A piece of early automotive history will make its way out of the museum circuit and onto the auction block at Bonhams this August 17 in Carmel, California.
Built in 1895 by H.H. Buffum & Co., the Buffum Stanhope was the world’s first four cylinder engine and today stands as the world’s oldest functioning automobile. The in-line four cylinder engine, based on a cast iron crankcase with individual cylinders, was a first for the fledgling automotive industry.
Adding value to the Stanhope is the rarity of H.H. Buffum automobiles; only 70 were ever produced during the lifetime of the company. Furthermore, the example up for sale at Bonhams is the first unit produced, with the chassis number 1BUFFUM.
“Bonhams is delighted to offer a machine of such outright historical significance,” said Mark Osborne, Bonhams’ Head of Motoring. “It is our great pleasure to have been appointed to present this national treasure – the oldest American car ever offered at auction.”
Potential buyers should take notice, however, that the 1895 4-cylinder Stanhope does not come with an automatic transmission – and it can hardly be called a stick-shift, either. In fact, a series of knobs and levers control the car in a configuration that resembles a Victorian-era piece of manufacturing equipment more than the modern notion of a manual transmission car.
Spectators are welcome at Bonhams’ new venue in Carmel, California on August 17 and 18, the same weekend of Lamborghini’s anniversary bash in nearby Monterey.
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