6-7 October 2011

Previous Next

Lot 222

1913 Stevens-Duryea Model C 5-Passenger Touring

  • Chassis no. 564

$200,000 - $300,000

44.6 hp, 460 cu. in. L-head inline six-cylinder engine with dual ignition, three-speed manual transmission, semi-elliptic front and three-quarter-elliptic rear leaf-spring suspension, and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 131"

- From an important private collection; one of as few as 10 remaining
- Show-quality restoration completed in 2008
- Well maintained with recent mechanical work

J. Frank Duryea is rightfully recognized as the father of the American automobile industry. After making a pioneer journey in a car built with his brother Charles in Springfield, Massachusetts in September 1893, the two formed the Duryea Motor Wagon Company and turned out thirteen near-identical cars. By 1898, however, the brothers had split, and in 1900, Frank designed another automobile he called the Hampden, after a nearby town. The following year, Duryea’s prototype Hampden came to the notice of the J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company of nearby Chicopee Falls. The name of the car was changed to Stevens-Duryea, and production began toward the end of 1901.

A light two-cylinder, five horsepower runabout, the Stevens-Duryea featured a three-speed sliding gear transmission and wire wheels. A four-cylinder model arrived in 1905 and a six the following year. Stevens-Duryea automobiles were always quality cars with prices to match. Initial models were priced from $1,200 at a time when popular runabouts sold for half that amount. The 1905 Model R four-cylinder touring listed for $2,500, and the six-cylinder Model S of 1906 at double that figure was right up in Packard territory.

The late automotive historian Beverly Rae Kimes described the Stevens-Duryea approach as “prestigious conservatism,” echoed by the company’s motto, “There is No Better Motor Car.” Production hovered at around 100 cars a year for much of the company’s history, with most of them being large touring and limousine models. Though purchased in the early 1920s by a syndicate headed by Ray M. Owen of Owen Magnetic, the company continued to build the same cars in tiny quantities as orders were received. When orders ceased around 1927, so too did the Stevens-Duryea marque.

The Stevens-Duryea product line was consolidated for 1913 and 1914 along the Model C, which offered a six-cylinder engine with nearly 45 hp and two available wheelbase lengths measuring 131 and 138 inches respectively. The 131-inch chassis was the basis for six different bodies including Touring, Roadster, Coupelet, Convertible Phaeton, Demi-Berline, Limousine, and Berline styles. The 138-inch Model C chassis was reserved exclusively for 7-Passenger Touring, Convertible Phaeton, Limousine, and Berline models.
Despite staunch conservatism and lofty pricing, Stevens-Duryea nonetheless managed to cultivate an elite clientele, including none other than George Vanderbilt, whose long-wheelbase Model C 7-Passenger Touring is the only automobile purchased by Mr. Vanderbilt to remain within his estate’s artifact collection. Very few Model Cs remain today, with estimates numbering as low as 10.

Following the completion of a restoration in 2008, this Model C has remained in show quality condition. Light grey pinstriping and black accents complement the finish, and the black canvas top has a grey cloth liner and a glass rear window. A set of side curtains is stored within a rear-mounted trunk. The excellent brightwork is correctly nickel plated. Headlamps bear the Stevens-Duryea script, as does the accessory Boyce MotoMeter.

The seats are upholstered in black diamond-tufted leather and are virtually flawless. The five-spoke wood-rim steering wheel is beautifully restored, and there is a “Triumph” fuel gauge located between the driver and passenger, as well as a Warner Autometer, which contains a speedometer, odometer, and a trip odometer. Other instrumentation includes a Westinghouse voltmeter, a pressure gauge for the Kellogg air-starting system and a Boston Clock Company timepiece. The engine is likewise impressive and show-quality in presentation, and an electrical starting system has been fitted as well.

Since acquiring the car in July 2010, the current owners have treated the car to careful mechanical attention including the fabrication and installation of a new rear axle and a new driveshaft. In addition, the carburetor was gone through, all-new tire inner tubes were installed, the engine dampener was rebuilt with new clutch material, the transmission was disassembled and cleaned, the bushings were polished, and it was filled with correct lubricants.

Despite being shown at the July 2010 Eyes On Design event in Michigan, the Model C was in fact shown competitively for the first time at the July 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America. Handsomely restored and well maintained, this exceedingly rare Stevens-Duryea Model C is likely the best example available today.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci


+49 (0) 40 441 95 737

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher


+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom


+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 917 213 5672
Ontario, Canada

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 260 927 9797
Indiana, United States

Kurt Forry joins Auctions America with more than a decade of experience on the North American auction scene and a well-rounded knowled... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more