The Carter Two-Engine Car – The Fail Safe Automobile

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  • 1907 Carter Two-Engine Car used by the Washington D.C. Fire Chief.

It has been reported that Howard Carter came up with the idea for the two engine automobile after an incident where he was not able to start his car; later he reasoned that if one engine let you down, you would have the other to fall back on to continue on your journey. Carter then proceeded design, patent and build a car that had two compete, but separate engines, each with its own set of ignition, induction, exhaust, and cooling systems. They could also be operated singly or together.

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  • Engine and drivetrain photos, “The Motor”, January 1908.

The two 35-40-h.p. engines each drove a shaft (I in the patent drawing below) that was supported by a bearing on the front of the center crossmember (L). Towards the rear end of each shaft can be seen a sprocket (S) that drives a roller-chain to sprockets (Q and R) on the center shaft (M). This center shaft then drives a conventional transmission (O) and in turn the rear differential (P) through drive shaft (N). You can view the entire patent and another drawing for the Carter Two-Engine Car here.

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  • Patent drawing for the unique two-engine car.

Each engine could be started separately by its hand crank after its clutch was disengaged. The second engine could then be started by engaging its clutch and using the running engine to turn it. In actual use, one engine was adequate for driving in normal conditions; if more power was needed the second engine could be started and it would thereby double the power output by producing some 70-80-h.p.

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  • Advertisement from “The Motor” October, 1907.

Howard first considered manufacturing his automobile in Detroit, but ultimately decided on Hyattsville, Maryland. A new plant was built and just about completed in 1907 when he discovered that the public was quite happy with only one engine and his new car would not sell. The factory was then was used to manufacture the Washington automobile which was of conventional construction. More information can be found on the Carter in an article in the January 1908, The Motor.

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  • Advertisement for “The Motor”, December 1907.

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More Photos of the 2014 Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance

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  • 1929 Bentley Speed Six Cabriolet, coachwork by Saoutchik.

Yesterday we covered the wet start of the popular Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, but as the morning went on the mist stopped, and it dried out for the rest of the event. The Tour starts near the Lodge at Pebble Beach on 17-Mile Drive and heads inland and east on its way to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, for a lap around the race course. Next the run heads into the hills on its way over to the picturesque Carmel Valley and then back out to the coast.

The best-open road portion of the tour is the pleasing ride down to Big Sur and back on Highway 1, which is also called the Cabrillo Highway. The area is known for its spectacular scenery with the Santa Lucia Mountains rising up out of the Pacific Ocean and make for a perfect backdrop for car photography. Many thanks again to Steve Natale, who took and shared these images with us of some of the pre-war cars on that portion of the run.

You can watch video of the awards presentation here at The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance website.

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  •                    Rolls-Royce – Model J Duesenberg – Crane-Simplex
  •  c6      c7      c8
  •           Vintage Bentley – American Underslung – Hispano-Suiza
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  •                  Cord Sportsman – Rolls-Royce- Vintage Bentley
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  • 1908 48-h.p. Daimler.

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A Soggy Start for the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance

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  • Jay Leno pilots a White Steam Car.

The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance started off on Thursday morning under an overcast sky, and mist at the beginning of the ninety-mile run. Steve Natale was there at the start and sent along these photos of some of the pre-war cars departing on their run. Look for more of Steve’s images that he took out on the Coast of the run down to Big Sur and back and more coverage tomorrow.

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  •          Ruxton Roadster – Delaunay-Belleville – Stanley Steam Car

There are special classes this year for early steam cars and the Ruxton, and a number of both can be seen here. Interesting vehicles seen here at the tour start are a large Delaunay-Belleville with dual rear wheels, the first Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn and a Pierce-Arrow limousine. You can see a video produced of the event here that shows more highlights of the tour. Learn about the Peterson Museum’s Ruxton tour run here and see images of their day. You can view more of Steve Natale’s work here.

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  •                        Rolls-Royce – Pierce-Arrow – White Steam Car
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  • A Ruxton that the restoration of was finished only days before the event.

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