Lot 256

Hershey 2019

1919 Columbia Six Five-Passenger Touring

The Merrick Auto Museum Collection


$13,200 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Engine No.
  • Quality Detroit-built assembled car
  • Continental Red Seal engine
  • One of 1,718 built in 1919

Historians have recorded no fewer than nine different American cars named “Columbia.” Perhaps best remembered are the electric and gasoline cars built by Colonel Albert Pope in Hartford, Connecticut, from 1897 to 1913. The car offered here is not one of those, or even related. It was built by Columbia Motors Company in Detroit, Michigan. Columbia Motors was formed in 1916, when J.G. Bayerline, Walter L. Day, and T.S. Bollinger left the King Motor Car Company and joined with auto industry veteran William E. Metzger, one of the founders of E-M-F, and A.T. O’Connor, formerly of Olds Motor Works. The quintet set about building an assembled car with engines from Continental, Timken axles, Warner transmissions, and the like.

The Columbia Six debuted early in 1917 and had the distinction of being perhaps the first car to use thermostatically controlled radiator shutters to maintain engine temperature. Priced below $2,000, the Columbia Six sold relatively well for a startup auto company. With production of 6,000 cars in 1923, the partners became optimistic and bought the neighboring Liberty Motor Car Company. However, within the year, both firms were no more.

The Merrick Auto Museum acquired this Columbia Six in 2013. Painted maroon and cream with a tan lined canvas top, it has a Continental L-head six with Auto-Lite electrics and Borg & Beck clutch. The seats are upholstered in brown pleated leather. The Stewart speedometer is unusual in that it incorporates and inclinometer showing the steepness of grades. The radiator has a Boyce winged MotoMeter reading the coolant temperature.

Columbia Motors production for 1919 totaled just 1,718 cars. The new owner of this car will probably never meet another on the road.