The ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher
1903 Winton Runabout
Chassis no. 7987
Alexander Winton was Henry Fords great adversary both in racing and in building automobiles for customers.
Winton is widely acknowledged as the first to set up a formal manufacturing operation for automobiles in America and to begin building, assembling and shipping them in series. In 1897 he and his foreman, William A. Hatcher, had driven a two-cylinder Winton from Cleveland to New York. In 1898 his company, the Winton Motor Carriage Company in Cleveland, sold 22 automobiles. In 1899 the number grew to an even 100.
While Wintons speed record cars attracted attention the single event which shone the spotlight of national publicity on the company and its products was the journey of H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall K. Crocker from San Francisco to New York City in a two-cylinder 20 horsepower Winton Runabout in the late spring and summer of 1903. The trip took 64 days, of which 44 were actually spent on the road, Jackson and Crocker being the first to appreciate the unique pleasures of cross-country sightseeing. In retrospect their journey amounts to something nearly unimaginable. There were literally no roads for much of the trip, no bridges across rivers, streams or gullies, no maps, no water and most significantly no gasoline, oil or tires save what could be stockpiled along their route by their own planning and foresight.
Their little Winton runabout, piled high with supplies, tires and camping equipment, must have been quite a sight to the settlers and indigenous residents they encountered along the way.
Jackson donated his cross-country Winton runabout to the Smithsonian Institution in 1944 where it is displayed with Wintons 1902 Bullet No. 1 and 1903 Bullet No. 2 race cars, the latter being the first 8-cylinder engine powered automobile built in America.
The two-cylinder Winton had many intriguing and unusual features. The engine is located in the center of the car with an unusual 2-speed transmission with a separate clutch within the gearbox for each speed. The gears were in constant mesh but were driven only when one of the clutches was engaged so the driver of a Winton always had clashless gear selection. The same lever system which selected the gearbox clutches also engaged the brake band on the drive sprocket for the chain drive to the rear axle differential. The rear wheels also have contracting band brakes controlled by a foot pedal.
The 5.25 x 6 inch bore and stroke engine displaced 260 cubic inches and had a rated output of 22 horsepower using the ALAM formula. A centrifugal pump circulated cooling water through the engine and radiator located under the hood at the front of the car. Additional water was carried in a dual compartment storage tank with gasoline in the other compartment. Lubrication to both the engine and the gearbox was total loss, controlled by drip feeds and sight glasses.
The unique feature of Wintons engines was the actuation system for the intake valves which controlled the intake valves lift with compressed air. The carburetors had no throttle control but Wintons system of controlling intake valve lift regulated the amount of air-fuel mixture admitted to the cylinders and therefore the speed of the engine. Engine speed also was adjusted by the drivers control of ignition timing.
The rear axle was suspended on full elliptical rear springs with trailing arms for axle location. The front axle used semi-elliptical leaf springs. Two seats perch high up behind the righthand steering wheel which is thoughtfully provided with a hinge in the steering column that swings the wheel up and out of the way of the driver when entering or leaving.
The 1903 Winton Runabout in the Paine Collection is a duplicate of the Jackson/Crocker cross country model, one of about 850 Wintons built in 1903. It was acquired from the famous collection of Dr. Samuel Scher in the mid-60s for whom it had been restored by Gus Reuter. Finished in light brown with a cream chassis lavishly embellished with striped decoration, the seats are upholstered in black leather. There is no top or other weather protection.
A single French BRC kerosene bullseye headlamp dominates the front of the ex-Scher Winton, complemented by a pair of Gray & Davis 'Winton' badged kerosene sidelights, a Dietz kerosene Dainty Tail Lamp and a trumpet bulb horn. The paint is cracking on the wooden body panels and the chassis shows evidence of some significant use. The leather is good, and the brass has been maintained. The Paine Collection Winton has the presentation of a car that had some use in the days and years after its restoration but has been on static museum display for a number of years.
The contribution of the Winton Runabout on the transcontinental trip of Jackson and Crocker to the development and acceptance of the automobile as a practical, reliable means of transportation cannot be overemphasized. The charm, ingenuity and creativity incorporated in early automobiles like this is increasingly recognized and the number of events in which their participation is sought grows annually with, of course, the most famous being the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. The only way to join the fun is with a car like this and 20hp will get it to Brighton early enough to enjoy watching many of the later arrivals.