The ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher
1911 Ford Model T Torpedo Roadster
Engine no. 14716
If any individual Ford Model T indicates the universal appeal of Henrys flivver it is this 1911 Torpedo Tourer, restored to gorgeous condition for the pioneering collection of Dr. Samuel L. Scher and maintained lovingly and sympathetically since its mid-60s acquisition by Richard C. Paine, Jr. in the Seal Cove Museum.
Dr. Schers collection had been built in the late 40s and 50s when collecting was in its infancy and when an old car usually did not mean one built in the Thirties, which were still seen by most people as fifteen or twenty year old used cars, hopelessly behind the times. The Antique Automobile Club of America was in its infancy; the Classic Car Club was still searching for a definition of classic. Even the CCCAs official history notes that in 1951, when the CCCA was formed, the AACA grouped classics in something called Class 19: Tow Cars.
Dr. Scher is recalled by those who knew him with affection and with an appreciation for the eye which he had for gorgeous, significant, interesting automobiles. He and D. Cameron Peck are among the foundation of high quality automobile collections. Their names are the last word in provenance.
One of the founders of the practice of cosmetic surgery, Dr. Scher bought flamboyant Rolls-Royces for his everyday transportation. If a fresh, sharp, new Rolls was spied rolling down Park Avenue behind a set of huge P100 headlights it was likely to be Dr. Scher inside. But along the way he acquired an appreciation for other expressions of automobile rarity, performance, style and class. He has to be credited with saving dozens and dozens of cars and in the process he and a few like-minded collectors began to refine and develop the art and science of restoration. Their devotion laid the foundations that still provide the groundwork for restoration and judging standards in car collecting.
The schedule of cars bought by Richard C. Paine, Jr. from Dr. Scher in the mid-60s reads like an encyclopedia of great automobiles: 1908 Simplex 90hp; 1916 Stutz Bearcat; 1904 Cadillac rear entrance tonneau, 1912 Pierce-Arrow 48hp Vestibule Suburban; 1911 Oldsmobile Limited Touring (with 7,000 miles); 1913 Mercer Type 35J Raceabout; 1906 60hp Thomas Flyer Touring; 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 45hp; 1911 Peugeot 50hp Labourdette Skiff; 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Short Chassis Touring Spider; 1900 Locomobile steamer.
This was a man who knew his automobiles, who assembled a collection that would today be among the worlds best and who did it solely on his own intuition while being one of the leaders in a demanding, fast-moving surgical specialty.
The inclusion among the Mercers, Pierces, Peugeots and Locomobiles of this 1911 Ford Model T Roadster is evidence enough of the importance of the Model T in any collection. It is beautifully restored in bright blue with beige coachline, black interior, black leatherette top and black chassis frame and undercarriage. Being a 1911 it is generously outfitted with brass brightwork, from the radiator shell and acetylene headlights to the E&J kerosene sidelights and taillight and brass tube windshield frame. It is nicely accessorized with a folded trumpet style bulb horn and Steward speedometer. Clean, dry and orderly, the age of its restoration only reflects how well it was done and why it deserved to earn the AACA National First Prize plaque which it wears.
Its condition today is a visible tribute to two of the pioneers of car collecting, Dr. Samuel L. Scher and Richard C. Paine, Jr. and it brings over a half century of impeccable provenance to its now 97 year life. After being mechanically recommissioned and refreshed, it has many touring miles and show appearances before it.