Monday, January 06, 2014

Cugnot, the first car

New year, new series. When I was a kid, I would go to the library a few times a week and read Illustrated Motor Cars of the World. A few years ago, I found a used copy at Powell's Books in Portland. Each page of the 263-page book has four interesting cars. Every car is illustrated. I am going to start featuring some of the strange and unusual cars in the book.

First up, the Cugnot. It was the first automobile, ever.

The car was commissioned by the French military, as it was trying to figure out ways to transport cannons. In a way, it's sort of like an 18th century version of DARPA. The steam engine drove the singular front wheel. Not surprisingly, it was very unstable, especially off-road. The boiler was also substandard, even for its time.

Here is a video of a replica made by a car museum in Tampa, Florida. Yes, it has Florida plates. You can literally register anything there!


Walter R. Moore said...

Fantastic museum - Cerf started his collection in Paris before strarting Polypak in Clearwater and it is most unusual for an American car museum. Many French FWD cars, and some lovely Tatras, NSU Ro80 and on and on.

Maxichamp said...

@Walter: Interesting, I had no idea. I usually visit in-laws near Naples every year. Is it worth the drive up to Tampa?

Walter R. Moore said...

Border-line. The drive up and back will eat up a whole day, but if you like the Skyway and want an excuse to come to the area, sure. You will see cars you wont see anywhere else.

If you click on the "collection" link there's a full list of what's on display.

Anonymous said...

I live in Aroostook county in northern Maine. I nwould like to hop onto the Cugnot Fardier and take a run down to Florida on the old US Rt 1 on it, How's my chances? On the level., where can I get a professional video of the thing running. When I was a kid I was ridiculed for saying that the French invented the first car. johnplante3@gmail.com9568293 8