Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 856
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher, 1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster
Engine no. 11F621

Sold for US$ 282,000 inc. premium
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher
1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster
Engine no. 11F621
In the Fall 1985 issue of Automobile Quarterly John F. Katz recounted the history of a particular Stoddard Dayton owned by Carl G. Fisher, undoubtedly one of the most prolific, ingenious, far-sighted men of industry and commerce in the early years of the 20th century. It seems, according at least to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum which owns a Stoddard Dayton Model 9A which they believe may have belonged to Fisher, that Fisher had a special affection for the Stoddard family’s products.

Unlike many automobile entrepreneurs, Fisher’s accomplishments still resound today. He made his (first) fortune with the Prest-o-Lite acetylene gas tank which fueled the lights on many early automobiles. He headed the syndicate that built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

He later turned his attention to the development of resort real estate, aided by two highways which he helped promote, the east-west Lincoln Highway and the north-south Dixie Highway. Fisher bought large tracts in attractive seaside locations and creating the infrastructure of roads and utilities which attracted and supported residential construction. His first venture was Miami Beach which Fisher laid out on the barrier island off the city of Miami. It was followed by Montauk, on the tip of Long Island’s South Fork.

Word has it that Fisher scouted the route of the Lincoln Highway from the driver’s seat of a Stoddard Dayton. He also entered one in the first race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and used another, his personal car, to pace both the first race in 1909 and the first Indianapolis 500 Mile race in 1911.

The Stoddard Dayton performance in the August 14-16, 1909 festival at the new Speedway was outstanding. Two Model 9F cars with H.J. Edwards’ single camshaft hemispherical combustion chamber engine were entered and they finished one-two in the 5- and 50-mile races while in the feature races for larger displacement cars one of them finished third.

Edwards’ design for the Stoddard Dayton Model 9’s engine was novel and, particularly with the technology of the time, ingenious. A monobloc four with the head cast integrally with the cylinder block, the Stoddard Dayton was one of the first automobiles to use inclined valves and hemispherically-shaped combustion chambers. The ground-breaking twin cam Peugeots of 1913 were still four years in the future when Edwards recognized the superiority of inclined valves, hemispherical combustion chambers and cross flow breathing at Stoddard Dayton in 1909.

He employed a curious valve actuation system which employed only one camshaft and one rocker arm per cylinder to control both the intake and exhaust valves. The long rocker arms were pivoted in the center of the cylinder head with the camshaft in the crankcase on the intake side. The exhaust valve was actuated against spring pressure by the rocker arm pushing down. The intake valve, however, was pulled open by a spring on the pushrod as the cam follower came to a recess on the camshaft. The pushrod, or now more accurately described as a pullrod, was securely fastened to the intake end of the rocker and the spring pulled it down while the rocker arm’s exhaust end lifted off the head of the valve. It eliminated four whole sets of mechanical components but at the cost of great frictional losses and wear on the camshaft and followers which proved to be unacceptable.

Edwards used the Model 9 system only one year, replacing it in 1910 with a pair of camshafts in the crankcase and two sets of rocker arms that spanned the head, placing the exhaust cam on the intake side and the intake cam on the exhaust side. It vastly improved reliability and reduced mechanical losses so much that Stoddard Dayton raised the engine’s advertised horsepower from 40 to 50. Riley in England used a similar system until well into the 1950s with great success in both production engines and in competition.

The valve gear, cast and machined in brass and bronze is all exposed on top of the Stoddard Dayton engine, a mechanical symphony of accurately timed and coordinated motion and a mechanic’s dream of grease fittings and lubrication points. In operation it is a wonder to behold and able to captivate and mesmerize those who love mechanical contrivances. Small boys are especially susceptible, and may be infected for life by the challenge of analyzing the intricacies of a Stoddard Dayton’s valve gear.

Carl Fisher again chose a Stoddard Dayton to pace the 1911 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the first held of the newly brick-paved surface of the 2 1/2 mile track. It was his personal Model 11 roadster.

The Paine Collection’s 1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11 is a similar roadster-bodied car which was acquired from the storied collection of Dr. Samuel Scher in the mid-60s. The hood and fenders are beige while the body itself is red. The interior is tan leather with a matching cloth top. The doors bear Dr. Scher’s stylized “S” monogram. It is equipped with Rushmore acetylene headlights, Gray & Davis kerosene sidelights and taillight, dual rear spare tires on demountable rims, a Steward speedometer, New Haven clock, a hooded instrument light on an adjustable mount and folding windshield. The wood spoke wheels have varnished spokes and rims.

The suspension uses semi-elliptical leaf springs at the front and an ingenious three-quarter elliptical spring system at the rear. It is very unusual in having friction lever shock absorbers. Rear wheel contracting band brakes help slow it down.

The bodywork is attractive and very elemental. The two seats are built integrally with the back of the bodywork and only the doors and fairly tall cowl sides keep it from being a runabout. Occasional passengers get even more rudimentary accommodations on the rear deck which is provided only with grab bars on each side and a grab bar behind the body. This perch also functions as a storage box, a purpose to which it is much better suited than seating passengers.

A beautiful Rubes-style trumpet horn is mounted low on the right (driver’s) side of the body and blown with a bulb attached to the steering wheel column.

It was restored for Dr. Scher and bears an Antique Automobile Club of America National First Prize badge. The restoration shows its age, and little if anything has been done with it aside from keeping the brass, paint and interior in good condition for static display in the Seal Cove Museum. The fuel tank, a cylindrical affair sitting between the frame rails under the spare tires, has rotted out around its filler neck and cap and will need repair.

Looking at this big, powerful, 50hp roadster from Stoddard Dayton it is not hard to understand how a hard-charging, ambitious, competitive businessman and accomplished amateur racer like Carl Fisher could become enthralled by it. Very few Stoddard Daytons survive today and their many outstanding, industry-leading, features are infrequently seen. This ex-Dr. Sam Scher, ex-Richard C. Paine, Jr. 1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11 50hp Roadster is an outstanding example of the marque awaiting only a sympathetic hand to return it to operating condition.
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621
Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher,1911 Stoddard Dayton Model 11K 50hp Roadster  Engine no. 11F621
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


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

Buyers' Premium and Charges

Like the vast majority of auctioneers Bonhams charge a Buyer's Premium on the Hammer Price of each Lot purchased and this is subject to VAT. Some lots may also be subject to VAT on the Hammer Price and these lots will be clearly marked with a symbol ( †, Ω, *) printed beside the lot number.

For Automobilia the Buyer's Premium is 28% on the first £40,000 of the hammer price; 27% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £40,001 up to and including £800,000; 21% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £800,001 up to and including £4,500,000 and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,001. (subject to VAT)

For Motor Cars and Vehicle Registration Numbers the Buyer's Premium will be 15% on the first £500,000 of the Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on the balance thereafter.

VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Buyers Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

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 for returning clients only. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

If you have requested a shipping quote, we will send this to you via email within 5 business days of the auction ending.

Please note our shipping quotes are bespoke and require special care and handling from our team and shippers. Shipping will be booked after payment is received. Please allow 7-14 business days from the time of booking for packing and dispatch, depending on your chosen shipping method. If your purchase is time sensitive, or you wish to explore other options, please see our list of alternative third party shippers in New York and Los Angeles who may be able to assist you.

Oversized Lots

Please note that all lots marked with a W in the catalogue are oversized and subject to additional storage and shipping methods. All additional lots purchased with W lots are considered group lots and will be subject to the same terms as W lots.

W Lots will be transferred to offsite storage at Door to Door Services at the buyer's risk and expense within five (5) business days following the auction. Please contact the Client Services team at [email protected] for the exact movement date.

The per-lot charges levied by Door to Door Services are as follows (plus any applicable sales tax):

Transfer .................. $85
Daily storage........... $10
Insurance (on Hammer + Premium + tax) 0.9%

Transfer ................. $42.50
Daily storage........... $5
Insurance (on Hammer + Premium + tax) 0.9%

If you have any questions, please contact our Client Services team.