Jump to content

1916 Lexington Howard


TimCC
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, I was curious if anyone has any information about these cars. My father in law has the entire car.... it’s just in buckets. The entire vehicle is there including the motor and all. Value? Chat group or someone that knows about them? I will find the model number tomorrow when I go over there. Any information is appreciated!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lexington was one of a few hundred smaller producers of automobiles often referred to as 'assembled cars' from the fact that they mostly used components manufactured by outside companies rather than investing in enough factory space to manufacture everything inhouse. The term is somewhat derogatory, and not entirely accurate. Even the best of the best manufacturers used a lot of parts produced by outside suppliers. Ford, long thought to be the ultimate in 'inhouse' production, actually didn't begin producing the majority of their parts until the late 1910s, and continued using outside suppliers for a considerable percentage of their parts clear through the end of model T production.

Lexington, as I understand it, made more parts in-house than most assembled cars did, and even produced parts for other assembled cars. Many of the assembled cars never made any of their parts inhouse.

For a smaller producer of automobiles, Lexington also has a small yet rich racing history! They excelled in hill climbing events as well as other types of races.

 

While Wikipedia is never thorough, and should never be taken as gospel on automotive history, they do give a pretty good overview of Lexington's history.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexington_(automobile)

 

I also remember reading a very nice series of articles on Lexington's history in one of the hobby's magazines a few decades back. Don't know if I could find it or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim, you have an interesting part of history.

I would say, however, that very few people

restore cars like that these days, as your car

is from an era that was popular with collectors

in the 1960's and maybe 1970's, but not today.

And restorations cost in the many tens of thousands

of dollars, and more likely over $100,000.

But your car if totally restored might be worth $25,000!

 

Your car will have its best value to someone with

the same model, who needs spare parts--and if

there is such a person, he'll be happy to find them

available.  The value is very modest, but don't discard

them.  They will be a Godsend to the right person.

 

What do forum members think?  For a car like this

that's all apart, perhaps $2500?

 

All the best to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As John S says, The market these days is what it is. I am still trying to restore a few cars myself. However, I already have more worthwhile projects than I am likely to be able to finish in my time left. So as much as I could want to take on another worthwhile project? I just have to tell myself NO! A lot of people that could be good for such a project are in the same boat.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a 1917 Lexington a guy had on here some time back. Does your father in law have hopes of restoring it still or has he lost hope? Are you inquiring because you think it might be for sale of

just out of curiosity? Do you know what the body style is?

 

1917 Lexington, Does anyone have photo's or have one?? - General Discussion  - Antique Automobile Club of America - Discussion Forums

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Everyone,

I just came across that it is a model 60 and it has steel wheels. It incredible that the entire car is here just needs to be put together. He passed away and left it to my wife. We know how much he loved the car and intended restore it... maybe I have to put it back together! If someone is interested in purchase we are against that either! There are many near perfect parts including the motor and transmission which we have paperwork to back up the restoration. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I will make it a point to check this more frequently, sorry for the delay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, TimCC said:

It incredible that the entire car is here just needs to be put together.

...maybe I have to put it back together! 

 

Tim, I wish you and your family's car the absolute best.

Maybe there is a buyer out there for you.

Advertising it on the website of the Horseless Carriage

Club of America (www.hcca.org) may reach the best

audience for you, those specializing in early cars.

 

Please have a realistic expectation of what restoration

entails.  As noted above, plenty of time and many dollars.

And expertise.  It is not a case of "just putting it back together!" 

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at the body parts you are showing it appears that the bodywork has been extensively modified at some point in the car's history. This will probably have a substantially negative effect on your cars value and desirability to others. You really need to get all the parts mock up  assembled and photographed to know what you have. If the body is factory made and from an older and potentially sportier / more desirable car then that bodywork may have substantial value to the owner of one of those cars. But if the bodywork is home made then it will be of very little value.  But it does not appear to be " normal " 1916 Lexington bodywork. And you are going to have to post detailed photo's

for some of the very knowledgeable early car people on the forum to work from.

 

Greg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree with what's already been said.  From what I see in the photos already posted, what was once done to the car has now suffered from the ravages of time and from obviously being shuffled around during the past several years.  Much of the work I can see that's already been done would need to be re-done.  Perhaps mechanical parts like engine internals, rear end, transmission, steering/suspension, were done and might not need much more than reassembly and adjustment, but the rest of it in my estimation needs a lot more than just reassembly.  There is a good chance most of the work already done is not up to today's standards and  is really just "fixup" rather than authentic restoration.  Assembled and complete, it might be $5-6K worth of car, but as is, the $2500 seems like a realistic ball-park figure as a project.  Of course all that could change depending on the history of the car.  If it's one of those documented historic race or hill-climb vehicles what Wayne mentioned, things could change.

We're all anxious and very curious to see more photos either here or wherever else you post it.  I'm sure additional info and opinions are waiting.

Terry

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim, you have a neat project there. If you are serious about putting the car back together, you have a steep learning curve ahead of you. The word, restoration, is defined by many to mean, as it came off the showroom floor, but there are a lot of other ways to play with cars without attempting a proper restoration. The first thing to do is clean up and inventory your parts. You know you need four wheels, front and rear axles, motor, trans, etc, etc. It sounds like you're not that knowledgeable about cars so you have a lot to learn. If your wife's grandfather did good with what he did, it might be relatively simple to put the car back together. I will tell you, there is something off with your pictures. In one picture there are two seats and in another there is a large round gas tank. Car bodies of this era would have one or the other but not both. It appears you have parts of two different bodies in the least. This is why it is important to clean up and inventory what you have. Where are you located?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's kinda what I was thinking too.  What's shown in the photos doesn't really look much like 1916.  Wondering if it's made up from a basic 16 chassis with some mixed bits and pieces for it.  I could see it as a speedster, but I certainly wouldn't call it "restored" as it sits right now.  Hopefully the owner will get back and give us some additional photos and info. 

Terry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am also curious to see better pictures of this car! If it is a real vintage speedster, it does have historic value! (Although not necessarily any more dollar value?) I have played with and restored several era speedsters over the years as well as several regular factory-built antique automobiles.

 

Merriam Webster defines 'restore' as "3: to bring back to or put back into a former or original state : RENEW"

It does NOT say to specifically the original or factory state. A car modified a hundred years ago can be restored back to its modified state. The reality is, that the era modified state may be more historically significant than restoring it to be like a hundred other unusual marques nobody knows about. Although as a Lexington it would be very special. It would also cost a lot more if a full body and fenders needed to be replicated.

 

The project should be assessed to determine whether the speedster state is later butchery, or an era modification well worthy of restoration.

 

For a bit of speedster history, this is a piece I wrote up a few years ago. It leans a bit heavy on model T Fords, however is relevant to non-Ford speedsters as well.

 

This is my opinion, based upon 45 years playing with speedsters, reading about them, and studying many hundreds  (maybe into the thousands now) of original era photographs.
Basically, there are no hard and fast rules that fit all. In the first place, the word "speedster" has several meanings, mostly around some vehicle that is sporty and fast (I have even seen it used in reference to certain horse-drawn carriages). The fact is, several automobile manufacturers used the name "Speedster" as specific model designations. Some of these cars, looked much like the model Ts we call "speedsters" today.  Among those, are Paige in 1912, and Metz in 1914 (there were several others). In the early 1920s, several cars including Hudson and Marmon offered sporty low sided four passenger touring type cars which were called "speedster" in the sales literature and factory references. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, several factory custom cars used the speedster designation. Auburn built several Speedster models, that were called "Speedster", including the famous Auburn boat-tails of the early 1930s. A few other marques, even made enclosed cars that sales literature of the day referred to as a "speedster".
 
So. Now in reference to our mostly model T "speedsters". Again, there is no hard and fast rule. "Speedsters" were being built well before the model T Ford began production. At least two model K Fords were modified into speedsters by 1909, as well as a few N/R/S model Fords. Speedsters were built out of many non-Ford cars as well, and at least by 1905.
However, to really confuse things? The term "speedster" was not universally used anywhere. Many other terms were used for the same cars, in different parts of the USA and the world. "Cut-downs", "torpedo", "bugs", "doodle bugs" (mostly used today in reference to model Ts or other cars cut down for farming or tractor use), among several others I have seen over the years but can't recall at the moment. Often, they were referred to by the dream they invoked, simply a "race car". And that was the whole point of the "speedster craze". To build oneself a car that made them feel like they were driving a "real" racing car. Remember, people in those days were used to horses and bicycles as local transportation. Even most passenger trains rarely exceeded 40 mph anywhere. The family Ford probably NEVER went over 25 mph (15 within town limits). A car that could go 35, with short bursts of even 40 mph was really MOVING!
The era racing car was the key. When one wanted a "speedster", the first thing one did, was toss the factory body off to the side.. Most often (at least on early efforts), fenders and running boards also got thrown to the wayside. all that was really needed was a simple seat (often from an old junked car or sometimes a carriage), with the gasoline tank set behind it. That was how most "real" racing cars were, and that was the look most speedster builders wanted. Most early efforts were somewhat crude, although a few early era photos exist showing some incredible custom Fords in the brass era. By 1915, several companies were offering the parts, and even complete kits, for speedster builders. Ames was one of the earliest and most successful companies to do that. By the end of the "speedster" era, there had been more than fifty significant manufacturers of speedster bodies alone. There were hundreds of companies that made other accessories for the speedster builder. Speedsters came in many forms throughout the speedster era. From really crude barnyard builds, to custom order "turnkey" cars ready to drive, through all levels of body types and kits in between. Some had fenders, windshields, even folding tops or bumpers. Many continued to be minimalistic, with little more than a place to put your behind and hang on!
 
So. When did the "speedster era" end. Some would argue that it never has. I have often said that the "speedster hobby" is one of the longest running automobile based hobbies in the history of the automobile. And that model T Ford speedsters in particular have been built in every calendar year from 1908 until still today. The first ones, were actually the experimental chassis that Ford's engineers drove around the streets of Detroit at night while testing their design changes. After the model T began production, in 1909 two "speedsters" were custom built in the Ford factory to be raced across the USA from New York to Seattle. By 1910, several Ford dealers had built similar cars for local demonstrations and cross country races to a nearby town. By 1911, private parties by the score were getting into the fun, and it hasn't stopped yet. Even in World War II (according to remembrances published in numerous magazines over the years), many a high school kid coming of age, with limited resources, and wartime rationing, got an old model T from a local neighbor and rebuilt it a little more to his liking.  After the war, the antique automobile hobby was getting a foothold, and some hobbyists began recreating speedsters. That continues still.
All that said. The speedster "era" basically did end. That ending, coincides with the end of model T production. There is no real reason to think that one thing caused the other. They just happened to be about the same time. There probably are many reasons contributing to this. More and better roads had raised the common driving speeds. Much heavier traffic made reckless abandon a lot more dangerous. To some extent, people were growing up. They were getting used to those bigger, faster, and very comfortable newer cars. Another important factor, was the major reason to want a speedster in the first place. It was a dream chasing fantasy, just like a "real" racing car. But the real racing cars of the late 1920s were not like the racing cars of the 1910s. Real racing cars of the 1910s were crude, open, and rough looking. The racing cars of the late 1920s were sleek, and polished.  So much more and more with each passing year, that a model T in any form looked like an archaic road machine. And making it look like a racing car of the 1910s? Simply didn't help it enough anymore. By 1927, only a handful of companies were still building after-market bodies for model T speedsters. And they were struggling to survive on dwindling sales. In the first half of the roaring twenties? Many thousands of people built and drove speedsters in many variations and qualities of construction.  
By the time the new model A Ford hit the showroom? The speedster craze had pretty much ended. Oh, there were still a few speedsters being built. And, maybe, IF the crash and resultant depression hadn't come along? Maybe some would have continued with the model A chassis. I have seen dozens of modern built model A "speedsters". I have not yet seen anything to suggest that any significant number were ever built when the model A Ford was a late model car. I did, many years ago, see a 1929 Chevrolet with a custom boat-tail roadster body. It was totally original (missing its engine), but otherwise untouched in decades (and that was fifty years ago). 
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are dueling controversies on this site and indeed, everyone has an opinion. Some say restorations of cars are too expensive to attempt any more, while others say, if you are concerned about the expense of restoration, you need to get out of the hobby. There is middle ground. Not every restoration has to rise to a 100 point AACA standard, and in fact, many cars are way over restored by factory standards of the day. If the intent is to enjoy one's self in the presence of an antique car, then the only standard one has to meet is their own. Most of us do not get into this hobby because we love to buy and sell cars; we get into this hobby because we love cars. The sale only comes into consideration when it is time to sale, and that's when the consideration of investment comes into play. When considering investment, one must consider the joy derived in monetary terms.

 

The 1916 Lexington in question is well worth restoring and in that it is an example of a rare car from a state not known for production of cars just adds to its worthiness. Is it prudent to do a 100 point restoration in one of the big restoration houses? That is a question only the individual involved can answer. The original poster said the car was not for sale and asked for help/advice. He said the car was the pride and joy of His wife's grandfather. The only advice I can give is to take some time identifying the parts. More pictures here would help us on this forum help him with the car. If we knew here he lived, we might be able to hook him up with a knowledgeable guy close by. At this point, about the only help I can give is encouragement.

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like it would be a good car for an educational experience, father/son, Grampa/ granddaughter. 

It would be nice to see photos of assembled units, engine, tranny, body etc. even if they are only placed together.

Your location would be helpful shipping 100 miles vs 2,000 makes a big difference.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...
30 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

It has since been sold to one of the forum members and is now about 80% reassembled.

Can you tell us a little more?

Was it modified into a speedster, as some thought;

or was it a complete authentic car?

What was the body style?


Is the new owner going to restore it, or is it

good enough to use it as it is? It's great to hear

that this car isn't still a collection of parts. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It isn't really my place to say...but I can say it's in amazingly complete, largely untouched condition despite having been taken apart 50 or more years ago. Yes, it was modified into a speedster but exactly when is an open question. It certainly wasn't done recently and it doesn't need restoration...

Link to comment
Share on other sites


 

So, it’s interesting that while I have no idea about the transaction, I’m 100 percent certain who here bought the project. Let’s say it’s up in the cold, cold north. 
 

The pre war car world is a small place.........😎

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

And the sub-set of pre-war guys that can take on a project like this, confident that putting it back together is no great problem, is much smaller still.


 

The list is short, and distinguished. A breed quickly going extinct. Like the Passenger Pidgin, from billions to zero in a few short years............only question now is who will be the last man standing.......and breathing.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/19/2021 at 10:28 PM, edinmass said:


 

The list is short, and distinguished. A breed quickly going extinct. Like the Passenger Pidgin, from billions to zero in a few short years............only question now is who will be the last man standing.......and breathing.

 

If I am putting my 1908 Buick Model F together from this, do I qualify?

 

Last picture is where I was several months ago.

 

 

1508368727348.jpg

1508368728790.jpg

image000000 - 2021-12-24T095703.451.jpg

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've often been asked how it's possible to do things like this without a "manual". My answer is that it's all logical but you have to know HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK. It's astounding to me how few so-called "car guys" ever give that any thought. From the little I'm exposed to, there are a lot of unfinished projects out there just waiting to be reassembled — a fantastic opportunity for the younger, motivated enthusiast. I'm not a pessimist here. I know there are some — I know some — but thus far they have been squeezed out by grossly unrealistic asking prices. Inevitably, this has to change but it may take the demise of a generation that thought they could retire to Florida on the proceeds from the rusty chassis their Great Uncle left out in a field.

 

As many of you know, shop manuals for pre-WWI simply don't exist. All of the period material is aimed at explaining how things worked and the mechanic was expected to apply this to the problem at hand.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
  • Like 4
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been very fortunate to have a couple of older friends help put this puzzle together. 

 

One owns a Model F which I can search on his car for the location of a part or what is missing.  From his experience he has helped me recondition some of the parts like the rear axle and the transmission. 

 

The other friend is a skilled machinist that has made some of the missing parts. A very valuable and dear friend.  We knew each other long before I got the Model F.

 

Hopefully I will be able to pay forward their kindness to others that might be in the same situation some day.  I try to do that now.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites


It’s interesting that there were very low ball offers on the car when totally disassembled. Fact is, even for free....one gets underwater very fast. We had just under 500 hours in my 1917 White to get it running and sorted after 70 years. Thus even this Lexington is a huge time investment........I have no clue to its platform or monetary value. Fact is the current owner will get it done right........which in itself is a miracle. His labor will certainly be in the 50-75 grand category by the time he’s enjoying it reliably. Looks very slick, and the type of project I would chase and tackle.....if I didn’t have two more in front of me now. Lots of interesting opportunities are out there for guys with talent, time, and desire. Sadly there are many more opportunities than there are craftsman to take them on. Looking forward to seeing the owner of this nice car next month when he visits my area. Gonna let him take the two Whites for a spin.....and maybe the Stearns.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is amazing and I do not believe typical that every piece of the car was there and not needing restoration. The frame looks a little shiny so that may have been repainted but otherwise, the new owner is just putting it back together. It is also amazing how many cars were torn down for restoration when all they really needed was maintenance. The problem is its real easy to take one apart but much harder to put back together.

 

This car is a Lexington, made in Tennessee. There are very few around. I can think of a couple of people who would probably jump at the chance to buy it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Lexingtons were made in Lexington KY originally then moved to Connersville Ind, .They remained there until they went on their ass ands E L Cord  bought them out and used the Lexington factory to build Cords. The roadster is the  2nd oldest known  Lexington  to the group and the only 1915.  I is pictured and written about in the hardback book  "The Lexington Automobile" by Richard Stanley. The car runs like a Waltham  watch and has been straight forward  to put back together.  The family that sold me the car has been wonderful  and actually found another two boxes of jewelry that was left behind when we carried the car out of the garage and house. After contacting AACA  Steve Moskowitz   , he was able to direct me to the owner in 1966 that won the  2nd place  award  shown on the dash. That man now almost 90 told me who the  2 owners were before him. I now know  the history of this car back to 1946 , who did what and when. Its a small world , and with patience  and perseverance a collect today wit the use of his computer can unlock lots of history. I LOVE a project and a challenge. Merry Christmas to all! Mike West  Livonia NY 

20211031_164601.jpg

20211031_170833.jpg

Edited by mikewest
spelling (see edit history)
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...