HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: Sears’ catalog included cars

Pick of the Day: Sears’ catalog included cars

Offered for sale is a 1908 Sears Motor Buggy Model J


Before there was a Walmart or a Costco or even a Kmart, there were Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck and Company, huge department-store chains that sold pretty much anything and everything. And in Sears’ case, that included automobiles.

The Pick of the Day is a 1908 Sears Motor Buggy Model J  (click on the link to see the ad) being advertised for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Mankato, Minnesota.

According to The Standard Catalog of American Cars, “The Sears was a delectable little highwheeler, the perfect car for the company’s clientele.”

The car was designed by Alvaro S. Krotz, who earlier had produced electric vehicles under his own brand in Ohio. Krotz reportedly helped to convince Sears president Robert Wood to add a motorcar to the Sears mail-order catalog, but he didn’t get the job of producing those vehicles.

Instead, Sears opted to give that assignment to his friend, Col. William McCurty and his Hercules buggy company of Evansville, Indiana. Production moved in late 1909 from there to new production facilities in Chicago, Sears’ home base.

Unhappy with the lack of profit from the sales of its cars, Sears ended production in 1912.

The Pick of the Day is an early Evansville model, finished in black with red wheels and black vinyl bench seat.

“A lot of the parts are hand crafted and made to function just like the original, with the exception of the engine and hydrostatic drive transmission,” the dealer reports. “The wood spoke wheels were made by the amish community in Indiana.

“Original pieces to this car include the fenders and the frame. This is now powered by the Kohler Command 12.5 hp engine with electric start.”

A chain-drive system turns the rear wheels.

Originally, Sears cars were powered by a 10-horsepower, 2-cylinder engine rated at 14 horsepower.

“The gold pole (which pivots vertically for access to the driver’s seat) is for steering the vehicle, the lever beneath that is for throttle/choke, bottom lever is for shifting between forward and reverse,” the dealer notes. “The two pedals on the floor are for: Left — engaging the transmission, Right — brakes. There is a screw in pin located on the front of the vehicle, this is the belt tensioner for driving. When it is unscrewed the buggy can be pushed around, effectively neutral.”

The car is being offered for $10,900. To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Sears also went on to sell in the early ’50’s a badge engineered Kaiser Henry J called the Allstate.
    It showcased Sears auto parts such as tires, battery, spark plugs, etc..
    They are probably about as rare as the feature car, i would imagine.

  2. Sears also sold prefab steel houses- there’s an original in a museum park in Grand Forks, ND. I grew up in “Toughskins” and have Craftsman tools that outweigh the cars on which I use them.
    God I miss Sears.


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