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Early Hybrid; Owen Magnetic

Let's explore a pivotal moment in automotive history: the birth of hybrid vehicles. While today's hybrids are all about eco-conscious driving, their early counterparts had a different goal in mind: to revolutionize performance and refinement. At the forefront of this movement was the Owen Magnetic, a groundbreaking hybrid car that turned heads with its seamless blend of gasoline power and electric propulsion.

The Owen Magnetic: A Fusion of Ingenuity

In the early 20th century, engineers Justus B. Entz and Walter C. Baker embarked on a collaborative venture that would change the automotive landscape forever. Backed by businessman Charles E. Owen, the Owen Magnetic Company was established in Cleveland, Ohio, with a singular goal: to create an automobile that transcended the limitations of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.

Innovative Drivetrain Design:

The hallmark of the Owen Magnetic lay in its revolutionary drivetrain design, which seamlessly combined gasoline and electric propulsion. Unlike its contemporaries, the Owen Magnetic offered a remarkably smooth and silent driving experience, thanks to its electric transmission system. This pioneering technology marked a significant advancement in automotive engineering, setting a new standard for performance and efficiency.

Appeal and Recognition:

Beyond its technical prowess, the Owen Magnetic captured the attention of a discerning clientele drawn to its refinement and sophistication. Renowned figures such as Thomas Edison and John D. Rockefeller were among the early adopters, drawn to the Owen Magnetic’s luxurious amenities and superior driving experience. With its powerful six-cylinder gasoline motor and precise control, the Owen Magnetic earned acclaim as a paragon of automotive excellence.

Under the Hood: Hybrid Ingenuity Unveiled

Peering beneath the surface of the Owen Magnetic reveals a marvel of engineering ingenuity. Inspired by established practices in diesel-electric locomotives and commercial marine shipping, the Owen Magnetic employed an electric transmission system to seamlessly transition between gasoline and electric power. Supported by a sophisticated 24-volt battery, the Owen Magnetic delivered reliability and performance on demand, showcasing the potential of hybrid technology.

See it for yourself!

Today, automotive enthusiasts can experience the legacy of the Owen Magnetic firsthand at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum. With three vehicles on display, in various states of renovation, visitors are offered a rare glimpse into the evolution of hybrid engineering.


1. "Owen Magnetic: The World's First Luxury Hybrid Car" - Silodrome

2. "Hybrid Vehicles: Evolution and Future Trends" - SAE International


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