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Modeleh

Another old photo with some Brass cars

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I’m not great at decoding the Manufacture and model year of cars of this era, but I enjoy reading the responses from the experts here.

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Posted (edited)

Definitely Canadian, possibly one of the coast to coast runs. 1910 - 1912  era . One of the Findlay brothers probably know more details. Quamichan Hotel is on Vancouver island in Duncan B.C.

 

Greg in Canada

 

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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You're right Greg.  The car on the right is the 1912 REO driven across Canada by Jack Haney, carrying Thomas Wilby as passenger.  Haney is behind the wheel and Wilby is in the rear seat in this picture.  The picture was probably taken around October 17, 1912, on the final leg of their 5000 mile tour.

 

The Canadian "Good Roads" movement was very strong in the west, with some of the strongest lobbying coming from the Vancouver Island group.  They were very present when Haney and Wilby arrived on the island that day so the front car is likely an escort car provided by the Victoria Auto Club.  Somewhere in the picture is probably A.E. Todd, vice-president of the Canadian Highways Association and the donor of the Todd medal, to be awarded to the first person(s) to successfully drive across Canada.  The medal wasn't won until 1949.

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I wonder where that Cadillac ended up.  A reasonably rare and very appealing body style.

 

Greg

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PFindlay do you think there’s any possibility that the REO is the same one that Dave Proctor has?  Next time I see him I’ll have to ask him the history of his REO.  I just love the brass front axle and Canadian headlamps on his car.

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Dave Proctor's Reo is a 10 not a 12. Definitely not the same car. Dave's car was found and restored by Buck Rogers probably back in the late 60's-early 70's. When Dave got it he gave it a much better restoration.

Ken

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Thanks Ken.  I find the history of the cars as interesting as the cars themselves.

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I believe the car in the picture was shipped by rail back to the factory in St Catherines, Ont, after its cross-country drive.  It was put into regular use for a time and then met the same fate as a lot of the other cars of the day, I guess.  I think it was pretty beat up after 5000 miles on mostly non-existent roads.  

Peter

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12 hours ago, PFindlay said:

 

 

The Canadian "Good Roads" movement was very strong in the west

 

Then why did it take them so long to pave that 200 mile section of the Al-Can Highway in the Yukon? In 1988 I drove from San Diego to Fairbanks, Alaska and back and the gravel there was extremely dusty and the road had what felt like speed bumps every couple of feet. I got stuck behind a motor home going 30 mph and finally decided to pass him even though I couldn't see 10 feet in front of me. When I finally got back to San Diego I had to sell the '85 Merkur XR4Ti I was driving because the front end was shot, the paint had hundreds of gravel chips in it and the windshield was cracked among other things. Has that part of the Al-Can finally been paved? I hope so...

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4 hours ago, Lebowski said:

 

Then why did it take them so long to pave that 200 mile section of the Al-Can Highway in the Yukon? In 1988 I drove from San Diego to Fairbanks, Alaska and back and the gravel there was extremely dusty and the road had what felt like speed bumps every couple of feet. I got stuck behind a motor home going 30 mph and finally decided to pass him even though I couldn't see 10 feet in front of me. When I finally got back to San Diego I had to sell the '85 Merkur XR4Ti I was driving because the front end was shot, the paint had hundreds of gravel chips in it and the windshield was cracked among other things. Has that part of the Al-Can finally been paved? I hope so...

I believe it was fully paved by 1992; the 50th Anniversary of it.

 

Craig

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Posted (edited)

I heard that a Reo in BC traced the exact same route the original Reo took by following the mechanics Haney diary describing the trip . There is a book describing the trip where they stopped in Fort McLeod and met up with some fellow Reo owners . Joe Auschak

Here is a short article .

 

Thomas Wilby knew exactly what he was doing 100 years ago when he proposed the first coast-to-coast road trip across Canada. The previous year, the British journalist had driven from New York to San Diego and back, and knew there was money and glory to be found in writing and lecturing about the experience. So in 1912, he approached the REO auto company of St. Catharines, Ont., with a similar request: give him a car and a driver and he would travel from Halifax to Vancouver within Canada to promote four-wheeled travel and—he hoped—the reliability of the REO. As well as providing a new car and paying all the bills, the company also supplied him with its head mechanic, a capable young American, Jack Haney, to be the driver.

Therein lay the problem. Wilby was a 45-year-old snob who had little time for Americans who would not defer to him. Haney, 23, thought he’d be assisting a fellow gearhead; that illusion vapourized when the two first met in Halifax, and Wilby insisted on being called “sir.”

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)

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3 hours ago, Mark Gregory said:

I heard that the Reo ended up in BC and was sold last year to someone ?  I will confirm this rumour soon .

Here is a short article .

 

Thomas Wilby knew exactly what he was doing 100 years ago when he proposed the first coast-to-coast road trip across Canada. The previous year, the British journalist had driven from New York to San Diego and back, and knew there was money and glory to be found in writing and lecturing about the experience. So in 1912, he approached the REO auto company of St. Catharines, Ont., with a similar request:

 

Therein lay the problem. Wilby was a 45-year-old snob who had little time for Americans who would not defer to him.

A little late now, but he should have asked Tommy Alexander at Russell Motor Car Company in Toronto for a brand new Russell to drive across Canada with...

 

Craig

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11 hours ago, Lebowski said:

 

Then why did it take them so long to pave that 200 mile section of the Al-Can Highway in the Yukon? In 1988 I drove from San Diego to Fairbanks, Alaska and back and the gravel there was extremely dusty and the road had what felt like speed bumps every couple of feet. I got stuck behind a motor home going 30 mph and finally decided to pass him even though I couldn't see 10 feet in front of me. When I finally got back to San Diego I had to sell the '85 Merkur XR4Ti I was driving because the front end was shot, the paint had hundreds of gravel chips in it and the windshield was cracked among other things. Has that part of the Al-Can finally been paved? I hope so...

 

The Alaska highway was built by the American military during WW2.  According to Wikipedia:  " The Alaska Highway was built for military purposes and its route was not ideal for postwar development of northern Canada."

 

I guess there wasn't much demand to pave it until much, much later.

 

Peter

 

 

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3 hours ago, 8E45E said:

A little late now, but he should have asked Tommy Alexander at Russell Motor Car Company in Toronto for a brand new Russell to drive across Canada with...

 

Craig

Getting off topic here ...

 

Maybe, Craig.  It would seem like a logical choice.  But when the B.C. Express Company (Barnard Express or BX) was looking for cars to replace their stage coaches in the Cariboo region of B.C.  They sent a rep to the Russell agency in Vancouver.  The agency had previously contacted BX to initiate the discussion.  When the BX rep viewed the car he was told he couldn't test drive it because it was raining that day!  Not exactly the way to sell your cars as built for rugged B.C. use.

 

The rest of the story?  The BX rep went to Seattle and visited the Winton dealer.  They ended up buying a fleet of Wintons which became an early part of B.C.'s auto history.  (Picture below from BC Archives)

 

I own both a Russell-Knight and a 1912 REO.  If I had to choose between the two for a cross-country trip I'd have to give real serious consideration to the REO.  We did it once already and it's hard to imagine a more reliable car.

BX Express.jpg

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Another interesting B.C. photo. Where do you think all those Winton's ended up?  Still out there pushed into a deep gulley somewhere ? We can all have our dreams. Although I imagine Buck Rogers would have found them years ago if they were still out there in the 1960's or 70's.

 

Greg

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10 hours ago, PFindlay said:

But when the B.C. Express Company (Barnard Express or BX) was looking for cars to replace their stage coaches in the Cariboo region of B.C.  They sent a rep to the Russell agency in Vancouver.  The agency had previously contacted BX to initiate the discussion.  When the BX rep viewed the car he was told he couldn't test drive it because it was raining that day!  Not exactly the way to sell your cars as built for rugged B.C. use.

 

I own both a Russell-Knight and a 1912 REO.  If I had to choose between the two for a cross-country trip I'd have to give real serious consideration to the REO.  We did it once already and it's hard to imagine a more reliable car.

 

A rather ill-fated decision on his part.  If a regional rep refused a test drive on similar grounds today, he'd be out looking for work!

 

I understand why the Reo would be more reliable, given your Russell has the Knight engine.   The sleeve-valve never got up to the build quality and reliability record of a conventional poppet-valve engine, and I still feel Russell's decision to acquire a licence and build the Knight engine was a bad move on their part.   They would have been further ahead with continued development on their standard engine, although John North W. was waiting at Tommy's door, cash in hand to buy the automotive division just so he could market his Willys Knight in Canada. 

 

Craig

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