Sears Roebuck & Company advertised this car in their 1909 catalog for $395. Records indicate that about 3000 were introduced by Sears Roebuck from 1909 through 1912. The car is equipped with a 14 horsepower air-cooled 2-cylinder horizontally opposed engine. The transmission is a friction disc type with double-chain drive to the rear wheel. The steering is by Tiller Bar with spark and throttle levers located on the steering wheel.
Sold for $17,600 at 2009 Gooding & Company
Sears, Roebuck and Co. offered buyers with a convenient way of purchasing a vehicle at the turn of the century - just by opening a catalog and placing an order. The Sears Motor Buggy was available for purchase by mail order and ranged in price from $325 to $475 depending on which model was selected. All of the models were powered by a mid-mounted engine that displaced 50 cubic-inches and offered around 10 horsepower. The drive was to the rear wheels via two chains and a variable speed friction-drive mechanism. Braking was by friction-pad brakes and there were four-wheel elliptic-spring suspension. Perhaps the most distinguishable feature about these motor buggys were the large, 38-inch wheels that were fitted with hard rubber tires. This height offered excellent ground clearance over the muddy rural roads. The company's slogan for their vehicles were 'Lowest in Original Cost - Lowest in Upkeep Cost,' and 'so safe that a child could run it.'
Unfortunately for Sears, the company lost money on every order that was placed. Between 1908 and 1912 there were a mere 3,500 examples produced.
This particular example is chassis number 3041 and is an original buggy that is finished in black with green trim and is fitted with a top and fenders.
In 2009, this Model H Motor Buggy was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was estimated to sell for $10,000 - $12,000 and was offered without reserve. As bidding had come to a close, the lot had been sold for $17,600 including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
In 1886, Richard Sears bought a supply of unwanted watches from a jeweler and opened R.W. Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A year later Sears moved his company to Chicago. He needed a watchmaker and the first applicant was Alvah C. Roebuck, whom Sears hired.
Throughout the years, the Sears-Roebuck catalogue was the source for products ranging from clothing to toys to household items. In the fall of 1908, the catalogue included, for the first time, an automobile: The Sears Motor Buggy.
In its initial production year of 1909, the Sears was offered only as a $395, solid-tired runabout. Starting in 1910, Sears offered five different models. The car was designed with an angle-iron frame, four full elliptical springs, and Timken roller bearings for each wheel. The engine was a 10 horsepower air-cooled engine with a top speed of 25 mph.
You had color choices back then - red, black, or a combination of green and black. You could pick the car up in Chicago or have it delivered by rail to the closest depot. All the new owner had to do was uncrate it, and do some minor assembly. Unfortunately, Sears found that the cost of production was more than they were getting out of a sale. So, in 1912, Sears turned over the machinery and closed its doors.