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1906 Fiat at the Farragut Hotel Rye New Hampshire

A Mystery Car at the Farragut Hotel – Rye, New Hampshire

* Updated * The car is an early Fiat that was likely built between the years of 1905 and 1906. Six readers were correct in identifying it as a Fiat and you can read their comments below. Thanks to all for your input. Learn more about Fiat’s of this period here.

This mystery car is pictured in front of the Farragut Garage that was part of the Hotel by the same name that was located in Rye, New Hampshire and can be seen in the background. The facility may have housed its own cars for hire in the garage, along with those the guests or their chauffeurs drove to the Hotel. The sign on the building states that “Electricity (for recharging electric cars) and Gasoline Supplied”.

All of the cars parked in the Garage, which we will take look at soon, as well as this car appear to be from the 1905 to 1907 period. The mystery car, which has been identified, was built by a well regarded automaker. We will  give you until Sunday morning to identify the maker of this car, and at that time we will post any and all correct answers.

The Hotel, that can be seen in the background in the photo below, was built in 1883 after an earlier structure burnt down in 1882. It was one of the largest of the summer hotels in the town. The hotel stayed open until 1974 and was torn down the following year. You can learn more and see a photo of the Farragut Hotel here.

The photo was taken by Clarence N. Trefry of Rye Beach, New Hampshire and is courtesy of the Owls Head Transportation Museum.

1906 Fiat at the Farragut Hotel Rye New Hampshire

11 responses to “A Mystery Car at the Farragut Hotel – Rye, New Hampshire

  1. I noticed the seat compartment behind the front passenger. It seams to be seperate from the seat that the rear passenger is sitting in. I have never seen anything like it, does anyone know what it is called and the use of the seat?

    I noticed that the front passenger seems to be an employee of the hotel? Possabaly an consierge? (or a mechecnic)
    Could the seat in question be for a “coach boy”?

    • Roger , We have a much larger photo of the car than what is displayed here. The car maybe a 7-passenger model with fold out jump seats, but if it is the extra seats were not folded out at the time the photo was taken.

      What you are actually seeing in the rear compartment is a spare tire sitting on an angle and the passenger has his hand resting on it.

      The front seat assistant may have been the footman who would asset riders in and out of the car.

    • With all the horses used for transportation back then there were worse things for a fender to stop than snow and mud! Also sometimes open sewers running in the roads…

  2. The car is definitely a Fiat, presumably one of the smaller models available at the time despite the rather large 7p touring body. The body is in European words a double phaeton in Roi des Belges (or King Leopold) style, indeed with ‘strapontins’ (or fold seats). I would date the car at 1906, maybe 1907. The most remarkable feature on the car (in my eyes) is the missing Fiat emblem on the dashboard, the reason why at first I had some doubts.

  3. Many cars from that period looked very much alike, both American and European, I though Mercedes, American Mercedes, Locomobile, Berliet, but judging by the chassis horns, the hub caps and wheels I’d say it’s a Fiat 24/32 HP.

  4. This appears to be a 1906 Fiat 20 hp with a body similar to one pictured in Anselmi’s Automobili Fiat page 73. The
    jump seats seam to be fixed as opposed to the folding type. Typical Fiat features are the wheel hubs, radiator set back from the front axle, drag link position, bulb horn coiled around steering column and of course the radiator shape. Its
    curious as to why this car would have such a large body on an underpowered chassis as the radiator and hood don’t
    appear to be large enough to resemble the 35hp. I guess the wheelbase to be 129″

  5. This indeed looks like a 1906 F.I.A.T. (acronym correct for the date—Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) and judging by the large, heavy and expensive body, is likely to be a 24-40 HP double chain drive machine with 4 cylinder T head engine—size 125mm X 150 mm=7,363 cc or 449 cubic inches. The compression ratio was 4.2:1 and maximum power was quoted at 35 b.h.p. at 1,200 rpm. Original specification included low tension ignition although many cars were converted to high tension and spark plugs shortly afterwards. Four speed transmission (plus reverse) was linked to the flywheel by a multi-plate clutch and original wheel sizes were: Front 910 X 80 and Rear 920 X120. The handbrake operated internally expanding shoes inside the rear axle drums whilst the footbrake controlled two water cooled transmission brakes—one on the input side of the transaxle and the other on the driver’s side of the output shaft. Standard wheelbase was 3,080 mm (10ft 1 1/4 inches) but longer examples could be ordered. 557 examples were produced. It was the production of this model which allowed F.I.A.T. to enter three identical cars in the 1907 Targa Florio, one of which won in the hands of ace driver Felice Nazzaro. These were very fine cars indeed and ranked with the best—similar to Mercedes.

  6. I am impressed with the F.I.A.T.’s front fenders as being BOTH practical & efficient , especially while sharing the road with the early-on ” EQUINE Majority’ and a time BEFORE WHEN Henry Ford’s Company was SO significant in developing paved roads in rural areas. Any time I see these earlier photographs, I realize that these were true Pioneers of the new mode(s) of transport! I see that its Carbide lamps are not present, perhaps for the simple reason that night driving was not that common in rural areas and / or to “save the lights for only when necessary “. During WW-2 Our street was used for an “empty return path” for large EARLY MACK LUMBER TRUCKS, with Chain Drive. I remember the “snapping sound” of the heavy grease , during a “gear change” or coasting. Using “chain drive” in the early dirt/mud conditions resulted in rapid wear. A SEVEN Passenger car was typically Chauffer Driven , as many trips required “Mechanical Know-How”, something very “standard” to most Professional Chauffeurs . Combining differentials & Direct drive axles was a major improvement , and Chain Drive disssapeared on Automobiles, but remains, on many Motorcycles.

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