CHASSIS NO: 453125• Used on set by famed Hollywood entertainer Jack Benny• Mostly original example• Voted a Top 50 TV Car of All Time• Accompanied by photos of Jack Benny and chauffeur, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson
Inline four-cylinder engine, 30 HP, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear solid axles with semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, rear-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 109”
In 1903, Jonathan Maxwell approached Benjamin Briscoe and J.P. Morgan to provide financial backing for his company. Once the funding was secured, the first Maxwells came cruising onto the market in 1904. Just seven years after selling their first automobile to the public, the Maxwell Motor Company saw its sales grow to over 20,000 cars annually. This milestone landed them as the third largest producer of automobiles, trailing only GM and Ford at the time. Maxwell automobiles not only had a classy look and feel to them, but they were also considered to be some of the best endurance machines of their era. In 1916, a Maxwell touring car set a world record for the fastest coast-to-coast time, traveling from New Jersey to California in just ten days and sixteen hours.
The Maxwell Motor Company gradually ceased operations in 1925, and the firm was acquired by Jonathan’s good friend, Walter P. Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation. Maxwell’s legacy was kept alive, predominantly due to one man – Benjamin Kubelsky, better known as Jack Benny. Jack Benny was an American comedian, successful radio host, television, and film actor on NBC and CBS. One of Benny’s personal cars was a 1923 Maxwell, and he was often seen driving it through town. When “The Jack Benny Hour” made the transition from radio to television in 1950, Benny’s love for Maxwells truly showed, as he made sure a 1923 Maxwell Tourer, like the one he owned, was to be used as a prop.
According to Worldwide Auctioneers this 1923 Maxwell Touring that was used on screen on “The Jack Benny Hour”. Often seen being driven by Benny’s chauffeur on the show, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, the automobile remains in largely original form. This Tourer features its original black leather upholstery and disc wheels. The current, as well as previous owners, first and foremost wanted to cosmetically preserve the car while still tending to mechanical needs. The dashboard houses original gauges and the odometer reads just under 60,000 miles, although true mileage cannot be confirmed. The original inline four-cylinder engine still starts up with the turn of a key. Backing up the engine is the three-speed manual transmission which shifts through the gears with no catches.
Rod Authority, a popular online car magazine and forum ranked the top 50 TV Cars of All Time and, included on that exclusive list, was this 1923 Maxwell Touring. Jack Benny entertained millions on the radio and television and helped keep the Maxwell Motor Corporation name alive and well. Few Maxwells remain today, and those that surface command appropriate prices for the treasures they truly are.