1908 Holsman Highwheeler

1908 Holsman Highwheeler 1908 Holsman Highwheeler 1908 Holsman Highwheeler
Runabout
Chassis #: 3031
Sold for $45,100 at 2010 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auctions.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Henry Holsman produced Holsman highwheelers from 1903 through 1910. They may have been the first automaker to build the high-wheeler. The design made it easier to driver over the challenging rural roads of the day. Production during their first year was an impresive 327 units. This increased to 687 the following year, followed by 1,113 vehicles for 1905. This increase in production created a need to expand their plant capaicty and to continue work 24 hours a day.

By 1910, his company had entered into receivership. Henry Holsman then moved west to Plano and began producing a vehicle similar to the Holsman, which he called the Independent Harvester.

This Model 10-K Highwheeler is the only known example still in existence. By the late 1940s, the car was still in regular use when it was found on the street in Glendale, California. The car was purchased for $200 and would remain in single-family ownership for the next six decades. The grandson of that buyer would keep the car in good running order and believes that the paint and fenders are original.

The car is powered by a 2-cylinder horizontally-opposed air-cooled engine that produces 12 horsepower. It has a single-barrel carburetor, dual flywheels, and is chain driven. There are friction-block brakes and a solid front axle with full-elliptical springs. This is a very sophisticated machine, despite its age. Instead of plain babbitt bearings, ball and roller bears are used throughout the engine. The link chain drive, a new feature on the 10-K, was used to engage low gear and then, as the speed increased, the chain moved up onto tapered belt sheaves. The chain lifts off its drive sprocket as the sheaves are closed, and becomes a belt. The diameters of the engine pulleys grow, while the sheaves close for higher gearing, and the drive becomes an infinite ratio transmission.

This vehicle has period-correct brass bail-handle sidelamps, a center mount brass acetylene headlamp and a bulb horn. Steering is by tiller and there is original diamond-tufted leather seating.

In 2010, this car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction in Pebble Beach where it was estimated to sell for $80,000 - $120,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $45,100 including buyer's premium.


By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2010
1908 Holsman Highwheeler 1908 Holsman Highwheeler 1908 Holsman Highwheeler
Runabout
Chassis #: 2478V
Sold for $38,500 at 2015 RM Sotheby's Hershey Auction.
The Holsman Automobile Company of Chicago, IL was formed in 1903 by Henry K. Holsman and his associate, C.H. Bryan. Their high-wheeled vehicles were popular, especially amongst Midwestern farmers, as it could traverse over difficult terrain and through high water. The early Holsman vehicles had a 7/8-inch manila rode for the drive belts. This setup proved problematic in wet weather, so they eventually switched to a canvas-covered chain.

Although many other high-wheel manufactures evolved into what became conventional car design, with smaller wheels and pneumatic tires, Henry Holsman stuck to high-wheelers exclusively. His company entered receivership in 1910. He made another attempt at a high-wheeler with the Independent Harvester in nearby Plano, Illinois, in 1911, with even less success.

This high-wheel Holsman was delivered new to a doctor in Penn Yann, New York. The current care taker is its third owner, who purchased it roughly two decades ago from the second owner in Cortland. It was restored shortly after acquisition.

The tires on this high wheeler are thin, solid rubber bands, which leave the springs to absorb most of the road shocks. It has a hand-operated brake which rubs shoes directly on the tires. The body is painted black, with maroon moldings that match the wheel spokes. There is a single center-mounted headlight, two high-mounted carriage lights, and a taillight. It has the later drive belts, made of chain with a canvas covering. There is a gear transmission giving two speeds forward, but the vehicle must be stopped to change between them. There is a horizontally opposed air-cooled twin-cylinder engine displacing 100.5 cubic-inches and offering 12.8 horsepower.


By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2015
1908 Holsman Highwheeler 1908 Holsman Highwheeler 1908 Holsman Highwheeler
Surrey
Chassis #: 2651V
Sold for $27,500 at 2015 RM Sotheby's Hershey Auction.
This Holsman Model H-11 Touring was purchased by William Ayers of Sussex, New Jersey in 1908. It was delivered to him off a train from the factory in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Ayers was a salesman for the Honesdale Shoe Company. Mr. Ayers removed the Holsman's rear seat and used the car to haul footwear around Sussex County.

Mr. Ayers's son, R.D., later inherited his father's Holsman, which then passed to his brother. In April of 1964, it was acquired from its original owner's family by Richard Roy, a resident of the Sussex County town of Branchville. At the time of purchase, the car was in well preserved as-acquired condition, including a re-installed rear seat. The car was restored in the late 1960s after which it was entered in the 1964 AACA Eastern Fall Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania, finishing 2nd in Class 2. The car is believed not to have been shown publicly since but has remained in the Roy Collection for over 50 years.

This Holsman has leather interior, and brass headlamps and hubcaps. The 100.5 cubic-inch twin-cylinder engine produces 12.8 horsepower and there is a two-speed manual transmission with reverse.


By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2015



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1908 Highwheeler
$800-$7,000
1908 Holsman Highwheeler Price Range: $600 - $800

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Holsman
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)331
1909Ford (17,771)Buick (14,606)Maxwell (9,460)607
1908Ford (10,202)Buick (8,820)Studebaker (8,132)
1907Ford (14,887)Buick (4,641)Maxwell (3,785)618
1906Ford (8,729)Cadillac (3,650)Rambler (2,765)1,473
1905Oldsmobile (6,500)Cadillac (4,029)Rambler (3,807)1,113
1904Oldsmobile (5,508)Rambler (2,342)Cadillac (2,319)687
1903Oldsmobile (3,924)Cadillac (2,497)Locomobile (1,897)327

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