Hershey

9-10 October 2014

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Lot 188

1909 Staver Model ER Roadster

  • Chassis no. 236
  • Engine no. 217

Sold for $132,000


25 hp, 201 cu. in. Waukesha inline four-cylinder engine with cylinders cast in pairs, three-speed selective transmission, solid front and rear axle with full-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel rear mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.

  • The earliest of five known four-cylinder survivors
  • Single ownership for 39 years
  • Known history from new


In 1907, the Staver Carriage Company started out by producing one of the biggest and most expensive high-wheelers on the market. The company would shortly thereafter begin producing four-cylinder conventional cars with a selective transmission, shaft drive, and even higher price tags.

This Model ER Roadster, chassis 236, is the earliest of five known surviving four-cylinder cars, as the sixth survivor is an earlier high-wheeler. Sometime between 1928 and 1931, the Waukesha Motor Company, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, learned of this car in nearby Racine, as it had one of their earliest engines, number 217. They acquired the car from the original owners, the Johnson family, and set about refurbishing it. The car then made an appearance in the General Motors March of Progress, which was held during the 1933–1934 Chicago World’s Fair.

The Staver was then presented to Waukesha President Harry Horning upon his retirement in 1935. However, with his death the following year, it passed to his shop foreman, but it remained on display at the factory. It then passed to another former Waukesha employee, Al Stark, who brought it to his home in Phoenix in 1966. Stark owned the car until 1975, when he traded it to the present ownership. Interestingly, correspondence between the owner and Waukesha historians concludes that this example may possibly be a factory prototype due to its unique specification and designation.

Of course, a full restoration ensued, which saw the car finished in its current Maroon body, Wheat chassis and undercarriage, and Maroon leather upholstery. Fortunately, the car was complete and more effort was expended to preserve the original components, such as reworking the fenders instead of making new ones and wet-bending the original poplar body panels into place using a jig. The original Waukesha engine was also rebuilt, and all of internal components were machined or replaced with modern tolerances for smooth operation. A new ring and pinion set was made for the rear end. The original wheels with solid-rubber tires were replaced in favor of wheels of a 1910 Staver parts car that had pneumatic tires; although, the originals are included in the sale, as is a pair of cylinder blocks.

The current owner felt that he was only a steward looking after something that would outlive him, and now after almost 40 years and a job well done, the Staver is ready to be passed on to its next caretaker.

Excitingly, a 60-page file containing clippings, correspondence, and details on the history and restoration of this wonderful early car has been compiled and will be available to any interested parties for review.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more