1914 HO MODEL AG Owned by St John and Pauline Herbert.
Hotchkiss was an armaments firm manufacturing guns from small bore bore machine guns to large 15 inch naval guns. Like other armaments firms such as BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) in England, FN in Belgium and Martini in Switzerland, Hotchkiss realised that the engineering requirement for firing a shell down a gun barrel was not so different as that for propelling a piston down a cylinder, and that their machines for reaming out gun barrels could produce a nice line in cylinder bores.
By 1914, Hotchkiss cars had earned a reputation for mechanical excellence, and the model AG started production in January. After a few months, however, the war clouds were gathering over Europe And the Hotchkiss factory in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis had to turn back to making guns. Only 50 Model AG cars were made, and no 49, the last one off the production line was exported to Melbourne together with a number of six cylinder chassis which were destined to be fire engines for the Melbourne Fire Brigade. The four cylinder Model AG became a staff car for the Chief of Melbourne Fire Brigade.
The rest of the production line was commandeered by the French Army and were blown to pieces on the Western Front. The late Michael Sedgewick, a renown British historic car journalist did extensive research into the history of Hotchkiss and concluded that no 49 was the only survivor of the model AG.
The AG has virtually no electric’s, the only wiring being the leads from the magneto to the four spark plugs. The car has no starter motor, battery, generator or fuel pump, petrol being fed from the tank by air pressure provided by a hand pump on the dash for starting after which pressure is maintained by an engine driven air pump.
The motor is 2.7 litters 15.9 HP. The cylinder block with a non-detachable head is moulded with both the inlet and exhaust manifolds inside the block. The crankcase is aluminium but without a detachable sump pan. The crankcase has three main bearings with oil pressure fed through the drilled crankshaft. With four forward speeds and reverse, the maximum speed is 50 mph at 2000rpm.
The foot-brake operates on a drum on the transmission shaft, while the external hand brake operates on the rear wheels. Lighting is acetylene for the head-lamps and kerosene for the side and tail.
Hotchkiss continued to make cars and trucks until 1954, taking over such famous French names as Delage and Delahaye in the process.
Today the last of the Model AG lives peacefully in a shed in Rosedale but emerges a few times each year to stretch its legs. While at 85 years of age, it is not as fast of quick of the mark as modern cars, it remains an exclusive example of the early years of motoring.