Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 2024
Hudson was one of a very small percentage of U.S. automakers to make it both through the Depression and come out the other side of WWII. In fact, they lasted from 1909 through 1957, by which time they had merged with Nash to form AMC. Hudsons were never top-tier luxury cars, but during the ’20s and ’30s, they introduced entry-level brands, which allowed Hudson to inch farther upmarket.
Which is how this coachbuilt Model L came to be. The Sport Phaeton bodywork is from Biddle & Smart, who built all bodies for the Model L, which was Hudson’s flagship offering in 1929. Power is from a 4.7-liter inline-six rated at 92 horsepower. Hudson was America’s #3 automaker behind Chevrolet and Ford in 1929.
Only 17 Phaetons were built in 1929, and just seven remain. The car has been restored to, interestingly, colors from a period Hudson advertisement. It’s a pretty slick car, and head and shoulders above what you could’ve got from Chevy or Ford in the same year. The estimate is $150,000-$180,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 4-5, 2023
Jonathan Maxwell and Benjamin Briscoe set up the Maxwell Motor Company – initially the Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Company – in New York in 1904. Production of automobiles started in 1905, with the Models L and H being available that year. The Model L was only available as a two-passenger Tourabout and carried over into 1906.
Power is provided by a flat-twin that put out about eight horsepower. The cars retailed for $750 in their inaugural year before undergoing a $30 price hike the following year. Just 833 Model Ls were built over the two-year run.
This car was restored about 13 years ago and was purchased by its current owner in 2015. Maxwell was an important early car company, and this is about as early as an example as you are likely to find. It has an estimate of $35,000-$45,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019
Henry Leland‘s Lincoln Model L went on sale in 1921 and would remain in production until 1930. By then Ford had taken over and things went in a different direction. But for a solid decade, Leland’s well-engineered cars were a viable alternative to the Packards and Cadillacs of the era.
The 5.9-liter L-head V8 made 90 horsepower, and quite a few bodies could be had – either from the factory or from a number of coachbuilders. Enter Walter M. Murphy who built this so-called “Gothic Phaeton” for a millionaire rancher in San Diego. The body is aluminum and features brass and nickel trim. Some interior surfaces are gold-plated. It has immense and wonderful detail, including folding seats that turn into a bed.
That pointed two-piece windshield along with the weathered trunk out back and water-stained convertible top add to a somewhat menacing, old world appearance completely worthy of its “Gothic” name. It’s probably the most fantastic Model L I’ve come across and is expected to bring between $100,000-$150,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 2, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
The French Vermorel company (officially, Établissements V. Vermorel) traces its roots back to 1850, when it was founded as an engineering firm in Villefranche-sur-Saône, France. They built their first car in 1899, but series production didn’t being until 1908.
Production took off until the outbreak of World War One and resumed immediately upon the war’s conclusion. The last Vermorel passenger car rolled off the line 1930 and heavy trucks were built through 1932. The company soldiered on in other arenas until 1965.
This particular example was discovered in a barn in France in 1968. It had two owners until 1990 when the current owner bought it. It is likely powered by a 2.3-liter straight-four making 12/16 horsepower and the body is by Henri Gauthier & Cie. Vermorel is a rare marque these days and this is believed to be the only example in the U.K. It should sell for between $26,000-$39,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2013
In 1902, J. Frank Duryea joined the Stevens Arms and Tool Company. The Duryea Brothers are one of the most interesting stories to come out of the early automobile industry. They built some beautiful cars together before going their separate ways.
Stevens-Duryea built its first car in 1902 and this is from the year after – making it one of the oldest Stevens-Duryeas in existence. It’s a Model L that originally used a flat-twin engine but is now powered by a Harley-Davidson V-Twin. This car had work done to it a long time ago (when it lost its engine in the 1940s or 50s) but it looks good today and it usable. The transmission and frame are also non-original.
RM states that the car could be restored further toward its original state or you could leave it like it is. Stevens-Duryea continued to build cars – that got bigger and bigger and more and more ludicrously expensive. Production ceased around 1923 but cars were still being sold out of old inventory through 1927. This is a $20,000-$30,000 car as is (and yes, I know, that’s a big range). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.