Hooniverse Weekend Edition – What would you pay for a Brennan?


Looking through the eBay other makes section I discovered this unusual listing. It’s for a 1904 Brennan Brass Era Horseless Carriage. Imagine my surprise that there was ever such a thing as a car named Brennan! Unfortunately, this car needs to be put back together to become an actual car again.


Apparently, the Brennan Motor Company was based out of Syracuse, NY. They were a purveyor of anything you wanted, with chassis fabricated to whatever length you wanted, and with engines that ranged from 6 to 80 horsepower. The engines were either vertical or horizontal in nature, manufactured by the company. This Brennan is a 1904 edition, and according to the listing:

Selling my 1904 Brennan 2 cylinder 8-12 HP watercooled project for a racer speedster or even a touring car. Brennan started selling their own frames exactly like this in the fall of 1904. They showed these frames at the N.Y. Auto show the week of Jan. 15th 1905. ( see early 1905 Brennan ad showing this frame and engine set up, enclosed) 

Frame, and pair of seats removed from the Brennan factory in the 1950s by the shop foreman. I acquired this engine at the Olds/GM engine sale in Dec. of 2011. It is quite nice inside and out. This exact engine began showing up in trade publication ads beginning July of 1904.(see enclosed). It is stamped #31 on the rod and rod cap, so it’s fairly easy to presume this is engine #31, and thus made in fall of 1904. From end of motor to end of motor is 32 inches. End of valve cage to end of valve cage at the very ends of the motor’s heads is 37-38 inches. Outside diameter of lower half of jug is 5 inches. Thus bore is around 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 inches.

Planetary transmission on the motor, that drives a chain back to a chain drive axle which I do NOT have. However period shaft drive axle removed from a running car included for trading material. NOS period radiator. Red wheels are 30 x 3 Midgleys removed from a restored 1905 Cadillac. They are very rare and worth $1,000 each, and correct for this vehicle. Other wheels included to remove hubs from. All the enclosed parts are period to the car. Main things missing are four 36 x 1 1/2 inch semi elliptical springs, rear spring hangers, some pedals,a chain drive rear axle,and a hood.

All parts excellent. Will make a superb racer car speedster or racer. POSSIBLY London To Brighton eligible with this engine and frame, but I will NOT guarantee it.

The starting bid is $14,800. The seller also has a rare Brennan engine that has never been started from the same era. This was removed from the Brennan factory around the 1950’s, so you could call it a NOS engine. It is an air-cooled engine, and according to the listing:

I have decided to sell just my “new” 1904 Brennan 20 HP 4 cylinder aircooled overhead pushrod engine and 1904 Brennan 3 speed sliding gear transmission separate from my other Brennan stuff. Removed from Brennan factory in Syracuse N.Y. in the 1950s by the shop foreman.

Very similar to a Franklin motor. Still has paper tags on the timer, and ears on the trans. have never been drilled for mounting. Includes from the factory the original 4 cylinder coil box, the fan, the original cone clutch, and a period replacement cone clutch and flywheel combination that slides right on the crank shaft. Also included a nice circa 1910 Rayfield carburetor carb and a period crank handle. Brennan sold mainly loose engines and built a handful of cars from 1900-07. Thus this engine is historically correct in any early car or frame.

SUPERB setup for a vintage early brass era horseless carriage race car racer speedster, ect. Also is very similar to Curtiss and Wright aeroplane airplane engines of the same vintage and could be mounted in a static or real plane.

Starting bid for this rare and spectacular engine is also $14,800. See the listing for the Brennan Horseless Carriage here, and for the 20 HP Brennan Air-Cooled engine here.

So I have to ask this: Are Brass Era Vehicles anything that would excite the Hoons here on Hooniverse? Let me know what you think a Brennan is worth… The car, not me!

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  1. Deartháir Avatar
    Deartháir

    Do you mean, how much would we pay to acquire a Brennan, or how much would we pay to get rid of a Brennan?
     
    No, I kid, I'm pretty sure our Brennan should fetch a pretty good price at market when we decide it's time to sell it off. And failing that, we can always dismantle it and part it out. I'm sure the parts should fetch good money if we can find the right buyer.
     
    The trick is getting past the screaming.
     
    (Jim, you know you've set yourself up for way too many jokes with this one, right?)

  2. Jim-Bob Avatar
    Jim-Bob

    It looks like it would be an amazing project and a great opportunity to learn about early automotive construction. Sadly though, even if you got it near the starting bids it would still be $30,000. For that money you could have several interesting cars that were more practical than this. Then again, that really isn't the point now is it? However, it does point to this being a rich man's project and out of realistic reach of most of us. Hopefully someone with very deep pockets will buy the set and complete it. I just know that it won't be me.

  3. Rockford Brodie Avatar
    Rockford Brodie

    A brennean? That’s a new one. Is that anything like a rusty trombone, or an Alaskan fire dragon, or a Bangkok Dangerous, or a Pasedena mudslide, or…

  4. dustin_driver Avatar
    dustin_driver

    Alert Leno!

  5. jjd241 Avatar

    While this is obviously a project for an enthusiast with a Leno like shop and budget, I can see the appeal of a brass radiator ride. Find a runner that has the rustina that we all love and roll to the ice cream shop in style!

  6. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar
    BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ

    Jim, forget about the old car and bother with other members of the Brennan's clan.
    <img src="http://www1.american.edu/ted/images4/IrishwhiskeyBrennan%27s.jpg"&gt;

  7. longrooffan Avatar

    Jim: Ironically, I know this guy. He is the Tax Collector for Marion County, Florida. I built a swimming pool for he and his family several years ago when I was in that business in Sl-Ocala. George is well versed in early 1900's automobiles and that garage seen in the background of those ebay photos is filled with that era machinery. It also includes a few vintage Rolls Royces of museum quality.

  8. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Priceless. Oh, you meant the car…

  9. George Rink Avatar
    George Rink

    Please check with the Norwich Auto musium in Norwich, New York. They specialize in cars from New York. Ask for the Curator!! the persons asnwering the phones are just volunteers. They don't know anything. That car would be a great addition to the fleet of cars they have.Brennan was from 1902-1908 from the info I have. Where was the factory? You mentioned you took things out of the factory. Centry, Chase, Franklin, Moyer,and Sterns Electric were also producted in Syracuse. The musiums phone number is 607-334-2886

    1. Bruce Avatar
      Bruce

      Factory was on East Water St. There's still a legable pauinted sign on the south side of the building that proclaims Brennan Engines since 11897

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