1925 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER GHOST TOWN CAR
This prestigeous car, manufactured in number of 6173 in 1907-1925, built in Manchester, England was personally owned by Rudolph Valentino an Italian actor living in the USA. The car's body paint was intentionally alligatored when new to create the effect of leather-covered body. With 6-cylinder, 45 horse power engine the Silver Ghost can drive 80 mph (128.7 km/h.)
Rolls-Royce Limited was a British car and aero-engine manufacturing company founded by Henry Royce and C.S. Rolls in Manchester, England in 1906. In 1921, the company opened a second factory in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1931 the company acquired rival car maker Bentley. From then until 2002, Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars were often identical apart from the radiator grille and minor details. In 1973 the car division was separated from Rolls-Royce Limited as Rolls-Royce Motors. This company no longer owns rights to the Rolls-Royce name, from 2003 these are owned by BMW's Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, a BMW subsidiary responsible for the manufacture of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
1925 FRANKLIN MODEL 10C
This dark green, beautiful car was one of the few remaining air-cooled cars in 1925. Air-cooling is by means of a hood over the motor. A fan is located at the front of this hood, and creates a vacuum which causes the air to rush around the motor.
The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company was a maker of automobiles in the USA between 1902 and 1934 in Syracuse, New York. Franklin cars were technological leaders, using six cylinders by 1905 (a world first) and in 1907 were the first automobiles to have automatic spark advance. They were also the undisputed leader in air-cooled cars at a time when virtually every other manufacturer had adopted water cooling, being cheaper and easier to manufacture. However prior to the invention of antifreeze, the air-cooled car had a huge advantage in cold weather, and Franklins were a popular buy among people, such as doctors, who needed an all-weather machine.
There is a very unique memorial put underground at the end of Luray Caverns trail. This tables in my picture commemorize veterans from Page County. Luray is the county seat of Page County. There are 24 names of those who lost their lives in World War II, five in Vietnam and five in Korean War.
Surely I do respect it a lot. But I always thought at such places in the USA how many hundreds or thousands names should be given on similar tablets related to WWII Nazi and Soviet victims in any similar size county in my country of Poland.
I was a bit surprised to see a maze in quite many popular tourist places in the USA - for example in Williamsburg, Virginia. The function of these places is surely to attract kids and seeing kids running and shouting like crazy it worked quite efficient :-).
The trees of Thuja occidendalis (called American Arborvitae in the USA) creating a one-half mile pathway of puzzlement look interesting. But I didn't spend $6 (children 6-12 years old $5) to enter the Luray maze. It's an attraction for kids or for more kiddy by heart adults than me. Aditionally a few mazes I've seen in Europe were always free of charge. So, I probably think the same about paying for entering a maze in the USA as US visitors about restroom fee in Europe (I don't like it, too).
I've read at place that the Luray Garden Maze is one of the largest mazes in the Mid-Atlantic states. Well, after a few days travels Virginia became for me a Southern state (except vinicities of Washington, DC in northern Virginia) not a Mid-Atlantic one. I simply started to recognize local culture not only the location.
The Luray Caverns advertise as a home to the world's largest musical instrument - the Great Stalacpipe Organ. It's a keyboard instrument that works by tapping stalactites of varying sizes with rubber-tipped mallets which are attached to solenoids in order to produce tones. It was invented by Virginian mathematician and electronic scientist at the Pentagon in 1954.
Well, despite the proud writing "Man's genius and the hand of God are in perfect harmony" the instrument itself is a kind of tourist trap but its location in Luray Caverns definetely isn't. Today, the organ is played by activating an automated system which works similar to a child's music box - I've heard it and it was nothing special. The instrument could also play manually from the console but it didn't. Instead I've found recordings of the organ on CDs available in caverns gift shop.
1908 DELAUNAY BELLEVILLE TOWN CAR
This luxary car with mahogany coach work, leather three stage fenders and original upholstery was custom-made for the Baron Rosenkratz and has travelled well over 300,000 miles.
Automobiles Delaunay-Belleville - established in 1903 - was a French luxury automobile manufacturer from St. Denis sur Seine, France. Their cars were most prestiogious in the world and favourite automobiles of Russian Tsar Nicholas II.
1914 LOCOMOBILE MODEL 48
This speedy car was definetely designated for real (and rich) guys. Its powerful 6-cylinder, 49 horse power engine made the automobile very fast: it could drive up to 70 mph (112 km/h). The reserve water tanks, exposed gas tank, machine hammered dash panel and monocle windshield are well seen feautures of this beautiful car. Hmm... it cost $5,100 - a lot that time.
The Locomobile Company of America based in Bridgeport, Connecticut always built some of the finest automobiles. It was considered by many the "American Rolls-Royce" in standard. A Locomobile was the first United States-built car to win an international motor race, taking the Vanderbilt Cup in Long Island, NY in 1908.
1915 DODGE ROADSTER
Refereing to information given in the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum this black car is extremely rare as Dodge produced very few roadsters. This particular model was popular with doctors of the period. Well, I can agree, the car looks great and serious. The automobile cost $785. It's powered by 4-cylinder and 35 horse power engine. A novel feature is the combined generator and started driven by silent chain. It was the first car to have an all-steel body.
The Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicle Company was established by Dodge brothers in Detroit, Michigan in 1914. The Chrysler Corporation acquired the Dodge company in 1928. In 1998, Dodge, along with all other Chrysler subsidiaries merged with Daimler-Benz. Thus Dodge is part of DaimlerChrysler AG, based in Stuttgart, Germany.
1915 CHEVROLET 490 TOURING
I've got to know that this model has began great competition between Ford and Chevrolet that has lasted through the years. Louis Chevrolet had produced automobiles for several years before this model, but they all had been of a "custom" high-priced quality. 490 Touring price of $490 was to compete with Ford's Model T at $495. The four-cylinder motor is placed in the front and powers the rear wheels. The 19 (Ford T - 20) horsepower engine was capable of carrying the vehicle to a top speed of around 50 mph = 80 km/h (Ford T: 45 mph = 72.4 km/h.)
The Chevrolet Motor Car Company was co-founded by Swiss-born racecar driver Louis Chevrolet and founder of General Motors William C. Durant in 1911 to compete with the Ford Model T. Chevrolet (colloquially Chevy) is the top selling GM marque. In the North American market in 2005, Chevrolet outsold its main American rival, Ford, for the first time in 19 years, making it once again the top-selling marque in the United States.
There is a small gren pool - the Wishng Well - by the Luray Caverns trail. It's a place to make a wish and throw a coin into water the wish, according to a belief, to become true. My wish was sunny weather in the mountains I was going to visit that day and (do not laugh at me) to find an aligator on my southern trip. The first wish didn't come true the second one yes, although my Louisiana aligator was swimming in the Mississipi Delta totally ignoring me instead of lying in the sun in front of my car.
The pool is drained every year and the entire proceeds are donated for medical research, educational grants, and to other worthy charitable and nonprofit organisations. In my part of the world you throw a coin into such pool when the place is so beautiful that you want to come back.
My ticket to Luray Caverns (it cost $19) included self-guided tour to the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum located in relatively small, seperate building. To my surprise there are over 100 cars, carriages and coaches dating back to 1725 in the museum. It's a real paradise for every fan of old cars. Let me introduce some highlights of the museum in the next pictures and tips:
Pictures 1 and 3:
This small, well preserved, bright yellow car was made in Manchester, England by Speedwell Motor Car Company in 1903. The company existed until 1908. Keep in mind that long before globalisation there were over 1000 British Motor Manufacturers who were in business between 1894 and 1960, including 135 operating in 1903.
The displayed Speedwell 1903 has an 1-cylinder, water-cooled, gasoline engine of 6 horse power. Its driver's compartment is so small that a grown man of today can't get his knees under the steering wheel. The car, made almost entirely of French components, was advertised as "the most powerful, the most flexible, the most silent, the fastest on hills."
Spider Surrey carriage (1900)
I liked especially bright red Buick Roadster from 1907, the sporty little car, the "grandfather" of a long and very successful line of automobiles. I noted exposed gas tank and the lack of a windshield. The automobile was powered by 2-cylinder 10 horse power engine.
The Buick Motor Company was founded in 1903 by the Scottish-American David Dunbar Buick (who invented the overhead valve engine on which the company's success was based) in Flint, Michigan. Buick soon became the largest car maker in America and was the parent company of General Motors, new mega-corporation founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1908. With the production of over 9 mln cars (2005) GM is the world's largest automaker.
Cadillac Touring from 1904 according to the information given at the museum can quickly be converted into a two-place roadster by loosening four bolts and completely removing the rear entrance. It was powered by single cylinder 10 horse power engine and cost "only" $900.00.
Cadillac has always been a prestige and luxary automobile. Like in Europe Rolls-Royce, in the USA the name Cadillac became a synonym for "high quality", used in such phrases as "the Cadillac of clocks."
The Cadillac Automobile Company, part of General Motors, was founded and completed the first car in 1902: practically identical to the famous 1903 Ford Model A. The company was named after the 17th century French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, founder of Detroit, Michigan in 1701.
Heavy Knox Touring from 1903 was probably the most luxary and expenive car of that year. Well, it cost $2000 but could seat up to 7 persons including a driver. Theair-cooled single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 8 hp (6 kW).
Knox Automobile Company was a manufacturer of automobiles in Springfield, Massachusetts between 1900 and 1914. Well, their cars were too expensive to survive on the borning automobile market. The company made farm tractors until 1924.
FORD MODEL T (1915)
This is the car that literally put America on wheels. The first Model T was produced at the Piquette Plant in Detoit, Michigan in 1908. 1915 was the year that Ford produced its one-millionth vehicle. Through mass-production methods, Henry Ford developed one of the first well engineered, rugged; yet, precise-made, dependable and first of all cheap autos.
That one on display in Luray cost only $800 in 1915. Its distinguishing features include a metal cowl replacing the cherry wood dash, a louvered hood, and discontinuing of the speedometer. The four-cylinder motor is placed in the front and powers the rear wheels. The 20 horsepower engine was capable of carrying the vehicle to a top speed of around 45 mph (72.4 km/h). The engine started by a hand crank located at the front of the vehicle. The crank was very difficult to operate and has been the cause of many broken arms.
1911 HUPMOBILE PHAETON
The Hupmobile was an automobile built from 1909 through 1940 by the Hupp Motor Company of Detroit, Michigan. This beautiful roadster of unusual body design and sporty apperance was advertised as the little car that was constructed better than the larger ones. It cost only $750.00 and was a very good seller.
These two cars displayed in the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum look similar at first sight but the second one is powered by a steam engine.
1912 METZ MODEL 22
The Metz displayed in Luray has a friction-type drive that is a steel disc rotating in one plane drives a fiber disc operating in a plane 90 degrees to it. The engine turns the steel disc, and the fiber disc turns the drive wheel. Pay attention to the Mother-in-law seat in rear. The automobile has 4-cylinder, 22 horse power engine.
Metz Company produced cars and motorcycles in Waltham, Massachusetts from 1898 until 1922, reaching 1,000 cars per month in the best 1912.
1913 STANLEY MODEL 66
This car is unique as it has an aluminium body, handmade. It's readily detachable exposing wooden frame. The Stanley is powered by 10 horse power steam engine. The boiler is wrapped with sturdy piano wire to prevent injury in case of a boiler explosion.
The Stanley Motor Carriage Company produced steam cars from 1897 until 1927. During the mid to late 1910s steamers were replaced by internal combustion engines. That time the fuel efficiency and power delivery of internal combustion engines improved dramatically and the usage of an electric starter rather than a crank start which was notorious for injury to its operators also led to the rise of the gas-powered automobile which eventually was much cheaper. A 1924 Stanley 740D sedan cost $3950, compared to a few hundred dollars for a Ford Model T of the same period.
The black, aluminium body of Mercedes Benz model S displayed in the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum looks impressive. It is absolutely the finest sports and road racing car ever produced by any manufacturer. It is one of the heaviest and most powerful of this type ever made. Only 146 examples of Model S were produced in Germany, all in 1927-1928.
The hood of the displayed car was open, so I could easily see a supercharged inline-six cylinder engine capable of producing 180 horsepower, 120 in normal aspiration form capable to speed the car up to 177 km/h (110 mph).
I have already visited quite many caverns in Europe (Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, France, Spain, Gibraltar) as well as the world's largest caverns in Carlsbad, New Mexico and I have to admit that the Luray Caverns are on the top. These are the largest caverns east of the Mississippi River discovered in 1878 and simply a MUST see.
The tour starts from going downstairs (picture 2). Then our group of some 15 people followed a guide walking well-lighted, paved walkways leading through cathedral-sized rooms filled with ancient stone formations. Along the trail guide stopped many times in broader places to talk about what's around. I've got to know that some individual formations are over seven million years old and they still grow. New deposits accumulate at the rate of one cubic inch in 120 years.
Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout from 1904 was the first US mass-produced automobile manufactured by the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan, a company founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897 which for some time became top US car producer. General Motors purchased the company in 1908.
The car on display in Luray still looks like a carriage. It's powered by a single-cylinder fuel engine of 7 horse power. The top speed of this car was 18.6 mph (30 km/h). It's interesting that the first speedometer to be offered on a car is on an Oldsmobile.
Look also at unusual three-wheeler - Riley Tri-Car - manufactured in Coventry, England in 1905. Riley was a British automobile and bicycle manufacturer from 1890 (later British Leyland, now the trademark is owned by BMW). The three-wheeler was a taxi-like vehicle powered by 2 cylinder, 6 horse power engine. It had to be difficult for a driver to see when he was going with a passanger seated in front of him.
1903 WINTON ROADSTER
This beautiful car powered by 2 cylinder, 20 horse power engine was one of the first automobiles which didn't look like a carriage. It can be quickly and easily converted from a rear-entrance touring to a snappy two-place roadster. This was also one of the earliest cars to be equipped with wheel steering and single-tube pneumatic tires. In 1903 Winton roadster made the first successful automobile drive across the United States from San Francisco to New York.
The Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland, Ohio - established in 1897 by Scottish immigrant, Alexander Winton - was a pioneer United States automobile manufacturer and the first American company to sell a motor car (until 1924).
1909 MIDDLEBY ROADSTER
It's likely the car displayed in Luray is the only Middleby still in existence. This snappy little roadster was found in the Town of Luray, Virginia. It had belonged to Mr. H.J. Studebaker, former freight agent for the N. & W. Railroad. It's equipped with large air-cooled fan, wooden frame and original white rubber tires. It has 4-cylinder engine of 20 horse power placed in the front that was not yet common that time.