1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043

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Lot 77
Early-production example
1930 RUXTON MODEL C SALOON

US$ 450,000 - 600,000
€ 390,000 - 530,000
Amended
1930 RUXTON MODEL C SALOON
Chassis no. 1005
Engine no. 18S-1043
268ci Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Zenith Carburetor
100bhp at 3,400rpm
3-Speed Manual Transmission
Front Wheel Drive
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

*Early-production example of the innovative Ruxton Automobile
*Highly fashionable and recognizable paint scheme
*Excitingly engineered with under-slung chassis
*Believed to have been displayed at Motor Shows when new
*A highly collectible and exiting piece of American automobile history



THE RUXTON

The Ruxton automobile was a highly innovative and luxurious machine, low and streamlined with a hood top that was barely higher than the fenders over its 19-inch front wheels. The roof of the sedan, designed by Budd's Joseph Ledwinka, was only 5 feet 3 inches high. The car was about 10-inches lower than other more conventional cars on the roads in the early 1930s.

Developed at roughly the same time as Cord's pioneering front-wheel-drive L-29, the Ruxton also took its inspiration from the success of Harry Miller's front-wheel-drive race cars, which began to make a splash at Indy and throughout the racing world in the latter half of the 1920s. Where Cord simply bought Miller's – and later, Van Ranst's – front-wheel-drive transaxle patent rights, however, the Ruxton's gestation proved more difficult.

It began, more or less, with Bill Muller, a development engineer for Budd in Philadelphia. Around 1926, he began to investigate the idea of a front-wheel-drive passenger car and, with Budd's support, a couple years later built a running prototype that used a Studebaker engine, Warner four-speed transmission, and de Dion front axle running through Weiss constant-velocity joints. Budd body engineer Joseph Ledwinka modified a Wolseley sedan body to fit it. Budd, however, only intended on supplying the body and concept to another company, which would then assemble and market the car, and one of Budd's directors, Archie Andrews, tried pitching it to a number of carmakers, including Peerless, Hupmobile, and Gardner. Rebuffed by each, he and Muller then decided to form a company, New Era Motors, and build the car themselves.

Among those on the board of directors were William Ruxton, who Andrews named the car after, and Childe Harold Wills, who would help Muller develop an improved transaxle that would both shorten the lengthy drivetrain by more than a foot and allow the Ruxton to achieve a much better front/rear weight distribution than the L-29. Andrews announced the Ruxton in spring 1929 and promised that production would begin that July, but Muller wouldn't finish the first Ruxton Model A prototype until August, right around the same time the Cord L-29 entered production.

All along, Andrews had to figure out exactly how New Era Motors would build the Ruxton. Budd would of course supply the bodies, and the Ruxton would use a Continental straight-eight engine, but New Era didn't have any production facilities of its own. So Andrews, who made his millions leveraging buyouts of marginal car companies, bought up Moon of St. Louis and persuaded the company to build the Ruxton; as a fallback, he also convinced Hartford, Wisconsin's Kissel to chip in.

Ruxton production did begin in June 1930, and Andrews recruited Broadway set designer Josef Urban to design eye-catching paint schemes for Ruxton's show cars, schemes that used horizontal bands of varying colors, usually in a gradation pattern, to emphasize both its length and its lowness, the latter a chief selling point of the car. Though hampered by the tough economic climate, the Ruxton did find buyers – either somewhere around 300 or 500, depending on the source – and some even preferred it over the larger and heavier Cord L-29. Michael Lamm, in comparing the two for Special Interest Autos #128, March 1992, noted that the Ruxton "takes a noticeably lighter touch, it's at least as responsive, much easier to drive, and while its styling isn't quite so sophisticated and well wrought as the L-29's, it's still quite an impressive, harmonious job of design." In fact, Ruxton production came to a halt in November 1930 not because of the car itself, but because both Moon and Kissel went out of business.

The Ruxton name and automobiles remain highly sought after by collectors worldwide, and very few remain in existence. In 2014, the marque was featured at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where the onlookers could admire the fine, radically yet beautifully finished, striped Ruxtons.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The beautiful example of the Ruxton model C offered here is configured in the Saloon body style. The car is the 5th example built of the model, and is believed to have been used by Ruxton and New Era Motors as a promotional car when new, and therefore possibly shown at various Motor Shows. The Ruxton's early history remains unknown, but picks up by the 1970s when the radical and innovative machine was in the hands of Mr. Doug Shinstine of Summer, Washington.

Mr. Shinstine had an extensive restoration done over a 4-year period during the late 1970s, before starting to exhibit the car at prestigious Concours events during the early 1980s. Exceptional Awards were earned for the Ruxton, including a First in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Today the Ruxton Saloon remains in beautiful condition throughout. It is evident, that Mr. Shinstine's restoration was done to a very high level throughout, but as can be expected for a job done several decades ago; the paint has started to crack and make 'spider webs' in areas. The livery of six different shades of blue, neatly accented by a purple beltline and wheels really suit the Ruxton, and was among the factory color schemes when new. The chassis is finished in a dark burgundy color, and still appears clean and highly detailed. Once inside, fine Cord silk can be found all over, naturally finished in blue as well, and the painted dashboard matches one of the exteriors stripes. Classic car magazine articles about the car dating back to the early 1980s describe the paintwork to have taken hundreds and hundreds of hours to complete, and somewhat of a masking and measuring nightmare!

A highly collectible and exciting piece of American automobile history, this early-production Ruxton is sure to catch people's eyes wherever it goes. Displaying highly innovative engineering methods and construction, and a strikingly and fashionable appearance, this Ruxton should be a welcomed entrant to concours events anywhere in the world.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, that further research suggests that this car was in-fact the first production Sedan built, and believed to be the sole surviving example that was painted in the Joseph Urban paint design from new. It is one of about 96 Ruxtons produced and just 19 known to survive, of which nine are Sedans. Much more information about the Ruxton Automobile is available to view in this cars history file, including a copy of Jim Fasnacht's fine book on the marque, The Ruxton Automobile, and a copy of the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance article written by Kandace Hawkinson and Jim Fasnacht. Please note that the title for this car is in transit.
Contacts
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
1930 RUXTON  MODEL C SALOON  Chassis no. 1005 Engine no. 18S-1043
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