1912 Sears

Sears, Roebuck became a phenomenal success supplying rural America with virtually everything a nation of farmers, ranchers, trappers and woodsmen could need, all selected from a voluminous catalog and delivered to a Railway Express depot near them. Most of Sears customers lived near subsistence. Reliability and familiarity were essential. "New-fangled" was the kiss of death. They were not early adopters. So in 1908 when Sears added an automobile to its catalog it was calculated to be simple and familiar, a short step for rural farmers who had to pick up fuel in jugs at the local general store and fix their contraption with simple hand tools. The device, familiar to everyone, was a motorized buckboard with exaggerated clearance for rutted rural wagon tracks from huge wheels and simple engines placed under the floor. The Standard Catalog quotes one of some 3,500 buyers, Harry Dobbins of Sharpsburg, Ohio, writing this testimonial to Sears, "It beats a horse bad, as it don't eat when I ain't working it and it stands without hitching, and, best of all, it don't get scared at automobiles." The Model T Ford beat the Sears high wheeler all hollow, though, and after 1912 the automobile disappeared from the big Sears book. They remain, however, delightful and surprisingly practical examples of the automobile's evolution in America. This delightful 1912 2-cylinder example is the long wheelbase model with 15" additional length (87" instead of the standard 72") to handle a large family or a load of farm supplies. It has been attractively restored in green with a single two-place black leather seat, Dietz kerosene headlights and a CM Hall taillight. The restoration has aged gracefully and is still attractive and presentable, not to mention running and driving well. It is both a significant piece of early American automobile history and an example of the marketing genius of Sears, Roebuck and Company.

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