20th Oct, 2022 13:00

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Lot 212

c.1912 Cartercar Model R Roadster
No Reserve

Sold for £8,438

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: Unregistered
Chassis No: T.B.A
MOT: Exempt

  • Entered from a private collection
  • Imported from America and NOVA declared
  • 1 of only 50 or so known survivors

A motoring pioneer who is understood to have begun experimenting with various steam- and internal combustion-powered designs as early as 1887, Byron J. Carter was a founder member of the Jackson Automobile Company fifteen years later. Unable to convince his partners to adopt the friction transmission he devised whereby two discs ran at right angles to each other with the driven disc moving across the face of the driving disc to increase the gear ratio, Carter struck out on his own. Initially based in Jackson, his Motorcar Company relocated to Detroit in search of investment and then again to Pontiac by which time it had been rebranded as Cartercar. Hailed by none other than NASA as a progenitor of CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) systems, Carter succumbed to a tragic accident in 1908 but not before his company had come to the attention of William C Durant and General Motors. Absorbed by the latter during 1909, Cartercar never achieved the sales success that Durant predicted for it. Ceasing production in 1915 and dissolved the following year just fifty or so Cartercars are understood to have survived to the present day.

Decidedly rare, chassis 363 is known to have been Californian registered during the 1930s before migrating to Mexico and then Texas. A Model R Roadster sat on a 112-inch wheelbase with semi-elliptic front and three-quarter elliptic rear suspension, its 253.9 cu in (4160cc) L-Head four-cylinder engine fed power to the rear wheels via the patented friction transmission and an enclosed ‘silent chain’ drive. Partially restored in Mexico from 2008-2010, accompanying photos show the two-seater running and having attention paid to its bodywork and upholstery. Part of a private collection since 2019, the Cartercar has been NOVA declared but not UK registered. A fascinating ‘what if’, this obscure Edwardian is surely worthy of further restoration and a return to the road. Offered for sale with NOVA declaration and history file with receipts for new spark plugs plus work to the starter motor, upholstery and radiator etc.


All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


Auction: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, 20th Oct, 2022

An auction of classic & collector motorcars


Tuesday 18th October 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 19th October 2022 from 9am
Additional viewing for lots 200-254 on Thursday 20th October 2022 from 9am

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