Saturday, April 6, 2013

1905 Fiat Touring Car

I received some interesting information the other day from Jonathan Sierakowski, who researches the provenance of antique autos for RM Auctions. He lets me know whenever he finds an ex-James Melton car. (Thank you Jonathan!)

 Here’s what his most recent communiqué said about a car my father previously owned (but sold in 1942) that will come up for auction in  Italy in May.

 "Heading the ever-expanding list of mouth-watering vehicles on offer is the 1905 FIAT 60HP Five-Passenger Touring Car, built especially for American-based brewing magnate August Anheuser Busch. The example on offer is the second of just 20 chassis manufactured, the first having been supplied to Anheuser Busch’s friend, Kaiser Wilhelm II, of Germany. Often thought of as one of the first true, cost-no-object supercars, this mighty FIAT was ordered through the American importer Hollander and Tangman, and the completed chassis was delivered to the luxury coachbuilder Quimby, in New Jersey. Spectacularly extravagant and expensive in period—it cost in excess of $20,000, a staggering sum in 1905—chassis 3003 is offered for sale publicly for the first time in 108 years, having lived most of its life within a few miles of its very first home.

Described as being totally original, including paint, brasswork, upholstery and mechanics, and with complete matching numbers throughout, this FIAT now represents the only one of its kind left in the world, and it is without doubt one of the most coveted examples of the early high-powered, road going race cars to be found. With its aluminum-clad body, it still boasts many unique mechanical features fitted exclusively to the car in period. It is offered in excellent running condition, yet it retains a wonderful patina accrued over its 108-year life. The car graced the lawns of Pebble Beach at the 2012 Concours d’Elegance, and most recently, it was displayed at the LeMay America’s Museum."