And I made probably hundreds of these sketches (not a one remains) and would even sometimes attempt to draw a scene around the cars such as including brick streets or dirt roads.
That was all I had.
Of course, my favorite was the Model T followed by the original 1903 Model A, and I would dream of riding in them.
|I love it when the owners of the classic autos get so into their hobby that they will even dress the part!|
Now here is one of the benefits of getting older: I get to go to car shows and festivals and see these amazing machines up close, and even get to...yes!...ride in an actual Model T!!
"Ken," you say, "but you've said you have always been into pre-automobile history! What gives?"
Yes, yes I have; the 18th and 19th centuries have always been my favorite eras in history. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy other eras, too! And hearing stories of my mother riding in rumble seats have always intrigued me.
For decades, Greenfield Village has had an event they call the Old Car Festival, where for one weekend in September folks from all over the country bring their classic autos from as early as the 1890's all the way up to the more modern 1932 era and converge on the open-air museum, and visitors (like me!) can drool over these beautifully restored ancient vehicles.
So, guess who has gone to this festival for the last few years, and guess who has taken loads of photos - - - now I don't have to trace and sketch 'em!
And I'd like to share some of my favorites of the earliest cars with you here...hope you like it!
This first photo is of what can very well be considered the first automobile ever, the French-made Fardier from, believe it or not, 1770 (yes, 1770!): Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot 's steam powered Fardier (wheeled cart) was the first self-propelled vehicle in the world, making him the world's first automotive engineer. He had to design and build the first steam engine in which steam, at a higher pressure than atmospheric pressure, drove a piston in a cylinder.
|The hottest seller on the 1770 car lot|
|Imagine this boiler hooked onto your Ford Fusion!|
|"My two favorite cars? The 1965 Mustang and the 1770 Fardier. That's how I get the chicks!"|
Let's jump up 95 years from 1770 to 1865 and cross the ocean to America. Chances are unless you are a real aficionado you've never heard of this steam carriage, the Roper.
To see a small steam carriage running under its own power - without horses! - was so startling that people paid to see it driven around a track.
|The 1865 Roper...|
Yes, this Roper is the oldest surviving American automobile.
|...from 1865 - located inside the Henry Ford Museum.|
In 1896, thirty one years after the amazing Roper, Henry Ford built his first car, the Quadricycle.
|Here is an exact replica of the workshop where Ford built his Quadricycle.|
On June 4, 1896 in a tiny workshop behind his home on 58 Bagley Street, Ford put the finishing touches on his pure ethanol-powered motor car.After more than two years of experimentation, Ford had completed his first experimental automobile. He dubbed his creation the "Quadricycle," so named because it ran on four bicycle tires, and/or because of the means through which the engine drove the back wheels.
|Henry Ford's Quadricycle|
|The Quadricycle is located inside the Henry Ford Museum|
I apologize because I have no information on this next car, and there was nothing setting near it- no note card to even tell me what it is or even an owner to speak with! But given the fact that this automobile was made in 1901/02 I thought it was very worthwhile to take its picture.
|The Mystery Car|
So, onto the next ancient auto, the 1902 Toledo. Upon researching this car, I found it to be a steam car. Really? I thought steam cars went out with the Civil War!
Well, anyhow, what I found on the internet about this auto was that one of many bicycle manufacturers to abandon two wheels for four in the early 1900's was the American Bicycle Company in Toledo, Ohio. Initially building lightweight steam cars such as this simple Dos-a-dos (with the rear seats precariously placed atop the rear-mounted boiler and facing backwards) with full elliptical buggy springs located by perch rods and tiller steering, the company soon shifted to gasoline power.
|The 1902 "Toledo"|
1903 was the first year for Cadillac. William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen founded the Cadillac Automobile Company, and their cars featured engines built by Henry Leland. Rejected by Ransom Olds, the engine was called 'The Little Hercules,' and was a one-cylinder, 10-hosrepower unit. The car is equipped with a two-speed planetary transmission.
Henry Leland started the Cadillac Automobile Company in 1902 after resigning as one of the initial investors of Henry Ford's new Ford Motor Company. By late 1902, Henry Leland had built his own automobile which he would aptly name after the French explorer who discovered the city of Detroit - Le Mothe Cadillac.
Sales of the new Cadillac were quite successful and Leland would continue producing the single cylinder models until 1908 when Cadillac became part of the new General Motors Co. Leland would stay with GM for only a few years. In 1920 Leland started a new automobile company called Lincoln. Ironically, Leland's Lincoln Company would be bought by Henry Ford in 1922.
|1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout|
|The Runabout from 1903|
|I love the headlamp on this Olds, don't you?|
I've searched for any information about it but came up with absolutely nothing. Still, it's a great piece to look at, isn't it?
|1904 Cadillac Service Truck|
The Olds Motor Works, founded by Ransom E. Olds (R.E.O.), had been producing the popular curved-dash Oldsmobile for several years when, in 1904, Mr. Olds picked up and left to form the Reo Motor Car Company of Lansing, Michigan.
|The REO: say you love it or say goodnight!|
|The REO front end from 1905|
Next up is another Caddie, this time the 1906 Model K.
This car had a 98.2 cubic-inch horizontal, one-cylinder engine that produced ten horsepower. Dunlop tires came standard, as did the twelve-spoke artillery-style wooden wheels.
|Imagine crossing the street and seeing this coming at you!|
This '06 Cadillac, often called 'Tulip' because of the shape of the seat, had a two-speed planetary transmission and dual differential-mounted brakes. .
|1906 Model K Cadillac|
|1908 Cadillac Touring Car|
Here we have the 1909 Ford Model T, which is an icon of American innovation. Introduced in October 1908, the Model T was an immediate success and would soon transform the automobile industry, the nation and the world. The innovative design of the Model T set it apart from other cars of the day. A flexible and lightweight chassis allowed it to adapt well to rough American roads. A simple and efficient engine provided enough power to take a family on a Sunday drive in the country or run farm equipment. The Model T was easy to operate and repair. And it was affordable. Priced between $825 and $1000, the Model T fell within the price range of many Americans. Henry Ford's intent was to produce a car "for the great multitude." His inexpensive, efficient and reliable Model T put car ownership within the reach of many people - and planted the desire for ownership in the mind of nearly everyone. It put the world on wheels.
|1909 Ford Model T|
|Please don't let women drive. I don't believe they could handle it, for they are too delicate.|
I found this situation entirely historically accurate!
I don't know if there is a larger collection of pre-1930s cars assembled anywhere else in the world. This is simply one of the most amazing sites I've seen, and I highly recommend, if you live in the general area, checking it out.
And if you live quite a distance away, I hope you enjoy the photos.
Until next time, see you in time.