355ci Wisconsin T-head Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Single Updraft Carburetor
4-Speed Brown-Lipe Selective-Shift Manual Transmission
Semi-Elliptical Front Leaf Springs and Full Floating Timken Rear Axle
Rear-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Among the most dramatic, flamboyant Nickel Era American cars
*Meticulously hand-built in Bennington, Vermont
*Powerful Wisconsin T-head engine and fabulous, correct coachwork
*One of only three surviving examples
*Soon to be the most eye-catching, crowd-gathering car in a collection
THE FABULOUS MARTIN WASP
Karl H. Martin built quite a name for himself designing rakish bodies for various New York shops, as well as the Kalamazoo, Michigan-built Roamer, Kenworthy, and Barley automobiles. In 1919 Martin moved to Bennington, Vermont, and there established a company to build the Martin Wasp, his own complete car, featuring a Wisconsin T-head four-cylinder engine (similar to that used by early Stutzes), Brown-Lipe 4-speed transmission, and high-quality aluminum coachwork inspired by the Far West; with a delightful lack of political correctness, the Wasp was christened the Rickshaw Phaeton.
Numerous celebrities bought Wasps, most prominently Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., but only fourteen complete cars are known to have been produced by 1925. Just three have survived, one of which is proudly exhibited in the Bennington Museum.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Karl H. Martin was fortunate in that his automobile was not entirely forgotten, with credit due to himself and to early enthusiasts. Even after the factory closed, Martin kept all of the leftover Wasp components, apparently in the hope that someone, someday, would want them. In 1947 that day came when Bennington resident William Gregg bought an original Wisconsin Wasp engine and, later, an original chassis and other parts, directly from the Martin stock.
Gregg was a talented craftsman and mechanic, who over the next two years painstakingly completed the Wasp, building its body, fenders, hood, windshield, top, and mudguards from surviving photographs of original cars. The result was a truly authentic, "good as new" Martin Wasp, which was sold for $800 to Dr. and Mrs. Glade Hall of Florence, Massachusetts. It later passed to Raymond D. Newell of Northampton, then in 1994 was acquired for the Tupelo Automobile Museum.
It is a curiosity, but a beautifully hewn and engineered one – a description that would no doubt please the memory of Karl H. Martin.
This auto was seen at The Tupelo Auto Museum which is now closed.
The auction of all the museum contents will be held April 26-27 at the Tupelo Automobile Museum with the preview day April 25.
1 Otis Blvd
Tupelo MS 38804
Tel: +1 415 391 4000
Fax: +1 415 391 4040