19-20 January 2012

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Lot 129

1909 Buick Model F Five-Passenger Touring

  • Engine no. 18759

Sold for $55,000

22 hp, 159 cu. in. horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder engine, two-speed planetary transmission, solid front axle with three-quarter-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic springs and single chain drive, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 92"

• Buick’s “Old Faithful” touring car

• Recent restoration

• Single ownership for 30 years

Although a Scottish-born entrepreneur gave Buick its name, it was a Michigan bicycle merchant and a French machinist who gave the car its soul. David Dunbar Buick, born in Arbroath, Scotland, came to the United States at the age of two and grew up in Detroit. While working for a plumbing fixture company, he devised a method of adhering porcelain to cast iron and became quite wealthy making sinks and tubs. He then launched a venture called Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company to make gasoline engines. Along the way he hired Walter Lorenzo Marr, a machinist and tinkerer who was running a bicycle shop, and Eugene Richard, French-born mechanic-machinist, and together they devised an engine with valves in the cylinder head, opposite the pistons, not alongside them. This “Valve-in-Head” engine would become a hallmark of Buick cars to the present day.

William Crapo Durant took a ride in a Buick in 1904. Two months later he had become a member of the company’s board of directors. A partner in the Flint, Michigan Durant-Dort Carriage Company, Durant was impressed with the car and felt it worthy of investment. An avid stock speculator, Durant had soon floated a $300,000 stock issue for what was now the Buick Motor Company.

In 1906, the Chicago American and Examiner staged a 1,000-mile relay run from Chicago to New York. A new Buick Model F was the only competitor to complete the event. A contemporary account notes that “stretches of bad road [were] rendered well nigh impassable by rainstorms…through all this struggle of a thousand miles, the Buick never failed to move forward.” The Model F earned the nickname “Old Faithful,” soon touted in a company brochure. The Model F remained in production through 1910, the last of the two-cylinder Buicks.

Owned for more than 30 years by California collector Jim Cesari, this car was used extensively for touring. About three years ago, Cesari subjected it to a thorough re-restoration, which involved nut-and-bolt disassembly and a complete mechanical rebuild. It has covered but 1,000 miles in the three years since. Ideal for one- and two-cylinder tours, it is also a potential show entry as it has never been shown since its concours-quality restoration.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more