Arizona

19-20 January 2012

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Lot 276

1903 Cadillac Rear-Entry Tonneau

  • Engine no. 13

Sold for $134,750


6.5 bhp, 98.2 cu. in. Leland & Faulconer “Little Hercules” horizontal single-cylinder engine, two-speed planetary transmission with reverse, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, single-chain drive, and dual differential-mounted brakes. Wheelbase: 72"



• Offered from the Estate of John O’Quinn

• “Number 13”—one of the oldest Cadillacs known to exist today

• The first Cadillac automobile known to have been sold to California

• Featured in detail within the July-August 2007 Horseless Carriage Gazette



While many early automobiles can boast rarity and significance, this 1903 Cadillac Rear-Entrance Tonneau, bearing engine number 13, is particularly important as one of the earliest Cadillac automobiles known to exist today. According to an original shipping ledger supplied by the GM Media Archive, this car was the sixth Cadillac invoiced. On March 11, 1903, it was assigned to William E. Metzger, who was Cadillac’s Sales Manager and already a major player in America’s nascent automobile industry. Initially hand-listed on the ledger as an “RAB” or Runabout, the entry for Number 13 was later corrected to “Tour Car,” indicating that it was factory-supplied with a rear-entrance tonneau.



Mr. Metzger, whose many achievements could easily fill several volumes, was reported in prior histories of Number 13 to have taken it, along with two or possibly three sister cars, to New York City’s Madison Square Garden for display at the January 1903 Automobile Show. The New York Show was a huge success for Cadillac, with Mr. Metzger evidently taking some 2,000 orders there. Although Mr. Metzger is believed by some to have sold Number 13 at the New York show to a Mr. Thomas, the owner of a large winery in Cucamonga, California, no documentary evidence is available, and the invoice dates do not coincide with the New York show. That said, one Mr. H.H. Thomas of California’s Thomas Winery did indeed own Number 13 later on.



An International Newsreel photograph dated 6-10-26, shown within an article on the restoration of Number 13 in the July-August 2007 Horseless Carriage Gazette, sheds further light on the car’s early years. As stated in a period caption with the photograph, which shows Ontario, California AAA Office Manager Ed Dirking and a young lady posing with the car, “This was the first Cadillac in California with the motor number indicating it was the 13th car produced by the company. This 1-cyl rear-entrance touring was owned by G.D. Haven of Cucamonga, California. It is now owned by H.H. Thomas of that town who still operates it.”



Number 13 remained in single-family ownership and was displayed at the Thomas Winery for many years, along with several other early automobiles. Patrick R. Herman, a Model T enthusiast who eventually built and supplied radiators for many early automobiles, first saw Number 13 and photographed it at the Thomas Winery during the early 1960s. He eventually acquired it in 1973, in lovely original condition, from the great-granddaughter of Mr. Thomas. Since the winery had been sold by then, the Cadillac was moved and stored within a small garage in Upland, California. After negotiating the car’s purchase, Mr. Herman collected parts for its eventual show-quality restoration, which commenced in the mid-1980s with mechanical work by Herman Stroebel and Phil Reed. In 1989, Ernie Sanders completed the upholstery, pinstriping and some finishing work. Number 13 was very successful in its post-restoration show career, garnering AACA Junior, Senior and Grand Champion awards under Mr. Herman.



During the summer of 2007, Number 13 joined the collection of John O’Quinn. The possibilities for this extraordinary motor car are virtually limitless. The London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run is one of many events it may be eligible for, as well as some of the world’s finest concours events. Its place in history is assured, as is its significance within any important private collection.

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

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
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

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+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 life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more