The Pacific Grove Auction

Lot 40
1912 Simplex Model 38 Touring


Selling on Thursday

1912 Simplex Model 38 Touring

CHASSIS NO: 1150

• Excellent restoration with attention to detail
• AACA National First Place and Senior Award winner
• Attractive and usable Brass Era car
• Coachwork in the style of Holbrook
• Eligible for a myriad of driving tours


476 cid inline T-head four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, two-wheel mechanical drum brakes; wheelbase: 127


Since the very beginning of the motorcar there has been a car for all price ranges. At the entry level were the Fords, Maxwells, and Chevrolets. A Cadillac or Packard might come several rungs up on the price ladder, but at the very top was a company known for quality and durability that was unmatched by any U.S. manufacturer at the time. Indeed, the name Simplex was well-known both in the liveries of Americas elite as well as on the racetrack. The Simplex was a serious car that was engineered and built to last forever. Founded in 1907, the Simplex was built in New York and was available with custom coachwork from any of the fine coachbuilders of the day. In 1911, Simplex entered the first running of the Indianapolis 500 where it ran all the way to a respectable 6th place finish. With this result, it was solidified in both high society and the racetrack. Simplex held a lofty perch at the dawn of the motorcar age.

Offered here is a fine representative of this great company with this 1912 Simplex Model 38 Touring. This rare and desirable Model 38 Simplex bears serial number 1150 and is fitted with a sporty four-passenger touring body built in the style of Holbrook. With their west side Manhattan location, Holbrook was the premier coachbuilder for such notable marques as Cadillac, Crane-Simplex, Isotta-Fraschini, Locomobile, Marmon, Mercer, Pierce-Arrow, Rolls-Royce, and their biggest client, Packard. The Simplex name is scripted in brass, is proudly displayed across a radiator and is flanked by a pair of authentic Solarclipse headlamps that are large and set the pace for the fine coachwork. This Simplex is finished in black, a color that handsomely accents all its fine brass trim work. Its sporty character is nicely displayed in a body that carries rear doors only while dual spare tires ride on the passenger side. Running boards are wide making entry and exit easy. As an early car, the interior is simple with supple black leather upholstery with pleats and a vast array of brass gauges set into a beautifully finished dashboard. Of course, the Simplex identification tag is prominently displayed on the dashboard and the added Holbrook tag is found on the body. Power comes from a large 476 cubic-inch four-cylinder T-head engine that develops 40 horsepower and is mated to a four-speed, sliding gear transmission connected to the rear wheels by a driveshaft. The engine is also equipped with a Bosch ignition system and a rare period-correct Rushmore starter. This Simplex touring rides on wood spoke rims that are painted in red as a nice contrast to the body and the tires are blackwall. The long and tall top offers weather protection and folds nicely to the rear when not in use. Since restoration, it has been meticulously maintained and remains in show worthy condition. It received its National First Place and Senior Award from the Antique Automobile Club of America and has participated in many shows and driving tours proving to be quite reliable. Simplex is considered by many automotive historians to be one of the most significant cars built in the formative years of the motorcar. They were also one of the few companies that provided both solid transportation and performance.

In fact, a Simplex could easily be driven straight from the factory to the racetrack. This Simplex Model 38 Touring represents one of the hallmarks of a foundational member of the early automotive community. Attractive and sporting, with ample power, this eye-catching touring car offers entrance into the ranks of Simplex ownership and the opportunity for much enjoyment behind the wheel.

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