1919 Dort Model 11 Cloverleaf Roadster

Sold For $17,600

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2019 - The Merrick Auto Museum Collection

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Rare Flint, Michigan, make
  • Complete 500-hour restoration
  • Comely Cloverleaf roadster

J. Dallas Dort was a good friend of William C. Durant. The pair created the Flint Road Car Company in their Michigan city in 1886. The firm evolved into the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, from which “Billy” Durant side-stepped to Buick and then went on to head General Motors, not once, but twice. The two remained close, even as Dort, a confirmed carriage builder, stuck with horse-drawn transport.

By 1915, however, he had become sufficiently interested in and familiar with the car business that he created the Dort Motor Car Company and hired Etienne Planche, who had helped to build the first Chevrolet, as chief engineer. Production of a 105-inch wheelbase, 17 hp Lycoming-powered four-cylinder touring car began that year. More body styles, including a comely Cloverleaf roadster, arrived for 1917. Priced around $1,000, Dorts sold in the middle of Buick’s price spectrum, though in nowhere near the quantity. Production lasted through 1924. The following year Dort sold his factory to A.C. Spark Plug, which was not yet part of General Motors.

The Merrick Auto Museum purchased this Model 11 Dort Cloverleaf roadster from Michael Leith of Zebulon, North Carolina, in 1998. Painted in rich maroon with black fenders, it has new black leather pleated upholstery and a full black canvas touring top. It is powered by a Lycoming Model K 35-horsepower L-head four-cylinder engine. Recipient of a 500-plus-hour restoration, it has 30 × 3½ Wards Riverside tires on wood artillery wheels, with a rear-mounted spare.

Dort cars are sufficiently obscure that many have not heard of them. Many of those who know the name have never seen a real car. This Dort’s new owner will almost certainly have the only one in the neighborhood.

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