1908 Simplex 50hp

Bonhams Amelia Island 2021
Thursday, 20 May 2021
Sale Price
$600,000 - $800,000
Est. Range
20 May 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Rebodied or recreated
Auction House
Chassis no. 850211. Maroon with dark red frame and accent over black leather. RHD. 597/50hp ALAM, 4-speed, Solar acetylene headlights, kerosene sidelights and Gray & Davis taillight, Black wood spoke wheels, 36 x 4 1/2 Silvertown tires, dual rear-mounted spares, rear-mounted oil and fuel tanks, dual chain drive, Warner Auto-Meter speedometer and clock, Condor bulb horn, radiator stoneguard, Prest-o-Lite acetylene tank.

Evaluation: How this Simplex’s life began is a cipher and it was discovered in pieces in 1957. Restored in its present Speedcar configuration by Walter McCarthy with an engine acquired from Henry Austin Clark, Jr. in 1984. High quality paint, bright brass, good upholstery. An imposing, beautifully restored and maintained automobile. Clem and Mary Lange Collection.

Bottom Line: This Speedcar could have been bodied as a limousine or imposing touring car when new but its present embodiment as a Speedcar accentuates its massive power and performance. It was reported sold at Mecum’s Monterey auction in 2014 for $2,014,000, a price that exceeds improbable and ventures into impossible. It’s still fabulous, however, with freeway-capable cruising speed and lazy, loafing touring capability. And it is impressive with every detonation of one of the 5 3/4 inch bore cylinders a massive report.

by Rick Carey
5 June 2021
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.