The nice family touring car that grew into the huge international General Motors corporation of the present day shown here only a year after it began production. This nice example of a 1909 McLaughlin open touring car was built in Oshawa, Ontario by the legendary “Col.” Sam McLaughlin and his erstwhile
partner David Buick, whose name is commemorated by the GM firm even today. For the first few years, the partners’ automobiles were known as McLaughlins, then the name McLaughlin-Buick came into vogue, lasting until the end of the 1920s, when the McLaughlin was dropped, giving way to the well-known Buick marquee of today. This 1909 McLaughlin was restored to its present condition by Mr. Clarkson long before the founding of the Antique Automobile Museum and has been kept in excellent running order for many years. Give it a gallon of gas, retard the spark and close the choke a bit, “twist her tail”…. and the car will run today, just as nicely as the day it first rolled out of the factory!
Powered by a 4-cylinder, twin-block, four-stroke engine, the McLaughlin features the famous “caged valve” assemblies which became so popular during and after the First World War for quick valve-and-seat conversions on aircraft engines. The transmission gives three forward speeds and a single reverse gear and power is through a cone clutch and drive shaft.
in common with many of the cars of this very early period, this McLaughlin has a road speed of about 35 miles per hour with the throttle close to the “wide open” position: not much in today’s terms, but quite sufficient for the roads at that time. The visitor will note especially the old-time auto engineering so evident on this fine McLaughlin, including the elliptical springing, extensive use of brass trim, folding windshield and Pres-To-Lite acetylene gas headlamp system. Note also the real leather upholstery, a rare luxury in this day and age, but standard on all but the cheapest cars of the first decade of the century. At this early date, the McLaughlin still had right-hand steering with outboard gear change and brake levers; the shift pattern of McLaughlin’s for many years was the reverse of the system later standardized and still used today.