Tag Archives: Packard
These days, most three-wheeled motorcycles you see are strictly recreational affairs, but that has not always been the case. In the early part of the twentieth century, the Minneapolis Motorcycle Company’s Michaelson Tri-Car and the New Era Autocycle Delivery Van were just two of many trikes being built to meet the demands of urban merchants for quick and inexpensive transport in increasingly congested city traffic. In later years, conventional motorcycles with utility sidecars would perform similar duties, but the Indian Scout 101 Dispatch-Tow in our photo today was meant for a more specialized purpose.
It is equipped with disc wheels and a non-factory box, and the tow hitch attached to the front fork identifies it as a service vehicle for either a car dealer or repair shop. You can read about how these units were was used here on The Old Motor. This one, possibly dating from late 1930, is much less common that the more familiar Harley-Davidson Servi-Cars and is one of the earliest types built by Indian. Photo courtesy of Chris Price and the Antique Motorcycle Club of America.
*Update* Reader Robbie Marenzi has replied that the rear wheel appears to be like that used on an Austin Bantam and we agree, take a look here.
Earl C. Anthony is perhaps best known as the Packard distributor for the state California from 1915 to 1958. Our top photo shows him at the dawn of his interest in the motorcar. It was a thoroughly respectable, if primitive, effort for one so young and inexperienced. Built in 1897 when he was just seventeen years old, sources say that he fabricated his own batteries and half horsepower electric motor to power it.
After studying engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, Anthony returned to southern California and opened one of the first car dealerships in Los Angeles. He became a distributor for eighteen brands and by 1905 had secured the Packard franchise. That same year, he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Motorcar Dealer’s Association and in 1907 was a principle organizer of first Los Angeles Automobile Show.
A long trail of innovations would follow. Anthony and a group of fellow entrepreneurs opened L.A.’s first full service gas station in 1913 after becoming frustrated by the difficulties his customers experienced obtaining fuel for their cars. He was first in the country to use neon signs to advertise his business and founded radio stations KFI and KECA, the former eventually becoming one of the first “clear channel” powerhouse operations in the United States.
In subsequent years, he would expand his operations throughout the state including the spectacular location in San Francisco seen above. At one point, his dealerships sold one out of every seven Packards purchased in California. By the time our last photo was taken, Earl C. Anthony had been doing business for thirty years. He had become an institution in the car culture of the state and provided the sharp Packard 120 to lead the Flag Day parade that opened the Los Angeles baseball season in 1935. Photos courtesy of the Larz Anderson Museum, the Detroit Public Library and UC Berkeley.
It is not very often that we see an early photo of the founder of a famous car company behind the wheel of one of his creations. It is even more uncommon to see one on his honeymoon. James Ward Packard married Elizabeth Gilmer on Aug. 31, 1904 in Warren, Ohio. Our photo purports to show the bow-tied Ward and elaborately hatted Bess at Panama Rocks near Chautauqua Lake in New York on their wedding trip. The Packard in which they made the voyage is showing evidence of the primitive road conditions they encountered.
The following year, they would begin construction of an elaborate 32 room mansion in the lakeside village of Lakewood, New York. It would not be completed until 1912. A three car garage was added in 1914 and in a second floor machine shop, Packard would pursue his mechanical and electrical interests. He became a legal resident of Lakewood after 1913, was active in village life and a generous benefactor to the community. You can take a closer look at a beautifully restored Model “L” here and see many more Packards here from the Rod Blood collection. Today’s photo courtesy of the New York Historical Society.