I know Ford wasn't the first car maker to have a left hand drive car there were others.
This one appears to be really early. What do you think it is 1900-1905?
I can't tell if the photo has been flipped or not.
Any idea what make it might be?
Honestly, it looks like a carnival ride, or possibly a prop used in studio photography. The control quadrants look like fakes. The steering wheel does not look like a vintage wheel. There's no padding on the back of the seat, and the front structure appears to be made of cardboard.
I think there is too much detail there to be a fake. There are sidelight brackets with possibly a lamp on the right side of the picture, spark and throttle controls under the steering wheel and the hood is of the type used on the early cars.
In the early 1900s, most people did not own a camera. They usually had their photos taken at a carnival or community picnic by a traveling photographer. The photographers often had props and a popular one was an automobile for folks to sit in. It was a time when most people, especially in rural areas, did not own a car. It was a bit of a gag to have their photo taken while sitting in a car. They could show it to their friends and family and say, “Hey, look at us in our car!”
I think this is a real auto in this photo, but it has definitely seen better days. Most car props I have seen are in better shape than this one.
Oh I agree it is a prop car use in a photo shop of some sort, but I also think it is a real car being used for a prop like Rick said.
I know someone who owns a 1902 Dyke made by the same guy that started the Dyke Automobile books, that has a hood styled like this one. It is right hand drive.
Early cameras took a left-right flipped image like looking in a mirror. I think it is a right-hand drive too.
Autocar had left hand cars by 1903. This looks a bit like an Autocar except the two I'm familiar with have the shift on the side of the car.
Proof of what happens to the car when you let a couple of women drive.
I agree. Looks like a prop.
Starting with commercial production in 1896, Haynes-Appersons had left hand drive.
All Waverley Electrics, starting with production in 1898 were left hand drive.
All Brush Automobiles, starting with the first year of production - 1907 - were left hand drive.
There were many other cars, both privately and commercially built, that had left hand steering long before Ford.
Just like the pupil of the eye causes the image to be inverted both vertically and horizontally onto the retina, ALL film camera apertures cause the image to be inverted vertically and horizontally onto the film - not just early cameras. It's simply physics.
However, that is neither here nor there. When we see, the brain corrects the image in our mind. With photography, the person who prints a photograph makes the horizontal correction by properly orienting the negative on the paper or in the enlarger. Vertical correction is determined by how the photograph is presented in front of the person viewing the photograph, upside right, upside down or any rotated variations in between.
When the photograph in question was printed, the developer may or may not have reversed the negative.
I still think it is a real car.
I have seen dozens of old photos set up like this, just farther away where there was more of the car to be seen.
Usually when they used a fake car it was a painted version on a wide board of some type.
I think this is a used car that was retired to become a photo prop.
It's a real car.
Herb, you are correct. The real cars that were used as props in studio photo shots, whether it was a permanent studio or traveling studio, were well used, older cars. A photographer wasn't going to spend big money for a prop. For traveling studios, they seem to be smaller cars, like the one in the photo, probably because they were easier to haul around.
In addition to real cars and cardboard cars, there were also mocked-up cars - prop cars that used parts from real cars.
The car in the picture was probably eight to ten years old when the photo was taken.
Also - A friend of my dad's owned a 1903 St. Louis that was eventually sold to George Dorris, III. It has left hand drive with a three spoke steering wheel. The car in the photo looks like it could be a 1903 St. Louis. George Dorris founded the St. Louis Motor Carriage Company and later the Dorris Motor Car Company.
The A.L. Dyke Automobile Supply Company was also located in St. Louis. That may be a reason why Dyke automobiles and St. Louis automobiles look similar.
Well of course the car looks beat up...it's got lady drivers!
(oh boy I did it now...I bet I hear from Susan and Trish)