9-10 October 2014

Offered from the collection of John Moir

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Lot 142

1902 Covert Runabout

  • Engine no. 52

Sold for $44,000

3 bhp, single-cylinder engine, manual transmission with chain drive, solid axles with leaf-spring suspension in the front and rear, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 62 in.

  • Offered from the collection of John Moir
  • A rare New York-built “veteran” with wonderful history
  • Known history since new
  • London to Brighton Veteran Car Run eligible

On December 19, 1966, the Ypsilanti Press reported the passing of Miss Gertrude E. Woodard:

"During the many years of her residence in the Huron Motor Inn, she kept in touch with much that was going on in the city and had compiled clippings on many local families. From her window, she looked over the city and observed what was happening, even to the flight patterns of the pigeons…

She drove a Covert Motorette to work as a librarian in the Law School Library at the University of Michigan. Miss Woodard was Ypsilanti’s first woman driver, and when she stopped operating her car in 1911, she had a record of having never had an accident. The car was purchased in 1901, when she visited the factory at Lockport, N.Y…

It was cranked on the left side and the driver sat on the right. She used a bar for steering it. A bell on the dashboard warned of the car’s approach, and the vehicle could be driven 18 miles an hour. One pint of high test gasoline was all that was needed to reach the Ann Arbor campus. There was a flickering carbon light for after-dark driving…Classes were suspended when she started it up each afternoon for the trip home. It usually made a crackling, explosive sound when it was cranked…She used ordinary house numbers to indicate her license number. The last one she had was 1240. The car is now in possession of the Mott Foundation in Flint."

Miss Woodard’s Covert later passed to the Sloan Museum, also in Flint, Michigan, from which it was acquired by Mr. Moir. He has since been able to amass extensive documentation of its ownership history, including photographs and articles on Miss Woodard and her car, as well as documentation from extensive work that was performed on the car by well-known brass car expert John Caperton in preparation for its display in AACA events. Much of the paint, upholstery, and trim on the car appear decades-old, in keeping with its “museum piece” aura. During restoration, Dave Steinman had a new cylinder block cast to replace the original, which had cracked. The most fascinating bit of memorabilia is the tag that was attached to the car during its time in the Sloan Museum, where it was maintained by General Motors.

The car is as dramatic today as when it was built, and it evokes a bygone time when an elegant young woman used it to putter through the dusty brick streets of Ypsilanti.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more