One of the first companies in America to sell an automobile was The Winton Motor Carriage Company under the ‘horseless carriage' genre. Its earliest advertisements urged the public to “dispense with a horse”. The success of this early automobile manufacturer was the reason Cleveland was deemed the automobile capital of America in the 1890s.
Their first automobiles in 1897 were built by hand with painted sides, padded seats, a leather roof and gas lamp. During 1898, Winton sold 22 cars and in 1899, this rose to 100. The first sale was on March 24th, 1898 to Robert Allison of Port Carbon for around $1,000. The 1899 Winton Phaeton had a 117.8 cubic-inch engine with 6 horsepower. In 1997 this hundred year old vehicle was driven from Cleveland to New York City to commemorate the Winton’s journey a century ago.
The Winton company went on to introduce new models, including a racing car and delivery vehicles. After a short hiatus in sales in 1900-01, Winton came back with the 1902 Winton Bullet which set a land speed record of 70 mph in Cleveland that year. The 1903 Model was made famous by Doctor H. Nelson Jackson for making the first successful coast-to-coast crossing of the United States. There were also two racing cars in 1903 called ‘Bullets’ with a speed of 52.2 miles/sec.
In 1904 the Winton Quad was produced with a flat-four and a dummy bonnet which cost $3200. The 1905 productions had vertical four-cylinder engines consisting of a16/20 hp ($1800), a 24/30 hp ($2500), and a 40/50 hp ($3500). These also had the characteristic inlet valves with two elliptic springs that were connected so skillfully to maneuver rough surfaces. 30 hp Model K of 5801 cc were produced in 1906, and a 40 hp four-speed Model M in 1907. New models like 7817 cc ‘Six-Teen-Six’ (a play on words for the company’s 16th model) were introduced in 1908 and a 9505 cc six in 1909. By 1910, 18 automobile models had been sold.
Winton Cars became more conventional with electric lighting and starting, and left–hand drive by 1915. 1916 saw the emergence of a Winton Six-33 Model 22-A 5-Passenger Touring Car, powered by a 347.9 cubic-inch L-head six-cylinder with 33 hp. By 1924 Winton had sadly ceased production.
Winton holds many titles to its credit that adds to its status as an amazing brand of antique car. It was the first to
- install a steering wheel
- develop a practical storage battery
- position the engine in the front
- build a car carrier in America and
- have a tank with 11-12 gallons of gas capacity
With a 1904 Yellow Winton Flyer figuring in the movie ‘The Reivers’, the movie itself came to be known as the Yellow Winton Flyer and Steve McQueen called it the real star. A 1910 Winton Model 17 5-Passenger Touring was recently sold for $209,000, which testifies the place it still holds among collector car enthusiasts.
So go ahead and grab a Winton, but also get a collector car insurance quote from Classic Auto Insurance while you are at it. We help you protect your unique classic car collections with tiered mileage plans, agreed value coverage with inflation guard, and roadside assistance.
About the Author
Drew Yagodnik is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.