Veteran Cars: Pioneers in elegance and Function

| July 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rolls-Royce_Silver_Ghost_at_Centenary (1)Veteran Cars are also often called Edwardian cars or brass cars. Veteran cars, vintage cars and classic cars are often interchanged but there is a fundamental difference between the three – the era in which they were produced.

Veteran cars are the ones manufactured before the year 1919 (this includes the first auto mobiles, brass cars and Edwardian cars), vintage cars were created after World War I from 1920 to 1930 and classic cars are the ones that are more than 25 years old (this includes the muscle cars we know today). The Era of Veteran Cars.
By Malcolma at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Some of the most significant dates relating to the era of veteran cars are as follows:

1888 – epic year for transportation
-it was the year that automobiles were first produced in Germany by Karl Benz and in Germany by Emile Roger (under license of Benz)
– Bertha Benz travelled from Mannheim to Pforzheim for a total of 80 kilometers on a Benz automobile to raise awareness about the functionality of the automobile

1889 – Panhard et Levassor was established to produce only automobiles and no other vehicles. Panhard was also the first to use the four-cylinder engine.

1893 – Duryea Motor Wagon Company was founded; it was the first automobile manufacturing company in America

1895 – US Patent was granted to George Selden for the two-stroke automobile engine

1897 – Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau, a Czech company produced the first motor car in Central Europe

1898 – the first automobile in Japan was Panhard-Levassor
– Louis Renault modified a De Dion – Bouton into having a ring and pinion gear and fixed drive shaft
– first electric ignition system was used on Arnold car by Dynamotor
1899 – FIAT started in Italy

1902 – Olds Motor Vehicle Company began a production line for automobile manufacturing
-Ranault introduced drum brakes
-Studebaker began producing electric automobiles to add to their company line-up which was originally manufacturing only horse-drawn vehicles

1903 – the steering wheel was standardized by Rambler and driving on the left hand side began
The first four-wheel drive racing car was built by Jacobus Spijker
Horatio Jackson successfully drove across the United States

1905 – John Wood introduced the use of safety glass

1906 – steam cars were first developed

1908 – the first circumnavigation race by automobile called New York to Paris Race began which added hype to the automobile industry
– Ford Model T was introduced

1909 – Rambler became the first manufacturer to put a spare tire on their automobile models
– 4-wheel brakes and independent suspension were first used by Arrol-Johnston Company in Scotland
– Morgan Runabout cyclecars sold more 4-seater cars

1910 – Bugatti Type 13 came out with advanced engineering compared to other racing and touring models

1912 – Hupp and BSA first used steel bodies

Unique Features

The most well-known veteran cars are the Edwardian or brass cars, because they are the ones that appeared during the latter part of the era and they had the more stable features. These cars were considered by collectors and enthusiasts as the most elegant of the old car models. These cars were first used by the elite, wealthy members of society during its day. The earliest ones had wood panels, extravagant upholstery, and plush carpeting and window treatments.

The features of the veteran cars that were pioneering during that time were:

• front-mounted inline four-cylinder engine
• sliding gear transmission
• brass parts: headlights, radiator, horns
• use of either kerosene, ethanol or gasoline as fuel
• rear-wheel drive
• ignition systems made of either magnetos or trembler coils
• “three speed” gear
• three foot pedals and one lever
• wooden artillery wheels
• pneumatic clincher tires

Legacy and Popularity

Although it has been almost one and a quarter century since the era of Veteran cars began, but the legacy of these vehicles still live on. There are car clubs different parts of the globe — in Australia, South Africa, Great Britain, Ireland, Tasmania and the United States. These car clubs are composed of learned enthusiasts who advocate, collect and certify veteran cars.

The Veteran Cars that became most popular over the years include the Ford Model T, De Dion, Renault and Oldsmobile. Because of the many ground breaking changes in technology over the century, veteran cars have gotten very rare. Most of the veteran cars left are found in different museums all over the world. However, there are still some out there that enthusiasts and collectors are looking forward to buying and restoring.

Although veteran cars are not used in the streets anymore, serious collectors still consider veteran cars as great investments and show pieces. The value of veteran cars rises depending on the model’s manufacturing year, historical significance, condition and chain of ownership. It is very difficult to find veteran cars in very good condition. What collectors and car club members usually do is invest in restoring rusted models to make them have the same elegance from the early years of automobiles. Some veteran cars that have more paperwork or proof of authenticity sell for a steeper price than others.

Some of the very few veteran cars left (in good condition) are:

• 1915 Alldays and Onions – a bull-nosed two-seater Edwardian touring car with 10 hp worth about $40,000
• 1907 Rover – has only one cylinder with 6 hp (worth about $44,000)
• 1913 Vermorel – Edwardian touring car with 12/16 Torpedo (worth about $59,000)
• 1904 Oldsmobile – Curved Dash Runabout (worth about $74,000)
• 1915 Napier – Edwardian touring car (worth about $79,000)
• 1909 Renault – A very rare fast Edwardian touring car with power at 50 hp (worth about $260,000)
• 1903 Richard Brasier – Has 12 hp and twin cylinders and is a 4-seater car (worth about $290,000)
• 1904 De Dion – Has 10 hp with rear entrance, twin cylinders, and 4 seats (worth about $298,000)
Veteran cars are more than just museum pieces or symbols of affluence for the rich. They are pieces of history that tell a story of a different time and place; they remind people of how far we have come in terms of engineering and technological advancement. Furthermore, they are reminders of the sheer geniuses that paved the way for humankind to enjoy the luxury and ease

Category: Veteran

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