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Homepage. This page: Rare old photograph showing an example of the vintage Cartercar, this example seen in Canada.

Cartercar.

The vintage car image shown below was emailed over to me in 2010, and featured on the forum for a while as a 'mystery car' photograph. In the end a contact in the VSCC identified the car as a Cartercar, most probably a 45hp Cartercar Model 5, built circa 1914. The photo was taken in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada in 1917, with the car parked outside the Rex Cafe.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A vintage Cartercar
Cartercars of this era were built in Pontiac, Michigan, having previously been built in Detroit, and prior to that in Jackson. An interesting feature of its design was the friction transmission, with drive taken to the rear wheels via fibre discs that needed replacement every 4,000 miles or so. As they only cost $5, and were easy to replace, this wasn't seen as a particular disadvantage.
Byron J. Carter, founder of the company, went to great lengths to promote the versatility of his car's transmission arrangement, displaying it at county fairs, by driving it up and down lengthy stairways outside libraries and the like, and ploughing through deep snow drifts. Such demonstrations were held prior to the firm's take-over by Billy Durant of General Motors. All these dazzling demonstrations were photographed and featured in company sales literature. Amazingly, one cross-country journey of 10 miles saw a Cartercar fitted with a tightrope above the car, a fearless (brave) tightrope walker demonstrating his skills while the car was in motion.
In 1909 the firm was bought out by General Motors, with production of the Cartercar ending in 1915. The factory premises then turned to the production of Oakland automobiles, another marque in the GM portfolio.
Thanks to Alison for allowing me to show the photograph here. The photo was given to her by Helen Wong, and will be featured in a book called The Way of the Bachelor. This car was owned by Chinese KMT (Chinese Nationalist League) leaders in the province.
Return to Page 12 in the antique car gallery.

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