- Economical transportation at 80 mpg (not a toy).
- Top speed was 25 mph.
- The engine was attached to a rear-mounted 5th wheel; and a hand-lever raised and lowered the wheel.
- To go forward, lower the wheel to the ground.
- To stop, raise the wheel off the ground, and press a pedal that lowered brake-lined fenders against the rear wheels.
Briggs & Stratton Flyer Buckboards were produced from 1919 to 1923 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and were intended as basic, short-distance, economical transportation. They were not toys!
Besides its buckboard body, the Flyer was distinguished by having five wheels on the ground. The fifth wheel was mounted in the rear and supplied propulsion power from its own 1-cylinder engine bolted directly to the wheel. To start the engine, the motorized wheel was spun while being held off the ground. As there were no gears or clutch, a hand lever up front raised the motorized wheel off the road so the engine could idle without stopping. To go forward, one simply lowered the wheel back onto the road. To stop, a pedal was depressed which pressed a pair of brake-lined fenders against the buckboard’s rear wheels. Its top speed was 25 mph and it could travel up to 80 miles on one gallon of gasoline.
Although the buckboards were low-priced at $225, they did not sell as well as expected because the public preferred the comforts of full-sized automobiles. In 1923, Briggs & Stratton sold their design to the Automotive Electric Service Company. That company replaced the gasoline engine with an electric engine powered by 12-volt batteries. Electric lights and horn were added and the name was changed to Auto-Red-Bug.