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Celebrated 'Abbott Bulldog' comes to Statesboro in 1910
Bulloch History
roger allen
Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the history of Bulloch County.

The Bulloch Times issue of Dec. 28, 1910 announced the arrival in town of the “100,000 miles in auto” tour that was underway. It went on to describe how these “record makers stop in this city on (their) long run.” 

“With a total mileage of 19,786 miles to this town, the celebrated Abbott-Detroit “Bulldog” automobile arrived Sunday night at 8:30 and put up at the Jaeckel for the night.” 

The paper explained “The car (was) being driven by Dr. Chas. E. Percival, editor of Health Magazine, of New York City, and Dick Shadel of Chicago (who made) 180 miles on the badly cut up roads from Macon.”  

And, “Both men were pretty well tired when they arrived here, and the car was covered with mud. 100,000 miles kin an automobile is a trip that has never been attempted before in the history of the automobile industry.” 

The Abbott-Detroit Company manufactured automobiles from 1909-1916. They were, at first, manufactured in Detroit under the name “Abbott Motor Car Company.” 

This car was “a 1910 Model Abbott, and first saw the light of day last July when it was shipped to a Kansas City, Missouri agent (after) which it competed in the Kansas City Star’s reliability run” to Colorado Springs and back. 

The Abbott left Denver, arrived in Detroit with 15,000 miles, and the trip then proceeded to Portland, Maine; then through N.Y.C. to Wash, D.C.; and down to Chattanooga, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Savannah. 

It passed through Statesboro on its way to the automobile show at the Grand Central Palace in New York City on New Year’s Eve. Once done, there, the Abbott and her drivers headed for the West Coast. 

For this trip, the Bulldog was “equipped with entirely American products, being shod with Pennsylvania tires, Splitdorf magneto, (and) Casgrain speedometer.” 

It even had “vacuum carafes for liquid refreshments, either hot or cold, according to climatic changes, cooking and camping utensils of the latest Army style (and) sleeping bags.” 

In order to draw attention to their product, the company arranged for this 100,000-mile cross-country tour, in which the “Bulldog” eventually traversed the United States three times in their greatest ever-publicity stunt.  

What’s more, Abbott promised that at the end of this journey, “the Abbott-Detroit will be torn down and every part subject to an exhaustive examination by a technical committee of prominent men in the industry.” 

The Abbott Bulldog even won two races. They entered the “Bulldog” in both the 1910 Fairmont Park Race in Philadelphia, where they won, and the Vanderbilt Cup Race held in Savannah in November of 1911.  

Unfortunately, Abbott was suspended for six months by the American Automobile Association. They had advertised race results in “nonstock” events at the Savannah race.  

The New York Times gave the Abbott-Detroit a long shot of winning at 100-1. Ralph Mulford won this race in a 46 HP Lozier at a frightening pace of 74 MPH. 

In 1916 the company was bought out by the “Consolidated Car Company.” The Abbott-Detroit Company produced some twenty cars per day, each of which was guaranteed for life.  

There came with four and six cylinder “Continental” engines, and eight-cylinder Herschell-Spillman engines. The touring sedan used on this trip was powered by a four-cylinder “Continental” long-stroke engine.  

Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email him at

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