Home-Built Duryea Celebrates 100 Years Of Automobile

By Staff
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49602 McClure Road East Palestine, Ohio 44413

After growing up in a family that has always been
automotive-oriented and around a family-owned automotive parts
business all my life, it’s no wonder I developed an interest in
old automobiles.

After attending numerous gas engine shows, steam shows etc., I
decided to try my hand at constructing a horseless carriage. The
1895 Duryea known as ‘the car that started it all’ in the
United States seemed to be the most interesting because of its
historical prominence.

The two-year project yielded many hours of enjoyment gathering
pieces that would eventually resemble the original car.

The body is 5/8‘ yellow poplar
finished in Dupont flat black. The wheels are hickory, Amish made,
with hard rubber tires, 38′ front and 44’ rear. The front
axle is a modified Model T. The rear axle is a highly modified
Harley Davidson Servi-car, chain drive with an added 180mm
mechanically actuated brake inside.

The transmission is a Harley also, chain in, chain out, with a
clutch pack as an integral part (three speeds forward, one
reverse). The original engine was a 4′ bore, 4′ stroke
which was so severe when it fired it was replaced with a 1939 OTC
series 2 cylinder-horizontally opposed Onan which worked out much
better. This engine, from a World War II generator, is a four cycle
L-head, with a 25/8‘ bore x 2’
stroke. It has a 5 :l compression ratio.

The car is tiller steered and the tiller also serves as a gear
shift by an up and down movement the same as the original car. The
clutch and brake are all on one pedal which works out nicely. The
seat box and top are buggy material. The headlights are Deitz
kerosene which are assumed to be buggy lights. The brass bell, as
we are told, came from a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, street car.

The car was finished in the fall of 1996 and we were able to
take it to a couple of engine shows before bad weather. This year
we have attended one so far and everyone enjoys getting a ride in
‘the old buggy.’ We get a lot of favorable comments. In
fact, a lot of people ask where we found the old car in restorable
shape, or how bad was it when we bought it, not realizing that the
car was built from scratch from a picture. We hope to take it to
many more engine shows in the future and are sure we will have a
lot of fun doing it.

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