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Friday, July 29, 2016

1920 Maxwell Movie

Bert Van Tuyle, the hero of Something New
Two posts ago, I mentioned a 1920 movie written to promote the Maxwell car. It’s a silent black and white film called Something New, written by and starring Nell Shipman. You can find it in several places online, including HERE. Don’t worry about the pixelation in the first couple of minutes, it doesn’t last.

Scepticism from L.M. Wells
I watched it last night and found it quite entertaining. Talk about off-roading! You would not believe the places they drove that car—splashing through creeks, plowing through sagebrush, rolling over boulders, through dry washes, and even over cactus.

I won’t give away the plot other than to say it involves a kidnapping by bandits, and no available horses to ride to the rescue. The heroine is no shrinking violet either, and yes, she does get to drive the car.




You can find out more about Canadian actress, writer, director and producer (yes, in the 1920s) Nell Shipman HERE and HERE. They don’t discuss Something New, however. For that, you can check out THIS review. The reviewer, J.B. Kaufman, confirms my impression that no camera trickery was involved. Apparently only a single car was used, though they did use parts from a back-up car. I can’t help wondering how many sets of tires they went through, however.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bob’s Antique & Classic Cars Part 12 – 1927 Cadillac Tow Truck

1927 Cadillac 314 tow truck conversion
Photo by Kate Tompkins
I’d thought a Cadillac converted into a tow truck was unusual, but it turns out I was wrong. According to THIS article on Hemmings Daily, detailing the invention of the tow truck, the very first tow truck was a converted 1913 Cadillac. And if you google “Cadillac Tow Truck” you’ll find photos of other conversions, both old and modern.

1927 Cadillac 314 tow truck conversion
Photo by Kate Tompkins
The car at Bob’s is a 1927 Cadillac 314 A (named for its engine displacement), and was originally a four-door sedan. It’s hard to say what it might have looked like originally as, according to several web sites I looked at, Cadillac offered at the time “Fifty body styles and types – Five hundred color and upholstery combinations.”

Other posts in this series:


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bob’s Antique & Classic Cars Part 11 – 1914 Maxwell Model 25

1914 Maxwell Model 25
Photo by Kate Tompkins
According to Wikipedia, the Maxwell Motor Company (originally Maxwell-Briscoe Company) owned the largest automobile plant in the world in 1907. The Model 25 seen here was a response to other low-priced cars on the market, such as the Ford Model N and the Oldsmobile Runabout, and had a base price of $695. By 1914 Maxwell had sold 60,000 cars, but ran into financial problems shortly thereafter. Walter P. Chrysler took a controlling interest and the company’s assets were eventually folded into Chrysler Corporation, with the 1925 Maxwell (a descendant of the Model 25) being retooled into a 1926 Chrysler and, in 1928, the first Plymouth.

1914 Maxwell Model 25
Photo by Kate Tompkins
The most famous Maxwell owner was comedian Jack Benny, who drove various Maxwells over the course of his career as part of his stingy persona. Naturally, the cars were portrayed as on the verge of collapse, with sound effects sometimes provided by Mel Blanc.

According to the plaque at Bob’s, this 1914 Maxwell, currently under restoration, is a 3-speed 4-cylinder, with acetylene headlights, kerosene running lamps, and a crank start. It does not have a battery. The price when new was $899. The plaque also claims this is one of only six 1914 Maxwells still in existence.

A more detailed history of the Maxwell company, including their racing history and various endurance trials, can be found HERE.

You can find a 1920 movie written to promote the Maxwell car HERE. I haven’t yet watched it (it’s an hour long), but I’ve downloaded it for later viewing—it apparently involves a trip to Mexico, bandits, and, I believe, a car chase.

1914 Maxwell Model 25
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Other posts in this series:



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bob’s Antique & Classic Cars Part 10 – 1926 Harley-Davidson

1926 Harley-Davidson Model B
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Yet another piece of Bob’s collection. According to its plaque, this 1926 Harley-Davidson Model B has a 350cc single cylinder engine, and could do 60 mph, with 80 mpg (presumably not simultaneously). While not the very rare 1926 “peashooter” Model S, which was built specifically for racing, the plaque says this particular Model B was also used for racing.

Bonhams say that the 1926 model year was the first year Harley-Davidson produced racing bikes with the 350cc engine to take advantage of a new racing class. The exhaust on the Model S made a popping sound, giving it the “peashooter” nickname, which spread to the road models as well.

Information seems scarce on these motorcycles—as scarce as the bikes themselves. You can read here about a collector who managed to find both the chassis and engine of the 9th Model S.

Other posts in this series: