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Production Years



United States

Number Produced



Raymond M. Owen, Ralph R. Owen, Justus Entz

The 1917 Owen Magnetic O-36 Limousine was manufactured by the R.M. Owen & Company from 1915 to 1922. Originally built in New York City in 1915, production later shifted to Cleveland, Ohio, and eventually found its home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, from 1920 to 1922.

What sets the Owen Magnetic apart is its status as an early 'hybrid' automobile, demonstrating a groundbreaking drive system that was nearly a century ahead of its time. Powered by a Continental inline-six engine, the vehicle's electric generator supplies power to a variable-speed magnetic drive transmission. In a fashion reminiscent of today's plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), the gasoline engine is ingeniously decoupled from the drive wheels.

As one of the most expensive American cars of its day, the Owen Magnetic's production was limited, with fewer than 1,000 units rolling off the assembly line between 1915 and 1920. The complexity and high cost of this pioneering vehicle contribute to its rarity, making the Owen Magnetic O-36 Limousine a fascinating artifact that showcases the bold experimentation and forward-thinking engineering of the early automotive industry.

The museum is in the midst of a meticulous rescue and restoration process for the 1917 Owen Magnetic O-36 Limousine, alongside its fellow Owens. While mechanical components are receiving careful attention, the focus will be on preserving the body and interior.

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