Archive for January, 2013


RIKER – ELECTRIC PIONEER

Andrew Lawrence Riker (1868 – 1930) of America started experimenting with electric motors and electric vehicles in 1884 at the age of 16. After completing his studies , in 1887 , he made the first electric tricycle by converting a mechanical tricycle. Riker Electric Motor Company was formed in 1888.
In 1894 , he constructed his first electric four-wheeler by joining 2 bi-cycles, fitting electric motors to rear wheels and housing the batteries below the seat.
Riker Electric Motor Vehicle Company was formed in 1899 and many models of Riker electric cars and trucks were made. Some of the well known models were –

Riker realized that the best way to promote his cars is through racing and in 1901 he constructed the Riker Torpedo and raced to speed record of 57.1 mph in an electric car . The record stood for more than 10 years
Riker Electric Motor Vehicle Co. was taken over by Electric Vehicle Company in 1901. In 1902, Columbia Automobiles and Electric Vehicle Company merge and the Riker brand slowly disappeared. In 1910 , the United States Motor Company was formed and Columbia Automobiles becomes one of  the constituents of US Motor Company. US Motor company later on evolves as Chrysler Motors.
Andrew Riker left Riker Electric Motor Vehicle Co in 1901 and joined Locomobile company and was involved in designing and developing Gasoline automobiles for Locomobile co. In 1905 , Andrew Riker was elected as the first President of SAE.
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DELAHAYE – Sports & Luxury

Emile Delahaye (1843 – 1905), a Frenchman , got interested in steam engines and petrol engines. During 1894 , he manufactured his first automobile and displayed it in the Paris Motor Show.

In order to gain publicity , Emile Delahaye built cars and raced in the 1897 Paris – Marseilles race with a Delahaye 6 HP car.

Failing health made Emile Delahaye to quit the company in 1900. Automobiles Delahaye continued to make automobiles under the leadership of its Works Manager ,Charles Weiffenbach , known as Monsieur Charles. Monsieur Charles steered the company towards road cars and trucks. A 1908 Delahaye –

In the 1930s , in the midst of crisis in the French Auto industry , Delahaye decided to move in to sports cars . Engineer Jean Francois was given the project and thus born the famous Type 134, Type 135 , Type 138 cars with large 6 cylinder engines.

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One of the famous such car was owned by actress Diana Dors , a Delahaye 178 –

After the war , Delahaye designed and developed a model to compete with the famous “American Jeep” , called the Delahaye VRL-“Vehicules Leger de Reconnaissance”.  Around 10000 of these VRLs were sold to the French Army.

The Delahaye logo –

Delahaye acquired the other French car manufacturer , Delage in 1935. In 1954 , Delahaye was taken over by Hotchkiss and the brand Delahaye slowly disappeared.