1900 Clement-Panhard 4½HP Type VCP Voiture Légère Vis-a-Vis

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

Photo – Bonhams

There have been so many great pre-1905 cars for sale lately! This car is from the mini-empire of marques featuring Adolphe Clément’s name. Clement was on the board at Panhard et Levassor and when the company’s factory was found to not be adequate enough to build a run of a 4.5hp “dog carts” that were designed by Arthur Krebs, Clement set up his own concern to build them.

Clement-Panhards were available between 1898 and about 1900. They featured a rear-mounted single-cylinder engine that made 4.5 horsepower and drove the rear wheels through an exposed-gear transmission. The three headlights and center-pivot steering give it an unusual face that only its mother could love.

In the U.K., these were called Clement-Stirlings or Stirling-Panhards. Only about 500 were built and body styles differed wildly from chassis to chassis. This car has two bench seats that face each other, which was a weird fad among early cars. This one hasn’t been used in a while but it was well kept for the last many decades. It should sell for between $40,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $60,500.

1896 Raynaud

1896 Raynaud Vis-à-Vis Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 3, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Here’s a car you aren’t likely to find anything else about. It is probably the only one built and was ahead of its time. It is thought that this car was constructed by Claude Raynaud of Flayosc, France. Nothing known ties him to the automobile industry in any way, so why he built this is kind of a mystery.

It is powered by a 3.8-liter two-cylinder engine. It has a gear transmission, which nearly no other car had at this point. And you’ll notice that it has a steering wheel in place of a tiller, something that wouldn’t be standard for years to come.

This car was discovered in France in 1975. It has been repainted and has had new solid tires fitted, but that is the extent of the work done to in in nearly 120 years. This one-of-a-kind car is being offered out of a private collection and can now be yours. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $149,980.

Update II: Not sold, Bonhams’ London-to-Brighton 2016.

Vallée Vis-à-Vis

1897 Vallée Vis-à-Vis

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 3, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Vallèe is a name that pops up a few times during the course of automotive history. For instance, Paul Vallèe built microcars in the 1950s. Henri Vallèe, however, is the man behind this car. He got his start working with Amadée Bollée in the 1880s, building a steam car. Vallèe set up shop as a bicycle manufacturer shortly thereafter and built his first car in 1895.

Production followed in 1897 and offered a range of four different models. This is a four horsepower (second from the smallest) model powered by a 2.2-liter flat-twin. Production continued until 1902 when the company shifted focus to motorcycles before shutting down a few years later.

This is one of two known Vallèe automobiles in existence. This car is all original except for it’s paint and top. It’s pretty interesting and is coming from a Swiss collection. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $93,700.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s, London 2016 $114,061.

Star Benz

1899 Star Benz 3.5HP Vis-a-Vis

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

England’s Star Motor Company built its first car in 1898 and it was a German Benz vehicle built under license in Wolverhampton. The company continued to build this model through 1902. This car is one of those.

The engine is a single-cylinder making 3.5 horsepower of Benz’s design. Star was one of England’s largest automobile manufacturers before WWI. A series of ownership changes, coupled with the Great Depression, spelled the end to what could have been one of England’s biggest post-World War II automakers.

This car has known ownership back to 1932 and it was restored in 1954. It has run in over a dozen London-to-Brighton runs – going back to 1938! For the past three decades, this car has been on museum display, so it’ll need a little work to get it roadworthy – but it looks great considering the restoration is over 60 years old. It should sell for between $92,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $141,463.

Update: Sold, Bonhams London-to-Brighton $178,725.

An Incredible, 1901 Benz

1901 Benz Ideal 7HP Twin-Cylinder “Contra-Motor” Vis-a-Vis

Offered by Bonhams | Stuttgart, Germany | July 12, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

What’s so incredibly cool about this horseless carriage cannot be summed up in just one point. First, it’s from Benz – the originator of the automobile (you could argue otherwise, but we’ll ignore you). And it’s about as early a Benz as you can get your hands on that isn’t a replica or on permanent display.

The Benz Ideal was an evolution (and final iteration) of the Benz Patent Motorwagen, the earliest of automobiles, that featured a horizontally-mounted single-cylinder engine between the rear wheels. By 1901, competitors were many and they had advanced in design. So for the Ideal, Benz kept the engine between the rear wheels but added coachwork up front to make it look like many of the other vehicles on the market.

The Ideal, towards the end of its run (read: 1901), was offered with a two-cylinder engine. It’s a 2.1-liter flat-twin making seven horsepower. Ownership history here is known from new and this car completed (and won its class) in the London-to-Brighton run in 1937. The restoration was completed in 1972. You can purchase this fascinating piece of automobile history – and use it – for between $150,000-$200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ inaugural Mercedes-Benz sale.

Update: Sold $641,004.

1895 Millot

1895 Millot Vis-a-Vis

For Sale at Oldtimer Galerie International | Toffen, Switzerland

From the “Wow, That’s Old!” files, we present this archaic 1895 Millot Vis-a-Vis, built by Millot Frères (the Millot Brothers) in Gray, France. The company was founded in 1805 to produce farming equipment. By 1892 they were making stationary engines and sometime around 1895 they began building these rather crude-looking vehicles. It looks like something that just drove off the railroad tracks and onto the street.

It’s referred to as a “saw-bench” and they built an unknown number of them (at least three survive). It is powered by a nine horsepower, 2.0-liter single-cylinder engine. I can’t even begin to imagine the noise that this thing makes – or how it drives, handles or rides. It is simply something from another era that very few will get to experience.

This is showcased as an 1895, but various sources suggest different dates for the first Millot automobile – some as late as 1899. The company did build more traditional cars beginning in 1901 (through 1902), but none are known to survive. I’ve seen a photo of one and it looks light years ahead in terms of design when compared to the car shown here, even though only a few years separate them. Cars simply just don’t come much older than this. Price is “on request.” Click here for more info.