1911 Rambler Model 65 Seven-Passenger Touring
Sold For $266,750Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2019 - The Muckel Collection - Offered on Friday
- Offered from the Muckel Collection
- The only surviving Model 65
- Fascinating known ownership history since new
- Immaculate older concours restoration; shown at Pebble Beach
- A powerful big-horsepower beast for significant Brass tours
To most American enthusiasts, the name Rambler recalls Nash-Kelvinator’s adorable little jumping bean of a car from the early 1950s. The name actually hails from the most famous marque of the company that Charles Nash bought in 1919, the Thomas B. Jeffery Company of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jeffery’s Rambler was a high-quality, upper-mid-priced automobile, of which numerous iterations were produced between 1902 and 1916.
None of the Brass Era Ramblers were more scene-stealing than the Model 65, a large model of 1911 with a 45 hp, 431 cu. in. four-cylinder engine on a 125-inch-wheelbase chassis, sold at an impressive cost of $3,050. A luxuriously appointed beast in Dark Brewster Green, it was a true king of the road that could challenge what were then the top models of Pierce and Packard in horsepower and scale.
The Model 65 offered here is literally “the” Model 65, as the only known survivor. That it remained in existence can be credited to the original owner, Silas N. Johnson, a highly prosperous Coca-Cola bottler, Budweiser distributor, and brick manufacturer in the frontier town of Laredo, Texas. Mr. Johnson knew the land well and accordingly specified his new Rambler from a local dealer, the International Automobile Company, with a wider-than-standard track for additional stability on the rocky local roads. Unfortunately, he could do little about the large tires required for the 40×5 in. wheels, which proved difficult to replace in Laredo. Accordingly, after little use, the grand Model 65 was retired to one of Mr. Johnson’s buildings, and there it remained in dry storage until 1963.
That year, the car, reportedly complete down to its Texas registration plate, was sold from the Johnson Estate to Karl Binner, who kept it himself for 33 years. In 1995 it passed to Clyde Stevens of Farmington, Utah, then, a decade later, to Ray Gibson of Turlock, California. Mr. Gibson finally embarked on a restoration, reportedly making every effort to use as many original components as possible, including the rare and correct engraved Rambler headlamps. Following completion of the three-year restoration in 2008, the car was exhibited at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it received a class award.
In 2010 the Rambler was purchased by Rick Eagen of Evergreen, Colorado, in whose ownership it was judged Best of Show at the Saratoga Springs Invitational Concours in 2011. A year later it joined the Muckel Collection, where it has enjoyed proper care and maintenance since. It is mounted on reproduction 32-inch wheels and rims, produced specially for the car by Coker, and is accompanied by a history file.
It would be a joy to drive this Rambler on any number of Brass tours—or perhaps take a back road to the now very modern, sophisticated city of Laredo to reintroduce it to the place where its long life began.