The Auburn Auction

Lot 20
1915 Chalmers Raceabout

Selling on Saturday Evening

1915 Chalmers  Raceabout


• Recent build using 1915 Chalmers twin-cam 50 HP T-head engine
• Outstanding craftsmanship and reliability
• Exceptional touring car

414.7 cid twin-cam T-head inline six-cylinder engine rated at 48 HP, multi-disc clutch, four-speed manual transmission with overdrive, solid axle with semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension and rear-wheel disc brakes; wheelbase: 116

In the early days of motorsports, the rules had not yet been written. This was a time when drivers of great marques like Marmon, Lozier, Simplex, Mercer, and National all fought with their cars as much as they did with each other. These were also the days where it was anyones guess as to who would finish a race, who would win, and even who would live long enough to see the finish line. Driven by great men like Barney Oldfield, Dario Resta, Louis Chevrolet, and Eddie Rickenbacker, these giant machines with their huge engines and high wheels could turn a country fair into a dust bowl in a matter of minutes. Among these greats that laid the foundation for glory at the track was Chalmers. As one of the foremost contenders in early motorsports, Chalmers garnered great success on the track, which didnt hurt sales of their cars for the road. For the 1908 and 1909 racing season, Chalmers managed to grab four first place wins, one second, and one third finish in six premier events. For 1910, Chalmers won the Glidden trophy. Victories like these did not come easy as the Glidden Tour involved a grueling run from Cincinnati to Chicago covering some 2,851 miles in a time when most roads were nonexistent. Such were the events that proved Chalmers was the best car built in a time when most struggled to build a reliable car. It is in this spirit that a new addition to this unique chapter in motorsports has been added. Certainly, Chalmers was well-known for their excellent touring cars and roadsters, but if we close our eyes and use just a little imagination, we can clearly see a Chalmers Raceabout that could have run with the best in the early days at Indy.

Commissioned in 2016, this Chalmers was designed after a painstaking study of just what a Chalmers Raceabout would have looked like in 1915. The build started with a 1915 Chalmers six-cylinder twin-cam T-head with 48 horsepower. The engine was rebuilt with aluminum pistons and new valves. It was then mated to a four-speed transmission and set into a 116-inch wheelbase custom fabricated chassis that followed all the design cues of the famous Stutz Bearcat and Mercer Raceabout. The end result is a car that would rival the competitors of its day. The engine bay is superbly detailed with its T-head inline six, complete with dual-ignition and a Carter BB1 updraft carburetor. Up front is a set of Amesbury nickel-plated headlamps that are retrofitted with halogen bulbs and the Chalmers name and logo are mounted on the radiator. A dropped straight axle with leaf spring suspension provides a low center of gravity and makes cornering tight and precise. The interior is just what one would expect from a 1915 performance car with a large steering wheel and a monocle front windshield. In the spirit of competition, the only gauges are an oil pressure readout and an amp meter. The seating for two is finished in fine black leather. The Raceabout look is perfectly captured with long sweeping front fenders and wide running boards. Double spare tires at the rear complete the look of this fine Raceabout. This Chalmers is finished in a period-correct dark blue with contrasting Hawk 25-inch wires rims that are finished in a lighter blue.

Despite Chalmers success in competition, the crowded car market began to claim its victims and in 1917 the company was taken over by Maxwell where it built cars and trucks for the U.S. Government. The post-World War I economy did not treat Chalmers well and the company folded in 1923. The creative artistry and craftsmanship involved in bringing this Chalmers Raceabout to life was no small undertaking as it carries the look and performance of the Mercers and Bearcats of the day. With its precise build and stellar performance, this car is ready for touring of any distance and is certain to be the only one at the show.

Meet Our Sales Team