Tag Archives: Cleveland motorcycle
- Jimmy Murphy and his Straight-Eight Duesenberg racing car, at the Beverly Hills Board Track
* An Update * About Jimmy Murphy’s Duesenberg can be found below at the end of the text.
One of our friends in France, Isabelle Bracquemond, has honed her ability to seek out and find some of the most interesting vintage photos anywhere. On a busy pre-Christmas weekend, we have decided to put together an assemblage of some of her recent and very diverse finds for you to enjoy. You can also see a selection of Isabelle’s photos here on The Old Motor, many of which have served as the inspiration for posts here in the past. In her spare time, she is the Secretary at the French Indian Motorcycles Club.
As a reminder to all of our readers, The Old Motor is always looking for quality photographs and if, over the upcoming Christmas Holiday you can find the time, please consider sharing your images with us and your fellow readers. If you have photos of the same quality as you see here and can scan them in a high resolution, please email us here and we will send you our contact information. Post a comment if you can have any details of today’s photos.
- A Harley-Davidson - The famous Blériot XII – A 1929 Cleveland Four – Seen below is a 1898 Jeantaud electric taxicab.
* Update * From Joseph Freeman: “This is a great Hughes shot of Jimmy in his team car with Ernie Olsen, his riding mechanic, at Beverly Hills Speedway taken in the fall of 1920. This was the car that he used to win the 1921 French Grand Prix and later (with a Miller Engine) the 1922 Indianapolis 500.
It was one of a whole series of promotional shots taken at Beverly Hills with the cars in new paint and trim. Whatever is said about the aesthetic of Harry Miller (as opposed to the “dollar down and day late” reputation of the Duesenberg’s), this photo and others taken that day prove that when the brothers had their act together, they could put on as much of a show as Harry any day.
Murphy was part of the team which swept the boards in the later part of 1920 and most of 1921. It was one of the high points of the Duesenberg brothers racing involvement and their fabulous 183 SOHC cars.”
Foreshadowing the more successful American Austin, pioneering pilot and inventor Captain James V. Martin and engineer Miles H. Carpenter built three prototypes of this six hundred pound pipsqueak between 1926 and 1929. While the drivetrain was said to have been quite conventional, notwithstanding the modified inline four cylinder air-cooled Cleveland motorcycle engine, it’s springing was decidedly not.
Martin drew upon his aircraft background and used “aviation cord” (similar to today’s Bungee cords) as the springing method on the independent front and DeDion rear suspension, a product commonly used on aircraft landing gear of the day. He claimed they would last for 25,000 miles and cost only twenty cents apiece to replace.
He had planned to sell his baby car for $200 plus $50 freight by mail order (slightly less than the Model “T” Ford of the day) and have them shipped direct to the customer by rail. The new owner could then use the shipping crate as a garage. At least that was the plan, but it never came to fruition. A deal with the M.P. Moller Company of Hagerstown, Maryland, manufacturer of the Dagmar automobile and taxicab and station wagon bodies, to produce his petite project fell apart, and the Dart died aborning.
This little coupe almost seems like the missing link between the earlier cyclecars and the aforementioned American Austin. The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, has an original, informative and illustrated four page brochure covering the 1928 Dart.
But perhaps his most spectacular achievement was his Aerodynamic , variously reported as a 1928 or 1932 model. Again inspired by aircraft construction methods, this highly advanced automobile eschewed conventional body on frame construction, instead using a four inch thick platform made of wood, aluminum and fabric bonded together as a foundation. It could reportedly reach 110 miles per hour.
His last unconventional automotive idea began in 1932. It was a mid-engined three wheeler that used a transversely mounted American Austin engine. This begat his 1948 “Martinette”, assumed to be the same car, but re-motored with a Hercules inline four. Most sources report that this car was rebodied in classic “woodie” style, and was rechristened the “Stationette” in 1950. Martin was nothing if not imaginative, and our automotive history is that much richer for it. Photos from the November, 1927 issue of the Cycle and Auto Trade Journal.