Hagerty's magazine recently posted an article on William Howard Taft's White steam car. Taft was the first president of the USA to embrace the automobile instead of the horse. He authorized the purchase of four automobiles - one of which is the White. I believe that the car was a 1908 or 1910. The point of all of this is that the car is on permanent display at the Heritage Plantation/museum in Sandwich Massachusetts. This is a relatively small museum with a nearly priceless collection of early cars - mostly American. Lots of brass era stuff. The T connection is that they have one, and it is the only car that you can get in and touch. BTW: all of the museum's cars except one are operational. The only vehicle that isn't has a weird size solid rubber tire that would cost a fortune to reproduce. This museum is off the beaten track, but is worth the effort to find and visit. If you do visit it, take note of the Crane-Simplex. It was the museum's first car, and I have ridden in it before it was donated. There's quite a story behind it. It was restored twice within a short period of time.
Wow that's a very nice collection. Here in the Vancouver area we have 2 very nice Crane-Simplex's. One is a 17 Touring and the other is a 15 roadster. Beautiful cars. Quite a bit bigger than a T!!
WOW...Looking at all those brings back memories.
I had all but forgotten about the 1940 Franklin I owned in the early 70's. Was a hell of a car, and an air cooled engine at that..
They show three Model T's on the front photo page on the link posted above. They show a 1913 Touring, a 1915 Couplet, and a 1915 Roadster pick up.
Very interesting place.
Considering that the last Franklins were built in the early '30s - - -
Those big Whites are truly wonderful cars. Dick Hemple restored a 40 HP like that in the 70's. The car had belonged to Web Jay who had racing success with another White named "Whistling Billy". I was happy to ride in it several times when Ron Thurber owned it. Now it is being well maintained by a Mr. Leno.
This is an impression of Mr. Hemple and the car on a Steam Car Tour in Mccall Idaho.
Thanks Mark. That is his 20 hp. FWIW here is the 40 hp that I referred to:
In addition, Mr. Hemple sold that car to restore this 30 hp White. I was pleased to be around and ride in it while Rob Williams owned it.
Mr. Hemple also brought a 1913 Mercer raceabout back to life as well as owning the 1925 Doble that Howard Hughes had owned. We were lucky to have known a fellow clever enough to have such cars. I didn't get a ride in the Doble but he gave me a good ride in the Mercer. I forgave his rather disagreeable manner after that.
My Bad Gilbert,
I should proof read my typing with my fat fingers...LOL... but the 4 is next to the 3.
thanks for catching that.
My dad & I rode in Mr. Hemple's Doble probably in the mid-1960's. He was in Wichita for our local HCCA's annual Air Capital Tour. If I remember correctly, Howard Hughe's had modified the Doble with automatic valves and such where all that was required to "start" the car from cold was to turn on the switch. It took less than one minute for the car to have enough steam to "pull out". The car was an engineering masterpiece!
That is good to hear Verne. I believe Mr. Hemple was living in Kansas City, MO about that time. He had moved to Emmett, ID sometime after that. He certainly knew a lot about Steam cars. Some have said he passed away before passing on some of the secrets.
Another story I heard relating to Mr. Hemple and Mr. Leno is that Jay tried to buy the Green Mercer from Dick after dick's death. Apparently Mrs. Hemple told him "Well, Dick spent a whole years salary to have that car restored. Mr. Leno, if you will pay me what you earn in a year you may have it.
To which he replied later in a high squeaky voice "She's Crazy".
The back story regarding the Mercer. I worked at Harrah's Automobile Collection when Dick was looking for a Mercer Raceabout.
He was good friends with Mr Harrah and Bud Catlett who purchased cars for Harrah's.Dick mentioned he wanted to find a Mercer and Bud went to the car locator files that Harrah's maintained and found the Mercer that Dick purchased. These files were records of all cars known to and offered to Harrah's over the years. Bud offered several Mercer's and Dick picked the one closest to where he lived, if memory serves it was in the corn belt country.
Thanks br....guy. That is fun info to have. I have a Jul/Aug 1969 Bulb Horn article saying the "1913 series J....pulled out of a barn in Malvern,Arkansas." "...it had been in a barn since 1923." The same issue has a fine article quoting a speech by former V. Pres. and Gen. Mar. of Mercer, William A. Smith. Those days must have been special with that kind of expertise around.
It is nice to add pieces to the story.
Richard Eagle -
The ex-Thurber 1909 Model M White was once owned by Chris Dundee (of Portland, Oregon, later northern California), not Webb Jay. Chris's brother, Fred Dundee, owned the racing car Whistling Billy. Chris was racing Whistling Billy when crashed it in July, 1912. Fred owned a 1910 White 40 hp Model MM, which also survived. Fred's car was later owned by Roland Gireaux.
Thanks for the correction Dan. I'm sorry to have mis-remembered that.
Those were incredible days for brass car enthusiasts. Harrah's was at the top rung of the ladder. The people that were around at that time, and often showed up at the collection, the who's who of early car collecting. Austy Clark, James Melton, just to mention a couple.
I was too young and tooo dumb to know what a fantastic job I had. Sadly listened to my ex wife and moved back to Seattle.
At least I was there at the time Mr Harrah was deeply involved in the collection and cars were being restored and the place was humming.
I visited Harrah's in 1968. It was a priceless experience. What a collection!
Dick Hemple had another 1909 White, a Model O, which he lost to his first wife in their divorce (along with several other pretty fine horseless carriages), along with some property.
With some cash she had also been awarded by the judge, she had a cyclone fence erected on the property, which was in downtown St. Louis, then had the antique cars delivered to the site and placed in the enclosure.
The cars were to sit inside the fence, exposed to everything that St. Louis weather had to offer, and rot into the dirt. Man, THAT was some spite. She ignored all pleas to preserve them. I can't imagine they are still there, but I never heard of a successful rescue mission on their behalf. It is said he moved to Idaho to keep from watching his former cars dissolve.
I posted the above from work and while I was driving home, it occurred to me Dick lived in Kansas (Wichita?), not St. Louis. The cars in the weather inside the fence probably didn't care about the difference, though.
Spite! We are all beholding family who make our hobbies easy or difficult. That is certainly an extreme example. I had not heard that about him.