Project Car Search Engine:

Cars Named After Presidents

Before you read further, can you name some of the automobiles that were named after our Presidents?  Yeah, I couldn't name even one either.  That's because all but one or two were only manufactured decades ago and didn't take hold the way Ford and GM cars did.

For instance, did you know there was a car named Washington?   My brother Reed gave me a wonderful book about automobile history, "Treasury of Early American Automobiles" by Floyd Clymer.  One page is my inspiration for writing this month -- the page is called "Your Auto I.Q."  Anyway, what about the cars named after our presidents.

The ones you probably never ever heard of are: Washington, Monroe, Grant, Jackson, Johnson, Harding and Roosevelt.   But the eighth car you do know: Lincoln.

As I tried to find photos of some of these vintage cars, I came across this one at the Toyota Auto Museum of Roosevelt's car, a Packard 12.  This is not the car named after Roosevelt that I referred to above but it was so beautiful I wanted to share it with you.

Gasoline Automobiles: Selden Patent of 1909

In 1879 George Selden applied for and received a patent on all self-propelled gasoline-powered vehicles and to my surprise, apparently most automobile manufacturers honored his patent.

Auto makers had to pay a royalty to the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (the parent company of the Selden Patent).

Not to my surprise, Henry Ford was the first auto maker to challenge Selden's Patent.

The way Ford challenged Selden's (photo left) rights to the patent was to guarantee to protect any auto maker who ignored the patent and just made gasoline-powered vehicles without paying royalties.

Even though a court decided to uphold Selden's Patent rights in 1909, Ford took it to the Court of Appeals and got the decision overturned.

Saturday Evening Post car ad in 1900

 The Saturday Evening Post (a weekly magazine founded in 1700s by Ben Franklin), carried its first automobile advertising in 1900.  The advertiser, W.E. Roach Company (Philadelphia PA) wrote a ditty to run in the space and called it, "Automobiles That Give Satisfaction."

I did some online research to find out what kind of car W. E. Roach Company was advertising and haven't found out yet.  If someone reading this knows the answer, leave a comment and let us know the answer.

Have Steam, Will Travel for Free

1902 Geneva: The man driving is this old car is R. F. Henderson.  I don't know if this is his 1902 Geneva steam-powered automobile because when I visited his site, it was shutdown.  I don't know who is giving us all the run-a-round about electric cars, gasoline cars, battery cars, but we could all drive around in steam powered cars and all we'd need, after buying the steam car of course, is water. 
Don't tell me they haven't figured out how to make a steam-driven automobile; we'd had them since the late 1800s (photo right). Anyway, for what it's worth, I've just given you my two cents on the subject of 'oil independence'.

Here is even a book about steam-powered cars (White Company).  You know, the more I look at the diagrams of these simple old cars the more I get to thinking someone with a mechanical aptitude could build one in the garage.
Thinking that way, I looked up the general diagram of a simple steam-powered car and found this:

Oldest Motor-Buggy Maker: Holsman

Holsman Auto Company (1908) referred to themselves as the oldest motor-buggy makers in America and clung tightly to using the word carriage as well.

Back in those days the roads were still mainly built with horse-drawn carriages in mind.  Very early automobiles had to make adjustments for all the high centers in bad roads so a high-wheeled buggy-type auto (like Holsman's auto in the picture) seemed sensible to make.

The Holsman Automobile Company (Chicago, Illinois) prided itself in winning many hill-climbing events during those days.  It is possible Holsman's autos were the first study precursor to latter 4-wheel drive vehicles.

A brand new Holsman 1908 model cost $550.00 and had a high-grade motor carriage and 'every part of every machine' was guaranteed to hold up.  Women riding in such motor carriages wore a duster and often a broad-brimmed hat with a full veil as well to protect her hair.

We've come to think of dusters as a pure cowboy shoot-em-up at noon outfit but actually they became popular with the early automobiles to protect their clothing from oil spray and such.

Somewhere West of Laramie: 1900 car ad

In 1918 Ned Jordan transformed car advertising from fact to 'promise her the moon," which still holds true today in my opinion.  Here is one of Ned Jordan's fabulous ads from the early 1900s.  Jordan is trying to promote his new Jordan Playboy automobile:

Somewhere West of Laramie
Somewhere west of Laramie there's a bronco-busting, steer-roping girl who knows what I'm talking about.  She can tell what a sassy pony, that's a cross between greased lightning and the place where it hits, can do with eleven hundred pounds of steel and action when he's going high, wide and handsome.
The truth is -- the Playboy was built for her.  Built for the lass whose face is brown with the sun when the day is done of revel and romp and race.  She loves the cross of the wild and the tame.
There's a savor of links about that car -- of laughter and lit and light -- a hint of old loves -- and saddle and quirt.  It's a brawny thing -- yet a graceful thing for the sweep o' the Avenue.

Step into the Playboy when the hour grows dull with things gone dead and stale. Then start for the land of real living with the spirit of the lass who rides, lean and rangy, into the red horizon of a
source: Treasury of Early American Automobiles by Floyd Clymer (1877-1925)

Preston Tucker's Cars

Indomitable Tin Goose: A Biography of Preston Tucker

Tucker: The Man and His Dreams Movie Tie-in

1946 Chevy Fleetline project car for sale

1946 Chevy Fleetline with arrow dynamic design. It has a later model engine (1952).

A friend of Larry's up in Kansas City mailed photos of this car to us and since our scanner is out of order, we had to take pics of the pics with our camera to put them online.

We haven't actually been up to KC to see the car in person. It is for sale for $2250 obo right now. Price may go up later after we've had a chance to see it. Email Larry if you are interested.

The Collector Car Restoration Home Video Library

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Note: According to a member of H.A.M.B, a car-forum that Larry is an Alliance Member,a place he visits while drinking morning coffee and listening to some Barter Radio program, the helpful member pointed out that this Chevy was a 1946, not a 1948. He also suggested it was a Fleetmaster, not a Fleetline, however, according to the parking light and side windows, this is definitely a Fleetline.

James Ward Packard's First Automobile

Although inventors had tinkered with the idea of the horseless carriage for a century and George Selden had plans to propel a vehicle by a gasoline engine in 1877, it was not until 1900 that mechanics such as Henry Ford, Ransom Olds, and James Ward Packard began to visualize these contraptions as marketable items. -- source:  Treasury of early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 by Floyd Clymer.

Today men such as Ford, Olds, Buick, Studebaker, the Dodge Brothers, Packard, and Tucker would not be able to recognize their vehicles.

James Ward Packard "I'll build my own car!" and he did

In 1898, James Packard, dissatisfied with the car he owned, got into a discussion with Alexander Winton, bicycle and automobile manufacturer in Cleveland, Ohio.  You see, Winton built the car Packard bought and that car kept breaking down on his frequent trips to Warren, Ohio.  Packard had the car hauled in by a team of horses.

Packard gave the automobile he now owned some thought and came up with a number of improvements and was in the process of sharing those ideas with Winton.  Winton did not appreciate Packard's unasked for advice and said, "Mr. Packard, if you are so smart, why don't you make a car yourself!"  Within a year, Packard did just that. 

I apologize for not including the source of the photo of the original Packard car.  I'll correct that oversight as soon as I find out what the source is.

Octoauto had Short Life in early 1900s

In 1911 Octoauto, the only car in the world built on the principle of a Pullman Palace Car, was manufactured and sold by M.O. Reeves in Columbus, Indiana.  M.O. Reeves was vice-president of the reeves Pulley Company.  This long low automobile had eight wheels  and claimed that each tire lasted longer, since it carried one-eighth of the load instead of one-fourth.

You can see a photo of an Octoauto here.  The photo of the man you see on the left is of Elbert Hubbard.  Back in 1911, Hubbard wrote an article about the Octoauto which was as unusual and startling as the Octoauto.  Below is a quote from that article which will give you the general drift the article took:
I had the pleasure of riding in an Octoauto in Chicago.  The driver was a reckless fellow, and the wonder is that we were not pinched and given the limit by the judge; but fortunately our driver picked streets that no other auto with a sane chauffeur would attempt to navigate.
Chicago not only has some of the best pavement in the world, but I believe it can safely claim the booby-prize for the worst.

Elbert Hubbard goes on to say how smooth his ride in the Octoauto was over these abominable streets saying he barely felt a jolt or bounce in the vehicle.

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