In the years prior to the Great War, automobiles and prices varied greatly. Smaller cars like the Ford Model T were selling for as little as $500.
The Russell-Knight was Canada's prime entry in the quality automobile market and sold for 10 times the price of a Ford.
The Canadian Cycle and Motor, or CCM, was more famed for its bicycles but it entered into the auto business with the Ivanhoe electric car.
It soon became obvious that gasoline-powered engines were the coming thing so CCM started the Russell Motor Car Company.
Their motto was “Made up to a standard, not down to a price.”
In 1909, the company obtained exclusive Canadian rights to the revolutionary Knight sleeve-valve engine and in 1913 they produced this fine example of automotive craftsmanship, calling their creation the Russell-Knight.
This car exhibited the finest workmanship of the period, as one would expect in a vehicle selling for nearly twice the price of the best Cadillac!
In its day, it ran swiftly, powerfully and almost totally silent. Attractive, too, with lots of brass trim, leather upholstery and highly polished hardwood.
Examples like the one at the Manitoba Antique Auto Museum in Elkhorn are an extreme rarity. It was purchased new by George Kerr and later sold to Findley McMartin of Franklin, who claimed it was the closest thing to steam power as it ran so quietly.
Ike Clarkson of Elkhorn restored the well-preserved car to nearly new condition.
Lillian Jackson is a member of Elkhorn’s Restoration Club.