First Gasoline Powered Car

It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without cars. Commuting to the grocery store or work would be almost impossible. Books-on-tape would be non-existent. Most importantly, what kind of conversations would you be able to have with strangers if you weren’t able to talk about those high gas prices. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that as Ohio City resident, John W. Lambert built the first gasoline powered car in America. In 1890, Lambert attached a single cylinder engine to a buggy chassis with two rear wheels and a single wheel removed from a wheel barrow for the front. The vehicle could reach lightning speeds up to 5 miles per hour. There were also 2 speeds forward, however the model was unable to go in reverse. The vehicle had an initial price tag of $550 (approx.$14,000 in today’s dollar), however Lambert was not able to sell a single one. This was probably fortunate for him, because the first model cost $3,200 to construct ($2,650 more than the selling price). While the gasoline powered vehicle proved to be very successful, the design itself was extremely hazardous. The two large wheels in the back and one small wheel in front turned out to be unbalanced. In 1891, the vehicle lost control, hit a tree root, and crashed into a post. Luckily for Lambert, the injuries were minor. However, this moment became the first recorded automobile accident in history.

 

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Photo via: Buckeye Gasoline Buggy