St. John's | Lot 161

1912 Chalmers Model 9 Torpedo Roadster



$57,750 USD | Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan

28 July 2012

Chassis No.

Model 9. 30 hp, 226.2 cu. in. F-head inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 104"

• Older, proper restoration

• Interesting history

• Offered from the Estate of John O’Quinn

Roy Chapin and Howard Coffin invited Hugh Chalmers to join the Thomas-Detroit Motor Company in 1907. Chalmers, a youthful and energetic vice president of the National Cash Register Company, was convinced to buy out President E.R. Thomas and to market a four-cylinder car designed by Coffin. Two of the new cars, now called Chalmers-Detroit, managed a one-two win at 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 seconds, and three thirds in seven races.

Chapin and Coffin left Chalmers after forming Hudson in 1909. Always the consummate salesman, Chalmers continued the competition efforts, earning a trophy on the 1909 Glidden Tour and winning the event outright in 1910. Ever the promoter, he presented cars to the baseball player in each major league with the highest batting average and then to the most valuable player, as chosen by sportswriters.

This Chalmers Model 9 roadster was acquired circa 1917 by furniture maker John Charles Widman, who also made wood parts for car bodies and later complete bodies for Chalmers, Jewett, and Franklin. Widman kept the car in a private museum until 1928. After his passing, it passed through a number of hands until 1974, when it was sold to Emil Pospisil. Mr. O’Quinn purchased it in the 2000s.

Restored by Mr. Pospisil, it has a Coffin-designed four-cylinder engine with overhead intake and side exhaust valves, the so-called “F-head” configuration. It has brass lighting and a jaunty stance, courtesy of the handsome torpedo body. This older restoration presents well and makes a fine candidate for brass and gas touring while representing a good value in a brass-era motor car.

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