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1920 Brewster Town Landaulet


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So this handsome car just came out of the woodwork a few weeks ago and will be in my hands shortly. I was really inspired by Ed and his work on his newly found White but also because I just think it's a neat car. Before I talk too much about it, does anyone recognize it?  Very high-end automaker/coachbuilder (which should give it away). There are 23 of this manufacturer's cars known to exist (plus many others with their coachwork), but I can't find this exact one in any of the records so it may be the 24th. Once I have it in the shop here and can start pulling numbers off it, I'll know better. It has obviously been restored at some point and remains in excellent condition overall. We'll get it running (another clue: Knight sleeve valve engine) and see what happens. It probably isn't a keeper for me but it sure is a fascinating machine. I don't have much history yet, but given the stature and rarity of these cars, someone is sure to know it or have seen it decades ago. It has been in private hands for nearly 30 years and never shown.

 

I'll have more details in the next few days once it arrives and I can put my hands on it.

 

2904.thumb.jpeg.6852edc56a7294cb22070ceee355bb76.jpeg

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Rusty beat my post by less than a minute. My plan was to not mention the name. However I will tell just a bit more about the car I saw. The car I saw was said to be a 1925, and one of the last in the line. It was surprisingly small for a towncar/limousine, probably very practical for a crowded big city. It has been long enough now that I don't know if it had a folding landau top or not.

The car was in very nice original condition. The paint was claimed to be the original, and very well may have been. The paint was very nice overall, with good color and still some shine to it. However in the corners where wood joints were the paint had cracked and checked a bit. Some paint over wood also had some minor cracking and checking. The original (?) interior showed its age a bit, however was in excellent condition, and quite elegant!

The Knight sleeve valve engine was in good order and four cylinders. I was a bit surprised to see that it had a Bosch DU4 magneto. I looked in a reference book for 1925 automobiles, and saw that the magneto was listed as correct, making it one of the latest built cars I have heard of to use one. Some large trucks continued to use the DU4 to about 1930 and even a few beyond. Tractors and industrial uses had them until almost WW2.

I was almost serious about getting that car thirty plus years ago. It was nearly unique, and very interesting . But I knew a few people that had cars with similar four cylinder Knight engines. While the cars are wonderful in many ways, the four cylinder Knight engines were not fast cars generally speaking (there were a few exceptions). Whatever I bought had to be a good tour car for my family, and I felt the " -- " wouldn't be quite up to that level. About a year later, I bought the series 80 Pierce Arrow.

Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
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I have a Brewster factory plant badge from this era that says supervisor. They are a high quality small car made for the city. While I have worked on two of them in the last forty years, I never drove one. I think they are a 35-40 mph car..........not for a guy who is over six feet tall!

 

Matt......welcome to the world of sleeve valve cars............lots of hype, little information, and lots of work! 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Early Brewsters are really neat cars. I believe they were all powered by four cylinder, Knight sleeve-valve engines. The earlier Brewster town cars had leather fenders much like carriages. They are very well built and high quality. 

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3 hours ago, RansomEli said:

In keeping with the unofficial AACA forum rules, I have to ask, "What about the car in the background?"

Chrysler Town and Country.

(and thanks for following the rules)

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Matt love the car but you have to work on your suspenseful presentation if you are going to be in the same league as Ed & Auburnseeker. They dragged out even seeing a big part of the car for at leas a couple pages of guesses!!  Lol

dave s 
 

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It is indeed a 1920 Brewster (some call them Brewster-Knight) Town Landaulette. The rear roof is collapsible--ironic that I would find a car that I like with my most hated body style. But it as kind of a "just fell in my lap" kind of situation, not a hunt. As I said, it probably isn't a keeper for me but we'll see how it operates. It isn't a barn find like Ed's White, it has been in operation and serviced regularly, so I'm hoping that it's reasonably healthy when it arrives tomorrow or Thursday.

 

The car in the background is a 1947 Chrysler Town & Country sedan that I sold a few years ago and is simply being stored in the same facility as the Brewster.

 

 

2 hours ago, wmsue said:

It must be the twin sister to this 19201956212354_1920Brewster.jpg.079c386186dcbb159220aafdb7510e6e.jpg

The 10 spokes vs 12 spokes gave it away too.  But she's sporting silver rims.

 

Bill, can you tell me about this picture? I think there's a good chance it's the same car--there are so few of them out there and blue seems to be an unusual color. I also note you're in Ohio, which is where this car has been for a very long time. Is that your photo? What's the date?


Thanks!

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This one was at the Greenwich concourse 4-5 years ago, unrestored or a very old restoration. If memory is correct the owner was the keeper of the Brewster Automobile registry, very nice guy to chat with. The car may have changed hands in the last few years. Bob 

brewster-car-bodies-3.jpg

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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Looks like the car that a big collector, known for his tires,  had for sale.  I have a list of all known models left by serial number that I can't find right now.

They were over ten grand new. Knight sleeve engine . I was told that if you're driving and it stops smoking then you're in trouble.  Was looking for s town car  for years.  Not any more. 

 

 

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10 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

This one was at the Greenwich concourse 4-5 years ago, unrestored or a very old restoration. If memory is correct the owner was the keeper of the Brewster Automobile registry, very nice guy to chat with. The car may have changed hands in the last few years. Bob 

brewster-car-bodies-3.jpg


This one was on display for quite a while at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine. A very impressive automobile!
 

(I spent quite a while staring at it’s mascot so I could make new pipes to repair one.)

 

Congratulations on your purchase Matt!

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Matt,

The photo came from the WOKR library. You can find it on this website:     http://www.wokr.org/gallery/gallery6.htm

I'm the forum adm. for WOKR and admire anything built with a Knight engine. While looking for a WK, I found a Whippet Cabriolet that I've been working on for a few years. I guess I like the orphan cars.

I'll PM you with a bit more info on the Brewster.

 

Bill

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The Eagle has landed.

 

 

 

Chassis number 856

Body number 2141

Engine number 91256

 

Three owners in 100 years. Full collapsible landaulet--the top goes down, the window frames are removable, so it's technically an open car, although I bet it looks awkward fully open. We won't be trying to fold any of that ancient leather anyway, so this is how it stays. Repainted once in the '50s, everything else is 100 years old. 11,715 original miles. Not at all fussy, very smooth, surprisingly good torque. I took a quick drive up and down the road and it drives quite well. For a cone clutch, it's not terribly grabby and with a quick double-clutch shifts are smooth and quiet (except for the first one, which I flubbed). Brakes are pretty good and it seems happy at 30-35 MPH. Not extremely smokey but obviously a little bit. I'll have more later.

 

20200923_120325a.thumb.jpg.5d1e61ca2bb879425085e99ee10dbf36.jpg  20200923_120424a.thumb.jpg.889ab35908e8b6bec64db5e1a3fec628.jpg  20200923_120649a.thumb.jpg.d73ff1af53da2e291c1588675fa4ece2.jpg

 

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20200923_120401a.thumb.jpg.6e41bf9d7d49b4091b2fa5bb87111c7e.jpg  20200923_120455a.thumb.jpg.d006afc3226dcc3dc8b7a5cdf04b0845.jpg  20200923_120518a.thumb.jpg.b80997b5d5a232004c8bf245be38bcfa.jpg

 

20200923_120524a.thumb.jpg.cee6463a10e70ad98305a0123c4261c4.jpg  20200923_120527a.thumb.jpg.33ab4fef2858f9fa5fe5f08f4b3d81aa.jpg  20200923_120551a.thumb.jpg.85b1758a7332a36b3c07418720d6ef0e.jpg

 

20200923_110842a.thumb.jpg.f6700ee31e8da00c25c02aed5146c360.jpg

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First item on the "to do" list? Get rid of that whistle on the intake manifold!

Except for the paint, condition and color, and the different magneto? It looks a lot like the one I was looking at about thirty years ago.

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4 minutes ago, wayne sheldon said:

First item on the "to do" list? Get rid of that whistle on the intake manifold!

Except for the paint, condition and color, and the different magneto? It looks a lot like the one I was looking at about thirty years ago.

 

Yeah, I'm undecided on the wolf whistle. I hate them--a lot--but it's been there for probably 70 years. Is that erasing history or just removing something that didn't belong there in the first place?

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80mph on the speedo seems very optimistic........unless you throw it out of the back door of a C5A at 25,000 feet. The build quality on the cars is fantastic. It would be great fun to run one through the Cotswolds.........pulling up to a four hundred year old pub for some warm English beer. Driving up Broadway hill to the tower for a true English countryside view...........one of my favorite places on earth. The car is strange, obscure, and unique........checks all my boxes. Three owners in 100 years...........more fun. It ranks three thumbs up from me......high praise! 👍👍👍

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16 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Remarkable!  One supposes it gave up its side-mounted spares to the WWII scrap drives.

 

I have the sidemounts. They were removed for engine access to get it running after some hibernation. We'll have them reinstalled tomorrow, I hope.

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The source I have list their 276.5 c.i. sleeve-valve four cylinder engine as their own manufacture.   Though given the small production volume, is it known if these engines were sourced from an outside engine makers or in conjunction with another Knight-engine make?

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The gray Brewster sedan was owned by Frank Wismer of Ct. he was the author of the book "An Inkling of Brewster" and had the help of Brewster family relatives for the history. Great Book. Frank was a good guy and also had a Packard sedan in the early 1930s. The gray Brewster sedan had an appearance in the TV series Boardwalk Empire about a decade ago. That series stared actor Steve Buscemi .

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" four hundred year old pub for some warm English beer." Please, English beer is served at room temperature. 35-45F.

Wonder how an '04 Stanley would do in the London-Brighton.

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20 minutes ago, Walt G said:

The gray Brewster sedan was owned by Frank Wismer of Ct. he was the author of the book "An Inkling of Brewster" and had the help of Brewster family relatives for the history. Great Book. Frank was a good guy and also had a Packard sedan in the early 1930s. The gray Brewster sedan had an appearance in the TV series Boardwalk Empire about a decade ago. That series stared actor Steve Buscemi .

 

Thanks Walt.  I just bought the book.

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6 minutes ago, padgett said:

" four hundred year old pub for some warm English beer." Please, English beer is served at room temperature. 35-45F.

Wonder how an '04 Stanley would do in the London-Brighton.

 

Assuming it doesn't run out of water,  I would guess it would out run everybody else.

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3 hours ago, padgett said:

" four hundred year old pub for some warm English beer." Please, English beer is served at room temperature. 35-45F.

Wonder how an '04 Stanley would do in the London-Brighton.


I will admit to spending too much time in the UK drinking beer.........and I have NEVER found any beer that was below forty five degrees. I asked around the pubs, and found out why they drink warm beer. Seems Lucas electrics are also in all the refrigerators. Same thing goes for the air conditioning. Once you let the smoke out of the wiring harness the AC just won’t work. Go figure!

 

 

J.V. - you have spent much more time over there then I have.......ever have an ice cold beer in the UK?

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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  • Matt Harwood changed the title to 1920 Brewster Town Landaulet

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