- Written by webmin
Most requests we get to identify old cars in old photographs through Lost and Found come from regular readers who happen to come across those photographs in family albums, though we’ve cheerfully helped out historical societies and museums when they get stumped. This request, however, is a little different: It comes to us from Marianne DeAngelis, a specialist in the New York Guard. Marianne works in the historical unit of the guard, which means she gets to preserve NY Guard historical artifacts, including photos such as this one, snapped in a military camp in Westchester County in either 1917 or 1918.
Marianne notes that the back of the photo contains the caption, “Van Alstyne’s car,” and through other photographic evidence, she’s discovered that the caption refers to Private Lewis van Alstyne of Troop B in the guard’s First Cavalry, stationed near New Paltz. She’s even discovered the name of his pit bull mix, sitting on his lap: Viola (the other dogs are suspected to be strays that the guardsmen grew fond of).
But the identity of Private van Alstyne’s car remains a mystery. That gambrel-peaked grille shell should be a dead giveaway, and there couldn’t have been that many thoroughbred-type cars at the time. We see no mention of the private in our usual sources (a Matthew van Alstyne from Upstate New York drove a Peerless, but this is not a Peerless). We’re currently researching one other possibility, but in the meantime, does the car look familiar to anybody out there in Hemmings Nation?