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The Auction of the Estate of Dr Ralph W.E. Cox Jr. / 1906 Waltham Orient Buckboard Engine no. 2478

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Lot 314
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1906 Waltham Orient Buckboard
Engine no. 2478
Amended
10 May 2014, 14:00 EDT
NASW Aviation Museum and New York

Sold for US$12,320 inc. premium

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1906 Waltham Orient Buckboard
Engine no. 2478

Marketed as 'The Cheapest Automobile in the World – Everybody Should Have One', the Orient Buckboard was the product of The Waltham Manufacturing Co. of Massachusetts. It should come as no surprise to learn that the Orient name first appeared on a Bicycle. In 1893 champion bicyclist Charles H. Metz, who later went on to build the Metz, organized the Waltham Manufacturing Company to build the Orient Bicycle. Pushed by investor and General Electric president Charles Coffin, in 1899 the company showed an electric vehicle in New York. Although the electric for Coffin wasn't the death of the company, neither Metz nor the employees who built it were happy with the vehicle.

By 1902 Metz had his fill of investor meddling in the company and he left Orient, which by that time was an American agent for deDion and was a producer of its own quads and trikes as well as a proper four-wheeled motorcar. With Metz gone, investors Coffin and M.P. Clough brought in Leonard Gaylor, who promptly designed the elemental motor vehicle dubbed the Orient Buckboard. Looking almost exactly like a large rear-engine go-cart, the vehicle was powered by a rear-mounted, vertical, single-cylinder engine of 4hp, weighed just 400 lbs, had claimed a top speed of 35mph and would climb a 1:12 hill in top gear. Steering was by tiller and the flexible hickory wooden platform provided the suspension. The 'Buckboard' would remain in production through 1907, by which time the cars were marketed as Walthams and the name 'Orient' had become the model.

The example presented here is a good stock example of the model, seemingly retaining its original structure/bodywork, albeit currently shod with oversize tires and missing its front fenders.

On display here at the Wildwood Airport for a number of years in the 1950s/60s, it would almost certainly have been run and used in this period as displays and events were common. The car has since been in sympathetic storage on the Cox property, but it is clear that it has not been run for many years and will require recommissioning before use.

The Waltham Orient 'Buckboard' represents an individual statement, one theory on the development automobile from the early days of the American motor industry and, as such, there are examples present in numerous collections around the country. With some tidying this would therefore be equally at home in any early automobile collection, be it for display or use in Horseless Carriage Club Events.

Without reserve

Saleroom notices

Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.

Additional information