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Lot 005: 1916 AMERICAN LAFRANCE SPEEDSTER

Van Dijk Collection, H&H Sales Limited (3 October 2005)

Forever synonymous with broken road surfaces, billowing dust clouds, drainpipe exhausts and terrifying drift angles, the 'chain drive era' is for many one of the most romantic in motoring history. Based on the chassis and running gear of a 1916 American LaFrance fire appliance, this rakish Speedster is powered by a monolithic 'pair-cast' four-cylinder engine (complete with wonderfully sculpted Ram's Horns inlet manifold, Zenith carburettor, water pump / fan assembly and Eisemann magneto). Equipped with three-speed transmission but rear wheel brakes only, it promises to be a singularly exhilarating if challenging drive. As if to give other road users fair warning, its magnificent 'The Rushmore Searchlight' headlamps and gargantuan Model 1005M 'Rushmore Spotlight' are supplemented by a fine pair of scuttle mounted Solar Model 0330 Carriage Lamps. In a similar vein, its Boa Constrictor styled horn is one of three, the others being a Rubes and Sireno Junior. Finished in yellow over black with red artillery wheels and balloon tyres, occupants of this chain drive leviathan are treated to a host of nice details including the Stutz Bearcat-esque monocle windscreen, Reliance Tachometer (300-3,600rpm), Phinney-Walker Keyless Clock and Pirene fire extinguisher. With its bolster fuel tank, wood rimmed steering wheel, passenger grab handle, bucket seats and be-winged moto-meter atop its brass radiator, this superbly executed LaFrance looks every inch the Edwardian racer. Described as "running and driving excellent" when purchased from an Auburn, Indiana (USA) auction in 1995, it has resided in the collection ever since.

Lot Details
Auction Van Dijk Collection
H&H Sales Limited, Syon Park, Brentford
TypeCar
Lot Number005
Estimate£18000-£25000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£15000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1916
Condition rating
Registration numberUN-REG
Mileage-
Chassis number118695
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)UNKNOW
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors