1903 Clement

1903 Clement 12/16HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 1, 2013

1903 Clement 12-16HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Here is yet another vehicle (from yet another marque) that can be traced back to Adolphe Clement-Bayard. If you’re keeping score at home, please let me know how many this makes, because I’ve lost count. That mustachioed Frenchman sure had a knack for starting car companies.

Clement began producing cars in 1899. Between then and 1903, they were sold under the Clement and Clement-Gladiator names. In 1903, they became known as Clement-Bayard. Clement-Talbot and that whole story is separate from these companies (although very closely related).

Anyway, this car was sold new to a Spaniard named Don Francisco Serramalera Abadal. He was a major automotive importer and salesman who sold mainly French cars to wealthy clients. He would produce cars under his own name in the 1910s. He managed to win a hillclimb in this car in 1904 (so it does have “competition history”). The restoration is about 40 years old and the flimsy-looking wooden top is removable to turn this into a nice roadster.

The engine is a 2.1-liter straight-four making 12/16 horsepower. This Clement is from the final year of Clement production (of the four short years they were available). It is very nice, even though the restoration is older, and should bring a still-big price. The estimate is between $480,000-$640,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams’ London auction catalog.

Update: Sold $569,937.

1901 Georges Richard

1901 Georges Richard 3.5hp Single-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Vedrine

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 1, 2013

1901 Georges Richard 3.5hp Single-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Vedrine

Sometimes early cars don’t really have model names – or maybe that have model names that we just don’t know. So instead, we call them by every conceivable descriptive attribute we can see – hence the somewhat ridiculous-in-name name of this car above. And sometimes, there are car companies that sound like a guy’s full name, but aren’t. This time, Georges Richard was an actual person.

Richard worked in a bicycle shop with his brother and by 1897, he and his brother had branched out on their own and began building cars under Georges’ name in a shop north of Paris. In 1901, an engineer named Henri Brasier joined the company and after 1903, the cars were re-branded Richard-Brasier (and just plain old Brasier in 1905 after Richard left the company).

The car you see here was built by Georges Richard in 1901 – during the time when the company was building the Belgian Vivinus car under license (so it is very similar). The engine is a 785cc single-cylinder putting out 3.5 horsepower. It tops out near 25 mph.

This car has been in the same ownership for the last quarter-century, but not much is known of it prior to that. Fun note: this car has a reverse gear that you can’t use because the original owner was too cheap to tick the box for the lever that engages reverse. In any case, this is a neat old car from a short-lived marque that should bring between $89,000-$97,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.

Update: Sold $91,571.

Lacoste & Battmann

1903 Lacoste et Battmann 12hp Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 1, 2013

1903 Lacoste et Battmann 12hp Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

I’ll start by saying that this car is described as “believed 1903 Lacoste et Battmann” – meaning no one’s really sure what this is. It was believed to be a Regal for many years until 2000 when an expert said it might actually be a Lacoste et Battmann. But if it were a Regal, it would still be a Lacoste et Battmann.

Here’s why: Lacoste & Battmann was founded in 1897 by Jacques Lacoste in Paris. But they rarely sold cars under their own name. In fact, they built cars for other companies – as many as seven different marques. Regal was one of those seven companies.

This car was purchased by its second owner at auction in 1908. It was worn out and restored (after only five years!) and put back on the road in 1910. The car has been in the same family since. The second restoration (which was mechanical in nature only) was completed in 2001.

The engine is a 2.4-litre two-cylinder making 12 horsepower. If this truly is a Lacoste et Battmann, it is very rare. Even if it isn’t, it is very likely one of their cars that was marketed under a different name – and the rarity remains. The company closed up shop in 1913. This example – with 1908-era interior and exterior – should sell for between $210,000-$260,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $123,920.

1904 Winton

1904 Winton 4.25-Litre 20hp Detachable Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | Brooklands, U.K. | December 3, 2012

Alexander Winton is one of my favorite automotive pioneers. He was also one of the first. By 1899, he was the largest automotive manufacturer in the United States. He sold early cars to prominent Americans and by 1903 a Winton became the first car to drive across the U.S. Winton automobiles had also thrown fuel on the entrepreneurial fires of Henry Ford and James Ward Packard.

This Five-Passenger Touring model uses the 20 horsepower twin-cylinder engine (a 24 horsepower twin-cylinder was also available). It was the last year for two-cylinder engines at Winton. The engine (a straight-two) is mounted flat and between the two axles.

It was purchased in the 1930s by a young man who found the car abandoned (in an old building owned by his father). He restored it as a teenager and was one of the first members of the Antique Automobile Club of America, which was founded in 1935. He sold the car in 2006 when the current owner bought it. It is believe to be one of seven 1904 Wintons in existence (of about 600 built that year). It has been refreshed in the past five years or so and is ready to go. The estimate is between $210,000-$240,000. For more information, click here. And for more from Bonhams’ sale at Mercedes-Benz World, click here.

Update: Sold $218,800.

Update II: Sold, Bonhams, London-to-Brighton 2015 $199,416.