Austro-Daimler

1912 Austro-Daimler Touring Victoria

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

Photo – Bonhams

Daimler was a German marque (there was also a British one) who set up an Austrian subsidiary in 1899 (it became independent around 1905). These cars were built under the Austro-Daimler marque until 1934 when Austro-Daimler AG merged with Steyr, becoming Steyr-Daimler-Puch. During the 1930s, the company produced some very nice, large cars. As you can see above, they were doing the same thing before WWI.

The weird thing about this car is that it carries no chassis plate and the only markings on the car at all are on the radiator, which appears to be British. It is thought that this might be one of very few Austro-Daimlers built in and/or for the U.K.

The engine is not native to this car, but it has probably been in it for most of its life. It’s a Wisconsin M-Series, an 11.9-liter straight-four monster. The bodywork is British and likely from a major coachbuilder, but no one knows which one. The stuffing is coming out of the front seats, making it a prime candidate for restoration. Oh, and this car has appeared in a couple of films, namely Chaplin and Titanic. It should bring between $120,000-$140,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $176,000.

Benz Victoria

1893 Benz Victoria

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

This is the oldest vehicle we’ve ever featured here on this site (sorry, Roper Steam Motorcycle). That means an older vehicle has not come up for public sale since this site began over five years ago. Karl Benz is more or less universally considered the inventor of the automobile and he was the first to put them into production and sell them to customers – in 1888.

Karl’s first four-wheeled automobile was called the Victoria and it was available from 1892 through either 1898 or 1900. It’s truly a horseless carriage. The engine is a 1.7-liter, three horsepower horizontal single-cylinder that probably revs at such a slow speed that you just might be able to count each cylinder movement. It’s rear-engined, too… so it’s sort of like a supercar, no? It could do 11 mph providing the road wasn’t on an incline.

Benz automobiles were only sold between 1888 and 1926 and never in large numbers. For instance, in 1899 they only built 572 cars – which technically qualified them as the largest automaker in the world at the time. Sure, Mercedes-Benz still exists, but Benz-only automobiles are much harder to come by.

Anything pre-1900 is interesting. Anything pre-1895 is just downright fascinating. This car has no known history but it is thought to have been restored at some point. It should bring between $21,000-$32,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $30,739.

Hart Steam

1897 Hart Steam Victoria Four-Seater Dos-à-Dos

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Frederick Hart was born in England but he and his family moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, in the 1880s. He worked for a farming machinery company and built his own lab at his home to experiment with steam engines.

He built his first steam vehicle in 1895 (a tricycle) and built a four-wheeled vehicle, this car, shortly after. Bonhams lists this as a “circa 1897” and I’ve seen it listed elsewhere as a 1903/1904. It is powered by a twin-cylinder vertical engine that is driven by steam. This photo needs someone standing in it for scale: this car is huge at nearly six feet tall and riding on 46 inch tires!

Hart’s family owned this car until 1946 when they donated it to a museum. The museum was shuttered in 1990 and the car went to the U.K. where it was taken apart. The next owner acquired it in 2002 and restored the car to the condition you see here in 2004. It has only been started once since 2004, when there was a small issue and no one has tried again. The paint on this is original, but most everything else has been restored and the car has only covered 200 miles in its life. It’s a one-of-one car and one of two vehicles produced by Hart Steam. It should sell for between $77,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $76,020.

REO Royale

1931 REO Royale Sport Victoria Coupe

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Aarhus, Denmark | May 28-29, 2016

Photo - Silverstone Auctions

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Ransom E. Olds left Oldsmobile in 1905 after only eight years at the helm. He immediately founded REO which would actually last until 1975, producing only trucks after WWII. In the 1930s, many high-end American car companies were producing big, beautiful cars. REO wasn’t really known as a high-end company, but they jumped into that market with the Royale in 1931.

The model would last through 1934 and was offered in different body styles. The 1931 Model 35 range could be had as a Sedan, Victoria or four-passenger Coupe. It is powered by a 5.9-liter straight-eight making 125 horsepower. It’s no slouch when compared to its rivals. In fact, its styling is on par or better than some of its rivals.

This car was actually sold new in Denmark and was at one point actually used by the King (though it was never owned by the Royal Family). The current owner acquired it in 1981 and set about on a five year restoration. It is said that this is one of four such cars in Europe and it should sell for between $90,000-$105,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, listed for $92,500.

Renault Cape Top Victoria

1909 Renault Series B V-1 20/30 Cape Top Victoria by Brewster

Offered by Bonhams | Ebeltoft, Denmark | September 26, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Louis Renault and his brothers started building cars right before the turn of the century. They built a lot of cars early on, using De Dion engines at the beginning before switching to their own engines in 1903. Shortly after that, their range expanded and they built both small and large cars.

This Series B Type V1 was on the larger side, using a 4.4-liter straight-four making 20/30 horsepower. This large French tourer was actually bodied in America – on Long Island, in fact, by Brewster. The rear passenger compartment is enormous.

This car has known history back to the 1970s when it was an unrestored, low-milage car. It was restored in the late-1990s. It’s a beautiful, rare early Renault. A lot of smaller Renaults exist from this period, but the larger cars are much rarer. This car was undoubtedly owned by someone fairly rich when new and you can now feel just like them. It should sell for between $180,000-$230,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $120,333.

Woods Electric

1905 Woods Electric Queens Victoria Brougham

Offered by Bonhams | Ebeltoft, Denmark | September 26, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Woods Motor Vehicle Company was founded by a group of rich guys in Chicago. Among them were executives from Standard Oil, so it is odd that the company specialized in electric cars for nearly 15 years. But I guess the another board member (a co-founder of General Electric) got his way instead. The Woods name comes from Clinton Edgar Woods, the holder of the patent that the company purchased.

The first car was built in 1899 with series production beginning in 1903 and lasting through 1915 before the company switched gears and became Woods Dual Power (and building gas-powered and hybrid cars) before going out of business after 1918 (though, strangely, there was a gasoline-powered “Woods Electric” offered between 1905 and 1907).

The 1905 model line offered an electric car of varying wheelbases – 13 body styles in all. This car features Style 214A (which wasn’t actually introduced until 1906 – so this car may actually be a 1906). But it is listed as the only surviving 1905 Woods Electric. It can do about 30 mph and the closed body is removable if you want the air in your face as you drive. It’s super interesting and should bring between $82,000-$97,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $94,548.

1913 Minerva Tourer

1913 Minerva Type DD 14HP Victoria Tourer by Cann & Co

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Minerva built very nice luxury automobiles between 1902 and 1938, with production of other vehicles picking up after the war and continuing until 1956. Their cars of the 1930s are right up there with Packards and Rolls-Royces and the like, except they were from Belgium. In fact, the Minerva dealer in London in the early years was Charles Rolls (who would become half of Rolls-Royce).

Minerva offered a range of vehicles in 1913. The Type DD uses a 2.1-liter straight-four making 14 horsepower. Minerva cars from 1910 used Knight sleeve-valve engines, this car included. The body is said to be by Cann & Company of London as it wears that company’s tag on the body.

But the history of this car says it was discovered in Australia in 1962 and taken to California. The Australians said the body was local and the rear half of the body had been removed and replaced with a pickup-like rear end. A Minerva Ute. But it has been restored to what it should have looked like in 1913. It is road-ready and should sell for between $67,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ auction lineup.

Update: Sold $66,726.

1918 Cadillac Coupe

1918 Cadillac Type 57 Victoria Coupe

Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | December 7, 2013

1918 Cadillac Type 57 Coupe

I think this is a very good-looking car. Cadillac has long touted that they are the “Standard of the World” and it’s early cars like this that make you believe it. Yes, they produced cars with twice as many cylinders, but this was one of the first big-engined road cars you could buy.

Cadillac’s L-Head V-8 engine was introduced in 1914 and became the first mass-produced V-8 engine in Cadillac’s 1915 models. It featured 5.2-liters of capacity and made 70 horsepower. The Type 51 was the first model to carry this motor and it evolved over the years, with the Type 61 ending the model’s run in 1923.

The Type 57 was available in the late Teens and this Victoria Coupe was an attractive, if not restrained design that offered a lot of power for those who wanted luxury without all the flash. I’m estimating that this car sells for between $40,000-$50,000. Click here for more from Mecum and here for more on this car.

Update: Sold $29,000.

1910 Peerless Victoria

1910 Peerless Model 29 Park Phaeton/Victoria by Brewster

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

1910 Peerless Model 29 Park PhaetonVictoria by Brewster

The early years of the automobile industry saw a lot of scrambling among manufacturers to decided who stood where with regards to prestige and customer base. Peerless ended up on top, at least in the prestige category and at least in the early years of the market. They were among the three famed American “P”s – Peerless, Packard and Pierce-Arrow.

And it was cars like this strange coachbuilt luxury convertible that put Peerless at the top. This was not a practical car by any means – it’s obviously to be driven by a chauffeur, and the “convertible top” really doesn’t do you much good if it starts raining (unless you’re driving in reverse).

The Model 29 was introduced halfway through the 1910 model year (and may have only been built through 1911). It features a 6.7-liter straight-four making 25 horsepower. The custom bodywork is by Brewster – who provided many early extravagant coachbuilt bodies for wealthy customers in the New York area. And this car spent some time in the New York City area. It was owned by Doris Duke, a wealthy heiress, and it was apparently in the family of her husband, the Vice President of Peerless – perhaps from new.

The car has known ownership history since and is coming from a European museum collection. Close inspection by experts revealed that this car might be in original condition – possibly being “refurbished as needed” throughout its life – but never outright restored. I’d imagine it’s the only Model 29 in existence with this coachwork – and perhaps the only one like it built. It is expected to sell for between $300,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome Bonhams sale.

Update: Sold $176,000.

Update II: Sold for $231,000 at Bonhams Simeone Foundation sale.

Victoria 250

1957 Victoria 250

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

1957 Victoria 250

Photo – RM Auctions

This little German fiberglass convertible was originally marketed as the Brütsch Spatz. Victoria was a motorcycle manufacturer in Nuremberg and they entered a joint venture with another company to form BAG (Bayerische Autowerke GmbH), to produce these cars under license as the BAG Spatz. But first, they re-engineered the car to make it stronger and safer – and added a fourth wheel from the original three-wheeled design – this got them out of paying licensing fees. Lastly, they pumped the displacement up to 250cc from 200cc. The single-cylinder made 14 horsepower. While BAG produced the Spatz, Victoria produced the car concurrently, from 1956 through 1958 as the Victoria 250. Only 729 of the Victoria-badged cars were sold. This one should sell for between $35,000-$45,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,375.