper

1928 Lea-Francis 1½-Litre Type S Hyper Sports Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | June 24, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Trivia: what marque produced the first British production car with a supercharger? Bentley? Nope. It was Lea-Francis and their Hyper 1½-liter Type S. It was introduced in 1928 and was built through 1931. Only 185 were built.

It is powered by a 1.5-liter straight-four that has been supercharged. I can’t tell you how much power it makes but there is a quote in the lot description that says it will cruise comfortably at 70 mph. So it has plenty of power, I guess. This car was actually a factory racer, having competed in the 1928 Ards Tourist Trophy race, a race that was won by a sister machine.

The car has been completely restored and, strangely, is being offered by the family of the man who raced it in the Ards TT (even though they had to reacquire the car at auction in the early 1990s). It’s a solid competitor to a Frazer Nash, should you seek out on-track competition once purchased. If you’re interested, it should bring between $230,000-$320,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $210,135.

1899 Panhard-Levassor

1899 Panhard et Levassor Type M2E 4HP Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

If I were handed the photo above with no information and told to guess the year of manufacture, I would probably guess 1902 or 1903. This is what cars looked like in 1902 and 1903, for the most part. But no, this is from 1899. While three to four years might not seem like much, these particular three to four years were light years in terms of automotive development. And Panhard-Levassor was at the forefront of it.

Most pre-1900 cars had a more “horseless carriage” look to them, but René Panhard devised this layout – the now-ubiquitous front-engined, rear-wheel drive car (with a clutch, gearbox, and rear differential). All successful automobiles thereafter adopted this (more or less).

Then again, by 1899, Panhard-Levassor had almost 10 years of automobile production under their belt. This car is powered by a vertical 1.2-liter twin-cylinder engine making four horsepower. The original owner is known, but the car wasn’t restored until its 100th birthday. And now its the perfect car for the London-to-Brighton run. It should bring between $460,000-$540,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.