1904 St Louis Touring SN 543

Shifting Gears Exhibit

Wheelbase: 82 inches
Engine: One cylinder water-cooled
Horsepower: 12
Price new: $1,500
Nicknamed: Don Diego
Piston to the front

Built originally as a tonneau in late 1903 or early 1904, this car has the engine under the front seat unlike earlier automobiles. A tonneau was a rear seat that riders climbed into by opening a door in the back of the tonneau. Once everyone was in, the door was closed and latched, becoming the center seat back.

This St. Louis was originally owned by Douglas Watson of San Francisco, California. In the summer of 1904 he drove through Yosemite Valley. His story was published in The Automobile magazine, and images were featured in the St. Louis Motor Carriage A Bit of Nature booklet. Despite breaking the drive shaft (which took 5 days to get a new one), and running out of gas (which took three weeks to get more), the trip was successful and he felt that he and his friends had "accomplished something extraordinary."

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Don Diego S/N 543 Note short spring hangers to move passengers forward to get the weight over the axels.
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In Yosemite in 1904