Lot 104

Miami 2024

1911 Sears Auto-Cycle


$22,800 USD | Sold

United States | Coral Gables, Florida



Engine No.
Bill of Sale Only
  • Highly collectible pre-war motorcycle from one of America’s most beloved and historic catalog companies
  • Manufactured by Aurora Automatic Machine Company of Aurora, Illinois; equivalent to the contemporaneous Thor IV motorcycle
  • Powered by a four-stroke single-cylinder engine
  • Single-speed, pedal start, pneumatic front fork, and rear-wheel brake
  • Beautifully finished in red with a black saddle by Troxel Manufacturing Co.
  • Previously restored to a high standard

Sears began selling motorcycles in its popular mail-order catalog around 1909, offering a rebadged Thiem four-stroke, single-cylinder model supplied by the Joerns-Thiem Motor Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. Declared “positively the best motorcycle in the world” in an ad within the company’s fall catalog, it was marketed as the Sears Auto-Cycle. A separate—and quite thorough—catalog dedicated solely to the 1911 Sears Auto-Cycle claimed that it produced “not less than 4 ½ horsepower” and required some assembly after being shipped in a wooden crate.

“To avoid any possible slight oversight in the adjustment of every working part, each machine, after being subjected to thorough factory and road tests, is rigidly inspected,” the catalog said. “When the machine has been approved, the pedals, saddle, handlebars, and control are removed and carefully wrapped and placed in a separate compartment in the crate, thus enabling us to ship the machine in a comparatively small crate.”

Sears soon released a second model, this time a rebadged Thor IV, produced by the Aurora Automatic Machine Company of Aurora, Illinois—an excellent example of which is offered here. It features a single-speed, single-cylinder engine with slightly more displacement and output than its predecessor, and a more sophisticated pneumatic front fork suspension, along with pedal start and a rear-wheel brake. Like the Thiem, it is belt driven and the fuel tank sits between the top frame tubes.

The Auto-Cycle offered here is beautifully finished in red with a black saddle by Troxel Manufacturing Co. and was previously restored to a high standard. Sears would go on to release other Thiem and Thor-based Auto-Cycles followed by bespoke motorcycles of their own through 1914. The company would not offer another two-wheeled vehicle until the 1950s, making this example highly collectable.