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About Joris

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  1. Dear R.W. Burgess, More on the Duryea is now to be seen at the new site . You can contact the owner there also, I am sure he will grant you the use of photos. You may mention my name. regards Joris Bergsma
  2. The Duryea started at $ 200,000 without evoking a next bid. Here is the car: And here is Christie's lot description: The oldest known surviving fully manufactured pre-production Duryea 1894 DURYEA Not numbered Faded green painted woodwork with beige seat cushion and back Engine: twin cylinder, four pistons, horizontally opposed, free-head; Gearbox: bevel gear transmission with two speeds forward and reverse; chain drive to differential on rear axle; Suspension: front by fully elliptic transverse leaf spring, rear by fully elliptic leaf springs; Brake: contracting brake on differential. Central Ackerman-type steering. Without doubt the Duryea Brothers, J. Frank Duryea and Charles E. Duryea, are considered to be the founders of the American automobile industry. Their first automobile was created in 1893 utilizing a Smiths carriage with a Duryea engine mounted on the rear axle and this is now on display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. On Thanksgiving Day in November 1895 a Duryea, built by the Duryea Motor Wagon Company (incorporated in 1895), 'won' the first officially recognized American motor race which was organized by the Times-Herald newspaper in Chicago. The Duryea brothers established the first automobile factory in the US in 1896 in Springfield, Massachusetts. In the same year the very first London to Brighton run to commemorate Emancipation Day was held in November and was won by a Duryea pitted against Europe's elite. This Duryea has recently been unearthed and authenticated by a number of leading automotive historians and authorities to be an 1894 model which must be one of the five known prototypes built by the Duryeas. Unlike the car in the Smithsonian, this Duryea appears to have been built from scratch as a gasoline-powered motor vehicle and a large body of evidence indicates this was in fact predominantly the work of James Frank Duryea. This car, considered now to be Duryea's oldest known surviving fully manufactured pre-production vehicle remains untainted by the ravages of time. The recent discovery of this historically significant American automobile might even reshape our conception of the evolution of automobile production and innovation. Duryea changed the way cars would be made by incorporating on this vehicle such revolutionary inventions as a differential rear end, disengaging hand crank, three-speed bevel gear transmission and many more. This car is a time capsule in its wonderful state of preservation. From what appears to be the original paintwork, to the pencil drawing by Duryea himself of the patented differential drawn on the underside of the floorboard, this vehicle encapsulates the essence of American ingenuity at the inception of automotive technology. This unaltered prototype must also be one of the five known Duryeas to have been built prior to the first thirteen 1896 production cars (see A Popular History of American Invention, Volume 1, page 153). In this vehicle one can see the progression of their innovation from the 1893 vehicle, which lacked many of the sophistications of this automobile. In addition, this car also outlines the continuing modifications being made to the Duryea concept, as evidenced by the pencil sketches made on the underside of the floorboard. The sketches were discovered when the current owner noticed a few pencil marks partially concealed by the horizontally mounted radiator. Upon closer examination, the word "flywheel" was found. That the vehicle had never been disassembled or altered was verified by Leroy D. Cole, President of the Automotive Historians Society, Robert Casey, Curator of the Henry Ford Museum, David White, archivist of the Kettering's Institute, and Randy Mason, past curator of Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI. After confirming this, the current owner made the decision to remove the floorboard. The procedure was documented and videotaped, and executed in the presence of several witnesses including Leroy Cole, Vernon Gleasman, Donald C. Lacy, a certified forensic document examiner, and several others. Upon close examination, and with substantial scientific certainty, three words and the oldest known drawing of an automotive differential were discovered and confirmed to be in the handwriting of James Frank Duryea. The innovations don't stop with the differential. Upon examination of the running gear, it is readily apparent that the engineering capabilities of the Duryeas were extraordinary. The engine is a work of art. The copper water-jacket was fabricated from heavy sheet, with flush rivets counter-sunk and almost touching each other, fitted around open cylinders in a fashion that would not leak. The engine has twin horizontal cylinders of three inch bore approximately two feet long (headless) with a piston at the end of each cylinder (four pistons). The pistons move toward each other, compressing a large volume of air/fuel mixture. Ignition takes place between the pistons in one cylinder, while the adjoining cylinder is exhausting its charge. The crankshaft rides under the cylinder and perpendicular to the axis of the cylinders and works the pistons by a type of bell crank system. This does not allow for splash or pressure oiling; instead, hollow connecting rods with an oil screw, as in the first Duryea engine, were utilized. Oil cups for the cylinders needed to be filled before each outing. The unseen beauty of this system is that, by the pistons going toward each other, there is no overriding moment of inertia that ultimately shook other cars apart. This was a very advanced concept. The bronze bevel gear transmission would be a challenge to describe, more complex and fascinating than the engine itself. There are two forward speeds and one reverse. It has internal clutches which are lever actuated. It is known from correspondence that Frank Duryea considered the belt drive transmission used in the production models, which, after all, had to be built to a price, a step backwards from the bevel gear transmission utilized in this vehicle. The transmission shaft has a chain drive to the rear sprocket which would seem common except that while it appears to be one live straight axle, it is actually two axles within a tube. The sprocket is a mystery because we cannot see how it allows the wheels to differentiate, but by lifting the rear of the vehicle and turning one wheel, the other wheel will rotate in the opposite direction. One has only to slide beneath this vehicle to come under its spell. How did this horseless carriage survive all these years unchanged? It was purchased in 1937 and kept until very recently by a man of vision and a sense of history, a unique individual named Vernon Gleasman. No one at that time saw profit or prestige in owning an old car and it was not purchased for those reasons, but for the inventiveness that this vehicle displayed. The rear differential in this vehicle is a Duryea patent that is still in common use today, as is the axle within a tubular housing. Ironically, Mr. Gleasman is the inventor of the Torsen (torque sensing) mechanical limited slip differential used in millions of cars today. He is also the holder of some 200 other patents. Mr. Gleasman proved to be a worthy owner and a wise steward of this one of a kind treasure. To sum up, we can quote the late Richard P. Scharchburg in his book Carriages Without Horses - J. Frank Duryea and the Birth of the American Automobile Industry: And from the aspect of ordinary lifestyles, that pioneer Duryea automobile activity at Springfield over 100 years ago ushered in the modern, motorized age characterized by a civilization of such rapid and easy movement that nearly all the material aspects of existence have since undergone decided change. History is always the result of multiple causes, instead of any single cause. Yet of all the myriad influences which have made our civilization what it is today, the automobile - for everyday use by everybody - is surely the most dynamic, compelling force on any list of artifacts that have altered our way of life. The automobile took up where the canals, the railroad, and the steamship left off, and has carried steel, machines, and motors into new fields and higher standards. This is, in our opinion, a hugely important cornerstone, an early American automobile discovery that fills the gap between the 1893 Smithsonian Duryea and the 1896 production model produced by the Duryeas and ensconced in the Henry Ford Museum. For more you can email me at : regards Jors
  3. At the bottom of this page you find earlier writings a photo and the link to Christie's: PreWarCar Previous Features
  4. Without any doubt the most important carfind of 2002 is one of the five prototype Duryea's (the only surviving of this series) that emerged at last Pebble Beach. Chances are that this car will leave the US for a foreign buyer. Is that OK to you? See for full info today's feature at Enjoy your weekend, Joris
  5. Dear jon,<P>Thank you for your explanation and it gives some clarity. Only problem is that I have two French experts (including one who knows the history of the car) that say the opposite, that it is a C 15... Please provide me with contact information of the co-coordinator Glenn Mounger as you suggest. Below the report I received form Reg Winstone on this car:<P>kind regards Joris <P>" C25 ETS looks like the model name; this must be a typographical error in the Pebble Beach programme. 'Ets.' is short for 'Etablissements' of course, and part of the name of the company, not the car. Its identity as a 13CV C15 was confirmed by Voisin expert Robert Corniere in 1970 after its first restoration (in metallic grey with black stripe) by the then owner, A. Corre. The car is a one-off built in 1933/4 by the Voisin concessionaire in Levallois, Ets. Saliot for Voisin enthusiast M.Delecluse, and it participated in concours d'élégance at Bagatelle and the Bois de Boulogne when new. How Gabriel must have disapproved!" <P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>
  6. I completely understand what you mean to say. So far, so good for the programme. But did the JURY correct this in their report or at the prizegiving? Otherwise they gave the most famous car award of this planet to a car from which they didn't know what it was... and made a laugh of themselves.<P>Joris
  7. Thank you Bill for that. Very strange that the organisation of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance ( not the smallest event in this world) is lacking precision in writing down what cars they have on show. <P>thanks a lot Joris
  8. Who is in the possesion of this years Pebble Beach programme? Best of show was won by a 1934 Voisin. The type is not clear at the moment... It can't be sop that the PB-jury was mistaken in the car they saw...? See: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><P>thanks Joris
  9. This 1952 Austin Sheerline (A-125)with six window convertible coachwork by Pennock (The Hague, Holland) was specially built for the Queeen of the Netherlands, Juliana. The car was sold later to a Dutch salesman -William Oxener- in Lake City, Pennsylvania. He again sold the car to a tobacco company that made use of the car for public relations purpose. The car almost got scrapped according to a letter of a former mayor of Lake City. Later it was sold by a Paul Rutherford from West Hartford, Connecticut. Last rumour is that the car now resides in a private collection in Michigan. Automotive historian Frans Vrijaldenhoven, specialising in cars of the Dutch royalty, would like to hear any information concerning this car. Please send to Many thanks, Joris Bergsma
  10. Sorry the photo was missing: <P>
  11. Last weekend I posted this Stutz at my page <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>. Although I received several very good suggestions we are still not 100 % sure about type and coachbuilder. Who can help?<P>thanks Joris
  12. Lovely, deep burgundy roadgoing car. See:<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><P>regards Joris
  13. see: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><P>have a great day!<P>Joris
  14. You probably know of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, eligible only for cars up to 1904. This has been changed into 1906 recently. Causing a lot of turmoil in the Empire of Tradition ( the UK ;-). There will be an alternative protest Run for the really, really old cars. See for more: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank> </A> What's your opinion on this? regards, Joris
  15. Not the same car but of the same year as the Peking to Paris winning Itala.<BR>See <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><P>have a nice day!<P>Joris Bergsma