- Offered from the St. Yves Collection; single-family ownership from 1959
- Rare and complete St. Louis-built roadster from the heady days of independent American automobile manufacturing
- Powered by a Lycoming 226-cu.-in. straight eight-cylinder engine
- Incredibly unique features such as an optical-illusion serial number plate and Griffin radiator ornament
- Older restoration in pale yellow over black fenders with brown upholstery and tan fabric soft-top
After making his second fortune operating assembly plants for Chevrolet, St. Louis multimillionaire Russel E. Gardner and his sons set off to build their own automobile. Leaning on their experience assembling cars, the Gardner family sourced parts from multiple manufacturers, chief among them being Lycoming aircraft engines.
While the new Gardner automobile was well received, the company truly elevated itself in the public eye when early American racecar driver Ernie “Cannonball” Baker drove a stock Gardner sedan across the country in February 1924. While the trip had been done many times before, it had never been attempted in the height of winter. Baker reportedly arrived in Los Angeles just four days, 14 hours and 15 minutes after leaving New York, a time claimed to be faster than any transcontinental train of the period. Three years later, a Gardner automobile also set a new transcontinental record for a sedan.
By 1927, Gardner had improved its vaunted design with an Alemite automatic chassis lubrication system and the new Lycoming 226-cubic-inch straight eight-cylinder engine for the Model 80, which produced 70 horsepower. Accompanying the important mechanical changes were significant updates to the styling in the form of a new, custom brougham body by Lubitz and a redesigned roadster body later in the year.
Offered for the first time in over 60 years, this desirable roadster was restored in the 1950s. All the rare hardware is present, including Gardner’s signature Griffin winged radiator ornament, an original full walnut steering wheel, and an incredibly unique serial number plate that denotes the chassis number with an optical illusion. The car is equipped with a rumble seat, a rear-mounted spare, and the famous Lycoming straight-eight mated to a three-speed, manual transmission. The car rides on wood-spoked, “artillery”-style wheels.
Mechanically sorted and enjoyed as is or fully restored to its former grandeur, this rare and complete Gardner is historically significant as it represents the swan song of independent American car manufacturing.