1904 Rambler Model L news, pictures, specifications, and information
Canopy Tonneau
Chassis Num: 4050
1904 was Rambler's first year of 2 cylinder cars, manufactured by the 'Jeffery Co. in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

This vehicle carried an original price of $1350.00. There were 2342 1 and 2 cylinder units produced in 1904. The throttle wheel is located under the steering wheel. It has the original IL. license plate #800 on dash. The original owner took a train to the factory and drove this vehicle home. It was in his car until 1950. This is car # 4050 and has mechanical valves and dual carburetors.

A Rambler won the Minneapolis MN annual hill climb on June 11, 2004.

Mr. Miller contacted the 2nd owner in 1972 asking if it was for sale. The answer was 'No'. Mr. Miller then contacted the 3rd owner in 2001 asking if it was for sale. It took an additional 5.5 years until it would end up in Mr. Miller's care.

In 1904, Milton Stocking of Lindewood, Illinois, traveled 100 miles by train to the Thomas Jeffrey Company, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to take delivery of his new Rambler. He rather liked his choice, and it was with him until his passing in 1950. Each future owner has been carefully scrutinized and the current owner is just the fourth.

The engine is rated at 16-20 horsepower, and has two cylinders, two carburetors and overhead mechanical valves. It has been up to 40 mph and cruises comfortably at 30. The car rides on an 84-inch wheelbase and the coachwork is a 'Rear Entrance Canopy Tonneau' style. The car stands 7-feet 2 inches and cost $1,350 new.

The throttle ring below the steering wheel controls the mixture of the two carburetors. It was reported in 1904 that this system of throttling was so convenient and easy that two one-armed men owned and operated these cars.
Canopy Tonneau
Chassis Num: 4302
Sold for $154,000 at 2014 RM Auctions.
The Rambler automotive company would go from producing just a single automobile in 1897 to producing more than 1,500 examples just a handful of years later. Rambler would go from being a bicycle business to one of the top three automobile makers in 1902. It seemed Rambler would be one of America's great automotive companies.

Long before Rambler would become Nash in 1919, the company would be churning out large numbers of their twin-cylinder-powered motorcars. One of those would be the Model L. Powered by a 16 horsepower, twin-cylinder engine the Model L would further Rambler's reputation throughout the country.

One of those Model L Ramblers would be chassis 4302. Produced in 1904, the car would be an example of a Canopy Tonneau. Its fixed surrey-style top and tonneau-style rear seat would give the car an elegant, yet, sporty look, even for the early 20th century.

The tonneau style meant entry into the automobile was made through a small door in the middle of the back seat. This entry for the rear passenger could be tricky in the early 1900s but the supple leather seating that greeted the passengers would be welcome enough.

This particular example would be a part of Richard Teague's personal collection for a period of time and would spend some two decades with its present owner after having been acquired from Henry Petronis.

The current owner would not keep the Rambler housed away in some private garage. Instead, he would have the car thoroughly prepared and would enter some truly classic touring events. The addition of hydraulic brakes to the rear wheels would all be prerequisites for the plans the owner had for this time machine.

Partaking in numerous tours with the Horseless Car Club of America, the 1904 Rambler would make the leap across the pond to England where it would take part in the 1996 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. In spite of these numerous long distance tours, the Rambler has proven itself, again and again, a reliable mount eager for the open road. This would be a true achievement in and of itself, especially for an early American automobile.

Presented with an inviting black leather interior, trimmed in brass and sporting a bright red livery, the 1904 Rambler Model L Canopy Tonneau remains a remarkable journey into the past, a time when the journey was the trip.

Presented as part of the 2014 RM Auctions' Hershey event, the 1904 Rambler would be a highly anticipated member of the lineup. Estimates prior to the auction had the car selling for between $150,000 and $200,000. This car, having completed a number of long distance touring events, London to Brighton eligible and still very reliable would meet bidders' expectations and the result would be a sale price of $154,000.

By Jeremy McMullen
The Chicago based Rambler Company was owned and operated by Thomas B. Jeffery and R. Philip Gormully. Like many early automobile manufacturers, their specialty had been in the manufacturing of bicycles. The Rambler Company was one of the very first automobile producers with their first automobile produced in 1897. Thomas Jeffery and his son Charles were responsible for the inspiration and creation of the Rambler automobile. The first Rambler was a single-cylinder vehicle with wire-spoke wheels that did not receive much attention from the public. A year later Charles had created two more machines, both still passing mostly unnoticed from the motoring community. In 1900 the Jefferys brought their creations to the Chicago and New York auto show where they finally received attention. Gormully had since passed away so the Jeffery's sold their bicycling business to the American Bicycle Company to focus on the production of automobiles.

The 1902 Rambler Model C Runabout was truly a horseless carriage, with its design inspired from the carriages of its day. The 1902 Model C did not have a steering wheel; rather a steering lever was used to point the vehicle in the intended direction. By 1904, Rambler had equipped their vehicles with a steering wheel. Powered by a single cylinder engine, the horsepower was low, but adequate. By 1904, the figures had been improved greatly. The price to own a 1902 Model C was $750, a figure that was fair at the time. Production from the Kenosha, Wisconsin factories was respectable in 1902, with a total production of about 1500 Model C Runabouts. This made the Rambler company one of the largest automobile producers in the world at the time.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2007
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