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*Updated* A Mystery Car in New York City – It is a Mercedes


*Update* At the bottom of the post.

This attractive touring car is filled real estate men and newspaper reporters who were guests that day of Joseph P. Day. The photo was taken at the Woodmanston Inn, which was located on Pelham Parkway in the interesting and historic Morris Park area of the Bronx, one of five boroughs of New York City. Day was a real estate broker and a very successful property auctioneer in the City between the 1890s and the 1940s.

  •                  Mys2                         Mys3

After learning all of the above about Day, the mystery car that we believe to have identified, would fit right in as being used by a man of his stature. The photo is dated as having been taken on May 27, 1914, which would lead us to believe that the car might have been as much as a couple of years old or possibly more. Your job is to positively identify and date it, and if you can send us a link or some documentation about it. We will post all correct responses on Friday.


*Update*:  After seeing this photo, a record number of comments from readers have come in about this car. It is a circa 1908 to 1910 45 HP Mercedes wearing coach-work equipped with a cape top. It features either Solarclipse or French Bresnard magnifying-lens headlamps and the coach-builder is likely to be by either J.M. Quinby & Co. from nearby Newark, New Jersey or Fred R. Wood & Son from New York City.

Thanks to all who participated and to the following who correcly identified it as a Mercedes: Shenton King, Christer Campler, Steve Evans, Karl Darby, Tony Costa, Frank Barrett, John Saylor and Ariejan Bos who included the most information about the car which you can read in his comment below.

6 responses to “*Updated* A Mystery Car in New York City – It is a Mercedes

  1. I tend to think that this is a 1908 45hp model Mercedes. This type of radiator does not appear before 1907, until then the lower corners were normally rectangular. Some older models still exist with a similar radiator, but in my opinion these must have been rebodied later (not uncommon in these days, especially with more expensive cars). This body seems to be original (American made?), although the electric horn must be a later (ca 1913) addition. The front lights are Besnard hyper-lenticulaires and were available at least from 1905, so that doesn’t really help in dating the car. The chain protection normally was rectangular, but sometimes comparable with the ones on this mystery Mercedes. I couldn’t find a full circle ring for the steering wheel control switches in 1907 (only a demi-circle), but did in 1908. Although Mercedes used them longer than average, the winged fenders became obsolete in 1909. Interesting is the number of horizontal segments of the radiator, which is rather high with 7. Normally they vary between 4 and 6. The systematics are not directly clear, but I haven’t done research on this.
    The car behind the Mercedes remains a mystery for me. It has an unusual rounded dashboard, which is relatively high compared to the hood, almost English-like. The car however must be American. I have considered a 1912 or 1913 Stearns, but because of the shape of the limousine body (especially the curved roof above the front seats) I have doubts.

    • I own a 1912 S.G.V. which is basically a reverse-engineered Lancia. Its front axle is a “U” channel, with the open ends facing rearward. The front axle on this limousine appears to be of the “I- beam” type, so I would think it unlikely that it is an S.G.V.

  2. David,
    I don’t want to muddy the waters but if I read the license plate correctly as 1914 NY 23930, it was registered to Max Marx, 419 Convent Ave., NYC for a Daimler per the “Official Automobile Directory of the State of New York 1914”.

    • Bill, Very interesting and thanks for checking the number. It is not unheard of though because Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft built the Mercedes. Perhaps they were also referred to as a Daimler in N.Y.C. ?

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