1913 Metz Torpedo # 19189
1913 Metz Torpedo # 19189
As identified by Metz Specifications compiled by Franklin B. Tucker (“Antique Automobile”, March-April 1967) this was the 888th out of 4648 cars produced for 1913. On March 12, 1913 the Commonwealth of Kentucky (that’s “State of Kentucky” for those not from Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania or Kentucky) issued a Certificate of Registration to J.A Robinson of Waddy, Kentucky, certifying ownership. A Certificate of Registration would again be issued by Kentucky on March 2, 1918 to what I decipher to be “J.A. Robentson” of Waddy, Kentucky. The records that came with the car next identify it as being registered to Leo E. Hogan of Park City, Kentucky, on March 27, 1972. Mr. Hogan’s estate sold the car to Marshall “Jack” Armstrong of Meredith, New Hampshire (from whom I purchased the car), in November 1999.
Photographs of the car from April 1972 show the car painted canary yellow with black fenders and radiator shroud. Restoration of the car was started in January 1979 by Mr. Hogan, during which it was painted the current vermilion with black fenders and white pinstripe.
As for how this car came to be a “Torpedo”, it is currently an enigma. As identified by F.B. Tucker, the “Torpedo” body style was not offered in 1913. The “Torpedo” body style not appearing until the 1914 model year. However, it is known that “Torpedoes” were built during the 1913 production. Most notably, three (3) “Torpedoes” (identified by F.B. Tucker as “1914” model cars) being entered in to the Glidden National Tour in July 1913. [Note: Metz was the winner of the Glidden Tour that year.] The engine number identifies this car as being early 1913 production, well before the Glidden Tour. The body matches the design of the Number 6 car of the Tour with the exception of the Glidden Tour cars having “Prest-O-Lite” tanks, whereas this car has a carbide generator – standard equipment for 1913 production Metz cars. As this car was already in Kentucky four (4) months before the start of the Glidden Tour, and the Glidden Tour cars bore Massachusetts registration plates, we can surmise it is not one of the Glidden Tour cars. The Kentucky registration certificates of 1913 and 1918 do not shed any light on the matter as Kentucky merely identifies the cars as a “Metz made by Metz Motor Co.”, with no mention of body style or type, and no mention of color. Was the turtle deck an option for the “Roadster” in 1913? Was the turtle deck added at some unknown date between 1913 and 1972? The question is open to debate, although the car does look to this neophyte to be in its original configuration as delivered from Metz.
The original brass manufacturer’s identification plate, as described by F.B. Tucker, is missing. However, included in the paperwork for the car (not attached to the car) was an enamel oval radiator medallion of the form identified for later production (particularly for the Model 25, but also seen on pictures of the Model 22 Fore door), i.e. white background with black lettering “METZ WALTHAM-MASS-USA”.
A few tasks still need to be tackled before the restoration Mr. Hogan started will be complete. At some point of the car’s life, the engine, transmission and drive chain splash shields were lost and will need to be replaced. The hardware to hold the headlight lenses to the rims has also gone missing and needs to be replaced, and I need to fix the latch on the taillight lens. The roof bows are only useful as patterns. The headlight and taillight rims need to be re-plated. Should the cowl lights also be plated nickel, or left brass? I need to recreate how the exhaust brake looked and was connected, and re-plumb the headlights (or convert to electric?). I note that the steering column is designed to accommodate a lever for control of spark advance. However, there is no sign of the car ever being equipped with a lever for manual control of spark advance. The magneto (Bosch DU4) is not equipped for a spark advance lever. Ideas, helpful hints, direction to parts, etc., can be sent to me: David C. Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.