The Milhous Collection

24 - 25 February 2012

Lot 823

1912 Oldsmobile Limited Five-Passenger Touring

To be auctioned on Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sold for $3,300,000

  • Chassis no. 64626
History is important to us, and all lots offered are fully researched. All corresponding information and accessories, from certificates to tool kits, stays with the lots we sell. All of this is held at our library on site, under the Access the Knowledge banner, so please visit us there or contact us before the auction if you require further information.


60 hp, 707 cu. in. T-head inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with rear three-quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 140"

• Pebble Beach class winner
• Only known surviving 1912 Oldsmobile Limited
• Massive 60-hp six-cylinder engine and imposing unique coachwork

The Limited was the most prestigious, and perhaps aptly named, Oldsmobile of its era. Its arrival was announced in the 1910 catalog: “such a car cannot be produced rapidly, therefore a limited quantity can be built.” Based on the Model Z, the Limited rode the same 130-inch wheelbase but with a more impressive stature, due to immense 42-inch wheels. Its engine, initially the Z’s 505-cubic inch, 60-hp six, grew to 707 cubic inches the following year when the wheelbase was stretched to 138 inches. A roadster and touring car were offered, as well as a top-of-the-line limousine, at prices from $4,600 to $5,800, territory previously the province of the prestigious “Three Ps,” Packard, Peerless and Pierce-Arrow.

Artist William Harnden Foster immortalized the Limited in his painting “Setting the Pace,” in which the Olds leads the New York Central’s Twentieth Century Limited, speeding on a trackside country road. Olds Motor Works used the painting, commissioned from railroad artist Foster, in several versions over a number of years, the last showing a left-hand drive 1914 model, well after the Limited’s limited production had ceased.

Curiously, the 1911 engine, 40 percent larger than its predecessor, was rated at the same 60 bhp. Prices, however, had not been limited, now ranging from $5,000 for open models to $7,000 for the limousine, an extraordinary sum of money in those years. A new four-passenger “Tourabout” joined the open cars. The Limited returned for one final season in 1912, on an even longer 140-inch wheelbase, but Olds management had realized that sales success probably lay in less expensive cars. A new, smaller four-cylinder car, the Defender, had replaced the previous Special entry-level model, while the Autocrat, a flagship four-cylinder car introduced in 1911, continued to lead Oldsmobile production. For 1912, the Limited was even more rare with fewer than 140 built.

This Oldsmobile Limited was built in mid-1912 and reportedly delivered to Canada. As confirmed by noted Oldsmobile Limited expert Eldon Eby, the original owner, who may have been the chairman of the Canadian Pacific Railway, kept it for many years. He later donated it to a museum for display. Renowned Cleveland collector Joe Loecy purchased it, and during his stewardship the car’s first restoration was completed. Loecy sold it to Thomas W. Barrett III, from whom Ray Lutgert, of Naples, Florida, purchased it. Texas collector Gerald Rolph was the next owner before acquisition by the renowned collector Otis Chandler. Following Mr. Chandler’s passing, the Milhous Collection acquired this remarkable Limited.

This car is nothing short of stunning. Its production may have been limited, but its size is not. It stands some seven feet tall and is nearly 17 feet long. Its dark blue paint is accented with a straw pinstripe, both in excellent condition. According to Mr. Eby, the car’s coachwork is of a unique, custom five-passenger design and is original to this chassis. The seats are upholstered in brown buttoned leather, which remains in excellent condition, and the tan canvas top is of the same caliber. The rear compartment has blue carpet on the floor, while the front is a combination of blue linoleum and aluminum diamond plate. Varnished wood comprises the dashboard, which is equipped with a Jones speedometer and an Oldsmobile-logo clock, as well as oil and fuel gauges.

From the front one cannot fail to notice the immense nickeled Castle gas headlamps and Westinghouse shock absorbers. Mr. Eby’s research indicates that these Castle units are exceptionally rare and only three pairs are known to exist for 1912 Oldsmobiles, as opposed to the more prolific Solar Eclipse headlights. The car rides on 43x5 Universal tires, all in good condition. A single spare, with canvas cover, is mounted to the right running board, next to the driver.

In 2002, this Oldsmobile Limited won its class at Pebble Beach, and in 2003 it was an invited participant in the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The only 1912 Limited known to survive, it is sure to excel on vintage tours, long-distance rallies or simply on the show field. The opportunity to acquire such an exceptional, high-horsepower car won’t come again soon.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

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 joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more