May 14, 2024


Sears, Roebuck and Co. (1908-1912)
Chicago, Illinois

This is a Sears Model P nameplate/serial plate (1912)    mjs
Size: 152mm wide 49mm high     

Sears, Roebuck and Company was a well established mail order company and in 1908 their catalog included a very fine 10 hp two-cylinder high-wheeler runabout with friction transmission and double chain drive. The Sears runabout was designed by Alvaro Krotz (see Krotz), who had his first prototype running successfully in September 1907 and had made 12 more cars in early 1908, which he tested and sold before he made a contract with Sears, Roebuck and Company in the fall of 1908. 

A small number of Sears Motor Buggies, perhaps twenty, are believed to have been built and sold in late 1908. These early Sears Motor Buggies were built at the Hercules buggy factory in Evansville. By 1909 the Sears Motor Car Works factory in Chicago was ready and production commenced there. 

In 1910 the Sears line was expanded to five models in addition to a light delivery vehicle and the engine size had increased to 14 hp. The new Sears models were all variations of the same vehicle with different accessories. The Sears motor buggy was popular. About 3,500 were sold between 1908 and 1912. But production ceased when Sears, Roebuck found that their motor buggies were costing more to build than the catalog price.

Sears sold its automobile manufacturing machinery and equipment to the Lincoln Motor Car Works in 1912.


The Sears Motor Buggy displayed the "Sears" name on a painted brass nameplate, which showed the production serial number and, for later models, the Model Letter designation also.

The earliest known Sears Motor Buggy nameplate dates from 1909 and carries the serial number 1084. The following example carries the serial number 1088, also from 1909. Sears Motor Buggy nameplates with such early serial numbers are extremely rare.  
This is a Sears Motor Buggy plate/serial plate (1909)    alt
Size: Unknown
No examples of Sears Motor Buggy nameplates produced before 1909 have yet been found but are likely to have been similar to the nameplate shown above with serial numbers in the range 1001 to about 1020. If you have details of an example of such an early Sears Motor Buggy nameplate, please let me know, in order to update this post.

The following poor quality photo shows a nameplate/serial plate inscribed "Sears Motor Car" instead of "Sears Motor Buggy".  The photo is taken from an illustration in a Sears catalog from 1910 and is consistent with the designation "Sears Automobile" in the Sears catalogs in the spring and summer of 1910. However, no actual examples of this Sears Motor Car nameplate have yet been found, so if you have details of this Sears Motor Car nameplate, please let me know, in order to update this post. An original "Sears Motor Car" nameplate would be ultra rare.

This shows a Sears Motor Car nameplate (1910)

From early 1910 to the end of production in 1912, the Sears nameplate showed the "Sears" name only but included the Model Letter designation as well as the serial number, see examples shown above at the top of this post and below. Original Sears nameplates of this kind are scarce but, beware, as there are reproduction Sears nameplates.

This is a Sears Model K nameplate/serial plate (1910) carandclassic
Size: 152mm wide 49mm high

This is a Sears Model P nameplate/serial plate (1912)  mjs
Size: 152mm wide 49mm high

Most surviving Sears cars display the Sears nameplate at the front of the vehicle. However, Sears nameplates were factory mounted at the rear of the vehicle and not on the front. Sears factory and catalog illustrations clearly show this. 

The following Sears motor car illustration used in Sears advertisements, for example, shows no nameplate at the front:

Sears Model H showing no nameplate at the front (1910)  ms

The following original illustration of a Sears motor wagon shows the nameplate at the rear:

Sears motor wagon showing rear mounted nameplate (c1910)  albert mroz

The following early photo of unknown date shows a Sears motor buggy with the nameplate mounted on the front of the buggy, where it had been moved. This buggy was delivered in August 1909 and the Sears nameplate has the serial number 1085. The buggy still survives and has four holes at the rear of the body, where the nameplate was originally mounted.

1909 Sears buggy with nameplate at front (photo date unknown)

Close up showing nameplate

The following brass "Sears" script has been seen mounted on the front of the dash board of a surviving 1912 Sears car.  If this script is original, it is very rare.

This is a Sears script (1912)    wiki

This Sears script and other Sears scripts are seen on restored 1908 Sears buggies but I suspect these scripts were added at a later date probably during restoration.

The notes in this Sears web post include information posted by John M Daly, whose extensive Sears motor buggy research is presented on his most interesting website at  

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