Simplex 50 Toy-Tonneau by Quinby

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50 Toy-Tonneau by Quinby





The Smith and Mabley Manufacturing Co. of New York City was founded by Carleton Raymond Mabley (1878-1963) and his brother-in-law Albert Proctor Smith to import European cars for sale in America. They built their first car in 1904, which was called the S&M Simplex, largely from imported Mercedes parts. The company went bankrupt in 1906 and in 1907 the firm's assets were absorbed into the Simplex Automobile Co. Herman Broesel, passionate about racing, purchased the company and redesigned the "Simplex" so it could reach speeds of 90 mph (140 km/h). The firm became Crane-Simplex after purchase of the Crane Motor Car Company of Bayonne, New Jersey, which had been founded by Henry Middleton Crane, in 1915. The Crane-Simplex Company was purchased in 1920 by the Mercer Automobile Company but by 1922 ownership had passed to Henry Crane, who then failed to realise an ambition to revive the marque.

The 1904 Smith and Mabley was a touring car model. Equipped with a tonneau, it could seat 5 passengers and sold for US$5500. The vertically mounted water-cooled straight-4, at the front of the car, produced 18hp (13.4 kW). A 4-speed transmission was fitted. The wood and angle iron-framed car weighed 1200 lb (544 kg). The car used a honeycomb radiator with a fan.

The car used a T-head engine of 597 cid capacity, developing 50 hp, running to a four-speed transaxle with final drive by dual chains – very much in the spirit of the best racing cars of the time. Valves were nearly 3" in diameter, and the cylinder blocks and piston castings were made of gun iron. It was a car of impressive dimensions and superior quality in all respects.

The new Simplex’s performance potential was immediately tested on the racetracks of America with numerous firsts at the Brighton Beach 24-hour endurance grinds and an outright win at the 1909 National Stock Chassis Race. In 1908, when a 50 HP Speed Car finished a full 70 miles ahead of its nearest competitor in a 24-hour marathon at Brighton Beach, the 1,177 miles the car completed established a new world record for a day on the track.

Even equipped for the road rather than the track, a Simplex 50 HP could easily exceed 80 mph. It was indeed a true thoroughbred, offering a combination of elegance, comfortable touring, and formidable high-speed motoring. The marque immediately attracted an elite clientele comprised of the wealthiest families in America, and Simplex’s robust Krupp steel chassis were mounted with custom coachwork by such respected firms as Brewster, Quinby, Healey, and Holbrook.

The Simplex 50 HP was built in limited numbers through 1913, but in 1914 a significant change to the company and its cars occurred. When Herman Broesel died in 1912, his sons agreed to sell the company to a Wall Street investment group that included the heirs of B.F. Goodrich. The new owners replaced the mighty 50 HP engine with a long-stroke unit, and the Simplex factory was moved from Manhattan to New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 1915, Henry M. Crane was hired to design a new Simplex automobile and the result was the Simplex Crane Model 5, a superbly built car in all respects, but a far cry from the original 50 HP.

Following America’s entry into WWI, Simplex’s New Jersey factory was acquired by Wright-Martin for Hispano-Suiza aero engine production, spelling the end for the brief but brilliant Simplex marque.

In the end, the Simplex Automobile Company built approximately 1,460 chassis between the years 1907 and 1915. These magnificent cars, which represent the apogee of this great American manufacturer, have been admired, lusted after, and treasured by collectors for the past century.

The Crane-Simplex, built in New York, was among the most expensive, largest, most powerful, and well-built luxury cars of the early twentieth century. They were owned by only the wealthiest socialites and entrepreneurs of the time and built by the best coachbuilders in the U.S. Only 121 examples were made.

Crane graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1896, with degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering. He then joined the Bell Telephone Company, and later worked for their manufacturing subsidiary, the Western Electric Company. His Crane and Whitman Company of Bayonne, New Jersey, formed in 1906, evolved into the Crane Motor Car Company by 1910. In 1912, his design for the Crane Model 3 automobile was ready for production. It was a large, refined luxury car, but "production" it barely achieved, with some 37 cars built in three years.

Henry Crane services were included in the transaction, and in short order the Simplex Crane Model 5 was introduced, with Crane's refined 564 cubic inch six-cylinder engine in a 144-inch wheelbase chassis. Bodies were supplied by several well-known bespoke coachbuilders, including Locke, Derham and Holbrook, but most were, like this car, by Brewster. Production continued into 1917. The cars are sometimes incorrectly called "Crane-Simplex," perhaps confused with a short-lived 1922 attempt by Henry Crane to resurrect the business at Long Island City, after the Simplex company had been brought down by the Hare's Motors debacle.

Sold for: 4075000 USD
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