In 1910 the Thomas Motor Car Company produced fewer than 500 Flyabouts, and it is believed that only eight examples are known to have survived. Jim Grundy, owner of Grundy Insurance, is restoring one of them and it will be displayed at the famed 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Thomas Motor Car Company produced luxury cars commanding a sales price as high as $6,000, explaining the limited production. Thomas moved into ‘six-cylinderism’, the territory that luxury manufacturers were pushing as the ultimate in performance and refinement, which included Napier, Pierce-Arrow, and Rolls-Royce. The Thomas ‘six’ was designated the Model K or 6-70 (six cylinders, 70 HP) and the touring, runabout and Flyabout were priced new at $6,000, with the limousine and landaulet set at $7,500. By comparison, Ford produced more than 350,000 Model Ts that sold for less than $900.
Total production for 1910 was only 1,320 cars and of the handful of body options for these chassis the Flyabout was by far the most sporting. The Grundy car was converted in 1950 to pumper vehicle for the Chattanooga fire department. In 1959, it was pulled out of a barn, but it took 13 years before the car was completed in 1972. After 45 years, a fresh frame-off restoration is nearing completion as it prepares its journey for the classiest concours in the U.S., Pebble Beach. The car is registered in Class A, 1915 and earlier.
The Thomas Flyabout sits on a 140-inch wheelbase and was a massive car even among its peers. Yet, despite its scale, the ‘square’ engine dimensions of 5½ by 5½ inches mated to a four-speed transmission provided very tractable and lively performance. Its engine revved higher and with a broader power band than many of its longer-stroked contemporaries. In the 6-70, Thomas had truly created a large and sporting car. In terms of performance it was hard to eclipse and for this reason it has remained one of the ‘greats’ in folklore ever since. They have long been among the ultimate brass cars for the serious collector and are prized for their looks, massive size, historical significance, as well as appreciated for their driving characteristics.
We invite you to follow Jim Grundy on Grundy.com for updates and Facebook at Grundy Insurance as he embarks on his journey to complete the Thomas’ restoration and display it at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours. Jim Grundy, president of Grundy Insurance, strongly believes, invests and supports events nationwide. He’s recognized as a serious car collector, enthusiast, participant and a leader in the collector car insurance industry. The Grundy Agency, known as “The Olde Original,” invented the “agreed value” collector car insurance policy. Today, agreed value, is the standard in the industry for which all collector car policies are written.