1914 Woods Mobilette
In the early years of the 20th century, automobiles were predominantly large, luxurious vehicles built and equipped for wealthy, adventurous early-adopters. A few imaginative souls, however, conceived of the automobile as mobility for the masses. The best known is Henry Ford, but he was challenged for a few years by inventors like Francis A. Woods who appreciated mobility in a more urban setting where roads were better and size was subordinated to efficiency. Woods’ Mobilette was one of the more imaginative creations. Powered by a diminutive 4-cylinder inline engine rated 12 horsepower with advanced features like a 2-speed transaxle, the Woods Mobilette was built in series from 1913 until 1916. In addition to its advanced drive train, the Woods Mobilette featured a narrow track, modest ground clearance and compact two-seat bodywork, ideal for a couple in congested urban environments. Woods at one time claimed monthly production of 1,000 vehicles, but survival rates fail to substantiate the claim.