History of Early American Automobile Industry

Chapter 29


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Addendum 1    Addendum 2   Addendum 3

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When the industry awoke on January 1, 1921, it was the same as the day before and the manufacturers were faced with the same problems that woul beset them until the middle of the year 1921 was a year of doom and gloom. If anything could go wrong, it did. The troubles that had beset the industry also had Ford Motors  in deep trouble. When Ford bought out his investors to gain control he had to borrow $65 million and it was a bank loan, something that he loathed. He had already paid backover half of it and the remainder was due in early 1921. It seemed as if there was no way that he was going to be able to pay it on time. He went to work. He announced that he was lowering his prices by twenty-five percent. Some of the other makers did likewise and it worked for a little while, but by November, sales had taken a sharp drop. In December, Ford produced more cars than the dealers could handle and on Christmas Eve ordered all plants to "take inventory". He promised that they would reopen in January, but for lack of orders it was put of indefinitely.

January 14, 1921 MOTOR AGE
More Detroit Plants Re-open

Dodge Reported to Be Planning Resumption in February and Ford A bout Middle of Next MonthFactories Now Producing Increase Schedules

Detroit, Jan. 14While Detroit manufacturers in most instances are attending the New York Show with the officials of merchandising departments, production ends in practically all factories. The question of  Dodge and Ford reopening still is a matter of conjecture. Unofficial reports from the Dodge factory are to the effect that the big plant will swing into production soon after the Chicago Show which means early in February. No one at the Ford plant would offer any information regarding resumption of operations, though unofficially it was said the statement made last week that the plant would not open before Feb. 15, if then, stands.


The business came to a screeching halt. There had been signs, but they were ignored. Union strikes began to happen to the steel and parts makers. The Communist were trying to gain control of the unions and battles were fought. Automobile parts dried up and there were a large number of cars were waiting for parts at every manufacturer's warehouse. The lack of parts for the Jackson cars that had customers waiting for delivery and had gone elsewhere to buy caused them to go out of business. Money was still owed to the owners of factories that the government had used for the war effort and never paid.   It was going to be the survival of the fittest.  When parts finally did arrive, the prices had taken a huge increase and the automobile makers passed the increase along to their customers.

Prices on the available cars rose to a point where no one could afford them. Ford had previously lowered his prices but now the prices had risen to a point where the were now unaffordable.. For instance, if a car sold for $1,900 before the war, it was priced to $2,400 shortly after the war to $2,700 by the middle of 1919, and by June   of 1920, it was $3,100. Ford cars went from $250.00 to $490.00. If one wanted to buy one, it was most likely done by credit. Not only were the prices of cars increasing, but it was happening in everyday cost of living.

For the first time, Ford Motors was in trouble. When Ford bought out his investors to gain control he had to borrow $65 million and it was a bank loan, something that he loathed. He had already paid backover half of it and the remainder was due in early 1921. It seemed as if there was no way that he was going to be able to pay it on time. He went to work. He announced that he was lowering his prices by twenty-five percent. Some of the other makers did likewise and it worked for a little while, but by November, sales had taken a sharp drop. In December, Ford produced more cars than the dealers could handle and on Christmas Eve all plants to "take inventory". He promised that they would reopen in January, but for lack of orders, it was put of indefinitely.

On January 26,  1921, Ford came up with a radical plan. All Ford workers were called back to work to use what parts they had to put together some more cars. These cars, along with his backlog, were shipped out with all the rest of the parts that he had to his dealers across the country with word that if they did not accept them, they were no longer Ford dealers. No credit allowed. There was a lot of scrambling by his dealers to come up with cash, but by April, he had enough to pay off his debt.

By now, Ford had gotten rid of all of his former associates. Harold Wills, who had suffered through long winter nights in 1902 to help Ford with is racer, had gladly taken a $1.6 million buyout and started his own Will St. Claire Automobile Company. Bill Knudsen, who was the backbone of the company, was fired because of Henry's ego. Ford later admitted that Knudsen was too good for him. He was later appointed as Michigan's U.S. Senator. Ford wanted to be the only voice that was heard. He got his wish. His future executives would only be able to say "yes or no, Sir".

The worst was yet to come! The Federal Reserve Board suprised the automobile companies by tightening credit. Without credit, dealers could not sell and in return, they could not buy from the manufacturers. This happened just as the industry was getting back on its feet, causing another recession in 1922 that dealt it a serious set back. By 1924, a  great many margues that had been making cars from the very beginning would be out of business. Some of these were Winton, Haynes, Apperson, Stanley, Austin, and Maxwell to name a few.


January 27, 1921, MOTOR AGE

The Shows Will Stimulate Business

The New York show resulted in bringing a stimulus to business. The Chicago show which will be held next week, a few weeks later than the Eastern exhibit, will increase this stimulus further. Dealers who attended the first of the national exhibits could not help but be impressed with the importance of such a display to the industry as a whole. It brought it back to where it belongs. And those that visit the Chicago show will have this phase brought home to them even more emphatically. The buyers are back in the market but they are not rushing around wildly. They have passed through many months of uncertainty and for months to come they will step carefully.They have learned a good deal from the period of extravangance through which they have passed and they are not going to invest their money without first knowing that they will receive full value for it.

This year will not reach the heights attained in the first six months of 1920, nor will any year for many years to come, but it will advance far beyond the last six months. Undue optimism is as dangerous to the life of the industry as is misplaced pessimism but there is everything in the present outlook to warrant a fair degree of good feeling in the future and everyone is better pleased when the results far outrun anticipations. Let us anticipate but, at the same time, buckle down to hard work.

February 3, 1921, MOTOR AGE

Men Returning to Ford PlantmThough No Re-opening Date Set Reported That Efforts to Secure Financial Aid From Eastern Bankers Have Ceased

Detroit, Jan. 29Despite varied reports to the effect that the Ford Motor Co. would re-open Monday no official of that organization, among the few remaining, would take the responsibility of issuing a formal statement regarding the plan to re-open. None of the parts makers have been given opening orders save the Briggs Mfg. Co., which makes Ford coupe bodies. That company is calling employees back through newspaper advertisements and an official said approximately 1000 men would be put to work Monday as a result of an order from the Ford company. The Briggs plant closed simultaneously with the Ford factory on the eve of Christmas.

Number Not Obtainable

The only authoritative information regarding Ford plans was a statement given Motor Age from the office of General Superintendent E. T. Martin which said a portion of the force would be put to work Monday and "some" cars would be produced. The number of men to be put on Monday was refused and not even
an approximate figure could be secured. From other sources in the organization was learned unofficially that about 5000 men would return to work Monday and be employed chiefly in receiving and handling freight, getting the plant into condition for resumption of production and in making Ford parts, the surplus on hand when the plant closed having been exhausted. It also was said un- officially the men returning Monday would include first foremen and there- after the best element among the married men with dependents. Several hundred men already are at work cleaning up the plant and getting machinery into shape. At tbe postofflce it was said the Ford company had ordered 50,000 post cards presumably for mailing to employees instructing them to return though plant officials, while not willing to be quoted, admitted it would be a long, long time before the 50,000 men employed at Highland Park at the time of the shut-down
would be back on the job. In fact it was said many employees had been notified their services no longer would be needed. Increased efficiency following the month of idleness is expected to insure quantity production with materially decreased forces.

What effect the financial conferences between Henry Ford and bankers' representatives have had on the decision to prepare for resumption of operations
cannot be learned. There is no chance to get a statement from either Henry Ford or Edsel, who still is ill following an operation, and other officials declare
they have no inkling of what transpired In the conferences or the decision reached if any. A prominent banker declared today efforts of Ford to secure financial aid from the eastern bankers had ceased as a result of the bankers' demand and Ford's refusal to permit operation of the Ford plants under the supervision of a bankers' committee or an Official installed as the representative of the bankers. This same banker expressed the belief, based on his information, that Ford had taken the bit in his teeth and refused to parley further but rather announcing his determination to resume operations without outside financial aid. It can be stated on the authority of General Salesmanager W. A. Ryan that Ford sales in a majority of the country have increased greatly within the last few weeks particularly the last ten days. Cars have been moved from sections where agricultural or other conditions caused a backward market and sent to other territories where dealers were moving them rapidly with the result that much of the big surplus on hand when the factory closed has been disposed of.

Automatic Electric

The Automatic Electric Transmission Co., Buffalo, NY,   manufactured the The Automatic Electric in 1921. It was made for two people and with a speed of 35 mph and a range of 60 miles, it was designed for city use. The price was $1,200.

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1921 Automatic Electric Auromobile
Automatic Electric Transmission Co. Buffalo, NY

Unfortunately, it was introduced in the worst year of the automotive industry and did not survive the year.

Copied from he January 1921 Motor Age Magazine

The Ambassador, a new product of Shaw of the Yellow Cab Mfg. The new Ambassador car sells in the $5000 class, the exact price depending on the body type of which there is a wide line. It is equipped with a twelve-cylinder overhead valve Weidely engine, this unit being cast in blocks of three, two pairs of blocks mounted in the usual V-arrangement.

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1921 Shaw Ambassador Model Automobile

Walden Shaw and his Walden Shaw, Livery Co., Chicago, IL had been in the livery busineess since 1908, when he became an agent for American Berliet Automobile Company. Shortly afterr that American Berliet and his partner- salesman was John Hertz with Hertz promising  to build up a rapid business. Hertz began by buying and selling used cars until Shaw had a viable business. He also  bought 9 new Thomas cars. Within a few years the company was making taxicabs.The two then incorporated the Yellow Taxicab Manufacturing Company of Chicago. A little later, they decided to build their own cars, but waited until after the war to put them into production..The Shaw automobile made its preview at the 1921 Chicago Automobile Show. The name was changed to Colonial so as not to be confused with Shaw's taxicab business. Later that year, Hertz was in control of the company and the Shaw became the Ambassador for the 1921 season.


Winther Motor Sales Corp. in the same factory and with the same manufacturing organization as the Winther truck. This car, which has been under consideration for over a year, is shown for the first time at the Hotel Sherman. It is an assembled Six incorporating Herschell- Spillman engine, Warner gearset, Westinghouse electrical equipment and put out In touring form.

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Two years after starting his Winther truck building business in Kenosha, WI. Mark Winther decided to build automobiles to enhance his trucks. He announced his plans at a company gathering in 1920 which caused a sensation. However, the Winther car was jusrt another car that looked  like all the other models. It had a 60-hp, six-cylinder engine on a 120 inch wheelbase. Its initial price was $2,800 but soon dropped to $2,250. In 1923, the company was sold to J. D. Harris who's  Harris model was identical to the 1921 Winther model.

Designer of Northway in New Company to Manufacture Car

Boston, March 26The Romer Motors Corp. has been organized by Albert J. Romer, designer of the Northway passenger car and formerly chief engineer
of the Murray Motor Car Co. in association with Frank C. Gilbert, formerly of the Northway Motor Sales Corp. Offices have been opened at 43-57 Cornhill street In this city and a factory site of 16 acres has been purchased at Danvers, Mass. Plans for a factory building are being prepared. The first unit will be a one story structure 100 ft. by 500 ft. Designs have been completed for passenger car bodies and chassis and it is expected the first cars will be on the road by June 1. Romer has had a wide experience in the automotive field. He served more than five years with the New Departure Mfg. Co. and also with the S. K. F. Ball Bearing Co. Prior to that he was engineer for the U. S. Motors Corp. and the Bijur Motor Lighting Co.

Wills St. Claire

February 3, 1921, MOTOR AGE

First Wills Sainte Claire In Production Nearly Ready

Marysville, Mich., Jan. 22The first cars from the production line of C. H. Wills & Co. will be completed within a few days. This marks the start of production of the Wills product, which has been expected by the trade and general public for nearly a year. The car is to be known as the Wills Sainte Claire. While the actual price of the car has not been announced, it is known that it will sell for approximately $3000. The roadster is priced at $3,275.Complete technical details on the car will not be available until the car is in the hands of the dealers, which is expected to be sometime in March. It incorporates, however, an eight-cylinder, 60 deg. V type engine mounted on a chassis of 121 in. wheelbase and equipped with 32 by 41/3 in- cord tires. The eight-cylinder engine has a bore and stroke of 33/4 by 4 in. It develops approximately 70 hp. and gives the car a speed range on high gear of from 2 to 70 miles per hour, or better. The engine is a Wills product throughout being the only overhead camshaft, eight-cylinder engine in use on this side of the water.

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1921 Wills St. Claire Touring Automobile

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1921 Wills St. Claire Coupe

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1922 Wills St. Claire A 6B Sports Sedan

C. Harold Wills had been Henry Ford's chief enginer from the day that Ford built his 1901 Race car in Detroit. He accepted stocks for his share of work from the Company  He had a dispute with Ford in 1919 and deciided that he had had enough of Ford's tantrums and decided to cash out his stocks and build his own Company. His share was over $10,000, 000. He had previously designed the car in hopes for a chance to buld it. Another former Ford emp;oyee, John R. Lee, they built a factory at Marysville, MI that was on the shore of the Saint Clair River that gave them a perfect place of shipping and receiving. The building of the factory started in November. The Wills St. Claire, produced by the C. H. Wills & Co., was on view in March of 1921, just at the beginning of the recession. 1,500 cars were made that year and 2,700 the following year. His great fault was stopping production whenever he got an iidea on how to improve it. This action caused all of his officers, including Lee, to desert him. He changed engine sizes several times in the follwing years and his largest output was in over 1900 in 1925. He never sold enough to make a profit The company slowly went downhill in 1927 and out of business in 1928. He designed the Ruxton automobile engine in 1929 and that car was a bomb.

Motor Age Magazine

Tarkington Motors to Build Passenger Car at Rockford

Rockford, 1ll., April 1The Tarkington Motor Car Co., with a plant already completed in this city, plans to begin the production of a quality, lightweight, six-cylinder car next fall. It will have an overhead valve motor, carry seven passengers and offer many details in refinements designed to give the car a high saleability. The company, which was incorporated about a year ago, by P. A. Peterson, who is identified with 25 or 30 different enterprises in this city. The factory manager is J. A. Tarkington, who has been in the automobile business for 21 years with Rutenber, Apperson, Stoddard - Dayton and Kissel, having been with the latter company since its beginning as an automobile concern as a production executive.

April 7, 1921, MOTOR AGE

Dawn Has Broken in Industry, Finance and Trade Things Are Well on Their Way Out of the Valley of Shadows and, in Automotive Lines, the Months Ahead Look GoodBut the Worker, Not the Waiter, Will Profit in 1921

It's darkest just before the dawn." That's one ancient adage which always holds good, whether it is applied to the phenomena of nature or human tribulations.
The automotive industry has had its full share of tribulations, but dawn has broken and the darkest period is past. It isn't entirely out of the woods yet and the path into the open is not as broad and straight as it might be, but the man who watches his step can follow the trail to better business by using the principles of good business as a compass.

The buying power of the nation has shrunk, but there is enough left to keep the wolf from the door. That applies to the rural as well as the urban districts.
When the buyers' strike began about a year ago the leather and textile industries were the first to get an awful wallop. Automobiles came next and business
vanished like dew before the sun. The sickening slump in profits was a bitter pill to swallow, especially because of the golden months which had gone before
when there seemed no bottom to the purchaser's purse. It is a sad commentary on human nature, but it is undeniably true that we suffer less when we know the other fellow is groaning just as hard as we are, and there is a grim satisfaction in knowing that many other industries have been hit harder than the automotive.

There is even greater satisfaction in the realization that those industries which were the first to suffer will be the first to come through the period of economic readjustment. That is a never failing economic law. It now applies to automobiles. Leather and textiles were the first to feel the beneficent results of renewed buying, and motor vehicles came next. Some industries are just entering the valley of gloom where they must run the gauntlet as others already have done.

Perhaps never again will business be as prosperous as it was in that year of plenty1919and the early months of 1920. Some of the wealth which was destroyed in the war must be re-created before the world can go ahead rebuilding new wealth. This period of readjustment isn't going to end in a few months. It will last for years, and no one can predict safely how many. Doing business on a falling market isn't as pleasant or as profitable as doing it on a rising market, but the rising market has gone for many a month to come. If you'll run over to see grandfather and ask him what happened after the Civil War he can give you a pretty accurate picture of what is going to happen after the Great War. But you want to look at that picture through a telescope and make it look like a billboard, for the Civil War devastated only the United States and the last one shook the world. War is just what Sherman said it was, and nations pay the penalty for generations after it is over.

New York, April 15. MOTOR AGE

One of the most remarkable financial comebacks in the history of the automotive industry has been staged by Henry Ford. Only a few weeks ago financial circles in this city were asserting positively that he would have to negotiate a large loan at the banks upon the banker's own terms but no similar prediction ever was farther from the actual facts. Ford not only has been able to avoid asking the banks for new financing but he has just paid $25,000,000 in notes a
few days before their maturity. This wipes out the bank negotiations. Besides paying the bank notes standing against him. Ford has discounted his April trade acceptances and last Thursday had $8,000,000 in cash.

It is confidentially believed that Ford will have ample cash to meet his trade acceptances for May but if he is unable to clean them all up on the due dates, Detroit banks have agreed to extend him all the accommodation necessary for a brief period. In addition to meeting his bank loans and merchandise
obligations, Ford paid his quarterly income tax installment before it was due. The marvelous rapid turnover in cash in the Ford treasury for the past two
months has been due in large measure to the fact that his traffic department has worked out a plan under which deliveries which formerly took 18 days now
are made in 8 days. Increased labor efficiency has made it possible to operate the plant at approximately 80 per cent of capacity with 60 per cent of the normal labor quota. Overhead costs have been cut to the bone. This process has gone so far as to discontinue some of the telephone trunk lines which ran into his factories and surplus office equipment has been sold.

The prices of all materials used in the manufacture of Ford cars have been materially reduced and this has added a substantial sum in the aggregate to the profit on car sales. These manufacturing economies were what finally turned the scales and they will permit continued large scale operations without
further financing except, perhaps, for temporary loans of comparatively small sums by Detroit banks.

Maxwell-Chalmers Preparing for Normal Production by June Confirmation of Sale by Chrysler Organization

Detroit, May 19Activity in the local Maxwell-Chalmers organization became apparent yesterday morning when news of the confirmation of sale of the
Maxwell Motor Co. reached the plant in an official notice from Walter P. Chrysler, and preparations were immediately begun to put both the Maxwell and Chalmers plants on a production basis that is expected to reach close to normal by the middle of June. While President W. Ledyard Mitchell who remains as receiver until finally - discharged by the federal court, is nominal head of the organization, A. E. Barker, general sales manager, is spokesman for Chrysler and the organization committee and as such virtually is in charge of the Detroit operations.

Barker said today no announcement would be made regarding the organization personnel until after a meeting of the new Maxwell Motor Co., recently incorporated in West Virginia, when officers and directors will be named and the company formally launched. Barker did say, however, despite the many rumors afloat that he would not be president and said the matter had never been suggested to him by Chrysler or any of the members of the reorganization committee.

Production Below Normal

"Our production has been way down for several months and for some time there was no production at all," said Barker. "As a result of this we are facing a shortage of Maxwell and Chalmers cars, and our one idea now is to get things shaped up and get into production that will meet this demand. We are not concerning ourselves at this end with organization details or personnel, but are giving our whole time and attention.

May 19, 1921 MOTOR AGE
Maxwell Motor Corp. Obtains Charter; $40,000,000 Capital Chalmers Assets Taken Over, Although Name Does Not Appear
in Corporate Title

New York, May 13The Maxwell Motor Corp., capitalized at $40,000,000, has been incorporated under the laws of West Virginia to take over the assets of the Maxwell Motor Co., Inc., and Chalmers Motor Co. The company is authorized to manufacture and construct automobiles, motors, engines, etc., and do all things incident to the business of building motor cars.

Formation of the new corporation is one of the first steps in the reorganization and consolidation of the Maxwell and Chalmers interests. It had been supposed that the Chalmers name would be retained in the corporate title of the new   company but it apparently has been lost although manufacture of the car will be continued. The physical assets of the Maxwell company in Detroit will be bid in this week at a receiver's sale by the reorganization committee headed by Walter P. Chrysler. No other bids are expected. When the process of acquirin the assets of the two companies is completed they will be assigned to the West Virginia corporation.


Detroit, May 13Sale of the Maxwell Motor Co. by auction, as ordered by United States Judge Arthur J. Tuttle to provide for the reorganization of the
company with the Chalmers Motor Co., has been consummated. The property was acquired by Walter P. Chrysler of New York, chairman .of the reorganization committee of the two concerns, and Harry Bronner of New York, a member of the committee. The sale price was $10,915,100. Judge Tuttle has stipulated the property must not be sold for less than $10,000,000.


Copied from the 1921 Motor Age Magazine

The production of an interesting new four-cylinder car will shortly be started at the New Haven plant of the Driggs Ordnance & Mfg. Corp., New York City. The car is called the Driggs and sells for $1175 for the touring, with $100 additional charge for the special roadster or sport model. A sedan model  This model, while rated at about 11 hp., actually delivers 18 hp. Several tests, made with experimental cars convince the manufacturers that the Driggs will run under ordinary circumstances at least 30 miles to a gallon of gasoline. When fully equipped weights a trifle more than 1600 lbs

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1921 Driggs Coupe Automobile

Prior to the re-entrance of the Driggs Ordinance Manufacturing Company into automobile manufacturing, they had been very active as the Drigg-Seabury Ordinance Company that had produced the Sharon cyclecar in 1915 and had made several cars for other companies. They had also made the Vulcan light car in 1913-14. During the summer of 1921, L.  L.  Driggs anounced his plans to build a factory at New Haven, CT to produce his latest version, the Driggs. 25 cars were made that year and a minimal number was made before the company decided to go into the taxicab business in 1923.

Durant Motors

One of the greatest causulity would be one of the industry's giants. William "Billy" Durant.

But he had one heck of a ride during this time. What did he do? He did what he had always done and that was when one door hit him in the rear, he opened another one. When he resigned from  General Motors  in 1921, he went back to his favorite city of Flint, MI and laid the ground work for another corporation that was called Durant Motors to take on General Motors and Ford. It was conceived with this idea. Each one of his cars was designed to compete with one of General Motors.


Jan 20, 1921, MOTOR AGE
Durant Re-enters Automobile Field to Make 4-Cylinder Car Former Head of General Motors Organizes CompanyPrice of Product Less Than $1000

New York, Jan. 15The future of W. C. Durant which has caused widespread discussion since his retirement from the presidency of General Motors has been definitely settled with the incorporation of Durant Motors, Inc., at Albany. With this company he will re-enter the manufacturing field to produce a four-cylinder car which will sell at less than $1000. It Is expected the company will be in production by August and that eventually there will be two plantsone in the East and one in the Middle West

Simultaneously with the incorporation of Durant Motors, Mr. Durant severed all his connections with General Motors by resigning from the finance committee and as chairman of the executive committee. F. W. Hohensee also resigned as a director, vice-president and a member of the executive committee. Mr. Hohensee has made no announcement of his future plans, but it is generally believed he will join Mr. Durant.


Less than two months after incorporation, all of the prototypes were on the road and being tested.  They were all 35 hp four-cylinder models and would remain that way through the years except the1922 Durant model had a six cylinder for one year. Each one had a different price tag starting at $890 for the Star.

August 18, 1921 MOTOR AGE Sheridan Car in Control of Durant Since August 1 Virtually Nothing of Old Design to Be Retained; Even Name
Has Been Changed

New York, Aug. 15The plant of the Sheridan Motor Car Co. at Muncie, Ind., was taken over on Aug. 1 by the Durant Motors Co. of Indianapolis, a $3,000,000 corporation of which D. A. Burke is president and general manager. Only the plant itself was purchased and the new owners did not acquire the inventory which had been assembled by the General Motors Corp. for the Sheridan car.

Production of the Sheridan, which will be rechristened the Durant Six, will not begin for a month or more under the new ownership. The models are being redesigned and rebuilt at the Long Island City plant. They will retain practically nothing of the old Sheridan. The Durant motor will be used and all the principles of design embodied in the Durant Four will be included in the Six. One of the main features will be the accessibility of the various parts and
another will be the strength of the chassis.

The general body lines designed by Burke will be retained except that the hood will be lengthened eight inches. When Burke designed the Sheridan he
worked out an idea he long had cherished of building a luxurious car with many of the refinements found in higher priced cars, which would sell at a moderate price. He sold this idea to Durant and the result was the establishment of the Sheridan division of General Motors. This idea will be retained by the new company but the car which will be turned out will be much more powerful than the one which was built up to Aug. 1.

The prices of the various models of the Durant Six will be: roadster, $1,600; touring car, $1,650; coupe, $2,250, and the sedan, $2,400. The sedan model of the Durant Four now Is ready for production and will sell at $1,365. The coupe will sell at the same price, but a few changes are to be made in the body lines.

Durant  Four

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1921 Durant Four Rouring Automobile

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1924 Durant Automobile Advertisement

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1922 Starr Depot Wagon
1922 - 1928

The Starr would be a competitor of the Ford Model

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1925 Flint Sedan

The Flint 40 was originally to be the Eagle and designed to be in the Buick's price range


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1926 Flint Jr. Z18 Deluxe Coupe 
Durant Motors, Inc New York. NY

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1926 Model R Rugby
1922 Durant Motor Co. Of New Jersey

The Rugby was a Star model designed for export. The Star Automobile was a British product that had been made since 1900


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1922 Durant Model A-22 

The Durant was an upscale model aimed at the Oakland market

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1922 Star Sedan with Durant

They were made in many different cities from Oakland, CA to New York City and some were in Canada.

1923 Star Automobile Advertisement

In 1922, he sold 21,000 cars and the following year 30,000 were sold.

Durant was his own worst enemy. He would go full speed ahead with any of his companies and then he would do something else at his company's expense. This time he began to play with the stock market and he was a heavy loser. He was seldom at the Durant plant and its officers were hesitant about what to do.

He ran out of money and had to start selling some plants to the two companies that he was competiting with, namely General Motors and Ford. There was no production at all at the Durant plant in 1928 and  over three million dollars was lost. There were also problems with the transmission that hurt public relations and the slogan "Just a   real good Car" didn't help for there were many real good cars at this time.

Durant Motors began to fall apart before the stock market crashed and in 1929 he put $90 million of his own money into the company. No matter what he did or how much he spent, his empire was crumbling week by week and nothing was available to shore it up. By 1930, the only car he had was the Durant model and less than 10,000 were made. In 1936, his only assest that he had left was his coat on his back and he declared person bankruptcy.

He became a bowling alley manager in Flint. In 1945 when all of the living makers of cars from 1895 held a renunion in Detroit, Durant was absent. He was alone and being supported by a long time business associate of his. He died in March, 1947 in New York City at the age of 85.


Copied from the 1921 Motor Age Magazine

Chicago, Oct. 3, 1921 Briscoe Motor Corp. and the Briscoe car will be supplanted in the automotive field by Earl Motors, Inc., and the Earl car, both the company and the car being named for Clarence A. Earl, former first vice-president of Willys Overland, who became president of Briscoe last March. It is said $5,000,000 in additional capital will be put into the business, arrangements for handling the finances having been perfected by Earl with Chicago bankers during September. In announcing the reorganization, Earl said the Briscoe directors had voted unanimously for the introduction of the new capital, necessitated through the fact that the distribution end of the business had been expanded by the addition of 20 new distributors and 240 dealers in the past six months.

Both the new financing and the new policies will come before the stockholders' meeting of Oct 20 for final ratification. Enclosed models of the Earl car, which will reflect a general improvement in the former Briscoe line, will be ready for delivery Oct. 15. Open models will be ready Nov. 1. For the present, Briscoe cars are being produced, though most divisions of the factory are busy on producing parts for the new car. Discussing the outlook for business, Earl said: "The action our board of directors has taken is really our first step toward expansion to meet a demand which we are certain will develop by the first of next year. The minimum capacity of our plants today is 15.000 cars annually. With general business conditions pointing to a strong revival of activity inside the next 90 days, we are laying plans to double our minimum and we are confident we will have all the business we can possibly handle in 1922, and more."

The Briscoe Motor Corp. was incorporated in January, 1916, to take over the Briscoe Motor Co., which was organized in 1913, and several other automobile and accessory concerns. The corporation has outstanding $1,500,000 preferred 7 per cent cumulative stock, and 150,000 shares of common stock of no par value. Dividends have not been paid on the common. Last March the directors voted to offer 100,000 shares of new common stock to the shareholders at $20 a share. The current market price of the stock is around $11 a share.

The Briscoe Motor Corp. has been succeeded by Earl Motors, Inc., and the Earl car, a refined and larger edition of the  previous Briscoe, is ready for delivery. The factory has recently been refinanced to manufacture on a minimum basis of 15,000 cars annually. Production at present, however, is not starting on a capacity schedule, although in a recent statement Pres. C. A. Earl said that plans are being made to double this minimum capacity and to aim for a 30,000 schedule in 1922.

The new car is longer and more powerful than the previous product. The wheelbase has been increased from 109 to 112 in., and the bore and stroke of the engine is now 3 7/16 by 53/4 as compared with 3/4 by 5 on the previous model. To accommodate the increased weight and length of the car, the tire size is now 32 by 4 in., non-skid, all around, in place of the 31 by 4 in., on the previous product.

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1921 Earl Automobile

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1921 Earl Autgomobiles

Briscoe had hired Clarence Earl , who had recently been fired By Willys, to be president of the Briscoe Motor Corporation. A short time later, Briscoe left the company to other endeavors. From the very beginning, the company was beset by many problems with one being aa hoakster who ordered thousands of items as a representative of Earl Motors. Another one was his board of directors  comprised of executives of the companies that he was doing business with. He resigned as presiden of the company in 1922 and took over as president of the Nationaal Automobile Company. The executives took over and with only 2,000 cars built by 1923, the company folded.

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1923 Automobile Advertisement

1923 Automobile Advertisement

By the end of July, the roller coaster became more like an ocean with small waves. When a manufacturer lowered his prices, sales would increase dramatically. Workers were being rehired , but never reached the numbers before. This was caused by the manufacturers updating their production methods when they were closed and now, a fewer number of  workers could produce more cars. The clouds began to disappear and hopes were high that clear skies would prevail.

There were several marques that were produced in 1921 but were gone a years later

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The Bradley was put into production by the Bradley Motor Car Company, Cicero, IL, in 1920 as either a four or six-cylinder model. It had only been in production for a short time before it went into receivership of unpaid minor debts. 260 cars had been made and its liabilities were offset by its inventory, but it did not recover.

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The Champion automobile was put into production in 1919 at Pottstown, PA, by Henry Crowther and L. V. Goebels, owners of the Direct Drive Motor Car Company of Philadelphia. They moved into the previous Chadwick's factory. Direct Ddrive was by grooved rings on each rear wheel that meshed to a groove pully on each end of a jackshaft. The Company was renamed as the Champion Motors Corporation. However, it was fitted with a convention shaft drive in 1920. The only variation in each year's model was its radiator. One year, it would look like a Rolls-Royce and the next it woul be another copy of a different car. The company plodded along until 1924, when it closed down.



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The Ogren, owned by Dore Ogren, Ogren Motor Car Company, Chicagpo, IL, made just four prototypes of his touring automobile in 1915. The company was reorganized as the Ogren Motor Car Company in 1916 with a capital stock of $1,000,000, he moved his company to Waukegan WI. A full ine of six-cylinder cars were offered. His actual cash on hand was much less than his capital stock and his company was sold at auction in late 1917. His automobile was once activated under his new Ogren Motor Car Company in September, 1919, with production to soon follow. However, the factory was not ready in time and production did not start until July, 1920 with five cars built that month. 25 per month was scheduled for the rest of the year. His full line of cars included a seven-touring car, tw0-passenger roadster, ,a seven-passenger limousine, and a seven-passenger sedan. Prices ranged from $2,500 to $3,750.

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1921 Ogren Touring Automobile

Prices were raised in 1921 and the engine was now 70 horsepower. The company was reorganized in 1922 under new management and Ogren left the company to build a new model named Commander. Shortly, thereafter, production ceased with cars being made with leftover parts. It went into receivership in late 1922.


Copied from the 1921 Motor Age Magazine

The Premo Roadster is on stock" Magic Six"  chassis which for two years has proven its worth in the touring car, the Premo car roadster, the latest model to be announced by the Preston Motors Corp., Birmingham, Ala., is attracting favorable attention both in the domestic field and in export circles. With a 7 in. channel section frame as the basis, the chassis is made up of such standard units as the Falls engine, Muncie transmission, Timken axles, Borg and Beck clutch, Spicer universal joints, Stromberg carbureter, Connecticut ignition, Wagner starting and generating apparatus and Willard battery.The wheelbase is 117 inches and the Magic Six is a six-cylinder engine

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The Preston Motors Corporation, Birmingham, AL had been changing plans, names, and designs since 1917 before finally going into production in late 1920 for their Premo model. The cars were made in three models a five-passenger touring with a 75-horsepower Rochester-Duesenberg motor priced at $3865,  a 40-horsepower, six cylinder touring that was priced at $1,295, and a roadster. His higher priced car was made only in 1921. Special built racers had some success on the Southern circuit.

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1921 Premo Roadster Automobile

When one car was shipped to Yugoslavia, there were hopes for an export business which did not take place. It went into receivership in 1923 was shut down that year.


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In 1920, the Parenti Motors Corporation was organized in Buffalo, NY in early 1920 to manufacture their Parenti models which had a number of novel designs. The body and frame were built as one unit and made out of 3/4-inch plywood. There were no axles with Parenti springs and ten point suspension being used as a substitue. The engine was made by the company and was a V-eight with air cooling. To call attention at automobiles, vivid purple and orange colors were used. In 1922, a six-cylinder engine was used. Despite of it being an unusual model, its sales were not enough to keep it in business and it went into receivership in 1922. The Hanover Motor Company of Pennsylvania bought its assests. 11,000 investors did not receive a penny on their investments.



The Southern Motors Manufacturing Association, Houston, TX,  was established in 1920 to build trucks, tractors, trailers, and an automobile called Ranger. The first one came off the assembly line in September 1920 as a 1921 model. According to the company it was built for the conditions of the southen roads. Its four-cylinder, water-cooled L-head engine was built by the company and was rated at 40 horsepower. The wheel base was 116 inches.  Colors of Ranger Maroon or Blevin blue could be chosen. The roadster was $1,595 and the touring was $1,850.

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1921 Ranger Offerings for the Season

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1921 Ranger Radster Automobile

In 1922, they went into receivership and they merged with the National Motor Car Corporation. In 1924, a lawsuit brought against the Ranger and National companies that stated that the Ranger company was built as a front and very few, if any automobiles had been built for stock selling purposes. Fourteen people were indicted for $6,000,000. Supposedly, these had been shuffled betwen showrooms in the area. The Ranger with all of the other companies that had afilliated wit the National Motor Car Corparation, including Dixe Flyer and Chalmers,  went into bankruptcy in 1924.



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1920 Severin Touring Automobile

After being a dealer in automobiles from 1906, Homer T. Severin began manufacturing cars in 1920 with an assembled  six-cylinder touring model. He teamed with J. F. Platt to organize the Severin Motor Car Company in Kansas City, KS. Production began in July with one car a week until the end of the year. An increase in production began in 1921. However, he announced that he was moving his operation to Oakland, CA, and began selling stocks  in California to build his new factory, but he neglected to file the necessary papers to do. He left the automobile business and an article in the 1921 Motors Age Magazine stated that there was a warrant out for him and his wife for stock fraud. Meanwhile, the Kansas City operation began building the Mohawk cars.

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1920 Severin Automobile Advertisement


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The New Disc Wheel

More and more cars were being designed with metal bumpers on fron and rear


June 30, 1921, MOTOR AGE

Sales Are Keeping Up Beyond Brightest Hopes ofDealers; Makers More Optimistic

NEW YORK, June 26Retail sales of automobiles in all sections of the country promise to surpass this month the record set for April and the volume of business will be materially greater than in May. The greatest sales harvest is being .enjoyed by the companies which have made substantial price reductions but it is reflected all along the line and companies which have not made reductions are profiting from the buying revival. Reports on sales conditions gathered
by correspondents of Motor Age in distribution centers all show that almost without exeception June business is running ahead of the last two month. This
seems to be true particularly in the New York and Chicago territories. Manufacturers who were deeply pessimistic at the end of May now admit that the outlook is brighter and a considerable number of them state that the orders on hand will carry their plants through the middle of July on the present production

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1921 Columbia Six Automobile Advertisement


Copied from the Sept. 2, 1921, Motor Age Magazine

Detroit, Mich., Sept 2Another reduction in Ford prices, making the third price cut during the past twelve months, was announced Sept. 2 on Ford cars. The reductions amount to $50 on the chassis, $45 on the run- abouts, $60 on the touring car, $50 on the truck, and $100 on the coupe and sedan. This makes the lowest prices at which Ford cars and trucks have ever been sold. It brings the price of the touring car to $355, chassis $295, runabout $325, truck $445, coupe $595, sedan $660. In this announcement Ford states: "We are taking advantage of every known economy in the manufacture of our products in order that we may give them to the public at the lowest possible price, and by doing that, we feel that we are doing the one big thing that will help this country into more prosperous times. People are interested in prices and are buying when prices are right. "The production of Ford cars and trucks for August again broke all previous high records with the total reaching 117,969. This is the fourth consecutive month in which our output has
gone over the hundred thousand mark. The total for the four months is 463,074, which has gone a long way in making possible the present reductions. June this year, with an output of 117.247, was the previous record month."

November 17, 1921, MOTOR AGE

Lincoln Motors Bankrupt; Reorganization to Follow, Short Sales, High Priced Inventory, General Business Depression Contributing Causes

Detroit, Nov. 11Lincoln Motor Co. was placed in the hands of the Detroit Trust Co., as receiver, following a directors' meeting Nov. 8 at which decision to make voluntary application for receivership was carried by a vote of six to three. President Henry M. Leland, Vice-President Wilfred C. Leland and William T. Nash, secretary and treasurer, voted against the action.

A statement by the Detroit Trust Co. places the assets of the company at $14,- 800,000 and liabilities at $8,237,280. The assets include land, buildings, machinery, and other plant investments, $7,800,000; tools, merchandise (including finished cars and cars in process), $3,700,000; cash, accounts and bills receivable, $800,000; other assets, $2,500,000. Indebtedness includes merchandise accounts, $1,868,000; obligations to banks fully secured by indorsements, aggregating $4,250,000; a mortgage for $1,882,000, and land contracts, $237,280. The factory is continuing on its regular manufacturing schedule pending decision by the receiver as to a course of action. Plans for reorganization are under consideration so as to continue production with the least possible interruption.

The following telegram was sent to Lincoln distributors by President Leland: "Over our protest the board of directors of the Lincoln Motor Co. has consented to the appointment of a receiver. The Lincoln car during a period of unprecedented flnanical difficulties has demonstrated its supremacy in the automobile world, and while this receivership will compel a reorganization of the company, we are starting with undaunted courage to build a greater and more united organization to carry the enterprise to complete success. We are confidently counting upon the loyal cooperation of our distributing organization and of the whole Lincoln personnel. We hope and expect that the receiver will carry on the manufacturies departments so that you can keep your business intact and will use every effort to hasten the time when the new Lincoln company can again give you the support that your splendid work deserves. With your advice and cooperation we are bound to succeed. Please tell your dealers and all our friends that the Lincoln company is making a fresh start on the road to success."

Regarding the causes for the receivership, President Ralph Stone of the Detroit Trust Co., said: "The company perfected its models and incurred the initial expense necessary to place them upon the market just prior to the beginning of the period of depression which has adversely affected all kinds of business. This preparation involved the installation of factory machinery, special tools, and the purchase of a large inventory at the peak of high prices. "This placed a financial burden on the company which was more than its financial resources could properly sustain, in the absence of a volume of sales which, under conditions in the automobile industry and in business generally at that time, it was fully expected would be made.

"The management of the company was encouraged in this belief by the favor- able receiption of the new models by purchasers of high-class automobiles, and this has been borne out by the fact that the sale of Lincoln cars has increased steadily, and for September and October has been the largest since the company started manufacturing."


December 1, 1921, MOTOR AGE 
Lincoln Resumes Production After Physical Inventory--Prospects Are That Assets of Company Will Be Sold on Bids of  Present Company Interests

DETROIT, Nov. 29Manufacture of cars has been resumed at the plant of the Lincoln Motor Co. by the Detroit Trust Co., the receiver, upon completion of the physical inventory. Shipments for the month of November are expected to run about 100 cars, and operations, pending final reorganization, will be conducted strictly on a sales basis. Details of the inventory are not available. The work of pricing the equipment and material at figures which the receiver considers fair is now in progress. An announcement on this subject is expected within a week.

There are several important pointa upon which reorganization plans hinge. One of them is a question of taxation, which the receiver and attorneys for the
company have taken up with the Federal government at Washington and which is now under consideration. Operations at the plant for the present will consist mainly of completion of cars which were in process at the time the receivership action was taken and which were held up pending the inventory. Dealers and distributors are placing orders, and the receiver reports approximately 100 sales since the court action was taken.

A stockholders' protective committee has been formed by the owners of class A stock and steps now are being taken for the organization of a merchandise
creditors' committee. There has been much speculation as to the nature of the reorganization which is contemplated, but definite information on this subject is lacking. It Is considered possible that the assets will be offered for sale and bid in by the interests now in control of the company.


New York, Dec. 1921, MOTOR AGE

The automotive industry has safely passed the lowest point of depression and the worst is over. November was the first month of the year to show an increase in shipments as compared with the same period of 1920. The gain was material and it is probable each succeeding month, until March 1 at least, will mark an equal or greater gain over the corresponding 30 days of the preceding year. While there was a seasonal decline as compared with October, the falling off was not as great in proportion as it was in 1920. As December opens, the outook is more encouraging than it was expected to be a fortnight ago. The volume of sales, chiefly because of the good demand for enclosed cars, will approxi- mate in dollars the business for October.

December 29. 1921, MOTOR AGE

Gradual Sales Increase in 1922, Industry Weathers Storm of 1921 With Sails Unfurled Year Develops Spirit of Cooperation That Fills 1922 With Bright Promise

New York, Dec. 27One of the most anxious years in the history of the automotive industry comes to a close with conditions vastly more stable than those which prevailed at the beginning of 1921. The essentiality and the popularity of the motor vehicle have been established beyond question in a period of
depression. What the future holds for individual manufacturers and dealers is uncertain, but there is no uncertainty about the future of the industry as a whole. It is expected that so far as passenger cars are concerned, the first quarter of 1922 will be materially better than the corresponding period last year; the second quarter a little better than in 1921; the third not quite so good, and the fourth considerably better. The truck market will improve with general business.

The most important achievement of the year, next to the production and sale of approximately 1,700,000 passenger cars, has been the whittling down and
balancing of inventories, the writing off of losses and the payment of debts. There have been few failures of real importance. Only a few companies of consequence have been liquidated. Many have been forced to recapitalize and re-organize, but most of them will pull through. One of the gratifying developments of the year has been the spirit of cooperation shown by the different branches of the industry in supporting the structure as a whole. Merchandise credit of the motor vehicle makers have consistently maintained a constructive policy. This has resulted in the gradual reduction of past due accounts, and collections from manufacturers now are virtually on a current basis.

Releases on old commitments have come through steadily as the vehicle manufacturer could use them, and parts and accessory manufacturers have moved a large share of the materials they had on hand on Jan. 1, last. There have been few defaults in payments in comparison with the volume of business. Nearly all vehicle companies which were solidly established will survive the depression, although it is to be expected that the number of failures in the next few months will be somewhat larger. The industry will enter 1922 with a feeling of confidence which was lacking 12 months ago. It knows in a general way what it can expect and can trimits sails accordingly. With inventories down, buying in the future will not be on the hand-to-mouth basis which has prevailed for more than a year, although there will be no more piling up of huge supplies.


From the beginning of the industry to the Great Depression, 1921 was he its worst year and yet, 1922, would be its best year.


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