<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />

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Lot 24
Ex-Dr Sam Scher, Richard C. Paine Jr.
1912 Alco 40 Tourer

Sold for US$ 373,500 inc. premium
Ex-Dr Sam Scher, Richard C. Paine Jr.
1912 ALCO 40 Tourer
454ci Four-Cylinder T-Head Engine
Single Carburetor
Approx. 60hp
4-Speed Sliding Gear Transmission
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
2-Wheel Rear and Transmission Brakes

*One of the finest motorcars of its day
*Highly original and authentic example
*Original ALCO factory coachwork
*Proven performer on numerous brass tours


THE AMERICAN LOCOMOTIVE MOTORCAR

America's foremost manufacturer of heavy locomotives was seen as an unlikely company to enter the ultra-high-end automobile market. In 1906 ALCO announced that they had agreed to build automobiles to the designs of the Berliet company of France. Berliet had a superb reputation for designing and building some of the world's best automobiles. Heavily derived from the peerless Mercedes designs they were built to the quality that only France could produce in this period.

The combination of state-of-the-art Berliet engineering with the tremendous resources of ALCO sent a wave of excitement through the auto industry. ALCO boasted of the tremendous capital they were investing in this enterprise which would be located at their sprawling Providence, Rhode Island factory complex. Providence was an excellent choice given the skilled labor available and the abundance of high-end auto manufacturing and coachbuilding throughout New England.

The first ALCO branded cars were likely predominantly assembled of French made Berliet items. An examination of the oldest surviving ALCO today shows nearly all the parts to be of French origin - save the coachwork. As time progressed ALCO began producing the entire car themselves and would quickly drop the Berliet License text from the hub caps although the designs would continue to be to the Berliet and Mercedes pattern.

ALCO used the racetrack to promote the performance and reliability of their products. Unlike some companies, ALCO race cars were largely stock models with racing bodywork. The firm's most noted success was consecutive victories in the Vanderbilt Cup with a stock 60hp car. This 1908 era chain-drive ALCO was immortalized with this never duplicated feat in America's most important race.

ALCO's combination of superb craftsmanship and cutting-edge French engineering made for desirable but exceptionally expensive automobiles. ALCO retail pricing was so out of proportion to other high-end American manufacturers it gave the car a stature only rivaled by the supremely expensive imports. At a time when the most expensive domestically produced automobile was the 825ci automobile from the superb Pierce-Arrow Company priced at $5,500, the top ALCO listed at over $10,000! ALCO advertised that it took more than a year to complete each motorcar.

By 1911 ALCO was producing a 6-cylinder model listed at 60hp and a massive four-cylinder powered car listed at 45hp. A line of commercial vehicles were also in production building motor trucks and taxicabs - likely an attempt to recoup some of the huge capital investment.

Today, approximately 12 ALCO cars survive, the majority being six-cylinder examples, and a mere 4 of big four-cylinder cars such as this example.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

This 1912 ALCO is a well-known survivor of the marque and perhaps the most original. Lightly restored in the early 1960s from what must have been a superb original car, this example boasts all its original coach work, floorboards, fenders, hood etc. The quality and details are superb, and one can see how ALCO justified its monumental cost. Anything that could be made of cast bronze, is - all the top bow hardware, the occasional seats - even the spokes of the steering wheel and the steering box. This ALCO oozes with a level of quality that places it in a league of its own.

The ALCO resided in an exclusive club of motor cars produced with piston bores in excess of 5". At 5 1/8" bore, the ALCO four-cylinder, T-head engine is a true brute, combined with a moderate 5.5" stroke giving the engine a long-legged character lacking on longer stroke engines. The crossflow design exhausts through twin porting into a four-into-one exhaust manifold. Ignition is by Bosch dual magneto providing standard magneto as well as trembler battery ignition that makes the starting quite effortless. All this power goes through a four-speed sliding gear transmission into the famous ALCO rear axle, forged on the nation's largest drop press; it is an enormous one-piece forging!

Though beautifully detailed, the body work is surprisingly lightweight and skinned in all aluminum. However, the fenders are steel for durability. A pair of French Solarclipse-type headlamps highlight the fine assortment of brass equipment adorning the ALCO. Rich dark red leather upholstery is older but in lovely condition. The paint and brass work have been well looked after and the car has recently received an extensive detailing and polishing - over 150 hours spent to bring all the brass back to its proper luster.

On the road the ALCO does not disappoint. The lively motor quickly powers the car through the gears and hills are little concern to this torque monster. The shaft drive arrangement makes for better than average braking allowing the hand and foot brake to be used together if sudden stops are required. Having been in the same enthusiast care since 2004, it has been used regularly and has been displayed within several prominent museums during this time. Prior to this, the car had resided for nearly forty years in the Richard C. Paine collection. Paine acquired the car from prominent collector Dr. Samuel Scher, in 1966.

ALCO was undeniably one of the finest American automobile brands of all time. This is a wonderful example of the Rhode Island built marque with a superb provenance and one that has never been offered publicly before.
Contacts
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
<b>1912 ALCO 40 Tourer</b><br />
Auction information

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