Monthly Archives: May 2017

1909 McIntyre

In the early days, automobiles were manufactured in almost any city, town, or hamlet where the builder could get together equipment to start his venture. Many pioneer car manufacturers had been of makers of wagons, buggies, and road carts. When the buggy maker saw that he was losing his market to the automobile, he often figured that his buggy customers would follow him and buy an automobile bearing his name.

1909 McIntyre
1909 McIntyre

The W. H. McIntyre Company, from Auburn, Indiana, entered the field in late 1908. The company succeeded the W. H. Kiblinger Company which had manufactured buggies for many years. Upon the death of W. H. Kiblinger, W. H. McIntyre obtained control of the company and changed its name.

Early McIntyres were classified as “highwheelers.” These automobiles appealed to the early motorist and thousands were sold by scores of small manufactures, most of whom were former buggy makers.

Early advertisements stated that the “McIntyre Motor Vehicles never fail-never get tired-cost no more than a good horse and buggy-cost far less to keep-do more work in less time than three horses.”

In the summer of 1909, the company staged a demonstration to show the speed and dependability of its automobile. W. H. McIntyre’s son, Harry McIntyre drove a McIntyre Autobuggy from Auburn to Fort Wayne in just 40 minutes, a distance of about 20 miles. Thus, the average speed was about 30 miles an hour. Such a speed was rather amazing considering the dirt roads and the highwheeled buggy type vehicle.

A pre-1910 advertisement for the McIntyre, “it cost no more than a good horse and buggy – cost far less to keep – do more work in less time than three horses.”

A few years later, the rapid development of automobile components and the improvement of roads, the highwheeler was on the wane.

That’s the story of the early McIntyre automobiles.

Early Studebaker Electrics

In 1902, the Studebaker brothers decided to enter the horseless-carriage business. Their first car was a stylish light Studebaker electric runabout.

1902 Studebaker
1902 Studebaker

The 1902 Studebaker electric was built like their buggy lines. It had leather fenders, bar-lever steering, chain drive, and a leather dashboard.

The 1902 advertisement for this car claimed, “No Expert Chauffeur Needed,” and “Reliable Brake Control.”

1906 Studebaker Coupe
1906 Studebaker Coupe

By 1906, they offered one of the first closed electric carriages in the United States. The electric coupe sold for $2,000 and would do about 35 miles on one charging of the batteries. Note the wooden wheels, chain drive, and running boards instead of steps.

Studebaker’s craftsmanship in carriage building stood them in good stead when this unusual vehicle was designed. It was considered, and rightfully so, one of the true quality automobiles of its time.

That’s how Studebaker entered the auto business in 1902.