This is the 1904 “St. Louis” model of the Dorris automobile manufactured by the Saint Louis Motor Carriage Company. The automobile has a wooden body with brass fittings and black leather upholstery and is painted blue. St. Louis was a center of the early American automobile-making industry between 1900 and 1930. The “St. Louis” model symbolizes the economic changes of this period and dramatizes the little known fact that indeed St. Louis played a major role in car manufacturing in the United States.
The “St. Louis” model was the first successful single-cylinder car ever made. It had a gasoline engine, clutch and transmission built as a single unit, the first American car to feature this innovation. The “St. Louis” model was sold to the St. Louis Police Department in time for the 1904 World’s Fair and was one of the world’s first police cars. It became the nucleus of the “Scorching Squad”-St. Louis’s first motorized police traffic unit. In 1900, the “St. Louis” was the first automobile driven from St. Louis to Chicago. John French drove the car 450 miles in 36 hours.