Car of the month - Tom Helf's Unrestored 1911 Touring

The article is here:

Please use the Reply button below to discuss.

The original, minimally molested state, sans all the typical over-polishing
and “perfecting” is EXACTLY how I like my old junk. In this condition I can
really appreciate a brass car. Something I normally think looks polished up
to use as a fern stand or cheese display in a Cracker Barrel.

There is something utterly magical in walking into a forgotten space and
seeing the time capsule/s left just as they were, ready to use. Be it just an
old hay barn or a locomotive repair shop, I think this is one of those subjects
where either a person “gets it” or they can only see taking it all apart and
restoring it to a state of mirror gloss and finish. I am that guy who dwells in
the magical state of suspended time, be it genuine, or as carefully crafted as
a perfection type restoration.

Was this car possibly sold by Erwin Greer in Chicago? My 1913 came from Chicago, was sold by them to a farmer in Illinois (I have all three titles…owner’s title issued in '20’s, the grandson who inherited it, and mine). It has a nice numbered brass label affixed to the front of the firewall “Erwin Greer Automotive, S/N XXXX”. The number appears to be their stock count number. Apparently they had to do some reassembly of knocked-down cars there, as the label is installed prior to final assembly, since a screw for the hood former goes right through a corner of it and partly obscured it.

Thanks for a great write-up and super pictures.

Really like this site.


I don’t know the answers to your questions, perhaps Tom would be able to answer them. The article has today been updated with some typos corrected and additional text and photos showing more details of this fantastic example.

The car of the month was originally delivered to Argos Indiana and spent its entire existence there until the mid 80’s when I purchased it. Was never in the Chicago area that I know of. No brass name plate on the dash. Thanks for your interest, Tom

Is the abbreviated tail pipe original to the car or is it some sort of an aftermarket adaptation? In any event I like the idea of it keeping all sorts of noxious stuff off the underside of the frame and body in general and the spare tire in particular. Incidentally, judging by the inside of the tail pipe I’d say the engine is in mighty fine shape.

I’m sorry to say this now at this time but what a beautiful automobile!

What a fantastic car! I don’t know as much as I should about 1911’s, but am wondering about two things: Is the oil cap original to the car? There isn’t a close up photo of this cap to be able to tell. Next, shouldn’t the bent tail pipe attached to the muffler be tapered like a 1913?