1924 Auto Red Bug. Original 12 Volt electric motor. Well preserved older restoration, runs good. At 300.00, they were priced about the same as a new, Model T Ford. Complete with horns and lights. The Auto Red Bug automobiles were amongst the first “micro cars” built in America. The earliest models were called the “Flyer” and…
1924 Auto Red Bug. Original 12 Volt electric motor. Well preserved older restoration, runs good. At 300.00, they were priced about the same as a new, Model T Ford. Complete with horns and lights.
The Auto Red Bug automobiles were amongst the first “micro cars” built in America. The earliest models were called the “Flyer” and made by the A.O. Smith Company. After building them for a few years, the Smith Company sold the rights to Briggs & Stratton. Briggs & Stratton built the small wood vehicles until 1924 when they sold the designs and patents to the Automotive Electric Service Corporation of New Jersey. Red Bugs were sold in the US, UK and France mostly as a novelty for the wealthy but also for transportation within resorts and amusement parks. At 300.00, they were priced about the same as a new, Model T Ford.
This 1924 example was one of the first examples built by the Automotive Electric Service Corporation of North Bergen, New Jersey. From 1924 until 1928, the company offered the Red Bug with either a small, single cylinder, gasoline- engine or an electric motor. This example is powered by a 12-volt electric motor, which was basically the same Northeast motor that Dodge used as a starter for their automobiles. By virtue of the Red Bug’s weight of only 240 pounds combined with a properly geared, final drive assembly, the little car was capable of speeds up to 16 miles per hour. The car was built using a wood platform with steel re-enforcements. It was equipped with clincher wire wheels, headlights, a taillight and a horn. There was seating for two and a steering wheel attached to a conventional, frontend assembly. With its compact 62” wheelbase, the Red Bug was small, light weight, and easy to drive.
Showing a well preserved but older restoration, this 1924 Red Bug presents extremely nice. The paint shows overall signs of wear but has a charming, aged, look to it. The polished wood flooring has mellowed with age and has a nice, soft glow to its finish. The seats have been appropriately upholstered and the aging of the material matches the vehicle’s overall condition.
This example retains its original 12-volt, Northeast electric motor which seems to run well and adequately propels the car down the road. The brakes need some adjustment. The original headlights, taillight and horn operate as they should. The original wheels and older replacement tires are in good condition. Driving this little car is a lot of fun and it really gets around nicely. This Red Bug a great piece of Americana and represents an important part of automotive history. It began the micro-car movement, which would re-appear consistently during the next 100 years and is still being promoted today. This is a nice original example that is ready to be displayed anywhere and will certainly bring smiles to those who are fortunate enough to be able to take it for a spin around the neighborhood or backyard.
Please note that due to the nature of this vehicle, it is being sold with a bill of sale only.
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