1910 McIntyre Model B-1 Runabout
Engine no. B589
In its infancy, the automobile appeared in many forms, most of them unrecognizable as a 'car' to a contemporary viewer. One of these iterations was the high-wheeler, the most basic version of a 'horseless carriage'. Finding favor in rural markets with their lower prices and familiar looks, the high-wheelers typically amounted to not much more than a standard horse buggy with a gas motor powering the rear wheels. The design was simple, easy to repair, and practical. Plus, the solid rubber tires meant blowouts and flats would never be a problem. Hey, if it ain't broke, why fix it?
W.H. McIntyre forged his company from the from the collapse of Auburn, Indiana based Kiblinger, another high wheeler company of which W.H. was the factory manager and one that was suffering from a patent infringement lawsuit. McIntyre bought Kiblinger in 1909, changed the name to W.H. McIntyre Company, and soon released a line of two and four cylinder high-wheelers to a non-patent infringing design. Often touted as the only company to offer a full line of high-wheelersfrom runabouts, to surreys, to touringsten different models were available, enough to support the company's motto of "The right car for the most people."
The example offered here is a 1910 Model B-1 Runabout, one of 273 cars to leave the factory in 1910. Completed in McIntyre's last year of high-wheeler production, it is powered by a 14hp opposed twin routing power through a 2-speed planetary gearbox with chain drive that we are informed is in good running order. As sporting as one could get in a high-wheelers, the runabout bodywork sits neatly atop the box frame. Likely restored at some point a few decades ago, it has mellowed with age and shows good patination throughout without looking worn.
By 1911, McIntyre had switched to conventional auto manufacture--and dabbled in cyclecar construction-but the prevailing feelings that they were primarily a high-wheeler builder kept sales low and production ceased in 1915. As work horses of the blue collar families of rural America, the survival rates of high-wheelers is low. Finding one in good nick from a well regarded manufacturer is a real treatit is unlikely that you'll pull up to another one at the next car show!