Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Las Vegas, Nevada | October 13-15, 2016
Photo – Barrett-Jackson
The Milburn Wagon Company of Toledo, Ohio, got into the car business in 1914 after decades of wagon building (they’d been around since 1848). Their cars closely resembled those built by other major American electric car manufacturers of the day, such as Detroit Electric and Rauch & Lang, among others.
What set the Milburn apart was that their batteries were on rollers – so you could have a spare set at home and just pull into the garage, roll the spent batteries out of your car, roll a fresh set back in, and be off again. In 1918, three bodies were offered and this one could do 30 mph and 100 miles on a charge. It cost $1,885 when new.
Milburn got into the game a little late – by the time they got up and running, the electric car was on the decline. The last Milburn Electrics were built in 1923. There’s no estimate on this car, but there’s no reserve either. Click here for more info and here for more from Barrett-Jackson in Vegas.
Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 6, 2014
Photo – Bonhams
Nowadays when companies choose their names they have to think about thinks like “search engine optimization.” Obviously, back in 1900, SEO wasn’t a thing – otherwise the National Automobile & Electric Company may have chosen a different brand name to take to market, as “National” is pretty generic and doesn’t produce great Google results.
But anyway, I am a big fan of cars from about 1916 through the early 1920s. They more or less all look the same: four door tourers with wooden spoke wheels and a nice big radiator cap and MotoMeter out front. National built cars in Indianapolis between 1901 and 1924. The Highway Six was built between 1916 and 1920 and used a 5.0-liter straight-six making 41 horsepower.
This car is mostly original and has been restored “as-needed.” Bonhams sale at the Simeone Foundation in Philadelphia has been an awesome source of unrestored old cars for a few years now. This is a nice find. It should bring between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this sale’s lineup.
Offered by Bonhams | Staplehurst, U.K. | June 14, 2014
1915 Peerless TC4 4-Ton Open Back
Photo – Bonhams
This sale from Bonhams includes quite a number of really awesome commercial vehicles. I don’t have enough time to feature them individually, but because they’re so cool (and you so rarely see them at auction), I thought I’d do two posts that cover the coolest among them (which is pretty much all of them).
This truck is from one of America’s premier luxury car manufacturers. They started building trucks in 1911 and the U.S. Army loved them. The British government bought 12,000 of them between 1915 and 1918, during the First World War. This thing uses a 6.8-liter four-cylinder and was in service with the British government until 1956. It’s beautiful. And it should sell for between $34,000-$42,000. Click here for more.
Update: Sold $72,173.
1922 Tilling-Stevens TS3A Open Top Double Deck Bus
Offered by Bonhams | Staplehurst, U.K. | June 14, 2014
Photo – Bonhams
This pretty delivery van is from U.K.-based Crossley Motors, which was in business from 1906 through 1958. When WWI started, Crossley turned almost all of their production solely toward the war effort. The van you see here is an RFC Van – it was used by the Royal Flying Corps – although its build date of 1918 suggests that it could have been surplus from the get-go.
The engine is a 4.5-liter straight-four making 20/25 horsepower. The 20/25 model was the longest-lived Crossley model, being produced from 1909 through 1925. This example is very nice. It can be yours for between $47,000-$54,000. Click here for more.
Offered by Bonhams | Hendon, U.K. | April 28, 2014
Photo – Bonhams
Edoardo Bianchi founded his bicycle company in 1885. Automobiles came in 1899 and early cars were luxurious. The factory was destroyed during WWII, and post-war, his name (and company) became most famous as part of Autobianchi.
By the second decade of the twentieth century, Bianchi was the second largest Italian automobile manufacturer. The Tipo 12 came about near the end of WWI. It uses a 1.7-liter straight-four making about 25 horsepower. As sporty as this early racer looks, it’s only good for about 50 mph.
This car has been in a private collection for the last decade and is really quite rare. It’s small and has the bodywork of an early competition car. It can be yours for between $66,000-$83,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
Update: Not sold.
Update II: Sold, Historics at Brooklands, March 2017, $21,347 (and listed as a Tipo 16)
Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 22, 2014
In 1908, Otto Zachow and William Besserdich built a four-wheel drive car they called the “Battleship.” This led to the more-or-less immediate founding of their Badger Four-Wheel Drive Auto Company. In 1909 they began producing cars under the FWD (for “Four-Wheel Drive”) marque. They dropped “Badger” from the company name in 1910.
The military loved four-wheel drive trucks so the company, sensing a huge opportunity (and perhaps an oncoming war) switched to just truck manufacture. They introduced two prototypes as war started raging in Europe. The U.S. didn’t place any orders, so FWD demo’d the truck for the U.K. where they did get an order. By 1916 the U.S. had come around and placed huge orders for a company that, up to this point, had only built about two dozen vehicles.
The Model B was one of the workhorses of the Allied powers during WWI. Production was about 3,000 for the U.K., 82 for Russia, and 14,473 for the U.S. They are powered by a 36 horsepower, straight-four engine. On the correct solid rubber tires on which this example rides, the truck could reach speeds of 16 mph.
After the war, many of these trucks were sold as surplus and entered service doing just about everything else in the civilian realm. That’s how awesome examples like this managed to survive. You can read more here and check out more from Mecum here.
Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | December 7, 2013
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.
For sale at Retrolegends | Valkenswaard, Netherlands
Tell me “Valkenswaard” isn’t the most fearsome sounding name for a northern European city. It sounds like a battle in Norse mythology involving a giant anthropomorphic bird and a giant invincible sword. Anyway, this 1918 Nagant has been on sale for a while, and I really like it.
Nagant was an arms manufacturer founded in Liége, Belgium in 1859. The name is probably most familiar to firearms types because of the famous Mosin-Nagant rifle that was put into use by the Russian Empire 1891.
Nagant wasn’t the only firearms manufacturer to turn to automobiles (BSA comes immediately to mind). Cars were introduced in 1900 and they were mostly licensed copies from other manufacturers. Later cars of their own design used high-revving (for the time) engines capable of up to 4,000 rpm. I’m unsure as to the power output of this car, but it may have the sidevalve 14/16hp engine introduced by Nagant in 1913.
These were known to be well-made, fast and highly durable cars. The company was acquired by Imperia in 1931 but production had wrapped up in 1928. Price is “available upon request,” which probably means it is too high, as it hasn’t sold in the years it has seemingly been sitting there. Click here for more info (well okay, less info, but it is the site where it is for sale).
Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11-12, 2012
I’ve seen the Roamer described as a “cheap Rolls-Royce” and if you look at the radiator grille, you can kind of see a resemblance. Maybe “more affordable Rolls-Royce” is a better way of putting it. The Roamer was introduced in 1916 by the Barley Motor Car Company of Streator, Illinois. The company was founded by Albert C. Barley, Cloyd Y. Kenworthy and Karl H. Martin and as moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1917. They would also built cars under the Barley and Pennant names.
The 54 horsepower model you see here was introduced in 1918. It uses a Continental Red Seal straight six. The four-passenger convertible body style is quite attractive – especially in white with bright red interior and wire wheels. Roamer built about 12,000 cars until they closed up shop in 1929 and they are rather rare today.
This one is expected to sell for between $70,000-$90,000. For more information, click here. And for more from RM, here.
Update: Sold $93,500.
Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2016, $66,000.
Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2020, $95,200.
Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2012
Old commercial vehicles are really interesting because so few of them have survived until today. Yeah, there are some very rare passenger cars – but as a percentage of the total number built – commercial vehicles are far rarer than cars. Especially from this era.
W.G. Hahn & Bro. built their first motorized vehicle in 1907 at their Hamburg, Pennsylvania wagon manufacturing plant. By 1913, they had changed their name to the Hahn Motor Truck & Wagon Co. as trucks were their primary business – from the smaller 3/4 Ton (like this one here), to trucks upward of 5 Ton payload capacity. Hahn built commercial trucks up until 1933, when they turned to fire trucks (they did offer trucks again for one year in 1941). The company continued with limited production of fire apparatus until it shut down in 1989.
This truck here is of the lighter variety, using a Continental 4-cylinder engine. It runs and drives. The bodywork is not original but is period correct. For being as rare (when was the last time you saw one?) as it is, the price is rather affordable, with an expected sale price between $10,000-$15,000. For more information, click here. And for the rest of Bonhams lineup at their Preserving the Automobile Sale at the Simeone Foundation, click here.