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About What is it Quiz #437

About What is it Quiz #437


Last Saturday’s puzzle #437 was not about raising chickens, it was about guessing the car on the picture. That mystery was solved by many. Interesting however, that none of our top 10 contestans had a very complete answer, with all the facts regarding the car and brand of the car, the Jackson Automobile Company. No, it was not a Moon like some thought, because of the keystone shaped radator. Jackson was the company that used the phrase "The Car with the Keystone Radiator" in advertisements.

First of all, special thanks to Peter Dew. He sent us a report about the emergence of the modern poultry industry in Britain. Thank you for that, Peter, very usefull, much appreciated.

First to give an answer was Robbie Marenzi.

“1920/21 Jackson 6-38 Semi-Sport. My first thought was Moon, but there was something wrong with the diamond shaped emblem. I found the original non flipped (LHD) picture and the Maryland MD-1921 license plate can be seen.”

Yes, we flipped the picture Robbie, we allways try to make things difficult.

Second was Anders Svenfelt , who also mentioned that the 6-38 Semi-Sport “combined the racy looks of a sports model with the roominess of the five passenger touring, had several color options, a Continental engine and a 121" wheelbase. About half the price of a comparable sized Buick 6-cylinder.”

Alan Spencer clarified the link between the remark of the assembly line worker “the company engineer should have raised chickens instead" and the poor quality of the interbellum Jackson cars. “The company devised the wonderful slogan 'No Hill Too Steep, No Sand Too Deep.' For the later models, it appears they could have added 'But It Isn't Cheap, And It'll Make You Weep.' “

Yes, cheap it was Craig Gillingham. “Jackson made 263 cars in total for 1921, with a list price of the base model at $2150US. The following year the base model price had dropped to $1485US.”

John Elema had the most complete answer about the brand Jackson and its founder:
“Byron J. Carter of Jackson, Michigan produced both steam- and gasoline cars. The first, named Jaxon, were made in 1903 only. The gasoline cars, Jacksons, were advertised with touting slogans like ‘No hills too steep, no sand too deep’ or ‘Like magic on hills, a snail in crowded streets’. 1913 saw a model named ‘Duck', a 4- passenger car that was steered from the rear seat. After WW2 Jackson’s 'Princess Coupe' was the hit of the 1921 Chicago Autoshow. A merger in 1923 with two other makes could not save the Jackson. “

Clear winner though is jury-member Fritz Hegemann, he had the most accurate and complete answer:

“No hill to steep, no sand to deep” was the slogan of the Jackson Automobile Company in the 1910s, offering a wide range of quality cars. After WW1 the performance of the engineers became worse.
We see here the Jackson 6-38 'semi-sport' Touring, built in 1920-23. „The Car with the Keystone Radiator” was offered in “a considerable variety of attractive colours”. Wheelbase was 3,07m, the engine a 6 cyl-Continental-7R (3.670 ccm, 55 hp at 2.600rpm, Stromberg-Carb), the eighteen-gallon gasoline-tank was placed in the rear, protected by the frame.
In 1923 Jackson merged to the Associated Motor Industries, disappearing in 1924.

Congrats Fritz, and best Greetings from the Prewarcar-Team!!

Text: Marius Hille Ris Lambers (Onestop Photo)
Picture: US National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

Saturday, 28 January 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Getting a good picture of the auto speed trials

Alice Austen-800

Alice Austen is one of the first female photographers, and she lived in Staten Island, NY, at a home built by a Dutch sea captain who settled there in the early 1700s. In this photo Alice sits on a wooden fence post; she holds a camera up to her face and looks toward the left side of the photo.

Less concerned with decorum than with getting a good picture of the auto speed trials, Alice perches on a fencepost while Gertrude Tate quizzically watches the second photographer.*
Auto races brought out Alice's fiercest photographing instincts as she climbed a fence to get a good shot of early speed trials on Staten Island. In 1902, Alice in action was almost as great a shock to Staten Island society as an automobile race, for women were expected to keep their feet on the ground and their hobbies in the parlor.**

Of course, this race did not take place in 1902. 1910 is probably more correct.

Can PreWarCar afficionados identify the car? 

Question, information and photo by: Don Bosco, USA

* Pictured in Novotny, p. 163
** Ppublished in the 1951 Life Magazine article "The Newly Discovered Picture World of Alice Austen," 
Extra information: typed inscription on the photo owned by the Staten island Historical Society: "Neg. No. B-39-c Old No. B-XXXVI (4x5) / Alice Austen on / Fence Post / [handwritten] Photographing Auto Racing on / Southfield Blvd. / c.1910 / copy negative made / from old faded print / enclosed in this / container / ..."

Friday, 27 January 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Another mystery car from Slovenia

Another mystery car from Slovenia
Peter Skofic sent us this photo, which was taken by photographer Peter Lampic in 1910 and shows an unknown car on its journey from Ljubljana to Kamnik (some 25 km). The owner of the car who seats on the rear seat was certain Mr Smid. Could anybody recognize this car?
Thursday, 26 January 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

PWC Workshop: preparing a real cyclecar for Festival of Slowth

PWC Workshop: preparing a real cyclecar for Festival of Slowth
Being known for breathing life back into rusty, neglected, and under-powered modes of ancient transport, in the spring of last year I had an interesting contraption delivered to the Gunn & Co workshop for resuscitation. This particular vehicle was a Velocar from the factory of Charles Mochet et Cie of Puteaux, France. The ‘Famile’ model, it was obviously built at a time when health and safety would have been laughed out the door of any Parisian Café! According to the Mochet advert of the time, it was designed as “family transport”, and was able to carry two adults who pedalled, with two small children in the back. 
Most ancient machines have, during their lives, been through the many hands of carers, bodgers, tinkerers and modifiers. All of these seem to have played a part in the life of this particular Mochet. Interestingly, the modifier had decided that pedal power and the three factory fitted gears were insufficient and had decided to add a little 50cc two stroke engine with clutch. This must have enabled the driver and passengers to travel at least to the next village without having to call for an ambulance because of exhaustion; thus turning it into a true ‘Cyclecar’.  
Ever keen to have a go and wanting to ascertain what was wrong with the car, a quick road test was needed. Under pedal power, I discovered that only two out of the three gears worked, but at least the brakes did offer some degree of retardation. Five levers are mounted on the steering wheel; two brake levers, one for each of the rear brakes, a hand throttle lever, a clutch lever and a decompressor lever. There is also a gear lever under the driver’s seat, giving the driver far too much to think about, on top of having to steer and pedal at the same time.
Now, what about the engine? Would it run? The tank was fuelled, the carburettor primed and tickled. In anticipation, we pushed the Mochet out on the road for a second (powered) test drive. While holding in the clutch and decompressor lever, I pedalled like fury to get up to a speed at which I thought the engine might start. I released both levers and a faint splutter from the engine behind me, brought a gleeful smile to my face! Sadly, it was short lived and quickly turned to disappointment as the engine died. I gathered my breath, re-tickled the carb, opened the choke, re-adjusted the throttle lever and had another go. This time, the little Mochet fired into life and I looked behind me to see the owner’s smile through the trail of blue smoke. Pulling well, the whole car rattled along the road at what felt like 50 miles an hour, which I suspect was more like 10. Before I knew it, I had to turn-around and attempt the return run back to the workshop. I ran through the same starting process and away she went again, this time at what must have been at least 12 miles an hour!  
Later, over lunch in the local pub, a plan was hatched. I had a rough idea of what needed to be done; it was pretty apparent that it required taking apart, the rolling chassis and engine overhauling, repairs made to the bodywork, and re-assembling in a sympathetic way. The deadline was the French Festival of Slowth in late June. 
After removing the body, I discovered why I could only find two of the three gears: in order to make the engine fit, the modifier had removed the 3rd gear chain, as it was in the way of the engine drive. One of the engine mounting tubes was also fractured and fell onto two pieces when I removed the engine from the chassis. I subsequently had to sleeve, pin and braze the tube before the engine could be fitted back into the chassis.
All the bearings in the hubs, crank assemblies and counter shafts were dry of any lubrication and were also ill-adjusted. These were all dismantled, cleaned, greased, and adjusted; resulting in a free running rolling chassis. The engine, carburettor, and clutch were also dismantled, cleaned, and re-assembled. Missing spokes on the rear wheels were replaced and all the wheels made as true as could be achieved. Brakes were cleaned, new cables run to all the levers and the bodywork was braced, repaired, and refitted. 
The Mochet Velocar has a very simple tubular chassis incorporating the front and rear axles, these are bolted to the chassis via nice ornate bronze castings. The gearing offers a nod of the hat to GN with a similar sliding dog system, which makes you wonder if the designs of Ron Godfrey and Archie Frazer Nash had an influence on Mochet as it does resemble a GN or Frazer Nash in miniature.  
With the Mochet fit to go again, it participated at the French Festival of Slowth in June 2016. It is currently waiting for the arrival of Spring in a secret location, ready to give its next passengers a blistering 12 mile an hour experience! It may not be quick, but that really isn’t the point. Being slow, underpowered and amusing to drive is what makes cyclecars, and vehicles like this so endearing to own and drive in today’s modern fast world. 
Text by Tim Gunn – Photographs by Robin Batchelor
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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