St. John's

The Inn at St. John's
28 July 2012
Lot 121

1909 Washington 30HP Five-Passenger Touring


$71,500 USD | Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan



Chassis No.

Model A1. 30 hp, four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with three-quarter elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112"

• Rare survivor of short-lived make

• Long documented duPont family history

• Offered from the Estate of John O’Quinn

The Washington automobile was launched in 1909 by the Carter Motor Car Company, of Hyattsville, Maryland. Howard O. Carter had produced the Carter Two-Engine car, which as the name implies, had a spare engine, from 1907 to 1908. Unlike the Carter, the Washington, so-named after the company’s location in the nation’s capital, was comparatively conventional, with a single four-cylinder engine and three-speed sliding gear transmission. Production ceased in 1912, and with such a short production run, surviving examples are extremely rare.

This rare Model A1 Washington has a long and interesting history. It was acquired in September 1936 by Francis George duPont, whose father, Eleuthere Paul duPont, had been the driving force behind the duPont luxury car. In the late-1950s, George duPont rebuilt the car mechanically and completed a cosmetic restoration.

In February 1980, he sold it to Connecticut collector Robert Sahl, who toured with it extensively, including a week on the island of Bermuda. In the 1990s he embarked on a thorough body-off restoration effort, with emphasis on authenticity. One of the more uncommon brass era cars extant today, this Washington touring car presents well in red with black moldings. The upholstery is black leather, and there is a tan canvas top.

Since restoration, it has won Junior and Senior First Place awards from the Antique Automobile Club of America, as well as AACA’s W. Emmert Swigart Memorial Cup in 1995. In 1997, it was named Best Brass Auto at Connecticut’s Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. The car joined the O’Quinn Collection in 2004. It has since twice been invited to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance but has never been shown on the West Coast, leaving this tantalizing potential for its next enthusiast owner. Although an older restoration, it is an eye-catcher and will be in demand on the show and tour circuits.