1911 Kelsey Model M Motorette

  • Brand: Kelsey
  • Car Code: 180641

1911 Kelsey Model M Motorette

Cadwallader Washburn Kelsey had his first ride in an automobile in 1897; a banker named Robert Glendenning took him for a ride in a new Pnahard. This ride and vehicle was the inspiration for Kelsey's first car, a two-cycle, single-cylinder vehicle which would prove to be a failure. He kept many of the parts from that first vehicle and would later use them to build a three-wheel car called the Autotri, in similar fashion to the Leon Bollee tricycle. He became an agent for Autocar in Pennsylvania and continued to build cars of his own design before selling Maxwells. He later became sales manager for Columbia in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1910, he created the Spartan car at Hartford, which never made it past a single prototype. Instead, he returned to the Motorette, embracing the three-wheel formula, and giving a two-stroke 10-horsepower engine. Air-cooling prove insufficent, so he switched to thermo-syphon water cooling. The Motorette was priced at $385 and it had an 74-inch wheelbase and weighed just 700 pounds.

In 1912, in hopes to cut costs, he outsourced engine production. These engines proved to be very poorly built. By the time the problems were solved, the Kelsey Manufacturing Company was in receivership. Around 200 examples of the Kelsey Motorette were produced. A concept for an automobile drivetrain with enclosed friction discs failed to gain traction, although he endeavored to produce it in an otherwise conventional Kelsey car in 1920/21.

Much of the remainder of Carl Kelsey's career was with the Rototiller Company in Troy, New York. In the 1960s, he patented the Skycar, a two-passenger vertical-takeoff helicopter. He died in 1970, aged 89.

This Motorette has been given a meticulous restoration. In 1997, it received an AACA National Senior honors.

This Motorette is finished in black with gold coach lines. It has a radiator mounted behind the seat, the seats are upholstered in black buttoned leather, and it has right-hand tiller steering. The engine is a 72.2 cubic-inch two-cylinder two-cycle water-cooled engine offering 10 horsepower. There is a two-speed planetary transmission and rear-wheel drum brakes.

Descriptions & pictures by conceptcarz & bonhams & other

Production Start 1911
Country of origin USA