The Story of a 1911 Simplex


1911 Simplex after restoration by Ed Roy in Brookline. MA.

1911 Simplex with George Grew at the wheel in Hershey, PA.
1911 Simplex with Otis Chandler at the wheel at Pebble Beach.
1911 Simplex being show at Pebble Beach in 2004.
The Simplex is a great car - always has been. For this reason, they have been coveted by collectors. The story of this particular Simplex starts with Ed Roy back in the late 1950's. If you know the early history of the VMCCA, you will have heard of Ed Roy. Ed was one of the early pioneers of the "nut & bolt" restoration. Prior to Ed, many collectors would simply do what was necessary to drive the cars - a little paint and mechanical work and off they went. Not Ed; he was a perfectionist. So much so, that while restoring this 1911 Simplex (from a basket case), he also created from scratch all the parts necessary to make 7 scale models of the 1911 Simplex - one for each body style offered. A legendary accomplishment that I'll cover in another post. Regardless, Ed Roy restored this car in the basement of what is now The Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA - then the home of the VMCCA. This car has a special place in our hearts because my Dad would go to the meetings of the VMCCA every Wednesday night and watch Ed work on the car; and once the restoration was complete, he rode in the car often. Dad took this picture of the car after Ed had completed the restoration. Ed Roy passed away many years ago and the car made it's way to George Grew. George re-restored the car and used it often. I took the picture shown (of George driving his car on to the show field at Hershey) back in the 1980's. George sold this car to Otis Chandler and used the money to buy a 1909 Pierce Arrow model 36UU speedster. Otis Chandler, who's family owned the Los Angles Times newspaper for many years, was a noted collector of vintage cars. Mr. Chandler had the car restored yet again and brought to Pebble Beach. I took this picture of him driving over the stand at Pebble Beach to receive his award in 2004. Of course, Mr. Chandler passed away and his collection was auctioned off in spectacular fashion - I wish could have been at the sale in person. I believe the car is now in the hands of Ray Scherr who won best of show with this car at the 2011 Kirkland Concours d’Elegance. I hope Mr. Scherr appreciates the rich history this car as had. I expect I'll see the car again sometime in the future - I'm looking forward to it.

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