1913 Cartercar Model 7 


General description

The Cartercar is probably the best known and best built friction drive automobile of the early 20th century. Named after Byron J. Carter, an early automotive pioneer, the Cartercar was built between 1903 and 1905 in Jackson, Michigan. In the very beginning, only small numbers of Byron J. Carter cars were produced. From 1905 to 1908, the company name was Motorcar Company of Detroit. In 1908, the Cartercar Company was formed with headquarters in Pontiac, Michigan. The Cartercar Company was purchased by General Motors in 1909, which owned the Cartercar Company until production ended in 1915.

1913 Cartercar advertisementByron J. Carter had many different businesses in Jackson, Michigan, before turning to the automobile business. He purchased one of the first Michigan-built automobiles in 1896 and built his own vehicle by 1899. In 1902, he co-founded the Jackson Automobile Company, which built both gasoline and steam vehicles. In 1903, he built his first friction-drive automobile and applied for a patent for the friction transmission, which was granted in 1904. The Motorcar Company was formed in 1905 with other investors to expand this business and build friction drive Cartercars. Byron J. Carter died in 1908, and his death was seen as the motivation for the development of the first successful electric starter in a 1912 Cadillac. According to legend, he was seriously injured while attempting to crank a vehicle. It is said that he then passed away from the consequences of an infection that resulted from this injury. Today, automotive historians doubt whether this story is true. Pneumonia was probably the cause of death.

The most novel feature of the Cartercar was the "gearless transmission," which required little maintenance and was easy and silent to shift. It was supposed to handle inclines of 50% and operate without jerking or shaking. The various speeds were set by a lever in the passenger compartment. This moved the friction wheel via a friction disc. This continuously sets the speed in both directions of travel. The rotation of the friction wheel is transmitted by chain to the rear axle. There were many demonstrations of Cartercars driving up steep inclines and steps in the city to show the efficiency of the friction drive. Today, the Cartercar's drive principle can be found in improved form in modern CVT transmissions. Car manufacturers such as Subaru use this technology successfully.

1863 Byron J. Carter was born on August 17th, in Jackson County MI.
1903 Byron J. Carter builds his first friction drive car.
1905 The Motorcar Company is formed on September 22 in Detroit, MI.
1908 On April 6, Byron J. Carter died from pneumonia.
1908 The Cartercar factory moves to Pontiac, MI (during 1909 model production)
1908 The Motorcar Company changes its name to the Cartercar Company in October.
1909 Cartercars are now built with an enclosed chain casing.
1909 GM buys the Cartercar Company on October 26th.
1915 On May 22nd, Cartercar production ends.
1916 GM votes to dissolve the Cartercar Company.

Source and more information: www.cartercar.org 

Technical Data

Year of construction: 1913
VIN: 10515
Engine, power, design:     4 cylinder, 31 HP, capacity 3150 ccm, vertical in row, enbloc
Gearbox and drivetrain: Stepless friction gearbox, power transmission by chain to rear axle
Cooling: Water cooled
Body: 5 seater with Open Tourer body
Vmax: Approx. 90 km/h
Price at the time: US$ 1250
Manufacturer, location, country: Pontiac, Mi., USA
Vehicles surviving worldwide: 5 - 10 vehicles (Source: www.cartercar.org)
Special features: The Cartercar company was an early member of the General Motors group. They used continuously variable friction transmissions in all of their vehicles. The car has not yet run 3000 miles and is in original unrestored condition.

Vehicle information

 1913 Cartercar  drive train

The Cartercar is a fascinating automobile. It is in absolute original condition. This would be quite extraordinary for a 110 year old vehicle. But what is impressive is that it was most likely not driven 3000 miles during this time. This has been confirmed by many people and can also be read on the speedometer.

The original leather is like new and shows no signs of wear. The floor mat still has the original Cartercar logo and is probably unique in the world. Under the rear seat is an unused set of snow chains from 1914. Only the convertible top shows minor wear. However, it is complete, looks very good and is fully functional.

The following history is known about the Cartercar Model 7 with VIN 10515:

The car was built in Pontiac in the state of Michigan in the USA.

The car is sold to a Cartercar dealer in Colerado/USA. The name and address are not known. After Cartercar stopped production a short time later, the car remained in the possession of the dealer and was only used for annual parades on holidays. (Statement William Quiett)

2012 - 2018 (approximate).
The car is purchased by William K. (Bill) Quiett and his wife Judith Zoe Quiett from Ashland in Oregon/USA. Many pictures and videos exist on YouTube from this period.


Bill Quiett is now over 80 years old. He sells the car on July 17, 2019 to Mr. Chaz Kaiser from Batesville in Indiana/USA.

In September 2019, the car is with John Keiser. John Keiser is selling the car for a friend (presumably Chaz Kaiser). He knows Bill Quiet and his new address in Chula Vista in California/USA.

The car is owned by Klaus Möhwald of Old Wheels in Mitterteich. He will offer it for sale on the auction platform Catawiki in May 2020.

There it is bought on 12.05.2020 by the car collector, Philip Priebe from Hess. Oldendorf at auction.

In July 2022 Mr. Priebe sells the car. It goes over into my collection.

My goal is to clean the car carefully and to treat it in a preservation correct way. For this I work together with the experienced graduate restorer, Matthias Farke. The mechanics, especially the brakes and steering will be checked. The inner lining of the convertible top will be repaired. All oils and operating fluids will be replaced.

Currently, the aluminum housing of the water pump is broken and the ignition has been replaced with a modern ignition coil. The broken water pump has been replaced with an electric pump. The ignition and water pump are to be restored to their original condition. This beautiful vehicle should be moved carefully like this for many years to come.

According to Mr. Carter of www.cartercar.org it is the most original Cartercar vehicle in the world.

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