Early Motoring Excellence Offered from the Esteemed Merrick Auto Museum Collection

Offered entirely without reserve at RM Auctions’ 13th annual Hershey collector car auction held 10–11 October 2019.

Andrew Miterko

In 1992 Jim Merrick and his son Richard began their Nebraska-based collection with 11 fully restored antique automobiles and officially formed the Merrick Auto Museum the same year. Over the following 25 years, the collection has grown to include over 130 carefully curated antique automobiles ranging from the early 1900s to the 1980s, as well as a diverse collection of memorabilia. At the heart of the collection are over 100 American Brass-Era, high-wheeler, and pre-war cars from the turn of the century to the 1930s, largely comprised of rare orphan marques such as Mier, Gasmobile, Kearns, and Smith Flyer. Additionally, the Merrick family has amassed a full research library, extensively cataloguing every automobile and article of memorabilia that they have acquired.

“The Merrick Auto Museum Collection is an incredible historical work put together by multiple generations from one passionate family of enthusiasts,” says Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions, RM Sotheby’s Group. “Many of these cars represent marques, models, and technology lost to time, which have been wonderfully preserved in the Merrick Collection. Overall, the collection is a journey through the many quickly evolving stages of early motoring and will be of exceptional interest to discerning Brass Era collectors. We are honored to present this fascinating group of cars, which will be right at home in Hershey.”

Offered to the public for the first time, RM Auctions is proud to offer the highly respected Merrick Auto Museum Collection, entirely without reserve, at its 13th annual Hershey collector car auction held during the Antique Automobile Club of America’s (AACA) Eastern Division Fall Meet, 10–11 October 2019.

Click ahead to explore the highlights of the fascinating Brass, Veteran, and orphan motor cars offered from the Merrick Auto Museum Collection.

1925 Duesenberg Model A Touring by Millspaugh & Irish

This handsome Duesenberg Model A starred as the Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Club Festival poster car in 1996, the same year it joined the Merrick Auto Museum collection. This matching-numbers example features a three-gear sliding transmission paired to a straight-eight engine and was among the very first automobiles to feature four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

1900 De Dion-Bouton Type E Vis-à-Vis

Count Albert de Dion, George Bouton, and Charles Trépardoux were three of early motoring’s most famous names, and the De Dion-Bouton Type E Vis-à-Vis is the charming product of the three great minds coming together. The driver sits atop a 3.5 horsepower engine with passengers seated across in a face-to-face configuration. The bodywork features extravagant detail work, floral-cut grilles, dramatic sweeping fenders, and brass “De Dion-Bouton” script.

1900 Rockwell Hansom Cab

English architect Joseph Hansom patented a horse Hansom carriage for a single passenger next to the driver, who sat in a separate, protected compartment. By 1900, the Rockwell Hansom Cab was reputed to be the first taxi cab, which picked up fares along New York City’s cobblestone streets.

1902 Gasmobile Stanhope

Built by the Automobile Company of America in New York between 1899 and 1902, the Gasmobile Stanhope was the first American luxury automobile. Powered by a 10 horsepower three-cylinder engine, it was one of the fastest road cars of the early 1900s. This example was a National First Prize winner in the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) competition in 1977 and is eligible for the revered London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

1904 Pope-Waverley Chelsea

A 1903 brochure for Waverley Electric Vehicles states that one will find “lightness, beauty in design, elegance of finish and durability that is unsurpassed.” The Pope-Waverley vehicles represented an important milestone in the early development of the automobile, being an electric plug-in automobile and referred to in period as “by far the best Electric on the market.” The Chelsea runabout model offered a folding top and a single 3 horsepower electric motor at the rear.

1906 Queen Model E

 A rare survivor from one of Detroit’s little-known early manufacturers, this example on offer is believed to be one of fewer than 15 Model Es produced. The attractive blue touring body is highlighted by yellow chassis components, wood-spoked wheels, and polished brass components throughout. It is powered by an opposed two-cylinder engine created and patented by Carl H. Blomstrom, founder of the C.H. Blomstrom Motor Car Company, which produced the Queen models. 

1906 White Model F Touring

Early steam cars were very popular due to the fact that once working pressure was reached, they were capable of being driven immediately and with great acceleration. Building upon the tried-and-true technology derived from steam locomotives, the steam car in the early 1900s was largely superior to alternative methods of propulsion. The White Model F features handsome Roi des Belges double phaeton coachwork, popular with luxury vehicles of the period.