Two Buckboards

1907 Waltham Orient Buckboard Surrey

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Charles Metz’s Waltham Manufacturing Company of Waltham, Massachusetts began producing bicycles in 1893. Their first automobile was built in 1899 and it was electric. Different cars followed for 1900-1902, and their most famous product, the Buckboard, debuted in 1903. They used “Orient” as a brand name through 1905 when it shifted to Waltham-Orient or just Waltham.

This 1907 model was from the final year of Orient Buckboard production and is quite different from most of their products. Called the Surrey, it features two-rows of bench seating and a surrey top that made it look downright luxurious compared to other two-passenger buckboard cars. Power is from a four horsepower two-stroke single-cylinder engine.

Only 1,020 examples were built. This one should bring between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $27,500.


1919 Briggs & Stratton Flyer

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

When A.O. Smith stopped producing his “Smith Flyer,” he sold the rights to Briggs & Stratton, they of more recent lawn mower-engine fame. The company has been around since 1908 building small engines. When they acquired the rights to the Flyer in 1919, they improved upon it a little and continued production with their motors through 1923.

After that, the design was sold to a different company that produced it as the Red Bug. This five-wheeled car has a top speed of 25 mph and a single-cylinder engine. It should sell for between $10,000-$15,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $27,500.

Orient Buckboard

1904 Orient Buckboard

Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 9-10, 2014

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

Buckboards were a style of automobiles that had a very limited market and a limited run of practicality (if ever), as well as success, and safety. This example was built by the Waltham Manufacturing Company in Waltham, Massachusetts. They also sold cars under the Waltham and Waltham-Orient brands.

The buckboard style was essentially a piece of wood with a seat on top of it and rudimentary controls and engine. At least in the case of this car, the engine powers the rear wheels (four horsepower, 578cc single-cylinder). The engine here is a single-cylinder making four horsepower. There is no suspension (other than your spine). See any brakes? Me neither (they’re there: just in the back only). They cost $425 when new – the cheapest car you could buy – and it could do 30 mph. There are four-year-olds with go karts that can outperform this car. And they’re probably safer.

It’s a super-interesting car and a number of companies sort of copied the design years later with mixed success. But this is the original. It would be fun in limited use. Go ahead and buy it! It’ll run you between $40,000-$60,000. You can find out more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $30,250.