RM Auctions Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey 2010 – Report

Report by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

The Taste of Hershey

Packard Model F Rear Entrance TonneauRM Auctions held its Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey sale on October 7-8 in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Aside from chocolate (chocolate, chocolate, everywhere) the appeal of Hershey is the search for the rare, obscure, intriguing piece to complete a car restoration puzzle.

Hershey denizens criss-cross the fields, pawing through piles of lights, fenders, distributors, cylinder heads, distributor points, frames, springs, axles and light bulbs seeking the pieces they need to complete their projects. They search, and they … in the lexicon of New England … ‘dicker’ for the best deal. Hershey attracts car collectors from around the world. There’s more Dutch, Australian, German, French and, increasingly, Eastern European overheard here than in Monterey.

The objective always is the Saturday AACA Meet where an award earned at ‘Hershey’ stands right up there with Pebble Beach. The standards are high, the competition intense, and the means to meet them are offered in the acres of the AACA Hershey swap meet, the Car Corral and at RM’s auction, which has swept its competitors from the board in recent years.

This year demonstrated why RM has achieved its dominance.

Of the 148 cars offered, 110 were without reserve and selling to the highest bidders. The estimates were low, encouraging the Hershey bargain-hunters. The cars were old: 67 were built before 1920, eleven before 1905 and therefore eligible for consideration to participate in the UK Veteran Car Club’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run – an endurance test that every car enthusiast should experience at least once in a lifetime.

It evidenced astute marketing, positioning and an understanding of the audience, something which RM has mastered in recent years.

67 cars in the sale were built before 1920. 25 of them sold for over their high estimates. More importantly, all of them sold, including the sale’s second highest transaction, the ex-Harrah’s 1903 Packard Model F Rear Entrance Tonneau which brought a princely $374,000 (and was worth every penny of the price, too.)

In fact, every car but one at RM’s Hershey auction sold on the block … and the one that didn’t (the Bergholt Streamline sedan) was closed later at $82,500, an effective hammer bid of $75,000 which topped the $67,500 it closed at on the block.

There are many conclusions to be drawn from RM Hershey, but none more important than the endorsement it made of the continuing appeal of very early cars, those creative, imaginative examples of early automobile entrepreneurs’ diverse visions of solving the problem of converting energy stored in hydrocarbon fuels and electro-chemical batteries into rotating motion that turned road wheels.

RM Hershey this year was a lavish, diverse, intriguing catalog of early marques and the development of the American automobile industry (follow the progress of the early Fords and Chevrolets.) I had great fun here, and I hope it comes through in the notes and comments.

Photos are courtesy of RM Auctions (the preview is in the dank parking structure next to the Hershey Lodge Convention Center where what little illumination there is comes from dimly orange sodium vapor lighting. Photography is impossible.) It is mostly copyright 2010 by Darin Schnabel and Stephen Goodall.

RM Auctions Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey 2010 – Auction Report

1915 Chevrolet Series H-3 Amesbury Special Roadster
Lot # 301 1915 Chevrolet Series H-3 Amesbury Special Roadster; S/N N7644; Light Grey, Green accent and coachline/Green leather; Estimate $12,000 - $17,000; Rebodied or re-created, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $38,500 -- Reproduction body. Nickel trim, rear mounted spare. Very good older restoration and rebody showing a little age and use. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. This rare early Chevrolet, the first of several cars important to the early history (and pre-history) of the marque to cross the block in Hershey, set the tone of the sale, achieving an enthusiastic reception from the bidders and a healthy, but reasonable, price even for its reproduction body, despite the very modest estimate.
1915 Trumbull 15B Cyclecar
Lot # 302 1915 Trumbull 15B Cyclecar; S/N 637; Cream, Black fenders/Black vinyl; Black leatherette top; Estimate $10,000 - $15,000; Older restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $27,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $29,700 -- Corbin-branded Brown speedometer, single sidemount, winged Motometer, electric headlights, cream painted wire wheels. Brass brightwork. Cosmetically redone to presentable driver standards. Sound and usable. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. This is only the second Trumbull to turn up in my twenty years of looking at auction cars. The first one was sold by Christie's at Lyndhurst in 1998 in largely complete condition but in need of a complete restoration for $6,900, a result that is in proportion with this attractively presented cosmetically restored example.
1910 E-M-F 30hp Speedster
Lot # 303 1910 E-M-F 30hp Speedster; S/N 16407; Light Blue, Black fenders/Black leather; Estimate $10,000 - $20,000; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $22,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $24,200 -- RHD. Yellow wood spoke wheels, blackwall ties, E&J acetylene headlights, C.T. Ham taillight, kerosene side lights, bulb horn. Good older restoration with repro bodywork showing age and use. Dull brass, sound paint, aged, dirty chassis. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. Three cars across the block, three cars hammered sold for more than the high estimate, setting the tone of the sale. This is an attractive and unusual runabout with a 30hp engine and 3-speed transmission that will run rings around made-up Model T Speedsters that sell for this much and more. It is a good value at this price.
Metz Model 22 Roadster
Lot # 304 1912 Metz Model 22 Roadster; S/N 28317; Blue/Black leather; Black leatherette top; Estimate $10,000 - $15,000; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $28,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $30,800 -- Black painted acetylene headlights, kerosene sidelights and taillight, bulb horn, bolster seat and oval bolster tank, monocle windshield, White painted wood spoke wheels, blackwall tires. Sound old restoration with mediocre cosmetics (at best). A usable tour car but nothing more. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. The intriguing history of Metz with its installment plan assembly by owners contributes a lot to its appeal. Maybe not this much, however, which is a lot for a 22hp kit car in this usable but not exceptional condition.
1914 Saxon Model A Roadster
Lot # 305 1914 Saxon Model A Roadster; S/N 1423358; Red/Black leather; Black leatherette top; Estimate $15,000 - $18,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $16,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $17,600 -- Quarter elliptic springs, windshield. Decent paint, upholstery and top. A competent cosmetic restoration on an older restored chassis. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. With just 12hp and 95 cubic inches this little Saxon isn't going to be popular (or safe) on the Interstate but on local roads and tours it'll attract plenty of positive attention, enough so it is a sound value at this price.
1924 Buick Six 24-44 Roadster
Lot # 306 1924 Buick Six 24-44 Roadster; S/N 1104885; Black/Black leatherette; Black leatherette top; Estimate $20,000 - $25,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $26,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $28,600 -- Black wood spoke wheels, blackwall tires, nickel trim, rear-mounted spare, Buick Motometer. Very nice restoration without going overboard. Excellent paint and interior. Good nickel. Pitted wheel nut chrome. A 1970 AACA National First Prize, it appears to have been cosmetically refreshed since. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. With plenty of power and a smooth overhead valve six-cylinder engine this Buick Roadster is a great car for tours or afternoon drives. Its condition is highly presentable and it's impossible to ask for more for the money. A sound value at the price.
1928 Chevrolet AB National Landau Coupe
Lot # 307 1928 Chevrolet AB National Landau Coupe; S/N 4594780; Olive, Black fenders; Black leatherette roof/Ochre cloth; Estimate $18,000 - $25,000; Unrestored original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $12,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $13,200 -- Rear-mounted spare, disk wheels, blackwall tires, windshield visor, single wiper. Sound original chrome, upholstery and paint except for repainted fenders. Original and very choice. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. This is an intriguing result. Cars that had much less originality had crossed the block before, bringing much more money. It's impossible to fault the preservation of this Chevy, or its unusual body style, and it represents a very good buy at this price.
1929 Buick Six 2-Dr. Sedan
Lot # 308 1929 Buick Six 2-Dr. Sedan; S/N 2263843; Black, Green accent/Brown cloth; Estimate $15,000 - $25,000; Unrestored original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $11,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $12,100 -- RHD. Green wire wheels, blackwalls, metal luggage trunk. Moth eaten upholstery, dull old paint but sound, complete and usable as is. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. With righthand drive this highly original Buick will be hard to use and each mile chips away at its originality. That, and the utilitarian sedan coachwork, probably account for the lackluster reception it got from the Hershey bidders. It made for a good value for the successful bidder, however.
1932 Packard Light Eight 4-Dr. Sedan
Lot # 310 1932 Packard Light Eight 4-Dr. Sedan; S/N 5534080; Sand, Brown fenders and accent/Beige cord; Estimate $20,000 - $30,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $43,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $47,300 -- Cream wire wheels, whitewalls, clock, smokers kits, robe rail, trunk rack. Good paint, interior and most chrome but some weak, pitted or thin trim chrome. Chassis is largely like new. Oil mist covered engine. A generally attractive and well-presented car. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. This was Packard's attempt to build a low-priced eight. It was low priced all right, but not low cost. A one year only experiment, examples are valued by Packard collectors, but that is scant reason for this exceptional result for a pretty ordinary older restored car. This is an expensive Packard.
1911 CarterCar 35-40hp Touring
Lot # 312 1911 CarterCar 35-40hp Touring; S/N 7120; Red, Black fenders/Maroon leatherette, Black cloth top; Estimate $20,000 - $30,000; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $43,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $47,300 -- RHD. Jones speedometer and clock, acetylene headlights, E&J kerosene sidelights, wicker trunk. Dull paint, oily light yellow chassis and running gear. Solder repaired radiator. A sound but unattractive tour car. Gerald Sichel Collection. No Reserve. CarterCar's friction drive transmission had many attractions to entrepreneurs trying to sell to an unsophisticated, inexperienced market, an attribute that brought an outstanding price from Billy Durant's General Motors. Its history must also have appealed to the Hershey bidders who paid a premium price definitely not based on this example's presentation or condition.

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Show Comments (2)

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  1. Glad you enjoyed it, Alex. The aim is to be both informative and entertaining and Jamie’s setup on sportscardigest.com gives me the room to ramble on at length and describe every car and transaction I have time to look at on-site.
    It is, I must say, time consuming compared with print work where I could select the cars I was going to include in Car Collector or Victory Lane and complete the notes and comments on them only, but this is a much better way of communicating a cross-section of the sale and the market, and much faster. Fortunately the tools — my Motion tablet computer, digital camera and Adobe Lightroom, particularly — streamline the process.
    Are you going to Britain for Bonhams Mercedes sale next month?

    Rick