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Dear Prewar Editor:
Hey, what's that? Halfway restoration and now testdriving the bare chassis? Sure not, The Thing is probably brandnew and it either must be a manufacturers test drive. Or a newly sold chassis on its way to a coachbuilder.
Sender Gary Hinze wrote: "That is my grandfather, Charles Hinze, in the left front seat, probably in San Francisco, California. I would be interested in the identification of the car and the date of manufacture."
Not easy Gary, too many of these pre WWI cars have Mercedes look-a-like radiators so it comes down to details like number of wheel spokes, chassis details and more. But maybe the hardly visible radiator badge is enough for a brass dude out there. Could be a Mercer, Pierce Arrow or similar machinery. Let's wait and see.
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P.S. to Gary! We wanted to ask you some questions, but unfortunately we don't have your email address. Would you please contact us at office*at*prewarcar.com?
Doug Walters writes: "This is my new truck, a 1918 Dodge Brothers light repair truck. They were used as a tool truck during WW1, carried tools to repair other trucks or anything that was broken. There were 1012 built and only 4 known to still exist by the Dodge Brothers Club. They are hand crank only with no electrical system, kerosene cowl lights and tail light. I had to paint it, someone YEARS ago had sandblasted and primed it. The engine started very easily, drives great. I took it to Hershey, including the always necessary female, my grand daughters.
It was used at a local Hershey military camp and remained in that area all this time. I've been trying to buy it for about 6 or 8 years. I actually talked to a 91 year old that rode in this truck in 1930 when his father was part of the camp. I still have lots of detail work, all the tools are gone but I have a manual that lists what should be with it. The thought is most of them went to France and never returned. If anyone knows of any others (or parts of others) I would like to hear from them. Any info would be helpful, especially pictures of them in action."
You may have heard of so-called hi-tech companies like Google and Apple who recently try to reinvent and re-market stuff that others have invented already a l-o-o-o-ng time ago (sorry for stepping on one or two toes perhaps). Both companies now are investing heaps of billions in chauffeur-less carriages. In a very distant past the word 'automobile' was invented for that to start with. And before that Leonardo Davinci left the idea alone as being a kid's toy.
So who needs an automobile created by companies that are primarily good in combining bits? Like Google's 'selfdriving car' that looks like an over-sized laptop mouse. Apple is busy checking the same beaten track, but feels so embarrassed about their unmanned bitsa project that they don't dare to write about it themselves... and leave the collateral image damage to Dodge.
And no wonder, as you can see above the whole concept was around and on the streets already 80 years ago! Built and used for the 1933 feature movie 'The Invisible Man' (probably the same trick is employed by G&A). It looks like the original inventors have used an Austin Seven chassis. Anybody who can be more precise?
Sender Paul Hennessy writes: "Can anyone help me identify the car from these pictures (here in another perspective). Believed taken in January 1934. I'm researching R.C. Sherriff the play/script writer, and have come across this in his archives."
Editor: next issue, what happened in the end with the Austin Seven without driver? Probably the same as what the future will do with the automatic lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners created by coachbuilders Apple & Google: the scrapyard. As they overlook one very important fact: driving is fun. So who on earth would wish to send out his car alone? Crazy idea.
One does not often get the chance to buy a Rousson. About 130 seem to have been built from 1903 up to 1920, in the small town of Feurs, near Saint-Etienne and Lyon. To automotive historians the make may be hardly known but to the people of Feurs, the name Rousson is not. The company was founded in 1880 as a general machine builder. From 1897 they concentrated on machines for oil mills and on hubs and other parts for bicycles, motorcycles and cars. In 1903 the first chassis left the factory and from 1906 complete cars were delivered.
Rousson was an ambitious car maker which offered at least seven different models, most with Chapuis-Dornier and some with Buchet engines. There were small twoseaters but there was also a quite long hotel omnibus. After the Great War Rousson tried to retake production with a small Citroën-like model but they failed. The company, however, remained a quite imporant builder of bicycle parts and specialized in gear trimming. It was still active in the 1980s. Last year the people of Feurs celebrated the return of one of the few surviving Roussons, a 1907 model. One of the interesting aspects of the Rousson company is that the original factory is still there. If you enter “13 Rue Parmentier, Feurs” in Google Maps, you will find it. It is hard to find other ‘unspoilt’ automotive factory buildings from the 1900s in France.
(text Fons Alkemade)
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