Monthly Archives: July 2016

Celebrating 122 years of Indiana automotive innovation

On July 4, 2016, Indiana celebrated 122 years of Indiana automotive innovation. That’s right, fellow Hoosiers, Elwood Haynes demonstrated one of America’s first automobiles on July 4, 1894.

1894 Haynes Pioneer
1894 Haynes Pioneer

In 1890, while working as a gas field superintendent in Greentown, Indiana, Haynes hypothesized “Wouldn’t it be a fine thing if I didn’t have to depend on the horse for locomotion?” With his training from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he began thinking about how to build a self-propelled vehicle. He first considered a steam engine and then an electrical motor for propulsion, but these were rejected because of their weight.

While attending the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, he ordered a one-horsepower gasoline engine from the Sintz Gas Engine Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When the engine arrived at his home in Kokomo, Indiana, in fall 1893, he immediately set it up for a test in the kitchen. After considerable cranking, the engine started and ran with such vibration that it pulled itself from its attachments to the floor.

This early experiment prompted Haynes to design a sturdy chassis for his automobile. He conducted further experiments to design the gearing and other requirements. When completed, the total weight of his machine was about 820 pounds.

On July 4, 1894, when the machine was removed from the shop for the trial run, men, women, and children surrounded the vehicle. For the safety of the spectators, Haynes towed it about three miles into the country along a level stretch of Pumpkinvine Pike. Haynes and two other men clambered aboard and moved off at a speed of about seven miles per hour, and were driven about one and one-half miles further into the country. They then turned around and drove all the way into town without making a single stop.

Haynes later recounted an observation about the trial run. “At that time the bicycle was very popular as a pastime, especially among the young ladies. I remember as the little machine made its way along the streets we were met by a ‘bevy’ of girls mounted on wheels. I shall never forget the expression on their faces as they wheeled aside, separating like a flock of swans and gazing wonder-eyed at the uncouth and utterly unexpected little machine.”

Between 1894 and 1897, Haynes and Elmer and Edgar Apperson built six automobiles. In 1898, they incorporated the Haynes-Apperson Company. They produced nearly 200 automobiles in 1900, the year in which total United States production amounted to about 4,200. During the next seven years, Haynes-Apperson maintained an annual production of approximately 250 automobiles.

1923 Haynes Sports Sedan
1923 Haynes Sports Sedan

In 1914, Haynes noted, “Frankly, I did not realize on that Fourth of July, when I took the first ride in America’s First Car (Haynes’ claim), that a score of years later every street and highway in America would echo the sound of the horn and the report of the exhaust.”

So, now you know the story about celebrating 122 years of Indiana automotive innovation. Thanks to Elwood Haynes for his pioneering work developing his “little machine” in 1894.

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

Indiana has some special auto events this fall.

Duesenberg on the Courthouse Square
Duesenberg on the Courthouse Square

The 60th Anniversary Annual Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival is on August 28 thru September 5. Auctions America is busy preparing for its flagship Auburn Fall Collector Car Weekend, August 31 – September 4 at Indiana’s historic Auburn Auction Park. A Labor Day tradition spanning more than 45 years, the multi-day event coincides with the world-famous Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, making for an ultimate celebration of the collector car hobby. On Saturday, September 3, ACD Club members from around the world drive their magnificent classic cars through the streets of Auburn with review at the Courthouse Square. These beautifully-painted, chrome-laden Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs are sights you will not want to miss. After the parade, these classics are parked around the Courthouse Square for your viewing pleasure. What a great opportunity to get a close-up view and chat with the owners! Of course, you should stop by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, the National Automobile and Truck Museum, and the Early Ford V8 Foundation Museum to see the special cars for this event.

1923 Haynes Sports Sedan
1923 Haynes Sports Sedan

Kokomo Salutes Indiana’s Automotive Heritage on September 5-11, 2016. The festivities start on September 5-8 with the Hoosier Heritage Bicentennial Driving Tour: Northern & Southern Auto Tours for early domestic and un-modified cars built up to 1976, with a priority given to Indiana-built cars. On Saturday, September 10, four auto shows will be in Highland Park – The Haynes-Apperson Reunion, CCCA Grand Classic, Grand Stutz, and Mighty Marmon Motor Muster. The Grand Bicentennial Motor Muster is on Sunday, September 11. It features Indiana-built cars from 1894 and special interest domestic cars through 1976 in Jackson-Morrow Park. Mark your calendars and register your car for these various events. For more information about the Hoosier Heritage Bicentennial Driving Tour, the Grand Bicentennial Motor Muster. or the Haynes-Apperson Reunion, contact event chairman Jeff Shively Tuesday thru Friday from 10-4pm, at (765) 454-9999 or email at jeffreyshively1965@gmail.com.

1931 Marmon Sixteen
1931 Marmon Sixteen

Festival of Machines is on September 17 & 18, 10-5 pm at Connor Prairie. A select group of concours quality classic cars will be showcased throughout this two-day festival. View these beautiful machines up close and learn the unique story behind each one. This is one of the better car festivals in Central Indiana.

For more information on Indiana rides & drives follow this link.

Homage to Parnelli Jones

In the early 1960’s Parnelli Jones was one of the popular drivers on the United States Auto Club circuits. At that time, I was a gearhead who went to many USAC races around Indiana and cheered Parnelli on to victory. Later on, I built these scale models to celebrate his racing accomplishments.

Homage to Parnelli Jones
Homage to Parnelli Jones

From left to right are the 1964 Mercury Marauder that he drove to the 1964 USAC Stock Car championship, the J. C. Agajanian Special in which he won the 1963 Indianapolis 500-mile race, and the Fike Plumbing Special which he drove to USAC sprint car crowns in 1960, 1961, and 1962.

The Fike Plumbing Special has special meaning to me, because in the summer of 1963 I was a parts washer and go-fer on this car while assisting the crew at their garage in Speedway. This is a scratch-built model I built to reminisce about this adventure. Scratch-built items include the sectioned body, grille, driver’s seat with vinyl upholstery, exhaust pipes, rear bumper, roll bar, and computer generated the decals. I started this project in the early 1970’s, put it aside, and finished in the fall of 1998.

The Mercury Marauder and the Indianapolis roadster are vintage AMT kits that I built and detailed with Fred Caddy decals in the late 1990’s.

These models have a special meaning to me that I hope comes across in the finished products. I believe they are the only 1/25 scale models of these famous racers. They are my homage to Parnelli Jones.

Connect with your local history museum – part2

Previously I talked about connecting with your local history museum. This article features the Wayne County Historical Museum in Richmond, IN. The museum is along the National Road at 1150 South A Street on Richmond’s east side.

With 15 different makes of autos produced in Richmond from 1901 to 1942, the WCHM does a great job of telling this story with 13 vehicles in their collection.

1907 Richmond
1907 Richmond

One particularly interesting car is the 1907 Richmond Model J two-passenger runabout with a “mother-in-law seat” built by the Wayne Works. Edwin Chase of Hebron, ND, bought the car in 1908 for $950. In 2004, the museum procured the car from Chase’s grandson. The Chase family gave the museum the original bill of sale, along with other papers, clippings, and photos. The car is in original condition, except the tires. It even includes one of North Dakota’s original 1911 license plates with painted on numbers.

1918 Davis
1918 Davis

Another interesting car in the collection is a 1918 Davis. George W. Davis made the transition from carriages to automobiles in 1908. The Davis was known for their two-tone paint job, central gear shift, and the use of a Bendix-starter. In 1928, Davis sold his auto line to the Automotive Corporation of America and went into business of designing and manufacturing aircraft.

1939 Crosley
1939 Crosley

At the other end of the spectrum is the 1939 Crosley convertible coupe. Powel Crosley debuted this new automobile to the public in April 1939 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The diminutive small car with an air-cooled, two-cylinder Waukesha engine sold for $350. Crosleys were produced in Richmond until the start of World War II.

The WCHM tells the story of Richmond’s automotive history from 1902 to 1942. I invite you to stop in and enjoy this rich gem of history along the National Road.

Back Roads to Turkey Run

Early in automotive history, a road trip to the country was often the choice to cool off during hot summer days. Now we just turn up the air conditioning.

But the fact remains that the country offers five to 10 degrees of relief from the city heat. Today, for those wanting an outdoor escape, a road trip is still a popular option. You might even find another five degrees of cooler surroundings if you leave the car and trek into the canyons and crevices of Turkey Run State Park.

Richard Lieber Memorial
Richard Lieber Monument

Here the labyrinth of trails can lead you down through sandstone formations filled with old growth trees. Some trails cover streambeds making the walk uneven. Others offer moderately difficult passes into the shady hollows. The one trail marked as easy leads to the Lieber Memorial and Log Church. The Richard Lieber Monument is dedicated to the man considered the father of Indiana’s state parks. His vision helped Indiana become one of the first states to preserve large natural sections open to the public. The one-room log cabin was built in 1871 and still holds services on Sunday morning.

1871 Chapel
1871 Cabin

These and other natural and man-made attractions have lured Hoosiers to the park for 100 years. Turkey Run was the second state park established in 1916, after McCormick Creek State Park claimed the honor of first.

About one hour outside of Indianapolis, the fastest route is to take I-74 from the city. You will end up on back roads, however, which offer a pastoral panorama. Farmland mixed with the charm of small towns help ease the stress of big-city living. Eventually you’ll find the park entrance off County Road 47, near its intersection with State Road 41.

For anyone wanting to bring 21st century technology to the ride via your GPS, the park’s address is 8121 E. Park Road, Marshall IN 47859.

For more information on Indiana rides & drives follow this link.