9-10 October 2014

Offered from the collection of John Moir

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Lot 125

1913 Spacke Cyclecar Prototype

Sold for $38,500

13 bhp, 70.62 cu. in. engine, two-speed planetary transmission with reverse, live front axle, solid rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.

  • Offered from the collection of John Moir
  • A unique prototype cyclecar
  • Formerly owned by Henry Austin Clark Jr.
  • Beautifully restored

At a time when Indianapolis easily rivaled Detroit for the inventiveness of its automotive engineers, Fred W. Spacke became one of the Crown City’s early motoring pioneers. Usually, he was supplying others with vehicles rather than building his own. His Spacke Machine Company thrived, as it built air-cooled one- and two-cylinder engines, first for motorcycles and then for the “cyclecars” that became popular in Europe and then in the United States around the time of the Great War.

Spacke’s concern would later be sold, and by 1919, it was building its own cyclecar, one with air-cooled, 13-horsepower power. What is interesting about John Moir’s Spacke, which is one of only three known cars bearing the company’s name, is that it is believed to have pre-dated that creation and was built in either 1912 or 1913. Its former owner, renowned collector Henry Austin Clark Jr., dated the little creation as a 1912, while Mr. Moir believes it hails from 1913. It is very much unlike the other two surviving Spackes, which have full roadster-style bodywork, as the Moir car is “barely there,” with two seats mounted to a simple steel chassis, no fenders, and headlights as the only real ornamentation. No numbers are present anywhere on the car, leading Mr. Moir to believe, along with the early date long assigned to the car and its rather crude construction, that it was probably a prototype or, in his own words, “built for someone’s girlfriend.”

Mr. Moir purchased the Spacke from Dana Smith in 1992. At this time, it was painted green and cream, with signs that it had originally been red, and it wore a plaque that testified to it having been driven on the track at Indianapolis in 1959. David Steinman, the collection’s favored restorer, performed a beautiful restoration on the car and refinished it in an unusual but attractive deep mahogany, black leather upholstery, and subtle brass trim. As the car has been minimally driven since, it remains in lovely, fresh condition throughout, and it would still be appropriate for continued display and use in AACA events. It is accompanied by a small file of documentation, which includes photographs of the car as it was acquired, some information on the company, and a partial original Spacke brochure.

For sheer popularity and charm, this little gem is unbeatable.

Please note that this lot is sold on a Bill of Sale.

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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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 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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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
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