In 1897, Quebecer George Foss invented the first Canadian automobile with an internal combustion engine: the Fossmobile. 125 years later, his grandson Ron Voss remade this car.
The first gasoline-powered car
An accomplished electrician and bike shop owner, George Voss had the idea to create his own car during a trip to Boston. During this trip, the Sherbrooke-based inventor spent $4 to test drive an electric car for one hour. However, after about thirty minutes the batteries fell empty!
“On the way back, I think he could do something better. With a petrol engine, we wouldn’t have a battery problem,” says Mr. Morin. “The car was built during the winter of 1896-1897,” he adds. To put people in the story, Alain Morin says this adventure happened long before Ford cars like the Model A. arrived in 1885.
In 1902, George Voss moved to Montreal and sold the car for $75. After this deal, we lost track of Fossmobile altogether. This copy will be built in only one copy and documents related to its manufacture will be virtually non-existent, except for a few photographs.
Despite extensive research, Ron Voss was unable to trace the car invented by his grandfather. Retired, he decided to reproduce it. “There are about five or six photos of the Fossmobile that helped define the outline. And none of them show the engine,” Mr. Moran identifies. So it was very difficult for Ron Voss to recreate this car. Fortunately, the discovery of a very similar model allowed him to gain more information.
After building his car, George Foss became a consultant to Crestmobile, an American brand from Massachusetts. And in an American museum is a Model 1901 Crestmobile that looks suspiciously similar to Fossmobile. He [Ron Foss] He was able to use it as a mould,” Alan Morin explains. The engine, a four-horsepower single cylinder, was also borrowed from Crestmobile.
Ron Foss, who lives in Ontario, teamed up with the Legendary Motorcar Company for a Fossmobile recreation. According to Mr. Maureen, this replica is 90% faithful to the original model.
Those who want to take a closer look at this little-known piece of Quebec’s automotive history will be pleased to know that the Fossmobile will be presented at the Marché de la gare de Sherbrooke on August 19, 20 and 21. “Then it would end up at the Canadian Automobile Museum in Oshawa,” says Alan Morin.
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