1899 Orient Autogo
Is it a bicycle? A motorcycle? An automobile?
In 1899, this Orient Autogo was manufactured in Boston. Until recently, the last surviving example of this vehicle was a sole tricycle design, but a second Orient was amazingly discovered in a barnyard in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. Remarkably, this quadricycle design spent most of the last century buried underground for its own protection.
The Orient Autogo boasted a French DeDion Bouton engine that mustered a mere 2.25 horsepower. The “Forecar Kit” transformed the original tricycle design into this quadricycle (shown here) to accommodate a passenger. The seat and the bells on the handlebars were ideas borrowed from earlier bicycles. The whole package came together as a delicate, ornate, and rare combination of early transportation methods, reminding us all that the transition from horse drawn carriage to horseless carriage was not a straight line evolution.
Today, this Orient Autogo specimen is one of only two Orients known to exist in the world (there were three until a fire destroyed one in Germany in 2011), and it is the only survivor with the Forecar Kit. The owner has spent nearly six years researching and restoring this treasure to its current condition. With the master craftsmanship of Mark Silich and his team of experts at The Finishing Touch Inc. in Chicago, this gem of a vehicle was not only brought back from the grave, but it now stands out in the crowd as a shining, magnificent example of early automotive design!