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Flower Car: 1901

Flower Car: 1901

Detroit, 1901. "Bicentenary celebration floral parade -- automobile of William Metzger." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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When Metzger opened his auto showroom in 1897, he was selling Waverly electric cars; logic says that's what he was driving. It's hard to tell through the foliage, but the shape seems right.

Electric phaeton of some flavor

I fairly certain it's electric and it's obviously of the "phaeton" style. I suspect that it was at least a year or two old when the picture was taken. That's based on my inability to find a picture of that wheel style on a post-1900 vehicle. Admittedly, I didn't look terribly hard for one. The year rules out Detroit Electric, and what we can see of the undercarriage doesn't look like the pictures of Bakers I found. A Columbia, maybe? Unfortunately (?) there were a lot of builders of electric cars then, and most of the phaeton and other small body styles look pretty much alike when you can't see details.

Can you name the ride?

Here's a real challenge for all you car guys out there!

Hurry Up, William!

Or we'll never get to Pasadena by January 1st-

Are we having fun yet?

That's about the glummest group of folks, outside of a coal mine, that's been seen around here.


Never tried my hand at it, but my guess is this would be one of the harder photos to do.

Flowers before horse poo

Photos from this era are nearly aromatic with horse dung.

Busy guy

William Metzger had a hand in several familiar brands. He started the first US retail auto showroom (1897!), was one of the founders of Cadillac and later, E-M-F (Everitt-Metzger-Flanders). E-M-F was bought and sold several times, until Walter Chrysler reorganized its last incarnation, Maxwell-Chalmers, into Chrysler.

He also founded the Stinson Aircraft, which was eventually acquired by Piper Aircraft. Piper used a Stinson design as the basis of the Piper Apache.


The wheels were later used as vegetarian snack trays at the reception.

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