Ex-Swigart Museum Collection
1911 Winton 17b Five-Passenger Touring
Chassis no. 10918
Engine no. 10918
457ci L-head inline six-cylinder engine
Single updraft Stromberg/Winton carburetor
Solid axles with semi elliptic leaf springs suspension
Two wheel mechanical drum brakes
-Long term ownership by the Swigart Museum Collection
-Highly original and beautifully preserved example
-Tall gearing and four-speed transmission
-Powerful L-head six-cylinder motor
-Famous touring car with lots of history in the hobby
The Winton 17b
"...A very important part of American automobile history died on the day Winton did." This quote from the Standard Catalog of American Cars states just how monumental an impact Alexander Winton had on the motoring industry.
Winton is widely acknowledged as the first to set up a formal manufacturing operation for automobiles in America as well as the first to build, assemble and ship 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 Winton's speed record cars attracted attention, the single event that shone the spotlight of national publicity on the company and its products was the journey of H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall K. Crocker. The pair traveled from San Francisco to New York City in a two-cylinder 20hp 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 were among 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 except for 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 was displayed with Winton's 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 cross-country Winton is still on permanent display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
The unique feature of Winton's early engines was the actuation system for the intake valves which used compressed air to control the intake valves' lift. The carburetors had no throttle control but Winton's 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 driver's control of ignition timing.
Winton, always looking forward, began producing four-cylinder cars in 1904 and was building sixes exclusively by 1908. Winton was not one to follow the rules and his six did not resemble much else of the time, equipped with a split crank case to allow removal of the crankshaft while the engine was in the car. Winton even continued with his unique, but puzzling to many, intake system until it was finally superseded by a conventional carburetor in 1907.
The large six was designed to compete with the finest offerings by Pierce, Packard, Thomas and Lozier. These were high quality machines and equipped for high speed driving. The cars had tremendously high gears and four-speed transmissions that allowed them to barrel down the road with little strain. Winton used aluminum extensively in the car and weight was kept to a minimum despite the car's large size.
The Motorcar Offered
This 1911 Winton is a well known and beautifully preserved example of one of Winton's most impressive products. The car has had little more than a minor repaint many years ago. The interior is one of the finest preserved we have seen the exquisite leatherwork looks like new, so different from the material available today! This car is fitted with all of its original equipment. The wooden coachwork shows some checking and looks as if it was repainted, likely in the 1940s, right over the original.
The car is still equipped with a functional factory air starting system. When the car was run recently, the system did its job and brought the big machine to life with little effort. If one has not witnessed a motor start with an air system, it is an sight that is not to be missed.
The current owner acquired the car during the dispersal of the Swigart Collection in 2007. He has since put the machine into running order and used it lightly from that time. The car was recently fitted with a new set of 37x5 tires and small details have been sorted out, though the car would likely still need some miles before testing on a major tour.
This monumental machine is certainly one of the great cars from a great time period in American automotive history. This imposing machine will run with best of them and tower over most cars on any brass tour. With its wonderful history and incredible preservation, it is a fine addition to any collection of important cars.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit