© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
Another special car arrived at the museum this past week--a 1910 Schacht highwheeler formerly owned by the AACA Museum. Pronounced "Shot," the marque was named for brothers William and Gustav Schacht, producers of bicycles and horse-drawn carriages in Cincinnati at the turn of the 20th century. Their entry into the automobile production industry began in 1904 when they decided to attach a two-cylinder, 10-HP gasoline motor to one of their buggies. They would go on to produce 362 runabouts that year.
The company's slogan for this well-built automobile was "The Invincible Schacht." Unlike most other highwheelers of the time, Schachts were equipped with steering wheels and were water cooled. The runabouts were marketed as the "Three Purpose Car" or "The 3-in-1 Schacht," because they could be changed in five minutes from a runabout to a four-passenger car or delivery car by the addition of a rear seat or wagon box. Despite its attractive price ($680 in 1908), Schacht struggled to compete with the Ford Model T and General Motors. Winning a respectable 5th place in the 1912 Indianapolis 500 race wasn't enough to boost sales, and by 1913 the company stopped making automobiles and began producing trucks.
Although not a flashy automobile, we acquired this rare Schacht in large part because it is all-original, unrestored condition. We do not plan to restore it. Any old car can be restored to showroom condition, but a car can only be original once. It is very impressive how well this Schacht's original upholstery and body have held up over 103 years. Its top is a bit tattered, but that just adds more character to this old vehicle.
Our car is equipped with a rumble seat ($20 extra) but the original buyer didn't spring for the pneumatic tires, which would have added $30 more to the price. There is not much room in the rumble seat, which looks like it would be a little scary to ride in.
The car is powered by a 24 HP, 183-cubic-inch two-cylinder engine. It is a little different to put the crank through the right front fender to turn the engine, but with the crankshaft going across the car from side to side there was no other option. It won't take much for me to get this car running again. I don't know how long it has been sitting, but it hasn't been run for many years. The oiler is almost done and working like it should.
We're not sure how many Schachts still exist, and we've found fewer than 40 listed in American car club directories. We are looking forward to hearing and seeing this one come to life again.
Coming to Fairbanks to see the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum and other area attractions? Support the museum by staying at one of the Fountainhead Hotels. All guests receive half-price admission to the museum!