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.

Amilcar CGSS

1927 Amilcar CGSS Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | Goodwood, U.K. | March 18, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Amilcar was a French automobile brand that built cars between 1921 and 1939. They were good – as you can see – at building sporty little roadsters. Toward the end of their existence, they also offered a forward-thinking model aimed for more mass-market consumption. But financial difficulties and the war prevented it from being a success.

Ah, but the CGS Type S (or CGSS). It’s a fantastic example of pre-war French sportiness. It may not have the desirability or pedigree of a Bugatti, but these are awfully sharp looking cars, aren’t they? The CGS was introduced in 1923 and the CGSS, which was lower and more powerful, was produced between 1926 and 1929. It’s powered by a 40 horsepower 1.1-liter straight-four.

This car came to the U.S. in the 1990s and was professionally restored between 2002 and 2005. It returned to Europe in 2012 and hasn’t been used much since. The color scheme here is fantastic and the car looks great. Only about 4,700 examples of the CGS and CGSS were built. This one should sell for between $55,000-$82,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ Goodwood lineup.

Update: Sold $95,756.

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.

1900 Créanche Voiturette

1900 Créanche Type A Voiturette

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 3, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Créanche was a French automobile manufacturer that existed in the very early days of automobiles. There were so many manufacturers of that period, many of which built just a handful of cars. Some lasted for a few years, like this one, which operated from 1899 through 1906.

Most of their cars were De Dion-powered and by 1904 the company offered five different models. This one is powered by a four horsepower, 477cc single-cylinder engine. This example was restored from an original car and the body was reconstructed to match the original in 1972.

This is one of two known survivors of the Créanche brand. It comes from a private Swiss collection (as do three other very interesting cars from this sale). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $56,240.

A Rare Delin

1901 Delin 4HP Voiturette

Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | December 1, 2015

Photo - Coys

Photo – Coys

Joesph Delin began producing bicycles under the name of Derby in 1890 in Belgium. Eight years later, he re-organized the company to include the manufacture of automobiles and his first car appeared the following year.

This car, although called a “4HP”, is actually rated somewhere between 6.5 and eight horsepower. This was the mid-range model for their 1901 lineup that consisted of four models. Sadly, Mr. Delin died that year and the company was liquidated shortly thereafter. Delin was a short-lived marque.

Only three Delin automobiles survive today. This example wears chassis #4, making it one of their first cars. It’s in excellent condition and has known ownership back to the 1960s and it’s said that this car can achieve 34 mph – which, we’re sure, is terrifying. It is expected to bring between $88,000-$106,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update II: Sold, Coys Spring Classics, March 2016 $93,610.

1901 Croizemarie

1901 Croizemarie Type AC Voiturette

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 6, 2015

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

Well this is an interesting one. It’s fairly rare – but not unheard of – that a car shows up in an auction and no one knows a thing about it. Croizemarie is one such company and their minuscule Type AC Voiturette is one such example.

It’s powered by a single-cylinder De Dion engine – the most popular engine in the automotive world in 1901. Many manufacturers used them and built some of their own parts. The catalog states that the body might be a few years newer than the engine/chassis combination.

This car entered the automotive world more recently in 1999 as an unrestored example that had been in the same family since 1921. A restoration was carried out in the last few years and the car runs, but hasn’t really been used. It’s unlikely another one of these exists and it should sell for between $71,000-$95,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update II: Sold, Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015, $35,237.

A Very Original B.N.C.

1930 B.N.C. Type 527 Voiturette

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2014

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

B.N.C. is not a household name when it comes to classic cars. They were only around from 1923 through 1935 and most of their cars were very sporty, competing in races at tracks such as Spa and Le Mans. The car you see here was actually raced during the very first race at Watkins Glen.

The Type 527 was a racing model that used a 927cc straight-four Ruby engine. This particular car had a Ford 2.2-liter V-8 dropped in it during the 1940s after it was purchased by an American in 1940. This car could be found at SCCA events throughout the East Coast in the immediate Post-War period and in 1948 it finished 8th overall in the inaugural Watkins Glen Grand Prix.

This car has been preserved and is pretty much all-original (except for the engine of course). And that’s pretty remarkable considering how much this thing has been raced in its life. It should sell for between $170,000-$220,000. You can check out more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $181,500.

1896 Léon Bollée

1896 Léon Bollée Voiturette

Offered by RM Auctions | Nysted, Denmark | August 12, 2012

This is probably the final car we’ll be featuring from the Aalholm Automobile Collection sale that RM is holding mere days before the festivities in Monterey. There are at least 15 other cars from this sale that I wanted to feature but have just run out of time with the Monterey catalogs becoming available and the incredible offerings on hand.

This is right there with some of the most interesting from Monterey. It’s certainly older. The Bollée name is an important one in automotive history. Amédée Bollée, whose original goal was to set the record for most accented “e”s in a person’s name, ended up building some of the earliest road-going (as in, not on rails) steam carriages known. He built four steam cars, the first in 1873 and the last in 1881, which is mind-boggling. Two of these vehicles still exist in museums. Also: he resided in a little town called Le Mans.

Amédée had two sons: Amédée the second and Léon. Before cars, Léon spent his time inventing calculating machines – early calculators that resembled typewriters. In 1895 he founded Automobiles Léon Bollée in Le Mans. 1896 was the first year for the “Voiturette,” the interesting design you see here, which is from the first year of production. The single-cylinder engine was mounted horizontally beside and to the rear of the driver, who sat in back – the passenger(s) rode in the front, no doubt sometimes making it hard for the driver to see! It was also one of (if not the) first car to have rubber tires.

Larger cars followed in 1903 and the company was purchased from Léon’s widow in 1922 by Morris of England (Léon died in 1913). The Léon Bollée name disappeared from vehicles after 1933. There is a statue of Léon in his hometown of Le Mans on Avenue du Général Leclerc directly across and up the street from the train station. I’ve seen it and my traveling companions failed to see why it was interesting.

I’ve seen one of these vehicles before too – there is one in the National Automobile Museum in Reno (The Harrah Collection). It is an 1897. So you can own one that is older. These are extremely interesting cars from the pioneering days of motoring and while other examples do exist, it is genuinely rare. There are many interesting cars at this sale, but this tops them all. The price is estimated between $55,000-$60,000. That might not seem like a lot for a car I claim to be so fantastic, but that is because cars like this have limited potential for use, which is what keeps their price down (you can’t take it on a Sunday cruise and there is no outlandish coachwork that will bring you heaps of awards). Trust me, this thing is amazing (and it has been restored at some point, unlike many of the other cars at this sale).

For more pictures and the complete catalog description, click here. And to view the rest of the vehicles at this sale, click here.

Update: Sold $129,800.

1928 Amilcar C6

1928 Amilcar C6 Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 2, 2012

“Voiturette” is basically French for “small car” or “light car” (no, that’s not a direct translation). The term was used widely and applied to many pre-war automobiles coming from France. Amilcar started producing cyclecars in 1921 and before long that had sturdier equipment tearing it up on racetracks in Europe.

The C6 was introduced at the Paris Auto Salon in October of 1926. It featured a twin-cam straight six with a Roots-type supercharger that made over 60 horsepower. Because Amilcar was not a giant operation like some of their competitors (like Salmson), their cars were somewhat more expensive (economies of scale, anyone?).

This led to a price for the C6 of about 40,000 francs – which is about what you could’ve bought a Bugatti Type 37 for back in the day. The Amilcar shares the pre-war open-wheel race car look (and the striking blue paint) with Bugatti and, while the Bugatti might win the sexiness competition, one could argue that an Amilcar is more interesting (and rarer).

This car did not sell at a previous Bonhams auction within the past 12 months. It is being offered again with an pre-sale estimate of about $580,000-$680,000. For a more thorough history on this particular care, click here and for more on Bonhams in Paris, click here.

Update: Not Sold.