Classic Cars and Models in the California Sun


We do not know the reason why either of these mid-to-late twenties photos were taken, but it is likely that they were used for promotional purposes. The Packard Phaeton image above may have been taken for a Packard dealer or possibly for the Company itself. Note the two-tone wheels.

The Marmon below with a model pointing at the front suspension may have been used to bring attention to some new feature. If you can date and tell us the model of either car please let us know. The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.


Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Women and Vehicles | Tagged , , |

Curves and Shapes from Pebble Beach by Steve Natale

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  • The attractive Alan Leamy designed 1933 Auburn Twelve Salon Speedster.

It is close to impossible to take any good photos after the gate opens up to the public at Pebble Beach in mid-morning due to the crowds, that and the bright sunshine that came out this year made for very challenging photography. We will have more coverage coming up soon from Pebble Beach, but in the meantime, here are some shots of some of the interesting shapes that caught photographer Steve Natale’s eye.

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  • A Lalique Ornament –  1911 Hotchkiss Berline – Graber-Bodied Packard

Below is part of the line-up of the Ruxton’s this year modeling the very distinctively styled Woodlite head and fender lamps. Look for a special feature in the coming days of a grouping of the cars that were set up for a photo shoot on Saturday, the day before the Concours d’Elegance on the field at Pebble Beach with their headlamps lit. The photos are courtesy of Steve Natale.


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

Finley Robinson Porter’s Horizontally Opposed Dual Four Cylinder Engines

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  •          Plan-view of the horizontally opposed dual four-cylinder engines.

Horizontally-opposed dual four-cylinder engines with common rotary valves, certainly is a mouthful. But that is exactly what Finley Robinson Porter had finished designing only a little over a year after he left Mercer, as the Chief Engineer where he designed the legendary T-head Raceabout. This pair of engines was intended for aircraft use, and each was to be equipped with a propellor. At this point, it is unknown if this project ever went past the drawing stage, but it certainly is interesting to study his work.

We were fortunate to be able to talk with Porter’s Great Granddaughter recently and learned of this concept and its drawings. After studying them we are amazed by the vision that this man had and his ability to be able to see this concept through to its final design and drawings. It came right on the heels of the exceptional F.R.P. car he designed and built with a s.o.h.c. 454-c.i.d. four-cylinder engine that was right on the cutting edge at the time.

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  • Sectional views of the end and center of the engines.

Just above at the top is a cross-sectioned end view of a pair of cylinders, and it shows one of the rotary valves located top and bottom on ball bearings. The intake charge enters the valve at (2) on the middle bottom and exhausts out of the top of it. The valve supply chamber (4) communicates with the feed (1) from the intake manifold and has opposed cylinder supply ports (6 and 7 –  see photo at the top of the post) opening through the face of the valve.

The exhaust chamber (5) communicates with the upwardly extended tubular portion (2) that also has opposed exhaust ports (8 and 9 – see photo at the top of the post) opening through the face of the valve. The rotary valve is tapered and is smaller at the bottom than at the top. The fuel supply for the cylinders is drawn in through the bottom of the valve, and the exhaust gases are discharged through the top of the valve.

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  • Detail views of the gear drives, a valve and the combustion chamber.

The two detail photos above show more of the construction. The left-hand drawing shows the intermediate gear (48) that is driven by a gear on the two joined-driveshafts (38). It in turn drives shaft (46) that operates the four rotary valves and gear and shaft (55) that drives the magneto on the left (52) and the water pump on the right (53). The right-hand drawing shows the details of the gears (49 and 50) that turn the rotary valve and also shows the combustion chamber. The updraft intake manifold (70) can be seen in the bottom center photo.

Posted in Out Of The Box, Technical Features | Tagged , , , |

Early Steam Cars Featured at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

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  • 1907 White Model G

In total contrast to the twenty-two Ferrari Testarosta’s exhibited at Pebble Beach and the Ferrari Best of Show win there this year, there was a special class just for early steam cars. The well-known Stanley and White steam cars were both on display along with a couple of steamers rarely seen today that included: the 1892 Philion Road Carriage and a 1904 Turner-Miesse from England.

The Philion from the National Auto Museum was built by Achille Philion and has been reported to have run as early as 1890. It was steerable from either the front or the rear seat where the boiler operator sat while attending to its operation. Philion patented the design in 1892, and it was on exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It was driven onto the field.

Several of the cars took part in the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance including Nick Howell’s 1902 Toledo steam car that was featured here recently on The Old Motor. The reports we have received from attendees was that the class was well received, and many of the spectators were amazed by the cars all which were over 100-years old. The photos are courtesy of Steve Natale.

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  •                 1907 White Model G - 1892 Philion Road Carriage
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  •                      1900 Skene –  1900 Skene - 1904 Turner-Miesse
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  •    1904 Turner-Miesse – 1902 White Model B - 1909 Stanley Model R
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  • 1905 White Model E

Like to learn a bit more about the steam car? Follow along in a short video below produced by CNNMoney as Peter Valdes-Dapena visits with Tom Marshall at the Marshall Steam Museum. The second-generation steam enthusiast goes through the 30-minute start-up procedure and then they both go out for a short ride. You can also learn more about steam cars at Stanley Steamers and The Steam Car Club of Great Britain.

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