1896 Benton-Harbor Motor Carriage

1 of 9
EngineHorizontally opposed, 2-cyl., 7 hp
Exterior ColorYellow
Interior ColorBlack

The Benton Harbor is significant as one of the oldest intact automobiles built in the United States. The Benton Harbor Motor Carriage or “motocycle” was designed and built by Albert and Lewis (Louis) Baushke of Benton Harbor, MI, owners of Baushke Carriage Works, and William O. Worth, an engine builder and inventor from Chicago, IL. The trio intended to compete in the 1895 Chicago Times-Herald “Motocycle Competition” America’s first publicized “race.” They did not complete the car in time. When it was first tested in early 1896 it proved to be a failure and the Baushke brothers and Worth parted ways. The Baushkes never built another car, but Worth founded the Chicago Motor Vehicle Company and other enterprises, where he produced a handful of automobiles and patents. Worth retained the Benton Harbor until the '30s. It was acquired by David Kolzow in '81. After a frame-off restoration and showing it at events he donated it to the AACA Museum, Inc. in 1995.

NHVR No. 20 HAER No. PA-655

Paint and exterior

The Benton Harbor was repainted in the 1980s when it was fully restored by David Kolzow.

Upholstery and interior

This vehicle’s interior is in restored condition. It features black leather seats. It was restored and reupholstered in the 1980s by David Kolzow.


Original Engine: Yes

Liquid-cooled, opposed 2-cyl/7.5 hp – built and engineered by William Worth.

Mounted underneath the car and powers a 30" friction drive flywheel sending power to the rear-wheels via an open driveshaft and differential. Restored/Rebuilt


This vehicle was originally used as a test mule though it was meant to compete in America’s first automobile race. It is now on permanent museum display. Its total mileage is unknown.

Wheels and tires

44" front, 48" rear painted wood wheels with solid rubber tires


Integrated with friction drive system


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