1940 Alvis 12/70 Special
1940 Alvis 12/70 Special

Bonhams Simeone 2014 – Auction Preview

The Bonhams Simeone Museum 2014 auction will be held Monday, October 6th at the Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. Now in its third year, this auction, which is devoted to the hobby and specifically to “Preserving the Automobile”, features important original, preserved and correctly restored historical automobiles as well as related spares and memorabilia.

The headline offering at the Bonhams Simeone 2014 sale is the FC Deemer ‘honeymoon’ 1907 American Underslung Roadster that is estimated to sell for $900,000 to $1,300,000. Of the four noted ‘Deemer’ American Underslungs, this 107-year old example is the first that FC Deemer, a Brookville, Pennsylvania oil man purchased and took on his honeymoon in 1907 – an experience that would lead to his acquiring another American car for each of the successive three years.

All of Deemer’s American Underslung automobiles were discovered in the late 1960s and were subsequently restored for the Deemer family by enthusiast Walter Seeley. Today, two reside in Pennsylvania institutions, one at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum and another at the JWR Automobile Museum, making this car just one of two in private hands.

The Underslung Roadster is one of the most interesting models built by the company and indeed of all cars of this period in that it represents one of the earliest statements by its manufacturer that their cars were built with sporting use in mind, rather than simple conveyance.

Dr. Frederick Simeone, whose Philadelphia-based foundation is devoted to the theme of sports racing and endurance automobiles comments, said, “In 1907 the American Motor Car Company made only the Underslung Roadster. No other car was listed and, furthermore, after a review of hundreds of other contemporary sales catalogs, no other US manufacturer offered a gasoline car for speed and sport.”

1907 American Underslung Roadster
1907 American Underslung Roadster

The car’s seller, a long-time supporter of the Simeone Museum, has stipulated that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the museum, and in support of his gesture Bonhams too will be making a donation to the museum.

In addition to the headline American Underslung, a number of automobiles from a private US collection will also feature prominently at this year’s sale. With an emphasis on early luxury automakers, specifically those from America and especially those made in New York (long before Detroit earned the moniker “Motor City”), the selection of automobiles represents a highly curated and focused collection of American history.

From before the Great War is a highly original and unspoiled example of the “big” Maxwell, a 1911 Maxwell Model GA 30HP Touring. Founded in New York, the Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Company advertised this model as being the “undisputed leader” due to “power, style and price” – a car that would “outclass all others.” Now uncommon, and rare in this condition, the larger capacity Maxwells are sought after by collectors (Est. $75,000 – $95,000).

1911 Maxwell Model GA 30hp Touring
1911 Maxwell Model GA 30hp Touring

Originally supplied to championship-winning speedboat racer Commodore Jonathan Moore is a 1916 Simplex Crane Model 5 Berline (Est. $125,000 – $150,000). With a bespoke body by New York City coachbuilder Brewster, this brand of New York-manufactured automobile was the epitome of luxury and, at a cost of 10 times the annual salary of the average American, was aimed at those few “who demand the utmost in luxurious comfort.”

1916 Simplex Crane Model 5 Berline
1916 Simplex Crane Model 5 Berline

A 1924 Cadillac V-63 Phaeton with just 42,500 original miles will also be offered at the 2014 Bonhams Simeone Museum auction. Boasting what many historians call a “milestone engine”, the newly engineered V-8 engine of 1924 was powerful and smooth. While Cadillac was still working its way toward becoming a status symbol, it had by then already been recognized the world over for its technical innovation and superior standards of quality (Est. $45,000 – $55,000).

Cunningham of Rochester, New York was one of the first developers of the now ubiquitous V-8 engine and, as part of the select handful of American luxury automakers of the era, quickly established itself as a category leader. A 1925 Cunningham V4 Touring Car with an impressive pedigree, including being a veteran of the 1950 Glidden Tour, will also be on offer (Est. $135,000 – $160,000).

Originally supplied to Mrs. August Anheuser Busch of the famous American brewing family is a two-owners-from-new 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Dinsdale Limousine with coachwork by Brewster of New York. With its originality, this rare Anglo-American model does the feat of standing out among a class of cars from a period that all command attention ($75,000 – $95,000).

Further highlights at the Bonhams Simeone Museum 2014 Sale:

  • 1975 Alfa Romeo Montreal, Delivered new to Germany, (Est. $70,000 – $90,000)
  • 1948 Tatra T87 Sedan, Single family ownership since 1975 (Est. $90,000 – $110,000)
  • 1940 Alvis 12/70 Special, (Est. $200,000 – $250,000)
  • 1927 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom I Piccadilly Roadster, Fitted with one of only 70 Piccadilly bodies produced by the Merrimac Coachbuilding Company, Part of the Frank Cooke Collection for decades, Extensively featured in The Flying Lady (Est. $200,000 – $250,000)
  • 1959 MG A 1600 Supercharged Roadster, (Est. $35,000 – $45,000)

The 3rd annual Bonhams ‘Preserving the Automobile’ sale will be held Monday, October 6th at the impressive Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, with previews taking place the days prior, Saturday and Sunday. For more information and a complete listing of motorcars, visit Bonhams Simeone.

[Source: Bonhams]