“This 1902 Thomas is believed to be the oldest complete Thomas motor car known to exist,” said co-owner Stewart Laidlaw. “It was purchased from the Wells Museum collection in Maine several years ago which owned it for more than 60 years.” While the precise history is not known, the car was believed to have resided in Maine from new with only one wealthy owner prior to being acquired by Mr. Wells.
Speaking about the 1902 Thomas, Mr. Laidlaw remarked, “When we received the car we removed varnish on the fenders to uncover the original japan (black paint) on the steel fenders. An amazing feature are the leather straps in the rear seats which are still intact and typically never survive. The wood body retains its original green/gray paint, a color known as London Smoke, with gold leaf pin-stripping. The pin striping on the springs is interesting because the repeated ‘T’ outline pattern for Thomas.”
When speaking about how a car this old could be so well-preserved, Mr. Laidlaw said, “Wealthy owners sent new cars to their summer homes in Maine. The cars would be used only a few months a year and would typically be well cared for in carriage houses in the off-season. During this early part of the century, the technology was changing fast and these owners would purchase new cars and keep the older models. This is likely what happened in the case of this Thomas.”
the 2nd place went to the 1913 Mercer
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the 1902 Thomas won the Pebble Beach’s pre-war preservation category