Cars of the 1910s
See also : French cars
Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp later known as Silver Ghost
Nearly 6,200 units were manufactured in this top-of-the-range model from 1907 to 1925, sustaining its reputation as the world's best car. They include 188 London to Edinburgh units in 1912 and 1913, characterized by a larger carburetor and higher compression and gearing.
The 40/50 hp designation is obsolete since 1925 when the nickname of one of the very first specimens, the Silver Ghost, was re-attributed by the brand to that model as a whole.
1910 Pullman Limousine by Fuller, 'the Fuller'
2021 SOLD for $ 2.53M by Gooding
This astonishing Edwardian survivor keeps its wooden window casements, seat cloth and cushions, headliner, carpets, privacy shades and air ventilation plus a rear instrumentation compartment. It even still has the speaking tube for communicating between the compartments.
It was sold for $ 2.53M by Gooding on August 14, 2021, lot 128. It is illustrated in last position in the pre sale press release. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
It is matching in its Edwardian style the famous 'Corgi', a more massive 1912 Double Pullman sold in 2012 by Bonhams for £ 4.7M.
1912 Double Pullman Limousine by Barker, 'the Corgi'
2012 SOLD for £ 4.7M by Bonhams
Its coachwork by Barker with a very high roof is of Double Pullman Limousine type, a name that proves by itself that the high-end cars considered as an advantage to look like railway wagons ! It does not have a divider, so revealing that its original owner did not hire a driver.
This limousine had an exciting history in the popular imaging : it was chosen half a century later by Corgi as the model for a toy, showing to children the extravagant beauty of the Rolls-Royce cars of ancient time.
1911 Mercer 35R
2014 SOLD for $ 2.53M by RM Auctions
Designed for competition, the 35R is equipped with a 4.8 liter engine in four cylinders arranged in T head. Less powerful than its competitors, this model won many races until 1914 thanks to its bold design. Relatively light, it could reach 140 km/h.
The 35R Raceabout has a low center of gravity through the position of the engine and of the seat, offering a sporty position of the driver with a very long steering column.
The Raceabout is stripped of any equipment that is not necessary for speed and endurance. Half a century later, with completely different technologies, Ferrari will have a similar approach through his Competizione variants.
On August 16, 2014, RM Auctions sold for $ 2.53M a very early Mercer Type 35R, lot 235. Originally delivered in the road going Runabout configuration, it has no ancient racing history. It has been upgraded into a Raceabout in 1945-1946, twenty years after the termination of the Mercer brand.
Please watch the video shared by RM Auctions :
1912 Simplex Automobile
2023 SOLD for $ 4.8M by Bonhams
They restarted the manufacturing in 1904 by creating the S & M brand with the clear purpose of copying the finest European cars. Simplex was from 1902 to 1909 the name of the high end cars of Daimler's Mercedes brand, powered up to 65 hp with a large and wide body and a low center of gravity.
Smith and Mabley declared bankrupt in 1907 and was succeeded by the Simplex Automobile Company which continued the production of automobiles until 1917.
In 1912 Harold Vanderbilt had built a Simplex with an innovative custom coachwork by Quinby as an engagement gift to the champion tenniswoman Eleonora Sears. This mighty 50 hp five passenger torpedo tourer inspired from Mercedes is fitted with a huge T-head 4 cylinder 9.8 litre engine and a power transmission to the rear wheels via a dual chain.
Sears departed from her Simplex after winning a silver trophy in a 1939 antique car event. It was sold for $ 4.8M from a lower estimate of $ 2.5M by Bonhams on January 27, 2023, lot 140.
1913 Mercer 35K Runabout
2021 SOLD for $ 2.43M by Bonhams
Both models were so close from one another that most of the original deluxe Runabouts have been later converted by collectors to the spectacular Raceabout when they became obsolete for the road.
A car considered as the latest surviving original 1913 Mercer 35 Runabout was sold for $ 2.4M by Bonhams on May 20, 2021, lot 142.
1912 Oldsmobile Limited
2012 SOLD for $ 3.3M by RM Auctions
In choosing the name Limited, Oldsmobile showed that this model was made with great care for an elite clientele : quality prevails over quantity.
Records of the factory demonstrated some success in 1910 with over 300 cars being made, but the figure dwindled quickly. In 1912, the hundred was barely exceeded and the model was stopped.
The Oldsmobile Limited cars have become extremely rare. The only 1912 car that has survived was sold for $ 3.3M from a lower estimate of $ 1.4M on February 25, 2012 by RM Auctions in association with Sotheby's. In very good condition including its interior, it was the star lot of the car collection of Milhous brothers. It is illustrated on the catalog shared by LiveAuctioneers.
With its very high wheels, the Limited was designed to serve as a roadster or tourer, and could also be proposed as a limousine. The ex Milhous car is an outstanding example of five-passenger tourer. This is a huge vehicle of more than 2 m high and 5 m long.
1913 Bugatti Type 18
2009 SOLD for € 2.5M by Bonhams
At that time, between aviation and automobile, the difference is not very great. With one exception, however: luxury begins to reach the cars while it is not required for the aircrafts that only have to be functional.
In this same year 1913 Ettore Bugatti had invited Roland Garros to visit his plant in Molsheim. There, the young aviator flashed for the latest model, the Type 18. He ordered a car with coachwork by Labourdette, and he traveled several times to Alsace with his faithful Morane-Saulnier aircraft to monitor the progress of manufacturing.
This two-seater car, as sports as its first owner, is still in its original build, and is one of only three surviving copies of the Type 18. Known as Black Bess which was the name given by its second owner, it was sold for € 2.5M from a lower estimate of € 1.3M by Bonhams on February 7, 2009 after an almost centenarian career in specialized competitions and shows.
The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Attribution : By Herranderssvensson [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
1913 Isotta Fraschini Tipo IM
2019 SOLD for $ 2.65M by Gooding
The Tipo KM is revealed in 1910. With its 10.6 liter engine, it is one of the most powerful cars of its time, developing 120 hp at 1,600 rpm with a chain transmission. It is also the first to use a four-wheel braking system. 50 Tipo KM are built. 3 survive. A 1913 Four Seat Torpedo Tourer was sold for $ 1.5M including premium by Bonhams on August 15, 2008.
The Indianapolis 500-mile race was created in 1911. Its very high prize money is luring manufacturers and drivers alike. In 1913 Isotta Fraschini decides to participate. The KM exceeds the volume authorized in this competition and the TM with its 6.2 liter engine is not optimized. The brand is developing the Tipo IM with a 7.2 liter engine, developing 135 hp at 2,350 rpm.
Six IMs are built. Three of them are ready just in time for Indy. Their development had been disrupted by a strike at the factory and they were all stopped during the race by mechanical issues.
One of these three cars is modified to reinforce the faulty tank, without leaving the USA. Its participation in 1914 Indy ended with a dramatic spinout in which it ejected the pilot Ray Gilhooley and his mechanic without hurting them before landing on its four wheels. This high-flying figure is then called a gilhooley.
Its first private owner died of pneumonia at the age of 20. The car is locked in the garage for forty years by his inconsolable parents. It has later maintained through a smart restoration a very good original condition including the frame, the engine, the gearbox and much of the bodywork in its 1914 configuration .
It was sold for $ 2.65M by Gooding on August 16, 2019, lot 026. Its spectacular state of operation is demonstrated on the video shared by the auction house. Only one other Tipo IM is surviving.
An early Italian masterpiece designed by the great engineer Giustino Cattaneo and one of the finest and most original pre-WWI racing cars in existence: the 1913 Isotta Fraschini Tipo IM, has just SOLD for an incredible $2,645,000! #GoodingPebble pic.twitter.com/SJLdXbTTFd— Gooding & Company (@goodingandco) August 17, 2019
1914 Peugeot L45
2017 SOLD for $ 7.3M by Bonhams
After a first experience in engine design for the navy, the young engineer Ernest Henry was hired by Peugeot in 1911. He joined the Charlatans team where he listened to the innovative ideas of the pilots.
Henry conceived a synthesis of two techniques : the double overhead camshaft and the four valves per cylinder. At that time the organizers of the competitions were managing to limit the volumes. The Peugeot cars equipped with the engine designed by Henry are the L76 (7.6 liters) and the L3 (3 liters) in 1912, the L56 (5.6 liters) in 1913 and the L45 (4.5 liters) in 1914. In a ultimate challenge to the traditionalists of the company this L is for Lion.
Thanks to these innovations, the Peugeots of the Charlatans have a lighter chassis and a better handling. They begin to dominate the ACF competitions in France and then the 500 miles of Indianapolis.
The Peugeot-Henry engine is so far ahead of its competitors that the organizers of Indianapolis, fearing that the war in Europe reduces the appeal of their event, commission an American manufacturer to build replicas. Through that following Peugeot is the precursor of all modern car engines.
Two of these Peugeot cars survive. On November 11, 2017, Bonhams sold an L45 in an authenticity which is pitstanding for a car of that time. Its chassis and engine are number 1 and the bodywork is original. Thanks to a progress in the technology of the tires it was timed at 165 km/h in 1949, an unprecedented speed for a car manufactured before the First World War.
This L45 was sold for $ 7.3M from a lower estimate of $ 3M, lot 408. It was filmed in operation by a spectator at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed. This video is shared on YouTube.
1914 Stutz Bearcat
2021 SOLD for $ 2.9M by Gooding
Harry C. Stutz had founded in 1910 the Stutz Auto Parts company to produce a transaxle. He managed to enter a fully grown car of his own in the first Indy 500. Driven by Gil Andersen under the new brand name Ideal Motor Car company, his Bear Cat ranked 11th from only 13 that finished the race. He narrated that the car had been built in less than five weeks and coined the appealing slogan 'the car that made good in a day'.
Having demonstrated that his powerful and sturdy machine could compete in speed and endurance with Marmon, Mercer and others, HC Stutz changed the brand to his personal name in 1913. His two-seat model, the Stutz Bearcat, went under successive series with a continuous improvement.
A 1914 Series E Bearcat was sold for $ 1.38M by Gooding in August 2008, lot 45. In working condition with less than 26,000 miles recorded from new, it has the Wisconsin 390 cubic inches four cylinder T-Head engine and is rated at 60 hp.
Another 1914 Series E Bearcat with the same engine model as the example above was sold twice by Gooding : for $ 715K in August 2006, lot 29, and for $ 2.9M on August 14, 2021, lot 118. It is illustrated in third position in the pre-sale press release.
In 1936 it had won a revival of the Vanderbilt cup for veteran cars, driven to that victory by the winner of the 1911 Vanderbilt. Its main competitors had been a famous Locomobile and a Mercer Raceabout. It also participated to the 1940 New York World's Fair.
A genuine pre-1915 example, this 1914 #Stutz 4E Bearcat participated in landmark events, such as the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup and the final ARCA race at the 1940 New York World’s Fair. #PebbleBeachAuctions— Gooding & Company (@goodingandco) July 9, 2021
Learn More: https://t.co/eXJF6UTvl6 pic.twitter.com/v9PIWLT7ay