Hershey

9-10 October 2014

Offered from the collection of John Moir

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Lot 107

1912 Auto-Carrier Delivery Box Van

  • Chassis no. 1683
  • Engine no. 958

Sold for $49,500


5.5 bhp, 631 cc air-cooled side-valve single-cylinder engine, two-speed epicyclic gearbox, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, single rear wheel with dual quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and mechanical brakes on gearbox and rear wheel. Wheelbase: 70 in.

  • Offered from the collection of John Moir
  • The ancestor of all modern AC automobiles
  • Purchased by Mr. Moir from the family of its original owner
  • Beautifully restored by David Steinman


The marque AC traces its roots to 1900, when John Weller, an ambitious engineer, and John Portwine, a Norwood butcher, went into business to build motor cars. Weller had some experience in automobile production, as he had already been making motorcycles with his brothers at West Norwood. Weller and Portwine had built a car, which was exhibited at the 1903 motor show, it but failed to reach the market. Instead, they decided to concentrate on the commercial market and designed a three-wheel delivery box van, which was launched in 1905. The firm Autocars and Accessories Ltd. was formed to separate this venture from Weller’s motorcycle business. The vans were called Auto-Carriers, and their utility was such that they were immediately successful and taken up by such merchants as Boots, Maples, United Yeast, and Aerated Bread, the latter having a fleet of 70.

The engine was an air-cooled, single-cylinder unit of 631 cubic centimeters, which was mounted behind the operator’s seat. The “business end,” comprising of about 40 cubic feet of capacity, was forward, with the driver sitting behind and steering with a side tiller. For distribution of goods in towns, it was most efficient, and more than 1,500 were built by 1912.

Mr. Moir reports that he acquired this Box Van from a British owner who had inherited it from his grandfather, who had bought it new. It had been officially dated as a 1912 by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain in 1956, as is noted in a certificate found in the file.

David Steinman, of Waitsfield, Vermont, expertly restored the van to its original condition, including recreating the damaged original cargo box. In the Moir library, a book was found with a photograph of the Autocars and Accessories Ltd. factory box van, and the livery and lettering of that vehicle were recreated here. The restored vehicle presents absolutely beautifully, with tight, fresh black leather, sparkling polished brass trim, and rich, deep paint. All accessories throughout are original and authentic, with three spare brass lamps included.

This Box Van is the ideal vehicle to complete any collection of historic commercial vehicles or AC automobiles, as it is one of the rarest AC products and the one with which a great name got its start.

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 911. Barney l... 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. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... 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

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

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. ... 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