1912 Rambler Country Club Touring
A marvelous, very original 50-hp Brass Era touring car, ex-Barney Pollard, in fine running order
Chassis no. 26933
Motor no. 565
50 hp, 432 cu. in. L-head four-cylinder engine, three-speed transmission, semi-elliptical leaf spring front suspension and triple-action rear springs, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 120 in.
The Rambler name is most often associated with the pioneering American compact car introduced by Nash in 1949. However, the name is actually one with a rich heritage, extending back to the earliest days of the industry, when bicycle manufacturer Thomas Jeffery first branched into automobiles in 1900. Jeffery’s Rambler was a powerful Brass Era car, of excellent quality and attractive design, sold in styles with such lyrical names as the Cross Country, Morraine, Greyhound, and Country Club – the latter a 50-horsepower model of 1912, with an engine with 5-inch bore and 5½-inch stroke, and marvelously detailed coachwork with foot-operated rear door handles!
The Country Club offered here has a wonderful heritage as a long-term part of the renowned Barney Pollard collection. Owner of a metropolitan Detroit trucking firm, Pollard was, if not the country’s first true automobile collector, one of the first and certainly the most prolific. Beginning in 1938, he literally filled wooden warehouses along a convenient Motor City railroad spur, in which cars were famously suspended vertically in order to squeeze as many as possible into the space. By the time that the collection began to be dispersed in the 1970s, the man known locally as “Mr. Antique Automobile” had amassed roughly 1,000 cars.
A handwritten document accompanying the Rambler, written to a Wayne, is signed “B. Pollard” and notes, “I purchased a 19 [sic] Rambler touring car from George B. Foch, Canton, Illinois Jan 19 44.” The car remained in Pollard ownership, until 1984, at which point it was acquired by the present owner from Barney Jr. It was refinished decades ago, likely in the 1950s while Mr. Pollard loaned it for display in the Temrowski Museum in Michigan, but has never been truly ‘restored’ nor the body off the chassis, and retains to this day the original leather interior. All the wood is original and very solid. During his nearly forty years of ownership, the present caretaker has sorted the car meticulously, including fitting aluminum pistons. Veteran of numerous tours in the Midwest and up and down the East Coast, the car starts instantly on the original hand-crank system; it is such an easy automobile to fire up that no self-starter is needed! Its owner describes it as “a real woofer that will run with anything.”
The owner notes that only three 50 hp 1912 Ramblers are extant, with this being the only one of this desirable close-coupled five-passenger style, and it has never before been offered for public sale. Accompanied by the aforementioned document and photocopies of a price list and instruction book, it is a superb 50-horsepower Rambler – no compact car but a true Brass Era powerhouse with exceptional history, lovingly kept and ready to drive and enjoy.
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