Recently the photo above was posted here on The Old Motor as a mystery car with the only known information about it being a caption on the back of the photo stating the following: Great Uncle Joe Ricketts in derby. The man in the back seat of the car is David Milne. Joe Ricketts went to Coral Gables with the builder and became a millionaire. Until a reader put two and two together and found information about the Ricketts car, it remained unidentified. You can learn what was uncovered about the car below.
Reader Graham Clayton commented on what he discovered: The Ricketts Automobile Company built cars in South Bend, Indiana, between the years of 1909 and 1911. One of their 1909 cars was the Model D, which had a wheelbase of 121 inches and a six-cylinder engine. Thomas Ricketts founded the company, but he passed away in 1909, and Joseph W. Ricketts took over.
Based on what Graham found, and additional research conducted here revealed that in Lou Phillips’ book, Cars 1895 – 1965, the Ricketts cars produced in 1908 and 1908 are listed as using Brownell engines. The photo and specifications (above) in the Motor Magazine, February 1909 issue, states that the Model F 30-h.p. engine had a 3.5-inch x 4-inch bore and stroke that seems to fit in well with the size of the engine observed in the photo of the car. The small image above also shows a car that shares many of the same features as seen on the mystery car including the distinct shape of the rear fender.
Taking it one step further and knowing that Brownell manufactured a line of different sizes and types of engines, a search was conducted to find a photo that matched the engine in the mystery car. After viewing many of the Company’s advertisements in period magazines, a perfect match was found (below) in the December 1909 Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal. Based on reader Bill Petticrew’s photo, the information Graham Clayton uncovered and the two magazine illustrations that were found, it appears that the car may in fact be a Ricketts.