© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
The skinny little 1914 Woods Mobilette in our museum is a type of cyclecar. Cyclecars were narrow, lightweight automobiles powered by engines no bigger than 71 cubic inches. They essentially were little more than a motorcycle with four wheels and seating for two. Cyclecars had fewer features than typical autos of the day, but served as very inexpensive and efficient alternatives. The Woods Mobilette sold for $380; optional equipment included speedometer ($11), windshield ($15), top ($15) and, according to at least one source, brakes ($10). The 12-hp, four-cylinder engine could power the little car to a top speed of 35 mph. Its reported fuel economy of 35-40 mpg would be the envy of many of today’s drivers, although its low clearance and narrow tread restricted it to city driving.
|Imp Cyclecar at the Auburn Cord|
Duesenberg Automobile Museum
It is not known if the Imps were used successfully, or if they even made the journey to Nome. I have found no mention of them in any Nome newspapers or other sources. If the Imps were shipped to Alaska, the fragile, high-maintenance machines probably fell apart after a few runs on Nome's rough roads, just as the Imp Cyclecar Company did by the end of 1914.
Only a handful of Imps survive today. Perhaps there is a graveyard outside of Nome containing the remains of some, but I have my doubts.
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