1909 Thomas 6-40 Seven Passenger TouringSOLD

RM Auction - Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island - March 10, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $300,000 - $400,000

$297,000 Sold

40hp, 267 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine cast in pairs, updraft carburetor, cone clutch sliding gear manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 137"

E.R. Thomas introduced his first namesake motor cars in 1903. They were small, mostly two-seat runabouts that used engineering that he had developed and manufactured beginning in the late 1890s. Thomas was a pioneer and upstart that began in business manufacturing bicycles for several different companies. He opted to go out on his own in an effort to capitalize on what seemed like the inevitable advancement of a technological revolution. His choice to do so would prove revolutionary, and hold a place in the long and great history of the internal combustion engine and the cars they powered.

Within two years of the first run of small production cars, Erwin Ross Thomas had begun building a four-cylinder engine that would power his new automobile, the Thomas-Flyer. E.R. Thomas was a marketing genius and was known to paint his cars in unmistakable, bright colors to build product recognition. In all likelihood it was unnecessary, as the great Thomas-Flyers rose quickly to the top of the automotive world on the merits and accomplishments of their large and powerful engines and endurance racing achievements.

In 1908, E.R. Thomas made a spur of the moment choice to enter “The Great Race – From New York to Paris”. With little time for planning, a reliable stock 1907 Thomas-Flyer 6-70 was chosen right out of the factory for the competition. The race left from New York City, during winter naturally, and moved across the country to San Francisco, where the entrants traveled by boat to Alaska and then Siberia. Once on the rough, snow covered ground of Siberia, the competitors raced along ice frozen roads, some that had never been traveled by a motor car ever!

From the race’s start, approximately 13,300 miles and 171 days had passed with the entire world watching intently, and no one in America was disappointed when the Thomas thundered into Paris claiming outright victory for the Yanks and for E.R Thomas. Success from the race proved to be an excellent marketing tool for the Thomas Company however production of their motor cars would cease just a few years later, in 1913.

The 1909 Thomas-Flyer 6-40 touring car presented here is an excellent example of a large horsepower, early American brass era car. Carefully restored to original condition, it was repainted in the correct shade of red, which is accented by a black leather interior. The chassis and engine compartment have been equally well detailed and remain in show condition.

The 6-40 is fitted with all of the correct period accoutrements, which include Gray and Davis brass lamps, a brass speedometer, a folding brass windscreen and running board mounted spare tires.

The mighty Thomas-Flyer is, and always will remain, one of the most important American automobiles ever manufactured. They are becoming increasingly difficult to find for sale, as their owners are a devoted group attached to their revered cars. The opportunity to purchase a Thomas-Flyer is an occurrence seldom presented, which makes this opportunity all the more rare, considering the exceptional quality of the 6-40 Seven Passenger Touring model – one would be remiss to let it pass by.


RM Auctions is pleased to confirm that this Thomas Flyer is reported by its long-term former owner to retain its original bodywork, chassis and engine, making it one of only a handful of these outstanding cars to do so. The Thomas was also previously owned by noted Florida based collector, the late Rick Carroll. The Thomas was the first significant Brass Era car purchased by Mr. Carroll, he retained ownership for some time until it was purchased by a former long-term owner who subsequently displayed the car at the 1983 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded a 2nd in class. Should the purchaser be interested we understand that a spare tire and set of side curtains could be made available to the next owner.

Reference Number 7106

as of 2/7/2007

Car 1909 Thomas 6-40 Seven Passenger Touring
VIN 254 
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