Amazing Survivor: 1913 Regal Underslung Roadster

We all get excited when we find a well-preserved 50 year old car. Well, this Regal Roadster is over 100 years old and it appears to all original! It’s only on its third owner and has even been recently serviced and is operational. This may not fit everyone’s budget, but it’s worth a look nonetheless. It’s going to be auctioned off on October 2nd at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. Visit Bonhams for more information.

According to Bonhams, Regal Underslung was sometimes referred to as a “poor man’s Mercer”. If you know your sports car history, then you will know that being compared to a Mercer is a very good thing. Mercer produced high-performance cars, but they were also very expensive. Notice the stenciling that’s still intact on the side of that 200 cubic inch four-cylinder. Apparently this little guy was pretty lively for its day and I’m sure it would be a hoot to drive today.

That’s if you could bring yourself to sit on the seat. Look how well preserved that upholstery is! If you scroll through all the photos on the auction site you’ll notice all the little details on the gauges and trim. This may have been cheaper than the Mercer, but it most definitely wasn’t a low quality machine. Check out the textured floorboard, monocle windshield, and lighting. There’s so much to look at here and it’s astonishing to think how old it all really is.

Automobiles have improved a lot in 100 years, but personally I’d rather take this for a spin than just about anything built today. The experience would be unlike anything most of us can imagine. I’ll probably have to just keep imagining though because this one is estimated to sell for somewhere in the six figure range. It will most likely go to a museum or a private collection, but that does give it a chance of being preserved for another 100 years. Guess they don’t make ’em like they used to!

Fast Finds


  1. grant

    How can you not love this? Amazing, awe inspiring, jaw dropping, there really aren’t enough superlatives to be used here.

  2. 86 Vette Convertible

    Couldn’t you imagine yourself driving that in a parade some day? That’s something I hope becomes more than a static display somewhere. It deserves some ‘air in the face’ time just for surviving this long.

  3. boxdin

    Being underslung it probably handled better than most cars. A truly beautiful car.

  4. '32 Ford

    That is outstanding!

  5. David Frank David Frank Member

    It is amazing and wonderful that these old cars somehow survive and this is a wonderful example. It really would be great if it could be driven and not just a static display. Car technology advanced so quickly in the teens that cars then, like computers today, were quickly obsolete, especially the luxury cars purchased by those who could afford them. The old car was often put away and forgotten. That is what is supposed to have happened to the Peerless at the local museum. It is claimed to be completely original. There’s a picture here.

    • grant

      David, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to see more of that Peerless, any chance of a write up on it?

  6. Todd Fitch Staff

    I love the lines of this. It would have been a real sports car in its day.

  7. Bob

    Beautiful car, I had never heard of the brand. Old beauties like this need to be preserved and driven to keep the history alive.

  8. Howard A Member

    Again, appeal is dying off for this kind of car, why, I think even I would be a little intimidated by it. My daughter, who is 30, took me to the Hartford Auto Museum, Hartford, Wis., where they had several cars of this vintage, and she’s looking at the headlights and says, “dad, how do you turn the lights on?” I said, these were before electric lights, and they are acetylene gas. She said, What? I said yeah, there’s a tank on the running board, you pumped it up, and lit the headlights. She couldn’t believe that. Wasn’t that dangerous, she asked? Parade is about it, it probably did 50 mph, but that would be pretty tense. Plenty of old farts yet that will buy this, but maybe not the next time this comes up for sale.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      I bet most of us couldn’t even get this started and down the block.

    • nessy

      No the appeal is not dying off on early brass cars. It’s growing with each new generation. I say this over and over. Just wait until you see what this car sells for and then see….

      • Bobsmyuncle

        That is ridiculous. The automotive hobby in general is losing appeal, car clubs everywhere are making efforts to attract the younger generations.

        What this sells for is entirely inconsequential.

      • Howard A Member

        nessy, I appreciate your passion, but this was written 5 years ago, and Mr. Strohl knows what he’s talking about. Pretty much sums up my views exactly.–and-money-is-killing-it/3732271.html

      • Bobsmyuncle

        Nice and concise, thanks for sharing.

        There are those that only take from the hobby and those that give and nurture it.

        Everyone should consider where they fit into the spectrum.

      • nessy

        Bobsmyuncle, you stated that what this car sells for is Inconsequential? Well? How do you figure that out? So if and when it sells for over 100g, you will still have it in your head that these cars are losing their appeal. Ok, that sound like logic…. As for Strohl, Howard A, his opinion is just that. You should reread that writeup and check a few of his other stories where he says something very different. I can go down a list a mile long of guys my age, 40ish and younger who only want brass era cars. Hey, if they go down, young guys like me and my friends will be there to buy them up.

      • Bobsmyuncle


        The highest bid has no reflection on the mass appeal. That is failed logic.

        The number of bidders might be a better indicator but that still doesn’t speak for most people.

        MOST people wouldn’t pay anything for this car. In fact most ‘car guys’ wouldn’t purchase this car.

  9. DRV

    Prolly the best original I’ve ever seen. There was an original teens silver ghost at Meadowbrook a few years ago, but I like this so much more.

  10. Paul B

    Really rakish, sexy lines though not vulgar or overdone. Seen through the perspective of its own time, it is one sporty sleek roadster.

  11. Milt(2)

    for more of these beautiful classics just google Horseless Carriage Club of America, Old Car Festival Dearborn Michigan, and Gilmore Museum Hickory Corners Michigan.

  12. Ken

    Dat Windshield!

  13. Special Steve

    So where are all the patina haters? Don’t you want to do this proper and paint it ? My guess is that most of that crowd wasn’t bright enough click on this one. This car is jaw dropping spectacular. Wow. This is an example of why you don’t paint everything just because you can afford to. Anybody with a checkbook can make it better than new. It takes vision to leave it alone and be the caretaker. The original cars, even if a little tatty, will be the important ones in the future.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Great post!

  14. James HGF

    This a particularly attractive preservation class, “oily rag” or “dans son jus” (British & French) original Regal Model N Roadster. Definitely sporty, but not a sports car in my view (see 1912 Hispano Suiza T-15 Alfonso XIII for my pick). Nor is it the only American manufactured “underslung”. Best known is the American Underslung by American Motors Company, Indiana; 1906 – 1914. The 1910 50 hp American Underslung sold for $4,000 vs $900 for the Regal and $1700 for the 1910 Norwalk 35 Runabout and there were others. Nevertheless the Regal’s auction estimate looks reasonable for a highly desirable automobile.

    Driving this one on public roads would require utmost caution. Note the center accelerator pedal with clutch and brake pedals on the left and right, but how does the brake pedal retard forward motion. There’s likely a transmission or driveline brake, but I can’t pick it out in the accompanying “The Old Motor” schematic. The brake lever is for the rear brakes, but these are external bands contracting on the drum not expanding within. Using the British “oily rag” classification that leans toward a “drivable” vehicle this Regal “run off a Gerry can to not disturb the original fuel tank” is wonderful, however to drive beyond Pebble Beach grass and greens will take a little fettling. Regardless I’d love to own to it. Alas it’s not to be. More than pocket change for many of us.

    The Regal Underslung article on “The Old Motor” link follows. Make certain you read the comments by ARIEJAN BOS an early motor car EXPERT known around the old motor car world – he adds info on early underslung racers and more:

  15. Rick

    I can’t imagine there will be a Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo running anywhere 80 years from now.

  16. Jose Cantu

    I too had never heard of the brand, but find it to be better looking than the Bearcat. Wow! beautiful car.

  17. Jay E.

    I love the long hood, short trunk. A period hotrod. Not many cars had this much aggressive style in 1913 (Bonhams says it is a 1910?), in fact I can’t think of any. Compare it to a Model T…

  18. glen

    This thing is too cool, I can’t get myself to delete this email.

  19. LAB3

    Been looking at the pictures and doing some thinking, there’s really no compound curves on this car that I can see. It might be possible for someone to build a similar looking car without too much trouble! Granted, it’s not the real thing and has zero to do with this ad BUT it might be doable if you have access to some basic sheet metal working equipment.

  20. Doug

    Amazing car. Please could someone enlighten me as to why it is right hand drive.

    • nessy

      As far as I remember reading Doug, all pre 1916 US built cars were right hand drive and some cars continued this well into the 20s. Something about the driver having to exit the car from the curbside for safety. I believe it was a law back then. Even up through the 40s and 50s, if you look in old movies from that time period, people still got out of the car only on the curbside.

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