Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2023
So what is this exactly? Well, it’s described as a Rhodia – and that’s what the badge on the radiator surround says. But even browsing some fairly comprehensive automotive encyclopedias won’t help you find any info about the company.
Bonhams doesn’t provide much insight either, but they do mention that it was built in the U.S. and is “one of a few” exported to the U.K. for use as an ambulance during WWI. But, if you consult the Beaulieu Encyclopedia, there is a mention of Rhodia as a British manufacturer that existed sometime between 1914 and 1922. It notes that the ambulance you see here is the only evidence of its existence.
This truck, which is powered by an inline-four engine, is said to have been discovered in a garage in 1977, having been shut in there since 1939. It was previously registered as a taxi in Scotland in the 1920s, and it was restored by the current owner, with work wrapping in 2016. If you’re in the market for a mystery – and have the money/skill to build your own replacement parts from scratch, this is the historic WWI ambulance for you. It has an estimate of $18,000-$25,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Aguttes | Paris, France | June 25, 2023
French manufacturer Unic set up shop in 1905 and continued producing passenger cars through 1938. They produced military vehicles during WWII and concentrated on trucks after the war, soldiering on independently until Fiat took them over in 1966. The brand was phased out after being merged into Iveco in 1975.
But this L2 from 1924 proves that Unic had a hold on commercial vehicles well before the end of WWII. It’s powered by an inline-four of unknown displacement but apparently rated at 10 (presumably taxable) horsepower.
The body style is listed as Boulangère, which is kind of a French huckster wagon. The driver’s compartment is quite nice, and the wagon has a fold-down tailgate for the cargo area, a solid roof, and roll-up side curtains. The estimate here is $10,000-$16,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 24, 2023
The Stegeman Motor Car Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was founded in 1911 and produced heavy trucks through 1917. The actually offered at least six models of varying capacity – up to seven tons.
You can tell this is one of the heavier trucks because it utilizes solid rubber tires. Lighter trucks used pneumatic ones. It’s a three-ton truck powered by an inline-four engine. It’s also got a three-speed manual transmission and an open-cab body with a stake bed.
Later Stegemans could be had with a six-cylinder engine and electric start. This particular example is one of three from the manufacturer in the U.S. known to exist. You can read more about it here.
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | December 2022
Functional. That’s what the design of this screams. Volkswagen developed the EA489 Basistransporter for “developing markets,” which I think is code for “third-world countries.” It was produced as a knock-down kit in West Germany and sold under a few names. Versions produced in Mexico between 1977 and 1979 were called the Hormiga.
The engine is a 1.6-liter flat-four located under the cabin. The air intake sprouts out of the roof like a bathroom vent, and the thing is front-wheel drive. Power for Mexican-market models was rated at 50 horsepower, and it was rated to carry about 2,200 pounds.
Never seen one of these? Hardly surprising, just 3,600 were built in Mexico, and even the limited number of examples produced for other markets were all used up and thrown away. This one has obviously been redone. You can read more about it here.
Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | October 19, 2022
Beginning in 1933, Ford of Britain sold commercial vehicles under the Fordson brand. In 1939, they changed the name to Fordson Thames, perhaps because their first factory was located on the River Thames in Dagenham. After 1957, they dropped the Fordson, making the brand just Thames until they reverted to Ford in 1965.
The Trader was the largest truck built by Thames, and it was in production the marque’s entire existence. The Trader has a pretty distinctive cab and front-end design. This one is powered by a gasoline inline-six.
This Mk I example features a rear flat bed after having previously been configured as a box van. Thames was a short-lived marque that produced vehicles meant to be used and discarded. It’s pretty great that one still exists in this condition. The estimate is $12,000-$14,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Dorotheum | Salzburg, Austria | October 15, 2022
So it’s not pronounced “oaf”… it’s actually ÖAF, for Österreichische Automobil-Fabrik. The company was founded in 1907 as the Austrian Fiat truck plant. The trucks were called “Austro-Fiats”, and they started developing their own stuff during WWI. In 1925, Fiat lost control of it, and the name shifted to OAF.
MAN took over OAF (what a sentence) in 1938. After WWII, the company was split off, eventually going private in 1970, merging with Graf & Stift. The following year, MAN acquired them again. The last OAF-branded trucks left the assembly line in 2008.
The AFN express truck debuted in 1924 powered by a 2.9-liter Fiat inline-four that made 42 horsepower. This fire truck dates from 1930 and remained with it’s local Austrian fire department until 2009 (though not in use, I hope). It was then sold into private ownership and restored. The estimate here is $24,000-$34,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2022
I can’t believe it’s taken this long for this site to feature one of these little trucks. They are a lot smaller in person than you’d think, even though the door makes it pretty obvious that they aren’t that large. Twin Coach existed from 1927 through 1955 in Kent, Ohio.
The company was actually formed by Frank and William Fageol after they left their eponymous company. In addition to their delivery vans, Twin Coach also made buses. Flxible acquired them in 1955 and continued marketing vehicles under the Twin Coach name through 1963.
The delivery trucks are most famous in the Helms Bakery livery, but they were used by other companies as well. It’s powered by a Hercules inline-four, and the driver can operate the vehicle either standing or sitting. This one is selling without reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | November 17, 2022
Guess where this company was based. Indiana? Yes… well, for part of the run anyway. By the time this truck was built, the Indiana Motors Corporation was actually based in Cleveland, Ohio, as a subsidiary of White, who phased it out around 1940.
Indiana trucks were produced initially by the Harwood-Barley Manufacturing Company of Marion, Indiana. They built trucks and buses and were eventually acquired by Brockway before becoming part of White.
The Model 86 featured a Hercules inline-six engine. And that’s about all of the technical details I have. This is said to have been originally built as a fire truck for use in Delaware. Now it’s offered at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 13, 2022
Diamond T built some beautiful trucks in the 1930s and ’40s. But the company was actually founded by C.A. Tilt in 1905, back when things were more… functional. This is the earliest Diamond T we’ve featured.
At the end of the 1920s, trucks were big, heavy, slow, and purposeful. Styling hadn’t entered the arena yet. This tanker truck is powered by a Hercules 4.1-liter inline-four paired with a four-speed transmission. In thinking about why this truck survived scrap drives during WWII, I’d guess it was used as a water truck on a farm or something where it was relied upon.
This truck was part of the Hays Antique Truck Museum, which Mecum liquidated earlier this year. So why is it back at auction (and with the same pics)? Either it didn’t sell, it got pulled from the catalog at the last second, or the winning bidder flaked. In any event, glad it’s back so we could feature it this time around. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 25, 2022
Perhaps the photographer should’ve stepped back 10 feet. C.T. electric trucks were produced by the Commercial Truck Company of America, which was based in Philadelphia. The company built, well, commercial trucks, many of which looked like this, from 1908 through 1928.
Power is from four General Electric electric motors, with one stationed at each wheel. They had a range of 40-50 miles, and this one was one of 20 used by the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post… into the 1960s! I once bid on one of these trucks, but that’s a story for a different day.
There are some of these funky trucks out there (pretty sure NATMUS has one). You can check out more about this one here.