Cars of the 1910s
1911 Automobile Minimalism by Mercer
2014 SOLD 2.53 M$ including premium
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.
For travel, a close variant named Runabout was equipped with the features missing to the Raceabout such as windshield, top and doors.
On August 16 in Monterey, RM Auctions sells a very early Mercer Type 35R, lot 235 estimated $ 2.5 M. Originally delivered in the Runabout configuration, it has no ancient racing history. It has been upgraded into a Raceabout in 1945-1946, twenty years after the end of the Mercer brand.
POST SALE COMMENT
This centenarian in perfect working condition was sold for $ 2.3 million before fees, 2,53M including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared on YouTube by RM Auctions :
1912 Perfect Limousines by Rolls-Royce
2012 SOLD 4.7 M£ including premium
This huge vehicle of nearly 5 meters long was reliable, comfortable, fast, and as silent as a ghost. It generated a trend to oversizing which inspired several other manufacturers just before the First World War.
The example for sale on June 29 by Bonhams at Goodwood was manufactured in 1912. 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!
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.
The estimate is not published in the catalog, but the press release of February indicated £ 2M. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENTS
Bonhams had clearly demonstrated that this Rolls is exceptional. It was sold £ 4.7 million including premium.
This result must be compared with the £ 3.5 million including premium obtained by Bonhams on 3 December 2007 for a Rolls-Royce 10hp manufactured in 1904 which is the oldest surviving car of the brand, a price that was considered exceptional at that time.
The conversion of the two results in U.S. $ gives very similar figures, taking into account the evolution of the exchange rates.
1912 Five Passengers in an Oldsmobile
2012 SOLD 3.3 M$ including premium
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 is for sale on February 25 in Boca Raton, FL, by RM Auctions in collaboration with Sotheby's.
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 car that is now coming to auction is an outstanding example of five-passenger tourer. This is a huge vehicle of more than 2 m high and 5 m long.
In very good condition including its interior, it is offered with an estimate that may seem ambitious, $ 1.4 million, but it is the star lot of the car collection of Milhous brothers. It is illustrated on the catalog shared by LiveAuctioneers.
POST SALE COMMENTS
The price, $ 3M before fees, is exceptional for a car made before 1914. It rewards altogether the scarcity, luxury, condition and size of this outstanding car presented in a prestigious collection.
1913 An Automobile made for an Aviator
2009 SOLD 2.5 M€ including premium
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.
Bonhams tells us that 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 copy 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 his 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 comes up for sale in Paris on February 7 after an almost centenarian career. Indeed this car was consistently present in specialized competitions and shows. It is estimated 1.3 million €.
Bonhams is organizing the sale during the Rétromobile exhibition, which is the principal Parisian meeting point for car fans.
POST SALE COMMENT
The fans love the beautiful cars, especially those that had a prestigious owner. Black Bess won the right, at € 2.5 million including expenses, to continue his remarkable career in the specialty 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 European Racers for Indy
2019 SOLD for $ 2.65M including premium
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 is estimated $ 3M for sale by Gooding at Pebble Beach on August 16, lot 026. Here is the link to the press release. 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
1913 Rolls Royce Colonial by Mulliner
2007 SOLD for $ 1.87M including premium by Gooding
1913 Rolls Royce for Every Purpose
2017 SOLD for $ 1M including premium
Designed in 1906 and launched in 1907, the 40/50 hp meets all the targets of the engineer. It is powerful and fast, without vibrations. It never breaks down. The first 40/50, still in Rolls-Royce's ownership, accumulated 920,000 km in its first 110 years.
The 40/50 hp can do everything. Its London to Edinburgh variant wins road endurance competitions from 1911 and its Alpine Eagle variant wins hill climbing races from 1913. The bodies are subcontracted. Some of them are symbols of their time : a double pullman limousine of 1912 bodied by Barker was sold for £ 4,7M including premium by Bonhams on June 29, 2012.
7,874 units were manufactured in this top-of-the-range model from 1907 to 1926, sustaining its reputation as the world's best car. This quantity includes 188 London to Edinburgh units in 1912 and 1913, characterized by a larger carburetor and higher compression and gearing.
On October 2 in Philadelphia, Bonhams sells a London to Edinburgh sports tourer improved from its release in 1913 with a 'colonial style' for use over long distances on rugged roads. The volume of the tank is increased and the clearance is improved. It is estimated $ 1.1M, lot 335.
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.
Please watch the video shared by Bonhams :
1913 Safe Driving of a Delaunay Belleville
2012 SOLD 470 K€ including premium
2016 SOLD for $ 450K including premium
Before Rétromobile 2012 the car specialists in Artcurial were in due course excited by a Delaunay-Belleville in exceptional condition. Two videos accessible here explained its history of 99 years in the family of a co-founder of Michelin et Cie and the pleasure to drive it.
Artcurial sold it for € 470K including premium on February 3, 2012. It is now estimated $ 500K for sale by Bonhams on August 19 in Quail Lodge, Carmel CA, lot 10.
I discussed it as follows in 2012 :
The Delaunay-Belleville company, whose origin dates back to 1850, manufactured boilers for French and foreign navies. When the brand decided in 1904 to launch an automobile production, they brought their skills acquired with their highly demanding military clients for creating the best high-end vehicles of the time.
Developed in late 1912, the model O6 greatly interested the Russian Tsar. Unfortunately, the First World War will soon stop the progress of all pre-war luxury cars.
Its very big 8-liter engine is fitted below a round lid that provides it with an archaic look but this powerful car fully escapes the frail features so frequent in pre-1920 vehicles.
The 1913 specimen for sale is one of the first among about 55 cars, and has some outstanding features. Its huge 3.74 m chassis length is 18 cm longer than the standard size of the model. It was possibly the only O6 that escaped a requisition by the army in August 1914.
It was coachworked by J. Rothschild et Fils, the Parisian maker who had equipped the famous shell shaped Jamais Contente of Jenatzy. It was hidden at the outbreak of the Second World War and kept in oblivion. Discovered in 1986, it has been cleaned with no need to replace a major piece of equipment and still offers an easy and safe driving rare for a centenarian car.
1914 The Engine of the Charlatans
2017 SOLD for $ 7.3M including premium
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 in the house sale of the Bothwell collection near Los Angeles, Bonhams sells an L45 in an authenticity which is wonderful 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 is estimated $ 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 Torpedo on Rolls-Royce
2020 SOLD for $ 2.2M including premium
Rolls-Royce does not offer the bodywork. The customers of the London and Edinburgh enjoy the elegance of open roadsters without side windows, named phaeton, sports tourer or torpedo. A 1913 Colonial by Mulliner was sold for $ 1.87M including premium by Gooding in August 2007. Another one by Reuters was sold for $ 1M including premium by Bonhams on October 2, 2017.
On March 6 at Amelia Island, Gooding sells a 1914 40/50 hp Colonial London to Edinburgh Torpédo Phaeton by Kellner, in a remarkable state of originality much rewarded in elegance contests. It is estimated $ 2.7M, lot 63. Here is the link to the press release.
For old cars, authenticity is often the achievement of an enthusiastic owner.
This car had been delivered new in 1914 to the brand's agent in Lisbon. It had lost in 1931 its original bodywork, removed to equip another Silver Ghost which had just been damaged.
The current consignor acquired the Rolls-Royce in 2011 and then managed to find its original Kellner bodywork, which he purchased in the following year. The readjustment was carried out in just four hours, without modifications. The flawless alignment of these elements after a separation of eight decades is another great example of the legendary perfection of Rolls-Royce. The car was then restored by a specialist of the brand.
1914 Six Cylinders in Indianapolis
2016 SOLD for $ 1.02M including premium
After several trials with multiple cylinders, Marmon opts for a four-cylinder engine. The 1911 season will be exciting with the first edition of the Indianapolis 500. Marmon prepares with great care that event which will soon be the best symbol of endurance racing in the United States.
With Ray Harroun who was the pilot of the brand, Marmon brings significant innovations : the return to a six-cylinder engine, the adaptation of the tires to long-distance events and the retro-viewfinder mirror that provides an additional comfort by avoiding the driver to be accompanied by an assistant for appreciating his imminent overrun by a competitor.
Ray Harroun wins the 1911 Indy 500 miles. His Marmon nicknamed The Wasp completes the 200 laps in 6 hours and 42 minutes. He had left the car to his assistant for only 35 laps in mid-racing.
The prestige of this victory brings Marmon to introduce in their catalog two high-end six-cylinder models, the massive tourer model 48 and the less powerful but lighter 41 Speedster.
Such a luxury is indeed very expensive. It is believed that a total quantity of only six 41 Speedsters has been produced. One of them made in 1914 was found in great condition in 1947 in Wisconsin. The story of its earlier 33 years is unknown.
This car was sold for $ 616K including premium by Gooding in Pebble Beach in 2006. It is estimated $ 1M for sale by the same auction house in the same venue on August 20, lot 054.
1919 Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp Alpine Eagle Tourer
2020 SOLD for £ 1.02M including premium by Gooding
This magnificent 1919 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle Tourer is among the most exciting examples of the model that established Rolls-Royce’s reputation as “The Best Car in the World.” This stunning example has sold for £1,023,000! #PassionofaLifetime pic.twitter.com/RctkyxBIBf— Gooding & Company (@goodingandco) September 5, 2020