The Sloan Museum has added two new additions to their collection: a 1909 Paterson Motor Buggy, and a 1949 Chevrolet Styleline Coupe Deluxe.
1909 Paterson Motor Buggy
The 1909 Paterson Motor Buggy represents an important era in Flint history: the transition from carriage making to automobiles. The WA Paterson company was a well-established and popular carriage manufacturer in Flint, founded in 1869. The Motor Buggy was their first attempt at building a car and has the basic appearance of a horse-drawn buggy, as did some other early automobiles, making it somewhat unique in our collection.
The museum owns a single Paterson carriage and one other Paterson car from 1919, with a much different body style and representing the later years of the company’s history. The 1909 allows us to bridge the gap between existing artifacts in the collection from this important Flint manufacturer. Of the 64 Motor Buggies made, we believe it to be the only one remaining.
The carriage industry is the foundation upon which the automobile industry was built, with the people, talent, infrastructure, and money of that era providing the resources that made the switch to auto manufacturing possible. The WA Paterson Company was a major carriage manufacturer in Flint, which transitioned over to automobile making with the Motor Buggy in 1909. The company was among other carriage makers of the time who did the same thing, including Billy Durant, who went on to found General Motors.
The successful transition from carriages to cars is an important part of Flint and Genesee County’s story, without which the area’s history and that of the automobile industry would be very different. The WA Paterson Company played a role in that crucial time period. It is also one of many small manufacturers that faded away by the 1920s, as names like General Motors and Ford gained prominence.
The Motor Buggy was purchased at auction from the Saratoga Automobile Museum with the generous support of the Sloan Museum Auto Fair Committee and several private donors.
1949 Chevrolet Styleline Coupe Deluxe
Sloan Museum made an important addition to its postwar automobile collection with the 1949 Styleline Coupe Deluxe. In the years after World War II, GM went from producing no civilian vehicles during the war, to setting manufacturing and sales records. The museum has few vehicles dating to the late 1940s time period.
The car has an extensive backstory. It was made in Flint and purchased for $1,800.93 by Jennet Torrey at Summerfield Chevrolet, also in Flint. She bought it on behalf of her brother, Dr. Ernest P. Griffin, who used it in Atkins, Arkansas in his employment as a country doctor. Griffin’s grandson, who would later own the car, sometimes drove his grandfather on his rounds, including to deliver babies. After 1960 it returned to Flint, where it was driven occasionally until being donated to the museum.
The 1949 Chevrolet Styleline Coupe DeLuxe was generously donated to Sloan Museum of Discovery by a private donor.
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