1911 S.P.O. Raceabout
Offered by Gooding & Company | Monterey, California | August 19, 2012
S.P.O. was a French manufacturer that began selling cars in 1898. They jumped into the American market as soon as they could. The manager of their American operations was also a racing driver and S.P.O.s were seen on the beaches in the early days of speed trials. They also competed for the Vanderbilt Cup. And they inspired some American competition – namely Mercer, who were able undercut S.P.O. on price. By 1911, it was all over for the French firm.
This car, a Raceabout (the first time this was used to describe a car), has a 4.2-liter inline-4 rated at 24 horsepower. Ownership history is known from new and it is believed that this car actually competed in beach races in Maine in 1911 as well as sat on the stand at the 1911 Importer’s Exhibition at the Astor Hotel in New York. It was also part of the Harrah Collection (shocking!) until it was broken up and parted out in the 1980s (the collection, not the car).
This is the only S.P.O. in existence. So the buyer not only has a new toy, but also a responsibility to maintain and preserve something of which there will never be another. The car is gorgeous – a fine example of early sporting cars. I think the cloth “fenders” are fantastic. You won’t get another chance to purchase an S.P.O. Jump at it for $500,000-$650,000. For more information, click here. And for more from Gooding during the Pebble Beach festivities, click here.
Update: Not sold.