1834 the locomotive of the south
2015 sold for $ 220k including premium
Transportation by land or river assisted by steam propulsion takes a decisive development in England in the 1820s. The Rainhill Trials of October 1829 are an extraordinary competition organized by the company of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway to select the contractor for the manufacture of its locomotives.
Five candidates compete in the Rainhill Trials. The winner is the company of Stephenson, which is also by far the most experienced in this field and the only at that time to be able to achieve an acceptable endurance. Its best challenger, Braithwaite and Ericsson, could not complete the tests due to a poor control of the boiler.
The US market is promising. The rail actually will have a significant role to spread the civilization on such a vast territory. The number of locomotives prepared by Braithwaite for this export in the 1830s is estimated at 14. It is likely that the pieces were shipped across the Atlantic in containers and assembled in the United States.
The machine for sale is named Mississippi. Its elements were manufactured around 1834 by Braithwaite and Ericsson. It is considered as the oldest locomotive that was operated in the state of Mississippi and had also been back in service during the Civil War, successively for both sides.
Cleverly reconstructed in 1891 around its original engine in a look consistent with the images of the 1830s, it has a great history of exhibitions in Chicago including the very important Columbian Exposition in 1893, the Century of Progress in 1933 and 1934 and its permanent exhibition since 1938 in the collections of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry which deaccessions it now without reserve.
The sale of the Mississippi looks like a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of its class and its estimate is not published. It is a great witness of the past but its remaining degree of authenticity is probably impossible to establish.
1835 The Landau of the Royal Mews
2015 SOLD for £ 250K including premium
On March 7 in Oxford, Bonhams disperses a collection of carriages and coaches that was unique in its kind and extent. Lot 221, estimated £ 200K, is a traveling landau delivered in 1835 by Adams and Hooper to the Royal Mews for the use of King William IV.
It is not known whether this carriage was actually used by the royal family but it was designed for noble travelers with the socially necessary separation between patrons and coachman. Simpler vehicles which have not followed had been planned for servants and luggage.
This landau has been carefully restored in the original luxury of its decorations and equipment by a painstaking collector, offering the dream of an obsolete time when every trip was an adventure.
1860 The Stagecoach
2014 SOLD for $ 330K including premium
Wheel maker and leather craftsman, Lewis Downing helped to create the definitive shape to this vehicle whose opulence was required to offer enough comfort to the bold travelers. Based in Concord, New Hampshire, he was associated from 1826 with the younger coachbuilder JS Abbot.
From 1827 to 1899, about 1,700 carriages of Concord Coach brand were manufactured by Abbot-Downing (the 'Abbott' spelling is sometimes used but is wrong). Three basic models were available for 6, 9 or 12 passengers, pulled by 2, 4 or 6 horses.
On October 10 in Hershey, RM Auctions sells an Abbot-Downing stagecoach, lot 256 estimated $ 225K.
This specimen in the middle size for four horses had been delivered in 1860 to a company in Kalamazoo, Michigan to ensure a regular transportation with the neighboring city of Grand Rapids.
The family workshops of Abbot and Downing were organized into separate companies from 1847 until their logical reunification in 1865. Their co-operation had remained close, so that it makes no sense to try to guess which one made and delivered the Abbot-Downing stagecoach of Kalamazoo.
1896 Victoria by Karl Benz, bigger than Velo
2009 SOLD 220 K£ including premium
Karl Benz was the pioneer who led the history of the automobile from its conception to its industrialization. Manufacturer of industrial motors in Mannheim, he patented in 1886 a tricycle activated by a gas engine, with two seats and steering front wheel.
He managed the manufacture of several experimental machines, and patented in 1893 a model with four wheels that he presented at the Chicago World's Fair. The run to mass production would begin at once.
It should go quickly, because creating a workshop for such vehicles derived from the bicycle did not require large financial resources, and this huge challenge of controlling a machine for individual move began to be understood. Major competitors were De Dion-Bouton, Panhard et Levassor, Duryea, soon imitated by dozens of others.
From 1893, Benz created the Victoria model, developing 3 hp and weighing 700 kg. He almost immediately introduced a simpler model with 1.5 hp and 300 Kg, named Velociped, shortened as Velo.
Velo met the success: this model was manufactured by dozens, reaching in 1902 the final total of 1200 copies. A Velo of 1897 in an exceptional preservation has been sold at 120 K € before fees by Osenat in Fontainebleau on June 21.
Victoria enthusiasts will find a copy of 1896, expanding 5 hp, in the sale of Bonhams in Henley-on-Thames on July 18. Its traceability is well known, but it has undergone many repairs. The value of a car of this age very much depends on its authenticity. The expected price, £ 140 K, is not a foregone conclusion.
POST SALE COMMENT
Excellent result for this Victoria: 200 K£ hammer, 220 K£ including fees. The better, this very early car deserved such a price.
In fact, to explain the conclusion of my article before sale, the catalog was not clear with regard to the rebuilt made in 2001. I had not realized if only the painting had been redone, or if the wooden wheels were also changed.
This confirms what I already said: the best descriptions are not enough for art sales at auction. For top lots, on-line sales without exhibition must not be considered.
1896 the armstrong commencer
At Bridgeport in Connecticut, the Armstrong Manufacturing Company produces tools and bicycles and develops some widgets using electricity.
Their prototype car is completed in 1896 or maybe a little before. The bodywork in phaeton indicates an intention of luxury and comfort. Its features and equipment are well ahead of its time, including tubular chassis, electric light and electromagnetic transmission. The silent electromagnetic starter inside the steering wheel is a remarkable innovation. The manufacturer names this device the "commencer".
This prototype makes a spectacular start, being one among six cars entered in a race in New York amid the traffic jams of horse carriages and cable cars. Afterwards a promotional exhibition turns to commercial failure and the prototype will not be imitated.
The phaeton was rediscovered in 1963 in Hartford in the factory of the company that had succeeded Armstrong. This car is estimated $ 550K, for sale by RM Auctions in Hershey PA on October 9, lot 152.
1900 an ideal vis-à-vis by karl benz
2015 sold for € 213k including premium
The rivalry between manufacturers is already tough and there is a strong demand for this new transportation which avoids horse and rail altogether. Benz offers many improvements with his Ideal catalogued in 1898.
The engine of the Ideal is still a single cylinder but develops 4.5 hp for reaching 32 km / h. The flat platform is a new feature facilitating industrialization. It is elegantly bodied as a vis-à-vis. Above all, the new three-speed gearbox makes driving easier by providing an intermediate position between flat road and hill climbing.
An Ideal manufactured in 1900 was discovered by a collector in the 1950s in the Welsh countryside. It had been kept in the same family since before the First World War. It required restorations that were subsequently made but had maintained a remarkably original configuration.
This Benz Ideal is estimated € 230K for sale by Bonhams on March 28 in Stuttgart, lot 121.
1902 Steam for an Egg
2019 sold for € 250k including premium
The electric motor originally takes the lead : the speed records are alternately established by Jenatzy on cars of his design and by Chasseloup-Laubat on Jeantaud.
The Serpollet brothers are specialists of the steam engines which they use for manufacturing and marketing automobile tricycles as early as 1888. Patented by Léon Serpollet in 1888 and 1896, the flash boiler makes this technology operational for automobiles. In 1898 he interests a wealthy American with whom he founds the Gardner-Serpollet company and starts two years later the brand of that name.
In 1902 a Gardner-Serpollet driven by Léon Serpollet is the first steam car to break the land speed record, reaching 120 km/h on the flying kilometer, 15 km/h more than the previous achievement by Jenatzy. Like Jenatzy's bombshell-shaped La Jamais Contente, Serpollet's L'Oeuf de Pâques has a minimalist body.
In the same year Gardner-Serpollet promotes the advantages of the steam by advertising the absence of noise, smell and vibrations of its deluxe cars.
On March 23 in Fontainebleau, Osenat sells a Gardner-Serpollet Type F from 1902, lot 112 estimated € 200K. The video illustrating this lot is included in the tweet below. In the same sale, the lot 113 estimated € 60K is a recent replica of L'Oeuf de Pâques.
RESULTS including premium :
Lot 112 SOLD for € 250K
Lot 113 SOLD for € 88K
1904 Renault Frères from A to Z
2016 SOLD for £ 270K including premium
This invention is effective : after a spectacular climb of rue Lepic in Montmartre in December 1898, the demand is high. Louis, Marcel and Fernand found the Renault Frères company a few months later.
The new brand engages its voiturettes in inter-city races. Louis is responsible for engineering and production. He is highly creative and the diversification is sustained. The new models are identified by the successive letters of the alphabet. K is reached in 1902, S in 1903 and Z in 1905. The death of Marcel in 1903 suspends the sporting ambitions but does not stop the industrial development.
In 1903 a new milestone is reached with the Type N for which Renault Frères use an engine of their own. The N-A and N-B variants are the first for that brand to use a 4-cylinder engine that generates new solutions for the cooling system and the signature sloped nose which will be famous in popular imagery with the Taxis de la Marne. N-C is smaller with only two cylinders.
On November 4 in London, Bonhams sells a Renault N-B 14/20 hp manufactured in 1904, lot 205 estimated £ 250K. Its tonneau body perfectly matches the family use for which this variant was designed.
COMMENT DURING THE SALE
The catalog has been amended stating that this car is a Model U Type B and not a Model N Type B.
1904 Speedy against Vanderbilt
2009 SOLD 325 K$
Today we reach the very beginnings of motor racing, in those early years of the twentieth century that witnessed the rapid progress of mechanics.
In 1899, Jenatzy was the first driver to exceed 100 km / hour on his illustrious shell-shaped vehicle, "la Jamais Contente" (the never satisfied). Between this feat and 1906, this record is beaten 19 times, the 200 km / hour are achieved, and these machines are beginning to look like cars.
In this recordman list is twice appearing the name of William K. Vanderbilt II, from an American family which had made a fortune in the development of railways and was also involved in horse racing.
Guided by the Gordon Bennett Cup (1900), Vanderbilt gave his name to the first race held on American ground, in Long Island NY in 1904 (it was won by a Panhard).
Car manufacturers do wonders for this opportunity to compete the threatening hegemony of the Mercedes (already)! The Thomas Motor Company, which operated in Buffalo NY, creates a new model specifically for this race: the Thomas Flyer 60 HP.
The boss of the auction house Kruse says in his press release that his auction in Auburn IN on May 30 is worth the trip to see a copy of it. Its future owner could use it (if desired) in the run from London to Brighton reserved for cars produced before 1905. The estimate is not indicated but the catalog announces a previous history at 980 K $.
POST SALE COMMENT
This racing ancestor was sold $ 325K. Without having another auction reference for this model, we can consider that it is a good result.
The site of the auction house is not clear whether the results include or not the expenses.
1907 stearns in the brass era
At that time, the Americans do not wish to differentiate between production car and competition car. Stearns claims in due right the superiority of his vehicles. A new model is proposed each year. The 1905 40HP and the 1907 60HP can be equipped for seven-passenger touring, open to all the winds in the style of the time.
The legend tells that a Stearns 60HP was the first gasoline car to reach the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado and that such a feat was achieved with seven passengers on board. However, it is clear that the cars from this brand had all the qualities to tackle the mountain roads.
On October 5 in Philadelphia, Bonhams sells one of the few surviving examples of the Stearns 60HP Seven Passenger Touring of 1907, lot 265 estimated $ 650K.
The assumption that the first owner of this car was living in Denver is plausible. It belonged in the 1960s to a couple in Montana who was passionately collecting the wonders hidden in the Rocky Mountains. It was restored by a subsequent owner, modeled on images of original advertisements, paving its way to the Concours d'Elegance.
1909 The Blériot XI was the first successful Civil Aircraft
Now we have to pay for travel. On 25 July 1909, it was the opposite. Because he had been able to cross the English Channel, Louis Blériot received 25 000 francs-or, which had been promised by the Daily Mail for the first aviator to achieve the feat. The model flown that day by Blériot is known as the Bleriot XI, and his solo flight between Calais and Dover had lasted 37 minutes.
In the rapid growth experienced by the aviation, this step is one of the most important, possibly even the most important of all, because it suddenly showed the usefulness and future of what was previously a technical curiosity. By the way, the following year, Blériot began to promote passenger transport.
The development of these models was meteoric. It is only in 1907 that Blériot had built his first plane, but he had the idea of genius (a term I use very rarely) to bet on the aeronautical qualities of monoplanes, safer and more user friendly than the biplanes.
Artcurial tells us that the Bleriot XI was one of the biggest commercial successes of aeronautics before the first World War, and that 500 copies were built. Indeed, this figure seems enormous, when you imagine to what could resemble the industry (and customers) at this time. Very few of these planes have survived, for reasons that are easy to imagine.
It is one of them that Artcurial sells in Paris on October 11. It is still fitted with its original Anzani engine.
In 1910, Blériot was awarded the first pilot license in France. In 2008, I do not know whom to contact to have the right to drive such a device, but if you ever buy it I do not advise you to try this adventure: I need to keep my readers. By the way, an amusing detail: the Bleriot XI is a two-seater plane, but Blériot had made solo his historic crossing. He only, the manufacturer, could know enough his equipment to have confidence. He was right.
POST SALE COMMENT
My advice not to try to drive the plane is without doubt one of the best that I have provided in these columns. The aircraft has not been sold. The Gazette de l'Hotel Drouot of October 3, page 45, argued an estimated price that seemed very reasonable compared with other vehicles of the same age which did not have the same historical interest.
I came back to my favorite weekly to try to understand, and I read that the aircraft had been damaged twice during recent flight tests, first in 1989 during a crossing of the Channel at its 80th anniversary, then in 2003.
1909-1910 brass Elegance
The first period of the American automobile had a bustling activity that often did not lead to success. More than one thousand do-it-yourself engineers tried to convert their bicycles and their steam vehicles into cars with an internal combustion engine.
Locomobile had started its successful development when a reckless businessman purchased the activity of one of the most promising manufacturers of steam cars. When that technology was no longer competitive, the company converted to the high-end automobile and claimed for its production the wording of Greatest American Car.
At that time American people began to feel a need for a new autonomous and fast vehicle. The Vanderbilt Cup, prestigious from its first year, aimed to discriminate the most reliable and efficient cars.
From 1904 to 1906 the Vanderbilt was won by French cars, first by Panhard and then twice by Darracq. It did not take place in 1907. In 1908, to the delight of the Americans, it was won by a car from the Connecticut based Locomobile brand.
The Locomobile Model 40 Type I Demi Tonneau for sale was manufactured in 1909 or 1910 and titled as a 1910 model. This vehicle for four passengers kept its original engine and its factory coachwork, carefully restored.
1912 Bugatti climbs the Hill
The 5-litre motored Bugatti could be used for luxury and sport. We class among the former the car of Roland Garros, sold 2.42 M€ fees included by Bonhams in Paris in February. Known as Black Bess, this car had been discussed at length in this group.
Another prestigious copy is for sale, also by Bonhams, in Reims on September 26. Made in 1912, one year before Black Bess, it participated for three consecutive years in the hill climb race of Mont Ventoux. Cars of these early years had to demonstrate their ability to operate in the toughest conditions. Climbing the Mont Ventoux, which rises to 1912 meters, was a tremendous achievement for these old mechanics (but the story does not tell if the race went to the top).
This car, which was then raced by Ettore Bugatti himself, is estimated € 1.8 million.
In addition to the two vehicles discussed above, only one other car is comparable in the world, according to the auction house. It was part of the Schlumpf collection.
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 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.
1913 Vanishing Charm of a Hispano-Suiza
Unsold at RM Auctions on March 10, 2012, an extravagant pre-WWI Hispano-Suiza is now for sale by Gooding atPebble Beach on August 18. It is estimated $ 450K, a price lower than the high bid of last year.
I repeat below the text that I posted before the previous sale:
By 1910, the automobile car is no longer a simple feat of DIY for daredevil drivers. Kings, princes and rich individuals now appreciate its benefits for their travel and prestige.
The young royals are following this fabulous development of their time. King Alfonso XIII of Spain bought in 1905, aged 19, his first Hispano-Suiza car.
This brand founded in Barcelona in 1904 by a Spanish-Swiss team benefited from a strong support of the king. Their deluxe model created in 1911 was named Alfonso XIII in his honour.
The Alfonso XIII double berline coming for sale was manufactured in 1913. It is spectacular with its double cabin with high windows which makes it look like a royal carriage or a bus. This is one of four units of Tropical type with highwheels and lengthened chassis.
At that time, Hispano-Suiza began to transfer some activities to France, a country more conducive to the luxury industry. The example for sale was coachworked in Courbevoie by Alin et Liautard, a little documented workshop that was also the maker at about the same time of a triple sedan built for another manufacturer for the use of a Russian prince.
The automobile industry, as also the aviation, will benefit enormously of the standardizations needed for war. The lastluxury cars of the pre-war period had a special vanishing charm.
Here is the link to Gooding's catalogue.
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.