Greetings fellow gearheads! For a long time I’ve been wanting to create an article for Oppo but until recently I never felt like I came across something worthwhile - until now. Here’s a hint...
A while back my wife and I headed out in search of a Santa to equip with our baby daughter and snaps some adorable pics. On our way we discovered that the targeted Santa was unavailable on Saturdays; a real bummer because it was Saturday. While lamenting this problem we passed a sign in front of the Plymouth Historical Museum in Plymouth MI proclaiming both a Santa and free admission! Excited by the discovery we promptly went out to lunch, and then came back for some Santa Time.
The museum has two levels with Santa parked up top so of course that came first. A Santa Stop and some personal belongings of Abraham Lincoln later (yes that Abe Lincoln) it was time to visit the lower level, and this is where things got very interesting.
Stuffed all the way in the very very back of the lower level sat a car. I knew they had a car and I always figured it was some run of the mill early Ford but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Powerfully wrong. So wrong my wrongness gets its own paragraph. I feel shame.
You see, back in the early 1900s there were a heck of a lot of automakers, a whole bunch of which nobody has ever heard of and didn’t last very long. One of these was Alter Automobile which ran from 1914 to 1917, open to close right in Plymouth MI. They started out making a Touring model (four seats) and later added a Roadster model (two seats). Depending on who you talk to the company made anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 cars but no matter which end you subscribe to that already makes anything they produced very rare. Fun fact is that the original building for Alter Automobile is still in use today.
Despite the spread on how many cars were made, every source of information I could find all agree that only one Alter remains in existence and there it was right in front of me. Cooped up in a tiny museum basement sits a 1915 Alter Touring, in all original condition. THE remaining Alter, the 100 year old exceptionally well preserved Alter complete with a Do Not Touch sign and finger smears on the left front fender.
Given how long ago Alter was formed, the very short time they were in production, and the 100+ years between the manufacture of this car and today with it being the sole survivor - I honestly may have been looking at the rarest car in the world, only discovered because we needed some Santa pics.
The moral of this story is that Santa is awesome! Actually that might not be it. Here are some pics of the car; I apologize for the terrible nature of these pictures but the space is tiny and cramped and not very well lit.