Historic car to go under hammer

1st December 2023

An historic vehicle – a ‘barnfind’ – from Peasedown St John will be offered at our sale of Antiques on Saturday 9th December.

The 1904 Historic Holsman Model 3 two-seat High Wheeler Horseless Carriage Runabout Piano body was purchased for the London to Brighton Rallyand has been fully verified by The Science Museum and includes Tuckett Brothers, Cherished Car Insurance, State of New Jersey (copies) and DVLA This Holsman High Wheeler. Made in Chicago in 1904 it was recently recovered from a local yard clearance where it had languished for years.

'High wheelers' were popular rural America in the first decade of the 20th century, built to straddle rocks in the centre of the road. The Holsman was regarded as the very best of these, coming to be known as 'the Cadillac of high wheelers.' Holsman sold about 2,500 of them over a period of 8 or 9 years from the beginning of the 1900s. This very early example from 1904 is their 'Type 3'. It has a correct air-cooled flat twin engine which still turns over. Amongst the large quantity of spares which will also be sold (including two more sets of wheels in lot 250A and 250B).

Its existence was not previously known by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain and It was thought there was only one other Holsman in this country before this one appeared. Before it came to the UK in around 2002, the High Wheeler belonged to Franklin B Tucker of New Jersey, who was very well known in US veteran car circles and was a past-President of the AACA (the Antique Automobile Club of America - the equivalent of the VCC in the UK). We now know that it was discovered around seventy years ago by Mr Tucker as a pile of parts. His reassembly and ownership of the remarkable car was the subject of two articles in the New York Times in the 1950s. Copies of these are included with the car. He also wrote the only book about Holsman cars, part history and part workshop manual.

Mr. Tucker had been summoned to the family's carriage house to appraise what appeared to be an unusual set of license plates, and it was there that he discovered a pile of the original Holsman parts. Eight years were spent in assembling the rest of the parts, and today the machine, with its high wheels and two- cylinder air-cooled engine, can be seen. We have traced part of the history of this particular car, chassis number 246, with the help of American experts.

The English buyer planned to drive it in the annual London to Brighton veteran car run but after an early journey to Ireland, it broke down before he was able to do so and was put away.
The provenance pack to accompany the car will include colour photographs from its final trip to the Irish mountains and a number of letters regarding the car and its history, plus the bill of sale from Tucker to its new Somerset owner.

Film of similar Holsman cars can be seen on YouTube listed as: • The Holsman Automobile 1898 start engine • A Drive Back in Time: The Holsman Revisits Cow Canyon • 1907 Holsman Automobile_0001.wmv • 1906 Holsman Auto buggy ride • 1902 Holsman High Wheeler • Neville Museum Minute - Holsman Runabout Automobile • 1907 Holsman ticking over We are indebted to Franklin B. Tucker and his thorough research and gathering of Holsman Automobile History photographs, research and advertisements.
In researching the car, we have contacted Museums, Curators, Collectors, Associations and Archives who have helped by sending photographs, advertisements, stories and research.

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