<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667

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Lot 37
1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"

US$ 750,000 - 1,100,000
€ 630,000 - 920,000
Amended
1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"
Chassis no. K 179
Engine no. 1675/1667

748 cu in, T-Head Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Single Carburetor, 70hp
4-Speed Manual Transmission with chain final drive
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Suspension
2-Wheel Brakes

*Well-known example of this iconic behemoth model
*Extremely rare 'Big Thomas'
*AACA Award-winning condition
*The Ultimate in Brass Era Touring cars



THE THOMAS COMPANY

Like so many of his pioneering contemporaries, Erwin Ross (E. R.) Thomas was in the bicycle business prior to manufacturing automobiles. During the 1890s, E. R. was the managing director for H. A. Lozier & Co. who produced the famous Cleveland bicycle. However, he recognized the huge potential in the newly evolving automobile business and left Lozier to take over the Buffalo Automobile and Auto-Bi company, which was known for its production of bicycles and motorcycle engines. In 1900 E. R. changed the company name to Thomas Auto-Bi, and by 1901 Thomas claimed to build more air-cooled motors than anyone else.

E. R. had bigger things in mind however, and the first Thomas automobiles were introduced in 1903; small runabouts described in the catalog as the happy medium between the cheaper and more expensive cars. By 1905 the Thomas Company was building bigger four-cylinder cars dubbed 'Thomas Flyers'. Thomas Flyers soon gained notoriety among the faster and more flamboyant Touring cars of their day. E. R. had an eye for flair and his huge powerful cars showed it – they were often finished in bright colors and loaded with many ornate brass accessories. The 1907 sales catalogue boasted "You can't go by a Thomas Flyer, so go buy one!"

The Thomas name endures and is most readily remembered for its most astounding victory in one the greatest automotive competition events of the time, the 1908 Le Matin sponsored 'The Great Race'. The route went from New York (in the dead of winter) across the U.S. to San Francisco, then by ship to Alaska, and across the Bering Strait, either by ship or by ice to Siberia. To be certain that the Yukon and the Bering Strait would be covered in ice, the race purposely began in the winter. Many of the dirt covered trails had never been traveled by a motorcar.

E. R. Thomas made a last-minute decision to enter a car and three days prior to the start, a stock 1907 model was selected from the factory lot. 13,341 miles and 171 days later, the victorious Thomas rolled into Paris and forever cemented its place in history.

The following year Thomas moved into 'six-cylinderism', the territory which luxury manufacturers were now pushing as the ultimate in performance and refinement, Napier, Pierce-Arrow, Rolls Royce to name but a few. For Thomas, they simply extended their existing four with two extra cylinders, but owing to their mammoth 5½ inch bore, this pushed the engine size out to 12.9 liters and provided more than 70 horsepower. At this point, this was by far the largest engine available and remains one of the largest engine ever to be fitted to an American production automobile.

The new 'six' commanded the designation Model K or 6-70 for logical reasons and Thomas priced it at $6000 in Touring form, with options of Seven Passenger Touring, 'Tourabout' or 'Flyabout'. Of the handful of options for these chassis, the Flyabout was by far the most sporting and effectively a Thomas branding for a 'Toy Tonneau'. Sitting on a 140 inch wheelbase, it was a gargantuan car even among its peers. Yet, despite its scale, the 'square' engine dimensions of 5½ by 5½ inches and with four speed transmission provided a very tractable and lively engine performance, the engine revving higher and with a broader power band than many of its longer stroked contemporaries. Perhaps owing to lessons learned on their trials around the world, ignition came from a 'belt and braces' system of coil and magneto.

In the 6-70, Thomas had truly created a large and sporting car, in terms of performance it was hard to eclipse and for this reason it has remained one of the 'Greats' in folklore ever since. They have long been the ultimate for the serious collector and are prized for their looks, size, charisma and greatly appreciated for their driving characteristics.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Very few original Thomas motorcars have survived to this day, particularly of the larger horsepower earlier models, and a number of those that have were delivered by Thomas for commercial purposes, invariably for the fitting of fire apparatus. As with many big horsepower cars of this era it was the power plants that carried the longest lives, having second or third careers in different applications to which they were born.

Largely because of their iconic status gained from the around the world conquest, Thomas cars have been restored and revived since the early days of the hobby and one of the most passionate exponents of them was Bill Harrah, who of course owned the famous circumnavigating car.

According to information provided by the seller, this car was restored using the basis of a rolling chassis that had come from the spares hoards at the Harrah collection, and with the power plant of a big horsepower 6-70 sourced from Wolfgang Gawor, as well as other period components from other sources. Pieces that proved to be more elusive were carefully re-cast using surviving cars for their templates. Atop the monster running gear, an exquisite lightweight Flyabout body body built by Stan Francis, completing the brilliant combination of power and weight in Thomas inimitable style.

The restoration was completed in 1993. The car has been shown on numerous occasions since including at Amelia Island for the 2008 reunion of surviving Thomases and at AACA Concours level. In the case of the latter it =received a Senior Award in 1994 and Grand National Winner in 2012. Six cylinders, 70 horsepower, chaindrive, sports coachwork, from the original legendary American manufacturer of pre-teen era, this fabulous Thomas Flyer quite literally as they say today, ticks all of the boxes...

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this car is titled under chassis no. K179.
Contacts
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
<b>1909 Thomas FLYER MODEL K 6-70 "FLYABOUT"</b><br />Chassis no. K 179<br />Engine no. 1675/1667
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