The Milwaukee Automobile Company of Wisconsin was founded in late 1899 and proceeded to produce a range of steam cars from March 1900 until, well, it ran out of steam in May 1902. While times were good, the concern decided to make a splash at the 1901 Chicago Automobile Show. So, in addition to two other cars and two commercial vehicles, it displayed a racing car. Such projectiles were, of course, rare in those early days of the horseless carriage and the Milwaukee they displayed, and which is now being offered for sale, must surely be one of the earliest surviving machines specifically designed and built for competition. It was manufactured for a Dr J.G. Lovell of Chicago and designed by the company's agent in that city, Frank P. Illsley.
At some later stage, possibly by the factory before it closed, the Milwaukee was extensively modified, and the boiler housed up front under a bonnet. Evidently the racer was in this form when restored in 1954 by a Mr Ray Salentine of Waukesha, Wisconsin, and the current boiler and water tank are thought to date from that period. It is believed this fascinating item of Americana dwelt in Beloit near Chicago in the 1960s/1970s and was next heard of at the Carl Benz Automuseum in Ladenburg, Germany in 2001. The vendor acquired the Milwaukee in the Spring of 2005 and, following extensive research, it has been painstakingly restored to original 1901 specification. Despite the evident intentions for it to compete in period, little related history has been uncovered, except for the possibility of a half-mile race at Joliet, Illinois in October 1901.
Being pre-1905 it is eligible for the London to Brighton run and has indeed participated in the event. Superbly presented in Black and Green, this fascinating veteran comes complete with boiler certificate valid into 2017.