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.

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.

Cupelle Open Touring

1905 Cupelle 8HP Two-Seater Open Touring

Offered by Auctions America | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | March 29, 2015

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

Cupelle is a very rare automobile marque. In the early years of automobile manufacturing, there were companies that specialized in different things. De Dion-Bouton, for example, was a prolific engine builder. And there was another French company, Lacoste et Battmann (of Paris), who built entire cars – for other companies.

Lacoste et Battmann built cars but didn’t want the hassle of marketing them, so they delivered them to other companies who badged, marketed, and sold them. Cupelle was one of those makes. Built by Lacoste et Battmann, this Cupelle uses an eight horsepower single-cylinder engine.

This example was restored in the 1950s and has been in a museum for a while. 1905 was the only year the Cupelle was manufactured, which makes this car mind-blowingly rare. It is thought that it may be the only one in existence. It can be yours for between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $45,100.

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.

1899 Peugeot

1899 Peugeot 3CV Two-Seater

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Peugeot is one of, if not the, oldest continuously operating automobile manufacturer in the world. The company goes back to 1810, when they were producing coffee mills. They started building cars in 1890 and Armand Peugeot left the family company in 1896 to found the automobile company we know today.

I find it amusing that Peugeot designated this the Type 26 – many decades after it was built (like they went back and gave their early nameless models official names). It was new for 1899 and uses a rear-mounted flat-twin.

It’s known when and where this car was bought new but most of its history really isn’t known until about 2001. It’s a great car for old car rallies, and that’s where this car sends most of its time. It’s interesting to see a car from a modern manufacturer that is so old. It should sell for between $100,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $115,075.

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.