This page is a text version of the History of Portage la Praire and Surrounding District. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire

Previous - Page 102 or Next - Page 104

Until the opening of the first garage in Portage owners repaired their own cars.

It wasn't until 1908 that cars began to really appeal to the public. Mr. Lyon obtained the Ford agency and J. K. Hill bought the first Model T Ford. Dr. Stewart was his second customer.

At that time j t took six hours to motor to Winnipeg (if the roads were dry). The maximum speed was 25 miles per hour.

At first cars were not driven in the winter. La tel', owners emptied the water from radiators and replaced it in the morning. By 1908 a crude form of anti-freeze was concocted by mixing alcohol and water.

In 19091 S. W. Woods, a local butcher, purchased an Inter­ national high-wheel truck with hard-rubber tires. A joke of the times was that the truck travelled faster when it was being towed than it did under its own power!

Steam driven cars, a t first more common than gasoline models, gradually disappeared because of the engineering skill required of the driver.

Electric models also lost popularity because the storage battery required re-charging after approximately four hours of driving.

From the original touring car (with its domed-in canvas side­ curtains, which were used when the weather was wet) to the closed-in car (glass replacing side-curtains) to the sleek, streamlined, 400 horse-power vehicles of today, evolution in the automotive industry has been remarkable.

The first car's greatest attribute was being able to travel a little faster than the horse! Even though it is a treasured museum piece today we wouldn't trade it for the modern models that have power brakes, power steering, twin signals, automatic clutch, air conditioning units, electric window lifts, window washers, radios, longer wheel bases, safety seat belts, padded dashes and puncture proof tires.

Not many of us could afford to buy one of the first old-time cars today. But what would we do with it if we could?

Garages that are selling the finest lines of modern automobiles in Portage 1a Prairie today (1968) are: Tecza Motors (Mercury Sales Ltd.), Portage Garage Ltd. (Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, Vali­ ant and Simca ), Frank Dahl (Rambler and Volkswagen), Smith Motors (Ford cars and trucks) and Delta Motors (Chevrolet and Pontiac).