Lot 404

Hershey 2023

1905 Maxwell Model L Tourabout


$34,100 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



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US Title
  • The very first model year for the Maxwell Motor Company
  • One of 833 examples of the Model L built between 1904 and 1905
  • Restored to high standards in 2010 while under the care of a former HCCA regional president
  • Powered by a water-cooled, opposed, twin-cylinder engine paired with a planetary transmission
  • Offered from the collection of Bryan Keysor

During the infancy of automotive production in the United States, the Maxwell Motor Company was one of the largest manufacturers in the country, competing with the likes of Ford and General Motors, and would continue this legacy as the Chrysler Corporation after being acquired by Walter P. Chrysler in 1921. Founded in 1904, Maxwell entered the market with the Model L, a small car priced at $750 and powered by a water-cooled, opposed, two-cylinder engine producing eight horsepower. The car featured a planetary transmission with two forward gears and one reverse, allowing an achievable speed of 35 mph. Just 10 were produced in a 1904 pilot program, and the following year production rose to 823. Despite being constructed over two years, the initial run of the Model L was designated the 1905 model year exclusively.

The Model L offered here is one of those special examples built during the earliest years of the Maxwell Motor Company and bears the low serial number L49. While little is known of its of early history, this Model L had previously been owned by a Horseless Carriage Club of America regional president who restored the car circa 2010. The Model L is said to have been in 100-percent original condition, according to the consignor, so the project focused on a 100-percent restoration, accurately finishing the car to original specifications, with the drivetrain, bodywork, chassis, and upholstery all refinished to a high standard. The current owner acquired this Maxwell in 2015. Soon after, it was shown at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. The car is accompanied by a collection of photographs and a history file.

A simple, open-air Tourabout, the Maxwell Model L epitomizes the daring, adventurous nature of early motoring. The example offered here presents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an early example of a historic car produced by one of the most significant players in the nascent automotive industry.