An Underslung Regal

1912 Regal Model T Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6-7, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Detroit’s Regal Motor Car Company isn’t the most remembered automobile manufacturer to come out of Michigan, but boy did they produce some attractive cars. Brothers Charles, J.E., and Bert Lambert teamed up with Fred Haines to form the company in 1907. In their 11 years they produced some more traditional-looking (for the day) cars as well as this hot new thing called the Underslung.

An Underslung chassis is defined as a chassis where the chassis itself is suspended from the axles which lowers the car dramatically. Improvements from this include a lower center of gravity and awesome handling (for 1912 anyway). Because roads were more of an afterthought in the  day, larger wheels could be fitted to maintain ground clearance. The most famous example of these cars are the beautiful American Underslungs. Regal’s version went on sale in 1910.

This car is powered by a 25 horsepower 3.3-liter straight-four. The Model T (Ford’s trademark lawyers were apparently not quite as ruthless in 1912 as they are today) was the Touring model, although you could get a Roadster or Coupe with this engine. This is one of two survivors of this model and would be about as much fun as you can have driving a car from 104 years ago. Click here for more from RM Sotheby’s and here for more about this car.

Update: Not sold.

October 2014 Auction Highlights

First up in October is Bonhams’ always interesting Preserving the Automobile sale in Philadelphia. The top sale was this 1907 American Underslung 50HP Roadster for $1,430,000.

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We featured three cars from this sale, and the Stanley failed to sell. The Cunningham brought $162,250 and the National $28,050. Check out full results here. Next up is H&H Auctions’ Imperial War Museum Sale. A previously feature Puritan Steam Car showed up here, but failed to sell. The top sale was this 1923 Bentley 3-Litre Tourer for $252,500.

Photo - H&H Auctions

Photo – H&H Auctions

Our featured Regal Underslung sold for $39,477. Check our full results here. Next up in October was RM’s Hershey sale where this 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster by Fleetwood with single-family ownership since 1933 sold for $1,100,000.

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

We featured a bunch of cars from this sale, so here’s the rundown: the Dodge Royal Pace Car brought $49,500; the Zoe Zipper $13,200; the 1923 Yellow Cab $33,000; the G.N. Cyclecar $110,000.

A previously featured 1905 Fiat that failed to sell in 2013 finally sold here for $825,000. The International Charette sold for $77,000 and the Spacke Cyclecar $38,500. The Staver Roadster blew away its estimate, selling for $132,000. The Queen sold for $52,250, the Orient Buckboard $30,250, and the 1902 Covert $44,000. The Armstrong Phaeton failed to sell. Check out full results here.

The fourth auction of this round-up is Bonhams’ Zoute sale where this 1989 Ferrari F40 (which was formerly owned by Nigel Mansell) sold for $881,337. A previously featured Jaguar Bertone Prototype sold for $76,382. Check out full results here.

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Finally, Mecum’s Chicago sale. There was a litter of low-mileage Ford GTs and this 2006 Heritage Edition was the top sale at $475,000. Our featured Buick GNX sold for $97,500. Click here for full results.

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Regal Underslung

1911 Regal Model N Underslung

Offered by H&H Auctions | Duxford, U.K. | October 8, 2014

Photo - H&H Auctions

Photo – H&H Auctions

Underslung is a word most commonly associated with the American Motor Car Company. The term denotes a chassis design that was a novel idea at the time: hang the chassis below the axles. It provides for a sportier ride from a lower center of gravity. But American wasn’t the only company to take advantage of this. For example, there was also the Regal Motor Car Company. Despite its, um, regal, name, the cars were actually produced in Detroit.

Founded in 1907, the company introduced its Underslung model in 1910. The Model N was the base model in 1911 and it uses a 20 horsepower straight-four. It was only offered in two-passenger Runabout form. Two larger models were also sold. The Model N would stick around through 1914 and Regal would close its doors in 1918 due to material shortages during the Great War.

This car shows nice and is a, perhaps, more interesting alternative to the seemingly more common American Underslung. And at a much easier entry point, price-wise. This one will set you back between $40,500-$48,500. Click here for more info and here for the rest of H&H’s lineup.

Update: Sold about $39,477.

A Beautiful American Underslung

1914 American Underslung Model 644 Four-Passenger Touring

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2013

1914 American Underslung Model 644 Four-Passenger Touring

American Underslungs are, I think, some of the prettiest pre-WWI American cars built. They are very distinctive with their low-slung chassis (hence the name) and those big, almost over-sized, white tires. Not to mention the gigantic emblem on the grille and the way the front fenders curve at sharp angles and fall dramatically back toward the passengers.

Even though this is a moderately big car, it still seems sporty. Strangely, it only accommodates four passengers, despite being a longish-wheelbase touring car. The low center of gravity (the frame is below the axles) provided for awesome handling, yet the bottom of the car was still high enough to scrape atop ruts ground into early, dirt roads. It might not look sporty, but many regard this as “Sports Car Genesis.”

The American Motor Car Company of Indianapolis built more traditional, upright touring cars when they were founded in 1906 (we featured one of them here). Underslungs came a year later. This particular car is from 1914, the last year the company was in business. It was part of the Harrah Collection for a long time before going to Europe in the 1980s. In about 2005, it was acquired by the current owner. The body was restored under Harrah’s ownership, but the interior is all-original, which is incredible. The engine is a 7.4-liter T-head six-cylinder making 60 horsepower.

These cars are very rare – most are in museums, so getting the chance to buy one almost never happens. It sucks I don’t have the money. Only three four-passenger Underslungs are known to still exist. This one should sell for between $550,000-$700,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Carmel, California.

Update: Sold $748,000.