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The Doble Model A & B Prototypes

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  • Abner Doble at the wheel of his Model “B” roadster

The Doble brothers’ dedication to the use of steam power in automobiles bordered on the fanatical. Long after others had abandoned the concept, their continued devotion to the type would eventually result in some of the most remarkable steamers ever produced.

Our article today deals with their earliest efforts. Together, they assembled the little buckboard seen below between 1906 and 1909 while still in high school, using components salvaged from a wrecked White but incorporating an engine of their own design.

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  • Brothers Warren and Bill Doble in their earliest steam car

With the assistance of his brother John, Abner completed his Model “A” in 1912, seen below, after dropping out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The second prototype, the Model “B”, incorporated many innovative features. The use of a honeycomb radiator to re-condense used steam virtually eliminated water loss, dramatically reducing the need for refills.

A twenty-five horsepower engine enabled it to reach a top speed of 75 miles per hour with a zero to sixty time of 15 seconds, a blistering pace for a road car at the time. The full mechanical details of this car can be found in The Automobile magazine at the bottom of this post.

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  •               The Doble Model “A” made in Waltham, Massachusetts

Abner drove a Model “B” from Boston to Detroit in 1915 with the goal of attracting investors. He was able to raise $200,000 with which he established the General Engineering Company to produce a new car in 1917, the ill-fated Doble-Detroit. The design incorporated still more advanced features including simplified controls, electric firing, and a very rapid start up.

It was initially well received but issues with quality control and production are said to have kept it from living up to its potential. It was Doble’s contention that war time material shortages contributed to these failings. You can find more steam related information and photos on The Old Motor. Photos courtesy of The Bancroft Library.

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  • Articles above from “The Automobile” of April 9, 1914 and September 17, 1914

Posted in Auto photos 1885 - 1920, Steam Powered | Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

“Gilding the Lily” – Accessorized Thirties Fords


The thought crossed our mind that the first accessories available for the automobile, probably appeared shortly after the turn of the last century. Since that time, many a proud new car owner has wanted to add something special to personalize their car. Soon after the car appeared, there were entrepreneurs selling trinkets to “improve” the car like this Model “T” Ford shock absorber salesman and the automotive aftermarket was born. 

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Only having limited knowledge of the accessories that were available for the thirties Ford, we thought that these photos might present the perfect opportunity for some of our readers to help identify them. The photos contain the following Fords: a 1932, a 1933 and a pair of 1936 models. Let us know what you see here in the way of accessories, and  identify the makers of some of these parts if possible. The photos are via Rudebaker and show the cars his father’s friends owned in the late-thirties. 


Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942 | Tagged , , , |

The 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Winners

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  • The 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Best of Show Winners

A 1937 Horch 853 Voll and Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet, owned by Robert and Ann Lee of Sparks, Nevada, was named Best of Show Concours d’Elegance at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours. The 1958 Scarab Meister Brauser I is from The Collier Collection and won Best of Show Concours de Sport. Look for more photos from OverDriveImages.com by Alan Gosley covering the rest of the the event soon. Learn more at AmeliaConcours.org  

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  • 1937 Horch 853 Voll and Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet, Best of Show Concours

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  • 1958 Scarab Meister Brauser I, Best of Show Concours de Sport

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Posted in Post-War Contemporary Photos | Tagged , , , , |