<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480

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Lot 76
c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car

Sold for US$ 201,600 inc. premium

Quail Motorcar Auction

14 Aug 2020, 11:00 PDT

Los Angeles

c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car
Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)
Engine no. 561-7R - 54480

281 cu in, 6-Cylinder Side-Valve, Continental 7R Engine
Single Stromberg O2 Carburetor, 55hp
3-Speed Manual Transmission
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Spring Suspension
2-Wheel Brakes

*Sole example extant
*Comprehensively restored at a cost of in excess of $545,000
*Yet to be shown competitively at Concours level
*Show or museum potential


Previewing in Bedford Hills, New York by appointment. Please contact [email protected] for scheduling.


The Mason Tourist King

This exquisitely restored automobile is as far as we know the sole example of its marque to survive!

The Mason concern was one of dozens of vehicle constructors in the Newark, New Jersey area, which in the 'Teens and Twenties' could even count on its own Newark Auto Show to promote their wares. Names such as Hoagland-Thayer, Lescina, Keromotor, Messerer and Phianna sadly are gone into the mists of time, and so might the Mason Tourist King, if it were not for this car.

According to a reference in the Standard Catalog of American Cars, the suggestion has been that the car was designed as a pitch to the Military as a Staff Car, and was one that could be used for touring purposes, but has an ingenious bodywork set-up which would convert to providing a flat sleeping area in the center of the body. It is surmised that the concept was either too expensive to reproduce commercially, or that orders did not make the project viable, but perhaps it is more likely that their timing was off, for its Continental engine dates it to 1919-1920, which would have been too late for application for war use. It is thought that as such this may have been the only such car to have been built, it is certainly the only one known to have perpetuated to this day.

That the car survives at all is in part tribute to the esteemed collector the late Richard Roy, who is understood to have discovered the car along with a Case tractor decades ago. Mr. Roy was noted for gathering both antiques and automobiles, and his stable showed a particular leaning towards American cars of the 1920s, being stocked with vintage models of great American brands such as Chrysler, Mercer, and Pierce-Arrow. His collection was also known for the originality of its content, with the majority representing unrestored examples of their genre.

On acquisition, the Mason was also in seemingly original and unrestored order, which corroborates its authenticity, for despite the remarkably complicated coachwork that the car wears, it was very clearly bearing all the hallmarks of having been built in this configuration and then having received relatively modest use in its career.

The current owner and Mr. Roy were kindred spirits in terms of their love of specialty artefacts of all ages and when the Mason was shown, it immediately connected with him and became a negotiation quest, the like of which many collectors endure to secure rare items for their collections. In this situation, the bartering settled on the idea of the Case and the Mason transacting again as they had seemingly done so on previous occasions, and a deal was struck!

The vehicles were retrieved, and the Mason brought to his Connecticut home. The configuration and build of the car was something that truly fascinated its new custodian, but ultimately its condition was found wanting, and a decision was made to investigate how the car could be restored. Research into its maker and coachwork was extensive, but proved elusive, so the car itself simply had to be carefully dismantled and understood, before being rebuilt.

On the suggestion of the late, highly respected collector Robert 'Bob' M. Lee of Nevada, a local restorer, Twin Brooks Restorations of Suffield, Connecticut were entrusted with the task of reviving the car. The project would prove to be all consuming and take the next 7 years while its cost ballooned to nearly $545,000. Along the journey, it was elected to lighten up its somewhat conservative and dowdy battleship grey coloring with a scheme of two tones of light green, and correlating upholstery and top. Throughout the process the owner was guided and assisted by his friend enthusiast Richard Burnham.

The car was finally completed in 2017 after an exhaustive process and was debuted on display only at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in 2018. There on the fairways of the Ritz-Carlton, its complicated bodywork was carefully shown off in both its touring and fully converted form. This as best explained sees the front seats which are part of the doors open and then fold downward, at the same time this opens up space in the center of the body. Next, the rear section of the body separates in the center and parts to broaden the space in the middle. Finally, the seat cushions fold forwards, and the center toe board flattens out to create a flat 'sleeping' deck. The detail is complicated, but clearly thought out and the design of its operation is certainly of high-quality material and structure.

The Mason Tourist King is unquestionably a fascinating automobile, which offers a remarkable insight into a pioneer concept of which it is the unique torch bearer. As such it would make an intriguing display in any museum or collection. It also remains yet to be shown at any further Concours events around the country or world, providing other avenues for its next custodian. Its convertible coachwork and condition are unquestionably eye catching and captivating, and provide quite a draw, so it would no doubt be welcomed to such future events as we look to the 2021 season.

As its presenter, its next custodian will benefit from all of the hard work having been carried out and simply the enjoyment of owning an automobile which will surely always be quite a draw. And perhaps, just perhaps, as can happen at public events someone may just appear who can join the dots to its early history...

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, the title will be in transit.
Contacts
<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480
<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480
<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480
<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480
<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480
<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480
<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480
<b>c.1920 Mason Tourist King Convertible Camping/Touring Car</b><br />   Chassis no. 1 - (DMV State Issued)<br /> Engine no. 561-7R - 54480
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