- Rare Auburn, Indiana–built high-wheeler
- Formerly of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum Collection
- Recipient of a 600-hour restoration
- Finest example of a near-extinct make
Called by one customer “a Hercules in hill-climbing,” the Kiblinger high-wheeler was built by the W.H. Kiblinger Company of Auburn, Indiana. Introduced in 1907, it was advertised as “the lowest-priced successful automobile on the road.” With a sticker price of $250, that may well have been true. Models A, B, C, D, E, and F differed mainly in horsepower, which ranged from 4 to 10. “All the machines are carefully crafted,” said the ad copy. “When you receive your car, simply attach the wheels and it is ready to roll.”
After two years, however, Kiblinger was sued for patent infringement by the makers of the Success, a competing high-wheeler built in St. Louis. Kiblinger’s manager, W.H. McIntyre, solved the contretemps by buying out the directors, redesigning the Kiblinger, and selling it as the McIntyre from the same factory. The McIntyre stayed in production through 1915.
Purchased by the Merrick Auto Museum in 1998, this 1907 Kiblinger Model D runabout was acquired from the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum of Auburn, Indiana, Kiblinger’s hometown. Entirely buggy-like in appearance, it has transverse full-elliptic spring suspension and longitudinal perch rods, center-tiller steering, and a seat for two, upholstered in buttoned tan leather. The body has been restored with all-new wood, painted black and contrasted with wicker appliqué and red outline. The running gear is all finished in red.
The two-cylinder air-cooled engine is identical to that used by Sears, and final drive is to the wheels by dual chains. The complete restoration took 600 hours, producing what is certainly the best example of a Kiblinger high-wheel runabout extant.