1902 Thomas Model 17

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We’ve previously talked about the majestic 1909 Thomas Flyer Model K6-70 and its predecessor, the Model 35. They are stunning, some of the most powerful, expensive and chic cars of their time. But now I want to focus on the very first Thomas Flyer. This car was equipped with a single-cylinder engine and in its time it did not have exceptional power as later models of the company.

Today, you can find 1902 Thomas Model 17 equipped with the original spark plugs and ignition wires. This indicates high reliability, despite the need for specific maintenance and the need for constant monitoring of the oil level in the engine and transmission. In one of the videos on YouTube, the author said that at short intervals of mileage, he even removes the engine crankcase and performs additional lubrication of the main and connecting rod liners. Today such thorough maintenance seems very strange, but it is worth remembering that at that time the engine parts were not equipped with a pressurized lubrication system. The transmission also had no seals of any kind and this created the need to monitor the oil level.
The 1902 Thomas Model 17 was manufactured in Buffalo, New York. The later, aforementioned cars with huge engines were also assembled there.

1902 Thomas Model 17 Exterior and Photos.

Just from the photo you can see the hood, but like other cars of the time, the engine here is mounted in the back, under the seat. At the front of the car you can notice the radiator of the engine cooling system. Depending on the modification and equipment, the front could have two – on the sides, or one – in the middle, acetylene headlights. For that time it was normal, because the time of electric headlights had not yet come.
The crooked starter lever is not mounted on the front, but on the right side. Wicker baskets for stuff can also be seen on the sides. Wooden, artillery type rims were the norm for the time. The tires were pneumatic, which in itself added to the comfort of the car.
The 1902 Thomas Model 17 with a rear row of seats had a rear entrance rather than a side entrance. A cerasin lantern can be seen at the rear of the car and a footrest next to it.

1902 Thomas Model 17.

This Thomas automobile was equipped with right-hand drive, which was the norm for American cars of the time. For easier boarding and alighting, the steering wheel on the Model 17 folds down. Unusually, the transmission lever is mounted on the steering column rather than outside the passenger compartment, as was the case with most cars of the time. The Thomas car is equipped with an odometer and clock, but there is no windshield.

1902 Thomas Model 17 engine and specifications.

At the rear of the Thomas automobile, the Thomas engine is horizontally mounted with a two-speed, manual transmission. Both engine and gearbox require constant attention to the oil level. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a chain, and the suspension is leaf spring.

This car did not become an iconic model like the later 6-70 and 35 models, but it was the beginning of the Thomas ca

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