8 Litre Bentley

1931 Bentley 8 Litre Pointed-Tail Two-Seater

Offered by Gooding & Company | Online | January 28-February 5, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

The 8-Litre was the best (and final) model produced by Bentley before being taken over by Rolls-Royce. Just 100 examples were produced between 1930 and 1932, and only 78 are known to still exist. And this is one of them.

It was originally fitted with a Weymann close-coupled saloon body, but that was removed and replaced in the early 1960s. The chassis was shortened at this time, and coachbuilders Hoffman & Burton were enlisted to build a sporting body. They came up with this striking pointed-tail two-seater.

Aside from the rarity, the powerplant is the big story here. As the model’s name suggests, the inline-six displaces eight liters and produced 220 horsepower. This one appears to have known history since new and carries an estimate of $550,000-$825,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Co.

Update: Sold $861,215.

1907 Darracq

1907 Darracq 10/12HP Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | December 11, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

A Darracq et Cie was founded after Alexandre Darracq sold his Gladiator bicycle company to Adolphe Clement. His first factory was in France, but in 1902, he sold his French company to a new British company called A Darracq and Company Ltd. That’s right, he shifted his business to England to take advantage of some financial laws.

So the company was now British. Except that there were still French Darracqs, and they would eventually be produced under the Talbot-Darracq marque (the two Darracqs would split during WWI). We could go down this rabbit hole for the 15th time, instead, we’ll just point out that this appears to be a French-built car powered by a 10/12-horsepower inline-twin.

It’s a tiny little car that is said to require a good deal of work before becoming usable, although it does run. It’s expected to sell for $20,000-$27,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

De Dion Model Y

1904 De Dion-Bouton Model Y 6hp Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 1, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

De Dion-Bouton was the first automotive giant. Founded in 1883, the company actually lasted until 1953, though automobile production ceased in 1932. This 1904 Model Y was from their heyday.

The Type Y is powered by a 700cc single-cylinder engine making six horsepower. De Dion was selling six-cylinder cars at this time, so this would’ve been their bargain-basement model.

It’s a London-to-Brighton veteran that was sold new in the U.K. and was discovered on a sheep farm in New Zealand in 1967. Of course it was a sheep farm. Today, it should bring between $71,000-$84,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $74,468.

1907 Adams

1907 Adams 10HP Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | April 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

The auction catalog for this car lists it as an American car, which it isn’t. Arthur Adams teamed up with Edward Hewitt to build the Adams-Hewitt in Bedford, England from 1905 through 1907 when Hewitt left the company. Cars built thereafter until 1914 were known as just “Adams.”

This small two-seater is powered by a 1.7-liter single-cylinder engine pushing out all of 10 horsepower. It was discovered in Turkey, of all places, and brought back to the UK and restored for museum duty. Only a handful of these cars remain.

Bizarrely, Mr. Adams died aboard the Lusitania (not the Titanic as mentioned in the catalog), much like the founder of the Trumbull cyclecar that is being sold from this same collection. It’s either a weird coincidence, or this collector has, um, very morbid tastes. Look for a price between $20,000-$26,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $22,547.

1904 Wolseley

1904 Wolseley 6HP Two-Seater Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 2, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Did you know the Wolseley name is owned by the Chinese auto conglomerate SAIC? It’s dormant currently, but the name can be traced back to 1901 when Herbert Austin teamed up with Vickers to build cars. Austin was the head of the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company, thus the name. He would leave Wolseley in 1905 to go found Austin.

Their 6HP model went on sale in 1904. It’s powered by, well, a six horsepower single-cylinder engine mounted up front. Outward appearances suggest that the engine is 100% radiator. We like that single, centered headlight, though.

It’s a tiny 2-seater with a big, upright windscreen that doesn’t appear tall enough to protect the occupants’ faces. That or the steering wheel is just monumentally high. This car has mostly known ownership history, and Bonhams notes that this car should bring between $98,000-$100,000, which is a bizarrely tight range. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $89,652.

1894 Peugeot

1894 Peugeot Type 5 2½HP Twin-Cylinder Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K | November 2, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

This is the type of car I love to write about. It is right up there among the oldest cars ever featured on this site (though Bonhams refers to it as an “1894-5”). Peugeot built their first car in 1889. This car carries chassis number 164, making it a pretty early car. They built 40 cars in 1894, and 72 in 1895. This sounds basic, but they were the first company to put rubber tires on their cars.

The Type 5 is powered by a 1.0-liter V-twin making 2.5 horsepower – a Daimler design built under license by Panhard et Levassor. It is believed that Peugeot retained this car for over a year before selling it and it could’ve actually been completed sometime in late 1893, but it wasn’t officially sold until 1895. It is also thought that this could be one of five famous Type 5 cars used in a Paris-Rouen race in 1894.

Only 14 examples of the Type 5 were built. This one still runs, drives, and is used – as it is entered in this year’s London-to-Brighton run. This is as much a piece of history as it is a usable car. It’s the type of thing you only see in factory museums. This car is estimated to bring between $400,000-$530,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $463,202.

Twin-Cylinder Star

1904 Star 7HP Twin-Cylinder Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 2, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Star, like many early motor manufacturers, got their start as a cycle company. Edward Lisle’s company produced its first car in 1898, and by the time WWI broke out, the company was one of Britain’s largest automobile companies.

Introduced in 1900, the twin-cylinder Star was one of a few models the company was producing that were based on the pioneering designs of Panhard and Mercedes. It’s powered by a 1.4-liter straight-twin producing seven horsepower.

This car cost £320 when new and should bring between $110,000-$130,000 early next month. It has participated in the London-to-Brighton run multiple times and can be your ticket into that event too. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $113,559.

Mercedes-Simplex Raceabout

1908 Mercedes-Simplex 65HP Two-Seater Raceabout

Offered by Bonhams | Los Angeles, California | November 11, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Daimler marque became “Mercedes” in 1902 and the Mercedes-Simplex is largely considered to be the first “modern” car – a departure from the horseless carriages that preceded it. Available as a number of models between 1902 and 1910, the Simplex had engines ranging from 18 horsepower all the way up to 65 – as in the beast you see here.

The 65 horsepower (which is available at a rumbling 1200 rpm) comes from a very large 9.4-liter straight-four that. A normal 65HP Simplex would only have 9.2-liters, but this one has probably had many engine rebuilds over the course of its life, thus slightly increasing its displacement.

The biggest of all Simplexes, this model was offered between 1903 and 1909. The chassis you see here originally sported a 40/45HP engine when it was sold new in New York. It was acquired by Lindley Bothwell in the 1930s or 40s already sporting this… sporting body. What the original coachwork looked like is a secret lost to time.

This is going to be one of the more expensive cars to find a new home at this sale and no pre-sale estimate is available. These big horsepower, early German machines are incredibly hard to come by today. This is a rare chance to acquire one with known history going back 80 years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,072,500

1899 Vivinus

1899 Vivinus 3½HP Two-Seater Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Alexis Vivinus was a Belgian bicycle maker who began his company in the 1890s. As many others did, he made the transition from bicycles to motorcars. Ateliers Vivinus S.A. sold its first car in 1895 and was out of business in 1912. Mr. Vivinus then went on to work at Minerva.

The first Vivinus cars were Benz’s built under license but the car you see here was one designed in-house. This single-cylinder car makes 3.5 horsepower and was simple and reliable to enough to be licensed by other manufacturers around Europe, including Georges Richard.

The current owner of this car acquired it in 1986 from the same family that bought it new, which is pretty incredible. It was restored when purchased and has been well maintained since. It’s a usable example of a well-built 19th Century car and it should bring between $26,000-$33,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $76,845.

1907 Friswell

1907 Friswell 6HP Two-Seater

Offered by Brightwells | Bicester, U.K. | October 25, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

Louis Delage was a Frenchman who ended up founding one of France’s snazziest automobile manufacturers in 1905. Around that same time, a company called Friswell popped up in London and they sold the Peugeot Bebe.

Those single-cylinder cars were replaced for 1906 with a car that they sold under the Friswell marque. The design utilized an 885ccc single-cylinder engine that makes 6.5 horsepower. It features a three-speed transmission and shaft drive. Oh, and it was likely designed (at least in part) by Louis Delage.

Friswell disappeared after 1907. This car is one of what has to be only a few survivors (if that number is greater than one) from a two-year-only marque. The pre-sale estimate is between $23,250-$28,500. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $31,508.