4 Pre-WWI Minervas

Pre-WWI Minervas

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 8, 2018


1907 Minerva Type K 40HP Transformable Open-Drive Limousine Torpedo

Photo – Bonhams

Bonhams managed to snag an unreal collection of Minerva automobiles for their Rétromobile sale. This is the oldest of the bunch, dating to 1907 – which was just five years after the Belgian firm built their first cars.

The Type K features a 40 horsepower 6.2-liter straight-six. This car was aimed squarely at the top of the market – right at Rolls-Royce. It’s a gigantic car, with an open (or covered) driver’s compartment and an enclosed limousine rear (but also with a removable top… which I guess makes this entire car technically a convertible). The body is by Belvallette et Cie. It was purchased new off of Minvera’s stand at the 1907 Paris Auto Salon.

It was discovered in 1966 and immediately placed in a museum. In 1981 it changed hands again and the collection it is coming out of acquired it in 1995. Did I mention that this 111-year-old car is entirely original? It’s been expertly preserved and it should bring between $420,000-$550,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $744,906.


1910 Minerva Model S 26HP Open-Drive Landaulette

Photo – Bonhams

The 1910 Minerva range consisted of three models, the entry-level 16HP, the top-of-the-line 38HP, and this, the mid-range 26HP Model S. The engine is a Knight sleeve-valve 4.1-liter straight-four. The body looks extremely complicated with a retractable top out back and a removable hardtop for the driver, which when both are down, leaves a little piece of roof sticking up in the middle.

This car was delivered new to France and returned to Belgium in 1918. The current collection acquired the car in 1999 and there was a restoration, but no one seems to know when it was performed. At any rate, it’s aged nicely and should bring between $110,000-$150,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $205,736.


1911 Minerva Model Z 38HP Open-Drive Limousine

Photo – Bonhams

This Minerva looks a little bit newer than 1911, which I guess is a testament to its great design. The Model Z was the “big” Minerva for 1911, powered by a 6.3-liter Knight sleeve-valve straight-four making 38 horsepower. The body almost has a “C-Cab” look to the driver’s compartment, which is very stylish. Unfortunately, the coachbuilder is unknown.

This car was delivered new to Spain and entered the current collection more than 30 years ago. It’s thought to be mostly original, but it will require some freshening as it’s been sitting for a few years. Compared to some of the other Minervas in this sale, this car is on the cheap side, with a pre-sale estimate of $55,000-$67,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $87,969.


1912 Minerva Model CC 38HP Tourer

Photo – Bonhams

Just like in 1910 and 1911, the 1912 Minerva line consisted of three models of differing power outputs with this, the 38HP model being the largest. It’s powered by a sleeve-valve 7.2-liter straight-four rated at 38 horsepower. That large displacement coupled with the Knight engine made for exceptionally smooth running.

This is a big touring car equipped with a second windshield for the rear passengers. Delivered new to the U.K., this car was pulled from a Scottish barn in the 1960s and restored as-needed before the end of the 1970s. It’s been on static display in this collection for up to the last 15 years, which means it’ll need a little TLC if you want to take it out on the road. It should sell for between $55,000-$67,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $156,075.

Microcar Mondays Pt VIII

The Bruce Weiner Microcar Collection

Offered by RM Auctions | Madison, Georgia | February 15-16, 2013

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1958 Burgfalke FB250

1958 Burgfalke FB250

Photo – RM Auctions

The Brütsch Spatz went into production in revised form as the Victoria 250. When production ceased on that car, the head of Burgfalke (an airplane and glider manufacturer in Germany) bought the rights to the car and put it into production as the Burgfalke FB250. They used a 248cc single-cylinder making 14 horsepower. In all, 60 were built and two of those were shipped to the U.S. This car is one of those two and it is completely original. It should sell for between $25,000-$35,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $20,700.

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1949 Voisin Biscooter Prototype

1949 Voisin Biscooter Prototype

Photo – RM Auctions

We’ve talked of Gabriel Voisin and his attempt to manufacture a microcar after World War II. When he designed the Biscooter, he built approximately 15 prototypes that he shopped around. Eventually, two of them were given to Voisin to take home. This is one of those two cars. It is completely original. The Biscuter was made in Spain, but this Biscooter was made by Voisin. It’s a pretty big deal. The engine is a six horsepower 125cc single-cylinder. It should sell for between $60,000-$80,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $66,125.

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1946 Larmar

1946 Larmar

Photo – RM Auctions

Larmar built invalid carriages in Essex, England. When this model hit the scene, they were quick to point out all of its positive, road car-like characteristics in order to drum up as many sales as possible. It was about the smallest road car you could buy and perhaps the narrowest ever built, at just two feet four inches wide. The engine is a 246cc single-cylinder making 7.5 horsepower. This one has not been restored (obviously) and is missing a door, the convertible top and the folding windshield. It honestly resembles an airplane tug more than a car, but it is what it is. It can be yours for the rock-bottom price of $3,000-$5,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $4,600.

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1963 Vespa Ape Model C

1963 Vespa Ape

Photo – RM Auctions

The iconic Vespa scooter was introduced by Piaggio in 1946. It was great for transporting people cheaply around the windy streets of Italy. It was not so great for transporting things. So Piaggio sent their designers back to the drawing board and in 1948 the Ape came to market. This Model C has an enclosed metal box at the rear and a bench seat up front. Payload was 770 pounds – about all the 5.8 horsepower 145.5cc single-cylinder can handle. The controls are still scooter-like and the rear box actually tips. It’s a useful little commercial vehicle. It should bring between $5,000-$10,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $25,300.

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1948 Mochet Type K

1948 Mochet Type K

Photo – RM Auctions

This Mochet is a little sportier than the commercial Camionette we featured a month or two ago. It uses a single-cylinder engine of 125cc making a paltry 3.5 horsepower. The car is actually a little bigger than it looks, at almost eight feet long. This was the first Mochet cyclecar not to actually be fitted with pedals (what progress!). Everything else was still crude – no front suspension and an external handbrake to slow the rear wheels. And everything comes together at some kind of sharp angle. Only 650 were built. There are two in this sale, this being the nicer. It should sell for between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $35,650.

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1957 Messerschmitt KR 201 Roadster

1957 Messerschmitt KR 201 Roadster

Photo – RM Auctions

Another Messerschmitt? Look closely, this isn’t a KR 175 or a KR 200. It’s a very rare KR 201. Closed-top cars had an occupant baking problem, as they were essentially in a glass oven. Solution? Cut the top off. They gave it a heavily-raked windshield and a cloth top that goes back most of the way. It was a special edition model with other bits of nice trim and they were only built for two years (1957 and 1958) but it was available by special order until KR 200 production finally stopped. It uses the same 191cc single-cylinder engine making 9.5 horsepower. Only 300 were made. This one should bring between $60,000-$70,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $103,500.

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1972 Bond Bug 700E

1972 Bond Bug 700E

Photo – RM Auctions

The futuristic Bond Bug was exactly what a futurist would drive in 1972. It’s a three-wheeler with a pop-forward canopy for a door. The interior is now dated but was probably modern then. The engine is a 701cc straight-four making 30 horsepower. Bond had actually been acquired by Reliant in 1969 and you can see some of the Reliant Robin-type architecture in this car. Every one of the 2,276 cars built was painted in this god-awful 1970s orange color, which must have helped Bond reach their young consumer target market, or something. This one should sell for between $15,000-$20,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $17,250.

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1942 Peugeot VLV

1942 Peugeot VLV

Photo – RM Auctions

You might be thinking “Just what in the hell did Peugeot think they were doing trying to build a production car in 1942, under German occupation.” While the first part of that sentence – right up to the qualifier of “trying to build a production car…” is fair game at any point in their history, Peugeot actually had an interesting idea with this car. Gasoline was forbidden once Germany took over unless you had a special permission slip to drive. Literal cyclecars (without engines) were popular. Peugeot went with electricity. They were the only one of France’s large automakers to take a shot with building electric cars. The VLV was interesting – there was a single brake drum for the two rear wheels and the batteries up front made up half the weight of the car. It had a top speed of 22 mph and a range of 50 miles. It got around the fuel-restrictions but was banned by the occupying government after 377 were built. It’s cool, it’s rare. It should sell for $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $20,125.

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1949 Crosley Farm-O-Road Prototype

1949 Crosley Farm-O-Road Prototype

Photo – RM Auctions

Powell Crosley’s cars are all really tiny and all really cool. The Farm-O-Road is one of the stranger cars the he built. It looks like a miniature version of the Jeep that helped America win the war that had just ended. But its purpose was that of a utility tractor, as Crosley “had an interest in farming.” There were all sorts of attachments for this thing: plows, mowers, skis. It was also intended for road use. They were available for three model years: 1950-1952. About 600 were made. This is one of two factory prototypes and the one that was used in factory sales literature. It uses the 724cc COBRA straight-four making 26.5 horsepower. It should sell for between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $32,775.

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1957 Iso Isettacarro 500

1957 Iso Isettacarro

Photo – RM Auctions

The Isetta was originally built by Iso. They licensed the design out all over the place and used the proceeds to build some wicked sports cars. To make the tiny bubble-car even more appealing, Iso built the Autocarro, a commercial variant available in a variety of bodystyles. This one has a wooden pickup box. It uses a 236cc single-cylinder making 9.5 horsepower. It was built in Madrid by the Spanish arm of Iso (but it’s still an Iso). The only difference is that the Autocarro was renamed Isettacarro 500 in Spain. It is one of 4,900 built and is mostly original. It should sell for between $45,000-$55,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of the lineup, as this is the final Microcar Monday.

Update: Sold $97,750.

Mochet Type K

1948 Mochet Type K

Offered by RM Auctions | Madison, Georgia | February 15-16, 2013

1948 Mochet Type K

Photo – RM Auctions

This Mochet is a little sportier than the commercial Camionette we featured a month or two ago. It uses a single-cylinder engine of 125cc making a paltry 3.5 horsepower. The car is actually a little bigger than it looks, at almost eight feet long. This was the first Mochet cyclecar not to actually be fitted with pedals (what progress!). Everything else was still crude – no front suspension and an external handbrake to slow the rear wheels. And everything comes together at some kind of sharp angle. Only 650 were built. There are two in this sale, this being the nicer. It should sell for between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $35,650.