94 Years and Still Kicking: 1923 Maxwell Model 25

As America became more engulfed with the automobile, prices and availability finally were within reach for middle class America. Many of the cars of the 20’s lived a lifestyle that no other era of car could relate too. Muddy and rough roads of the time were hardly passable, and many of these cars lived a long and rough life. Thankfully there are many cars that have survived and that have been restored. The famous and well known “Henry Specials” as I like to call them are a common sight to see today. Despite the fact that there were so many manufacturers of the time, you hardly see much else than Model T’s and A’s. This Model 25 Maxwell has undergone a meticulous restoration using only factory parts with no fabricated components. Clean with some light aging to the restoration, this Maxwell has been used for Parades, but little else. With only a few days remaining, this Maxwell currently has no bids for the opening price of $12,500. Take a look here on ebay out of Waldwick, New Jersey.

Under the engine covers is the Maxwell 4 cylinder power-plant. Little detail has been offered on the restoration, so to me it’s not very clear if the engine was rebuilt during the restoration, or if it was in good enough health to clean up and paint.  The seller does report that the rear main seal is leaking but otherwise the engine is in good health. It would seem this Maxwell is a properly functioning antique that is ready to be enjoyed.

Inside you couldn’t be greeted by a more welcoming and pleasant looking interior.  Although this car has been restored, it would appear there has been a significant amount of time that has passed since it was completed. There are minor signs of aging to the dash, and the steering wheel is simply beautiful.

Like the interior, this Maxwell reflects a bit of age since its restoration, but really it adds some charm to this 94 year old antique. Appearing gently used, there are no major concerns I can see with this Maxwell. There are some areas where minor rust has developed, like on the radiator shroud, and some sharp edges where the paint is naturally thinner. Although in nice shape, I would consider this Maxwell a driver condition car, although a very nice one. With some detailing and minor touch up work this Maxwell could be very nice. Would you welcome this non-Henry classic to your stable?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Joe Nose

    Calling Jack Benny…

    God do I feel old…

  2. Todd Fitch Staff

    Thanks for the details, Brian! Normally I am drawn to the more luxurious cars of this era but I really like this Maxwell. In this condition (after double-checking safety bits) it’s prefect for something like The Great Race.

  3. Fred W.

    Maxwell would have been one of the many forgotten marques of the early 20th century were it not for Jack Benny. His character, the eternal cheapskate, was the original Barn Find owner, still driving his 1920’s car in the 1950’s. His longsuffering chaffeur Rochester kept the Maxwell in tip top shape, as much as was possible with an old bucket of bolts.

    • Jim Fox

      I worked on Jack Benny’s Maxwell on his TV show back in the ’50s. I was in the special effects department at CBS. We use to set off smoke flash charges under the hood as if something blew up. One time we set one off when Rochester was looking under the hood. As a gag he smashed his cigar into his face as if the smoke flash charge had done it. It got a big laugh from the crew. Rochester was great to work with.

  4. Fred W.

    Jack, his TV wife, Rochester and the Maxwell.

    • James HGF

      This eBay Maxwell was sold by RM Auctions in 2016 for $11,000. It should be noted that typical of the era there are no front-wheel brakes. Drum brakes on the rear wheels only. Keeps one alert.

      Eddie “Rochester” Anderson was not only an actor of many talents, but a car guy too. He had Emil Diedt build a unique roadster to his specs in 1950. This puzzles.com page provides us with 3 contemporary photos:

      https://www.autopuzzles.com/forum/2015-44/solved-whaddyacallit-21-1950-diedt-rochester-special/msg22530/#msg22530

      There’s a treasure trove of 21st century photos and history of the Diedt-Rochester roadster available on line.

  5. Howard A Member

    I agree, anybody over a certain age, instantly associates Maxwell with Jack Benny, even though, the Maxwell was not really a cheap car, at the time. Jack Benny was huge, probably the biggest star of all time. His show was watched by millions, including our family. Listen to this, while researching the Maxwell, the Jack Benny reference is mentioned. Apparently, the cars sounds were pre-recorded, but due to a malfunction, the legendary Mel Blanc was called in to substitute back firing noises. It was so successful, he did it for the length of the show.
    This PARTICULAR car? Sorry, it’s probably going to suffer the lack of interest, like most of these cars. Really sharp car, hope you have a trailer, if not, get one. Going anywhere with this, eventually you are going to have to use a main road, and that could get ugly.

    • Dan

      I had no problem with my 1922 Chevy touring car around town. It would cruise at 30, and I would stay in the right lane.

  6. 86 Vette Convertible

    That’s a parade car if I’ve ever seen one!

  7. bill

    Yup. Bucket list car. My eldest son is Named after Jack Benny. Wife said no to naming the second Rochester though….

  8. Paul

    Wow! How on earth could someone find parts for this thing?!?

    • Dave Wright

      Real mechanics make parts……(isn’t that how all parts come into existence?) We make many at our shop……these are simple machines. Most parts were hand made in the first place. My dad used to talk about the old Mechanic for one of his truck companies……” he is a real mechanic, kept the entire fleet running all through the war with no parts. He made, rebuilt or repaired everything” RIP Art Jewel…….he drove an early 50’s Desoto until he died in the 70’s.

      • Paul

        I understand that. But the description says that it was restored with “only factory parts with no fabricated components”

  9. Vegas Vic

    Wonderful history lesson here, great car! This is a fine, fun Barn find!

  10. Slotblog

    Parts for this car would be scare but not unfindable given how well the hobby is connected these days.

    One source says almost 58,313 Maxwells were produced in 1923. That same year Ford produced 1,831,128 Model Ts…

    And it’s a much better car than a 1923 Model T, but as mentioned it only has rear wheel brakes. Cruising speed is probably 35 MPH with its 30 HP motor and with the brakes, that makes it basically undriveable in most major cities these days. Heck, a Model A with four-wheel brakes and a 45 MPH cruise is tough to drive safely in most major cities these days.

    Parade car is right, although if one lived out in the country it could get a fair amount of use.

    Sounds like the auction buyer learned these facts post-purchase and now is seeking to at least make a couple bucks with a $12.500 starting bid.

    • Dave Wright

      At 12,500…..he is considerably upside down on this one……..11,000 hammer price becomes 13,000 real quick with auctioneers premium, tax and the rest……that doesn’t count transportation or anything else. He could easily have 15,000 in it as she sits.

  11. David Van Duzer

    Many years ago when I was a young car nut boy, my father gave me a car steering wheel as a Christmas present. Neither he nor I ever know what kind of car it was from. Today I found out! Your listing of the Maxwell contained a photo of its steering wheel which is the one that I still have hanging on my wall. BTW, I am now 69 years old.

  12. Bill the Engineer

    Walter P. Chrysler bought out the Maxwell company, and the first Chrysler cars were built beside the last Maxwell cars. The biggest difference (and selling point) was that the Chrysler had “New” hydraulic brakes.

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