1911 Pope-Hartford Model W

The Pope Manufacturing Company produced Columbia bicycles prior to automobiles which began in 1903 and continued until 1914.

This is one of 693 Pope Hartfords produced in 1911. These vehicles were fast, reliable, and durable. They were more than a means of transportation; they were distinctive, stylish and luxurious masterpieces.

This Portola model is fitted with a 450 cubic-inch, high-compression, 4-cylinder engine with an overlap cam with lightened rods and pistons.

Pope is credited with being the first manufacturer to mass-produce automobiles. His ability to use interchangeable parts and techniques used producing bicycles easily translated to the production of automobiles.

This auto was on display at Harrah's in the 1970s. It was restored in the 1980s and redone in 2010.
The Pope Manufacturing Company was founded by Augustus Pope. The company initially manufactured Columbia bicycles starting in 1887 in Hartford, CT. They were highly successful, become the leading brand and made a large fortune for Pope. In 1902 the company started producing motorcycles and in 1903 produced their first automobiles, producing several different models over the years until their bankruptcy in 1914.

The 1911 Model W was a large, luxurious, powerful car. It had a 390 cubic-inch four-cylinder engine rated at 50 horsepower, a four-speed transmission and a 124-inch wheelbase. It could cruise at 60 mph. The company manufactured on 6693 vehicles in 1911 and there are only approximately 10 known to exist today, making this an extremely rare car.

This Model W was purchased by the current owners around the late 1990s from well-known collector Dave Noran in Kentucky. It had previously been restored in California, where it spent most of its life. The current owners have toured it extensively from coast-to-coast, north and south. It has won blue ribbons at the Mead Brook, Bay Harbor and Amelia Island concourses.
The Pope Manufacturing Company, founded by Colonel Albert A. Pope, produced Columbia bicycles prior to automobiles. Located in Hartford, Connecticut, it began producing vehicles in 1903 and continued until 1914 when it had entered into receivership. The vehicles it produced ranged in size and price ranges. A few of its products were the Pope-Waverly Electric, the low priced Pope Tribune, and the Pope Hartford. The Pope Toledo was the pinnacle of Pope Automobiles, being outfitted with luxurious amenities and powered by large engines. The early automobiles featured one cylinder engines producing ten horsepower. The Tonneau cover was removable and the brass trimmings gave the vehicle a distinguished and prestigious appearance. There were two forward speeds and one reverse. The steering was on the right and was able to seat four passengers.

The company averaged about 720 vehicles annually. In 1911, 693 vehicles were produced. Their vehicles were fast, reliable, and durable. They were more than a means of transportation; they were distinctive, stylish and luxurious masterpieces.

The headlamps were fueled by acetylene gas while the side lamps used kerosene fuel. These were standard on the vehicles, a feature provided by other automobile manufacturers at an additional price. The styling of the body was elegant while the interior was decorated and adorned in luxurious amenities.

The Pope-Hartford Touring Car could be purchased for $2750, depending on the options selected. Weighing in at 3260 pounds, the 229.4 cubic-inch four-cylinder engine producing 40 horsepower was capable of transporting five passengers. The ride was smooth and comfortable, thanks to the semi-elliptic leaf springs. The three-speed selective sliding transmission allowed the vehicle to cruise comfortably at 50 miles-per-hour. In 1910 a 40-horsepower Pope automobile was entered into a race that celebrated the 300th anniversary of the discovery of San Francisco. The Pope mobile emerged victorious.

At the turn of the century, Hartford was considered the automobile capital of the world. It was given this title because it was producing more than half of all motorized vehicles in the United States. Pope is credited with being the first manufacturer to mass-produce automobiles. His ability to use interchangeable parts and techniques developed for producing bicycles easily translated to the production of automobiles. However, this was not enough to compete with other rising manufacturers. Sales began to decline in 1912 and by 1915 the company was out of business.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2005
The Pope-Hartford was a part of Colonel Albert Pope's automotive empire which included Pope-Toledo, Pope-Tribune, Pope-Waverley and Pope-Robinson. The 1911 Pope-Hartford featured a four-speed transmission and an innovative overhead valve engine.
Portola Roadster
To celebrate the Pope-Hartford car that won the Portola Road Races in 1909 and 1911, Pope-Hartford introduced the 'Portola Roadster' built with minimal bodywork. They also branded their race-type engine as the Portola Motor and offered it in their sportier production cars. This was the same 389 cubic-inch, 4-cylinder configuration as the standard 50 horsepower motor but incorporated all of the company's racing technology for ultimate performance.

This Pope-Hartford Model W Portola Roadster was originally owned by William Ruess, the Los Angeles Pope-Hartford dealer. The car was discovered in Sacramento by Harry Johnson in the 1950s, who restored it and use it frequently. After his death in the 1990s, the current owner bought the car.
Pony Tonneau
This is one of 693 Pope-Hartfords produced in 1911. The original dealer plaque from the William R. Ruess Dealership in Los Angeles is still on the car, and it is thought that the first owner was Thomas Watson, the future president of IBM, who then sold the car to his friend John Kessing of Porterville, California in 1914. The car remained in Porterville until 1946 when Ted Bowers Sr., then 18, bought the car in very original condition. With a top speed of 60 miles an hour, the car quickly became his favorite to drive - and over time he drove it over 100,000 miles. The car is a veteran of many Horseless Carriage Club tours. After it was restored, it was awarded First in Class at the 1982 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
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