Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, Part 2

The oldest automobile that I saw on sale at the auction was this 1915 Chevrolet 4 Door Touring Car. Because the modern automobile is so ubiquitous, we often forget that the first cars were really carriages with a motor replacing the horse. It shows in this Chevy.

One of the aspects of such vehicles that I enjoy are the hood ornaments which originally were functional but evolved to be decorative (or even status symbols). Even Mercedes Benz, which kept their "peace symbol" hood ornament for many years has now surrendered to modern tastes and the drive for aerodynamic efficiency.

Of course, these vehicles employed a manual transmission but even the petals seem from a distant past. To my untrained eye, these look like they were, in fact, added to the floor of a carriage — rather than being designed to be fully integrated with the vehicle.

And don't you just love the open-air seating offered by so many of these antique vehicles. This restored Chevy also included a detached soft top to protect the riders from inclement weather.

The engines were primitive as were the controls. I am no expert but isn't this a spark advance control? Personally, I'm so glad that the controls on modern autos are simpler and pretty much standardized.

This is a 1926 Buick Ambulance. One difference between vehicles from the early part of the twentieth century versus more modern ones is that the business end of a truck (or a vehicle built on a truck chassis) was generally not supplied by the manufacturer. The owner would have to contract with a local cabinet maker to complete the truck.

This vehicle is therefore unique — having been completed for the city of York, Pennsylvania by the Hoover Carriage Company. More than $60,000 was spend on restoration — probably much more than the vehicle cost originally.

If you are interested in seeing additional bodies provided by this company, click here.

And you could go to the hospital in the lap of luxury, looking at the beveled lead glass with bronze and brass fittings. The seal is that of the City of York.

Here we have a 1926 Dodge Brothers Woody Wagon. Although the auction listing did not state, I suspect the body was built by another vendor — although whoever made it, did a fine job — it is beautiful.

It is interesting to note that historically, the Dodge Brothers initially were a maker of precision engine and chassis components for Detroit's burgeoning number of automobile firms. In 1914, they began making complete automobiles to escape from "being carried around in Henry Ford's vest pocket".

Dodge Brothers vehicles won acclaim for durability and by 1920 ranked in second place in American sales. Tragically that same year, John Dodge died of pneumonia and his brother, Horace, then died later that same year of cirrhosis — reportedly out of grief at the loss of his brother, to whom he was very close.

The company fell on hard times as it went through a number of managers and subsequent owners until it was eventually sold to the Chrysler Corporation in 1928. Thus this particular vehicle was one of the last actually manufactured by the Dodge Brothers Company.

This fine vehicle is a 1927 Ford Model T Roadster (AKA the Tin Lizzie, Flivver, T‑Model Ford or, simply, T). The Model T was manufactured from 1908 until 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American. Some of this was because of Ford's innovations, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting.

The Ford Model T was named the world's most influential car of the 20th century in an international poll. Henry Ford said of the vehicle:

"I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one — and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces."

By 1914, the assembly process for the Model T had been so streamlined it took only 93 minutes to assemble a car. That year, Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined. The Model T was a great commercial success, and by the time Henry made his 10 millionth car, 50 percent of all cars in the world were Fords. It was so successful that Ford did not purchase any advertising between 1917 and 1923. In total, more than 15 million Model Ts were manufactured, reaching a rate of 9,000 to 10,000 cars a day in 1925, or 2 million annually, more than any other model of its day, at a price of just $240 (equivalent to $2,696 today).

Interesting trivia: Henry Ford used wood scraps from the production of Model T's to create charcoal. Originally named Ford Charcoal the name was changed to Kingsford Charcoal after Ford's relative, E. G. Kingsford, brokered the selection of the new charcoal plant site.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com