MAKE/MODEL: Smith Flyer                    

MAKER: A. O Smith Co.

ENGINE TYPE: Smith Motor Wheel

YEAR: 1916

CLASS: Sportscar

Smith Wheel

The Smith Flyer was an American made Cyclecar, powered by the Smith Motor Wheel and produced by A.O Smith Co. of Milwaukee from 1914 - 1919 who then sold the technology to Briggs & Stratton who continued to make improvements and later developed the Auto Red Bug Electric Roadster which was the last of the flyers. The Smith Flyer was billed as the worlds first "Sports Car".

A little history on The motor wheel

It was the year 1910 when a young man in England by the name of Wall invented the Motor Wheel for bicycle propulsion.  It was called the Wall Auto Wheel.

This machine had a wire spoked wheel which was driven by a chain from the one HP engine.  The Auto Wheel used a two lobe cam-shaft, geared 4 to 1, with an air cooled cylinder.  This wheel was quite a fad in England in 1914.

In Milwaukee, USA, a firm by the name of A O Smith Company bought the United States manufacturing rights from Wall.  The A O Smith Company made some changes in the construction of the Auto Wheel.  Namely, they changed the wire wheel to a disc wheel, driving the wheel directly from the cam shaft, doing away with the chains.  The cam shaft had 4 exhaust lobes and was geared 8 to 1.  Also, the Smith Wheels were mounted on the left side of the bicycle, and the Wall was mounted on the right side of the bicycle.

October 1914 the first Smith Motor Wheel was put on the market.  The 1914 and 1915 Smith Motor Wheels were known as the Model A.  They were identical with one exception: the flywheel on the 1914 was plain, while the 1915 flywheel had "Smith Motor Wheel" in raised letters.

In the years of 1914 to 1918 Smith made many thousands of the Motor Wheels, all red.  Like the Model T Ford, the Smith Wheel remained basically the same, with minor changes.  The 1914 and 1915 had a shallow crank-case with no oil sight gauge.  1916 to 1918 had a deeper crank-case with a glass oil sight gauge on the side. The 1916 had no drain plug, but it had bronze main bearings.  Later in 1916 and 1917 they added the oil drain plug and roller bearings on the mains.  The first 1916 models were the Model B, then late in 1916 and 1917 the B, A models.  Then in 1918 came the a model, which was still basically the same, except the intake port was held in by a C-clamp arrangement instead of the screwed in plug type intake port.

For an article written just last year by Walter W Smith, the Grandson of Rueben Stanly Smith (the inventor of the Smith Flyer) take a look at the following link

Smith Flyer