The H.J. Koehler Sporting Goods Company of New York City had sold automobiles in its retail stores since 1898. In 1910, the company decided that automobiles were a profitable commodity and decided to build their own. The company purchased a factory in Bloomfield, New Jersey and began producing motorcars and commercial trucks. Their first passenger…
The H.J. Koehler Sporting Goods Company of New York City had sold automobiles in its retail stores since 1898. In 1910, the company decided that automobiles were a profitable commodity and decided to build their own. The company purchased a factory in Bloomfield, New Jersey and began producing motorcars and commercial trucks. Their first passenger car was built in late 1910. It was a large, 40 horsepower, touring car that sold for 1,650.00. The company soon realized that there was too much competition in the passenger car market and by 1913 had discontinued car production but continued building light and heavy-duty trucks under the name H.J. Motors Corporation. Koehler produced trucks until 1923.
The first Koehler trucks were powered by two-cylinder, horizontally opposed engines that were rated at about 16 horsepower. They were called Power Wagons by Koehler and sold for approximately 750.00 when new. The two-cylinder models were built from 1910 through 1913. After 1913, Koehler trucks were built with four-cylinder engines.
This c.1912 Koehler truck has a charming and original overall appearance to it. It was recently removed from a New England collection where it was owned for many years. It was likely repainted several decades ago to its current yellow and red livery. Today the paint is well worn but has a great look to it. The bodywork appears to be original and the wood is in well-preserved condition. The body has all of its original metal and iron hardware including body brackets, bed and tailgate hardware, etc. The canopy top has its original ribbed wood slats that are covered old black, cloth material, which could likely be original. The seat assembly was recovered many years ago and matches the condition of the exterior paint.
Underneath, this rare truck retains all of its original engine and chassis components. The two-cylinder, horizontally opposed, engine has an exposed flywheel that is connected via driveshaft to a planetary transmission assembly. The transmission assembly contains a transfer case that connects the dual chain drive to the solid, rear axle. The planetary transmission is shifted via lever and pedals in the driver’s compartment. The truck retains its original cast iron floorboards that have the H.J. Koehler logo as well as a stamped VIN/serial number of 1898. Also embossed is the maximum load weight of 1,600 pounds and a reminder not to drive faster than 16 miles per hour! The truck has original wood spoke artillery wheels, which appear solid and have good, original hard rubber tires attached. The original brass radiator designates that this was built prior to 1913 when steel radiators were used on this model.
The chassis and drivetrain components are in good, original condition and show little signs of wear or abuse. Upon close inspection, this was obviously a lightly used and well-kept truck. It appears to have always been stored indoors and has never been exposed to the elements.
This c.1912 Koehler Power Wagon Delivery Truck is believed to be one of less than ten, two-cylinder Koehler trucks in existence today. This truck will be a great addition to any collection or museum that appreciates original and well-preserved American antiques. With some careful, mechanical servicing, it can once again be returned to the road and will be the highlight of any car or truck show. It is eligible for the 1 and 2 cylinder tours of the Horseless Carriage Club of America or the Veteran Motor Car Club of America and could also be a candidate for preservation class judging at a variety of shows. With its small overall size, it can be easily stored and transported. This is a great opportunity to purchase a desirable piece of American automotive history.
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