Jonathan Maxwell had worked at Olds and Northern when he was discovered by Detroit sheet metal magnate Ben Briscoe. Briscoe put Maxwell and his eponymous automobile marque at the center of Briscoe’s ambitious plans and Maxwell automobiles were introduced in 1904. In the early 1900s, Maxwell offered a nearly unparalleled combination of quality, performance and style for the money. Customers realized this, and by 1910 Maxwell was America’s third largest automobile producer selling 20,500 cars, behind only Ford and Buick. The Maxwell also remained famous for many years as the car of choice for skinflint actor Jack Benny and, although it was a running joke on the show, the Maxwell’s longevity was a further testament to its build quality and reliability.
This 1909 Maxwell gracefully wears an older restoration with well-done recent paint, finished in a rich dark red with black fenders. It came out of Long Island, New York to Hershey in 1968, and has had the same thoughtful ownership since that sale over forty years ago. It has a tan canvas top, black leather seats, red wheels and non-skid tires. It also features a small utility bed in the rear with attached toolbox as well as abundant brass on the headlights, radiator, hubcaps, steering column and windshield frame. This is a great old automobile that recalls a bygone era at the beginning of the last century when the automobile, instead of software, was the source of serial entrepreneurship. It is a strong running and driving example with recent cosmetics, and it would be an appropriate and fun entry into the many Brass Era tours that celebrate that entrepreneurship.
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