1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40

1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40 1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40 1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40
Flyabout
Chassis #: 7430
High bid of $200,000 at 2009 Sports & Classics of Monterey. (did not sell)
Thomas cars started production in 1902 in Buffalo, New York. This 1909 Flyabout was so named because of its very light weight. Because it boasts an all-aluminum body, hood, and fenders, the car weighs just twice its six-passenger capacity at 2,500 pounds. When new, the car cost $3,000 - quite a lot of money in 1909. There are only two (possibly three) such cars known to exist in the world.

The L 6-40 Flyabout was powered by an L-head six-cylinder engine. The lightweight four-seat 'Flyabout' coachwork riding on the short 122-inch wheelbase was sporty, low, and ideally suited for the 267 cubic-inch engine rated at 40 horsepower. There was dual braking on the rear wheels with expanding shoes and contracting bands.

This particular L 6-40 Flyabout was given a restoration that was completed in 2007, and immediately shown at the Pebble Beach Concours, followed by concours at Ocean Reef and Bay Harbor, and took first place awards at both. This car is one of only two 1909 Thomas Model L 6-40 Flyabouts known.

The car is painted in red with black leather interior and well equipped with an array of brass trim, lighting and accessories, from the acetylene headlights and kerosene sidelights to the intake manifold, steering column, bulb horn, radiator shell and eagle mascot.

In 2009, this Model L 6-40 Flyabout was offered for sale at the Sports & Classics of Monterey auction in Monterey, California presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $350,000-$450,000. The lot failed to sell after achieving a high bid of $200,000.

1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40 1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40 1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40
Seven Passenger Touring
Chassis #: 254
Sold for $935,000 at 2006 The Otis Chandler Collection Auction.
Sold for $297,000 at 2007 Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island.
Sold for $176,000 at 2010 RM Auctions - Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey.
Sold for $143,000 at 2011 RM Auctions - Automobiles of Amelia Island.
This 1909 Thomas-Flyer 6-40 Seven Passenger Touring was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to fetch between $300,000-$400,000. The car is powered by a 267 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine with the engine cast in pairs. There is a sliding gear manual gearbox and rear wheel drum brakes. It has been treated to a restoration and brought back to original condition. It is painted in red and has a black leather interior. It retains the period correct pieces such as Gray and Davis brass lamps, a brass speedometer, a folding brass windscreen and running board mounted spare tires.

On auction day, the estimated value proved to be nearly accurate, as the car sold for $297,000.

This 1909 Thomas Flyer seven-passenger touring car rests on a 137-inch wheelbase with front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs. It is powered by an inline, six-cylinder engine cast in pairs, with an updraft carburetor. The engine is coupled to a cone clutch, sliding gear, and manual transmission. It is painted in red and accented by black leather upholstery. It has correct period features including the Gray and Davis brass lamps, a brass speedometer, a folding brass windscreen and running board-mounted spare tires.

In 2010, this 7-Passenger Touring Car was again offered for sale - this time at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $150,000 - $250,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $176,000 including buyer's premium.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010
1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40 1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40 1909 Thomas Flyer 6-40
Seven Passenger Touring
E.R. Thomas introduced his first namesake in 1903. He used engineering that was developed back in the late 1890s, and began producing a four cylinder engine that would power his new automobile - The Thomas Flyer. Thomas was considered a marketing genius, and one would note that his cars were painted very bright colors - in this case, red. The cars were also quite powerful for their time.

In 1908, E.R. Thomas decided to enter the Great Race from New York to Paris. With little time to prepare, Thomas used a stock 1907 Thomas Flyer. After some 13,300 miles and 171 days had passed, the Thomas turned into Paris to claim victory. Sadly, despite this success, Thomas ceased production just a few years later in 1913.

This Thomas Flyer is a remarkable example of high-horsepower early American Brass. It has a 267 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine producing 72 horsepower. The wheelbase is 137 inches and has a 4-speed manual transmission. The Thomas Flyer will always remain one of the most important early American automobile ever manufactured. The 7 passenger Touring is a wonderful example of the genius and foresight of E.R. Thomas: A wonderful car with a great history.

The Erwin Ross (E.R.) Thomas Motor Company produced automobiles from 1902 through 1919. Production transpired in Buffalo, New York. The first cars produced by the company appeared in 1903 and were mostly small runabouts with seating for two. The company had begun like so many other auto-manufacturing firms at the time - through a bicycle business. Thomas had been building bicycles for several companies before making the switch to automotive production.

The first E.R. Thomas Motor cars were powered by a vertically-mounted water-cooled straight-three cylinder engine that produced just over 20 horsepower. The engine was mated to a two-speed planetary gearbox.

As times progressed, so did the E.R. Thomas Motor Cars. The Company did much to promote their vehicles and to attract customers, such as painting the cars in bright and attractive colors. The cars became more powerful and elegant and became renowned for their reliability and endurance.

In 1908, an E.R. Thomas Car was entered into 'The Great Race' which ran from New York to Paris. The decision was made at the last minute and there was little time to properly adapt the car for the race. Instead, the company pulled one from the production line and entered it into the race. The race began at New York during the winter and proceeded for San Francisco. The entrants then loaded onto a boat and traveled to Alaska and then Siberia. Once they arrived at Siberia, the race continued.

The race lasted 171 days and covered 13,300 miles. At the conclusion of the race, ending in Paris, it was an E.R. Thomas in first place, claiming the overall victory.

Demand for the E.R. Thomas Motor cars increased after the heroic victory. In 1911, the company only produced six-cylinder cars. Within a year, the car had entered into receivership and purchased by C.A. Finnegan of the Empire Smelting Company.


By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2008



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Thomas
1914Ford (308,162)Overland (48,461)Studebaker (35,374)
1913Ford (168,220)Overland (37,422)Studebaker (31,994)
1912Ford (78,440)Overland (28,572)Buick (19,812)
1911Ford (69,762)Overland (18,745)Maxwell (16,000)
1910Ford (32,053)Buick (30,525)Overland (15,598)
1909Ford (17,771)Buick (14,606)Maxwell (9,460)
1908Ford (10,202)Buick (8,820)Studebaker (8,132)
1907Ford (14,887)Buick (4,641)Maxwell (3,785)
1906Ford (8,729)Cadillac (3,650)Rambler (2,765)
1905Oldsmobile (6,500)Cadillac (4,029)Rambler (3,807)
1904Oldsmobile (5,508)Rambler (2,342)Cadillac (2,319)

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