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Canada's first car and first hybrid among Cobble Beach entries

1867 Taylor Steam Buggy and 1914 Galt Gasoline Electric will appear at Canada's Concours

Published: September 3, 2014, 12:00 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:30 PM

Cobble Beach 2014,1914 Galt Gasoline Electric, Canada's first hybrid at the Canadian Automotive Museum

Among the many rare and beautiful cars on display at the 2014 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance, on September 14, will be a pair of Canadian pioneers that few people have likely heard of.

The 1914 Galt Gasoline Electric is believed to be Canada's first hybrid. Its two-cylinder gasoline/kerosene engine drives an electric generator to charge lead acid batteries under the floor. The batteries in turn power an electric motor that drives the rear wheels, making it a true series hybrid.

The only survivor of two such cars built in Galt, Ontario (now Cambridge), it was rebodied in 1941 and currently resides in the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa.

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Perhaps even more significant to Canada's automotive history is the 1867 Henry Seth Taylor Steam Buggy, which is believed to be Canada's first self-propelled road-going vehicle. It predates Benz's original Patentwagen by almost a decade.

Taylor, who lived in the U.S. border town of Stanstead, Quebec, was a local businessman described as an inveterate tinkerer and inventor. He apparently built the device to satisfy his own curiosity rather than for any commercial purpose and abandoned the vehicle after damaging it in what was probably Canada's first automobile accident.

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The reconstructed steam buggy now normally resides at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa.

Both these vehicles will form part of Cobble Beach's new-for-2014 Museum class, which boasts entries from such other prestigious venues as the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Detroit Historical Society in Detroit, Michigan, and the Gilmore Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

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Those entries include such varied vehicles as: a 1906 Ford Model N – an ancestor to the Model T; a1929 Cord L-29 – America's first front-wheel-drive production car; and the 1963 Mustang II concept car built by For d to preview many of the styling elements of the original Mustang production car, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Beyond the Museum Class entries, there will be a full field of diverse vehicles in 15 other classes, which include:

• Horseless Carriage (Brass Era) Pre 1916

• Vintage (Nickel Era) 1916 to 1927

• American Classics Open 1925 to 1948

• American Classics Closed 1925 to 1948

• European Classics 1925 to 1948

• Sports Cars – European to 1973

• Sports Cars – American to 1973

• Preservation Class – pre 1960 cars (unrestored)

• Post War Thoroughbred - limited production prestige to 1973

• American Muscle Car 1960 to 1973

• Supercars

• Race Cars - track only – pre 1980

• Special Interest

• Pre-War Canadian engineered and built automobiles

• Production Modern 1949 to 1973

We'll preview more of the 100-plus vehicles scheduled to appear between now and the show.

The 2014 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance takes place on Sunday, September 14 at the Cobble Beach Golf Links Resort Community on the shores of Georgian Bay in Kemble, Ontario, a few minutes north of Owen Sound. More information is available at www.cobblebeachconcours.com.