Sep 23 2017

The 1897 Grant-The Oldest Automobile on Long Island

At the 1925 Brooklyn Automobile Show, a contest was held to locate the "oldest car on Long Island." The winner was a 1897 Grant created by W. Wallace Grant,  the former president of the Long Island Automobile Club.


Howard Kroplick

Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942, Beverly Rae Himes and Henry Austin, Clark, Jr. (1996)

For whatever reason, and probably it was lack of financing, the Grant was never produced, though it was exhibited for a number of years thereafter as the "The Oldest Car on Long Island." Its whereabouts today is not known.

Does anyone know what happened to the Grant?

1895 Horseless Age

The carriage work for the Grant  was done by Flandrau & Co. of Broome Street, Manhattan. The 8-HP gasoline motor was invented by W. Wallace Grant and built by E.W. Bliss Company of Brooklyn.

In 1902, W. Wallace Grant was the president of the Long Island Automobile Cub based in Brooklyn.

W. Wallace Grant (left)

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 24, 1925

The contest to disclose the oldest car on Long Island  will close on Monday. Thus far the Grant car, bought in Brooklyn in 1898 and still owned in this boro, has the inside track."

Article on the 1925 Brooklyn Automobile Show

Note from Marion Grant: The vehicle here pictured invented by my Father the late Wm. Wallace Grant, one-time President of the Long Island Automobile Club.

July, 30, 1925 Letter

Following the 1925 Brooklyn Automobile Show, the Grant was displayed at valve-maker A. Schrader's & Son located in Brooklyn. This letter was sent to W. Wallace Grant's daughter Marion Grant.

The Grant at the 1925 Schrader Tire Valve exhibit. The poster read "Oldest Car on Long Island".


Sep 24 2017 Ariejan Bos 7:00 AM

Thanks for this interesting post about this for me unknown pioneer. Another one, after the Reese tricycle. How many of these must have existed in those days ... Interesting is the passage in the Schrader letter where they promise to take good care of the car. I understand the firm is still in existence, so I would presume they should know!

Sep 24 2017 John Benfield 8:44 AM

Great Oldest LI car would be fun if issued a 2017 oldest car on LI challenge… you never know what might come out of the woodwork!
Thanks for your newsletter…it’s an enjoyable part of my Sunday morning routine.
John b

Sep 24 2017 S. Berliner, III 12:45 PM

You folks might be interested in seeing some of the immediate successor LI vehicles at <>.  Gotta add the Grant now - thanks, Howard.  Can hardly wait to see what this Grant post elicits.  Sam, III

Sep 24 2017 Scott Alexander 5:08 PM

Howard, great post, a bit new history to add to our knowledge. I spent time with Parker Wickham talking about old car companies from NY several times, but I had not known the Grant. Thanks, it was great reading. (BTW, I agree with John B. above, it would be great to post a now challenge for Long Islands Oldest Car!)
Best Regards,

Sep 24 2017 Rich 11:02 PM

Glad you located this historic photo and accompanying article.  Incredible piece of history!

Jul 15 2018 Mike West 6:58 PM

Howard The Grant very much exists today and has been in dry storage for decades not far from my home. Ill see if I can find a recent picture of the car and post it. Mike

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