Awesome Classic Commercial Vehicles

The Michael Banfield Collection

Offered by Bonhams | Staplehurst, U.K. | June 14, 2014

 1915 Peerless TC4 4-Ton Open Back

Photo - Bonhams

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

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

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Tilling-Stevens Double Decker

1922 Tilling-Stevens TS3A Open Top Double Deck Bus

Offered by Bonhams | Staplehurst, U.K. | June 14, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Thomas Tilling operated a very large horse-drawn omnibus service in London beginning in 1847. They built their first motor buses in 1911. W.A. Stevens invented a hybrid gas-electric bus and joined Tilling during the 1910s. That’s right, this thing is a hybrid.

This 1922 TS3A was a new model, replacing the original Tilling buses. The gas engine is a 5.7-liter straight-four making 40 horsepower (click here for some crazy technical details). The bus will seat 48 (22 inside and 26 outside).

Banfield rescued this thing from a scrapyard and began the restoration in 1972. It wasn’t finished until 2007. It is the last surviving example of a TS3A. If you’ve always wanted a red, London double-decker, here’s one of the first. It should sell for between $150,000-$190,000.

Update: Sold $367,295.

Hispano-Suiza Omnibus

1915 Hispano-Suiza 15/20HP Omnibus

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 6, 2014

1915 Hispano-Suiza 15-20HP Omnibus

How about this for unexpected and seriously cool? This is an earlier Hispano-Suiza – before they started building cars in France. They built fast cars, they built luxury cars. And they built public transport omnibuses too, apparently.

Being a country’s main automobile manufacturer sort of lends you to being a jack of all trades and that’s what Hispano-Suiza became. They even built aircraft engines and aircraft during the war. This 15/20HP model was new for 1909 and they attached the four-cylinder engine from that model to a commercial chassis in the mid-1910s for vehicles like this. It seats 10 and there is a bench on the roof. I love it!

This thing was restored long ago – the paint is 20 years old. The current owner has had it since 2007 and the catalog states that it will need further work to be roadworthy. Good luck finding another one like it anywhere. It should bring between $230,000-$300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $234,151.

Update: Sold, Bonhams Paris 2022, $169,742.

A Classic Bus

1960 Flxible Starliner

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | August 29-September 1, 2013

1960 Flxible Starliner

So we just had two weeks of multi-million dollar feature cars. Yesterday was a bunch of farm equipment. And now a bus? Hear me out: a few months ago I had this idea that collecting buses would be really fun and interesting. Buses built prior to say, 1970, have really cool lines and designs. They are rolling examples of Americana.

So if you ever see a GM Scenicruiser come up for auction, you can count on me featuring it because that is my dream bus. Yes, I have a dream bus. Anyway, this bus was built by Flxible (yes, the “e” is missing on purpose – it was easier to trademark). In the 1950s, the company built some of the most classic American bus designs.

The Starliner was an intercity coach built from 1957 through 1967. 1960 was the first year for the flat-roof (earlier models had a window on the raised part of the back half of the roof). The engine is a rear-mounted (check out that giant air scoop on the back) 4.7-liter Detroit Diesel straight-four making 160 horsepower.

This bus is offered as “partially-restored” and there are a few detail items missing, but for the most part it is complete and is entirely usable. I can’t imagine how long it takes to restore a bus due to sheer size and especially one with intricate details. On the plus side, the interior is bus-like and has not been converted to a motorhome. Only 276 Starliners were built in 10 years of production, making them pretty rare. I have no idea what this should bring at auction, but I’m very interested because I still believe having an old bus like this would be really fun and interesting. Click here for more info and here for more from Auctions America in Auburn.

Update: Did not sell (high bid of $14,000)

Classic London Double Decker

1962 AEC Routemaster

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Stoneleigh Park, U.K. | February 23, 2013

1962 Leyland Routemaster

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

There is something iconic about almost everything in London. The Taxis are like nowhere else in the world. The phone booths. And these wonderful, old double-decker buses. London Transport actually had a say in their design and they’ve become one of the many symbols of a great city.

These are big – it has seating for 57 passengers (25 downstairs and 32 up top). It’s powered by a 115 horsepower 6.9-liter diesel (though the catalog description lists it as a 9.8-liter as well). I was once standing near the exit of the All England Club in Wimbledon and a double-decker bus was coming up a short hill on the way out. A police officer told everyone to get out of the way because the under-powered bus could not stop once it started up the hill or it wouldn’t make it. Perhaps 115 horsepower isn’t quite enough for a 57-passenger bus – even if it is made of aluminium.

Of the 2,876 Routemasters built, about 1,280 still exist – which is a good survival rate for a vehicle that was meant to be used until there was nothing left. This bus was in service from 1962 until 2004 (which is crazy). This is a chance to own one of the most iconic vehicles of the U.K. It is expected to sell for between $31,000-$44,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Silverstone’s Race Retro & Classic Car Sale.

Update: Sold $31,460.

Yellowstone Park Touring Bus

1925 White Model 14-45 Yellowstone Park Touring Bus by Bender

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2013

1925 White Model 15-45 Yellowstone Park Touring Bus

In 1925, the National Park Service – or more correctly, the Yellowstone Park Transportation Company (which I guess was a private company and had nothing to do with the Park Service, my bad), purchased 90 of these White Model 14-45 Touring Buses with coachwork by Bender.

Your average car couldn’t traverse the rough terrain of a giant park like Yellowstone in the 1920s. So you’d hop aboard one of these more rugged vehicles that would take you to see everything you came to see. At one point in time, there were hundreds of buses that carried visitors throughout the park. This is one of only a few that survive and it’s “likely the finest restored example.” It is indeed impressive. These open-air coaches were replaced in 1939 by the closed variety, and they were sold off.

The 11-passenger convertible bus is powered by a 3.7-liter straight four making 45 horsepower. The restoration began 15 years ago and turned out beautifully, as you can see. You’ll probably never have the opportunity to buy one of these again. The estimate is $110,000-$130,000. Click here for more info. And here for more from Gooding.

Update: Not sold as the vehicle was withdrawn from the sale.

Update II: Sold, RM Sotheby’s, Hershey 2016 $88,000.