Dusty Treasure: 1912 Maxwell Touring Car

This Maxwell is listed on eBay in Mariposa, California for $12,000. It was last registered in 1957 and still has a 1915 Pennsylvania license plate. This Maxwell was in a museum for many years until 10 years ago when it was moved to a barn. It is in remarkable original condition, perhaps just needing a new top and tires as well as possible mechanical restoration. Maxwell is a name unfamiliar to many except as a brand of coffee. No, this is not about a really stale cup of coffee, although it appears the fellow in the picture might have just had one. For those of us old enough to remember the Jack Benny TV show from the 1950s, (and on the radio in the 1940s) he had a 1908 Maxwell Roadster. Here’s a hysterical video of the trip to Las Vegas. As was the case with most car companies, the Maxwell had an interesting early history beginning in 1904 and ending in 1925. In 1913 the company was reorganized as the Maxwell Motor Company and in 1920, five years before he started the Chrysler Corporation, Walter Chrysler purchased Maxwell. The first Chrysler was based on the 1925 Maxwell and that car went on to become the first Plymouth. Maxwell introduced several innovations like the drive shaft at a time when automobiles still used chain drives. Maxwell, General Motors, and Ford were the top three car makers in the US.

It’s dusty inside but looks like it would clean up nicely. It looks like the upholstery is in great shape under all that dust.

The engine is a 281 CID flat four. Hopefully, it’s not frozen.

The condition, as well as the color and pin strips, are a good indication that this old Maxwell was likely restored at some time. It’s hard to imagine any pink automobile from that era. The mechanicals will need a great deal of restoration of course but with a serious cleaning and detailing it might look really nice. Hopefully, after being inside for decades, the wood body frame is OK. This Maxwell is another example of value, of what people are willing to pay versus a car’s true value. I believe a car over a century old, even in this condition, is worth more than many of the $12,000 cars out there. Of course, almost everyone would rather have a 4 or 5 year Camry or even a rusty Tri-Five, but somehow this car is worth more than that, just not monetarily. If our museum would display this Maxwell, I would buy it. Hopefully, there is someone out there who appreciates this car and will enjoy driving it or at least preserve it in his collection. It may live on, just perhaps not in pink.


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  1. peter giles

    i bought the maxwell it is now in the UK, working to get it running

    Like 1
  2. kennard hicks

    I have a letter addressed to my grandfather from the Maxwell company dated 1910 and a State of Maine registration for a 1912 Maxwell touring car but the only photo is of his new Model-T Ford.

    Kennard Hicks
    Buckfield Maine

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