Winton Motor Carriage Company
Former type Automobile Manufacturing
Genre Touring cars, limousines
Founded 1897
Founder(s) Alexander Winton
Defunct 1962
Headquarters Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Area served United States
Industry Automotive
Products Vehicles
Automotive parts

The Winton Motor Carriage Company was a pioneer United States automobile manufacturer based in Cleveland, Ohio. Winton was one of the first American companies to sell a motor car.


Scottish immigrant Alexander Winton, owner of the Winton Bicycle Company, turned from bicycle production to an experimental single-cylinder automobile before starting his car company.[1]



1908 Winton touring car

The company was incorporated on March 15, 1897. Their first automobiles were built by hand. Each vehicle had fancy painted sides, padded seats, a leather roof, and gas lamps. B.F. Goodrich made the tires for Winton.

By this time, Winton had already produced two fully operational prototype automobiles. In May of that year, the 10 hp (7.5 kW) model achieved the astonishing speed of 33.64 mph (54.14 km/h) on a test around a Cleveland horse track. However, the new invention was still subject to much skepticism, so to prove his automobile's durability and usefulness, Alexander Winton had his car undergo an 800-mile (1,300 km) endurance run from Cleveland to New York City.


On March 24, 1898 Robert Allison of Port Carbon, Pennsylvania became one of the first persons to buy an American-built automobile when he bought a Winton after seeing an advertisement in Scientific American.[citation needed] Later that year the Winton Motor Carriage Company sold twenty-one more vehicles, including one to James Ward Packard, who later founded the Packard automobile company after Winton challenged a very dissatisfied Packard to do better.[2] Winton sold 22 cars that year.[1]


1899 Winton Stanhope


In 1899, more than one hundred Winton vehicles were sold,[3] making the company the largest manufacturer of gas-powered automobiles in the United States. This success led to the opening of the first automobile dealership by Mr. H.W. Koler in Reading, Pennsylvania. To deliver the vehicles, in 1899, Winton built the first auto hauler in America.

One of these 1899 Wintons was purchased by Larz Anderson and his new wife, Isabel Weld Perkins. It is still on display at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts.


Publicity generated sales and in 1901 the news that both Reginald Vanderbilt and Alfred Vanderbilt had purchased Winton automobiles boosted the company's image substantially. That same year, a Winton lost a race at Grosse Pointe to Henry Ford.


Type Engine(Horsepower) Wheelbase
Runabout 2-passenger 1-cylinder(8hp) N/A
Touring 4-passenger and Mail Delivery Van 1-Cylinder(9hp) N/A


Winton vowed to come back and win, producing the 1902 Winton Bullet, which set an unofficial land speed record of 70 mph (113 km/h) in Cleveland that year. The Bullet was defeated in another Ford by famed driver, Barney Oldfield, but two more Bullet race cars were built.


1903 Gordon Bennett Trophy. Athy, Ireland. Alexander Winton in the Winton Bullet 2

1903 Gordon Bennett Trophy. Athy, Ireland. Alexander Winton in the Winton Bullet 2

In 1903, Dr Horatio Nelson Jackson made the first successful automobile drive across the United States.[5] He purchased a slightly used Winton touring car and hired a mechanic to accompany him. The trip took 64 days, including breakdowns, delays while waiting for parts to arrive(especially in Cleveland[6]), and hoisting the Winton up and over rocky terrain and mudholes.[7] Jackson's Winton is now part of the collections at the National Museum of American History.


Horatio Nelson Jackson in his 2-seat Winton tourer, "The Vermont", drives across America



1910 Winton Six

The 1904 Winton was a five-passenger tonneau-equipped tourer which sold for US$2,500. By contrast, the Enger 40 was US$2,000,[8] the FAL US$1,750,[8] an Oakland 40 US$1,600,[9] the Cole 30[8] and Colt Runabout US$1,500,[10] while the (1913) Lozier Light Six Metropolian started at US$3,250,[11] American's lowest-priced model was US$4,250,[12] and Lozier's Big Six were US$5,000 and up.[11] Models(1904)

Type Engine HP Wheelbase Transmission
Touring-5p. Two-Cylinder 20 94.5" 2-speed sliding-gear[13]
Touring-5p. Four-Cylinder 24 104" 2-speed sliding-gear

Winton's flat-mounted water-cooled straight-2, situated amidships of the car, produced 20 hp (14.9 kW). The channel and angle steel-framed car weighed 2300 lb (1043 kg).


Model Engine HP Wheelbase
Model 20 Six-cylinder 48.6 130"

1915 Winton Six Limousine

Winton continued to successfully market automobiles to upscale consumers through the 1910s. As dozens of new automobile companies started up, rapid innovation and intense competition led to falling sales in the early 1920s.

End of productionEdit

Winton Motor Carriage Company ceased automobile production in 1924. However, Winton continued in the marine and stationary gasoline and diesel engine business, an industry he entered in 1912 with the Winton Engine Company.

Sale to General MotorsEdit

Winton Engine Company became the Winton Engine Corporation, a subsidiary of General Motors, on June 20, 1930. It produced the first practical two-stroke-cycle diesel engines in the 400 to 1,200 hp (300 to 900 kW) range, which powered early Electro-Motive Corporation (of GM) diesel locomotives and U.S. Navy submarines. That part of Winton devoted to the manufacturing of diesel locomotives in 1935 became part of the Electro-Motive Corporation (later a division of General Motors), and is still in business today.

1936 and beyondEdit

By 1936 Winton was producing engines only for marine, Navy, and stationary applications. GM reorganized the company in 1937 as the Cleveland Diesel Engine Division of General Motors. This division closed in 1962.

In popular cultureEdit

A "Winton Flyer" features prominently in William Faulkner's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1962 novel The Reivers; in fact, the 1969 film version of the novel starring Steve McQueen was known as The Yellow Winton Flyer in the UK.


Winton-auto 1910-0514

A 1910 Winton Advertisement – Des Moines Capital, May 14, 1910

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 100 Years of the American Auto Millennium Edition, Copyright 1999 Publications International, Ltd.
  2. Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.58. This is the same mistake Enzo Ferrari would make with Ferruccio Lamborghini.
  3. 100 Years of the American Auto Millennium Edition, page 23, Copyright 1999 Publications International, Ltd.
  4. Kimes, Beverly (1996). standard catalog of American Cars 1805-1942. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. 
  5. Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.156.
  6. Stein, Ralph. The American Automobile. Random House. 
  7. Winton touring car From the Smithsonian Collection
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Clymer, p.104.
  9. Clymer, p.84.
  10. Clymer, p.63.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Clymer, p.111.
  12. Clymer, p.91.
  14. Kimes, Beverly (1996). standard catalog of American Cars 1805-1942. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. 
  • Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925. New York: Bonanza Books, 1950.
  • Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (January, 1904)
  • America on the Move (National Museum of American History)

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