Simplex's origins begin around the turn of the 20th century. Carleton Mabley and his brother-in-law Albert Smith would found The Smith and Mabley Manufacturing Co. of New York City right around the turn of the century. The problem was they didn't have any cars to manufacture. Instead, they would start out by importing foreign makes and rebuilding and remanufacturing them under their own name, S&M Simplex.
Unfortunately, this would not prove to be a very lucrative way of doing things and within just a couple of years the company would go bankrupt. Herman Broesel was in the textile business but was very passionate about racing and fine automobiles. In a very short amount of time, Broesel would turn Simplex into a very distinct automobile manufacturer, producing chassis that would become very desirable amongst the elite. The perhaps most desirable and popular of the Simplex models would be the 50.
The Model 50 wouldn't be a small machine, but it would be a regular competitor in a number of endurance races. A Simplex chassis would go on to win the 24 hour race and Brighton Beach. Another model would go on to beat drivers like Ralph De Palma and Barney Oldfield.
Over a period of half a decade, some 250 Model 50s would be produced. It would be the last right-hand driving positioned cars to be produced in the United States. The Model 50 would become the most popular model of the Simplex and it would be one of the most expensive and well-built luxury cars available at the time.
Big and opulent, only the wealthiest of individuals and families could afford the car. The company's cars would be owned by such individuals as John D. Rockefeller and Henry Crane.
All Simplexes started out life as bare chassis. It would then be finished with all appointments by a coachbuilder. Simplex would have relationship with many at the time including Demarest, Holbrook, Brewster, Healey and Quinby.By Jeremy McMullen
The Simplex Automobile Co. built one of the most renowned cars in America prior to World War I, with one even finishing in 6th place in the first Indianapolis 500. In 1914, Simplex purchased the Crane Motor Car Co., which was known for its brilliant engineering and was responsible for some of the fastest motorboats and most expensive cars during the same time period. Due to their high quality and equally high price, the cars were often referred to as the 'American Rolls-Royce.' The company went out of business in 1920.
This particular example is powered by a 50 horsepower four-cylinder engine with chain drive. It has had just four owners in its 104 years. Featuring coachwork by Quinby & Co. of Newark, New Jersey, it cost $4,800 when new....more than the cost of a modest home in 1913!By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2017