In 1897, a Scottish bicycle manufacturer living in Cleveland, Alexander Winton, set up a car-manufacturing company, the Winton Motor Carriage Company. The 1897 Winton featured leather seats, rubber tires (made by the fledgling BF Goodrich Company), and a 10-horsepower engine capable of 33 mph. As a publicity stunt, Winton hired a driver to take the car from Cleveland to New York, a distance of 800 miles. By 1899, Winton was the largest automobile manufacturer in the US, and opened the first automobile dealership in the country located in Reading, Pennsylvania. One of Winton’s customers was James Ward Packard who didn’t like his Winton car, complained to the company and was told by Winton to do it better – Packard went on to form the Packard Automobile Company. Winton also had an ambitious young engineer from Detroit apply for a job in his factory, but turned him down, Henry Ford decided to start his own car company instead. Winton continued to successfully market automobiles to upscale consumers throughout the 1910s, but sales began to fall in the early 1920s. This was due to the very conservative nature of the company, both in terms of technical development and styling. Only one sporting model was offered – the Sport Touring, with the majority of Winton’s featuring tourer, sedan, limousine, and town car styling. The Winton Motor Carriage Company ceased automobile production on February 11, 1924. However, Winton continued in the marine and stationary gasoline and diesel engine business, an industry he entered in 1912 with the Winton Engine Company, and became a supplier of locomotive engines, which the successor company, Electro-Motive Diesel, is still in business today.
This car was acquired in 1989 by Earl Snodgrass of Arizona as a wonderful original early chassis that had been stored for decades, with the remains of its original body, as well as a very accurate replica body that had been started on, but had never been installed. Snodgrass completed the new body, installed it on the chassis, mounted the original fenders, and sorted out the mechanicals, getting this century old motor car back on the road where it belongs. During the restoration, the Veeder odometer was removed form the rear axle, and it registered just 300 miles!
One of only a handful of surviving early Wintons, this is an important example of the dawn of motoring in America.