Breaking

Through the Grand Canyon in a Metz 22 Speedster, 1914

 


Early automobile manufacturers used a variety of tests to prove a car's strength, stamina, capability and competency. These tests were often adopted as selling points and in advertising brochures to highlight the performance and prowess of the car.

In 1914, the Metz factory branch in Los Angeles, Mr. L. Wing and K. Parker (a young reporter from Los Angeles) chose to show off the car's capabilities by driving his 22-horsepower Metz Speedster car down the Grand Canyon. , first departed from Los Angeles and crossed the desert south of Death Valley.

They had few roads to follow, no reliable maps, and three mountain ranges to cross. After hundreds of grueling miles, they first went to the El Tovar Hotel and searched for possible routes to the bottom, but to no avail.

They found a gorge at Peach Springs, crossing the Hulapi Indian Reservation and passing through arroyos, boulders, washouts, and narrow passes. Finally, they traveled 42 miles to the river and came back the next day.

Parker wrote a report about the trip and noted the photo spot (first photo above): "At this point there was a shear wall, creating a neat drop of over two thousand feet, and projected to move Gone so that we could drive the car to the extreme point, and make a photographic record of Metz on the canyon rim at El Tovar Point.

It took a lot of patience to get the car down that terrifying plunge, but Mr. Wing, who handled the wheel, had complete confidence in the car and its controls, and didn't brake until the front wheels were right. . Right on the edge of the cliff.


The 1914 Model 22 was a two-seat roadster, or torpedo, claimed to be the "winner of the Glidden Tour". It had a 22 hp (17 kW) four-cylinder water-cooled engine with Bosch Magneto, and full-elliptical springs at the front and rear.

It ran on artillery wheels with Goodrich clincher tires and featured a Prest-o-Lite-type acetylene generator for the headlights. It was billed as "gearless", with a friction drive mechanism.

By 1922, the company was in dire financial straits and was acquired by Waltham National Bank. He reorganized the company and renamed it Waltham Motor Manufacturers Incorporated.

This successor company produced an automobile called the Waltham Six, which did not sell well. This last desperate attempt to save the Metz company failed. Charles Metz filed for bankruptcy in August 1922.


To the Colorado River in a Metz 22 Speedster through the Grand Canyon, 1914

Getting to the bottom of the Grand Canyon by automobile was probably the most difficult undertaking ever in the history of American motoring.

To make that journey and return to a plateau thousands of feet above, on the car's own power, negotiating deep sand arroyos, frighteningly steep grades, great boulder-filled canyons and thin mud flats is an extraordinary feat.

Yet it is accomplished by Mr. L. Wing of the Metz Agency in Los Angeles, accompanied by the author in a 22-horsepower Metz car of the Roadster type.

There are no roads at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, only a roundabout gorge leading from Peach Springs, a small station on the Santa Fe Railroad.

From Peach Springs the gorge cuts deeper and deeper through the plateau until its walls join the main gorge, through which the Colorado River follows its turbulent way about a mile below surface level above.

The entire route from Los Angeles to Peach Springs, where the descent into the Grand Canyon actually begins, is through the sand desert south of Death Valley and across the Colorado River onto the Needles.


This part of the journey alone is a serious test for both automobile and man, as it involves long stretches of hot desert waste where water, food and camping equipment are essential for the safety of the traveller.

In addition to the annoying sands of the Colorado Basin, three mountain ranges have to be crossed at an altitude of three thousand to five thousand feet.

Through this variation of elevation, the eerie "blow" of the desert alternates with nearly sea-level sediments of sand, several miles of jagged black lava skirts the road to the Great Uplift; And when obstacles can't be avoided, they have to be negotiated very carefully

This combination of mountains, deserts, sand and lava makes the road difficult to travel, and demonstrates the true power and dependability of a car.

Once such a test is successfully passed, the motorist feels that his machine has the stamina to tackle the dangerous gorge leading to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.


Before descending, we wanted to take the car to the rim of the canyon, so we took the traditional route through the pine forest to the Bright Angel Trail and the El Tovar Hotel, 587 miles from Los Angeles and sixty-five miles from here. Williams, AZ.

In El Tovar where we mentioned that some vehicles going into the valley always stopped at the end of the road, near the hotel.

At this point there was a sheer wall, creating a neat drop of over two thousand feet, and the ledge was projected so that we could drive the car up to the extreme point, and a photographic record of Metz on the canyon rim at L. Can you Tower Point.

It took a lot of patience to get the car down that horrific plunge, but Mr. Wing, who handled the wheel, had complete confidence in the car and its controls and didn't brake until the front wheels were right. at the very edge of the ditch.

I confess that it made me tremble with apprehension, as I looked at him, so calm and confident, where a small slip would mean a drop of two thousand feet in the valley below; And when he finally said, "He will, let's Chuck block him," I was just too happy to slip a good sized rock in front of the rear wheel, so we could leave the car and position for a picture. could shape it.

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