<b>1917 Smith Flyer</b>
Lot 440
1917 Smith Flyer
Sold for US$ 8,800 inc. premium

Lot Details
<b>1917 Smith Flyer</b> <b>1917 Smith Flyer</b> <b>1917 Smith Flyer</b>
1917 Smith Flyer

118cc Single cylinder air cooled engine
2 Horse power
Buckboard suspension
Direct drive

THE SMITH FLYER

The Smith Flyer was an American automobile manufactured by the A.O. Smith Company in Milwaukee from 1915 until about 1919 when the manufacturing rights were sold to Briggs & Stratton, and it was renamed the Briggs & Stratton Flyer. The Smith Flyer is a small, simple, lightweight, two-seat vehicle with a wooden frame that doubles as the body and as the suspension. A small gasoline engine is mounted on a fifth wheel, or motor wheel, to drive the Flyer. The wheelbase was 62 inches (1575 mm), the wheels were 20 inches (508 mm) in diameter, and the width was 30 inches (762 mm). Since the 5th wheel was directly driven by the engine, the engine was started with the driving wheel lifted slightly in the air, and then when the engine was running smoothly, the driver lowered the engine (by means of a lever) gently to start the forward motion.

The direct drive motor wheel was developed by Arthur William Wall of Birmingham, England, around 1910 to power a bicycle. The concept of attaching the motor directly to the wheel was not new; Ferdinand Porsche developed one around 1900, but his motor wheel was electric. The A.O. Smith Corporation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, acquired the U.S. manufacturing rights to the Wall motorwheel in 1914 and first produced the motor wheel for use on bicycles, but later added the wooden-framed buckboard car that they called the "Smith Motorwheel". In 1919 the manufacturing rights were purchased by the Briggs & Stratton Company, who produced the Motor Wheel and Flyers. They made several improvements in the engine, increasing the bore size, along with a new, all steel connecting rod and flywheel magneto. These improvements increased the power output to 2 horsepower (1.5 kW). Briggs & Stratton marketed the Flyer nationwide, and even started a publication entitled Motor Wheel Age. In 1925, when they sold the rights to the Flyer to Automotive Electric Services Corporation. The Automotive Electric Services continued to produce the Flyer until the supply of engines ran out, then they substituted an electric motor driven by a battery.

Briggs & Stratton kept the motor that had been the heart of the Motor Wheel and adapted it to other applications such as lawn mowers and running small equipment. The Motor Wheel motor was the progenitor of all Briggs & Stratton motors to follow.

Lindley Bothwell acquired this Flyer from L. Glen Royston in Ocean Park California. No date of acquisition is on file, but one would assume it was 1950s or earlier. A highly complete example it looks to have been a fine original example when acquired. It looks like with a little effort the Smith could be back on the road and enjoyed.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this vehicle is sold on a bill of sale.
Activities
Auction information

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Buyers' Premium and Charges

Please Note: The Buyer's Premium is as follows:

For Motor vehicle property, the Buyer's Premium is 10% of the hammer price.

For AUTOMOBILIA, RAILWAYANA and other non-motor vehicle property the premium is 25% of the first $150,000 of the bid price, 20% of the amount of the bid price above $150,001 up to and including $3,000,000 and 12% on any amount exceeding $3,000,000.

Payment Notices

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Shipping Notices

For Automobilia and Railwayana shipping inquiries, please contact Chris Long with Long's Crating and Logistics Inc at (702) 748-4973 or longscrating@gmail.com.

Special Car Dealer Notices

California Department of Motor Vehicles – Vehicle Dealer Licence No. 49015.
Current licence set to expire May 31, 2019
, number 49015

Contacts
  1. Malcolm Barber
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work 20 7468 8238
    FaxFax: +44 207 495 0933
  2. Rupert Banner
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 461 6515
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007
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