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Hydro-Motor Car: Auto-Boat Investments That Couldn’t Hold Water

Today’s lead photo of a Model “T” Ford-based “Hydro-Motorcar” was found by Steve Murphy while researching military files from World War I at the National Archives, he later posted it at Cars of the 1900’s to 1930’s. 

This image inspired us to take another look at this Hydro-Motorcar Company’s amphibious automobile which apparently was a different effort than “Delia The Motor Duck” designed by Michael de Cosmo of San Francisco and covered earlier on The Old Motor. An article about a stock offering for this machine constructed in San Francisco, California, was found at the American Globe: Investors Magazine, 1915 Volume 11.

Further research turned up a short article below and the image above in the “Automobile Trade Journal” August 1917 issue that covers this later and quite different effort by the Hydro-Motor Car Company of Canton, Ohio. This machine which was designed by George Monnot used a front mounted propeller instead of the one on the rear of “Delia The Motor Duck.”

A short article in “Automobile Manufacturers of Cleveland and Ohio, 1864-1942” states “two prototypes were built.” It appears that the Model “T” Ford unit in the lead image may have been the first and the machine above was the second? Later on, the article tells of “Attempts to interest the military in its abilities before the end of World War I did not succeed.”


8 responses to “Hydro-Motor Car: Auto-Boat Investments That Couldn’t Hold Water

  1. Those guys had a lotta nerve didn’t they ? Sitting in that thing with no life jackets on !
    I wouldn’t have gotten in that thing if you gave it to me !!!

    That front axle in the second picture looks unique, and the wheels look like they were fortified with those plates around the hubs .

  2. I saw a picture of the Delia in a European magazine(Motor Clásico ) that issued a three isues monography on amphibious cars and there they said that was a German made car… .

  3. You know, I wonder if those plates on the wheels were added to make the boat more steerable as I would imagine there was no other rudder assembly.

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