Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

On This Day


Tuesday 13th March 1917

101 years ago

Carl Kelsey was issued with a US patent for his friction drive transmission. He built his first 4 wheel car in1897. While still in college he and a classmate, I. Sheldon Tilney, designed a single cylinder, 5 hp vehicle with 2 wheels in the front and 1 in the rear. They called it the "Autotri". Sons of wealthy Philadelphians, the boys’ fathers intervened in the work, sending their sons back to school work because the automobile was "an instrument of the devil". By 1901 Kelsey was consorting with the devil again when he built a 2 cylinder, 4 wheeled auto. In 1902 he began to sell Maxwell autos and he worked for Maxwell Motor Co. as its Sales Manager from 1905 - 1909. Sensing disaster coming at Maxwell, he left to begin making cars of his own. He formed the C. W. Kelsey Manufacturing Company and produced the three-wheel Motorette car from 1910 to 1912. Later, he manufactured the "Kelsey Motor Company Perfected Friction Drive" car (1920-24). In 1924 Kelsey quit the automobile industry. The Kelsey Motorette was introduced in 1910 in the USA. The vehicle was designed and manufactured by C.W. Kelsey and was produced in limited numbers; about 210 were produced. Power was supplied by a 2-stroke 2-cylinder engine that was initially air-cooled in the first models. A switch was made to water cooled engines by 1911. The engine drove the single rear wheel and steering was controlled by a tiller device. The first models produced tended to roll on cornering and anti-sway bars were developed to counteract this. Several hundred vehicles were built and shipped throughout the USA as well as Denmark, Canada, Mexico and Japan. In addition to the standard version, a delivery van was also created as was a rickshaw model that was exported to Japan.

1911 Kelsey Motorette Advertisement

1911 Kelsey Motorette Advertisement

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