1915 Winton Six Roadster

It seems a shame that Winton is not a more widely celebrated American automobile marque. Like many contemporaries during the formative years of the motorcar, Scottish-born Alexander Winton got his start in the bicycle business in the late 1800s. In 1896 he built his first experimental automobile with a single-cylinder engine, and by the following year, he organized the Winton Motor Carriage Company and completed his second vehicle – a 10-horsepower twin-cylinder runabout. Winton tested that car at Cleveland’s famous Glenville horse racing track, reaching an astonishing top speed of 33.64 miles per hour – in 1897! But even more important than his engineering achievements were his strategies. When most saw the automobile as little more than a toy for the wealthy, Alexander Winton established the first orderly production schedule to construct his cars, enabling the automobile to transition from amateur workshop curios into a proper industry.

Through racing, record-breaking, and highly publicized cross-continent drives, Winton steadily increased notoriety and sales. The firm was continuously on the cutting edge – introducing wheel steering in 1901, three or four-speed sliding gear transmissions and six-cylinder engines in 1907, and a compressed-air self-starter in 1909. Alexander Winton remained in firm control throughout the company’s existence, ensuring the cars that bore his name lived up to his standards.

The Winton Six Roadster offered here is one of the most impressive nickel-era cars in the Kleptz collection. Its impressive scale is masked by a fantastically sporty, low-slung two-passenger roadster bodywork, complete with an oval fuel tank and twin spares on the rear deck. The racy red two-seater body is complemented by a black-painted chassis, black patent leather mudguards, and red-painted 25-inch Houk “quick change” wire wheels. It is presented here in excellent condition, with the high-quality older restoration looking remarkably good, displaying lovely paintwork and attractive nickel plating all around.

Acquired by the Kleptz Collection in the early 1980s, the Winton Six was formerly owned by Mr. Thomas Lester. Tom was a celebrated collector, enthusiast, and supporter of the automobile hobby and a fierce competitor in rally events. After acquiring the Winton from Lester, Frank and his son David prepared the car for rallying with the grueling Great American Race, their prime target. Some of Frank’s engineering touches are still evident, including a shaft-driven alternator, electric starter, and a substantial radiator fan shroud, necessary for keeping the big ‘six cool on the notoriously tough Great Race. In the interest of weight savings, the Kleptzs ran the Winton sans mudguards and top and adapting a clever hinged floorboard to allow some heat into the car on chilly mornings.

The Winton is a two-time veteran of the Great Race in the late 1980s, and according to David, it is an absolute joy to drive, and he declared it one of his favorite driver’s cars. Much of that comes down to the superb driving position, allowing plenty of room to work, even for taller drivers, and ideal steering column and pedal positioning. That, combined with the powerful inline-six and precise four-speed gearbox, makes it a serious performance car. The gearbox features a 1:1 3rd gear ratio and 25% overdrive 4th gear, allowing the Winton to cruise effortlessly at above-legal speeds, causing little trouble to the torque-rich engine. To quote David Kleptz, “She’ll eat Locomobiles and Stevens-Duryeas all day!”

Now offered in road-specification with its mudguards and folding top in place, the Winton Six remains an awe-inspiring machine and is in lovely order inside and out. It runs and drives well, feeling as powerful and eager as ever to carry on Frank Kleptz’s legacy in rallies and events worldwide.


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