Description

  • The Imp featured a wood frame, motorcycle engine and four motorcycle wheels.
  • It was low-priced, half the cost of a Model T, but the public preferred full-size cars.
  • It was only produced in 1913 and 1914.

Story

Story

In the late 1800s, one could buy a horse and buggy for about $150.  When the horseless carriage arrived, costs went considerably higher.  Many doubters predicted the failure of newfangled automobiles because they could not compete in price with the horse and buggy.  Henry Ford proved the doubters wrong with the Model T, and many other low-priced ventures sprang up.

In 1913, the W.H. McIntyre Company in Auburn, Indiana, commissioned William B. Stout to design a low-priced vehicle.  Stout designed a “cycle car” by mounting a motorcycle engine on a hardwood frame with four motorcycle wheels.  He attached two tandem seats and arranged an outside belt drive to the rear wheels.  The W.H. McIntyre Company called the cycle car the “Imp” and produced a few hundred during 1913 and 1914.  Although the Imp was low-priced (approximately half the cost of a Model T), the public preferred the comforts of full-sized automobiles, and cycle cars did not sell as well as expected.  Imp cycle car production stopped at the end of 1914.

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