Automobile models are rarely specified in the newspapers of the day, so while the Burbank ancedote is charming, it's not the reason for inclusion of this item. The Olds runabout (not "roundabout"), was the best selling car at the time. It cost $650, and its 7 horsepower engine had a top speed of 18MPH.

Auto Arrives For the Horticulturist Wednesday -- Secret of His Desire for Machine

Luther Burbank is to possess an automobile. The famous horticulturist is to cast aside his arduous work with flowers and fruits just long enough to become initiated into the mysteries of the horseless carriage; just long enough to become an expert chauffeur; and this to save time for his favorite pursuit in the end.

George C. Schelling went to Petaluma Wednesday morning to obtain the automobile which Mr. Burbank is to own. The machine was shipped to that place by steamer Tuesday and Mr. Schelling will guide it to Santa Rosa. He will also instruct Mr. Burbank in its proper guidance. The auto is an Oldsmobile of the roundabout [sic] variety.

There is really a little secret in connection with Mr. Burbank's desire for an auto. To be sure it will save considerable time in trips back and forth from the local grounds to his experimental grounds at Sebastopol, but Mr. Burbank confesses that this advantage is not the only one which influenced his decision to become a chauffeur. The electric railroad was a potent factor in influencing that decision. While Mr. Burbank's association with natural life in its milder forms has been perhaps closer than that of any other man living or dead, he has somewhat neglected the sterner forms, including the equines. The prospect, therefore, of racing along the Sebastopol road, not knowing whether his horse or the electric cars would beat, has no allurments [sic] for him, hence the automobile, guaranteed not to frighten at trains, no matter what may be its fondness for fences.

- Santa Rosa Republican, July 27, 1904


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