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Before there was Greyhound: An Enormous National Model “E” Wyoming Auto Stage

The National Motor Vehicle Co. located in Indianapolis, IN, added the first huge new Model “E” 477 CI 50-60 HP six-cylinder car in 1906 to its line up which also included a smaller four-cylinder model introduced in 1905.

“Watch for the Round Radiator” was the slogan chosen or advertising the firm’s vehicles with this style of radiator made famous by the French Delaunay-Belleville luxury car. The 1907 Model “L” shared the same appearance, although it featured a larger 75 HP L-head engine with 4.875 x five-inch bore and stroke with crank and camshafts supported by ball bearings. We believe today’s featured car is a 1906 or ’07 model. Full details of this engine can be found (below) in pages from a 1906 National catalog.

The auto stage replaced the earlier stage carriage to transport paying customers when it was developed enough to be reliable. This Wyoming Auto Stage Co. National was photographed next to the Eden Hotel located in Eaton, Wyoming.

Please share with us what you find of interest in these photos courtesy of the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.

  • Details of the 1907 National six-cylinder engine.



21 responses to “Before there was Greyhound: An Enormous National Model “E” Wyoming Auto Stage

  1. Lovely photograph, incredible 7 people and all those bags could be moved on those roads. Cant have been easy to crank that big engiene .

  2. Wow 60 hp in 1906! That was a lot of power for an automobile to have back in those days. A 1908 Model T only had 20 hp. They were really fast cars for their time and I read that in 1912 a National Motors car won the Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 78 mph. The one and only time that a stock car won that race. So I guess you could say that they made a little bit of history during the time that they were in existence.

  3. Ball bearings on the crankshaft was pretty advanced for the time. The “86x 5 inches” tire spec. on Model L sounds huge. Is that a misprint or were they using a different way to measure tires back then?

    • Look a little closer at the type: it reads “36 x 5”, although it looks like 86! That diameter rivals modern off-road tires – not the tread width, of course.

  4. I *think* this picture is an E. Comparing the two in old issues of Automobile Trade Journal, the L’s tonneau appears stretched compared to the E and looks to be longer than the one in the photograph. The L added six inches to the wheelbase , 700 pounds, and $1000 of price to the E’s 121″, 2900 lbs, and $4000. The extra power came from increasing the bore from 4 1/2″ to 4 7/8″.

    • Steve the 4-5/8 bore dimensions and maybe correct as it came from a 1907 National brochure, I’ve often figures like this are all over the map in period magazines due to copy writers mistakes.

      • That’s possible, though the 4-7/8 dimension is also listed in Motor’s coverage of the seventh annual ACA show, and it’s repeated in the modern book American Automobiles of the Brass Era, where both the H and L have that bore size listed. It’s also presented in the last photograph in this article (“It has six 4 7/8 x 5 inch vertical, water-cooled, integrally cast cylinders…”).

  5. This excellent photo is interesting for a lot of reasons. One I picked out is that 42 star flag in the background. That was only official for 243 days in the 1890’s until the next state(Utah I think) joined the union. I guess someone didn’t get that memo.

  6. In May of 1903 Horatio Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker set out from San Francisco in a Winton automobile for New York. They made it, becoming the first known to navigate the distance by car. So it should be no surprise to see this National in stage service some years later. (Nor should we be surprised to discover the cross country adventure was hatched by a bar room argument, with Jackson throwing down the glove in the form of a 50 dollar bet that he could make it. One can only wonder how much of a role good whiskey played in the achievement.) Eaton, Wyoming is illusive, not showing up on any internet searches. What does come up though is a rather extensive history of three Eaton brothers from Pittsburgh who developed commercial interests in eastern Wyoming in the early 1900s. My guess is there’s a connection. The National seems to be a worthy opponent for the roads of the day. Apparently the engineers never got the Lowey memo that “weight is the enemy.”

  7. Actually, I checked out the photo on the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center and it is Eden, WY, which is in Clearwater County, not Eaton. Also the date on the photo says it’s from 1913 which seems kind of off for a car from 1906 or so. It would be junk or made into a tractor or something by 1913.

    • Seven years young! Some years ago I checked the cumulative number of US autos manufactured against annual US registrations – and up to the US entry into the Great War there seemed to be remarkably few older cars lost from American roads that had been made in the first decade of the century. Given the likely number of accidents it seemed to me that scrappage had hardly go going and big expensive cars like this National would have been sold or passed on to servants by their wealthy first owners, then kept running or sold on for use by the less wealthy for as long as they could be kept running.

  8. There is an Eaton Township in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania on the west bank of the Susquehanna River. Just sayin’

  9. Anyone know what was special about the D.W.F. bearings to allow them to be assembled on the main journals? Races must have been split to allow assembly, which in the early days was thought to be a no-no. Due to spalling next to the crack I suppose–

  10. I can only wonder how far they’d get before the first flat tire. In my opinion, tires were the worst component of all early cars — rubber was of such poor quality. The weight of the car, the passengers and the baggage would not be kind to those tires.

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