1911 Selden Model 40R

1911 Selden Model 40R 1911 Selden Model 40R 1911 Selden Model 40R Varsity Roadster
Chassis #: 2480
Sold for $220,000 at 2007 Vintage Motor Cars at Hershey.
Sold for $159,500 at 2019 RM Sothebys : Hershey.
George Selden produced upper mid-priced vehicles from 1907 to 1914, and trucks until 1932. His legacy does not center around his automobile production, but rather his trade as a patent lawyer and his claims to have invented the automobile in the United States. In 1895 he held a patent that allowed him to collect payment on any road vehicle that was fitted with an internal combustion engine for the next 17 years.

Henry Ford refused to pay, and Selden commenced litigation for patent infringement, resulting in the most celebrated patent suit in history. Selden won his case; Ford appealed the decision and won a 1911 reversal in his favor. As a result all royalties to Selden were stopped. To add to the misery, a fire destroyed part of his factory. Even with these major setbacks, Selden still produced his highest level of vehicles in 1911, with 1,628 examples built.

In 1911, the fully equipped Selden Varsity Roadster sold for about $2,500. Under the bonnet was a four-cylinder engine that displaced 356 cubic-inches and produced 40 horsepower. It featured dual ignition, a Bosch magneto and battery, and a crank start.

This Varsity Roadster is one of just six known surviving Selden motor cars. It was treated to a restoration in 1996 to factory new standards. In the past ten years, it has traveled a mere 100 miles. It has been well cared for and is still in excellent condition.

It is a AACA National, a Burn Prevention Foundation Eastern Concours and an Amelia Island Concours winner. It was a class winner at Pebble Beach. It was awarded the 'Best of the Best' at the Easter Concours and in 2004 it was an AACA Repeat Senior Grand National Award winner.

The 1911 Selden Model 40R Varsity Roadster was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $75,000 - $100,000. With only six known examples in existence, it is not often that an opportunity arises to own a Selden. They are rare and have a very unique and interesting history. It was offered without reserve and sold for a high bid of $220,000 including buyer's premium.


By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007

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