Feb 27 2012

Can You Help Find This 1908 Pope-Hartford Touring Car?

Dick Rowley is looking for your help in his search to find his great-grandfather's 1908 Pope-Hartford Touring Car. 

Dick Rowley: "I am sure that your travels bring you in contact with other car-owners owners from the Alco era, and you know what it is like to try to hunt down a particular car. At some point you are reduced to nothing but long-shots because that's all you have left!

My mission has been to discover the whereabouts of my great-grandfather's Pope Hartford. It was a 1908 touring car, #2812. We have old family photos showing the car with CT reg # 9800. He owned the car from new until his death, then my great-grandmother had the car until around 1958. When she died the car was sold.

Unfortunately I was about 8 at the time, old enough to believe the only book in the local library worth taking out was "Bright Wheels Rolling" (and old enough to convince my mother to constantly take the book out for me), but not old enough to convince my dad to take over the Pope Hartford. To his credit he did give it some thought but in those days it was one-car garages and there was nowhere at our house to keep the Pope. The last time I saw the car it was in the carriage barn in Hartford. My great-grandfather was a builder in Hartford so the car spent its first 50 years within a few miles of the Pope facility. He was a member of the Governor's Foot Guard and family stories indicate he also used the car in various parades over the years.

With the car being sold in the late 1950's this becomes a tricky situation. The antique car hobby was getting more mainstream, but at the same time I could see a car like that falling through the cracks if it was not spotted by someone who appreciated what it was. In 1958 there were a lot more old cars than there were people who appreciated them. I must take after my great-grandfather because the rest of my family didn't have the car bug, and in my mind I can imagine the car leaving the barn at the end of the hook and going to the scrap heap.

I do the occasional internet search to no avail and randomly bore people like you with the story just in case they happen to run into any Pope Hartford owners. I still have a feeling the car is around somewhere and at the least I'd like the current owner to have copies of the pictures of the car, not to mention get myself in line for the day it might be on the market (a pretty tall order, I know).

If you ever bump into the world's greatest Pope Hartford expert I'd sure appreciate contact information if you happen to think of it. There are no Pope clubs or registries as far as I can tell and my request for information on an AACA forum was unsuccessful.

Here's a link to a picture of the car. Both cars were in the barn shown in the background of the top picture until 1958:

Thanks again for the great information on your site, for the e-mails, and for promoting the Black Beast and motoring history."

If anyone has information on this Pope-Hartford, please leave a comment below or send an email to me at Howard@Kroplick.com .


Howard Kroplick



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Feb 29 2012 Frank Wismer 8:28 AM

I am not going to be able to tell you anything that you don’t already know. I did, however, discover a listing of John H. Rowley (your grandfather) of Hartford, CT with license plate #9800 in the 1908 Connecticut Motor Vehicle Register. The 1908 listing of Connecticut does not list the make or registration number as it did in later years.

I have also been able to discover about 25 Pope Hartford Automobiles in the 1920 CT Motor Vehicle Register with license plate #, registration #, body style, owner and owner’s address.

I wonder if it might be possible to track down the 1958 or 1959 CT Motor Vehicle Registration through the state archives and discovered who purchased John Rowley’s automobile.

God bless,

Mar 04 2012 Dick Rowley 12:32 AM

Frank- Thanks for that info. I had seen the 1915 CT reg records, which did list the Pope. I was not aware of the 1908 record confirming that he had the 9800 plate number at that time. I’ll call DMV about what they might share from the late ‘50s or early ‘60s. I have a feeling they will not be sympathetic to the cause but everything’s worth a try. Thanks again.

Mar 04 2012 Alan Ballard 8:46 AM

Suggest you contact Doug Magee if you have not already done so.

Mar 06 2012 Howard Kroplick 8:57 AM

From Stu Laidlaw:
“The 1908 Pope is in the Biandi Collection in Connecticut.”

Mar 07 2012 Dick Rowley 10:59 PM

Wonderful!! Thanks so much for the information! I should be able to help them with the provenance. Hope to be able to see it soon.

May 02 2012 darrell 10:37 AM

Only pope of Hartford I know of is sitting on the floor at triple a on farmington ave in west Hartford I believe it is 1908.

Jun 01 2015 Howard Kroplick 12:21 PM

From Doug:

There are 2 cars, the first is probably a 1908, the second is probably a 1913 model 31 touring. If he has any more images, that would be great.
The phaeton front fenders are flat on their way back and visual intersect below the front of drivers door. (link below). My interest is due the fact that my father is restoring a ’13 model 31 Phaeton right now.


Keep up the great website.

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