- This Micheline prototype ran from Paris to Deauville averaging 107 k.p.h. (66.8 m.p.h.) on September 10, 1931 using Hispano-Suiza power
In the U.S., they were called railcars, railbuses or doodlebugs. Often created in a railroad’s own shops by ingenious crews who combined a car or truck driveline with an existing passenger or freight car, they provided economical service to less populated areas. But the purpose built units seen in our photos today raised the bar to a whole new level. While they are quite similar in appearance to some of their American counterparts, their use of rubber tires rather than conventional steel railroad wheels and superior speed mark significant differences.
- L to R : Type 11 – Type 22 – Type 23 Michelines
The pneumatic railroad tire developed by Michelin offered a number of advantages over the traditional wheel type in this relatively lightweight application. Passengers experienced a smoother, quieter ride. Better traction resulted in faster acceleration, shorter braking distances and improved climbing ability on grades. Greatly reduced rail wear likewise resulted in reduced track maintenance costs. Downside factors included higher fuel consumption caused by increased drag and the possibility of flats.
Their increasing size and passenger capacity over the years attest to the merit of the initial concept. The Type 11, produced between 1932 and 1939, could propel 24 passengers at speeds up to 90 k.p.h. (56 m.p.h). Two Type 20′s were built in 1934. Orders for thirteen Type 21′s and thirty-seven Type 22′s followed. In service between 1936 and 1952, the big Type 23′s seated 96 and used a 400 horsepower Panhard flat opposed 12.
The long term success of the Michelines can be said to have led directly to the use of rubber tires on many modern metro systems around the world including Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Tokyo, Kobe and Yokohama in Japan, Paris, Lyon and Marseilles in France and Mexico City. You’ll find more than fifty pages of other unusual subjects along with several ”train cars” you can view here including a Pierce-Arrow, a 1933 Chrysler and a 1955 Buick on The Old Motor.
- All illustrations - “The Automobile” November 13, 1913.
Many of our readers enjoyed our recent post about the 1917 V-12 Pathfinder, so we decided to take a look into the company’s history a bit more and found full details covering the 1914 model. The car was built in Indianapolis, Indiana, between the years of 1912 and 1917. For the first two years, a conventionally styled 40 hp four was produced but 1914 was a milestone for the forward-thinking company. It introduced a very modern and attractive six cylinder model which at the time was a popular move among the makers of medium and high-priced autos.
The Pathfinder was always a well finished and built car with an emphasis placed on vibrant color combinations and the stylish appearance of the vehicle. For the 1914 model year, the company made a bold move and introduced a European-style vee-shaped radiator with an attractive curved top.
Further information, along with full specifications and a description of the 1914 model, can be found above. In the center image, an example from mid-1914 illustrates the continuing efforts by Pathfinder to keep their offerings stylish and exciting. The Daniel Boone Roadster offered the convenience of carrying extra passengers in a folding seat in the rear compartment when needed without compromising the very sporty appearance of it’s handsome design.
You can also look back and view both the previous model, the 1912 Pathfinder and the 1917 model in our recent article, The Great Pathfinder – “King of the Twelves” ,here on The Old Motor.