In his comic book stories Barks drew several hundred cars. Most of them were just seen as background but all the major characters were equipped with different vehicles. And all of them were figments of Barks' vivid imagination except for two (they are both illustrated below). Although none of them were important to the flow of the stories it is interesting to see how Barks always tried to draw cars that corresponded with the character of his duck figures. This is just a small collection.





Donald is the only driver who has just one car (apart from a few brief instances when he has won another one). The distinct red car with the licence number 313 is the one of two that Barks did not create himself. It was the brainchild of the phenomenal artist Al Taliaferro who drew the newspaper strips for a great many years.

The rather strange, balloonwheeled, open car with the backseats in the luggage compartment has been Donald's trusted friend throughout all the stories despite its tendency to break down at crucial moments. However, on its plus side it is plain to see that it is a fast little vehicle, and the cost of tires cannot be an issue as they hardly ever touch the roadway!

Barks did not come up with the number 313 for Donald's car. He stated that in his opinion it was not meant to be Donald's birthdate, March 13th, but it had to do with the fact that 13 is supposed to be an unlucky number. Anyone with a number 313 would simply be someone with a triple dose of bad luck!






Barks never invented a special kind of vehicle for Daisy as she rarely needed to go anywhere without Donald and his car. But at a few occations Barks had to show Daisy driving a car of her own and it was different each time. Her favourite type of vehicle, though, is shown at the far right.








Scrooge seems to own quite a large car fleet with flashy vehicles, and he even has different drivers for them all. Quite strange, really, as the old miser is always turning every coin twice before spending it.





Detroit Electric

Surprisingly, it would seem that Grandma owned two cars (with the licence plates 1890 and 1902, (not the years of manufacture, as explained below)) although it is the general opinion that she always clung to the same very characteristic one. Grandma is driving the only car that Barks took from the real world - an electric car from the Detroit Electric Company. Originally, it first showed up occasionally in Al Taliaferro's newspaper strips but Barks used the vehicle quite often.

Technical details: As mentioned above the two numbers can not mean the years of manufacture although Detroit Electric was producing cars at the time. However the design that we all know was not introduced until 1908. It was called Priscilla and the last one left the assembly lines as late as the 1920s. The photo depicts the 1914 model.
Being electric driven, almost two-thirds of its weight came from the many batteries which could run the car for about 120 kilometers at a maximum speed of 50km/h. It was considered a real ladies' vehicle as there was almost no maintenance involved. It was also extremely easy to start as no cranking or choking skills were required. The steering was done through a single handle that was directly connected to the front axle. The front seat swivelled, and all the windows were furnished with curtains.






Gladstone is known for his incredible luck which also means that he won a lot of cars. Maybe he is driving those in the stories. Anyway, he seems to have a real passion for open and sporty vehicles.






Gyro is not known to be a car driver except when he is floating around in his own wheel-less, car-like inventions. But sometimes he is seen in different types of vehicles that for the most part relate to his work.   Date 2003-09-12