c.1901 Crestmobile Model B 3½hp Runabout  Engine no. 335

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Lot 680
c.1901 Crestmobile Model B 3½hp Runabout
Engine no. 335

Sold for £ 25,425 (US$ 32,884) inc. premium
c.1901 Crestmobile Model B 3½hp Runabout
Engine no. 335
Body no. XXII

Footnotes

  • Based at Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Crest Manufacturing Company first produced gasoline engines before venturing into car production, ‘manufacturing all the parts to construct automobiles’. Crest first demonstrated its capability to do so in 1900, offering a three-wheeler initially, but by 1901 had settled for a four-wheeled, front-engined design to become known as the ‘Crestmobile’. The first Crestmobiles were single-cylinder, chain-driven two-seaters - Models A, B and C - all of which had air-cooled engines although of varying power outputs. Shaft drive had been adopted by 1903 and a new 8½hp single-cylinder model introduced in 1904, but Crest was slow to adapt to changing expectations within the emerging market for powered transport and folded in 1905.
    Perhaps the ultimate in ‘barn finds’, the car offered here is an example of the tiller-steered Crestmobile Model B Runabout. It is claimed that the car has remained stored since the early 1900s, and its condition supports this claim. The engine is a Crest 3½hp, a unit very similar to the contemporary De Dion, which can be pull-started from within the car by means of a leather belt. Equipped with oil sidelights manufactured by one Edward E Pech, of New Haven, USA, the car has a wheelbase of some 57” while the body is clearly marked ‘XXII’, perhaps denoting that this is the 12th example produced. The engine appeared to be complete and was free to turn at the time the vehicle was viewed, while both the drive chains and tiller steering appeared to be intact, as did the ignition advance/retard mechanism and tiller-mounted clutch. When examined, the drive chains and chassis appeared in good condition, with the sprockets showing no great wear. The spoked wheels appeared sound, although the tyres have rotted, while the leather cape hood will need professional restoration if it is to be retained.
    This car represents an exciting opportunity to acquire an untouched and entirely original piece of early American automotive history which would, of course, be eligible for many Veteran Car Club events including the popular twins and singles ‘Creepy Crawley’. It also offers the prospect of an early start on the London to Brighton Run as well as invitations to many other prestigious events.

c.1901 Crestmobile Model B 3½hp Runabout  Engine no. 335
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