Our pals over at the Petersen brought over a bunch of treats from their collection for everyone who's sick of new cars. And in that batch of old lovelies was the oldest lovely of them all: a 1900 Smith. It's the oldest car at the show, and the most local as well: it was built right here in downtown LA.

The 113-year old car is a very recent acquisition for the Petersen ‚ÄĒ they've only had it about a week. The car was in a private collector's hands, and that collector got the car way back in the 1940s, when he found it on a pile of rubbish that was about to be burned.

It's a really interesting vehicle ‚ÄĒ it has a mid/rear mounted air-cooled flat-twin that's, weirdly, transverse. It's sort of like a 2CV or BMW motorcycle engine stuck sideways in a wooden box. It uses an unusual belt-drive transmission, and the whole thing was designed and built ‚ÄĒ engine included ‚ÄĒ by the remarkably talented Mr.Smith.


Leslie Kendall, curator of the Petersen, was nice enough to tell me about it. Watch it, it's fascinating!