1904 Northern Runabout

Sold For $68,750

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2013

Chassis No.
  • Offered from the Estate of John O’Quinn
  • “The Silent Northern”
  • Award-winning restoration
  • London to Brighton veteran

6½ bhp, 106 cu. in. horizontal single-cylinder engine, two-speed planetary transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 67 in.

When it was introduced in 1901, the Northern had a lot going for it. It boasted the engineering expertise of Jonathan Maxwell, an automotive “boy genius,” and the business sense of Charles Brady King, who had, it could be argued, more automotive experience than anyone in Detroit. He had built the first automobile to be run on the streets of the Motor City in 1896, and he was involved in several early production efforts in the city.

The original Northern, as shown here, looked a lot like a “Curved Dash” Oldsmobile, which was no surprise, as both men had worked for R.E. Olds. However, its engineering was vastly improved, as it had a single-cylinder engine that Maxwell had developed. This engine’s trademark ease of operation and quiet running led the new automobile to be nicknamed “The Silent Northern.”

This Northern Runabout is a 1904 model with a 6½-horsepower engine. It was formerly owned by Pennsylvania enthusiast Merrell Jones, and then it was acquired by the Edwards family in 1991; the family’s personal restoration shop restored the Northern in the same year it was acquired. The car reportedly retains its original chassis and all of its original body panels and trim components, with the only “new” fittings being the black leather cape top, upholstery, and tires. Even the rubber mat fitted to the interior is said to be the original one that was installed by the factory 109 years ago. The result is one of the most original and authentic Northern automobiles in existence.

This car was awarded an AACA Junior/Senior Award in 1992, and it also won the Grand Champion Award for pre-1916 automobiles at the Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village. Dated by the Veteran Car Club as being an authentic 1904 model, it has successfully competed in the famous annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in England, and it would certainly be an ideal choice to return there, for participation in one of the antique car hobby’s most incredible events. It would also be a perfect choice for the HCCA and VMCCA’s One- and Two-Cylinder Tours.

Offered here from the prominent collection of John O’Quinn, this is a wonderful survivor of one of Detroit’s pioneer automobiles, and it is one that was built by some of the best and brightest of the early car industry in America.

Suggested lots


Auburn Fall

3 - 6 September 2020



8 - 9 October 2020