Two Generations' Passion for Antique Cars at Bonhams in Audrain


A new Bonhams stand-alone sale, The Two Generations Collection, will take place on April 29, 2023, in Newport, Rhode Island, as a prelude to the Audrain Veteran Car Tour. The auction will offer 35 predominantly Brass Era cars and an extensive range of collectibles, amassed over 70 years by an enthusiast father and his son.

The majority of the collection will be sold without reserve, with many lots being offered for the first time in more than 40 years.

1906 Thomas 50hp Flyer Touring Car, estimate $400,000-500,000

Leading the sale is a remarkably original 1906 Thomas 50hp Flyer Touring Car (estimate $400,000-500,000), a precursor, of equal hp and specification, to the renowned car which claimed victory in the gruelling 22,000-mile New York to Paris endurance race in 1908.

The car offered was acquired from one of the famed William Fisk Harrah collection auctions in the mid-1980s. Harrah, a noted Thomas enthusiast, had purchased the Flyer – the only 1906 example he owned – in 1956 from Oklahoma. Apparently never restored, the car retains its original coachwork and much of its original upholstery.

The collection offers examples of luxury marques from the dawn of motoring including Pierce-Arrow, Pope-Hartford and Cadillac. Another brand targeting the upper echelons of society was Palmer-Singer, represented by a rare 1911 4-50 Seven Passenger Touring (estimate $400,000-500,000).

1911 Palmer-Singer 4-50 Seven Passenger Touring, estimate $400,000-500,000

Founded by Henry Palmer, a member of one of the great Williamsburg families, and his partner Charles Singer of the eponymous sewing machine company, the lesser-known Palmer-Singer marque targeted a sporting clientele, offering 'The Best in Motor Cars'. Only three or four of the Long Island City-produced automobiles are known to survive.

This high-performance four cylinder 50 hp model has original Touring coachwork by Quinby, the respected New York-based coachbuilder, and is the sole known four-cylinder Palmer-Singer and the only Seven Passenger Touring example. Considered a family member, the Touring was fully restored in the mid-1950s and took part in more than 100 tours with its owners between 1960 and 2006.

The Two Generations Collection also celebrates the era's successful mass producers, with a selection of variants by two of the era's competing manufacturers, Ford and Oldsmobile.

The early Fords include a rare 1912 Model T Torpedo Roadster which had been restored in the early 1950s, as well as a Model R Roadster, early 1909 Model T Touring car ($12,000-18,000), 1935 V8 Roadster ($35,000-45,000) and an exquisite, award-winning 1947 Model 79A Sportsman Convertible ($125,000-175,000).

1947 Ford Model 79A Sportsman Convertible, estimate $125,000-175,000

Oldsmobile is represented by a well-proven 1904 Curved Dash (estimate $45,000-55,000), while a 1906 and a 1907 model of REO, the successor company of founder Ransom Eli Olds, tell the next chapter of the marque's story.

With their owners, many of the cars have participated in Horseless Carriage Club of America and Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) tours and have been shown as prestigious events such as Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, Elegance at Hershey and Klingberg Concours.

Also offered in the sale are circa 450 high-quality lots of automobilia, carefully curated and collected over two generations, from pedal cars and spares to motoring art, including 50 original Veteran and Vintage advertising posters. Highlights include a Grand Prix de L'A.C.F. Dieppe poster after Bric, 1908, estimate $5,000-7,000 and a rare clockwork 'Gordon-Bennett' racing car by Bing, Germany, circa 1904, estimate $10,000-12,000.

Rupert Banner, Global Head of Specialists, Bonhams Collector Cars, said: "This collection, lovingly built up over a number of decades, reflects the passion of a two truly dedicated and fastidious collectors. We are proud to offer it in partnership with an event that complements the context of the early motoring themes, the Audrain Veteran Car Tour weekend."

Donald Osborne, Audrain Group CEO, added: "This exciting sale is a great extension of the relationship between the Audrain and Bonhams, a natural given the passion both share for the magnificent machines and remarkable spirit of the dawn of the automobile" shared. "I can't wait to see how this is received."

The second edition of the Audrain Veteran Car Tour – supported by Bonhams and already known as the American London to Brighton Run – will be staged in Newport, Rhode Island, the home of Motorsport in America, where many wealthy pioneer motorists had homes.

The Two Generations Collection is staged under Bonhams' partnership with the Audrain Concours Foundation which also includes the autumn Audrain Concours Auction, this year taking place on September 29 as part of Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week.


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