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For Sale: 1909 Cartercar Model H
in Cleveland, Ohio

PLEASE NOTE: This vehicle has been sold. However, there are more listings for 1909 Cartercar Model H. See them all »
Classic cars for sale coast to coast This vehicle is listed by
Vintage Motor Cars Ohio
Vintage Motor Cars Ohio
26210 Emery Rd
Cleveland, OH 44128-2251
Highly original barn find in single family ownership since the 1950s. Recently serviced, runs and drives well with unique friction-drive transmission. Fun, easy-to-drive brass car with a lot of authenticity.

This 1909 Cartercar Model H touring is one of perhaps 4 or 5 still in existence and remains in almost entirely original condition. It has recently been recommissioned by noted brass car expert David Heinrichs of Heinrichs Vintage Car Shop, so it runs and drives remarkably well for a 103-year-old machine. Showing wonderful patina, including upholstery and a top that were replaced more than six decades ago, it is a fantastic example of one of the more interesting footnotes in American automotive history.

As far as we can discern, the gray paint on the bodywork of this Model H is completely original. It’s beyond being shined and buffed, but it’s tenaciously clinging to the bodywork, which is a combination of steel and wood. Most of the touring body is wood, and as such it remains in outstanding condition with no signs of rot or damage thanks to decades in protected, heated storage. The steel components, including the fenders and hood, are in similarly good shape, with even the bright red pinstripe clearly visible and accenting the body’s unique curves. The two rear doors fit well and latch securely, the hood doesn’t vibrate or rattle, and the car still feels tight and well-assembled as it ambles down the road. Up close you’ll note some flaking, which is to be expected, but given the hobby’s appreciation for originality, it would be a crime to repaint this car.

According to the current owners, the black leather upholstery and long-grain vinyl top were replaced before their father acquired the car in the mid-1950s, yet it all remains in excellent condition. The seats look virtually untouched save for some mild discoloration around the edges, and the top remains supple enough to fold without worrying about damaging it. Original rubber floor mats are fully intact, and the wonderfully simple wooden dash and coil box are nicely finished. An accessory Stewart speedometer has been fitted, and shows 3539 miles, but there’s simply no way to know whether it is authentic.

Mechanically, the Cartercar used a 201 cubic inch inline-four that was typical of the era, with two pairs of cylinders with side valves and a single updraft carburetor. Priming cups are included but we’ve found they aren’t needed if you give the engine a few gentle turns with the crank before engaging the ignition, but in the dead of winter 1909, they were surely a lifesaver. Dave Heinrichs was commissioned to bring the Cartercar out of its slumber and today the car starts with a few pulls of the crank and settles into a sweet 450 RPM idle. It makes all the usual chugging mechanical sounds typical of an early brass car, and it’s remarkably smooth for such a simple machine. Like the Model T, cooling is by thermo-syphon, but it stays cool as long as you’re moving, and seems content to idle at low speeds almost indefinitely. The carburetor is gravity-fed, and the valves are exposed making it a neat educational experience to watch the Cartercar idle.

The friction-drive transmission works as it should, and the chain drive is quiet thanks to a great deal of lubricant that bathes the entire assembly. It appears that lubrication is a total-loss system, so expect it to leak and keep a careful eye on oil levels, but it does not seem excessive. And given the car’s modest performance, the braking system is remarkably effective with its combination service and parking brake setup. The frame is wearing its original red paint, and the ornate black pinstriping throughout is a wonderful throwback to the carriage trade. The original wheels wear Universal-brand tires that are surely decades old, and it’s quite possible that the spare (made by the Falls Rubber Company of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) is original to the car. Don’t drive on it, but we’ve never heard of Falls Rubber Company, have you?

This car also includes an original owner’s manual, a small booklet full of dense text describing the operation of the Cartercar and all its features, including a tantalizing section called “Trouble: How to Locate and Eliminate It.” Perhaps it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there’s wonderful verbiage like “Indeed, serious trouble with a Cartercar is a thing so remote that it need not be considered.”

Brass fans, this is a fantastic piece of automotive archeology in exceptionally well-preserved condition. The friction-drive transmission alone is worth the cost of admission, but in the bargain you get a rare and innovative machine that seems to run extremely well. Given the simplicity of its operation, it would be a fantastic brass car for the first-time hobbyist, and will surely be welcome at any event where its condition will be the source of endless wonder and speculation. From an era when practically everything was an innovation, the Cartercar stands out as a truly unique machine whose only flaw may have been being born too early.

For more details and photographs of this remarkable survivor, please visit

Pricing Information
Asking Price
or best offer
Vehicle Location

United States
City, State
Cleveland, OH
Vehicle Basics

Trim Level

Odometer Reading



Vehicle Category/Style


Exterior Details

Vehicle Color(s)

Restoration History

Condition of Exterior

Interior Details


Seat Material

Restoration History
Partially Restored

Condition of Interior

Engine Details

Engine Configuration
Inline 4

Engine Size
201 cubic inches

Engine History

Engine Condition

Transmission Details

Transmission Type

Drive Train
Rear-wheel drive

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