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Horseless Carriage Reflexions: Five Unique Images on Snow, Ice and the Show Circuit

Updated: In response to the comments to New Year’s post asking for more early car coverage we are starting out the week with a feature including interesting photos and information from issues of “The Motor,” The Automobile,” and “Auto Topics” magazines published early in 1910.

The lead image shows an attractive automobile with huge acetylene gas powered headlamps and skis attached to the front wheels. In a second photo of the car, three sets of tires and chains are visible mounted side-by-side in the rear for increased traction. The picture in the April 1910 “The Motor” is captioned. “In the Vosges (mountains) the latest amusement of members of the Touring Club of France.”

Update: The car in the lead photo is a French Rolland-Pilain, which has been identified by Ariejan Bos.

This photo of four Chalmers Model “30” cars being tested on the Detroit River with an ice boat behind them is in the March 10, 1910 “Auto Topics.” The cars usually are tested at the Grosse Point race track, but during the winter the test drivers use the River. The Chalmers crew enjoyed racing ice boats that traveled as fast as seventy mph and preforming spinouts on the slippery surface.

The caption with this photo on the cover of the February 24, 1910 “The Automobile” states that: “Jos. M. Gilbert of New York City and his family motor all through the winter regardless of the weather conditions.” The Gilbert’s child is in the front seat with the chauffeur of the impressive four-cylinder Lozier “Lakewood” touring car.

A March 1910 “Auto Topics” photo of a chain-driven early White truck carrying furniture to theAuto and Truck makers booth at the New York Auto Show in January.

And to end up here “The Automobile” January 1910 New York Auto Show coverage included this “Marmon torpedo type of body with unusual height to the superstructure.” View an earlier photo of a Speedwell “Cruiser” with a similar type of coachwork.

21 responses to “Horseless Carriage Reflexions: Five Unique Images on Snow, Ice and the Show Circuit

  1. Glad to see more early auto coverage. The Marmon and especially the Speedwell linked in the 2015 post are unusual body styles for the US, but would have fit right in with many continental European Model lineups – Russo-Balt, Opel, Graf und Stift, among others, had tapered hoods flowing seamlessly into streamlined cowls. I’ve always wondered why they adopted that approach, while US, British and French cars (mostly) stuck with straight hoods and flat cowls in the period

  2. The chain drive White is carrying more than furniture. There’s another vehicle with no body, facing backwards on the back.

  3. Purely a fashion thing I think .The craft skills were available .There always have been schools of design in cars.Sadly today seems a lacuna for styling.

  4. I really like seeing another Lozier automobile on your site. This is a 1910 as evidenced by the radiator. The rounded top first appeared in 1910.
    Surprising to see the owners opted to not have a windshield, yet they purchased the optional Solarclipse headlamps and the Klaxon horn. Seems like a windshield or wind screen would have been sensible for winter driving.
    I would like to see this car in color, but black and white photos are okay with me.
    More Lozier photos please!

    • Mike – The only Lozier I have ever seen ‘In the Flesh’ is located at the Gilmore Museum at Hickory Corners, Michigan.
      This Museum also has the CCCA Museum on the grounds as well as dedicated displays of Franklins, Piercce Arrows, Packards, Lincolns, Etc. ‘The Gilmore’ is well worth the trip no matter where in the U.S. you live. ( On the Michigan map, it is located just North of Kalamazoo, near Gull lake. – West side of the State. ) When you go, you might as well drive about 75 miles South to Auburn, Indiana for the A.C.D. Museum.

  5. Thanks for the OLD cars. I think the Lozier would have been difficult to get into and out of because of the low roof.

  6. In the first photo, there appears to be a pontoon or ski device between the rear wheels. I can’t tell for sure. Does anyone know what it might be? I haven’seen a setup like that on other early cars modified for snow operation.

  7. That first car is a wild looking thing and I have no idea of what it is. A wonderful photo regardless!
    The third photo I knew in an instant was a Lozier! I am pleased to see several other people here also appreciate them.
    The White truck is neat! It would be interesting to see photos of things set up in the Auto Show. I wonder if that could be a White Automobile chassis in the back of the truck? Or what manufacturer is setting up their display?
    And I guess I better not leave out the second picture. Playing around on the ice like that I think would be fun. I have never had a good opportunity to do so, however my dad who grew up in the high desert of Northeastern Nevada used to love to talk about his days as a youth learning to drive. Every year, fathers and sons would go out on the frozen ice to practice skids and spins where there was nothing to hit, to safely learn how to drive on the ice when one needed to.

    Thank you David G!

    • It’d be interesting to see that show display if only to find out what they needed six hat and coat racks for.

      We once took the wife’s TR3 to an ice gymkhana. After about the third or fourth time having to halt proceedings to yank it out of a snow drift, they offered to refund the entry fee if we’d stop screwing up their schedule.

  8. The car on the lead photo is a Rolland-Pilain. It was the same car as the participating car in the Coupe des Voiturettes of 1908. In 1910 the car had been transformed into this sledge by Legrain for a concours in Gérardmer (Vosges), organised by the ACF and the TCF (Touring Club de France). Which it won!

  9. I love the pre-1920 photos, especially in less than ideal conditions…makes me grateful for closed cars with heaters.
    Heck, after these, the most cold-blooded early 50s Ford, Chevy or Plymouth would seem like unbelievable luxury.

    In the well-received book published by the Stutz Club, The Splendid Stutz, there are photos of a first generation (12-16) Bearcat with winter gear including a canvas cowl extention and the driver wrapped in what looks like a frontier buffalo robe…I get chilled just looking at it.

  10. AH!!!! Some early photos again, I’m thrilled! Tank you very much David.
    There is a bright yellow Rolland Pillain very close to the one on the picture, with fenders running all along, to be seen in the Musée Automobile de Rochetaillée near Lyon, in France. A very rare car indeed!

  11. It must be embarrassing to have to ask pedestrians to set your hand brake on the ugly Marmon. It looks like one could
    injure themselves in the armpit reaching up and over to set it. The shift lever must skin your knuckles as the body should
    take up the narrow space between the two levers. Setting this body on the frame must have been difficult. Outside of
    that, if it showed up in my garage, I’d have to separate the body and make a speedster out of it. After all, Marmon won
    races with cars taken out of showrooms that were stripped down.

  12. Great!
    As a child a saw a lot of 50’s, 60’s etc cars, this is interesting.
    No chance for early motorcycles?

  13. Thanks so much for including brass era cars. Unlike the photo you showed, the ’10 Marmon we owned was a gorgeous car — lower body, no front doors, lots more space between the body and top — just what a ’10 car should be.

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