All hail the Queen (the car, not the band or monarch) at Amelia Island


It may not have been the most expensive car that sold at Bonhams’ Amelia Island Auction, but it’s one of the oldest and rarest. And with people finally able to attend a live auction again, it drew a crowd.

A 1905 Queen Model E Light Touring, the sole documented Queen Model E survivor, found a new home for $80,640 on Thursday evening. If you’ve never heard of an automobile that carries that royal moniker, you aren’t alone. The bright green Brass-Era Queen received plenty of attention during Bonhams’ preview period, mostly because of its obscurity. As one onlooker admitted, “I’ve heard of the band Queen, but not a car named Queen.”

1905 Queen Model E - Bonhams auction-goers
Bonhams auction-goers surround the 1905 Queen Model E. Jeff Peek

Once upon a time, there were 1500 of them out there. Of course, that was over 100 years ago. Built by Detroit’s C.H. Blomstrom Motor Company for three model years (1904–06), Queen motorcars were chain-driven and powered by one-, two-, or four-cylinder engines. The Bonhams car (chassis #1385) possesses a 196-cubic-inch, 16-horsepower, two-cylinder powerplant with a single Schebler carburetor, leaf-spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical brakes. The Queen features highly polished brass throughout, and a folding black top with roll-up plastic windshield is fitted over its black-leather-clad, four-seat interior.

Blomstrom’s 1904 Queen could be had with a 143-cu-in, 12-hp, single-cylinder engine or a 294-cu-in, 24-hp opposed twin-cylinder mill. Those numbers were impressive, matching Packard’s contemporary Model G.

Production of the Queen twin continued only through 1906, when the company merged with Car De Luxe and Blomstrom turned his attention to other automotive ventures. He  was responsible for the vertical-crankshaft Gyroscope, the Rex cyclecar, and the Frontmobile and Blomstrom automobiles.

This rare-as-hens’-teeth Queen was offered from the estate of Robert L. Byers. The right-hand-drive Model E was on the lawn at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and still shines from a comprehensive pre-concours restoration that still looks amazingly fresh.

Although this may be the first time you’ve ever heard of a Queen motorcar, here’s a piece of trivia that will make you look awfully knowledgeable at your next cars and coffee. According to the exhaustive Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805–1942, Queen is the only American-built marque that begins with the letter Q. Wonder if Freddie Mercury knew that.

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