Cranking up the motor trade

JACK WINTERBOTTOM is one of the many fascinating transport pioneers featured in the new exhibition From Hooves to Highways at the Museum of Perth.

If you bought a car in WA in the early 20th century, chances are it was imported by Mr Winterbottom, a Perth entrepreneur who established the Perth Motor House on Hay Street with Jack Harris in 1907.

The original Hay Street building still exists and is now home to Tony Barlow and the Stables bar.

• Jack Winterbottom, in front of the Perth Motor House, in his ‘Model N’ Ford in 1907.

Before the Ford Model T made motoring more affordable and accessible, Mr Winterbottom stocked cars from Argyle and Fiat, and sold the lesser-known 1906 ‘Model N’ Ford.

People still viewed motor cars as an expensive novelty that got in the way of the horses, trams and wagons, but it soon became clear the car was king, and Perth Motorhouse’s turnover jumped from £21,000 in 1915 to £334,000 in 1924.

From Hooves to Highways, the history of the Motor Car in WA is at the Museum of Perth, 10am-4pm Monday to Friday, and the first Saturday of each month, and there’s an online gallery at http://www.fromhoovestohighways.com

by DAVID BELL

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