1902 RAMBLER, MODEL C
Like most of the early automobile manufacturers, the Chicago based Rambler Company, owners Thomas B. Jeffery and R. Philip Gormully, was known for its production of bicycles. They were among the first pioneers with their 1897 wire-wheeled automobile. Thomas Jeffery and his son Charles were responsible for the creation of the Rambler automobile and their first three models received little attention. In 1900 they took them to the New York and Chicago auto shows where they were finally noticed. Mr. Gormully had died and the Jefferys sold their bicycle business to the American Bicycle Company, with the agreement that they would focus on the manufacture of automobiles.
This Rambler was introduced in February 1902, has a single cylinder L-head engine, 6 horsepower with a 4.5 bore and strong of 6 inches. The body is made of wood, it weighs 1100 pounds and the original price was $750.00.
The Model C Rambler became the world’s second largest mass-produced automobile (Oldsmobile curved-dash was the first). Very few of these Ramblers have survived, only 4 have been identified by antique auto experts, with the 5th one here in the Boothbay Railway Village.
The 1902 Rambler Model C Runabout is truly a horseless carriage, the design copied from the carriages of that day. The Model C usually does not have a steering wheel but rather a steering lever. The driver would point the vehicle in the intended direction. This particular example is however, fitted with a steering wheel.
The $750 price for the 1902 Model C was very fair at that time. It was produced at the Kenosha, Wisconsin factory and total production of the Model C Runabouts was 1500. This made the Rambler company one of the largest automobile producers in the world in 1902.