A top earner at the Hershey, Pennsylvania event from RM Auctions earlier this month? This 1905 Fiat Tourer with a whopping 60-horsepower.
60HP is double what anything else offered in 1905 — with huge power like this making it the Rolls-Royce and Bentley of its era. The Fiat packs triple the 20-hp that the Ford Model T’s “L-head” four-cylinder delivered from from 1910 to 1930. A wheel and triple-pedal setup on the floor also predates nearly any other car with this now-standard control layout.
This very car was originally owned by August Anheuser Busch Senior — to give a sense of how old-money this Fiat is.
Stunning patina and original detailing shines throughout this open-topped Tourer — with parlor-room burgundy leathers and five seats atop what was basically a race-car chassis and engine.
This is the car to later inspire Bugatti and all the rest into making high-speed, high-luxury supercars of all kinds.
1905 FIAT 60HP Five-Passenger Tourer by Quinby & Co.
1905 FIAT 60 HP Five-Passenger Tourer by Quinby & Co.
To be auctioned on Friday, October 10, 2014
Sold for $825,000
- Chassis no. 3003
- Engine no. 3003
- Body no. 502
60 hp, 647 cu. in. (10.61-liter) T-head four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission with dual chain drive, pedal-operated dual driveshaft brakes, and handbrake-operated two-wheel rear mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 117.5 in.
- Originally owned by August Anheuser Busch Sr.
- The third of twenty examples built; the sole surviving example
- Five caretakers over 109 years; highly original condition
- A 2012 Pebble Beach Preservation class runner-up
- The world’s first cost-no-object, elite automobile
THE MIGHTY 60 HORSEPOWER
To properly put the FIAT 60 HP into context, one must thoroughly consider the era from which it emerged. The Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino was a pioneer of the automobile. It was founded in 1899 and competed against such French marques as Panhard and Darracq for a small but budding market. One of the firm’s principal motorsports competitors, the young Daimler Company that built the Mercedes, had yet to even join Karl Benz’ firm to create the iconic Daimler-Benz. Furthermore, some of racing’s best-known events had yet to be founded, while the formative races of the emerging motorsports culture, such as the Gordon Bennett Cup (the precursor to the first grand prix) and the Vanderbilt Cup, were still in their infancy.