Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Buckmobile Mystery

by Nancy DeWitt

During its short life (1902-1905), the Buckmobile Company's little automobile went through a surprising number of design changes.

This is from an advertisement in the April 3, 1902 issue of  Motor World. Note the wooden dash. A hand-written note on the ad questions if this was a 1901 prototype made before the company incorporated.

This is one of a series of photographs from the Buckmobile factory and is labeled "1st Buckmobile (prototype) 1902."

From an advertisement in the Cycle & Automobile Trade Journal, May 1903. This was the year that the Buckmobile was introduced at the New York Automobile Show at Madison Square Garden

From an ad in The Automobile dated February 27, 1904. Note the square radiator on the false bonnet (the engine remained mounted under the seat through 1905). The Buckmobile business wagon produced in 1905 had a similar radiator style.

From an October 1904 ad in The Automobile. This is the final and most common style of Buckmobile runabout I found in my research. Buckmobile merged with the Black Diamond Automobile Company in 1904, but the failing business was sold at a "sheriff's sale" in August 1905.

Then there is our 1904 Buckmobile runabout, with its oval radiator and rounded bonnet, both of which appear to be original to the car. Photographs show this was on the auto when it was disinterred from a barn in 1937. Its original owner was a doctor in Camden, NY; its next home was Walt Meyers' Bridgewater Auto Museum. 

Any guesses as to why this front-end style is unlike anything pictured in the sales literature?


  1. Although the different radiator and hood dramatically change the car's appearance,a close examination shows they're about the only parts that have been changed from the 1904 car. The answer might be as simple as "because they could, and it didn't cost very much." Or perhaps the doctor just wanted his Buckmobile to look more elegant.


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