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."

1 comment:

  1. Hello!

    I am the director of the Humboldt Museum in Winnemucca, NV. Recently we had a visitor come through the museum who later went home and could stop thinking about one of the automobiles we have on display. She contacted me for the automobile's make and history. Unfortunately, I only was able to provide the make- 1907 International Auto-Buggy and the information pertaining to how the Museum came to possess the auto. Later that day the visitor again contacted me via email with the link to your blog wondering if there is a connection. You see, our 1907 Auto-Buggy has 3 signs-- 2 on either side that say "Welcome Wagon Hypoluxo, FL" and one on the front that says "James Melton Autorama". This automobile is by no means in perfect condition; it has had many changes to it over the years I'm sure. Anyhow, I was wondering if there is any way to know if this automobile may have in fact been part of your father's collection. I do have a serial number and photos I could send you. Any information you are able to provide me would help the Museum present a better story to its visitors. Please feel free to email me: or contact the museum at (775) 623-2912.

    Thank You,
    Dana Toth
    Humboldt Museum