A cycle car from an unknown builder, possibly of English or European construction. Photo courtesy of Dale Davenport.
Here’s the next installment of our ongoing series about the world of cycle cars, with more excerpts from that definitive article on the subject from the January 15, 1914 issue of The Automobile magazine (below). One again, we’re struck by the sheer number of manufacturers actively involved in the production of these interesting little vehicles in locations all over the country. From Detroit to San Francisco, Indianapolis to New York, and all points in between, it seems that every tinkerer with a barn to work in was trying to get into the game.
Friction drives with belts or chains to the rear wheels seem to have been the standard practice, although the Chicago-built Rayfield mentioned in the first thumbnail, above, used a more conventional two speed selective gearbox. It also differed from most others with it’s water-cooled four cylinder engine, as many other designs relied on air-cooled one or two cylinder power.
The Imp cyclecar (top image in the first thumbnail, below) is notable as William B. Stout’s first automotive concept, selling the idea to the W.H. Mcintyre Company who went on to produce the car. He would later gain fame as the builder of the Stout Scarab, a distant ancestor of the modern mini-van. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to take a look at Part 3 of the series.