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Transcript for ‘Russell 14-28 - Automobile 2010’

Host
Serge, this car we’re looking at today is very special, because it has a direct link with bicycle manufacturing. Can you tell us more about its connection with bicycles.

Surtitle
Serge Ouellette
Conservation Specialist at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology

Serge
Sure. CCM, the bicycle company that built bicycles at the turn of the century, was very popular. They were the biggest bicycle maker in Canada, and they had decided to venture into the production of Automobiles. The president of CCM was a Mr. Russell, and his friends suggested he should use his name for the new car.

Host
That’s really fascinating. I mean, apart from having wheels, there is really nothing else that these two products have in common. It was also a very special car at the time, since some of its main features really set it apart from the competition...

Serge
Definitely. Their main competitor was McLaughlin Buick. In the beginning, the cars they produced were mid-range, standard cars. As the years went by, they moved more towards higher quality automobiles, and they produced this car in 1914. It has an aluminum body, a 24 volt electrical system and it’s very luxurious. It has a Russell engine, and those Russell-Knight engines were sold worldwide…Luxury car manufacturers would purchase the right to produce those Willys Knight engines.

Host
These engines created a lot of pollution, though, because their design was different from that of conventional engines. On the other hand, you could barely hear them, the engine was extremely quiet.

Serge
Extremely quiet. And this was important in luxury cars. People were used to steam cars, which produced a lot of pollution, so in those days the Willys Knight engine didn’t represent a problem.

Serge
Yes, Mr. Russell’s daughter had it restored, and then donated the car to the Museum.

Host
And let’s not forget that the Russell was built in...

Serge
Toronto...

Host
Toronto! Unfortunately, they don’t make cars in Toronto anymore…That could be a good excuse for CCM to get back into the auto industry! Thank you, Serge!

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