Automotive Showplace

The Automotive Showplace is a rotating exhibit space at the Detroit Historical Museum that features rare and unique vehicles from the Detroit Historical Society’s collection, presented by Warner Norcross & Judd.

 

NOW OPEN in the Automotive Showplace at the entrance of America’s Motor City

1914 Scripps-Booth "Rocket" Roadster

It looks like a fast, fun car, and it was! Detroiter James Booth designed this car for his Scripps-Booth Cyclecar Company. The bicycle-like wheels gave this type of vehicles its name, and they were a national fad between 1912 and 1916. Today, the tandem seating and belt-drive have a toy-like appearance, but its lightweight body and efficient engine made this car very fast for the time - up to 50 miles per hour. Priced at about half what a basic full-size car cost, it made a tempting entry level automobile.

Soon after this car was built, James Booth and his uncle, William E. Scripps, sold the cyclecar business and started the Scripps-Booth Company to build more practical small automobiles. A few years later the firm went public, and Scripps-Booth was purchased by William Durant as a Chevrolet subsidiary. General Motors discontinued the brand in 1923.

Sixteen years later, James Booth-by then living in California-created another cyclecar for himself known as the DaVinci "Pup." It would go up to 90 miles per hour, and is also in the Detroit Historical Society Collection.

Specifications:

• Engine: Spacke Deluxe V-twin cylinder, 35 cubic inch, air-cooled
• Horsepower: 10-12 hp. at normal speeds
• Bore: 3.5 in.
• Stroke: 3.67 in.
• Displacement: 70.6cu. in.
• Price new: $385.00

Supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts and MotorCities National Heritage Area.