1910 Sears Model P Four Passenger Motorbuggy  Chassis no. 2321
Lot 527¤
1910 Sears Model P Four Passenger Motorbuggy
Chassis no. 2321
Sold for US$ 38,500 inc. premium
Lot Details
1910 Sears Model P Four Passenger Motorbuggy
Chassis no. 2321
Two-cylinder opposed L-head engine 107ci
14hp
Two-speed planetary transmission
Full elliptic springs
Rear wheel mechanical brakes

*Offered from a Private European Museum Collection
*Formerly the Property of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
*Rare Highwheeler Motorbuggy model


The Sears Motorbuggy

The marketing principle was simple. Sears had a huge and trusting clientele all over America thanks to its widely circulated catalogs. This customer base trusted the company and was used to sending in orders for everything from farm implements to clothing, and later even houses. So it was a simple step to start producing its own motorcar. That vehicle was a decidedly conservative high-wheeled buggy-type conveyance designed by Alvaro S. Krotz and initially built in the factory of Colonel William H. McCurdy of Evansville, Indiana before Sears took over manufacture.

The layout couldn't have been simpler; the Sears used a basic steel frame, cart springs and wooden-spoke wheels, with hard rubber tires at all corners, a horizontally-opposed two-cylinder, 10 horsepower four-stroke engine and dual chain drive to the rear wheels. Not being a company prone to embracing fads, this car employed tiller steering. In 1910 the engine benefited from a power increase to 14 horsepower, although the wheelbase remained the same at 72-inches. Two years later, the car was quietly phased out and the tooling disposed of. Although by 1912 the Sears was seriously outdated, its demise was based on the fact that every unit sold generated a loss for the company.

The Sears Motorbuggy was sold by mail order through Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogs during 1908-1912. Motorbuggy models ranged in price from $325 to $485, and they are the rarest and largest of all Sears models.

The Motorcar Offered

In the March 1948 edition of the Horseless Carriage Club Gazette, under the heading '25 Year Old Autos Reborn Here', an article records how the President of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Major Lenox Lohr was actively sourcing collectible automobiles and rejuvenating them with his team of colleagues at the growing Museum. The featured automobile highlighting the article is this same Sears, which had clearly recently joined this collection. The following issue shows his daughter Barbara proudly exhibiting the car outside the MSI, after it had received a sympathetic restoration.

It can safely be assumed that the car remained in the collection until 2008 when Bonhams was entrusted with de-accessioning a handful of automobiles. File notes record it as actually joining the MSI in 1972, but it is quite possible that the car was in Major Lohr's personal collection, and shown there first before becoming part of the Museum collection, as other vehicles were. At the time, the Museum and Bonhams staff were able to comment that the engine was 'free' and that it appeared to be a remarkably complete and handsome example of the model. The body and seating were also generally in fair condition.

The Motorbuggy remains in much the same order from when it joined the current Private European Museum Collection at Bonhams' 2008 auction. It has a pleasing consistency and patina of its now well mellowed earlier rebuild. There have been no attempts to run it, however, and it will no doubt require recommissioning. When this is completed, with its simple construction and relatively complete chassis, the Sears could be driven and enjoyed as is or a project for the right restorer.

Without reserve

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished.

If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please email us at motors.us@bonhams.com or request a complimentary motorcar valuation.

If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
¤ Without reserve
Contacts
  1. Samantha Hamill
    Auction Administration - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 461 6514
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669
  2. Rupert Banner
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 461 6515
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669
  3. Evan Ide
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work Boston, United States
    Work +1 917 340 4657
  4. Eric Minoff
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1630
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669