Lot 262

Hershey 2016

1923 Maxwell Model 25 Five-Passenger Touring


$11,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
  • A familiar name, though not often seen at events
  • An older restoration that presents nicely
  • Great entry-level automobile for the antique car hobby

30 hp, inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear solid axles with semi-elliptical leaf-spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 109 in.

Convinced he was backing the wrong man in David Dunbar Buick, Benjamin Briscoe (in 1903), with support from J.P. Morgan, decided to build Jonathan Maxwell’s two-cylinder car. By 1910, the company was selling over 20,000 cars annually and ranked third in the industry behind Buick and Ford, a feat in large part thanks to clever publicity stunts. Originally built in Tarrytown, New York, the company moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1913 when the factory was sold to Chevrolet. Maxwell was known as the “doctor’s car” because it was both durable and reliable; important factors for an M.D. on an emergency house call.

In 1909, Alice Huyler Ramsey became the first woman to drive coast-to-coast, from Hell’s Gate in New York to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco . . . in a Maxwell Model D. The car was much later made famous by comedian Jack Benny, “the Cheapest Man in the World,” who used his beloved Maxwell for over 20 years, all the while making fun of its reliability. Much like Durant, who used Buick as the basis for General Motors, Briscoe used Maxwell as the foundation for his United States Motors. Unlike Durant, things did not go as well. Walter Chrysler, in his mid-twenties, stepped in using Maxwell to launch his automotive empire with much greater success; but, that’s another story.

This car is from the later days of Maxwell as the company became part of Chrysler and was gone after 1925. Maxwell built 58,313 cars in 1923. This jaunty Maxwell Touring Car was restored many years ago beginning with a complete, original car that was fully intact. Nothing has been fabricated, as all the car’s original parts and materials were used in the restoration. It has been in the consignor’s collection since 2005, having been restored prior to his purchase.

The car has never been shown and has been used sparingly, mostly in local parades. The owner was careful to turn over the car regularly so as to keep it in good mechanical order and says it runs well but notes that the main bearing has a minor oil leak. It is equipped with whitewall tires on disc wheels.

This is a great opportunity to purchase a car not typically seen at events and an excellent foray into the antique collector car hobby.