One-off car from 1921 was a technological marvel

Heine-Velox Victoria is the only one ever made, and it was way ahead of the times

I spotted the photographed 1921 Heine-Velox Victoria at the Kirkland Concours d’Elegance at Carillon Point in Washington State a few years ago.

The event moved to Tacoma in 2011 and is now known as the Pacific North West Concours and takes place at the LeMay Museum in September.

This Heine-Velox Victoria is the only one ever built, and it never actually sold because, at a cost of $25,000, it was the most expensive car in the world in the early 1920s. During the same time period, a Rolls-Royce 40/50 retailed for approximately $10,000, and the most expensive American-built car available was the Lozier Big Six, with a price tag of $6,500.

Gustav Heine owned the Heine Piano Company, and his interest in automobiles dates back to 1903 when he opened one of the first Ford dealerships on the west coast of the United States. In 1905, he decided to build his own car, but only three were produced.

Heine left California after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire and moved to Milwaukee. In 1921, he decided to try his hand at automobile manufacturing one more time.

His hand-built cars were very large; the body was fitted to a low-slung frame with a wheelbase of 148 inches. The powerful V12 engine was built by Weideley Motors of Indianapolis and came equipped with an electric starter motor, a cold-starting mechanism operated from the dashboard.

Slowing the V12 under braking was a four-wheel hydraulic brake system supplied by Lockheed. And the dashboard is set on a 45-degree angle, designed to make it easier for the driver to read the instruments.

I would hardly call it a good-looking car, but I suppose it would have been a very functional and comfortable Tourer with luggage racks everywhere you look.

The headlights, which look like an afterthought perched on top of the fenders, were also ahead of their time in that they featured high beam and low beam dipping lamps operated by a switch.

Only three sedans (listed at $17,000) and one Victoria open Touring example were produced. None were actually sold; they were delivered to a dealer and disappeared.

Having been painstakingly restored by Horseless Carriage Restorations in California, the 1921 Heine-Velox is now settled in its new home at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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