1918 Roamer Model C

4-Passenger Touring
Chassis Num: 22960
Engine Num: 9N49786
Sold for $68,750 at 2009 RM Sothebys.
Sold for $93,500 at 2012 RM Sothebys.
Sold for $66,000 at 2016 RM Sothebys.
In 1913, Albert C. Barley purchased the assets of the Streator Motor Car Co. of Streator, Illinois, which had gone into receivership in 1911. When Barley re-opened the Streator facility, production of Streator's Halladay automobile resumed.

Near the close of 1916, Barley joined forces with Cloyd Y. Kenworthy, an electric car distributor in New York. Kenworthy had been searching for a gasoline-powered car to sell, since the electric car market was starting to dry-up. Kenworthy and Barley turned to Karl H. Martin, to design their own car which would become known as the Roamer. The name was from a famous racehorse.

The Roamer automobile had long, low, flowing lines and a Continental Red Seal six-cylinder engine. It had a radiator and grille design that was similar to a Rolls-Royce and was marketed as 'America's Smartest Car.' They catered to a discrete market of discerning clientele and offered their cars in an enormous palate of colors to choose from, both for exterior and interior treatments.

Martin and Kenworthy soon left Roamer, both in pursuit of other ventures. Barley left by the end of 1924. The management left behind was unstable and it adversely affected production. By 1928, the company produced a mere 35 cars. The following year, only 2 examples were produced. The entire production total for the company's 14-year lifespan was near 12,000 cars.

This example is a four-passenger sport touring that has been given a restoration. It shows just 37,254 original miles and no miles logged since the completion of its restoration. It is equipped with a three-speed manual transmission and four-wheel drum brakes. It has a 303 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine producing 54 horsepower on a 128-inch wheelbase which makes it rather large with plenty of zip for its time. Cost brand new was nearly $4,000.00. It was restored in 1985, but recently repainted by the current owner. The car remained in Kalamazoo most of its life until recently when it spent a short time in Canada and St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2009, it was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey sale presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $75,000 - $100,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $68,750, including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2017
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Roamer Models

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