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Lot 417: International HighWheeler Four-Seater

Motorcycle and Motorcars, Bonhams & Butterfields (14 November 2009)

Highwheelers were a utilitarian version of early horseless carriages. Their simplicity and the large wheels were well suited to rural use because they were inexpensive, could be repaired by farmhands and allowed passage on the miserable rutted roads of the day. They were ultimately replaced by the Model T Ford, which proved even more utilitarian and was offered in both basic and more upscale versions.

International Harvester built motorized buggies as early as 1899 and the subject car is from the first year of production of this more sophisticated design. It is believed to be the 14th built and the earliest to survive. The first 100 were built at the McCormick Works in Chicago. Thereafter, production was moved to Akron, Ohio, where International ultimately built over 4500 highwheelers in various guises.

The subject car has been restored according to the plans of International's cataloged 1907 four person Farmer's Auto. The vehicle has a flat twin engine driving through a two-speed friction transmission, with chain drive taking the power to the wheels. Suspension is carried over from typical horse-drawn buggies of the day with full elliptical springs, front and rear.

Sam acquired this international in 2000. It had been restored by the previous owner, who had owned the car since 1985 and also rebuilt the bodywork to its current, period correct 1907 four person Farmer's Auto design.

This vehicle, which harkens to the dawn of the automotive age, is eligible for many exclusive events, including those presented by the Horseless Carriage Club. Its low chassis number dates from early in the production run, and it is widely believed that no earlier examples exist, making this the oldest surviving example.

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycle and Motorcars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
TypeCar
Lot Number417
Estimate$12000-$16000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$35000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$40950
Year1907
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number14
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors