My friend Annie Jansen told me she and her husband Kent had a surprise coming up at the annual Graham Bradley, Sears Sold equipment show that we attend together every year. But she was mum, and would say no more. The first morning of the SCRAP tractor show in Gibsonburg, Ohio, we arrived early and saw Kent unloading something out of his covered trailer. It turned out to be a beautiful and rare 1909 Sears Motor Buggy that Kent had found at Kaufmann Auction’s consignment auction south of Springfield, Ohio. “We bought it sight unseen,” Kent said.
He and his brother Karl bought the Sears car in October of 2016. They were pleasantly surprised when they went to pick it up and saw what marvelous shape it was in. “We bought the Sears car from a family named Sears,” Kent said. He doesn’t know if they were related or not, but it makes for a good story!
The Sears car looks like the old descriptions of a horseless carriage. “When we got it home, we did a little bit of work that day. it was cold so we’d work on it and drive it. We had to fuss a bit, it was not a restoration, just a really good tune up.”
Since Kent and Karl have a garage and work on cars, trucks and tractors this was right up their alley. The Sears car runs like a top and Kent joked about the stick that steers it and called it “tilt wheel only steering.” The car has a buggy top that will come up and a nice size trunk. “The back opens for nice summer drives, a little like a surrey.”
The seats are leather and the motorbuggy has brass lights that at one time burned kerosene. “It is a heck of a lot of fun to drive. I was just thrilled to get it and find it as this obscure auction,” Kent said. “We are really happy to have it.”
Kent and Annie were the stars of the show in Ohio, none of us had ever seen this, and I for one never knew that Sears sold cars. I shouldn’t have been surprised, they sold houses and everything but the kitchen sink! The Sears car though, was very grand!
The best thing of all though about the Sears Motor Buggy was that Kent was very generous and gave us rides. What a thrill to get to go up and down the road in a vehicle that is over 100 years old. I just needed a long skirt, a parasol and a big hat to fit right in. Annie and I stopped in an antique store while we played tourists in the area and I think she is actually looking for one!
Traveling about in a century old time machine was a fine ride indeed. Watch for an article in Farm World in my Wrenching Tales column for more detailed information about this amazing vehicle.