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A CERTAIN INERTIA: The 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Justin Lapriore from LetsMakeMedia has been hard at work since March editing the footage that he and his crew took for the official video of the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. If you have not been to the Concours yet, spend the time to watch this video that was just released yesterday, and you will be thinking about attending it next year.

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This year the event celebrated: the 100th anniversary of Maserati, the 50th anniversary of McLaren cars, coachwork by Zagato, Chrysler and Packard concept cars, the Underslung, Offerhauser powered racing cars, early motorcycles and much more.

24 Hours of Le Mans winning racing car driver Jochen Mass was the guest of honor and many of the racing cars he drove during his career were on display. The six screen shots shown here give you just a hint of the wide array of the automotive finery that is in store for you here, in this video.

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In the twenty-minute production which starts out before daybreak on show morning, you will see many rare and interesting racing and road cars being driven onto the show field. The Friday road tour and the Porsche Driving Experience at the airport with Hurley Haywood behind the wheel are also featured. The rest of the coverage shows the rare sights and high-octane sounds of the day. Check with The Amelia Island Concours for more information and letsmakemedia. Many photos of the event can be found here.

Posted in video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Ralph Mulford – Star of the 1914 Galveston Beach Races


Every once in a while a great photo comes along, and this image of Smiling Ralph Mulford and his Peugeot is one of them. He was at Galveston Beach, Texas for a race held there in 1914. Both Mulford and Peugeot were at the top of their game at the time. The French racing car featured a dohc 16-valve four-cylinder engine, great lines and an excellent handling chassis.

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  •                         Race results in “The Automobile” August 6, 1914

In the three-day event on the beach, Mulford and the Peugeot won all of the fifty-mile races and in the sixteen races that were held, Mulford took first money in ten. The races were clearly a Peugeot-Duesenberg battle between Mulford, Tom Alley and Eddie Rickenbacher, both in their Duesenbergs. The attendance at the popular event was larger than at the Indianapolis 500 race that year.

The photo is courtesy of Tanya Bailey Smith who runs the Great Savannah Races Museum in Savannah, Georgia. You can learn more about the Great Savannah Races Museum here along with Smith’s new book on the Savannah Races. Both the pre-war Peugeot Racing car, and the Duesenberg Racing Car have been covered here earlier on The Old Motor.

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Posted in Auto Racing 1894 - 1942 | Tagged , , , , |

The Cycletow – Streamlining Automotive Service in Hollywood, California

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  • A 1932 Packard Convertible Coupe and a Harley-Davidson Single with a Cycletow conversion ready for the trip to a service facility

We all know how time consuming it is to get routine maintenance or repairs done on a car and to arrange the details to drop one off and pick it up afterwards. Albert L. Hess knew that if he could come up with an economical way for one man to pick up and deliver a car, it would be feasible for dealerships and garages to contract for its use to save their customers time.

The photos in this post, all date to 1932 and were used for promoting the Cycletow for picking up and delivering cars by Cycletow Service Ltd. in the exclusive Hollywood, California area. Some car dealers and garages may have bought and operated their own units as it appears that did Ziegler Oldsmobile did.

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  • “Cycle and Automotive Trade Journal” February, 1931

Hess filed the first of three patent applications for a Towable Cycle on December 11, 1929, which was granted on August 25, 1931. It used a split and hinged beam axle and wheel and suspension assemblies that folded up and back on an angle. Either forgings or castings were used for the axle halves and the coil sprung wheel spindles. This design would have been quite expensive to manufacture and may have been abandoned for that reason.

On February 10, 1930, Hess filed a second patent application for an Auxiliary wheel attachment for cycles. In this new design a fold-down lower A-arm was used on each side along with a single upper link and the wheel assembly. A second lockable and angled folding link served to locate the assembly on either side when lowered for use. This version was easier to fabricate out of mostly standard dimensional steel shapes.


The photos above and below clearly show the construction of the second version of the Cycletow. The pick up points for the lower A-arm can be seen above in the photo with the wheels in the retracted position. The left-hand photo below shows the attachment folded down, and the machine hitched up to a 1932 Chevrolet Sedan. The right-hand photo below shows a unit at a Ford and Lincoln agency in the Los Angeles area behind a Model “A” Ford Sedan.

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The center photo above shows an article that appeared in the Cycle and Automotive Trade Journal, July 1931 issue showing the Cycletow along with its competitors: Indian had come out with its Dispatch-Tow unit, a trike with a covered box; Harley-Davidson had also added the Servi-Car to its product lineup late in 1931; the American Austin was also being used at the time for the same purpose.

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The patent drawings above are for the Towable motorcycle, the third and final patent filed for on September 1, 1932, by Albert L. Hess, it was granted on August 38, 1933. An example of it can be seen below outside of a Packard agency.

This version could be used in two different configurations. The center drawing above shows it in the position used when it was being towed with the drive wheel off of the ground. The left-hand drawing above and the photo below show it in the riding mode also including an added toolbox.


Unable to find any other details about the Cycletow or Cycletow Corp Ltd. other than what is seen here, we would tend to think that the enterprise may have been short-lived. Both H-D and Indian had also entered this same market, at about the same time with the Servi-Car and the Dispatch-Tow.

The motorcycle companies may have captured this market with machines that did the same thing and more, and at a cost that might have been about the same as Albert L. Hess’s invention. Let us know if you can add anything more to the story. The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.

Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Garages and Dealerships, Motorcycle photos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |