HomePick of the DayLiving history 1912 Metz roadster

Living history 1912 Metz roadster


There were scads of manufacturers in the early days of motoring, many of them bicycle and carriage makers who branched out into the newfangled automobiles. One of them was industrialist Charles Metz, whose Waltham Manufacturing Co. in Massachusetts was a major bicycle company. 

In 1898, Metz tried his hand at cars and motorcycles, and in 1909 began producing cars in Waltham under his own name. Metz automobiles were built through 1920. 

The roadster styling emulates race cars of the day

The Pick of the Day is a 1912 Metz Model 22 roadster, a handsome brass-era car with an older restoration that has settled into attractive patina, according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising the antique on

“This 1912 Metz Model 22 roadster is an older and very well-preserved restoration of a complete, authentic and original car,” according to the ad. 

“All of the mechanical components appear to be in very good condition, and close inspection shows they are free from wear or damage. When you carefully study these components, it becomes further evident that this was a low-mileage, unworn car prior to its restoration.”

A single rear seat was supposedly for taking along the mother-in-law

The Model 22, so-named for the horsepower rating of its 4-cylinder engine, is a sporty number configured with a pair of bucket seats up front and a single “mother-in-law” seat in back.  The speedster look was meant to resemble racing cars of the day. 

The Metz is highly authentic, the seller says, and appears to have been well-kept over its lifetime. The restoration is believed to have been completed in the 1960s.

“Today, many brass-era cars have been assembled from a variety of new and original parts, however, this 1912 Metz appears to have always been a complete and well-cared-for example,” the seller says.  “Although its early history is unknown, this Metz Model 22 roadster spent a good portion of its later years as part of an auto museum on the East Coast. Later, it became part of another well-known East Coast collection of fine brass-era automobiles.

The leather bucket seats look well-worn 

“The older restoration has since mellowed and the car now has that charming look that collectors of brass-era automobiles desire. The paint is extremely presentable and shines with an appropriate soft glow that one would expect from a 50-year old paint job. The interior is black leather and has also appropriately aged itself while still being in very good condition.”

Antique cars such as this Metz have been gaining in popularity as collectors seek to experience the simple pleasures and challenges of driving and maintaining century-old automobiles.  The beautiful roadster would open a new world of collector car comradery, permitting entry into such active groups as the Horseless Carriage Club with their many tours and events.

The Metz runs with a double chain drive

While a Ford Model T carburetor has been fitted to the engine for improved drivability, the roadster is otherwise in original fettle.  The tires on the tall spoked wheels are old, the seller advises, and should be replaced before heading out.  

The Metz is a rare find that looks very presentable in the photos with the ad, and priced at $32,900.

To view this listing on, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. I’ve seen this car before, many years ago. Perhaps it was once on display at the now long defunct Zimmerman’s Auto Museum in PA.

  2. What a cool car! Does anyone know if the driver of the car is expected to enter the cab from the passenger side? Since the spare tire is situated in a way that it partially blocks the driver’s side access, it seems logical that they would enter from the right. I wonder why the manufacturer chose that position instead of at the rear of the car like so many others?

  3. When I was a kid, an older relative, Clayton Holden, remembered growing as a kid in Waltham, Mass, where Metz’s were built. He shared: Metz had 2 factories. But they were in different parts of the small city. Solution: The Metz test drive was to drive/ race the bare chassis across town to the other factory. There the bodies were put on. He enjoyed the roar and the test drivers’ hunched look at the wheel in the wind as they motored the Metz chassis through town and gunned them up a steep hill.


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