Hershey | Lot 227
1914 Chalmers Model 24 Touring
$100,000 - $130,000 USD | Not Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
11 October 2013
- A descendant of the Thomas Flyer
- Wonderful, largely original condition
- Veteran of decades of enjoyable touring
- Ideal Glidden Tour car
50 bhp, 414.7 cu. in. L-head inline six-cylinder engine, manual transmission, semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 132 in.
The Chalmers automobile was the delightful, if unlikely, product of the union between early Detroit automotive industry veterans, Roy Chapin and Howard Coffin, and Hugh Chalmers, vice-president of the National Cash Register Company. Chapin and Coffin had been working with Buffalo, New York, automaker E.R. Thomas in the building of a car in Detroit, which was dubbed, aptly, the Thomas-Detroit. Chalmers was brought on, and then, he bought out Thomas. Together, the three remaining executives built the renamed Chalmers-Detroit, which was soon to become simply Chalmers, after Chapin and Coffin departed to form Hudson in 1909.
Until the company foundered in 1922, the Chalmers firm enjoyed tremendous success in American racing. A pair of the new cars managed a one-two win of the Jericho Sweepstakes race on Long Island in 1908, and the following year, a three-car team called the “Chalmers Bluebirds” achieved four wins, three 2nds, and three 3rds in seven races. The cars earned a trophy on the 1909 Glidden Tour and won the event, which is the most prestigious one in early auto racing, outright in 1910. Ever the promoter, Chalmers famously presented cars to the baseball player in each major league with the highest batting average, as well as to the most valuable player, as chosen by sportswriters.
The 1914 Chalmers offered here was born of that power, and it features an L-head inline six-cylinder engine that can only be described as “mighty,” with 50 horsepower on tap. These cars were renowned in their time for their solid construction and power, and this high-horsepower, six-cylinder model sports very attractive, close-coupled touring bodywork. It is almost completely original and unrestored, and it is wearing its original paint, upholstery, and equipment, including a Delco starter/generator system, a miniature four-cylinder air compressor, and dual rear-mounted spares. Having been toured extensively in the 1950s and 1960s by its earliest known owner, James Rice, it proudly wears the badges from those tours on its footboard, which testifies to decades of loving enthusiast care and ownership, most recently in the long-term ownership of Jim Stamper and the present owner.
As a 1914 model, this Chalmers is an excellent driver that is eligible for all the “big horsepower” Brass Era tours, including the Glidden, which is the modern incarnation of the event that this company conquered in 1910.