Alco Runabout

1909 Alco 40HP Runabout

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 7, 2014

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

Alco was the shortened name of the American Locomotive Company – a company formed when seven small locomotive manufacturers combined in 1901. Automobiles arrived in 1906 (as licensed-built copies of French Berliet cars). In 1909 they switched to cars of their own design – and they were fantastic.

For 1910, the 40HP model would become known as the “Model 40” but for its introductory year it was known only by the power output of its 8.0-liter straight-four engine (in actuality it makes 42 horsepower). Alco lost an average of $500 on every car it made as it used, literally, the highest-quality materials available. Production ceased in 1913.

This one featured dual chain drive and arrived in the Indianapolis Speedway Museum in 1961, fully restored. The current owner acquired it in 2011 and the car still sports a 50-year-old restoration – and that is less than the halfway point of its life! When new, this car cost between $5,500 and $9,000. Today it should bring between $300,000-$400,000. It is one of only 12 Alcos known to still exist. Read more here and check out more from Gooding here.

Update: Sold $280,500.

1913 Alco Touring Car

1913 Alco Six Model H Five-Passenger Touring

Offered by RM Auctions, Boca Raton, Florida, February 24-25, 2012

The American Locomotive Company was formed in 1901 as the result of a merger between eight smaller locomotive manufacturers. This made Alco the second-largest steam locomotive producer in the United States.

In 1906 the company began producing Berliet automobiles under license (as American Berliet). This license agreement was trashed in 1908 in favor building their own cars. Alco cars won the Vanderbilt Cup in 1909 and 1910 and competed in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Alco was also the first automobile company at which man named Walter P. Chrysler worked before he left in 1911 to join Buick.

In 1913 Alco shifted their focus back to locomotives (they had lost an average of over $450 on every car sold since 1906), producing their last steam locomotive in 1948 and final diesel locomotive in 1969.

The car seen here is a six-cylinder Model H from the final year of production. It is believed that this car was featured on the Alco stand at the 1913 New York Auto Show. It has 60 horsepower and after the completion of restoration in the mid-1990s, the car was “mechanically updated” in order to take place in brass-era tours. So it’s a driver.

Only six of these cars are known to exist and this one is a glorious example. There is something undeniably stately and imposing about large brass-era touring cars. The estimate on this car is $400,000-$600,000 and is offered from the Milhous Collection. For the complete catalog description, click here and to see all of the other interesting things available at this sale, click here.

Update: Sold $506,000.