Detroit steel means V8. It's inescapable. That the eight-cylinder engine is falling out of popularity only makes us more nostalgic for the daddy of American muscle. But the first V8-powered motor vehicle built in Detroit wasn't a car at all... it was a motorcycle. Well, sorta. It was the contraption you see above, the Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo.
Built in 1913 by media scion James Scripps-Booth, the vehicle weighed a massive 3,200 lbs. It rode on 37-inch wooden wagon wheels, which were supplemented – no kidding – by training wheels that lowered out of the bodywork to stabilize the vehicle at low speeds. The aluminum-bodied whatchamacallit was steered with a wheel like a car, incorporating the first steering-wheel-mounted horn button, accompanied in the cockpit by the first folding arm-rest and flanked by the first hidden door hinges on a motor vehicle. The copper-piped V8 displaced a massive 6.3 liters, yet only produced 45 horsepower. Not bad for its day, but you shouldn't be surprised to find that only one was ever built, and it's currently on loan to the Owls Head Transportation Museum from the permanent collection of the Detroit Historical Museum, coming to you courtesy of Time magazine's 50 Worst Cars of All Time. Follow the link to peruse the rest.
[Source: Time via Boing Boing]