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*Updated* A Saturday Morning Mystery Car from the AACA Library


*Updated* Thanks to all who participated in and sent in their answers about who manufactured this car. The following got it right by identifying it as a 1904 to 1905 Matheson and you can read their comments below: David Coco, Chris Paulsen, Ariejan Bos, David Mazza, Tony Costa, Ian Hayhurst and Luke Chennel. You can see many more pages of coverage on the Matheson including another one here.

For today’s mystery, even though we do not have a photo of the complete car to share with you, the image is crisp and clear enough that with a bit of work it can be identified. The photo was taken at an early auto show here in the United States of a domestic make of car. Clearly shown is the very advanced engine that helped this automaker become quite well known on both the road and track.

Once again we are going to give you some time to work on this mystery and will post the replies next Wednesday, and at the same time we will give you a link to more photos and information you will enjoy. There are enough clues in the photo based on the automobile’s appearance and mechanical details to help you figure this mystery out. If you have a vehicle you need to do some research work on, contact the AACA Library & Research Center who shared this interesting photo with us.


6 responses to “*Updated* A Saturday Morning Mystery Car from the AACA Library

  1. Circa 1904 Matheson, manufactured in Holyoke, Mass, before the company moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pa…..shaft and bevel gear driven overhead camshaft, carburetor had no float but was fed by engine driven fuel pump with an overflow standpipe back to gas tank, removable heads, overhead caged valves, oil lines to cylinder barrels…the other side of the engine is a sight, also, with make and break ignition…quite a bit of engineering going on!!

  2. This is clearly a 1904 Matheson with its very recognizable 4 cylinder ohv-engine. Though 1904 is probably correct, this photo shows some details which differ from other available period photos, especially the combined braking and gear change handle. In the (Hedges designed) 1903 model these were combined, which was also the case in the (Greuter-designed) early 1904 model as pictured in the April 1904 issue of the Cycle & Automobile Trade Journal. The car in the latter case however still has the steering colum with the ‘old’ angle, the rest of the car looking like the car on the mystery photo. Somewhere hereafter the steering column gets a steeper angle and the breaking and gear change handle become separated (at least in 1905, probably already somewhere in 1904). In 1906 the handles are combined again, but then the radiator shape has changed to a more conventional style.

  3. My guess is a 1905 (?) Matheson. Matheson set a world record of a
    mile in 50 seconds with 7 passengers aboard in 1906. Try that in your
    Model K Ford. It’s quite a testament for the natural rubber tires they
    were using and the tenacity of the rims that kept them on!

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