French Royalty Visits The Orphanage: 1961 Renault Dauphine, on loan from The Forney Museum
January 10, 2021 – April 11, 2021
The word Dauphine is defined as the female form of the French feudal title of Dauphin, heir apparent to the French royal crown. High aspiration for the little 1961 Renault Dauphine on loan from Denver’s Forney Museum of Transportation.
A pioneer of the European economy car, this rear engine/rear wheel drive, four-door saloon, manufactured in one body style only, was the successor to the successful Renault 4CV. Several years of secret R&D and thorough testing went into the Dauphine which was introduced in March 1956. More than two million units were manufactured during its 1956-1967 production run.
At 155.0 inches in length and weighing 1430 lb., the Dauphine uses an 845 cc, water cooled, in line four cylinder engine. The engine is rated at 32 hp, with a top speed of 70 mph, 0-60 in 32 seconds. The transmission is a three-speed manual (a four-speed was added later in the production run). Beginning in 1957, an electromagnetically operated clutch with no clutch pedal was offered, much like Volkswagen’s Autostick.
Steering is rack-and-pinion and front suspension is coil spring/twin wishbone layout with an anti-roll bar. Rear suspension is swing axle with coil spring/telescopic dampers sitting atop the swing tubes. More than half of the car’s weight is carried by the rear wheels. This, in combination with the suspension and over-inflated front tires could lead to oversteer characteristics much like the Chevrolet Corvair.
Sheet metal styling assistance was provided by Luigi Segre of Carrozzeria Ghia, an automotive design and coach building firm in Turin, Italy. Segre’s studio also designed the curvaceous VW Karmann-Ghia.
The Dauphine has a front hinged trunk lid with integral headlights. The spare tire is located horizontally, under the front of the car, behind a panel below the bumper. The passenger compartment has bucket seats up front and a rear bench seat, a heater, painted dash (matching the exterior color) with twin open bins on the dashboard, in lieu of gloveboxes, sliding rear windows and twin horns, one for town and one for the country. In addition, rear door safety locks, stainless steel trim moldings and hold-open catches on the door stays were standard.
Award winning Parisian textile artist, Paule Marrot, suggested to Renault’s chairman that she could help find “fresh vibrant colors” to replace the drab automotive colors of postwar Paris. Morrot became a member of the Dauphine team and went on to propose vibrant pastels and complimentary fabrics for seats and door panels.
Although the Renault Dauphine was a popular machine around the world, it suffered from many problems including poor reliability and assembly, mechanical problems, and severe rust problems. The Dauphine has been proclaimed the “9th Worst Car of the Millennium” and “truly unencumbered by the engineering process” and yet, the Dauphine was America’s best-selling import car of 1959.
Final Guest Vehicle of 2020:
1932 Plymouth Model PB Sport Roadster Displayed at the Orphanage in Yuma, on Loan from the Forney Museum
October 5 – January 9, 2020
YUMA, COLO – A 1932 Plymouth Model PB Sport Roadster will be on display at the Orphanage from October 5th through the first full week in January. The car is on loan from the Forney Museum in Denver. The Roadster was generously donated to The Forney in 2008.
1928 was a busy year for Walter P. Chrysler. Chrysler launched the Plymouth brand in July 1928, just one month before it launched the DeSoto brand. To top it off, the corporation purchased Dodge the very same year. Plymouth was intended to be the low-price option and was introduced to compete with the lower priced cars produce by Ford and Chevrolet. DeSoto and Dodge were aimed at the mid-priced market. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the Plymouth Division ensured the survival of the Chrysler Corporation when other car companies failed. By 1931, Plymouth rose to number three in sales among all cars.
Only slightly higher priced than Chevrolet and Ford, Plymouth was offered with standard features not offered by the competition. Some of these features were hydraulic brakes, full-pressure lubrication, aluminum alloy pistons and an independent hand brake. Chrysler introduce what they called “Floating Power” in 1931, which was rubber coated engine mounts to keep vibration to a minimum.
In 1932, Plymouth increased the Model PB wheelbase to 112 inches, a three inch increase. Horsepower was increased from 56 to 65. The ten model lineup ranged in price from $495 to $795. Plymouth even offered a Collegiate Special Sport Roadster, for $40 extra, which was painted in the buyer’s school colors. 1932 was the last year of the four-cylinder Plymouth line. For 1933, an inline six-cylinder was introduced to compete with Chevrolet’s six-cylinder and Ford’s V8.
The 1932 Plymouth, Model PB, Sport Roadster on display has the following standard and optional equipment: 4-wheel hydraulic brakes, wire spoke wheels, cowl mounted fresh air vents, under dash mounted hot water heater, twin tail lamps, windshield side wings, rear mounted spare, rumble seat and after-market turn signals.
1964 Flower Power VW Beetle
Sept. 5 – Oct. 4, 2020
1909 REO Runabout Displayed at the Orphanage in Yuma, on Loan from the Forney Museum
May 31-August 29, 2020
YUMA, COLO – On loan from the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver, the 1909 REO Runabout on display at the Orphanage is powered by a water-cooled, longitudinal single-cylinder motor mounted beneath the driver seat. Rated at 10 1/2 horsepower and 90 cubic inches, the Runabout reportedly reached a top speed of 26 mph. Lamps and horn were standard equipment at the base price of $500 ($150 less than the Ford Model T), but the windshield and top were extras, $25 and $30, respectively. Weight is 975 pounds.
Messerschmitt Microcar on Loan from Forney Museum
Mid-February – Mid-May
YUMA, COLO – Denver’s Forney Museum of Transportation and The Orphanage, in Yuma, have forged a partnership to expose some of the Forney’s collection to a wider audience in eastern Colorado. Starting mid-February and running through mid-May, The Orphanage will display a 1955 Messerschmitt KR200, on loan from the Forney Museum.
The microcar on display at the Orphanage is a two-seat tandem, three-wheeled “Bubble Car,” designed by aeronautical engineer Fritz Fend to be produced at the Messerschmitt facility, in Regensburg, Germany. Fend first produced the KR175 in the Messerschmitt factory in 1953 and in 1955 it was replaced by the KR200. KR stands for Kabinenroller (cabin scooter). In addition to a larger engine, the KR200 had improved suspension, engine mounting and controls, larger wheels, and a means by which to reverse the car. Reverse was accomplished by reversing the rotation of the engine itself.
Retailing for around DM 2,500 ($595), the KR200 was considered an instant success with almost 12,000 built during its first year. An “Export” package included a two-tone paint scheme, painted hubcaps, a fully trimmed interior, a heater, a clock, and a sunshade for the canopy. The United Kingdom was the manufacturers biggest export destination.
Ford Model TT Fire Truck
YUMA, COLO – The Orphanage, in downtown Yuma, is displaying a restored 1920 Ford Model TT fire truck, the second T stands for Truck, belonging to the Eckley Volunteer Fire Department. Originally owned by the Yuma Volunteer Fire Department, the fire truck on display was sold to the E.V.F.D. in the 1950’s. The TT fire truck will be on display from November 16th through February 15th.
Almost from the beginning of Model T production, the public clamored for commercial chassis on which to build a multitude of working vehicles. Due to its versatility, the T made a suitable platform for fire trucks. First offered in 1911, but not officially considered in production until 1914, Ford started selling stripped down chassis. They were stripped of all bodywork except for the cowl, engine cover, radiator, front fenders and headlamps. Customers would take these rolling chassis to independent body makers to create custom bodies that suited the customer’s needs.
Rural fire departments with modest budgets appreciated the Ford chassis’ reasonable price, low operating cost and easy maintenance. In 1917, in anticipation of Chevrolet and Dodge producing truck chassis, Ford decided to produce a commercial chassis with a stretched wheelbase. The Model TT was based on the T but with a rear axle worm gear, heavier frame & rear axle, and it would carry a payload of 1 ton. The TT sold for $600 and in 1920 almost 54,000 commercial chassis were sold.
Specifications for the Model TT chassis are as follows: 125” wheelbase, compared to the Model T at 100”. The engine size is 177 cu. in. producing 20 hp., and with standard gearing, 15 mph was the recommended top speed. Transmission is a two-speed planetary type. Suspension is via transverse, semi elliptical springs both front and rear and the wheels are wood artillery wheels. Ignition is a magneto type.
This E.V.F.D. fire truck sports a body provided by the Julius Pearse Fire Department Supply Company of Denver, CO. Julius Pearse was one of the organizers of the original volunteer fire department of Denver, an organizer of the Colorado State Fire Association and, in the late 1800’s, a pioneer fire chief of the city of Denver. Later in life, he formed the Julius Pearse Fire Department Supply Company which supplied all manner of fire-fighting equipment in addition to custom bodies for commercial chassis.
The E.V.F.D team for this ten-year restoration was Andy Hagemeier, Tony Probasco and Tim Probasco. Mechanical restoration and paint by Chapman Custom Auto, Edison, NE, stripes and graphics by Hot Brush, Bird City, KS and plating by Quality Plating, Yuma, CO. Paint was donated by Todd A. Wendt. The restoration project was completed in August 2018.