5-6 October 2017

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Lot 125

1909 Sears Model J Motor Buggy

  • Chassis no. 2435

Sold for $35,200

  • Offered from the Jim & Sandy Hall and H.B. Carroll Collections
  • Iconic Sears high-wheel runabout
  • Older Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) award-winning restoration

In 1908, Sears, Roebuck & Co. entered the automobile age. In that year’s Fall mail-order catalogue appeared the Sears Motor Buggy, a $395 high-wheel runabout. The impetus came from Alvaro S. Krotz, an engineer and inventor. Krotz, who had designed a simple, inexpensive car, visited Sears and sold the giant company on placing it in their catalogue.

First he needed a factory, and one was found in Chicago, Sears’ home territory. Krotz managed the new factory and Sears’ own W.M. Tippett headed sales, while another Sears employee, Percy Herrick, supervised production. The Motor Buggy was an assembled car, with parts purchased from many sources, although some were specific to this application. The engine was a two-cylinder horizontally opposed air-cooled unit of 10 hp and drove through a friction transmission. The chassis was pressed steel, wheels were made of hickory with solid rubber tires attached, and the steering tiller was on the left.

The basic model, with few amenities, was called Model G. Model H added fenders and a top. Model J had running boards and Model K had cushion tires. In 1910, Sears caved in to the fashion of the day and began calling it an “automobile.”

Prices actually went down as time went on. The basic Model G dropped to $370 for 1910, then to $325. In five years, some 3,500 were sold. Then the accountants had their say and announced that the company had lost money on each one. In the 1913 catalogues, automobiles were absent, but the 3,500 people who had bought them were more than satisfied.

This Model J Sears Motor Buggy is an older restoration. Of high quality, it has not been run in some time, but has cleaned up well and presents smartly. The body is gloss black with dainty red pin striping, which is also applied to the green wheels. The recipient of an AACA award, it is worthy of further judged competition.

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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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