CHASSIS NO: 72345
• Period-correct T-head REO engine
• Vintage parts employed
• Brass Era sporting car
T-head four-cylinder engine, 30/35 HP, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear wheel mechanical drum brakes; wheelbase: 112”
In the early days of motoring, fast cars were all the rage. Stripped down speedsters were the passion of many young drivers hoping to attain a sporty open air raceabout from car makers like Mercer or Stutz. In 1914, REO offered just two body styles, a five-passenger touring car and a two-passenger roadster, both powered by a 30-35 HP engine and neither of these being particularly sporty in their looks. This home-brew speedster’s origins have been lost to time, but it is believed to have initially been assembled in the late 1970s near Mason, Michigan. It was acquired by old car enthusiast, Dan Shafarman, who has a passion for REO automobiles. Under his ownership, he reportedly had the car running and finished, giving it the speedy persona it has today. According to our consignor, Shafarman hand formed the fenders on this car and then added two vintage brass headlights which were electrified to operate on a six-volt system. He then created dual bucket seats for the driver and passenger and added a fuel tank mounted high behind the seats. Several other special touches were added to complete the look including a rather distinguished paint scheme of fire-engine red with bright yellow applied to the spokes of the demountable rims as well as the undersides of the fenders plus attractive outlining on the seats. Shafarman’s final touch was to add a name to this home-built speedster; he christened it the REO Bearcat.
Our consignor acquired the Bearcat a few years back. He found that while the State of Michigan has issued a title and a serial number for this car, it had never been registered to run on public roads due to a need to be able to pass a safety inspection. Since its current ownership, the engine has not been started. Our consignor does believe that the engine is from 1914 but believes the chassis might be from 1915. It was recently fitted with a new set of Firestone Non-Skid tires, but for the time being is a static display piece that rolls just fine. The REO Bearcat could be an ideal candidate for project car which could result in some rather exciting motoring tales, but only if you’re ready for a REO!