1907 Thomas Flyer

In February 1908, the New York Times and the Parisian newspaper Le Matin teamed up to sponsor a race from New York’s Time Square to Paris, by way of San Francisco, Vladivostok, and Moscow. Six cars from 4 nations entered: a German Protos, a Züst from Italy, and three French cars. The lone American entry was a 1907 Model 36 Thomas Flyer, piloted by racing driver Montague Roberts and mechanic George Schuster. With 6 fuel tanks holding 176 gallons of gasoline, and the car’s custom built 60-hp, 4-cyl engine, the Thomas was ready. Consistently the leader across the United States, the Thomas reached San Francisco on March 24th. Only the Züst, the Protos, and the Thomas made it past Vladivostok. The Züst expired in Siberia, leaving the Protos and Thomas to duke it out across Asia and Europe in a dead heat. The Protos reached Paris four days before the Thomas, but it was found they had used rail shipment for part of the journey and were penalized 30 days. The Thomas, with Schuster at the wheel, made a triumphant entry to Paris on July 30th resulting in great prestige for the American auto industry and for Thomas in particular. Thus, the Thomas Flyer signifies the coming of age of the early American automobile industry.

This car shares the same great heritage and bloodline as the famed around-the-world Thomas. The Thomas Flyer was one of the most powerful, elegant cars of the first decade of American Auto manufacturing.

There are only 3 authentic 1907 Thomas Flyers remaining.

1906 Pierce-Racine Model D

The Pierce-Racine Company was established in 1904 in Racine, WI. It was founded by Andrew J. Pierce who was a former engine superintendent at the Racine Hardware Company, which built engines for various farming and industrial use. In1909, sales were on the rise and Pierce reorganized the company with financial backing from area business men who were also prominent stockholders in the Case Threshing Machine Company, and changed the name to Pierce Motor Company. Sales of the Pierce began to dwindle and by 1911, the Pierce Motor Co. was purchased by the Case Company who would incorporate Pierce’s assets into a new car company using the name Case. This 1907 Model D is believed to be the sole remaining Pierce-Racine vehicle. In the early 1930s it was owned by the Pacific Automobile Rental Company in Los Angeles, CA who rented vehicles to the motion picture industry.

The vehicle was likely used in numerous films until the company went out of business in the 1980s and auctioned off its collection.

1904 Cyklon Cyklonette Trike

This intriguing Cyklonette trike was built by the Cyklon Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Berlin, who manufactured French motorcycles under license. Cyklon introduced the first of their three-wheelers at the Leipzig Motor Show in 1902. Their experience with motorcycles is evident in the unique layout of the Cyklonette – with the engine mounted over the front wheel, driving it with a chain and controlled with a tiller with hand controls. The body is constructed of distinctive perforated metal coachwork with inlaid wickerwork detailing. A certain amount of manual dexterity is required to operate the Cyklon, as throttle, mixture and ignition controls are all mounted to the tiller steering, but once on the go it is easily mastered. The gearing is by a simple Crypto gear on low speed and fixed drive on high speed. It can be driven from either the left or right seat, a rather handy feature as driving duties can be handed off without stopping! Suspension is by simple cart springs and provides a reasonably comfortable ride on pneumatic tires mounted to wire wheels. The quirky little Cyklon actually remained in production until 1922, which makes quite a statement to the integrity of the original concept.

1800s HD Abel Ice Wagon

The Ice Wagon, recalling the lost art of cutting and delivering refrigeration from door to door, is a wonderful symbol of a bygone era. From the late 19th century to mid-20th century, in cities and towns icemen would commonly make daily rounds delivering ice for iceboxes before the electric domestic refrigerator became commonplace. Ice was harvested from ponds and lakes, stored in ice houses and transported to cities.

This Ice Wagon is believed to hail from the 1800s. Approximately a decade ago, the wooden bodywork was refinished in its present eye-catching livery and features correct striping, lettering, and detailing throughout, as well as a proper hanging basket at the rear.

1860 Stagecoach

Two wheelwrights named J. S. Abbot and Lewis Downing perfected the first Concord Stagecoach in 1826. Their New Hampshire wagon factory became the place where Abbot and Downing would manufacture their Concord Stagecoaches along with over 40 other types of wagons and carriages. Mark Twain once stated, “The Concord Stagecoach was like a cradle on wheels.”  The Abbot Downing Company employed thorough braces and a suspension system made of 3 inch leather straps under the coach which gave the ride a swinging motion instead of the jolting up and down of spring suspension. As for the outward appearance the undercarriage was typically painted bright yellow with the coach color being the purchaser’s choice. The typical exterior colors used were scarlet red or green. The window in the door was glazed while the side windows were not. Canvas or leather curtains hung above each window and could be rolled down during bad weather. They had plush interiors that usually consisted of three upholstered bench seats that allowed up to twelve passengers to ride inside. There were also times when it was possible for passengers to ride on top of the coach as well. Between the years of 1827 through 1899 the companies of Abbot and Downing and Sons produced over three thousand Concord Stagecoaches.

Over generations, the Abbot Downing name became known worldwide for ingenuity and long-lasting quality. Wells Fargo commissioned Abbot and Downing to design what would become one of the finest triumphs of the nineteenth century, the Concord stagecoach, and it’s a symbol Wells Fargo still uses to date.

This example, serial number 130, was one of two stagecoaches ordered by Pattison and Ward, of Kalamazoo, Michigan. They were to be finished in red with russet leather upholstery, a damask top and fringe, and loose leather curtains lined in damask, and they were lettered “Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids – Pattison and Ward” along the top roof rail. Extra dusters and carriers for bags were supplied, along with a step pad for the body and a leather driver’s apron.

This is an extremely larger-size coach than others, and it has rooftop seating. It is outfitted with its original lamps, pole, and leader bars, as well as its original strongbox inside. The average coach traveled 5 mph and would run about 60-70 miles a day.  This would mean about a full 10-hour day trip to get to Grand Rapids from Kalamazoo.

Today it would take less than an hour.

1967 Pontiac GTO Convertible

The name GTO is an abbreviation which General Motors borrowed from Ferrari and some other Italian sports car companies of the period. The literal translation of GTO is Gran Turismo Omologatto indicating that a car wearing this label is perfectly suited for high speed and long distance touring events. The GTO was conceived by General Motors by installing its largest engine in a mid-size car which was the Tempest. This 1967 Pontiac GTO is powered by the 400 cubic inch, V-8 engine. It features an automatic transmission and a rare, factory installed air conditioner. It was sold new in Memphis, Tennessee.

1964 Corvair Monza Spyder Convertible

Chevrolet’s answer to help combat an influx of foreign compact import vehicles was the development of an entirely new line of compact vehicles. The Corvair was introduced in 1960 and was offered in 2-door Coupe and 4-door Sedan versions. Unique in styling and engineering, the compact Corvair was 180 inches in overall length and sat on a 108 inch wheelbase. It featured a newly developed engine concept: air-cooled, aluminum castings, 6-cylinders in a horizontally opposed design, fitted with dual down draft carburetors. Standard engine is rated at 80 hp. In 1962, the Corvair Spyder option was introduced and featured a Corvette inspired rear suspension system, a turbo-charge engine rated at 150 hp. coupled with a 4-speed manual transmission.

1964 Amphicar 770 Convertible

The Amphicar was built in Germany from 1961 to 1968. It was the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass produced with total production at 3,878 vehicles. The Amphicar is rear engined and uses a 4-cylinder British-built Triumph Herald motor producing 43 hp. The Amphicar has a top speed of 7mph on water and 70mph on land. Hence, it was dubbed the “Model 770”. It is moved in the water by its twin nylon propellers. A special two-part land-and-water transmission built by Hermes allows the wheels and propellers to be operated either independently or simultaneously. In the water, the front wheels act as rudders.

1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Converitible with Retractable Hard-top

A retractable folding steel hardtop is an exclusive feature of the Ford Skyliner Convertible. When in operation it was quite a sight to watch. A very complex but dependable electro/mechanical system did the raising or lowering of the top on command. First the rear decklid lifted. Then as the top began to rise, the front section folded under and the whole unit then lowered into the rear trunk area for storage. The rear decklid then lowered to complete the operation. With the top stored trunk space was very limited. The 1958 Ford Regular models sported a new styled look which featured Dual Quad Headlamps with a mouthy grille/ bumper assembly. In the rear, oval taillights sat in a neatly sculptured deck lid. The Retrac model was the most expensive vehicle in the Ford Line-up carrying a base mode price of $3163 more than $500 plus over a Sunliner ragtop convertible model. Ford Skyliner models were introduced in 1957 and dropped after the 1959 model year.

1957 Chevy Bel Air Series 2400C

Chevrolet saw record car sales in their 3 year run of 55, 56, and 57 with the most popular year being 1957. Three distinctly different models were offered this year: the One Fifty Series 1500, the Two Ten Series 2100 and the top of the line Bel Air Series 2400C. Some minor stylistic changes would be created and a wide variety of models and options would become available. These changes included a new oval shaped front bumper/grille combination with torpedo style bumper guards. This new front end was highlighted with the famous Chevrolet bowtie being placed in the center of the grille with a horizontal bar. The hood would have parallel bulges with bullet shaped ornaments. New side moldings were introduced in 1957 and were distinctly different with each series in 1957 – being more elaborate on the Bel Air than the One Fifty. One of the notable new features for the 1957 models was the rear fenders which were reshaped to incorporate broad, flat tailfins.