A Peak Touring Experience
Whether for speed, style, or feats of strength, Alexander Winton designed cars to turn heads.
This 1911 Winton Model 17B Five-Passenger Touring is the archetypal expression of that vision. A self-cranking, six-cylinder engine provided drivers with 48.6 horsepower on the road. Details including Warner Auto-Meter and Moto-Meter gauges and an electric Klaxon horn evoke all the Brass Era inspiration for Steampunk style.
The Winton Motor Carriage Company was born in Cleveland in 1897. Founder Alexander moved from Scotland to the United States at 25, applying his mechanical skills first to the manufacture of bicycles then, in a quick evolution, cars.
The JBS Collection’s first Winton is a study of the differences that distinguished the manufacturer. The car features padded seats, gas lamps, and tonneau covers for the seats and steering wheel, amenities that were selling points for wealthy buyers. But the carmaker began shouldering for market share alongside economical Fords in 1908. Priced at $3,000, kaleidoscopic Wintons — the Model 17B could be ordered in six bright colors — were ten times the cost of a basic black Model T.
Winton had loomed large over the nascent car manufacturing landscape but was ultimately dwarfed by competitors who adopted the principles of mass production.
Pride of Purchase
From the time the first buyer of this Model 17B had his initials engraved on it — Mr. F.L. Garlinghouse, a civil engineer out of Pennsylvania custom ordered it in December 1910 complete with self-inflating Goodrich tires — owners have been excited about this vehicle, showing it to great effect in exhibitions and tours for more than a century.
Winton was an engineer by training but a showman by birth. Sales materials asserted, “Winton is King. It Wears the Crown of Excellence,” and it was through a combination of audacious advertising, publicity stunts, and glamorous relationships that the company reigned.
An automotive endurance run from Cleveland to New York City imagined to attract investment in the fledgling venture met with success in 1897. Winton continued to participate in high-profile races to showcase his cars’ capabilities, once challenging a French racing champion to a high-stakes, winner-takes-all contest. (Winton made himself scarce when the driver tried to take him on.)
And Winton’s client base of the famous — and famously rich — further cemented the company’s exclusive image. Vanderbilt brothers Reginald and Alfred bought Winton models, Andrew Carnegie a limousine from the carmaker. President William Howard Taft was an owner, as well.
1911 Winton Model 17B Specs:
- Six-cylinder engine
- 48 hp
- 124-inch wheelbase
- Gas headlights, dual oil-electric side lamps, and a single tail lamp
- Original price: $3,408
- Brass Warner Auto-Meter, Moto-Meter, and stem-wind clock
- Electric Klaxon horn