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Red Bugs (AKA Auto Red Bug) are small, two passenger, wooden buckboard cyclecars that were produced from 1914 to about 1930. They were powered either by a gasoline engine or an electric motor. Price – About $150 in the late 1910’s, $300 in the late 1920’s. The first Auto Red Bugs were known as the Smith Flyer (1917-1920) and made by A. O. Smith Co. After 1920 they were produced by the newly formed Briggs & Stratton Co. and known as the Briggs & Stratton Flyer (1920-1923).
Like Smith Flyer and the Briggs & Stratton Flyer, Auto Red Bugs were powered by a fifth wheel with a single cylinder motor. Most likely this engine was the same Briggs & Stratton Motor Wheel two cycle air cooled engine with 2 horsepower use on the earlier Flyer.
When the Flyer moved to North Bergen, NJ in 1924 it was renamed the Auto Red Bug or Red Bug by the Automotive Electric Service Company. Soon afterwards this company was either acquired by or changed its name to Automotive Standards, Inc. It was this company name that appeared on most of the Auto Red Bugs. Automotive Standards, Inc. also appears on most 1920 magazine advertising.
The Auto Red Bug was very popular overseas in all of Europe.
Hundreds were shipped overseas to European luxury hotels, resorts and for road use.
- Gasoline or Electric powered
- Built from 1914 to about 1930
- First known as Smith Flyer, then as Briggs & Stratton Flyer and as Red Bug or Auto Red Bug
- Speed 8-10 mph, Range 10 to 30 miles
- This Example built by Automotive Electric Services, North Bergen, NJ