Tag Archives: Peerless
* Updated * At the bottom of the post are a number of very interesting observations about the featured film by expert early car historian Ariejan Bos.
It wasn’t very long after the first gasoline was combusted in a cylinder before large motor shows were organized to bring this revolution in personal transportation to the attention of the public. The world’s first international event was organized by Albert de Dion and the Automobile Club of France in Paris in 1898. The British Motor Show has been held regularly since 1903, initially in London at Crystal Palace, then at Earl’s Court and later at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham where it stayed until 2004. Our photos today depict scenes from the 1904 New York exhibition at Madison Square Garden, the fourth year it was held.
The bare chassis’ in the Peerless and Stearns booths above provided an opportunity for show goers who may have never even seen an automobile before to get a glimpse of it’s inner workings. Aside from the various makes on display, you’ll notice that aftermarket accessory vendors that had already become a vital part of the industry were allotted space to hawk their wares in the balcony overlooking the main exhibition floor, a practice that continues at many shows to this day. You might also spot the Indian motorcycle banner up there. The front-motored Baker Electric Surrey in the center photo was an somewhat unconventional design and it can also be seen in the photo on the right.
The video below made by the Edison Company depicts what is probably the very first automobile parade held in downtown Manhattan on November 4, 1899. The wide variety of types and designs of automobiles seen in it at this very early date is quite remarkable. Well represented are the Electric Vehicle Company’s taxis and we think we spotted an early Stanley in there as well. You’ll also find scenes from some later auto shows here on The Old Motor. Baker Motor-Front Electric Surrey and Mercedes 18-22 photos credit the The Automobile of January 30, 1904. All other photos courtesy of the New-York Historical Society, Video used courtesy of the Library of Congress.
* Update * Ariejan Bos has sent along the following observations about the film below along with a list of the cars featured in it that we have posted as a separate comment: “There appear to be in total 32 vehicles, of which 10 gasoline, 3 steam and 19 electric. Most cars date from 1899. The most surprising for me was the Peugeot (probably a type 15), as I never spotted an early Peugeot in the US. Moreover there is some indication that the movie is reproduced in mirror image: the Oakman Hertel has the steering tiller on the left side (where it should be on the right side)”.
This great very early photo shows Barney Oldfield and possibly his wife Beatrice posing in what is believed to have been his first Peerless racing car. Barney started driving for Peerless in 1903 and the first event that we were able to find him recorded as driving one, was a race meet in September at Grosse Point, MI., where he won a 5 mile race and finished second in a 15 mile race.
This car that Oldfield is posing in, appears to be very similar to the Peerless that Charles Wridgeway is seen in during 1903 at the New York, Empire City track in just below. The Wridgeway car is stripped of its hood at that meet, but appears to have the very same shape on the wooden dash board, along with sharing many of the other details as the car Oldfield is in. There is a possibility that this is a promotional photo taken, when Oldfield started driving the Green Dragons for Peerless late in 1903. Oldfield was also driving for both Winton ( he quit on April 12) and Ford earlier in 1903.
This photo above comes to us courtesy of Mike Schultz who found it over forty years ago with other Peerless and White steamer photos, one of which had a connection to Atlantic City, NJ. The photo below is from the Peter Helck Collection, courtesy of Racemaker Press.
We have been following the exploits of Joe Tracy and his friends recently, and this series of photos shows Tracy with his Buick roadster in 1908 at the Briarcliff Road race where he was an official. We are going to let our readers who are Buick experts, date this car and tell us what model it is.
The third photo below shows Tracy and his girlfriend entering the Hotel Buena Vista, which was run by Fritz Walsch. Note the wood planks installed at the edge of the road to ease the passage of car tires over the stone curb. The last photo shows Tracy’s Buick along with a Peerless and a group of what may have been racing associates. Photos from the Peter Helck Collection courtesy of Racemaker Press.