Benjamin Cyclecar

1922 Benjamin Type B

Offered by Bonhams | Oxford, U.K. | March 2, 2013

1922 Benjamin Type B

Benjamin was a French marque, founded in 1921 by Maurice Jeanson. The company built light cars until 1926. After that they were known as Benova. Benova was gone after 1931. This car is from the second year of Benjamin manufacture.

It uses a 750cc straight-four. It has an interesting history – being driven in the 1922 Bol d’Or by Violette Morris – a renowned French athlete of the 1910s and 20s and Nazi collaborator who was killed by the French resistance during the war. This car didn’t leave France until the 1980s, when it was imported into the U.K. It hasn’t been restored as much as “refurbished” as needed.

This car has taken part in many classic car events in the U.K. and France and appeared in numerous articles. It was even owned by the V.P. of the Vintage Sports Car Club of the U.K. You don’t see Benjamin’s everyday – but you could see this one everyday for between $14,000-$22,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Oxford.

Update: Sold $29,500.

Talbot-Darracq Tourer

1922 Talbot-Darracq 8HP Open Tourer

Offered by Coys | London, U.K. | December 4, 2012

We’ve gone over the story of Alexandre Darracq and Charles Chetwynd-Talbot on multiple occasions on this site, so I won’t go into the specifics here again, but suffice to say that at one point in time, there were two separate Talbots in manufacture – one in England and one in France. In 1919, French automobile firm Darracq acquired the French company called Talbot. Henceforth (or until 1935), French-built Talbots were badged and marketed as Talbot-Darracqs. Which is what this car is.

This 8 horsepower model has known ownership history from new. For the last 60 years, it has been in the family of Bill Boddy, founding editor of Motorsport magazine. This four-cylinder model was introduced in 1921 and this one was driven often in its first few years, before being parked in 1938. It was restored in 1973 and has been maintained since.

It’s an attractive light car with a history of being driven and enjoyed. The estimate is $22,000-$28,500. You can read more here and see the rest of Coys lineup here.

Wolseley Seven

1922 Wolseley Seven Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 8, 2012

Here’s another small British convertible. The name Wolseley is probably familiar to you, as they produced cars in Birmingham from 1901 until 1975. The Seven name might also be familiar to you, as the Austin Seven (or 7, as it is usually seen) was one of the most popular British cars during the years of its production of 1922 through 1939. I kind of think of the Austin 7 as the British Ford Model T. Sure, the Model T came first and the British had them too, but the Austin 7 had the same kind of effect on the British automotive market as the Model T did in the U.S.

Wolseley and Austin were independent manufacturers in the 1920s, although Austin tried to buy Wolseley in 1927, but were outbid by Morris. But Austin and Morris merged in 1952 anyway as British automotive firms began to consolidate time and again. For a while  thereafter, Austin and Wolseley produced badge-engineered versions of the same cars.

But this was not the case in 1922 when the Wolseley Seven was introduced. The car was high in quality but it was at the bottom end of the market with its flat-twin engine of 986cc making just 8.5 horsepower. The Austin 7, introduced the same year, used a 747cc straight-four making 10.5 horsepower. And, to make matters worse, the Wolseley was considerably more expensive. This led to only about 1,000 being made before production halted at the end of 1923.

Only about 10 of these very rare cars survive today – and this one is in drop-top form. It’s a former museum car in good shape. The pre-sale estimate is between $13,000-$19,000. For more information, click here. And for the rest of Bonhams’ lineup for this sale, click here.

Update: Sold $18,773.

Cunningham V-4

1922 Cunningham Series V-4 Model 82-A Town Limousine

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 3, 2012

Long before Briggs Cunningham started building his sports cars in Florida in the 1950s, James Cunningham, Son & Company (unrelated) of Rochester, New York, were building Cunningham-based cars. But these were not sporty little racers – they were high-end luxury automobiles for very exclusive clientele. Their first car was sold in 1908 and in 1916 they introduced their first V-8 engine in the Series V-1.

This is a 1922 Series V-4, which has the same 442 c.i. V-8 introduced in 1916. It is a Model 82-A (translation: long wheelbase). It was rated at 45 horsepower – a figure that would double for the 1923 model. The body style is called a “Town Limousine,” with an open area for the driver and a closed passenger compartment.

Ownership history is known from the 1970s and the restoration is over 25 years old. I’ve seen more stately Cunningham cars but I haven’t seen many Cunninghams of any type. They are very rare cars. While it’s unknown who purchased the car originally, you can bet it was someone pretty well off, as Cunningham’s could cost over $8,000 in the early 1920s. Quite a sum.

The pre-sale estimate on this car is $120,000-$160,000 which seems fair for a car with an older restoration that is rarely seen. For the complete catalog description, click here. And for more on Bonhams in Connecticut, click here.

Update: Sold $128,000.