Just the other day we posted a photo of a 1914 Simplex Series F Speed Car, which appeared to be an illustration and was in fact found on a piece of wallpaper by a collector. It has been referred to as “The Wallpaper Car” by Simplex enthusiasts and not much was known about it. Only one day after posting it, thanks to reader Louis Tella, who has an original copy of the photo and the power of the internet, we now know much more about this very interesting car.
The photo was taken by Spooner & Wells Inc., well known professional photographers based in N.Y.C. It is carrying 1914 N.Y. Dealers license plates, with M as the first character which may mean it is a manufactures plate. The Series F was also referred to as the 75 HP, for the amount of horsepower it produced. Simplex also produced both a 38 HP and a 50 HP models at the time.
The 75 was the meant for sporting and racing, but it also appears that it may have lugged around a few heavy touring and limousine bodies on the longer wheelbase. It carried the same 5 3/8″ bore x 6 1/2″ stroke and 590 c.i. displacement as the 50, but had different blocks, with bigger valves, manifolds and as the thumbnail text below from the Jan. 1, 1914, The Automobile states, “A steeper set of cams”. These cams featured a higher lift as racing type camshafts do.
By 1914 it was announced that the 75 was built only to order; this car (above) was built on the shorter 124″ chassis (a 137″ was also available) with the radiator and entire drive-train set-back in the chassis 10″, as was done on many racing cars at the time. The bare short chassis can be see at the (bottom) in a page from a Simplex brochure, showing the model.
A few details that we can point out for those who have never seen good photos of one of these Speed Cars; in front of the huge gas tank is a 13 gallon oil-tank that was used on long trips or during racing, for adding oil to the engine when needed, the big bulge in the belly-pan, located below the area where the horn is located, was to cover the Rushmore starter (seen in the first thumbnail below) which was first used in 1913 as a retrofit.
The middle thumbnail (above) shows an article from The Automobile magazine, dated Dec. 31, 1914, describing the 1915 Simplex offerings of the same models and which gives you a better idea of the details of other offerings from the company. The far right thumbnail (above) shows an interesting photo and caption found in the May 7, 1914, The Automobile, showing the Simplex service garage in N.Y.C., which opened in June of 1912. This may have been opened before the factory left its hometown and moved to Brunswick, N.J. in the fall of 1912.