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Lot 794
1911 Staver Model 35 Roadster Chassis Nu

Sold for US$ 57,500 inc. premium


18 Sep 2004, 10:00 PDT

San Francisco

1911 Staver Model 35 Roadster
Chassis Number: 1439
Engine Number: 3608
For years before the motorcar was a possibility, the Abbot & Staver Buggy Company had been hard at work building quality carriages in Auburn, Illinois. After A.A. Abbott's death the firm soldiered on, but eventually failed in 1899. It was reborn under majority stockholder Henry Staver and became the Staver Carriage Company. Quality was high and business was good enough to expand to offer a fine highwheeler automobile in 1907.

According to Beverly Rae Kimes, The Staver Carriage Company of Chicago was responsible for one of the biggest and most expensive highwheelers on the market. For a highwheeler, $1,000 was pretty a pretty dear price, even for one with a two-cylinder engine that would push it to a precarious 30mph top speed. Although not as powerful or as carefully built, a Sears highwheeler cost just half the price.

The highwheelers were displaced by a more conventional four-cylinder automobile in 1910. Fitted with a selective transmission and shaft drive to the rear wheels, Stavers were offered in either 30 or 45hp versions. In 1911, the year in which the car on offer was built, the firm was reorganized as the Staver Motor Car Company. It was also the year that Henry Staver passed away and that the Staver T-head, four-cylinder engine was offered in 30, 35 and 45 horsepower versions.

The Teetor T-Head engine used in the Staver had a bore of 4 1/2 inches and a stroke of 5 inches. The engine was manufactured by the Light Inspection Car Company of Hagerstown, Indiana, which later became noted piston ring supplier Perfect Circle

This 112-inch wheelbase 35 hp roadster looks for all the world like a slightly smaller version of a Mercer Race-about. With its bright yellow paint with black coach lines, monocle windshield and swept fenders, this is one stunning and very exciting looking automobile. It rolls on artillery wheels with pneumatic tires and carries twin spared out back.

This one-off Staver Model 35 runabout was the personal car of Henry Staver's son, Harry personal car. Staver was on his way from Chicago to a fair in Iowa where he expected to race his sleek French Gray runabout when he became comprehensively mired in mud. Extricated by a local lumber dealer, he left the car behind and returned to Chicago by rail. He subsequently traveled back to the small town in Iowa and convinced the lumber man to become a Staver dealer. The man retained the special runabout and took a touring car as well.

More than 30 years later in about 1948 Jasper Wiglesworth was scouring the back roads of Kansas, Missouri and Iowa looking for old cars. He heard rumours of an elderly man who had a couple of antique cars. He followed leads and trails until he found a man with a pair of Stavers: a special runabout and a touring car. By all accounts, the lumber dealer hadn't succeeded in selling his pair of Stavers. Wigglesworth negotiated a deal for what was then an astronomical $500 and left a $100 deposit on the cars. Several weeks later he returned with a trailer only to discover that the Iowa man had meant $500 a piece for the cars. He informed Mr. Wiglesworth that if the younger man could broker a deal to sell the cars that he would be released from his agreement and would get his deposit back.

Jasper Wiglesworth did succeed in brokering the sale of the Stavers to the Horn Brothers' Museum in Sarasota, Florida and he did get his deposit back. The Staver runabout stayed in the Horn collection for approximately 40 years although the museum itself changed hands. When the Museum collection was dissolved and sold off in the 1980s, collector Rick Carroll acquired the still very original Staver runabout. During his ownership it was repainted in its current yellow and black livery.

After Carroll's tragic death in about 1989, Jasper Wiglesworth finally acquired the Staver that he had first wanted when he saw it back in 1948.

As of 2004, the Staver name is all but forgotten and only a very few Staver automobiles are still extant. Unlike this unique yellow Runabout, those remaining Stavers are cataloged models. This, however, is Staver's Staver.
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