1912 Marion Bobcat Speedster SOLD
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Estimate: $70,000-$90,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $165,000

40hp, 226 cu. in. four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, semi-elliptic front springs on I-beam drop-forged front axle, live trussed rear axle and with 3/4 elliptic rear springs, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112"

For most of the world, Detroit, Michigan, is considered the birthplace of the American automobile empire. If this is true, then Indianapolis has to be considered the home of America’s speed legacies. Over the years, a number of marques have contributed to this legend and among the most important was the Marion. One model produced by this pioneer automaker stands out as being a truly honest sports car of the day: the Bobcat. The Bobcat is strikingly reminiscent of the Stutz Bearcat; this resemblance can be traced back to the same man, Harry C. Stutz, who was responsible for both designs. In late 1910 he was serving as the Chief Engineer for Marion and came up with the idea of a factory-built speedster.

At this period in time, there were a number of cars that had plenty of power, but they were often weighed down with heavy bodywork, cumbersome accessories and the like. Stutz convinced the owners of the Marion that a bare-bones type of ride would do well in the marketplace, be less expensive to produce and that the customers would be rolling commercials when they started winning hill climbs and auto races, which they did. The Bobcat was as stripped down as it could be, devoid of amenities and outfitted with a four-cylinder engine that was one of the most powerful of the day.

To Stutz, the demand for the little Bobcat, America’s first “muscle car”, came as no surprise. Continued into 1912 with few changes, the Model 33 was nearly identical to the previous season with the exception of the wheelbase being lengthened an inch for a better ride, and the brakes were touted as being a bit larger, thus improved.

Considered rather rare by production, even rarer by survival, it is indeed a very unique opportunity to purchase one of these legendary cars at auction. This example joined the McMullen Collection in the early 1990s and shows that it has had an older cosmetic restoration as well as a mechanical rehabilitation. A quick inspection of this car indicates that it has been used and enjoyed just as it was originally created to do, but never abused. We are told that it runs quite well, and with a minimum of adjustments and servicing would be ready to hit the road.

This handsome two-seater is well appointed, starting with the large brass radiator fitted with the marque’s badge and topped by a Marion Moto-Meter. This is the type of a car that a well-heeled playboy of the day would have wanted, and for those late night drives there are plenty of lights to help guide the way including a pair of vintage brass headlamps plus a firewall mounted spotlight for the passenger to operate. All three of these, as well as the rear lamp, are gas-operated with their supply provided by the bright red canister mounted to the running board. The fenders are done in black, and the body is finished in red with yellow pin striping. This same color scheme is reflected on the 32"x 4.00" artillery style wood spoke wheels. Mounted to the steering column is the monocle-style round windscreen, while the vintage combination speedometer-odometer and a clock are attached to the wooden firewall, all wearing their original brass finish.

For the new owner of this rare and important Marion Bobcat Speedster, one can only imagine the merry escapades that will be awaiting them on the road.

Reference Number 8702

as of 4/18/2007

Car 1912 Marion Bobcat Speedster
VIN 37388 
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