ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Barley Car

Barley Motor Car Co. was a manufacturer of automobiles in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It manufactured the Roamer automobile (1916-29) and, briefly, the Barley (1922-24) and the Pennant (1924-25). In 1913, Albert C. Barley bought the assets of the Streator Motor Car Co., which was put into receivership in 1911. Streator was itself the product of the Erie Motor Carriage Co. and had been manufacturing the Halladay automobile since 1905. Barley’s new company was called Barley Manufacturing Co. and he reopened the factory at Streator, Illinois and continued to produce the Halladay for a few years. Barley, Cloyd Y. Kenworthy, a New York auto dealer then selling only electric automobiles, and Karl H. Martin, who later developed the Wasp automobile, decided to build an upscale automobile, and incorporated Barley Motor Car Co. in New York State in September 1916 with a very small capitalization of only $50,000. It was established for the purpose of building motor trucks, cars, autos and accessories. Shortly thereafter, the company issued more classes of stock and was recapitalized with an additional $760,000, obtaining the existing assets of Barley’s manufacturing company. Manufacturing was soon moved to Kalamazoo, occupying the former Kalamazoo Buggy Co. factory. The initial model introduced in 1916 was called the Roamer. The name was suggested by Kenworthy’s chauffeur after a popular racing horse of the era. The car was very stylish and the grill was nickel plated and modeled after the Rolls Royce grill. The initial model was called Roamer Six, a four-door touring car with a 6-cylinder Continental 24-hp engine. Oscar Wilde purchased one of the first cars built and his endorsement was featured in early advertising. Several models of the car were introduced over succeeding years. In 1918 the model C6 succeeded the Six but with a Continental 12XD engine developing 54-hp available in eight body styles from $2200 to $4900. In 1920, the model D4 Touring with a four-cylinder Duesenberg 75-hp engine went for $5,300 (4-passenger) and $5,400 (7-passenger). By 1922, only the model 6-54 remained. The Roamer was marketed since its inception as “America’s Smartest Car.” It was also successful in many early racing events. After six records were set for one kilometer, one-, two- three-, four- and five-mile sprints by a Roamer with the Rochester-Dusenberg engine at Daytona Beach in 1921, the advertisements crowed that “America’s Smartest Car Makes America’s Fastest Mile.” In 1922, the company introduced a lower-priced line called the Barley, named for Albert C. Barley, president of the company. The first Barley model 6-50 debuted in September offering torpedoes and sedans with a Continental-6 engine. The following year a Sport Sedan and Touring Sedan were added. The prices ranged from $1395 to $2250. In 1924, the company announced a reorganization. Roamer Motor Car Co. was to be incorporated at Toronto, Canada, headed by George P. Wigginton, and the car would be manufactured at Toronto. A. C. Barley sold his interest in Roamer and the Kalamazoo factory remained the Barley Motor Car Co. and continue to manufacture the Barley. However, the Barley was not successful and it was rebranded the Pennant outfitted with a Buda 4-cylinder engine and targeted at the taxicab market. Its main competitor was the Checker, also built in Kalamazoo. The Pennant trade-dress was a maroon upper body and ivory lower body. Both the Barley and Pennant were out of production by 1925, and A. C. Barley was out of the automobile business. Meantime, Roamer abandoned the Continental 6 engine and adopted the Lycoming 8-cylinder engine developing 88-hp but sold at the same price as the former 6-cylinder engine. The new model was called model 8-88 and is offered in seven body styles. Sales were disappointing however. In 1926, the Dusenberg Motor and Car Company was in distress and the Lycoming engine was no longer available to Roamer. In 1926, the Roamer Motor Car Co. bought the Rutenber Motor Co. of Logansport, Indiana, a company of which A. C. Barley had been an officer years earlier. The Barley family had been large shareholders in the company. Rutenber had an extensive factory complex and built engines used in many early automobiles. Sales were weak and declining so that even before the stock market crash, in 1929 the company stopped manufacturing and was dissolved.


Fords, fries, friends and fun fill the local DINER

100_1485Saturday night is “cruise night” at the Happy Day Diner on U.S. Route 40 east of Baltimore. That means in addition to the usual run of customers stopping in for a cheeseburger or chicken pot pie, a few other ingredients are added to the mix.     Here’s one now: a bright, fire-engine-red 1963 Ford Fairlane, owned by Terry Lewis, president of the Antique Motor Club of Greater Baltimore. Then there’s Michael Polis’ 1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Coupe, just back from a chug to Indianapolis. Pretty soon, Ray and Ginger Rothenbach’s 1974 Chrysler New Yorker rolls in with all the aplomb of a cruise liner under full steam.     Before the night is out, more than 50 hot rods, street rods, and classic cars will be parked outside. Inside, waitresses serve up piles of french fries and mounds of rice pudding and, of course, more than a few milkshakes, thick and rich, in those stainless steel containers that conjure up more than a few memories.     “We like a place that we can come to and get our chairs out and hang out like the 1950s,” says Carl Machen of Essex, vice president of the Antique Motor Club of Greater Baltimore and the proud owner of a 1956 vintage truck.     “You’d be surprised how many people stop by to see the cars and end up going in for a meal,” Mr. Machen says.     He is also one of the Route 40 Cruzers, an informal collection of car enthusiasts from a variety of car clubs who come together to gossip, gab and take a gander at each other’s cars. No purists here: A carefully restored classic car can sit cheek by jowl with a street rod with a Ford body, a Chevy engine and a state-of-the-art sound system.

By Lisa Rauschart SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES August 11, 2005


Hudson Motor Company

hudson_hornetIn 1919 Hudson introduced the Essex brand line of automobiles; the line originally was Hudson’s line for middle class auto buyers, designed to compete with Ford and Chevrolet, as opposed to the more up-scale Hudson line.
One of Hudson’s most famous cars was the Terraplane produced between 1932 and 1938, first as Essex-Terraplane in 1932-1933, and then as Terraplane until 1938.
The company had a number of ‘firsts’ for the auto industry. These included the self starter, dual brakes, and the first balanced crankshaft, which allowed the Hudson straight-6 engine to work at a higher rotational speed while remaining smooth, developing more power than lower-revving engines. Most Hudsons had straight-6 engines.
At its peak in 1929, 300,000 cars were produced in one year – Hudson and Essex combined – including contributions from Hudson’s other factories in Belgium, England and Canada.
Hudson ceased auto production from 1942 until 1945 in order to manufacture war materials during World War II, including aircraft parts and naval engines.
After the war, Hudson initially did quite well, and their late-1940s low and rounded “step-down” styling, which lasted through the 1954 model year, was ahead of its time when introduced, and quite aerodynamic for the era. This, the Hudson’s light weight, and its well-built engine made the sportiest model, the Hudson Hornet, a successful auto racing contender, dominating NASCAR in 1951, 1952 and 1953. Later, these cars met with some success in drag racing, where their high power-to-weight ratio worked to their advantage.
Like many other smaller North American auto manufacturers, Hudson found it increasingly difficult to compete with the Big Three (Ford, GM and Chrysler) during the 1950s. Those large companies could afford constant development and styling changes, so that their cars looked fresh every year (even if less changed beneath the surface), whereas the smaller manufacturers could only afford gradual change. They could not keep up with the churning of automotive fashion, and sales slipped. Merger was seen as the only way to survive at all, even if much of the individual makers’ character would be lost.
On January 14, 1954, Hudson merged with Nash Motors to become American Motors. The Hudson factory was closed, and the remaining years of Hudson production consisted essentially of Nash cars with Hudson badging, dubbed “Hashes” by some.
The brand name was discontinued at the end of the 1957 production year.

Author Unknown


Nash Motors

1957-nash-red-frontNash Motors was founded in1916 by Charles W Nash, initially absorbing the earlier Rambler Motor Car Company. For decades it successfully marketed reliable but generally unremarkable mid-priced cars for middle class buyers.
In 1924 Nash absorbed Lafayette Motors.  One of Nash’s few automotive innovations by the generally technically conservative company was in 1938, when optional air conditioning was first offered in non-luxury cars.
The Nash 600, a fastback made before and after World War II, was the first mass-produced unibody construction automobile made in the United States. Its lighter weight compared to body on frame automobiles and lower air drag helped it to achieve excellent gas mileage for its day. The 600 was the first of what some would call the “bathtub” cars from Nash, so called because its sheet metal design, when flipped over, seemed to resemble a common bathtub. (Alternatively, some saw it as a “bathtub” on tires upside down.) The “bathtub” designs would continue on in Nash cars until the early1950s.
In 1954 Nash merged with Hudson Motor Cars and formed American Motors (AMC). The Nash make of automobiles was continued as a line of AMC cars through1957. The small Metropolitan of this period was an early example of a captive import and one of the few small car successes of its time.
The Rambler make was then revived and used as late as 1969 (Rambler American). The AMC make began to be used in its place beginning with the 1967 models because its customers began to associate the term “Rambler” with stodginess – not a help in selling its cars. By the 1970 model year, all models were referred to as AMC makes.
AMC itself entered a brief period of partnership with Renault in the 1980s and then was finally acquired by Chrysler Corporation in 1987. Thus Nash was one of the predecessor companies of the currently Daimler Chrysler firm.

Author Unknown


Winton Motor Carriage Company

WintonTouringCar1908The Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland, Ohio was a pioneer United States automobile manufacturer. Winton was the first American company to sell a motor car.
The company was incorporated on March 15, 1897 by Scottish immigrant, Alexander Winton, owner of the Winton Bicycle Company. Their first automobiles, called “horseless carriages,” were built by hand and assembled piece by piece. Each vehicle had fancy painted sides, padded seats, a leather roof, and gas lamps. The Goodrich Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio made the rubber tires for Winton cars.
By 1897, Winton had already produced two fully operational prototype automobiles. In May of that year, the 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) model achieved the astonishing speed of 33.64 mph (54.14 km/h) on a test around a Cleveland horse track. However, the new invention was still subject to much skepticism and to prove his automobile’s durability and usefulness, Alexander Winton had his car undergo an 800 mile endurance run from Cleveland to New York City.
On March 24, 1898 Robert Allison of Port Carbon, Pennsylvania became the first person to buy an American-built automobile when he bought a Winton after seeing an advertisement in Scientific American. Later that year the Winton Motor Carriage Company would sell twenty-one more vehicles. The following year, more than one hundred Winton vehicles were sold, making the company the largest manufacturer of gas-powered automobiles in the United States. This success led to the first automobile dealership being opened by Mr. H.W. Koler in Reading, Pennsylvania. To deliver the vehicles, in 1899 the innovative Winton company built the first auto hauler in America.
Publicity generated sales and in 1901 the news that both Reginald Vanderbilt and Alfred Vanderbilt had purchased Winton automobiles, boosted the company’s image substantially.
In 1903 Horatio Nelson Jackson made the first successful automobile drive across the United States in a new Winton.
Winton continued successfully through the 1910s marketing automobiles to upscale consumers.

1915 Winton Six Limousine

The first part of the 1900s saw dozens of new automobile companies starting up. Rapid innovation and intense competition led to the end of production by Winton in 1924. However, Winton continued in the marine and stationary gasoline and diesel engine business, an industry he had entered in 1912 with the Winton Engine Company. It became the Winton Engine Corporation, a subsidiary of General Motors on June 20, 1930. It produced the first practical 2-stroke-cycle diesel engines in the 400 to 1,200 hp (300 to 900 kW) range, which powered early Electro-Motive Corporation (of GM) diesel locomotives and Navy submarines. That part of Winton devoted to the manufacturing of diesel locomotives in 1935 became part of the Electro-Motive Corporation–later a Division–of General Motors, and is still in business today. By 1936 Winton was producing engines for only the marine, Navy, and stationary applications. GM reorganized the company in 1937 as the Cleveland Engine Division of General Motors, and closed it down in 1962.


Edsel

edselThe Edsel, a then-new make of automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company, was introduced amidst a considerable amount of publicity on September 4, 1957. The firm had recently earned its status as a publicly-traded corporation, rather than being entirely owned by members of the Ford family, by being able to sell cars that weren’t stuck with Henry Ford’s antiquated preferences after the sellers’ market of the post-war years had closed. The new management compared the roster of Ford makes with that of General Motors, and noted that Lincoln competed, not with Cadillac, but with Oldsmobile. The plan was developed to move Lincoln up market and put another make in beneath it, with yet another (Continental) at the very top. Research and development had begun in 1955 under the name “E-car” which stood for “Experimental car”.

This represented a new division of the firm alongside that of Ford itself and the Lincoln-Mercury division, which at the time shared the same body. Continental was also sold in the latter division. Although Edsel would share its body with Ford, it would be sold through a new division. This short-lived Edsel division existed from November 1956 until January 1958, after which Edsels were made by the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division (referred to as MEL). Edsel was sold through a new network of 1500 dealers. This briefly brought total dealers of all Ford products to 10,000. Ford saw this as a way to come closer to parity with the other two companies of the Big Three: Chrysler had 10,000 dealers and General Motors had 16,000. As it was quickly realized that Edsel was failing many of these dealers’ added Lincoln-Mercury, English Ford and/or Taunus dealerships to their lines with the encouragement of Ford Motor Company.

For the 1958 model year, Edsel produced 4 models, including the larger Citation and Corsair, and the smaller, more affordable Pacer and Ranger. The Citation came in 2 door, 4 door, and two door convertible versions. The Corsair came in 2 door and 4 door versions. The Pacer came in 2 doors, 4 doors, 2 door sedans, and 2 door convertible. The Ranger came in 2 door, 4 door, 2 door sedan and 4 door sedan versions. The Bermuda Wagon, Villager Wagon, and Roundup Wagon were based on the two smaller Edsel models, and shared body structure with the ’57-59 Ford wagons. It included several features that were, at the time, cutting-edge innovations, among which were its “rolling dome” speedometer and its “teletouch” transmission shifting system, on the center of the steering wheel. 63,110 Edsels sold the first year, below expectations but the second largest car launch for any brand to date. Only the Plymouth introduction in 1928 was better.

For the 1959 model year there were only 2 Edsels: the Ranger and the Corsair which was really a relabeled Pacer. The two larger cars were not produced. The new Corsair came in 2 doors, 4 doors, 4 door sedans, and 2 door convertible. The Ranger came in 2 door, 4 door, 2 door sedan and 4 door sedan and the Villager station wagon. 44891 cars sold in model year 1959.

For the 1960 model year, Edsel’s last, only the Ranger and Villager were produced. A mere 2848 cars were produced before the Edsel was dropped on November 19, 1959.