Formerly of the Bill Spear, Sam Sheer and Richard Paine Collections 1910 SIMPLEX MODEL 50 TOY TONNEAU
COACHWORK BY HOLBROOK
Engine No. 247184
Brewster green with black fenders, chassis and running gear with yellow pinstriping and tan leather interior with a tan top
Engine: T-head four cylinder, cast in pairs, bore 5¾, stroke 5¾, 597ci., 60bhp at 1,200rpm, Gearbox: H-pattern four-speed manual with reverse; Suspension: front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: rear two wheel internal expanding. Right hand drive.
When translated, the Latin name Simplex means simple. However, there is truly nothing simple about the Simplex motor car with its 800 different parts and components. It is considered by many to be one of the most significant automobiles ever produced. Its origins are traced to the original Mercedes Simplex car designed by Wilhelm Maybach and imported by the firm of Smith and Mabley. A.D. Procter Smith and Carlton R. Mabley had been importing fine European automobiles such as Renault, Panhard and Fiat, however, with the overwhelming costs of custom duties the duo set out to establish their own firm to produce cars. Edward Franquist was enlisted as both Chief Engineer and Superintendent of the New York City based factory. Openly frank about the influences on and contributions to their Simplex by many of the finest European motor cars, Franquist combined this proven technology with the intricacies of his own designs. In their makeshift factory, the first Smith and Mabley Simplex motor cars were built in small numbers utilizing only the finest materials. Krupp E. F. 60 point chrome nickel steel was used for shafts, axles and frame members while gun iron was used for cylinder blocks and piston castings. One of the goals of Smith and Mabley was to create as much of their components as possible. They achieved this, with the exception of wheels, tires, coils and magnetos. By 1907 though, after showing only limited success, Smith and Mabley were forced to sell their interests in the company to businessman Herman Broesel.
Broesel, with the assistance of his two sons, Herman Jr. and Carl, continued production of the car, now called the Simplex Motor Car. Edward Franquist remained at the company and had recently finished work on a new short stroke, 50 horsepower engine. Franquist's new engine ultimately proved to be the key in the redevelopment of the Simplex. The 597 cubic inch was listed as a 50 horsepower car, but actually developed around 60 horsepower. With a square bore and stroke of 5¾ inches, the T-head engine was a powerhouse of torque, durability and most importantly speed. Notably, timing gears were repositioned to a location inside the engine where they could run oil in and feed the pressure lubrication system that would provide for bearing and cylinder wall lubrication as well. The Simplex also featured a massive crankshaft with one large ball bearing in front and two babbitt bearings behind. The valves were 27/8 inches in diameter and were placed on either side of the engine, given the T-head configuration. Gear change was performed with a four speed, H-pattern transmission that, when geared properly, offered the driver a variety of options based on the terrain and circumstances of the daily drive. The Simplex was and is a mechanically superior car on many levels and, with the assistance of coachbuilding firms like Healey and Company, J.S. Quimby, Demarest, Brewster and Holbrook, the Simplex Motor Car's appearance was also deserving of even the most discerning motorists.
In 1907 Simplex offered only one model, the 124 inch wheelbase 50 horsepower Four Passenger Touring. By 1910 there were three different models available including two 50 horsepower models, a 124 inch wheelbase Runabout and a 129 inch wheelbase Four Passenger Touring. The third model is a Five/Seven Passenger Touring that utilized a 124 inch wheelbase and a 90 horsepower motor. The example on offer here is understood to be the second model and features the 50 horsepower engine and the 129 inch wheelbase. Additionally, coachwork is by Holbrook and is considered by many to be the most attractive style available in 1910 from any of the aforementioned coachbuilders.
It is a stunning, original example that has been a highlight within several of the greatest collections of early cars in the United States. The Simplex was added to the Browning Collection in 1984 after residing in the Paine Collection for many years. We understand that ownership prior to the Paine Collection includes the likes of Sam Sheer and Bill Spear, both respectively known for their exquisite and dignified collections. Shortly after acquiring the Simplex, Mr. Browning commissioned a full frame-off restoration by Mr. Harry Andrews. The Simplex is now finished in a lovely Brewster green and is highlighted with black belting and yellow pinstriping. The chassis and running gear are finished in black and match the moldings. The correct 37x5 inch blackwall tires are mounted on plain, non-pinstriped wood wheels and feature dual driver's side mounted spares, also 37x5 inches. It would appear that in addition to retaining its original bodywork, the Simplex also has its original gas tank, trunk rack numbered 155, radiator, instruments, body tags, brightwork and most impressively its original bellypans. Some of the rare and desirable accoutrements also include a Stewart rim wind clock, a Simplex fuel pressure gauge, Klaxon and Rubes horn, Gray and Davis sidelamps, Castle Lamp Company Model 1208 headlamps, a Bosch ignition system, a Bosch D4 magneto, a Simplex plunger carburetor and a very tempting Warner 100mph speedometer. Some modern equipment includes concealed front and rear turn indicators as well as an electric fuel pump and a driveshaft mounted starter.
The overall condition of the car is quite presentable, showing only minimal wear on the seats with few various imperfections in the paint. The engine bay, motor and underbody are in well maintained used condition. On a recent short distance test drive the Simplex performed proficiently with the mesmerizing sound of its drive chains conjuring images of hellish dirt track racing that, thankfully, this Simplex, with its Toy Tonneau body, managed to escape. It is an exciting, very complete and correct Model 50. We thoroughly encourage close inspection of this spirited touring car and maintain that any true collection of historically important motor cars is not complete until a 50 horsepower Simplex resides within it.