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Lot 354
1921 Martin Wasp Model B Rickshaw Phaeton


Selling on Friday

From The Rockhound Collection


• One of only three known examples
• Hand-built in 1947 with NOS parts directly sourced from Karl H. Martin
• Extremely rare and desirable Nickel Era automobile
• Once a part of the Tupelo Automobile Museum

355 cid Wisconsin T-head inline four-cylinder engine, 70 HP, single updraft carburetor, four-speed Brown-Lipe selective-shift manual transmission, semi-elliptic front leaf springs and full-floating Timken rear axle, rear-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 130”

From a young age, Karl H. Martin was fascinated with automobiles and the design element that went into them. After being discharged from the Naval Aviation Department during World War I, he began to make a name for himself by designing bodies and structures for various New York shops and most notably for Michigan-built Roamer, Kenworthy, and Barley automobiles. Martin’s success would lead him to move to Bennington, Vermont, and establish a new company where he built his own, original and complete cars, which he proudly named the Martin Wasp. The first Wasp would be shown to the public in 1920 at the Commodore Hotel during the National Automobile Week in New York.

Even though the Wasp was built with some of the finest materials and was loved by many, like famed actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr., who owned one, the company’s doors would come to a close in 1925 with only 17 total units produced. Karl H. Martin could not get himself to scrap the leftover parts, so he tucked them away in a storage unit in hopes of someone someday needing them. That day would come in 1947 when William Gregg of Bennington, Vermont would buy an original Wisconsin Wasp engine, chassis and various other NOS parts directly from Karl H. Martin. Gregg was a well-respected craftsman and mechanic and took the next two years to carefully build a body, fenders, hood, windshield, and mudguards from correct materials and surviving photos of the original cars. The result was a true and authentic Wasp that was as “good as new.” Shortly after completion, it would be sold to Dr. and Mrs. Glade Hall of Florence, Massachusetts, who later would pass it to Raymond D. Newell. It would be introduced to its next home in 1994 when it was acquired for the Tupelo Automobile Museum, and after 25 years of ownership, it would make its way into The Rockhound Collection in 2019. Today, this fine example is one of only three known examples in the world and with its dramatic and flamboyant Nickel Era styling, it presents itself to potential buyers as a rare opportunity that may never come again.

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