The Pope car business has a complex genesis but in essence it was founded in by Albert Augustus Pope who was a bicycle manufacturer who went into making electric cars in 1897 as the Pope Manufacturing Company. This became the Columbia Automobile Company in 1899 and from 1903 onwards the business grew to comprise several automobile manufacturers including Pope-Hartford, Pope-Robinson, Pope-Toledo, Pope-Waverley and Pope-Tribune. These companies made a variety of petrol and electric powered cars in different locations in central and eastern states in the USA. It is difficult not to think that the complexity of different companies, locations and car models may well have contributed to the ultimate sad demise of the business in 1914!
This car was made by the Pope-Tribune company which was based in Hagerstown, Maryland from 1904 to 1907 and it comes with Veteran Car Club dating certificate number 2539 which confirms that it was built in 1904 on chassis number 98 with 6hp single cylinder engine number 490.
First impressions are that looks to be in very good condition and close examination proves that this is indeed the case. It is very sound structurally and mechanically and is well presented with a first class paint finish, excellent upholstery, lovely brass instruments, controls and lights and furthermore it is very clean underneath and under the bonnet.
There are three recent invoices in the Pope Tribune’s file which show that a substantial amount of work has been done on it by East Sussex veteran car specialists Henal Engineering. This included stripping and rebuilding the engine, clutch, gearbox, brakes and other ancillaries with Henal supplying or making new components as required. It is therefore not at all surprising that after you go through a simple set of procedures the engine fires up readily on the starting handle and sounds very healthy indeed.
Out on the road the car goes very well and has plenty of power. Its two speed and reverse gearbox is easy to use, the leather faced cone clutch is smooth, the steering is light and the brakes are much better than you often find on veteran cars so the car is a pleasure to drive!
All in all it is an excellent little veteran car with many successful London to Brighton runs under its belt and it also eligible for lots of other VCC events as well as those of other old car clubs here in the UK as well as Ireland and mainland Europe. It is also looks great and is very good value for money!