When a sprinkler pipe burst at the National Automotive History Collection in the Detroit Public Library last February, it looked like the NAHC would be out of commission for about six months. This past week, more than a year later, it reopened.
The Detroit Public Library began collecting automotive materials in 1896, when it purchased Notes on Motor Carriages, a 34-page book by John Henry Knight, who had built one of England’s first cars, a two-seat three-wheeler. Subtitled With Hints for Purchasers and Users, it’s still in the collection.
The oldest acquisition is the October 1895 issue of The Motocycle.
“It’s one month older than The Horseless Age, which a lot of people think was the first U.S. automotive publication,” Detroit Public Library coordinator for special collections Mark Bowden said. “It’s from so early, the magazines didn’t even know to call them automobiles yet.”
* Earlier this month, the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage hosted the third annual Drive History Conference, a conference that afforded attendees the opportunity to take a spin in some unique vehicles.
During the historic vehicle driving experience, registrants had the opportunity to drive eight cars ranging from a 1910 Packard to a 1970 Buick Electra. When asked about this year’s event, Diane Parker, VP of the HVA, said “The fact that we can have a safe environment for people to experience, ride in, and drive the cars makes me happy. What I really love is that we bring all different ages, backgrounds, and missions together. People that are collectors, academia, stewards, etc. together and everybody learns from everyone else. We have the young generation talking to the grey-haired, old car guys of 50+ years and everybody’s learning something and everybody’s having a great time. I just couldn’t ask for more.”
* In celebration of Earth Day, Japanese Nostalgic Car took a look at the Toyota AXV, an attempt to build the most efficient internal-combustion-engined vehicle.
The Advance eXperimental Vehicle debuted in October 1985 at the Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed an “Experimental Econo Vehicle,” the goal was simply to squeeze as many miles out of a gallon of dead-dinosaur juice without sacrificing space for a family of four.
Powered by a 1.1-liter turbo-diesel three-cylinder with direct injection, the car was said to return 34 km/l, which translates to an astounding 80 mpg. Obviously, the car was never built, but elements of the design would appear on cars like the Starlet and Tercel hatchbacks of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
* Reader John King, in updating us on the Minneapolis and St. Paul Ford Model T factories, also pointed out to us Tenvoorde Ford, a St. Cloud-based dealer that has been with Ford since 1903.
Steve Tenvoorde engaged in several occupations, working for a carriage builder, opening a blacksmith shop, and inventing several items that were patented. He developed an interest in bicycles and opened a bicycle shop on fit have so where he achieved fame as a bicycle racer. In 1899, his career took an abrupt turn when the opportunity arose to purchase a Milwaukee Steamer. Steve and his buddy P.R. Thielman drove from Minneapolis to St. Cloud over a rough oxen trail, bringing the first automobile to St. Cloud. In 1901, he began selling cars from his bicycle shop in downtown St. Cloud. He signed the second Ford franchise on March 21, 1903, before Ford Motor Co. was incorporated that June.
* Finally, the latest episode of McPherson College’s Project Sheds video series takes a look at Francis Abate’s under restoration 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3.