Turns out the 1906 Cadillac Victoria Touring I hauled from Kalispell, MT for Jerry & Kim was followed up by a 1907 Thomas project car & parts I picked up today in Lakewood, CO ....
I have videos & images here of the load out today:
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Interestingly enough - a 1907 Thomas Flyer won the 1908 New York to Paris Race ... .
" The American Thomas Flyer was in the lead crossing the United States arriving in San Francisco in 41 days, 8 hours, and 15 minutes.
It was the first crossing of the US by an automobile in winter. "
The documented Thomas that went new york to Paris is in the National Auto Museum in Reno NV .
I riden in that car
I guess that one was a Model 35 which was a 60 HP four cylinder .....
This one is a three cylinder .....
Not too many of these left I imagine ......
Are you sure? It's a six and thank you for the pictures!
Three pairs of cylinders. Harold Coker had one of these I think. Awesome machine.
I believe that Thomas Flyer is later than 1907.
Also, it is a six cylinder motor - two cylinders per jug.
3 cylinder, 1904 to 1907
4 cyl 07
6 was 1910, all had 1 pot per cylinder.
1910 6 cyl.
Being a six, it must be 1908 or later (according to the Standard Catalog of American Cars, Kimes & Clark).
The New York to Paris race was run in 1908, George Schuster, (engineer, and test driver for Thomas) became the lead driver for the Thomas Flyer on that race. He did not like the new six, or a few other changes being made for the 1908 four cylinder models. So he insisted on running the race with a leftover 1907 stock chassis specially outfitted for the journey. Since they won the race, I guess he made the right choice.
There are a few surviving 1907 model Thomas automobiles. I understand that there are about three or four of the smaller models (all Four cylinder), and maybe four of the large models including the famous New York to Paris car. One is an incomplete but restorable car, one little more than a few parts, and one beautifully restored huge touring car! Definitely, it is one of the most impressive cars I have ever seen!
Several '08 and later Thomas Flyers exist, and a few are often toured. I have seen maybe three or four of them over the years, but none of them come close to the grandeur of that gorgeous '07 touring car.
Great car nonetheless.
Thank you FJ for sharing.
I think I found it, a light 6, M6-40hp. built 1909 for the 1910 year, Thomas Flyabout. It shows the 3 pot engine and more sparks plugs than it knows what to do with!!. the 60hp has 6 pots.
Boy! did they make some nice cars/engines!
Here is the other side ....
(3) spark plugs per cylinder
I think someone had this engine running fairly recently - there appears to be a temporary fuel feed ran.
I don't know what paperwork or identification numbers are present.
This could be a Thomas composed of several model years ....
I was at what was then Harrah's museum in Reno in 1968. As of then, the NY-Paris Flyer was a runner, and Bill Harrah would occasionally drive it home at the end of the day.
If only to me it seems strange there are no priming cup's?
I spoke with the buyer of this car who lives in the Seattle area.
He does not necessarily believe this is a 1907 model based on the engine.
I just left Laramie Wyoming this morning and I'm heading west along I-80 thru Salt Lake City & Boise to Seattle.
If any members want to meet me along my route and take a look at this Thomas please give me a call.
Jeff Mahl, great-grandson of George Schuster who drove the round-the-world Thomas, does presentations where he takes the part of Schuster, narrates the trip, and shows pictures. At the HCCA's 75th anniversary convention, the club arranged to borrow the actual car from the Reno museum. Jeff did his presentation while sitting in its driver's seat. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
The Thomas that won the race was owned by the Long Island Museum in New York for many years before Harrah bought the car. George Schuster was still living when Harare bought the Thomas. Schuster remembered that a repair was made to the frame. The Thomas was examined and the repair was found. Harrah then had the Thomas rebuilt to what it was when the race was completed. Harrah also owned a 1909 Thomas he bought at the Detroit Lakes Auction in Minnesota in 1955. I was at that auction.
Someone may have filled the holes with spark plugs instead of the priming cups that would have gone in the same place. Note how small the water pipes/hoses are in comparison to the size of everything else.
I agree, 1909 Model Year six cylinder 40 hp cast in pairs, dual ignition. I've looked at 1906-1908 Thomas when comparing Ford's Model K with Thomas and other high end performance of the period.
In 1907, the Ford Six (Model K" competed head to head on the track once with a Thomas Flyer 60 hp (same car, as mentioned, that would win the 1908 NY to Paris race).
The Model K won the race, setting a world 24 hour record. The Thomas was third, behind Ford and a Pope Toledo.
In another competition, a 24 hour endurance run, a Thomas driven by Montegue (Monty) Roberts and a Ford Six (K) were among seven of twenty one entrants finishing with perfect scores. Roberts began as the primary driver of the N.Y. to Paris race for Thomas, leaving the race and Shuster to pilot the Thomas to victory.
While Thomas, Pope Toledo, Locomobile and several other makers had full time racing teams, Ford Motor Company attended few races as a company, and still won and placed well in several big name races. Frank Kulick was Ford's primary driver, as he was between 1904 -1912, winning a remarkable number of races over the years. Even when racing, Kulick was primarily a Ford employee. From 1906-1908 he was in charge of Model testing, and was required to approve all K roadworthy before they left the factory.
Ford Six leading 60 hp Thomas Flyer (left rear) and Pope Toledo on the way to victory in the 24 Hour Race, setting a world record for miles traveled over 24 hours on a one mike track.
1907 New Jersey endurance run, fall 1907. 7 of 21 competitors had perfect scores, including 60 HP Thomas and 40 HP Ford six:
A Ford Six and Thomas Flyer during the 1907 Glidden Rour. The Ford was an unofficial participant and I have no other information other than this lone photo that appeared in Automobile magazine with the caption "Ford and Thomas lost in Chicago morass."
Jim, hope you don't mind me hijacking your great thread about this important piece of automotive history you are transporting. One source said there are only 2 1909 six cylinder Thomas Flyabouts known to exist. If that's what this car is, it's a rare animal.
My point is, for one brief and shining moment, Ford competed mechanically with some of the most powerful and most expensive cars in the world.
Thank you for posting.
Thanks for taking the pictures Jim. It is a rare treat to see a Thomas.
This one was touring Yellowstone Park 16 years ago last week.
No one can hijack this thread - all the people posting have been very interesting & informative.
The collaborative effort put forth on this thread just amazes me - useful information from contributing members the world over.
Thank You Everyone .....
Sir without your posting much would been missed! I now see priming cups on top of the intake manifold.
I love a good mystery - so off we go ....
The focal point of this Thomas is the engine - in discussions with both the Seller & Buyer I have pieced together the following:
The previous owner had this Thomas as far back as the late 1990's - it was located in Agate, CO & then moved to Strasburg, CO.
Thomas contracted with Wisconsin Engine to build high performance engines for installation in a few early cars.
There is speculation that a high performance 74 HP and 90 HP version were manufactured by Wisconsin Engine for Thomas.
There are rumored to be at least (3) or (4) - they possibly had (3) spark plugs per cylinder.
This information is albeit obscure & subject to further clarification - but .....
If the engine can be conclusively identified as one of these engines ...
If it is a high performance Wisconsin Engine - it is possible that this car is indeed a genuine Thomas Flyer.
Possibly built around the time of the 1908 New York to Paris Race to capitalize on the Thomas victory ....
Maybe this 1910 Thomas? Similar jugs. For 1911 Thomas added a waterjacketed carb that might be the line coming from the cooling system heading toward the carb?
1911 disc including carb to cooling system line:
That might be the car - but perhaps with a higher HP engine - not a lot of these were sold - I am not sure if that engine or this one were made by Wisconsin ....
I just took these images ....
Can you can you guess the bore and stroke? If Thomas were "square" engines it will be over 4x4 to get to high hp. It doesn't look like the jugs sit very tall compared to the hood former for a high hp engine. But hard to tell.....
Well at least the Thomas Flyer was offered after 1907.
I can't find a published reference of who built that engine for Thomas.
This carburetor does not appear liquid cooled so maybe that makes it earlier ?
Perhaps the high horsepower claim was more hype than actual horsepower.
I don't have a way to measure - sorry - it is raining cats & dogs here in Rock Springs, WY.
If it is a Thomas, how do you explain the 1913-14 Cadillac 2 speed rear axle? If you look close, nothing on this car looks like Thomas, pedals, steering, shift levers or frame. Do your home work guys. Also Wisconsin made 6 cylinder engines for fire trucks. Most of these had the arch bar mounts like this one.
Glad this subject motivated you to make your first post !
The Seller mentioned the Cadillac two speed rear end - it has a Thomas brass tag on it - since I am not a Thomas expert I don't know if that was common practice.
Wisconsin made engines for many early cars - including Stutz.
I see a 6 cylinder T head with 3 plugs per cylinder. If the valves are mounted under the plugs then the cylinders would have to be very egg shaped to fill the volume of the jug. If there are 2 cylinders per jug then they would fit in nice and round . . .
Check out the blog about JD Rockefeller's Thomas on the Grundy insurance site. I think I may have posted a shot of Jim in his stocking feet pushing the car into the lobby where it is on display. A fun day for sure. It runs and drives, but really is a museum piece.
Jim just finished another Thomas which took third in class at Pebble this year.
Freighter Jim, if you find any more like this squirreled away, I'd appreciate a phone call!
I will likely never haul a Thomas again.
There are (3) known complete 1907 Thomas Flyer vehicles accounted for as best I can tell.
I believe this engine is from a 1907 Thomas Flyer but as to the rest of the car - extensive research will need to be done to determine to what extent it is a Thomas.
What ever the experts decide i thank you for the pictures!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank You ....
A few times a year I find myself hauling a historically significant vehicle with an interesting story behind it - perhaps a mystery to boot .....
So I share here on the forum with family ......
Having coffee in Evanston, WY .....
Going to be a wet day of driving to Boise I imagine.
Took these just now .....
I wonder why two speedometers.
There were two different companies with the Thomas name. The E.R. Thomas Motor Co. of Buffalo, N.Y. which built the Round the World Thomas Flyer. The other company was the E.R Thomas-Detroit Mfg. Company of Detroit, Mich. which did not build the Round the World Racer. Thomas-Detroit was later bought by Chalmers, which was bought out by Maxwell, which was bought out by Chrysler.
If you trace the cable on the left one, you will find it goes to the engine crankcase. It is set up as a tachometer.
At the heyday of the Harrah collection late 70s
There was 3 Thomas flyers and Thomas-Detroit
N. Bob Middleton's estimate jibes with my memory of Harrah's Museum in the late sixties. Very impressive to me, about 2200 cars then. Dave in Bellingham,WA
Dave Longstreth comments regarding this project and vehicle are spot on and extremely correct. Lots of newer stampings and name plates on things that are not Thomas, nor Thomas Detroit. .This is an interesting pile of parts-and an engine which is early firetruck- but a Thomas Flyer it is not. Very few authentic Thomas' exist. There are many out there represented as "real" but in reality are built from non-Thomas parts and parts from early firetrucks. This is still a neat project, but it is an assemblage.
I noted the appearance of "two speedometers" also. I just figured that long as the vehicle was, one was for the front end of the car and the other for the rear. That way, the driver could tell if the back end of the car was keeping up with the front end, or about to pass it!
Sorry...I couldn't just let it go by without a comment.
Looking at the intake side and top plugs and other features, my guess is still that this is a 1910/11 Thomas 40 hp motor. It looks like the intake manifold and radiator pipe are homemade. The smaller pipe leading down toward the carb may be a carburetor heat line used on the 1911Thomas 6-40. The too motor is the one Jim posted, the bottom motor a known 1910 Thomas 6-40. The known motor has priming cups where a third plug was added on the FJ motor.
Just my guess....
The intake manifold is definitely not home made. The 1917 100hp Wisconsin engine has the same manifold and cylinder set up
1907 Thomas Model 36, Seven Passenger Touring.
Pics taken at Harrah's in 1984.
Nicknamed "Blondie" it was Bill's wife's favorite car (Mine too!).
Four Owners In 101 Years
Extremely Impressive Road Performance
One Of The Few Thomas Flyers With Its Original Coachwork, Engine And Chassis
5 1/2" Square Bore and Stroke
522.7 CID Inline Four Cylinder T-Head 60 HP Engine
Last sold (2008?)for $1,028.500.
Sean, beautiful Thomas Flyer!
Peter, after looking at the two engines again, I see the 1910 Thomas engine has a top and bottom stud for the intake manifolds, while Jim's engine has the studs on each side. They look similar in style and shape. I thought Thomas made their own engines, both for commercial and racing cars, but of course, am not sure. I know Thomas had a six cylinder racer early on, however resisted offering a six cylinder car until the 1908 six, offered in mid-1907.
Thank you Ron Mc Willie, someone that can actually look at the photos and see what it really is. I have seen the car in person so I have an advantage.
A+ to Dave Longstreth & Ron McWillie. Dave really knows his stuff.
BUT the new owner shouldn't be too discouraged... I think the project was really well bought and the bits could serve to start someone with a super brass era special that be loads of fun.
If I owned it I'd sell the extra bits and slim down to the essentials to make the speedster...but nobody asked my opinion.
By the way... On the three spark plug observation...The Thomas (Buffalo) cars were fitted with a single Bosch Mag that operated plugs directly on top of the intake T-Head jugs and the ones coming out the side on the intake were connected to the Atwater-Kent distributor box (fitted to the dash) and it was primarily used for starting. The exhaust side T-Head was fitted for priming cups.
If one wanted to upgrade their car I suppose they could do without the priming cups and have an extra set of plugs in leu to create more performance. This would necessitate a two spark mag on the car and is entirely possible/and period, but I wouldn't call it factory supplied.
Some days - these the tools of the transport trade ....
My respect - gratitude - appreciation to Mr. Stu Laidlaw & his daughter who took a few minutes out of a busy Friday morning to satisfy my curiosity.
On towards better days .....
Cool car cool story.Gonna be a great project.
Blondie yes she was stunning
Harrah had 3 1907 Thomas Flyers this one red one and around the world one