17-18 August 2012

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Lot 104

1905 Rapid Nine-Passenger Omnibus

  • Chassis no. 1AA11

Sold for $60,500

Twin-cylinder engine, two-speed planetary transmission with double chain drive, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, beam rear axle with three-quarter elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes.

• Rare turn-of-the-century Detroit marque

• Used in a 2006 Las Vegas centennial parade as the mayor’s vehicle

As one of the many firms that eventually merged into the burgeoning General Motors, the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company was established in 1904, in Detroit, Michigan. The first model was a light delivery van with a twin-cylinder engine, located under the driver’s seat. A planetary transmission and single drive chain comprised the balance of the power train. By 1906, nine different models were available, including trucks of one and one-and-a-half ton capacity and a 20-passenger bus. In 1905, the year this omnibus was built, the company had relocated to Pontiac, Michigan.

Rapid expansion occurred quickly, including 17 models in 1909, amongst those was an ambulance, a fire engine, and several buses. A year later, however, just three sizes of trucks were offered. By 1912, General Motors had taken over, and the one-and-a-half and two-ton trucks, still made in the Rapid plant, were being sold under the new GMC brand name. The Reliance Motor Truck Company of Detroit, also a new GM acquisition, furnished larger models for the new marque.

Outfitted as the “Official Centennial Mayor-Mobile” for the 2006 city parade in Las Vegas, this smart, Rapid Nine-Passenger Omnibus presents exceptionally well, with a dark green body over a bright red chassis and wheels. The seats are red buttoned leather, shaded by a fringed surrey top. Highly-polished brass Solar headlamps, steering column, and hubcaps provide delightful visual highlights. Solid rubber tires guarantee freedom from punctures.

Perfect for resort or museum use, this Rapid Omnibus is a rare survivor from the nearly forgotten precursors of today’s General Motors.

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

+1 864 313 6844
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

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
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

+1 203 912 7168
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

+1 415 302 2247
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

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

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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California, United States

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

+1 519 352 4575
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

+1 310 559 4575
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