9-10 October 2014

Offered from the collection of John Moir

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Lot 113

1914 G.N. Cyclecar

  • Chassis no. 208
  • Engine no. 173

Sold for $110,000

10 bhp, 1,087 cc air-cooled twin-cylinder engine, three-speed chain-drive transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, solid rear axle, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 96 in.

  • Offered from the collection of John Moir
  • Built by the men behind HRG and Frazer Nash
  • One of the best-performing Edwardian cyclecars
  • An absolutely unique driving experience!

To the great enthusiast of quirky British sporting machines, the names H. Ronald “Ron” Godfrey and Archibald Frazer-Nash need no introduction, as these were the men who gave the world the anachronistic and entertaining HRG and Frazer Nash automobiles. Yet, before the “Hurg” and “chain-gang” cars, there was this unassuming little sportster, the G.N., which was launched in 1910 at the start of a worldwide craze for cyclecars.

Cyclecars were, in many ways, the Brass Era version of microcars. Just as the BMW Isetta and Messerschmitt would find “reverse chic” popularity in post-war Europe, spindly little automobiles powered by motorcycle engines were enjoyed by high society on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1910s and early 1920s. There was not much to a cyclecar, but they were cheap and fun, and thanks to the limited displacement of their engines, they could be registered as motorcycles, saving owners considerable tax dollars.

The G.N. featured barely there roadster bodywork, which was essentially a single-seater tub in which the driver faced a long steering column that extended to the front axle. Up in front, below what John Moir refers to as “the Tin Woodsman’s approach to streamlining,” an air-cooled V-twin engine sent power back to the rear axle through a dog clutch, chains, and belts, with the driver hand-pumping oil into the crankcase. It was wild, woolly, and wonderfully unconventional.

John Moir loves cyclecars, and he acquired this one from a British dealer after, ironically, it had spent many years in his home city of Boston, Massachusetts. It was repainted and reupholstered years ago, but it otherwise appears original, including its engine and chassis tags and the finishes under the hood and on the undercarriage. A single large brass headlight, a multi-bell horn, and an umbrella holder (!) are the only decorations. The car is offered with starting instructions for the engine, some correspondence with other enthusiasts, copies of period documents, and an original brass G.N. radiator badge.

In 1922, Godfrey and Frazer-Nash tried out a four-cylinder, water-cooled model, which did not sell well, and by 1924, they were out of business. The two men would survive, of course, as would this charming example of their product, which promises to be as popular in the new owner’s stable as it has been among visitors to the Moir garage.


Please note that this vehicle has been reported to have been rebodied by a previous owner.

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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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