Arizona

19 - 20 January 2012

Lot 276

1903 Cadillac Rear-Entry Tonneau

To be auctioned on Friday, January 20, 2012

Sold for $134,750

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.


6.5 bhp, 98.2 cu. in. Leland & Faulconer “Little Hercules” horizontal single-cylinder engine, two-speed planetary transmission with reverse, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, single-chain drive, and dual differential-mounted brakes. Wheelbase: 72"

• Offered from the Estate of John O’Quinn
• “Number 13”—one of the oldest Cadillacs known to exist today
• The first Cadillac automobile known to have been sold to California
• Featured in detail within the July-August 2007 Horseless Carriage Gazette

While many early automobiles can boast rarity and significance, this 1903 Cadillac Rear-Entrance Tonneau, bearing engine number 13, is particularly important as one of the earliest Cadillac automobiles known to exist today. According to an original shipping ledger supplied by the GM Media Archive, this car was the sixth Cadillac invoiced. On March 11, 1903, it was assigned to William E. Metzger, who was Cadillac’s Sales Manager and already a major player in America’s nascent automobile industry. Initially hand-listed on the ledger as an “RAB” or Runabout, the entry for Number 13 was later corrected to “Tour Car,” indicating that it was factory-supplied with a rear-entrance tonneau.

Mr. Metzger, whose many achievements could easily fill several volumes, was reported in prior histories of Number 13 to have taken it, along with two or possibly three sister cars, to New York City’s Madison Square Garden for display at the January 1903 Automobile Show. The New York Show was a huge success for Cadillac, with Mr. Metzger evidently taking some 2,000 orders there. Although Mr. Metzger is believed by some to have sold Number 13 at the New York show to a Mr. Thomas, the owner of a large winery in Cucamonga, California, no documentary evidence is available, and the invoice dates do not coincide with the New York show. That said, one Mr. H.H. Thomas of California’s Thomas Winery did indeed own Number 13 later on.

An International Newsreel photograph dated 6-10-26, shown within an article on the restoration of Number 13 in the July-August 2007 Horseless Carriage Gazette, sheds further light on the car’s early years. As stated in a period caption with the photograph, which shows Ontario, California AAA Office Manager Ed Dirking and a young lady posing with the car, “This was the first Cadillac in California with the motor number indicating it was the 13th car produced by the company. This 1-cyl rear-entrance touring was owned by G.D. Haven of Cucamonga, California. It is now owned by H.H. Thomas of that town who still operates it.”

Number 13 remained in single-family ownership and was displayed at the Thomas Winery for many years, along with several other early automobiles. Patrick R. Herman, a Model T enthusiast who eventually built and supplied radiators for many early automobiles, first saw Number 13 and photographed it at the Thomas Winery during the early 1960s. He eventually acquired it in 1973, in lovely original condition, from the great-granddaughter of Mr. Thomas. Since the winery had been sold by then, the Cadillac was moved and stored within a small garage in Upland, California. After negotiating the car’s purchase, Mr. Herman collected parts for its eventual show-quality restoration, which commenced in the mid-1980s with mechanical work by Herman Stroebel and Phil Reed. In 1989, Ernie Sanders completed the upholstery, pinstriping and some finishing work. Number 13 was very successful in its post-restoration show career, garnering AACA Junior, Senior and Grand Champion awards under Mr. Herman.

During the summer of 2007, Number 13 joined the collection of John O’Quinn. The possibilities for this extraordinary motor car are virtually limitless. The London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run is one of many events it may be eligible for, as well as some of the world’s finest concours events. Its place in history is assured, as is its significance within any important private collection.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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

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United Kingdom

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

Peter Giddings

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+1 925 831 2048
California, United States

A life-long car enthusiast, Peter joined RM’s California office with over half a century of experience in the automotive and rac... read more

Peter Blond

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United Kingdom

Peter Blond joined the RM Europe team in 2013 after being immersed in the collector car industry for more than 60 years. An... read more

Rob Myers

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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

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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

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California, USA

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

Jeff Whiteside

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Ontario, Canada

Jeff Whiteside joined RM Auctions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer following almost three decades in a diverse r... read more