Category Archives: Auto photos 1885 – 1920
Today we have another installment of our ongoing series about the weirdly wonderful world of cycle cars. The top photo comes to us courtesy of Adrian Ward and even though it does not fit the strict definition a cycle car it sure is an interesting little car. Unfortunately, we cannot find any details about this machine and based on the extremely high hood line, we think the inline four might be either an overhead valve design or perhaps even use an overhead cam.
Certainly the charming young lady behind the wheel isn’t revealing any of the car’s secrets, although she looks quite the daredevil in her skull-and-crossbones helmet. We invite any of our readers who might know a little more about the “Hefling Special” to enlighten us about it’s origins and eventual fate of the car and it’s pretty pilot.
Below, you can examine a few more pages from that definitive article on the type from the January 15, 1914 issue of The Automobile magazine that appeared in part one of this series. You can read about the many different makes and the almost endless variety of engine placements, seating arrangements and steering and suspension systems that were employed. This creative approach mirrors that of the larger cars of the day and is a fundamental factor in our fascination with this Pre-war era; a time when there was no design rulebook and innovation and experimentation were the norm.
The center image (above) shows the side-mounted amidship engine placement of the Cricket car, a larger picture of which can be seen (center, below) . A brief paragraph on the third page (above) describes it’s transatlantic origins. Photos at the bottom of that same page show the Trumbull, built by the American Cyclecar Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, which displays a much more conventional appearance. The Scripps-Booth “Rocket” gets a mention on that page as well, the product of a manufacturer whose penchant for the unconventional included the bizarre 1913 Bi-Autogo.
In the first thumbnail (below). you can clearly see the incredibly light construction of the frame and front suspension of the Falcon cyclecar that figured so prominently in part one of this series. It makes us wonder how durable it would have been in the long run, had not larger and more conventional cars like the Model “T” Ford made cyclecars obsolete.
Lastly, we have another mystery cycle car whose passenger accommodations reminds us of other cycle cars where the passenger also precedes the driver. This one is decidedly French and comes to us from the National Library of France. What caught our eye is the extreme rearward placement of the driver. The cheerful and confident expressions of both occupants seem to belie the total lack of wheel mounted brakes!
This 1907 Thomas 60 h.p. 7 passenger touring utilized a 118″ w.b. chassis that was quite similar to the 1908 New York to Paris Race Thomas, that we have been covering in in the series about the race. For our readers interested in the mechanical details of the Thomas, we have included a three page article, which was published in the Oct. 31, 1906 Horseless Age Magazine, telling all the details of the new 1907 car and the changes from the 1906 model.
The Thomas in the photo, courtesy of the Hennepin County Library, shows a car filled with the wives of members of the Elks Club. They were in Stillwater, MN., for a convention and are seen here out for a ride to see the sights in the city, which is just northeast of Minneapolis.