Call:  216-496-9292
1912 White Model 30 Roadster - Sold
VMC Stock ID: 132037
Mileage: 0
VIN: 14293
Engine: L-head inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Exterior Color: Cream
Interior Color: Brown Leather
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1912 White Model 30 Roadster

Beautifully restored some years ago, it still presents in excellent condition throughout with a few thoughtful upgrades.
J. J. Best Banc & Co.

Originally famous for sewing machines, and later steam-powered automobiles, the White name has always been synonymous with high quality. Founder Thomas H. White purchased an early Locomobile steamer and discovered, much to his dismay, that the boiler was both dangerous and unreliable. His son, Rollins, who was mechanically inclined, convinced his father to allow him to tinker with the Locomobile and see if he could rectify the situation. Eventually, Rollins came up with a superior system, but was unsuccessful in selling it to any of the existing steam car manufacturers. In response, a corner of the White sewing machine factory was converted to automobile production, and the White Motor Company was born. By 1910, however, it was clear that internal combustion engines, not steam, would be the way of the future, and after a decade of building high-quality steam vehicles, White turned to producing a complete line of exclusively gasoline-powered luxury automobiles.

In 1912, cars like this beautiful White Model 30 roadster were top-of-the-line vehicles for the wealthy, with many models costing ten times more than a comparable Model T Ford. Beautifully restored some years ago, it still presents in excellent condition throughout, with superb mechanics, great road manners, and a few thoughtful updates.

Paint and bodywork have been restored to an extremely high standard, with cream panels and fenders accented by tan moldings and bright red pinstripes. There is little question that this is an original roadster body, given evidence such as the original wood framing in the door and frame, and the completeness of the entire vehicle. The paint is single stage enamel, which closely approximates the original finish without looking too modern and glossy. Excellent care since the car was completed has preserved the finish, even in high-wear areas like hinges and latches.

The brass and other trim presents very well, with a comfortable patina but no damage or tarnishing. A few hours of polishing would make it sparkle like new, but personally, I would be inclined to maintain it as-is to preserve the car’s period-correct appearance. Period accessories include a python horn and carriage lamps mounted at the base of the windshield. The wooden dashboard and firewall was refinished at the time of restoration, and shows no signs of wear or deterioration today. The leather straps holding the top in place match the beautifully finished trunk in back. A White-logo motometer monitors coolant temperature atop the restored radiator. Fasteners, hardware and other fittings are period correct throughout, suggesting that this was a complete car in fine condition prior to the restoration.

The passenger seat has been reupholstered in brown leather, which looks sharp with the cream body and white top, but I suspect that black (or perhaps even red) leather would have been original equipment. The driver’s seat shows some wear on the left-hand side bolster, presumably from drivers clamoring into position, but the remainder of the interior remains in excellent condition. The dashboard carries the switch for the original magneto, the sight glasses for the lubrication system, a clever rim-wind clock, and an accessory Jones Speedometer. The passenger enjoys a brass footrest, while the pedals on the driver’s side represent the modern arrangement, with the accelerator on the right, the brake in the middle, and the clutch on the left. The small pedal ahead of the brake is for the [fully functional] exhaust cutout, while a second foot button closer to the seat engages the electric starter, which was added during the restoration. The steering wheel is brilliantly restored, with a rich finish and polished brass spokes holding levers for spark and throttle. Overhead, a correct canvas top is stretched over well-restored top bows and irons with a plastic rear window.

The four cylinder L-head engine was presumably restored with the rest of the car and runs extremely well today. Rated at 30 horsepower by White, it’s capable of moving the lightweight little car at speeds of up to 50 MPH, and it happily cruises at 35 thanks to the 4-speed transmission. The beautiful cast aluminum crankcase is a massive chunk of metal, to which the single cylinder block was bolted. An original Carter BB-1 carburetor supplies the fuel and the original magneto ignites it. The engine block has been painted black as original, and is complimented by copper and brass fittings throughout. Clearly built to tour, thoughtful details include high-temperature wraps on the intake and exhaust pipes and a modern serpentine-style belt for the cooling fan. Underneath, you will find a modern starter motor that uses a cogged belt to spin the massive flywheel, and it is engaged by a button on the front frame horn near the hand-crank or from inside the vehicle using the aforementioned foot pedal. Note that this system is not currently operational, but it is being investigated and the vehicle starts easily using the hand crank.

The chassis is a delightful showcase of state-of-the-art 1912 technology, from the massive cast aluminum oil pan to the separate 4-speed transmission that is coupled to the engine using a universal joint. Brakes act on the rear drums only, and the steering gears are beautifully machined pieces that remain out in the open for you to admire. You’ll also note that this car still carries its original (and fully functional) exhaust cut out and what we believe is the original muffler. The floors are beautifully finished top and bottom, and the chassis has been painted to match the body. A basic electrical system has been installed in the car, and it feeds not only the starter motor, but also an electric fuel pump and a single lamp in the taillight for safety’s sake. Tires are 34x4 Lester wide whitewalls on the original wood spoke wheels.

Beautifully presented and completely road-worthy, this Model 30 roadster is an excellent candidate for an early Glidden Tour type event. With sprightly performance, rugged mechanicals, and high quality construction, it should provide many years of trouble-free enjoyment.

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