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Napier Rail Car

Napier Rail Car
James Clark was visiting the Tunnels Museum in Moose Jaw, Canada  1474040857_resized__1473622336_res_napier2and saw this picture on the wall with a sign describing it as 1904 Napier rail car and with wheels that look to have been specially made with an outer rim for the rail tracks. Besides he was wondering if the 4 tons may have been a little too much for this car. He asked, if anyone knew more about this car and its story.

Well James, on the photo we see Charles J. Glidden in his new 24 hp 4-cylinder Napier car in Moose Jaw in September 1904, just on his way through Canada after having completed the first AAA-tour from New York to Saint Louis a month earlier. Charles Glidden, who had  1474040902_resized_around_the_world_in_a_napiermade his fortune in the US in the development of the telephone and the exploitation of the very first telephone networks, retired in 1900 at the age of 43. He decided to travel the world in a motor car, as he believed it would have the same bright future as the telephone. For a still unknown reason his choice for the car didn't fall on a US made car, but on the British-made Napier. From 1901 to 1907 he would travel the world in a Napier car, from 1904 always with the British number plate A-3622! These travels are well described in a nice little book by Andrew M. Jepson: Around the World in a Napier (2013). During his travels he was always accompanied by his wife Lucy Emma Clegworth and the Napier mechanic Charles Thomas. Because he travelled areas where roads were sometimes completely absent, he decided to travel by railroad in parts of the US and Canada and got permission to do so. For this he let the Napier company adapt the car and had them make special wheels with flanges. In America however these flanges proved to be too shallow, making modification necessary. That it worked very well can be read in an interview in Motor Age, published partly in the Car Illustrated shortly after the railway experiences. A very nice set of photos of the Napier driving on rails in Canada can be found in the City of Vancouver archive. The weight of 4 tons for the car alone seems to be incorrect indeed and will have been close to 4000 lbs: his previous Napier weighed 4.500 lbs. To this, however, we have to add of course the set of railway wheels (weighing 1300 lbs), the three passengers, spares and luggage!

 1474041080_resized_the_car_ill._1904-10-26_p.303__glidden_interview_The name Glidden would be immortalized by the so-called Glidden Tours. After the 1904 AAA-tour Glidden decided this event to be held annually, supporting it by donating a silver trophy and $ 2.000,- dollar prize money. The Glidden Tours would be organised from 1905 to 1913 and was an important factor not only in the development of the reliability of the car itself, but also in stimulating the improvement of the road network in the US. The Detroit Public Library owns a large archive with photos of this event, partly made by the famous automotive photographer Nathan Lazarnick. From 1908 Glidden would shift his focus to aeronautics. He died in 1927, after having witnessed his prophesy of the success of the motor car.

Sunday, 16 October 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it? Quiz #431

What is_it_Quiz_431_jpg
This is a Hershey trophy. One of the few photos we were lucky enough to find there. The seller told us that he still wondered what make of car is showing. We reassured him that the PrewarCar community probably wouldn't have too many issues identifying the car. That was bluff of course as this American made beauty is not the simplest quizcar ever. Better click the above picture to check the enlargement.

This carmaker is not particularly well known for making gasoline cars.  It has an elegant coal shuttle nose with the radiator low at the front. With the risk making this an easy quiz we like to mention the make was founded in Ohio. While the make survived only shortly, it would live on in combination with various other names. We are most curious to read your responses. And to be honest, mentioning the name and year is already a challenge. So anybody who can add some good information regarding make and technique of this particular car is a hero and is probably very close to winning the infamous PreWarCar T-shirt.
Yet before posting your comment, be sure to read the Rules under Read More. Have a great weekend. More Hershey memories to be published Wednesday & Thursday.

( photo collection editor) 
Saturday, 15 October 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Now wash your hands.

Now wash your hands.If a fräulein wanted fresh fingers for the freeway in 1939, she would have found the perfect car at the Berlin Motor Show on the Horch stand. 
Our picture shows just such a lady, perhaps parked for a picnic rather than an adventure on the autobahn, but she wanted clean hands and there, tucked inside the wing of her 930S is an aluminium fold-out wash basin.
 Fed by 2½ gallons of water, one section of the tank is heated by exhaust gases passing through with a spiral pipe and taps are provided to ensure she enjoys the perfect temperature. The basin empties as it is folded back into the bodywork.
Horch built just three of these luxury limousines based on the 1935 930V before war intervened. The streamlined body was based on the DKW Wanderer which helped this 2300kg car reach 178 kilometres per hour.
But enough of the car - we have looked again into the eyes of our fräulein and our thoughts are on that picnic !

Text/picture  Robin Batchelor.
Friday, 14 October 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Recoleta Tigre: very first open road race of Argentina.

Recoleta Tigre: very first open road race of Argentina.

Every year the Club de Automoviles Clasicos de la Republica Argentina organises an event remembering the very first open road race of Argentina. It was in 1906 that the first Recoleta Tigre took place. Every year the club relives the event by inviting all veteran cars built before 1918 to cover the same road as 1906, with their drivers dressed in period clothes. Some 60 odd cars show up, some more important than others. A regular guest is this lovely Adler(32) that if I remember well it is from 1912.  Anyway, Sunday the 'starting grid' is swamped by onlookers, enthusiasts and tourists. Of course at this crucial moment the owner finds the belt is slipping on the pully due to a small oil leak. But now what what to do with no spare belt around and so little time before the flag drops? Well, the issue was solved by adding some cloth wrapped round the pully tied with a wire and thereby increasing the diameter of the pulley, in order to stretch the belt and to solve the problem. You probably will nopt believe who solved this mechanical problem? Of course..!, the grandson of the Adler representative for Bulgaria. Very small world this is, I think this a wonderfull story.

Text and photo's: Charles Walmsley

Thursday, 13 October 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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