Automobile endurance tests at this season of the year are rather of a novelty, to say the least, so the results of the two which occurred recently, in the East and W est respectively, will doubtless interest our readers, especially since all the cars which obtained perfect scores are standard American machines and old-time favorites. The first test was a decided novelty in the form of a 24-hour road reliability run. It was conducted by the New Jersey Automobile and Motor Club, the conditions being that each machine should make five rounds of a 94-mile circuit in just 24 hours without any adjustments and without stopping the engine except in controls. No running schedule was provided, and but three minutes leeway was allowed at the finish. Students from Stevens Institute acted as observers. The course was an excellent one,- there being only one short, muddy stretch and three or four bad turns. Starting from Newark, it passed through Bloomfield, Montclair, Dover, Succasunna, Mount Freedom, Morristown, Bedminster, Somerville, Bound Brook, and Plainfield. The start was at 2 P. M. on November 15, under fair weather conditions. Twenty-one cars started, and a few of them made the first round in a trifle less than three hours, while more than half completed it in less than four. Two Maxwell machines were eliminated in this round, one on account of faulty lubrication, which caused the connecting-rod bearings to burn out, and the other because of carbureter trouble. The Oldsmobile "Mudlark" experienced trouble from a slipping clutch, while a Pullman touring car caught fire and was burned during the refilling of the gasoline tank at Newark. The next three rounds were made during the night, which was a moonlight one, although very chilly on account of a cold northeast wind. A single-cylinder Hewitt runabout dropped out on the second round, owing to loss of time from running out of fuel in a secluded part of the course. A 4-cylinder Cadillac runabout ran into a bank and smashed a front wheel at about 2:30 A. M. This car was far ahead of the requisite schedule of 19 miles an hour, and notwithstanding a delay of four hours, it finished on time, though penalized 1,098 points for replacing the wheel. One of the new water-cooled Marmon cars was ditched during the night while trying to pass a hay wagon on a narrow stretch of road. Fifteen machines had started on the fifth round by 9 A. M. of November 16, and seven still had perfect scores. A Maxwell 4-cylinder touring car dropped out because of a leaky radiator, which' left but fourteen cars to finish. Seven of these had perfect scores as follows: 40-horse-power Ford 6-cylinder runabout (the only 6-cylinder car in the contest), 28-horse-power air-cooled Franklin touring car, 50-horse-power Haynes runabout, 20-horse-power Locomobile touring car, 20-horse-power Matheson touring car, 30-horse-power Oldsmobile touring car, and 50-horse-power Thomas touring car. Seven cars were penalized, although most of these finished on time. A single-cylinder Cadillac hit a tree in the night and stalled its engine, for which it was penalized 23 points. Its 4-cylinder mate received 1,098 points. Grout, Autocar, and Mitchell machines were penalized 107, 76, and 115 points for adjustments en route. Two other Mitchell cars abandoned the test, one of them on account of a broken water pump. The new 4-cylinder water-cooled Marmon touring car also did not finish, while its air-cooled mate, driven most of the time by a woman, finished nearly on time with 341 points penalization, caused chiefly by a leaky pet-cock in the gasoline system. The Oldsmobile "Mudlark" (a 30-horse-power 1906 touring car) received 12 points on account of a slipping clutch. In summing up the results of this test, it is to be noted that exactly one-third of the cars finished with perfect scores, a second third finished with penalizations, and the remainder abandoned the test because of breakdowns or accidents. The test was not a particularly strenuous one for the machines, though it showed their ability to keep going for twenty-four hours on good roads. It was more a test of the physical endurance of the drivers than of the mechanical endurance of the cars, as almost without exception the drivers remained at their wheels throughout the entire run. Nevertheless, the test has shown the possibilities in a contest of this sort in the way of finding defects within a short period of time, and it is probable that similar tests over rougher roads will be held in the future. The second endurance test was held under the auspices of the Chicago Motor Club, and consisted of three runs of about 200 miles each, made from Chicago to cities about 100 miles distant. The cars were divided into three classes according to a price classification, and were required to make 20, 17, and 14 miles an hour respectively. At the end of the road test the cars were submitted to the close scrutiny of a committee of technical men, and any breakages or slight defects in them or in their accessories counted against them.- It was this latter part of the testthe final inspection at the end of the road trialthat brought penalizations to a number of leading makes of cars. It was, indeed, hard that after a strict 600-mile endurance test a car should be deprived of a perfect score on account of the looseness or slight breakage of some accessory, such as a lamp, speedometer, or horn; and in this respect, the rules were rather too strict than otherwise. If they had been made to apply to the shaking loose or breakage of any parts of the car proper, this would have been sufficient. In the first day's run of 230 miles from Chicago to South Bend and return, 35 cars started. Four of these dropped out during this run, one of them, a Thomas Flyer, becoming ditched on account of fast driving before it.got beyond the city line. A Royal Tourist broke its rear axle before it had traveled 25 miles. The driver succeeded in obtaining a new axle from Chicago and putting it in place on his car. Altogether he lost 4% hours, but he managed to make half of this up before the end of the day. A Marion machine also broke an axle, while a Frayer-Miller cracked its frame. Other cars which were penalized were a Matheson (which lost 235 points owing to trouble with a radius rod, and 16 points for tying up the sprag to keep it from dragging) ; a Maxwell (which lost 334 points from engine trouble, though it made all controls on time) ; and the Locomobile and Pierce machines (which lost 10 and 26 points respectively from making brake adjustments). The second day's run was from Chicago to Rockford and return, a distance of 189 miles. The roads were much better than those encountered during the first day's run, and the contestants found many stretches where they were able to make high speed. Several new machines were penalized on this day, while others which already had points against them secured some in addition. At the start of the third day's run, one of the three Matheson cars lost 401 points on account of the driver finding it necessary to open the bonnet and pour warm water on the carbureter before he could start the engine. The car was withdrawn from the contest, despite the fact that it had a perfect record up to this time. A third Matheson car, and a Stoddard-Dayton 6-cylinder car did not start on this day. The run was to Ottawa, 111., and return, a distance of 205 miles. The cars which were penalized on this day were rather few. The Pierce machine, which was penalized 26 points on the first day, made the following two runs without further penalization. The Wayne roadster collided with a Maxwell touring car and broke its steering knuckle, while the Maxwell, which had encountered much hard luck throughout the test, lost no less than 610 points. The Rapid 'bus, which carried twelve people, received 66 points penalization in the third day's run. This machine made a remarkable performance, however, for although it was mounted on solid tires and propelled by a simple type of double-opposed-cylinder engine, it was able to keep up to the schedule. In one instance the driver lost his way and, in order to get back on the course, he was obliged to go across country on a flooded dirt road, which was very hard to travel. The machine made its way without shedding a passenger, however, and finally arrived ahead of its schedule. The performance of this machine has thoroughly demonstrated the reliability and usefulness of the modern lightweight commercial vehicle for cross-country work. At the conclusion of the road test, and after the committee had examined and marked the cars, there was only one machinea 30-horse-power Haynes roadsterwhich was found to have a perfect score. The runabout body was on a chassis like that which participated in the Glidden tour last summer, and which has been in different contests throughout the year. Its designer, Mr. Elwood Haynes, is one of the oldest and most competent builders of automobiles in this country, and the winning of a perfect score in this contest (which secured him the Miles trophy) is an honor which he well merited. The machine which obtained second place, and thereby won a silver set, was a 6-cylinder Pierce touring car, which was penalized two points at the conclusion of the test, on account of its having a loose grease cup on the rear axle. An Oldsmobile touring car was third. It had six points penalization, four being given for a loose boot on the driving shaft, and two for the adjustment of the emergency brake, which was, according to the ideas of the committee, not adjusted tight enough. The fourth machine was a Rambler, which was penalized 8 points as follows: Pedal brake medium, 2; lamp damaged, 4; speedometer loose, 2. An Auburn touring car, which is a light 4-cylinder machine made in Chicago, came the nearest to the Haynes of any machine in securing a perfect score, as it was penalized 10 points on account of the wheels and spindles being slightly out of line. This might have been due to an error in the first measurement. The distance out was small, being only a fraction of an inch. Such standard machines as a White and a Locomobile were penalized 6 and 2 points for a loose running board and a loose fender, respectively. The former also lost 6 points because of a loose apron and the latter points as follows: Fan belt off, 2; emergency brake, medium, 2; grease cup loose, 6; speedometer loose, 2; total, 14. Most of the other cars suffered chiefly from similar small troubles. A list of those that finished, together with the points which they were penalized, follows: Studebaker, 16; Kisselkar, 18; National, 26; Silent Knight, 54; Pierce Arrow, 55; Jackson, 66; Locomobile, 67; Autocar, 74; Premier, 78; Dragon, 90; Stoddard-Dayton, 107; White, 110; White, 137; Stevens-Duryea, 186; Rapid 12-passenger 'bus, 188; Wayne, 620; Reo, 1,040; Maxwell, 1,108. Still another midwinter sealed-bonnet contest of a very strenuous character was run by the Automobile Club of Washington, D. C, on the 10th instant. This test was carried out over a 118-mile course in a heavy rainstorm. It had been raining heavily for two days, and the roads were in very bad condition. Despite this fact 22 cars finished, 16 of them with perfect scores, out of 26 which started. A double-opposed-cylinder Buick made the fastest time, covering the entire course in 8 hours and 1 minute, at an average speed of 14% miles an hour. The cars tha't had perfect scores were as follows: Buick, Cadillac, Columbia, Corbin, Ford, two Franklins, Locomobile, Maryland, Maxwell, two Mitchells, Oldsmobile, Packard, Thomas, and a Wayne.
This article was originally published with the title "Recent Automobile Endurance Tests" in Scientific American 97, 25, 455 (December 1907)