S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Automotive Page keywords = automotive history motor Chrysler Walter DaimlerChrysler SS Jaguar Standard ALCO auto car truck tank gas oil Long Island parkway Crown Imperial Majestic Highlander Royal Saratoga Windsor Newport Town & Country Thunderbolt turbine engine Willys Overland Jeep Dodge DeSoto Plymouth Valiant Tourismo Chalmers Maxwell Briscoe Fargo Aberdeen Proving Ground Gander Mercedes Benz Daimler Gottleib Otto Karl car auto S K L 300 500 540 770 Grösser Grosser Jaguar Standard Swallow Sidecar Coventry XK XJ Auburn Cord Duesenberg Duesie dual-cowl phaeton Rolls Royce Cyclops Dudgeon Amphicar Krit K-R-I-T

Updated:   23 Feb 2017; 09:40  ET
[Page converted 27 Feb 2011;

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/automotv.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/automotv.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Automotive Page


A cover page to tie in my
    Chrysler, et seq.
    (with the Walter P. Chrysler story).
    Mercedes page, et seq.
    SS and Jaguar Cars, et seq..
    Civil War era Dudgeon (really!) Steam Automobile - still operable!
    the Long Island Motor Parkway page, et seq.
    and the L. I. Motor Parkway Panel
    (convened to keep the LIMP alive in situ and in minds and museums).
      LIMP-Vanderbilt Cup Race page.
    Tractors page.
    Road/Highway Schnabels (giant road loads/heavy haulers), et seq..
and other related pages, plus a place to put more auto apocrypha
  the ALCO,
  and a HELP Section.

The CYCLOPS now has it's own page.

Automotive miscellany on this Main Automotive Page is unindexed; please scroll away!

On Automotive Continuation Page 1:
  Automotive Apocrypha - continued.
  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!, and
  Old 16 Locomobile

On Automotive Continuation Page 2:
  Gasoline Brands (moved from main page 25 Jan 2003 and to Cont. Page 4 on 23 May 2007),
    (see also Old Gas Stations on Cont. Page 4.
  Automotive Slogans (moved from main page on 25 Jan 03),
  Nomenclature - automotive terms (moved from continuation page 1 on 25 Jan 03).
  Classic Cars.

On Automotive Continuation Page 3:
  Hornthal's 1900s Hearse De Luxe
  Classic Cars Continued, with
    Australian Phantom I with Mystery Body.
  Porsche Patricide

On Automotive Continuation Page 4:
  Gasoline Brands (moved from main page 25 Jan 2003 and to this Page 4 on 23 May 2007),
  Old Gas Stations

On Automotive Continuation Page 5:
  1912 AMC Pioneer Cyclecar (28 Aug 2014).
  "Fill 'Er Up, Filstrup" (22 May 2015).
  BREAK or BRAKE (09 Jul 2015).
  YIKE TRIKE!- Bat Trike? (21 Jul 2015).
  Early EVs (Electric Vehicles).
  Andover Electric Car (22 Jul 2016/23 Feb 2017).
  1913 Peugeot with Labourdette "Skiff" Body.   new (21 Feb 2017)

Autobus Page.   listingadded (09 Apr 2016)

See also my Classic Cars and K-R-I-T Automobile pages.

On Odd Streets - highways and byways:
    An Odd NY City Street
    (moved from the Automotive Continuation Page 1 on 16 May 02).
    Nassau Boulevard.

This Dudgeon is for real; it is an 1853/66 steam auto, one of which survives in running condition!

Adtranz, formed Jan 1996, merging rail transportation activities of ABB Ltd. and Daimler-Benz AG took DaimlerChrysler into the railroad business and the sale of the venture to Bombardier, announced 04 Aug 2000, apparently takes them right out again!

FIRST I.C. LOCO! - Gottlieb Daimler built an internal-combustion-powered locomotive ca. 1890!  For more information, click HERE!

Also, Exxon and Mobil merged as of 01 Dec 98;
two of my most favo(u)rite gasolines (petrols)!*

There is also a lot of automotive material on my ORDNANCE and HISTORY pages.

Also, if you like automotive history, see the links on the Dudgeon page.

Other good places for automotive history are Kevin Walsh's Forgotten NY site, Steve Anderson's excellent NYC Area Roads, Crossings, and Exits site [where you will also find info on, and links to, Web Rings (not my thing) for East Coast Roads, Interstate Highways, New York City, and Long Island], Mike Natale's The Road House, Dave Schul's North American Auto Trails, and Jeff Saltzman's Streetlight Site*, each with all sorts of old highway information and more links.

Glenn Whitener has a great auto modeling index.

Speaking of automotive history, look at what I found at the Henry Ford Museum on 25 Aug 1999, the 1907 Selden patent fight demonstrator:

1907 Selden at HFM
(Photo by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image.]

George Selden claimed he invented the automobile, patented it in 1877, and socked it to all manufacturers until they, led by Henry Ford, beat him out in 1907.  To prove his patent was workable, Selden and his sons built this working (if awkward@) car in 1907 (even though they lettered it 1877), but they ended up losing; it must give old Henry quiet satisfaction to have the car in the museum named after him!

  @ - Awkward isn't the word - it had three cylinders working directly on the front axle,
    so you had to turn the whole engine to steer!

Again on the subject of history, as I recall, there once was a link on these pages directing one to the University of Chicago Library for their extensive collection of automotive service manuals.  I can no longer find any such reference; if anyone has better information, please let me know.   restored (16 Sep 2013)

The pages on the Long Island Motor Parkway and the newly-convened L. I. Motor Parkway Panel (convened to "keep the LIMP alive in situ and in minds and museums"), have an enormous amount of automotive information.

A pair of Motor Parkway afficionadoes, Sue and Rob Friedman, turned up with a great site about the Bronx's old "Freedomland".

Mike Natale (noted above) also has a fascinating "THE TOLL ROAD MAP MASTER LIST" and also has a page on the abandoned highway and tunnels of the old South Penn RR/Pennsylvania Turnpike route, with great color photos.

One of my greatest loves was Classic Cars; I was a charter member of the Classic Car Club of America but dropped out when people started trailering in cars with professional crews to wash and polish them!  Today, the term is misused to cover anything on wheels that someone, somewhere, likes, but it used to refer only to those luxury cars built from around 1924 or so (with self starters) on through 1942, with an exception made for the 1946-1948 Lincoln Continentals.  I screamed like a stuck pig because my 1948 Jaguar 3˝-litre drophead, the application for which was denied, was equally identical to the prewar models as the '46 (or, really, far more so than the '47-48) Continentals!  It's interesting to note that a supposedly official CCCA list now lists all 2˝- and 3˝-litre models through 1948; ah, vindication is sweet, even 40 years later!  The CCCA's own site definition only shows SS and Jaguar as " * please apply", as the CCCA used to do; now what?

We had some memorable runs, especially in the NYC area.  One of my favorite memories is of George Jepson trying to climb super-steep Moore's Hill Road in Cold Spring Harbor (on Long Island, immediately west from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and across from and west of the fish hatchery on Route 25A, the North Hempstead Turnpike) on our way to Teddy Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill near Oyster Bay, in his (George's) ca-1928 Cord front-wheel drive town car, the one that had been built for Lola Montez on a greatly-stretched chassis.  Well, it had rained on our parade and the front wheels slipped; we ended up with six men (including me) perched precariously on the two front half-bumpers before the tires stopped hopping up and down and the car could creep up the hill!  See my Chrysler page for a similar yarn.

I remember as if it were yesterday a meet in a park alongside the Hudson around Beacon circa 1956 when a long-wheelbase Duesenberg dual-cowl phaeton hit a ditch hidden in tall grass and actually flew up high enough to go fully airborne!  I had forgetten the driver's name; it was Max Obie.

I accompanioed Max to a barn in upstate New York ca. 1960 to pick up a 1930 Cadillac V-16 dual-cowl phaeton that had languished there since the war.  We found a four-wheeled chicken roost and rat's nest with a flying lady loose on its radiator!  A set of tires from a Rolls, a full complement of fuel, water, battery, and oil and it cranked over instantly.  Why trailer a running car?  We got only a few miles down the road and it boiled over in full force!  Gingerly removing the flying lady revealed a whole nestful of boiled mouse pups in the top tank!

Incidentally, the term "Duesie" ("doozie", as in "that's a duesie!") came from the Duesenberg automobile, one of America's greatest classics.  Fred and August Duesenberg were Americans (born in Lippe, Germany, but came here as children), and the cars were made at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg plant in Auburn, Indiana.

Cord's, as noted above, were front-wheel drive cars and after the war, as the Rzeppa constant velocity joints wore out, they could not be replaced.  The Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg people approached Bendix to make a replacement and a deal was struck whereby Bendix machinists worked at night on their own time on Bendix machinery to build CV joints for old Cords!

There was a fellow somewhere on the central East Coast who only drove air-cooled Franklins.  He had a barn full of them in various states of repair and he believed in distilling and decanting his oil; to my knowledge, this took out all the "good stuff" and left sludge, but he swore by the gook which resulted and the cars ran just fine.  This is no mere apocryphal note; I was there!

A Dr. Doehm, a veterinarian in Roslyn, Long Island, drove a Franklin as his every-day car well into the '60s or '70s; his favorite trick was to start the car cold and drive it directly up the Northern Boulevard (25A) hill (very long and steep) in top gear without even warming it up or shifting down, which the car did without even hesitating!

Speaking of Classic Cars and favo(u)rites, whil(e)(st) a student at RPI in Troy, New York, I had a British professor (Senser?), of Semantics and General Linguistics (no less!), who drove around (then - 1952-54) in a 1934 (or so) Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental drophead; I went to a British car show at Coindre Hall in Huntington, L. I., on 08 Aug 99, and what to my wondering eyes did appear?

1934 RR Continental at Oyster Bay
[Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image.]
Just couldn't get those clowns to move away from the car before the rains came!

Now, to me, no matter how elegant a Rolls may be, it just isn't a driver's car, but I could make an exception for the RR PII Continental!  This car is not the one I knew; it came up from Texas.

Cadillac and LaSalle fans, be sure to see Tony Blue's fabulous Dutch site, The Cadillac Story (the History of the Cadillac).

    [Some automotive apocrypha moved from here to the Automotive Continuation Page 1.]

A quadruple-threat site is John Woodson's Stanley Steamers site; all about Stanley, Doble, White, and other steamcars, steam engines, steam locomotives, and steamboats - what more could one given to the vapors want?

There is a book about the Fairchild Aerial Survey photos, "Cities from the Sky: An Aerial Portrait of America", by Thomas J. Campanella, which shows America's roads in development; the photos on pages 46 and 47 of NYC's Grand Central and Shore (captioned Belt) Parkways in 1941, and on pages 112 and 113 of downtown Los Angeles before (1940) and after (1957) the Harbor Freeway was built, and the endpapers, which show all of Manhattan from 110th Street south in 1921, alone are well worth the trouble to borrow or buy the book.

Cyclops Banner
Artwork © Stan Mott, courtesy of Automobili Cyclops SpA

Who remembers Stan Mott's fabulous Cyclops automobile, which graced the pages of John Bond's great Road & Track Magazine in the 60s?  Well, Stan does!

The Cyclops was a tongue-in-both-cheeks concoction built in Italy of old Cinzano signs and vaguely similar in shape to today's VW Beetle II (i.e. - a half-cylinder), it had both sides identical and a huge Lucas P-100 headlamp centered in the front.  There were Cyclops races and rallyes, concours d'elegance, road tests, etc.  It was grand fun!

So much material has come in that it overloaded this page and I have created a new page just to honor the reverčd memory of this great "automobile"{?}.

Another true zany, who does wonderful things with cars is Ronald Searle, he of the wild curlicues, but he lampoons/lambastes all sorts of things, especially railroads.

Whil(e)(st) mentioning Stan Mott and Ron Searle, who are such fabulous cartoonists, I should also note Brockbank (Russell Partridge Brockbank), perhaps the greatest automotive cartoonist of all time (sorry, Stan and Ron)!  Brockbank used to draw for Punch and his work has amused and delighted me since the late '40s and probably will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  His work is compiled in his three books, "The Best of Brockbank", "Brockbank's Grand Prix", and "Motoring through Punch", all out-of-print; find them!

* - Gasoline Brands (moved to continuation page 2 on 25 Jan 03)

Automotive Slogans
(moved to continuation page 2 on 25 Jan 03)

In a related vein, try this link for some representative and custom classic radiator/hood ornaments.

ALCO Automobiles

I had forgotten entirely that there once was an ALCO automobile.  An article by Fred H. Deusch on the Senior Times Website about Rhode Island automobile manufacturers notes that the "best known company to manufacture automobiles in Rhode Island was the American Locomotive Company"!  "Between 1905 and 1908 their car, built under license from a French company, was known as the American Berliet.  By 1909, the company wanted to build its own bigger and better car.  The new car was called the Alco.  Both in 1909 and 1910, Harry Grant won the Vanderbilt Cup Race driving an Alco." Duh!  I knew that!  "The Alco was such a fine car that it took no less than 19 months to build each one.  All kinds of body styles were available as well as chassis for custom coach builders.  The engine in the Alco was huge.  The four cylinder engine displaced 453 cubic inches while the 6 cylinder displaced 579 cubic inches."  "By early 1900's standards, only the very wealthy could afford an Alco.  An ALCO even won early Vanderbilt Cup races{*}.  Prices ranged from $6,000 to $7,500.  At the end of 1913, American Locomotive announced the end of auto production.  Even though the company had gross earnings of $34 million, not one cent of profit came from its automobiles.  In fact, the company lost an average of $460 on each of the 5,000 cars it built.  Most of the loss on each car was not due to manufacturing costs.  Any time a purchasing agent would come in to buy locomotives, the company would give him a car as an inducement to buy their locomotives.  So they stopped producing cars and went back to building just locomotives."  "JUST"?

* - Henry Fortune ("Harry") Grant, with mechanic Frank H. Lee, in the "Bęte Noire" (Black Beast), won the 5th Cup race on 30 Oct 1909 at 62.81mph and the 6th on 01 Oct 1910 at 65.18mph.

(Photo from Senior Times Website)

See also the ALCo Love Song, a page devoted to ALCo locomotives.

Incidentally, Walter P. Chrysler willingly took a cut in pay to go to work for ALCo in Schenectady as Works Foreman after he left the railroads and before he went to GM/Buick (and on to Maxwell-cum-Chrysler).

Also, speaking of "who remembers?", who remembers robe rails (or rug rails) on the back of the front seat in old sedans?  I used to ride standing up behind Dad in his many Dodges, hanging on for dear life to that rail, which always had a lap robe draped over it; I still have two around somewhere, one of which is/was a gorgeous gun metal grey on one side and burgundy on the other, in thick, lucious plush.  Auf Deutsch, es heißt "Reisedecke".

I have little interest in motorcycles but, purely because of the name (no relation), have a good bit about Mike and Joe Berliner of Berliner Motor Corp..  The firm, at least at one time,was located at Railroad Street and Plant Road in Hasbrouk Heights, New Jersey, and was also a dealer for AMC (Associated Motorcycles - AJS, Matchlesss, and Norton) and Zundapp bikes.  They seem to have dictated to Ducati what they wanted to have and they re-badged some others.  Here's a Berliner/Norton shipped by the Matchless Motorcycle factory in England in October 1966 to "Joe Berliner Motorcycles of New York", which somehow ended up in New Zealand:

(26 Feb 2008 photo by F. Metcalfe - all rights reserved)

Originally thought to be a Matchless, it now turns out to be a 1966 Norton N15 CS "Street Scrambler", Engine and Frame No: NI5 CS 119250.  Can anyone out there help trace this machine from New Jersey to New Zealand?

This is a partial duplicate of material of which there is even more under "Mike" on my Berliners of Note page.

Odd New York City Street! - moved to Automotive Continuation Page 1 on 08 Jul 01.

1906 LONG ISLAND MAPS - For links to a huge set of segments of the large-scale 1906 E. Belcher Hyde map of Long Island, done by Albert Volk, "Map Engraver" of Philadelphia, click here.  There is a staggering amount of turn-of-the-20th-century (pre-WWI) LI information, such as all the LIRR junctions, and LIRR Pres. Austin Corbin's estate on map 15, just SSE of Deer Park.  The resolution is not quite good enough to read all road names but most are quite legible.

The 1865 Dudgeon Steam Wagon was on display at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum (The Museum of Transportation) in Brookline (Boston area), Massachusetts, at one time [I visited the museum on 15 Apr 2004 and it is a gem!].

Gigantic rail cars for carrying enormous loads like nuclear reactor vessels and transformers (800 tons worth!) are covered on my Schnabel page, et seq.; roadable versions of these monsters now have their own Road Loads page, et seq.


1..  An out-of-state friend, who grew up in (was changed at?) Jamaica (L.I., N.Y) wants to know what car was built in that once-fair city.

2.  A genealogist from California asks "Do you know when the first steam cars were introduced into Scotland?" - see my Dudgeon Steam Wagon page HELP section.

3.  When was the first turn signal applied?  My '39 Chrysler did not come with them and my '41 did; they first appeared on SS Jags on the '34s as "Trafficators".

Please visit the Automotive Continuation Page 1.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

Please visit the main Automotive Page, et seq.

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