1912 Michigan

1912 Michigan Four-40 Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 4-5, 2023

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Michigan Buggy Company of Kalamazoo has one of the more colorful histories of any short-lived pre-war auto manufacturer. They first car debuted in 1904, and it was a small single-cylinder buggy without reverse. Regular production of a more typical automobile started in 1911.

But it’s amazing they sold any cars at all. Most of the officers at the company were involved in some kind of fraud. In 1912, the company offered two models: the Four-33 and the Four-40, the latter of which is powered by an L-head Buda inline-four that made 40 horsepower. It wasn’t really a bad car either.

Michigan ceased production after 1913, and the factory was eventually bought by the United States Motor Car Company, and their Greyhound would be built there. The car shown here has been restored and now has an estimate of $50,000-$70,000. Click here for more info.

1913 Michigan Touring

1913 Michigan Model R Touring

Offered by RM Auctions | Plymouth, Michigan | July 26, 2014

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

Michigan was one of many short-lived American automobile manufacturers that existed prior to WWI. It is, in fact, amazing that a car so rare from so long ago is now readily available in such fantastic condition. Michigan was founded in 1904, but production didn’t really take off until 1911. And the company closed its doors after 1913 because, strangely, company officials were shady as can be. Many of their employees were on paper only (with the managers taking their “employees” paychecks home). One of the managers actually gambled away a large portion of company funds at a horse track.

This Model R was for the 1913 model year only. It uses a 4.9-liter straight-four making 40 horsepower. Available as a two-passenger Roadster or five-passenger Touring, the original owners of this car opted for the larger of the two options.

The Michigan Buggy Company boasted of over 6,000 cars sold, but it is thought (with how honest the company was) that the number is likely closer to 1,200. This car was restored in 2002 from a complete survivor. It last sold in 2008 for $154,000 and this time is expected to bring between $140,000-$180,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Michigan.

Update: Sold $132,000.

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s, Ft. Lauderdale 2018.