This rare vehicle was constructed by the Milwaukee Automobile Company early in 1901. It is the “Milwaukee Racer” purpose built for Dr. J. G. Lovell of Chicago and designed by the Company’s Chicago agent, Frank. P. Illsley, then to be exhibited at the first Chicago Auto Show in March 1901. Little has been found of an active racing history, except for the possibility of the event at Joliet in the October of 1901. At some stage the vehicle was extensively modified. A new body style was mounted on running gear lengthened by 18 inches and the boiler was moved to the front under a bonnet style arrangement. There is no firm evidence as to when this was done, but features of the construction, fittings and footsteps suggest that it might have been done by the factory before the Company failed in May 1902. It was certainly in this form in 1954 when restored by a Mr. Ray Salentine of Waukesha Wisconsin and the current boiler and water tank almost certainly date from this period. Verbal history from Mr, Salentine’s son indicates that his father made no significant structural changes and that the modified construction probably dates back to at least the mid 1930s. It is thought that the vehicle was sold in the 1960s/70s to a new home in Beloit (near Chicago) and then nothing is known of the history until it reappears at the AutoMuseum in Ladenburg, Germany in 2001. The current owner purchased the vehicle in the UK in the spring of 2005 and after a two year period of research, it has been restored to return it to the original design of 1901. There is a large amount of research and information with the car including copies of period photographs of what is believed to be this actual car. The current owner has gone to extreme lengths to meticulously research each detail of the car to get it right, and all of this effort is laid out and fully illustrated for any prospective owner to view.
This and 60 other classic cars will be sold at auction, on March 4th at Allington, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN14 6LJ.
All inquiries to 01249 444544.
8/14/2017 09:03:01 pm
I am the younger son of Frank P. Illsley. We three boys, Walter, Rolf, and myself got very good technical skills from our father. I would be glad to share what ever I know of Frank's or our backgrounds with whom ever is interested. Frank invented the fuel carburetor float chamber, the thermostat (stolen from him) and the pressure cooling system radiator cap.
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