APPERSON TOURING CARAt a time when vehicles had not yet agreed on a common form, the Apperson six- passenger touring car showed incredible vision. Built by the Apperson Brothers Automobile Company, its four- cylinder inline engine produced an astounding 40 hp. It used an advanced jump-spark ignition synchronized by a commutator supplying four coils. Its combination watertank and radiator was a forerunner of todays design, with an upper and lower tank, connected by finned copper tubes. A belt-driven fan pulled air across the fins, and a gear driven water pump circulated coolant. The car also had a friction clutch and sliding-gear transmission that provided four forward speeds plus reverse. It used twoindependent braking systems, one acting on the gear case, and the other on brakes of a rear drum design. Perhaps
SPRING WHEELThe answer to solid rubber tires and cartsprings? Perhaps. A manufacturing nightmare? Probably. As you can see, each spring attached to its own upper perch, which joins at a hinge to the previous unit. Also note the work that went into the lower spring perch.
MILITARY VEHICLESAlmost as soon as the automobileappeared, military minds began to explore the possibilities it offered for the battlefield. The Fighting Motor Car appeared in our pages in 1896. Very modern in appearance, it featured armor plating and two machineguns, one facing front, the other facing rear, for a full 360° field of fire. The Simms Motor Scout was built by the British War Office in 1899. It was a quadricycle with a Maxim gun and light steel shield mounted over the front tires. A small motor powered the vehicle...but just in case, it also came with pedals.
FORDS FIRST MODEL AHenry Ford launched the Ford Motor Company in 1903 with this Model A, but receivedonly a passing mention in The Horseless Age. Not because his product was bad, rather because 88 other new carcompanies launched that same year! Still, the simplicity of Fords car would eventually bring it to the forefront of vehicles of that era. At 1000 lb., the vehicle was light, allowing its eight horsepower engine to push it tospeeds of 30 mph. To aid serviceability, the body could be completely removed from the angle iron frame with sixbolts. With a retail price of just under $800, Ford sold 1708 units that model year.
VARIABLE VALVESThough variable valves didnt becomepopular until late in the 20th Century, the De Dion-Bouton Motorette Company had variable exhaust valves on its cars in 1901. The companys New York model had a variable lift exhaust valve that could be regulated to give quieter running. A lever shortened the lift, preventing allof the exhaust from leaving the combustion chamber. This also lessened the amount of fresh charge admitted into the cylinder. We felt the device was an advantage in"traffic driving, and when stopping for, or passing, restivehorses." The device could be activated at will from a lever on the steering column. Renault introduced its own variable lift technology in 1904 (shown). The device hadtwo arms connected to a circular pivot plate, which could rock around its axis by means of a lever near the vehicle