Arizona | Lot 144
1913 Pathfinder Series XIII A Five-Passenger Touring
$121,000 USD | Sold
| Phoenix, Arizona
28 January 2016
- Believed to be the only known surviving 1913 Pathfinder
- Single-family ownership for nearly a century
- Documented restoration
- A rare and fascinating Indiana-built marque
40 hp, 280.6 cu. in. Continental L-head inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, semi-elliptical leaf-spring rear suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 120 in.
The Pathfinder was the product of the rather un-inventively-named Motor Car Manufacturing Company, which succeeded the former Parry Automobile Company of Indianapolis in 1911. The new Pathfinder entered production in 1912, priced at $1,750, competing against Hudson and Cadillac. Various interesting and attractive automobiles would follow, including models with semi-automatic transmissions and even a V-12-powered Pathfinder the Great, before the company went out of business in 1917.
The car shown here is said to be the only 1913 Pathfinder Series XIII surviving today. According to history received with the car, it was originally purchased in 1913 by Clark and Laura Rice of LaHarpe, Illinois, for whom a copy of the 1916 Illinois registration is on file. The car remained in use with the Rices for many years, with a photograph from 1969 showing Earl B. Rice, the couple’s son, using it, as he often did, to give guests a tour of the family farm.
In the summer of 1980, the Pathfinder was sent to MemoryVille USA of Rolla, Missouri, where it spent the next three years undergoing a nut-and-bolt restoration. Photographs on file depict the car’s solid and extremely original condition before the work, as well as the painstaking process of dismantling and refinishing its components. Letters from the restorer, George Carney, discuss the process of cleaning, sandblasting, and then refinishing the solid original chassis and drivetrain components, as well as refinishing the original body wood. Aluminum pistons were installed inside the fully rebuilt engine, and all bright metal trim was properly re-plated in nickel. The car is fitted with Pathfinder’s “Option #1” package, which consisted of five lamps, a dynamo, an electric self-starter, a storage battery, and an ammeter, as well as several other desirable accessories.
The Rice Family maintained the Pathfinder until 2006, when its third generation of owners sold it to a collector in Illinois. A well-preserved restoration, it has recently been mechanically freshened and returned to running order prior to the sale, with the engine put into running order, a major oil leak in the transmission repaired, and the steering wheel rebuilt with new bushings.
A rare survivor of one of the most respected Indiana brass marques, the Rice Family Pathfinder would be a wonderful and unique tour car for its new owners.