Georgano’s invaluable Complete Encyclopaedia of Motor Cars tells us that the Woods Motor Vehicle company built cars in Chicago between 1899 and 1919 and was one of the longest surviving American manufacturers of electric cars. They were initially powered by a DC electric motor but in 1917 they introduced the Dual Power model which had a four cylinder Continental engine to supplement the electric unit when travelling at over 15 mph with the combined power units giving a top speed of 35 mph .
In the early part of the last century there wasn’t any environmental pressure to reduce the use of carbon based fuels and these cars were expensive so less than 1900 were sold of which only four are known to have survived.
The car comes with a very useful history prepared by the son of the highly skilled English engineer who acquired it in 2011 following damage it suffered in a fire at its previous owner’s private premises in Hamburg. His notes will tell you a lot more than I can here and I will be happy to send you a copy if you would like to read them.
In summary his father, who has always been interested in rare and unusual vehicles, bought the Woods as a ground-up restoration project which completely suited his his keen interest in unusual cars. To my knowledge he has previously rebuilt amongst many others an Owen Magnetic petrol/electric car and when I first met him 20 years ago he was restoring what I am sure I remember was the engine from a 1920s Doble steam car so the Woods was right up his street!
The car’s original coachwork (most probably a town car) was completely destroyed in the fire so he saw no reason why he should not indulge his passion and have a new body made inspired by a Hispano Suiza Alfonso he owned many years ago. I have to say it has been beautifully put together just like everything else he either commissioned or made himself.
Due to failing health he is no longer able to complete the car so it is a being offered as a project for you to complete as you see fit. Whatever you do you will own an extremely rare, interesting and important automobile which is able to lay claim to being the first true hybrid!
You will obviously want to inspect the car so please give me call to arrange a viewing and a chat to the owner’s son.