The National Motor Vehicle Co., formed in 1900 in Indianapolis, was well established as one of America's leading four-cylinder automobile manufactured by the time the company debuted the $4,000 six-cylinder Model E in 1906. The National Model E was the first six-cylinder car to be sold in the United States. This particular car boasts an exciting history with a connection to the evocative Wild West. Is first owner, Walter Scott, was a famous hoaxer known as 'The Fastest Con in the West.' He toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and became a folk hero. This car was acquired by Scotty, perhaps through some well-crafted con, and was later sold to the Santa Fe Railroad, which used it as passenger transport between stations. Several additional owners and numerous styling changes followed. The car has now been returned to the condition in which it left National's Indianapolis factory in 1906.
The Model E's engine, a Rutenber-National unit was an L-Head arrangement, utilizing 6 individual cylinders with a 4.5-inch bore and a 5-inch stroke for a total of 477 cubic-inch. Power was transferred through a National 3-speed sliding pinion transmission via a shaft to a fully housed, all ball bearing, spherical rear axle. The Model E also introduced an all-aluminum body and rode on a pressed steel frame with a wheelbase of 121-inches. The large round radiator characterized all National automobiles through 1907.
This National Model E, chassis number 1744, left the Indianapolis factory as a round radiator, seven passenger tourer with a 121-inch wheelbase. Early in its history, this car was owned by Walter Scott, known as Death Valley Scotty (nicknamed 'The Fastest Con in the West'). He toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and became affiliated with the Santa Fe Railroad, which purchased the National in 1910 for use as a stagecoach between Barstow and Trona, California. It was purchased by the Rich family in 2006.
National built cars from 1900 to 1924 in Indianapolis, originally powered by electric motors. Electricity was phased out as a power source in 1906 when Arthur C. Newby became the company president. Newby was one of the four founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where National won the 500 mile race in 1912 at an average speed of 78.72 mph. National still holds the record as the largest engine to ever win the Indy 500 with a four-cylinder engine that displaced 490 cubic-inches!