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.

Waltham Orient Buckboard

1906 Waltham Orient Buckboard

Offered by Bonhams | Cape May, New Jersey | May 10, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Waltham Manufacturing Company of Waltham, Massachusetts, was founded by Charles Metz (who would later build the Metz automobile). They began by selling the Orient bicycle before turning to automobiles in 1905.

Four different models were offered for 1905, with that shrinking to three for 1906. The Orient Buckboard was the entry-level car and was marketed as “The Cheapest Automobile in the World.” It is powered by a rear-mounted single-cylinder engine making only four horsepower. It has tiller steering and can do 35 mph. This is about as basic as cars came, even for 1906.

Waltham’s last year was 1908 (until some weirdness involving the return of Metz in 1922 when he tried to revive the brand which ultimately failed). The Orient Buckboard – as well as the rest of their models, are exceedingly rare. This car is thought to contain mostly original parts and is super-interesting, if you’re into this kind of thing. It should sell for between $12,000-$18,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $12,320.