Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 2024
Here’s a relative unknown. Leonce Bobrie was a mechanic who worked for Barre before building his “Torpille” between 1907 and 1909. The car is actually longer-looking than the photo above shows, and it has two left-side doors hinged in the middle. Seating is in tandem, and the car has one central headlight up front.
It’s a cyclecar in spirit, even if it predates the cyclecar craze. It’s thought that about a dozen were built prior to WWI, and this one has remained with the Bobrie family since new. Engines were sourced from Ballot and were four-cylinder units rated at either six or eight horsepower.
Even the Beaulieu encyclopedia doesn’t have an entry for this car. However, they do have an entry for Torpille, a French three-wheeled tandem-seater from 1920. This is the only Bobrie-built car left, and it has an estimate of $32,000-$54,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Online | December 2023
Automobiles Mass is a mostly unremembered French automaker that existed from 1907 until 1923. Based near Paris, the company was founded by a Mr. Masser-Horniman, who was apparently English. The chassis/engines were assembled at the French factory, but the cars were then bodied in England. Very economical.
This car is powered by a 3.3-liter inline-four rated at 30 horsepower. It has a three-speed gearbox and rear drum brakes. The body was constructed by Shaw Brothers in the U.K. It has known ownership back to the 1950s and spent years in a Colorado museum.
The catalog notes that it has received “improvements” over the last few years to get it into the condition it is today. This is not a well-known or common car (in fact, I can’t remember another one coming up for public sale in the last ~15 years). It has an estimate of $40,000-$55,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 18, 2023
Well, there’s no replacement for displacement. Back in the early days of competition motoring, companies just put bigger and bigger engines on their relatively simple chassis and hoped for the best. The crazy part is they rarely ever added cylinders. They just made them bigger. Coffee cans that you can count rev.
But! This car is not from 1909. Maybe a few of the components are, but this car was assembled much more recently. It started as a rolling 1909 Lorraine-Dietrich chassis that was fitted with an actual chain-driven Lorraine-Dietrich gearbox and a custom-built giant motor.
It’s a 16.4-liter inline-four that develops 200 horsepower and a crazy 850 lb-ft of torque, the latter at 1,500 rpm. Here’s an old car that can easily keep up with modern traffic. It has a pre-sale estimate of $600,000-$800,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | October 19, 2022
McIntyre was based in Auburn, Indiana, and was surrounded by quite a few other local manufacturers. They produced cars out of the old Kiblinger factory, and like Kiblinger, also produced high-wheelers.
From 1909 through 1911, they exclusively produced high-wheelers. The company claimed they were the only high-wheeler manufacturer to offer a full line of automobiles. And in 1909, they sold four models across nine body styles and sub-models. So yeah, kinda.
This car is one of 264 Model NNs produced in 1909. It’s powered by an 18-horsepower twin and sold for $650 when new. It’s basically an early pickup. It’s offered at no reserve. Click here for more info.
This car was bodied by Hewers Car Bodies Ltd of Coventry and is the oldest known Daimler powered by a Knight sleeve-valve engine, which in this car is an inline four that made about 23 horsepower.
The car was parked from the late 1920s until it was purchased around 1953 and recommissioned. It spent decades in a museum and hasn’t seen regular use in quite some time. Bonhams describes it as a restoration project. It’s a rarely-seen model and looks relatively complete. The estimate is $23,000-$35,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 5, 2021
If your tiny car company built six cars over 110 years ago, you’d think the chances of any of them surviving would be essentially nil. But don’t tell that to the long-deceased Thomas Cooper of the Cooper Steam Digger Company Ltd of Norfolk, England. His company typically built steam traction engines and farm equipment. But in 1909 he designed a two-stroke 3.3-liter inline-four that he debuted in a motorcar at that year’s Olympia Motor Show.
It had a three-speed gearbox and a two-speed rear axle. Only six cars were built, each of them different. This is the only survivor. It was parked in 1921 and re-discovered in 1951, where its history trail picks up.
It was later restored and acquired by its current owner in 1994. Museum duty followed, with the car last driven in 2014. It now carries a pre-sale estimate of $55,000-$83,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 7, 2021
The Mountain Wagon is a popular Stanley body style. We’ve featured one before – a real one. This one is a re-creation, as most of these were essentially commercial vehicles. And as we often lament here, commercial vehicles have terrible survival rates.
It was built by a well-known steam car restorer in 1987. The story is that he would build Stanleys using remnants of existing chassis. The 30-horsepower Model Z was only built in 1909. And only as a mountain wagon. So if this is a re-creation mountain wagon, it’s also not a real Model Z. But, apparently, there are some real Stanley bits in there somewhere.
It’s pretty convincing, and unless you knew the story, you’d probably never be able to tell. This nine-passenger mountain wagon is expected to sell for between $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2021
By 1909 Peerless was pretty much just that – without peers. They built some of the highest-quality cars money could buy in America before WWI. The company’s 1909 range consisted of the four-cylinder Model 19 and the six-cylinder Model 25.
This is one of two 1909 Model 19s known to exist and is powered by a 30-(or 40?)-horsepower, T-head inline-four. An array of body styles were offered by the factory, but you really couldn’t go wrong with a seven-passenger touring car like this one. A then-astronomical $4,300 was required to take one home in 1909.
This car has known ownership history back to the 1950s, and it was restored for the first time around 1960. It was refinished again in 1991 and is an accomplished historic tourer. The catalog estimate is $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
It’s powered by a 5.3-liter inline-four rated at 18 horsepower. The two-seat body is finished in white, with a matching fuel tank, trunk, wheels, and tires. It’s a lot of white. I can’t imagine it was ever this clean back in the day.
Only 802 Packards were produced for 1909, and this is said to be one of a dozen Model 18s known to exist across all model years and body styles. It would’ve cost $3,200 when new and will sell at no reserve for much more next month. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Early Renaults have such a distinct look with their curved hoods set ahead of a bulkhead-mounted radiator. The Type AZ was produced in 1908 and 1909 and was a mid-size car. This example is proof that you don’t need the largest car a company offers in order to fit it with a fancy body.
This Landaulette was bodied by Lucas of London and features a covered, but otherwise open, driver’s compartment with a closed rear passenger compartment with a convertible top. The car is powered by a 2.4-liter L-head inline-four rated at 14 horsepower.
This example spent time in the U.S. before returning to Europe in 1990. Since then, it’s been repainted and has spent time a few private collections. It should now sell for between $56,000-$63,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.
Update: Not sold, H&H Auctioneers online, August 2020.