Home-Built Duryea Celebrates 100 Years Of Automobile


| September/October 1997



Duryea Horseless carriage

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.