There are many wonderful Canadian History lessons, but one that has often been overlooked, is that of inventor and carmaker, George Foote Foss, from Sherbrooke, Quebec. More than 120 years ago, a prosperous mechanic, blacksmith and bicycle repairman named George Foss invented Canada’s first successful gasoline engine automobile, which was referred to as the Fossmobile™.
The Foss family has re-opened the “Foss Family Archives,” to better document his remarkable accomplishment and to find ways to share this historic Canadian event with automotive enthusiasts and historians alike. The family, as a means to build networks, foster collaboration and share important historical memorabilia, has established “Fossmobile Ent.”
George Foss’ grandson, Ron Foss has talked with automotive historians and sought the help of other potential experts in “Vintage Automobile Restoration,” for a very special project. The goal, to use reverse engineering (the reproduction of an inventor or manufacturer’s product), to create a tribute (as close as possible) of George Foss’ invention: the first gasoline powered automobile built in Canada: the Fossmobile. There are no original drawings, so the tribute automobile will be based solely on detailed scrutiny of original Fossmobile photos. Ron has acquired vintage parts from the era, with a plan to build this automobile, replicating parts only when it is absolutely necessary. He will provide oversight for this process and collaborate with automobile historians and experts, when necessary. Along the way, he will document the journey while ensuring attention to detail. The plan, is to honour his grandfather’s legacy and bring to greater light this significant chapter of Canadian history. With its completion, this tribute automobile will be a tangible embodiment of the first gasoline car built in Canada. There is a growing interest to showcase the completed tribute Fossmobile in classic automobile shows, however it will be eventually donated to the Canadian Automotive Museum to enhance historic education for future generations.
The Foss family and Fossmobile Ent is pleased to announce that a “Restoration Agreement” has been entered into with Legendary Motorcar Company Limited of Halton Hills, Ontario. They have a dedicated team of professional craftsmen dedicated to the restoration of vintage and classic automobiles. Additionally, speciality work is being completed by a variety of Canadian craftsmen. The late 1890s wood body restoration and custom fabrication of the seat was completed by the Canadian Wood Craftsman, Chatsworth, Ontario. To compliment the old buggy look, seat cushions were hand-made by Custom Touch Upholstery, Burlington, Ontario. The refurbishing of the wheels, spokes and acquiring of period correct tires completed by Wolfe Worx of London, Ontario. The need for all new custom elliptical leaf spring suspension was awarded to Dendoff Springs Limited out in Surrey, British Columbia.
To tell the Fossmobile story, the Foss family hopes to further attract writers, journalists, and documentary producers who are interested in showcasing this significant piece of Canadian automotive history. If you are interested in joining this informal team, helping to source period automobile parts; or are just wanting to contribute ideas or advice, you are welcome to contact Ron Foss directly.
Photos courtesy of the “Foss Family Archives” – Copyright 2017 The Foss Family Archive