Dandy Dave

Henry Fords Cycle Car.

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Just finished reading a book about Walter Marr who was an early engineer for Buick. In the book it was mentioned that he was also a friend of Henry Ford and knew Ford from his early days in Detroit while building his first auto. Around 1914 the cycle car craze was in motion and in the book it was mentioned that Henry Ford built a one off cyclecar that was a scaled down version of the Model T Ford just to thwart off potential builders and parked it around town where folks would see it. One place it was parked was in front of the Pontchartrain Motel.  I found several photos on line but wondered if anyone could shed more light on it as it sounds rather interesting. Would like to see more photos of under the hood and details about it. Thanks, Dandy Dave! 

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)

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Unless they sold it in one of there cleanouts the Ford Cycle car is in the Henry Ford museum, I first saw it in 1968. Bob 

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Henry was famous for pulling stunts like this.........just like the “New Ford Company” that was going to make a car and tractor......after he bought out all the stockholders....who he called parasites.......there was no need for a new company. Fordson built the tractor, under the old company. “Crazy Henry” was nuts..........but not stupid.

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The previous photo shows Ford's original car. I think the poster was interested in his 1914 cyclecar (see below). It had a gasoline engine.

 

cycle car

Edited by MochetVelo (see edit history)
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Nice pictures of HF’s Quadricycle. I don’t think this is what the OP had in mind. There was what is known as the “cyclecar craze” from 1910 to 1916. They were typically downsized light weight cars with 2 cylinder air cooled motorcycle type engines. However, some were liquid cooled 4 cyl. engines. 

 

Thanks MochetVelo, that was the picture I was looking for.

 

As per Dandy Dave, would be interesting to know more about Ford’s cyclecar mechanical details.

Edited by AzBob (see edit history)

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Yes AzBob. the little known Cycle car of 1914. The Quadricycle of 1896 has a lot more written about it and is better known. I read somewhere online that the 1914 cycle car is now in a privet collection. Why the Henry Ford would have ever sold it is beyond me unless it went to a Ford family member. Dandy Dave! 

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I guess they couldn't keep everything, or the people running the place at the time thought so. They sold Edsel's Bugatti GP car, some of the X engines nd Lord only knows what else. Bob 

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Yeah, And then they spend I don't know how many million for Peter Helck's  old number 16 Locomobile. That was a local car in this area for many years as Peter Helck lived in Boston Corners NY which is just south of where I grew up. Dandy Dave!  

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Yes. He was a Friend and often tuned up Peter Helck's Locomobile and Mercer. The GJG sat in Tony's garage for years. It had a 4 cylinder Wisconsin engine with the jugs cast in pairs as I recall. Peter drew up plans for a body that hung by Tony's desk for years but Tony never got around to building a body on the chassis. 

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11 minutes ago, Dandy Dave said:

Yes. He was a Friend and often tuned up Peter Helck's Locomobile and Mercer. The GJG sat in Tony's garage for years. It had a 4 cylinder Wisconsin engine with the jugs cast in pairs as I recall. Peter drew up plans for a body that hung by Tony's desk for years but Tony never got around to building a body on the chassis. 

I stopped in every time I was in the area and always wanted to buy his Peerless chassis but never did. At least it was built into a racer later and is seen by people frequently. The GJG last I heard is in New Jersey but nothing has changed since you and I last saw it.

 

Howard DennisGJG_02_1000.thumb.jpg.290c1420d7859bc4a01210a72e9e5ac8.jpgGJG_03_1000.thumb.jpg.2fea54d418683860337776bf8e205d1b.jpg

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Thanks Dean, at least someone had the since to take photos of the GJG. I used to stop by on my to Bennington every September. One year I bought a 5 gallon bucket of spark plugs from Tony. The GJG had four large Big Boy plugs in it, funny I how I can remember obscure details like that. Bob 

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39 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

Thanks Dean, at least someone had the since to take photos of the GJG. I used to stop by on my to Bennington every September. One year I bought a 5 gallon bucket of spark plugs from Tony. The GJG had four large Big Boy plugs in it, funny I how I can remember obscure details like that. Bob 

 

Hey Bob, wish I could take credit but I pulled them off the internet from an article about the car a few years ago. I'm trying to repost it here but don't know if it will work.

Howard Dennis

 

https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/wwi/GJG_Car_NYG.pdf

 

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2010/04/08/was-the-privates-car-a-g-j-g/

 

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2010/05/19/more-photos-of-private-van-alstynes-car-surface/

Edited by hddennis (see edit history)
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Just found this page 18 in a Google books search. Tony told me years ago, probably early 1960's a 90 something gentleman came looking for the GJG and told Tony "Yep, that's my old car, see that patch, I put a rod thru that hole in 1911 at Sheepshead Bay!"  He told Tony he was the son of the GJG Company owner. Maybe this picture is how Tony's car should be restored?

 

Howard Dennis

 

956115424_GJGRacer1.JPG.ddee121236958a82e3e96512b944834a.JPG731188566_GJGRacer.JPG.59e62dbe4741c98c5556688521f8603e.JPG

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I had my hands in that Peerless. A friend and frequent customer of mine ended up with it as I took him there and showed it too him when Mama and the Laporta family was ready to sell a while after Tony's passing. He built sort of a Green Dragon out of it after I got it running. The Chassis and drive train was a 1922 and the original Green Dragon was much earlier of course. The engine was seized when it was purchased and it ended up ay my place for a while. While taking it apart it had these little beads inside of the cylinders that were full of oil. It took me a while to figure out what they were and how they got in there. Tony had a grape vine along side of the garage where the Peerless was stored and mice would carry the grapes and seeds right up the exhaust and into the cylinders that the valves were open on. The beads were grape seeds. Tony's son, Tony the 3rd remembered riding on that chassis on a milk crate all the way from Tuckahoe NY to Copake NY when they moved up here. I believe that was around the mid 1950's and at the time he said he was around 12. The Chassis sat for around 45 years in that same spot. I gave Mama Laporta a ride in it after we got it road worthy. She was absolutely thrilled and said it was just the way Tony would have liked to see it. Dandy Dave!    

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The GJG body is very similar to the drawings that hung on Tony's office wall for years. Peter Helck may have had a photo to work from as some of his paintings were based on photos from the early days of racing. 

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hddennis. Thanks, The links do work. I'm 100%  positive that is the same GJG. If memory serves me correctly I believe that Tony told me he acquired that car from the Kinderhook NY area. Dandy Dave! 

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On 12/7/2019 at 8:48 AM, 1937hd45 said:

I guess they couldn't keep everything, or the people running the place at the time thought so. They sold Edsel's Bugatti GP car, some of the X engines nd Lord only knows what else. Bob 

 

There are a lot of folks upset about the path the HF museum has chosen. First, they moved the public school classrooms in there, I was there once during the day, the museum looked like a daycare center, there were kids toys out in the aisles, kids running up and down and yelling. Weird. Not to mention the many artifacts that were removed to make room for the classrooms. At one time, they had the progression of steam power from the earliest to the last, that's all gone, what is left is a hodgepodge of a few very early engines. We joked, the only reason the really old and heavy ones still exist is because they haven't figured out how to move them out. To the present curators it seems anything before around 1970 is just old junk that needs to go. It's becoming a center for political and societal issues, covering race and gender. The last thing I want to think about when I'm visiting a museum of history. One of the retired curators is a very good friend of mine, and he agrees with this sentiment. I let my annual membership expire this year. I'll still go back for OCF, but the museum isn't worth the trip anymore.

 

-Ron

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I got a trip the Henry  Ford in 1968 as a High School graduation gift, Dad & I had a great time, think it was called the Edison Institute back then and Greenfield Village. Last time was when an AACA National meet was held there @1978, I noticed things moved or missing. Think we share a friend with the same ex curator. Bob 

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On 12/9/2019 at 12:29 PM, 1937hd45 said:

Think we share a friend with the same ex curator.

 

It's possible. John B? What a great guy he is, we met and instantly became friends, I did some machining work for the museum system as well through him.  John is an absolute pleasure to work with, knowledgeable, intelligent.

 

-Ron

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