Thomas Flyabout

1914 Thomas Flyer Model K 6-90 Flyabout

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

E.R. Thomas‘s automobile company got off to a modest start in 1902. But it only took about five years for them to make quite a name for themselves by winning the 1908 New York to Paris Race with an ’07 Model 35.

Their cars were some of the nicest you could buy in the U.S. prior to WWI. The Model K 6-70 was introduced in 1908 and featured a 140″ wheelbase and a preposterous 12.8-liter inline-six. That car made 70 horsepower. If that was not enough, you could order, as a factory option, an increased cylinder bore that would up the displacement and also the power – to 88 horsepower.

Thomas actually ran out of money in 1912, and after that they sold the Model K chassis for truck use, which is how this car was initially configured. Used as a fire truck by a few cities, it was eventually spotted and purchased by Bill Harrah in 1959. It would be one of nine Thomas cars he owned (including the New York-Paris race winner). It wasn’t until its next owner in the 1980s that the car was rebodied in Flyabout fashion.

Only about 500 Model K 6-70/90 cars were built in total, and only 10 are known to exist. This one has an interesting history, which you can read more about here.

Update: Sold $594,000.

Thomas Flyer Flyabout

1910 Thomas Flyer Model K 6-70 Flyabout

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Thomas Flyer was one of America’s greatest pre-WWI automobiles. There were a number of different models with varying engine sizes and power ratings, but this… this was the big one. The six-cylinder Thomas was introduced in 1908 and continued until the end of the marque.

This, the Model K 6-70, was their largest car offered in 1910. It is powered by an absolutely monstrous 12.3-liter (!) straight-six. Power is rated at 70 horsepower and five body styles were offered with this, the Flyabout, priced at $6,000 new. It wasn’t cheap. But it was worth it.

Only a few 70 horsepower Thomas cars survive intact (there are others that were pieced together much later). This one has known ownership from new (when it was originally a fire vehicle). When it was restored in the 1970s, an exacting replica of an actual Flyabout was constructed. It’s an impressive and imposing tourer that can be yours for between $900,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $825,000.