The beautiful Bothwell collection goes on the block Saturday


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You may never have heard of him, but Lindley Bothwell invented vintage racing. Years before Steve and Debbie Earle started the Monterey Historics, Bothwell used to gather as many friends as he could, hand them all race cars and have a race. Often the races were on city streets. And the cars weren’t postwar racers, either — they weren’t even post-WWI racers. They were prewar Grand Prix cars, like a 1914 Peugeot L45 Grand Prix two-seater, ex-Barney Oldfield 1908 Benz 75/105 HP Prinz Heinrich Raceabout or a 1908 Mercedes-Simplex 65HP Two Seater Raceabout. All these and more will be up for auction this Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Bothwell Ranch in Woodland Hills, California.



1908 Benz 75/105 HP Prinz Heinrich Raceabout

The ex-Barney Oldfield 1908 Benz 75/105 HP Prinz Heinrich Raceabout Photo by Bonhams


Some of the cars will go for over a million dollars. The Peugeot is expected to bring between $3 million and $5 million. The Barney Oldfield Benz will clear a million. But you can likely buy a really cool, really old race car for 20 grand, maybe. The Bonhams estimates for many racers are downright affordable. A 1912 Cadillac Racer, 1912 Buick Model 43 Two Seater Racer, 1910 Stearns Model 15/30, a 1920 Hudson Super Six Two-Man Racing Car and a 1926 Chandler Six Two-Man Racing car are all expected to go for between $20,000 to $30,000 according to Bonhams’ presale estimate. A 1923 Henderson-Powered Midget Race Car may go for $15,000. All affordable stuff for more or less average Joes. Imagine taking that 1912 Cadillac to your local track and wowing the pit tootsies!

And those are just the race cars. The collection includes many Ford Model Ts as well as other passenger cars of the era.

And trains — Bothwell loved trains. He had a steam train that he rode around tracks he’d laid down in his massive orange grove, the largest remaining orange grove in the San Fernando Valley. There are all manner of ancient tools, too, things you will never find anywhere else. He was quite a guy. Check out auction details, and fer goodness sake, sign up and bid on something, will ya? If you get that Cadillac, you owe me a ride in it.















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