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Letter: Railway Reids had a penchant for European autos

I’d like to add some comments to the 1909 photo and caption of H.D Reid’s car featured in the Oct. 28 Weekend Edition of The Telegram.

The three Reid brothers, entrepreneurs of the Newfoundland railway, brought the first automobiles to Newfoundland in 1903. W.D. Reid preferred European cars and German-speaking chauffeurs. In 1905, W.D. imported Newfoundland’s first Fiat, which looks like the car in The Telegram photo. Later that year he imported a Daimler. His first chauffeur was Philip Ewing, a Swiss German.

Otto Oppelt, an amateur wrestler, replaced Ewing within a year. Otto became well known and popular for his incredible driving feats as well as for competing in local wrestling matches.

More details about the early cars and Oppelt can be found in my 2006 book, “Vikings to U-Boats.”


Gerhard P. Bassler

St. John’s

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