1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

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1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by autohistorystudent » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:32 pm

Hi all!

I am looking for any and all information relating to the Washington car built by the Carter Motor Car Co. in Hyattsville, MD from 1909 - 1912. As far as I am aware, there is only one left in existence, a 1909 Model A1 30hp Touring car. It is this car I am focusing my senior thesis on. I am a senior Historic Automotive Restoration Technology major at McPherson College.

Below is an outline of what I have uncovered and what I would still like to find more information on:

I plan on establishing the history of the Washington car. I have tracked down the book written about Maryland automobile manufactures and a few articles that appeared in the journals and periodicals of the period. Does anybody out there have further information regarding the make? I read through the other thread on this forum but would like to rehash the question to see what else might be lurking in the shadows. Washington car

Does anybody have any period photographs? I have been checking ebay and shorpy but haven't came up with much.

How many Washington's were built?
Who were their customers?
Any accounts of the Washington factory?
What is the exact location of the factory and is the building still there?

I am tracking down events Washington cars competed in. I have found evidence of 3 Washington's competing in the 1909 Frank A. Munsey Reliability Run as well as in the 1910 running of this event. Again, period photos are huge as well as records of the cars that were involved, accounts, etc. I am attempting to connect the remaining Washington to this event. Additionally, in 1913 a Women's suffrage motorcade left Hyattsville, MD, the Washington's home. I would be very interested to discover if a Washington was involved in this event.

Establish a record of ownership. Most of the following information was found in RM's Catalogue from the cars sale in 2012 and 2004.
The Model A1 that I am focusing on was purchased in 1936 by Francis George DuPont and owned until 1980 by the DuPont family. George's father was the creator of the DuPont motor cars. The Washington was first? restored in the 1950s by George.
Who owned the car from 1909 to 1936?
Are there any records of DuPont with the Washington?
Are there any photos from this period?
Are there any records of the restoration?

It seems the car was then purchased by Robert Sahl in 1980 who toured with the car until having it restored in the early 1990s by, I believe, Dragone restorations. There are accounts of the car under Sahl's ownership in the Horseless Carriage Club's magazine but they are mostly captions to photos. If someone knows of an article that appeared on the car I would love to see it! The index on their web site only seemed to point to the captions that I found and a couple of photos.
Any records of the car under Sahl's ownership?
Any photos from touring events Sahl entered?
Any photos from shows the Washington attended? It was at Connecticut’s Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in 1997. Does anybody have photos from this event?

The Washington was offered at the 2004 Amelia Island RM auction. I am unsure if the owner who sold it here was Sahl or someone else. http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=16520

In 2004 it was purchased by John O'Quinn and made its way into Bill Ruger's collection sometime after that.

In 2012 it was sold at the St. John's RM auction to its current owner. 1909 Washington 30HP Five-Passenger Touring | St. John's 2012 | RM AUCTIONS

Any help filling in the gaps would be fantastic!

4. Any other relevant photos, documents, or information!

Best Regards,
Casey Maxon
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Re: 1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by MochetVelo » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:49 pm

Kudos for taking on such an obscure car in your research paper. If I may ask, what sparked your interest in this make? There were two "Washington" cars, as I'm sure you know, and both were unsuccessful. Here is reference to Carter from a 1911 "Motor World":


The business was a family affair. On the board were A. Gary Carter, Frank L. Carter, W. Shirley Carter, and H.O. Carter. The magazine also announces the Washington's new name, the Hyattsville Special.

Phil Jamison

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Re: 1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by autohistorystudent » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:46 pm


There were actually a few Washington's and Carters. All met a similar fate!

Thank you for the link! It is such a blessing that so many of our early automotive periodicals have been scanned into Google!

Regarding my interest in such an off-beat car: I was visiting a collection on a class field trip and it happened to have the Washington. I was delighted by its story and tie to our nation's capital. As it appears to be the only vehicle left in existence to bear the name of our capital and made near D.C., it seems to be a phenomenal fit for a comprehensive understanding of American automotive history. When I graduate, I plan to join the Historic Vehicle Association as a Historic Vehicle Analyst and help craft a registry of the nation's most significant automobiles. The Washington appeared to be a fantastic tie to what my future job will entail. Upon further research I became enamored with the idea of uncovering this little known automotive artifact and now I am lost in the saga of the Carter brother's attempt at automobiling!


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Re: 1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by oldcarfudd » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:02 am

I e-mailed Sharon Sahl, the widow of Bob Sahl, the prior owner of a 1909 Washington. She's touring in Australia, will be home at the end of April, and says she'll be glad to look for pictures, or whatever, to help you with your thesis. She said it was OK to give you her e-mail address, but I'm reluctant to do that on a public forum. One of your professors, Chris Paulsen, is an HCCA director, used to live in the east, probably knows Sharon, and has an HCCA roster. I'm sure he'll give you her address. Good luck with your research!

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Re: 1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by autohistorystudent » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:58 pm


I very much appreciate the help! I spoke with Chris this morning in class and he said he will get me the email address for Sharon.

Thanks again!


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Re: 1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by hcca » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:55 am

Hi Casey:

You might also try searching the Horseless Carriage Library at http://www.hcfi.org/search.php. They have put a lot of early auto publications online and have even more yet to be made available online. Sounds like a fascinating project, hope you'll share it with us.

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Re: 1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by jjtjr » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:04 am

Its a bit long, but here goes,
The Washington was the second car produced by the carter motor car company corporation of Hyattsville. The first was called the carter, and it had two engines and was the idea of Howard o. Carter. Though providing an auto with a spare tire was by then not unusual in the industry. providing an auto with a spare engine was and obviously not it was not a particularly viable marketing notion because the carter two engine car quickly failed. The Washington, which had only one engine, was the idea of Howard Carter's brother, Gary Carter. It moved into the Hyattsville factory as the carter moved out. Many of the workers assembling the new Washington were students at the nearby Automobile College of Washington, DC who labored for the carter brothers in exchange for tuition. The Washington was a typical medium priced four of the period with shaft drive and three speed sliding gear. It did not prosper any better than had the atypical two engine Carter. In early 1912 Gary Carter declared the company bankrupt, which led to something of a family spat. Another brother Frank who was company treasurer announced that the firm was not insolvent and that he had not been consulted prior to Gary Carter's signing of the bankruptcy papers. A family reconciliation had been realized by June, however, when Howard Carter announced the formation of the Washington Motor company to take over the Carter Motor Car Corp. Gary Carter was president of that venture, with Frank as general manager and Howard as advertising manager. Almost immediately its name was changed to Independence Motor Comp., and a new line of Independence cars was announced,which did not survive the year's end. In 1913 there was an aborted attempt to revive the venture as the Washington Motor comp. again. The Carter brothers subsequently became involved in a number of further auto adventures , including the Harvard, the Monarch , the C.B. and Cartermobile.
There models were 1909 A-1, 1910 A-2 and B-1 1911 D-40 and 1912 E-40.

Jerry Grulkey
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Re: 1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by Jerry Grulkey » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:54 am

I'd love to talk to a fellow Pacific NW auto historian I am in Oregon and willing to do research as I have my own to share.
Jerry Grulkey at touristk8@juno.com

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Re: 1909 Washington Research Help Needed!

Post by autohistorystudent » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:24 pm

jjtjr - Great info! I would love to hear more or know if you have any leads to where I can trace some of your info down! PM sent. Thank you much!

Over my spring break at the college, I was fortunate enough to go photograph the car and look it over. Included is a preliminary photo from the shoot. Part of the project includes a photographic component. I hope to include more as I am able to get to editing.

I continue to chase down dead ends but am finding interesting tid-bits on the Maryland manufacturer each day. When all of the dust has settled from the intensive writing process I will be sure to update the board to any new findings!

Best Regards,
Casey Maxon

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