1901 Duryea Four Wheel Phaeton
Class/Category: American Prewar (1926-1942)
1901 DURYEA FOUR-WHEEL PHAETON
10 hp, three-cylinder engine, two-speed transmission, leaf-spring suspension. Wheelbase: 66″
In automotive circles, the Duryea name is revered for its creation in 1893 of what is generally considered the first successful gasoline-powered car built in the United States. Credit for its initial conception goes to Charles Duryea, who was inspired by H.K. Sanks’ gasoline engine at the Ohio State Fair. In the early 1890s, his brother Frank completed assembly of their first single-cylinder engine. Producing just four horsepower, it was cloaked by a buggy-type body, with the cylinder head extending rearward over the axle. The water-cooled engine featured make-and-break electric ignition and was mated to a transmission comprised of bevel and spur gears operated by vertical movement of the steering tiller.
After a successful first test in Springfield, Massachusetts and with its subsequent racing victories at home and abroad, the newly founded Duryea Motor Wagon Company became the first American car company to move beyond “one-off” vehicles into more substantial production. The brothers went their separate ways in the late 1890s, and in March 1900, Charles Duryea relocated to Pennsylvania, where he joined with Herbert Sternbergh, “son of the richest man in town, an iron-master of the highest character and ability,” and organized the Duryea Power Company of Reading.
The Meguiar’s restored 1901 Duryea Four-Wheeled Phaeton fittingly represents both the company’s geographic transition from Peoria to Reading and its abandonment of three-wheeled vehicles, if not its continued insistence on the tiller steering arrangement and is certainly a handsome example of the earliest days of American motoring.
Barry is the third generation President of Meguiar’s Car Wax, who took Meguiar’s into the retail market in 1973 and it became the top selling Car Wax in America. His TV Show ‘Car Crazy’ ran for 18 years and aired on Discovery Networks world-wide. He’s been the Grand Marshall for many events from the Woodward Dream Cruise to the Copperstate 1000, honored as Icon of the Year by the Petersen Automotive Museum and inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame.
His cars are a joint passion with Karen, his wife of 57 years, who’s also a Car Guy. They decide together which cars to buy for reasons that are personal to them. It was Karen who talked Barry into buying the Ford GT. While they don’t call themselves Car Collectors, they’ve collected a few cars that stir their personal emotions and they love to drive.