100-year-old cycle car comes back to Saginaw - WNEM TV 5

100-year-old cycle car comes back to Saginaw

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A piece of Mid-Michigan history came back to life Thursday morning.

The car is one of only 35 manufactured in Saginaw.  

It took more than a few cranks, but the 1914 Saginaw cycle car finally started up for a drive through Hoyt Park Thursday morning.  

Only 35 of them were made one century ago. It's the most important piece on display at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County. It didn't take much to get it road ready.

"No, it really wasn't. When we got the car it was in pretty good shape, the engine had compression and so it didn't take much to get her going again," said Ken Santa, with Castle Museum.

Back in 1914 when this car was made boaters were popular hats. Also there was a lot of history made that year.

The Panama Canal opened, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, sparking WWI, and a young Babe Ruth made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox. 

The two-seater car was tooling around Mid-Michigan, getting 50 miles per gallon on it's one gallon gas tank.

Al Smith happened to be at Hoyt Park.

"It's a nice looking car. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't mind driving it myself," Smith said.

William Dreist got the car ready for the road. He said it's very unusual driving a Saginaw cycle car.

"You actually push the clutch down and lock it in, because of the friction drive. In a normal clutch you're pushing the clutch down and you're out of gear, but it's just the opposite on this one," Dreist said.

There's word that this is one of only two cars manufactured by the Valley Boat and Engine Company. It was appraised recently at about $7,000. As far as museum officials are concerned, it's priceless. 

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