Jan 17 2015

A 1913 Journey to Paris in an Alco Touring Car (Updated: January 19, 2015)

Paul Macone of Concord, Massachusetts has forwarded photos and background on an Alco touring car that his grandfather chauffeured around France in 1913.


Howard Kroplick

Paul Macone: " My grandfather, Nicholas Macone was a chauffeur for a Frank Bemis in Beverly, Massachusetts around 1913.  Frank Bemis bought an Alco which my grandfather chauffeured him in, including shipping the car to Europe (and back?) driving Bemis around France, I believe. I read online that you have done some research on the Alco, and you may possibly be interested in this car's piece of life?  I have no idea if it is one of the survivors.

My family had a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership here in Concord, Massachusetts for many years (Macone Chrysler Plymouth).  It was originally a Maxwell dealership before one of my great uncles met Walter Chrysler at a car show in NY and they talked out on the sidewalk of the show (Chrysler couldn't have his new car in the show as it wasn't in production yet)  I was told they came to a deal out on the sidewalk to have the dealership sell the "new" Chryslers."

This March 17, 1913 letter notified Frank Bemis that the S.S. Cornishman had docked in Boston and was ready to accept the Alco for shipment.

Frank Brewer Bemis (1861-1935) was a banker and prominent book  and art collector. The Frank Brewer Bemis Fund still supports art exhibits throughout Boston.

The S.S. Cornishman.

Built in 1891 for the White Star Line, the S.S. Cornishman was originally named Normadic The White Star Line would build the ill-fated Titanic in 1912.

The 1913 International Travelling Pass for the Alco signed on March 26, 1913 and issued in London.

This pass allowed the automobile to travel in countries  including: "Germany, Belgium, France, Algeria, Tunis, Italy, Monaco, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain, The Netherlands, Russia, Luxembourg, Switzerlkand, Sweden, Portugal and Roumania."

A photo of chauffer Nicolas Ralph Macone.

Details on the Alco:

ID #: 495609

60 HP

Grey tourneau

Unloading Bemis' Alco from the S.S. Cornishman.

Greg O. and Andy Oldman have identifed this location as the royal Chateau de Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France.

Information on Chambord

Ariejan Bos has identified the second location as the St. Hubert Chapel of the Royal Castle in Amboise, France. The photo was taken from the Rue de la Concorde below the castle wall.

Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life in Amboise. He died in the chapel at the age of 67. He was later entombed at the very spot of his death.


Jan 18 2015 Randy Reed 1:19 AM

It must have been very impressive to see this American automobile touring about Paris and possibly through a lot of Europe. I am surprised that the car appears to still be running on non-demountable rims, especially for the task at hand.

Jan 18 2015 Howard Kroplick 12:51 PM

From Hector G:

Someone should make this a movie. It’s an interesting story. Especially the story between Robert Moses and Vanderbilt that eventually led to the closing of the Parkway

Jan 18 2015 S. Berliner, III 4:21 PM

“Grey tourneau”?  Oh, I don’t think so - my watch is gold; try “Grey tonneau”!  All kidding aside, though, this is fantastic documentation.  I don’t think those ship pix match; different stacks.  What a kick that trip must have been for Nick Marcone!  Thanks, Howard.  Sam, III

Jan 18 2015 Greg O. 11:02 PM

I believe the first castle to be Chambord Castle in the Loire river valley in France.

Jan 19 2015 L.K. 6:10 PM

So very interesting indeed….Thanks for sharing Paul Macone…..

Jul 28 2015 S. Berliner, III 12:40 PM

Re-reading this, Walter P. Chrysler started on his own in 1921, buying controlling interest in Maxwell-Chalmers, making the prototype Chrysler in 1923, and absorbing Maxwell-Chalmers into Chrysler in 1924.  With revolutionary 4-wheel hydraulic brakes and a new nose, the projected 1924 Chalmers became the 1924 Chrysler.  The small 1926 6-cyl. Chrysler 52 was, in fact, the old Maxwell, which then became the first Plymouth Q in 1928.  And so it goes, with a $105 million fine, trade-up of millions of old Jeeps, and recall of 193,000 old Ram pickups!  Walter mist be spinning in his grave!  Oh, for ALCo quality and integrity.  Sam, III

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