Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 15-17, 2018
Photo – Mecum
The Black Manufacturing Company of Chicago had a short but interesting life. Their first cars went on sale in 1908 and they were all high-wheelers. But they sold them under two different brands. There was the budget-minded Chicago Motor Buggy and the slightly nicer but still built-for-rough-conditions Black. The Chicago Motor Buggy was only available in 1908 and 1909.
The 1908 Black lineup consisted of four models, three of which were Surreys. There was the Type 18, Type 118, and Type 20. I have no idea which version this is, but I do know the engine should be a 20 horsepower, 2-cylinder and it would’ve cost somewhere between $575 and $650.
The Black would be available through 1910, but the company also sold a more traditional car under the Black Crow marque in 1909 and 1910. It was a licensed version of the Crow-Elkhart. The high-wheeler example above has only been owned by two families since new and is a pretty rare early American automobile. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2015
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
Holsman of Chicago built high-wheelers between 1902 and 1910. Quite a few of them remain, which is fortunate because as you can see, they can actually be quite pretty. Look how big those wheels are! The black paint is nice and shiny with gorgeous red pin striping.
Holsman offered four models in 1908, all high-wheelers. They were all powered by a 12.8 horsepower 1.6-liter flat-twin. Three of the models were Runabouts – models 5, 9, and 10. It is unclear which of these models this car represents, as well as what the difference between those model designations even is. What a good-looking car. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10, 2013
The Schacht Motor Car Company of Cincinnati, Ohio (nothing like a really solid German name like Schacht to be able to guess this was built in Cincy), built high-wheelers from 1905 through 1909. Come 1910, the company switched to more traditional cars like this all-original Model K Runabout.
This car uses a steering wheel instead of a tiller (popular at the time) and a water-cooled 3.0-liter two-cylinder engine producing 18 horsepower. The engine has not been run in over 20 years and some mechanical work will be necessary in order to drive this car.
Schacht soon turned to commercial vehicles and was able to soldier on until 1940. This car has been in the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum since 1996. It should sell for between $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Sold $19,800.
1909 Schacht Model K Runabout
Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10, 2013
Really? Another Schacht – and another Model K Runabout at that? Why am I featuring this? To show you the difference a year can make.
Schacht started by building high-wheelers just like this. They were referred to as the “Invincible Schacht” because they were apparently so rugged (the Titanic was also considered invincible, FYI). This uses the same engine as the car above (perhaps it would’ve made more sense to feature this one first and do things chronologically, but oh well). The major difference is the size of the wheels. The cars have the same wheelbase.
Another major difference is that this example is in full running and driving condition. And that is apparently only worth a $5,000 premium – as this car is expected to sell for between $25,000-$30,000. It was restored in the early-1990s. Over 8,000 Schacht road cars were believed to have been built before the full-time switch to commercial vehicles occurred in 1914. Click here for more info and here for more from RM.
Offered by RM Auctions | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2013
I saw one of these wagon/pickup-ish delivery cars at the National Automobile Museum (Harrah Collection) in Reno, Nevada, and fell in love with them. International Harvester, the famed tractor and truck manufacturer that is still in business, built road cars in the early days of the automobile through 1980.
The early cars, like this, were high-wheelers for rural customers. This one is well-outfitted with Beverly Hillbillies-style goodies. The engine is a 20 horsepower 2.6-liter flat twin. It’s been a museum piece for some time. It runs and has been used in a lot of parades (is there a car more perfect for parades?).
This thing is almost entirely original too, which is incredible. Cars rarely come cooler than this, seriously, and to be original is icing on the cake. I very much want it but don’t have the extra $30,000-$40,000 lying around that it would require to purchase it. You can read more and check out some more photos here. And see more from this sale here.
Offered by Bonhams | Beaulieu, U.K. | September 7, 2013
Photo – Bonhams
What’s amazing is that the car we featured yesterday was built the same year that this car was. While the Alldays & Onions from yesterday was built in the U.K. and had a windshield and doors and a top and well, you get the idea. This car has wheels – high ones. And a seat. And a steering wheel.
It was made for the rugged roads of rural America. And in that regard, it was successful. As a sales leader, it was not. The company (yes, the marque was actually called “Chicago Motor Buggy”) built this lone model and lasted for this lone year (it was actually a sub-brand of the Black Motor Company). The engine is a 14 horsepower twin. It has chain drive and solid tires and is probably not comfortable to ride in. But it is cool.
It cost $450 when it was new and can do 25 mph. It is one of 13 known to exist and arrived in England in 2007 when it was made running. It is a driver and can be yours for between $31,000-$39,000. Click here for more details and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2013
When John C. Hidgon founded the Success Auto-Buggy Manufacturing Company in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906, he probably thought to himself, “With a name like Success, how can this endeavor not be a, well, success?” Unfortunately he went out of business in 1909.
Well he had the right idea anyway – a low-cost, rugged high-wheeler for developing parts of the country where roads weren’t paved and wages weren’t high. The Success (no model name that I can find) was priced at about $250 in 1906. The Curved-Dash Oldsmobile was retailing for $650. It was certainly cheap.
The engine is a two-cylinder, that you can see kind of hanging off the side of the car. Top speed was in the 18 mph-ish range but it got about 100 miles per gallon. With figures like that, maybe someone should put it back into production. When I was looking at this thing, this occurred to me: it’s like a turn-of-the-century hot rod. The body is very lean and low – most of it is below the tops of the wheels. And then those wheels. They’re like Victorian dubs. It definitely has a striking appearance and is one of very few that remain. Click here for more info and here for more from Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale. And strangely enough, Bonhams is offering a 1908 Success at their sale in Arizona – albeit, in original, unrestored barn-find condition.
Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2012
Auburn, Indiana was one of the early meccas of automobile manufacturing. The W.H. McIntyre Company was founded in 1909 on the heels of Mr. McIntyre’s purchase of the W.H. Kiblinger Company, also of Auburn. (I can’t be the only one to find it odd that the two men who founded these companies had the same first two initials, can I?)
McIntyre was the factory manager at Kiblinger and bought the company out when it was faced with a company-ending patent infringement lawsuit. He changed the name of the company and the design of the car – at least enough so that the lawyers went away.
But it was still, like the Kiblinger, a high-wheeler – a car with big solid-state wagon wheels and enough ground clearance to function in even the most remote sections of the new automobile marketplace. This car has a 14 horsepower flat-twin and a two-speed transmission with chain drive. 1910 was the last year for high-wheelers from McIntyre, although the company soldiered on through 1915.
This one is expected to sell for between $20,000-$30,000. For more information, click here. And for more from Bonhams at the Simeone Foundation, click here.
To be offered by Bonhams’ at their “Classic California” sale on November 12, 2011
We said we would bring you the interesting and unusual. This definitely qualifies as the latter. High-Wheelers were a style of early automobile where the wheels were, well, high – providing significant ground clearance for the unpaved roads of rural, turn-of-the-century America. They eventually fell out of favor in the teens as America’s infrastructure improved and pneumatic tires became the norm. Imagine the “comfort” offered by solid-state wooden wagon wheels on hard pavement – or any other surface for that matter.
The Holsman Automobile Company was founded in 1903 in Chicago, Illinois and built a variety of cars using a variety of engines ranging from this single-cylinder model up to 26 horsepower 4-cylinders. Early models utilized rope drive but the company switched to steel cables and finally chains. This model sports rope drive to the rear wheels. This car is currently not running but was parked in running condition (a long time ago).
Gooding & Company sold a Holsman, a 1908 Model 10-K. This is a G model and it’s current condition means it will probably come in below Gooding’s result of about $45,000 in 2010. For more information on the car, check the details on the Bonhams website here and for the entire auction catalog, click here.