Deborah Leas

1913 Abbott Detroit Roadster Pictures (Finally!) Help with Valuation??

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This is a follow up to last year's post requesting valuation info on my (deceased) father's 1913 Abbott Detroit Roadster (previously referred to as a Speedster. It is a Roadster as declared in the Nebraska title).  I have finally figured out how to post pictures to this forum (thanks for your requests and patience.)

This car became my father's in the 40's and he lovingly restored it over several decades.  It's been in our family nearly 80 years.   This car was actively used during my father's club days and forefronted many parades, as recently as two years ago.  

It has been stored carefully over the years and is in remarkably good condition.   

 

Can attach more pictures in another message, space here is limited to these photos.   Thank you for any input offered!

 

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Acetylene tank for headlights ... the quality/craftsmanship of the brass controls is remarkable.  Their operation is flawless.

 

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Right-hand drive ... leather tufted cushions in excellent shape (hand-sewn by my mother).

 

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Continental engine with name plate showing 4-digit VIN matching title.

 

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Its hard to believe these wooden wheels are over 100 years old ...

 

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Gas tank and leather trunk.

 

 

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Unfortunately I don't have a value for you,  but had to comment on how big these old cars like this are when you actually see a person in the photo with them.  By themselves,  you think small car like the size of a T but with you in the picture to put it in perspective it looks huge, which is really cool.  It will be interesting to see what the more knowledgable members come up with for a value.  

I didn't follow the other thread.  Is it something that will eventually be sold, or is the evaluation strictly for estate purposes? 

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It’s a cute car, but a narrow market. While lots of fun, and it looks nice, the value will probably be lower than the family is thinking. There are LOTS of correct intact cars on the market, so any car that’s been modified is going to suffer a price adjustment. Good luck with the sale.

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What Ed is saying is true,  but Tom will be able to give you a real idea of market.    In general,  all of our cars are worth much less than what we think and hope.   Even the guys that know what they are doing are usually surprised at what they can eventually sell their cars for.

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You guys keep saying this but did you know a red 1914 Locomobile speedster sold for over 200K recently? Something like 230-240? Does that sound like a soft market to you? It wasn't even a a true 1914 chassis. It was something like a 1920 chassis made up into a speedster with a 1914 look and no false advertising. The guy said it was a 1920 chassis. I did notice where an earlier Locomobile was bought at auction for $130 and sold two years later for 80. That goes back a few years.

 

The question really is whether this is a made up speedster or factory roadster. She said roadster as if it were a factory body. Either way it is an Abbott Detroit and not a cheap car. Its a shame its missing the radiator emblem. Wasn't there one for sale recently? I believe it would be worth tracking it down.

 

Certain cars seem to be holding their value quite well while others are dropping but some cars never have been hot sellers. They have always been easy to get into and hard to get out of so how much has really changed?

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4 hours ago, AHa said:

You guys keep saying this but did you know a red 1914 Locomobile speedster sold for over 200K recently? Something like 230-240? Does that sound like a soft market to you? It wasn't even a a true 1914 chassis. It was something like a 1920 chassis made up into a speedster with a 1914 look and no false advertising. The guy said it was a 1920 chassis. I did notice where an earlier Locomobile was bought at auction for $130 and sold two years later for 80. That goes back a few years.

 

The question really is whether this is a made up speedster or factory roadster. She said roadster as if it were a factory body. Either way it is an Abbott Detroit and not a cheap car. Its a shame its missing the radiator emblem. Wasn't there one for sale recently? I believe it would be worth tracking it down.

 

Certain cars seem to be holding their value quite well while others are dropping but some cars never have been hot sellers. They have always been easy to get into and hard to get out of so how much has really changed?

 

In 1914 a new Locomobile started at around $4500. A large and expensive car - 132" wheelbase and about 400(?) cubic inches. In comparison the Abbot-Detroit started at about $1700 and is a much smaller car - 116" wheelbase and maybe 200+ cid(??). 

 

Also most car enthusiasts know the Locomobile name. Fewer will have heard of Abbot-Detroit.

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I'm pretty much in agreement with what's been said.  Cute car, the smallest chassis A-B offered being a 4 cylinder 30 HP car.  What can only be described as a boring looking engine, which makes a difference to some people.  From what I've researched, not a factory body, so a home built speedster.

 

I think 25k is all the money....

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When it comes to speedsters,  I assume conversion without strong evidence to the contrary.    I'm right about 1000% of the time.

 

As for the market,  beware the far and few between exceptions.   In general it is very hard to sell a car right now.

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2 hours ago, alsancle said:

When it comes to speedsters,  I assume conversion without strong evidence to the contrary.    I'm right about 1000% of the time.

 

 

Can you explain this statement a bit more. I have no idea what you're trying to communicate.

 

As to my prior statements, there is no question some owners are struggling to sell their cars but it has always been so. Perhaps it is more widespread at the moment, but I think the problem is not just cars. Not much of anything seems to be selling as it has in the past. In the past with a roaring economy and low interest rate and low unemployment, you could sell anything but this generation has been through 2008 and know first hand how easy it is to be caught with possessions but no money and no way to convert possessions to money. Perhaps our society is transitioning from a consumer society to something different. I'm just waiting for the early T head cars like Locomobile to come down into my price range, then, I don't care if the value ever goes back up.

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4 minutes ago, AHa said:

I have no idea what you're trying to communicate.

 

I think he's saying that made-up cars don't bring as much as real cars and that this speedster (like 99.99% of them) is most likely a home-made affair. He's also suggesting that small cars with obscure names don't bring as much as big horsepower cars with well-known names.


This is a neat little car that's probably a lot of fun, but any home-made speedster won't bring anywhere near what a factory-built version would bring or even what another Abbott-Detroit with a factory body would bring.

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Curious while nothing to do with value,  what was a car like this capable of,  speed wise?  Normal touring,  not just fast bursts? Rear brakes only?   Just trying to get an education here as my prewar Knowledge is pretty limited with anything earlier than the late 20's. 

Unlike people that seem to liek newer cars the older they get or stuff they grew up with, I'm 45,  I tend to find myself drawn to earlier and earlier stuff. 

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I bet it cruises pretty well at 40 MPH or so, but it probably feels like 90!

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I may have missed it, is the car currently running and driving?

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2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I bet it cruises pretty well at 40 MPH or so, but it probably feels like 90!

That's what I was thinking being that high up and all open.  MAybe that's what draws me to the earlier stuff.  I'm not so interested in closed cars as open stuff from this era so it's more the spirit of speed and early motoring.

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Auburnseeker, and others ... if you're interested in brass-era cars I encourage you to connect with someone who will take you out for a ride in one.  Or better still, let you drive it.   Driving a brass era car is like nothing else.  You're right - 40 mph might as well be 90, and a 75 mile drive is like 300 in your modern car, but it's a thrill a minute.  You get to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the world around you at a comfortable 30 - 40mph speed.  And almost everyone you pass smiles, waves, and takes a picture.   For me, a big part of it is the mechanical "man and machine" thing.  You can see moving parts under the hood and you hear everything and must constantly listen for anything unusual.  You're in charge of timing advance, proper shifting (may take some learning) and, yes, some of us still crank our cars to start them.  And anytime you arrive home under your own power, you feel great.  There's nothing else like it in the car hobby.  A pre-16 tour is a ton of fun and an amazing sight for anyone lucky enough to be standing on the curb when 20 or more brass cars show up unannounced.

 

I have a 20s car (an Auburn, actually) and a 30s car, but my first choice is always one of the brass-era cars.  If you ever get out to the west coast of Canada, come see me and we'll go for a ride.

Peter, Burnaby, British Columbia.

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On 10/5/2019 at 5:19 PM, AHa said:

You guys keep saying this but did you know a red 1914 Locomobile speedster sold for over 200K recently? Something like 230-240? Does that sound like a soft market to you? It wasn't even a a true 1914 chassis. It was something like a 1920 chassis made up into a speedster with a 1914 look and no false advertising. The guy said it was a 1920 chassis. I did notice where an earlier Locomobile was bought at auction for $130 and sold two years later for 80. That goes back a few years.

 

The question really is whether this is a made up speedster or factory roadster. She said roadster as if it were a factory body. Either way it is an Abbott Detroit and not a cheap car. Its a shame its missing the radiator emblem. Wasn't there one for sale recently? I believe it would be worth tracking it down.

 

Certain cars seem to be holding their value quite well while others are dropping but some cars never have been hot sellers. They have always been easy to get into and hard to get out of so how much has really changed?

 

 

A 1914 Series 48 Loco with a real factory turret body speedster is cheap at 240. I recently saw a true factory speed car sell for well over a million dollars. There is a formula on how to place a value on a brass car.........too many details, but part of the equation is:

 

displacement * horse power * chassis length * body style * chain drive * year * manufacturer * drivability * brakes * and most cars don’t need that much detail or evaluation. If it’s not a 40 hp plus car with provenance it’s not going to be much money.

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