Category archives: Vehicle Profiles

Classic Profile: Larz Anderson and the 1903 Gardner-Serpollet

The 1903 Gardner-Serpollet utilized a revolutionary steam propulsion system | Larz Anderson Auto Museum
The 1903 Gardner-Serpollet utilized a revolutionary steam propulsion system | Larz Anderson Auto Museum

The majority of people from the two most-recent generations, if faced with the name Larz Anderson, probably don’t know who he was or care to find out. The name “Larz” might sound strange, but doesn’t do it enough for me to want to look him up. Larz Anderson, however, is a name worth looking up.

A wealthy Boston businessman who once served as a U.S. diplomat, Larz and his socialite wife took an interest in the early state of the automobile, and after purchasing cars as early as 1899, their vehicular holdings eventually became known as “America’s Oldest Car Collection.” Among the many motorcars purchased by the family over the years was a 1903 Gardner-Serpollet. Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1935 Datsun Type 14

1935 Datsun 14 goes on display at Beaulieu museum in England | Museum photos
1935 Datsun 14 on display at Beaulieu museum in England | Museum photos

A 1935 Datsun Type 14 has gone on display at Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, even though that model of car never was sold in the UK.

“This example was shipped from Japan to Britain by car manufacturing magnate Sir Herbert Austin to check every detail for possible patent infringement because the car looked similar to the Austin 7 Ruby,” the museum said in a news release. Continue reading

Classic profile: 1925 Pierce-Arrow Series 80 Runabout

A 1925 Pierce-Arrow Series 80 displayed at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo | Courtesy of the author
A 1925 Pierce-Arrow Series 80 displayed at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo | Courtesy of the author

Despite a difficult automotive market after World War I, the president of Buffalo’s Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company, G. W. Mixer, announced net earnings of $1.7 million for 1920. With a little money in the bank and the economic climate improving, the company decided to introduce a new, more-affordable line of cars. Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1909 American Gadabout

An Edwardian party out for a drive in a 1909 American Gadabout | Photo courtesy of the author
An Edwardian party out for a drive in a 1909 American Gadabout | Photo courtesy of the author

The distinctive cars of the American Motor Car Company (1906–1914) of Indianapolis, Indiana, have gained a bit of notoriety as of late, achieving some of the highest prices paid for an Edwardian-era vehicle at auction.

These sales are all related to the company’s American Underslung models with their advanced low-profile suspensions. But when the company was established, they hired Indianapolis local Harry C. Stutz, who would design a very handsome large-displacement touring car in the prevailing style with a traditional suspension, such as the 1909 American Gadabout shown in this period photo. Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1928 Packard 443 custom roadster

Hollywood actor Richard Dix poses with the Packard in front of a movie facade | Courtesy of the author
Hollywood actor Richard Dix poses with the rakish Packard in front of a movie facade | Courtesy of the author

From the beginning, the stars born of the Hollywood movie industry have wanted to be seen in the best cars available. Richard Dix, seen here posing with a 1928 Packard 443 custom eight roadster, was just such a leading man.

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Classic Profile: 1932 Stutz Super Bearcat

The Stutz Super Bearcat was powered by a twin-overhead-cam straight-eight engine | Courtesy of the author
The Stutz Super Bearcat was powered by a twin-overhead-cam straight-eight engine | Courtesy of the author

Wearing a set of Goodrich Silvertown whitewall tires – distinguished by the double diamonds on the sidewall – the shortened chassis of the 1932 Stutz Super Bearcat is clearly apparent. At only 116 inches, the wheelbase was a full foot and a half shorter than the standard offering. In comparison, today’s Ferrari FF rides on a 117.7 inch wheelbase. Continue reading

Classic profile: 1930 duPont Series G Special Sport Sedan

The 1930 duPont Series G by Merrimac was shown in this period photograph | Courtesy of the writer
The 1930 duPont Series G Special Sport Sedan by Merrimac was shown in this period photograph | Courtesy of the author

As you’ve probably guessed, I enjoy searching for old photos of early cars. During Monterey Classic Car Week, this means a stop at Automobilia Monterey, and it was there that I found this image of a uniquely bodied duPont Series G Special Sport Sedan.

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Classic Profile: 1909 Stoddard-Dayton Model 9K

The Stoddard-Dayton touring car was photographed in London | Courtesy of the author
The Stoddard-Dayton touring car was photographed in London | Courtesy of the author

Illustrating the pride of Dayton, Ohio, this picture shows a Stoddard-Dayton Model 9K posed in London. The building in the background appears to be Britain’s House of Commons or Parliament Building, and the picture might have been taken from the embankment across the Thames River.

The Stoddard name was already well-established and respected within Dayton. It was John Stoddard’s farm-implements business that put Dayton on the map as a center for industrial production. Together with his son Charles, the two would turn to automobile manufacturing with the Dayton Motor Car Company in 1905. Continue reading

Classic profile: Cup-winning 1905 Richard-Brasier

The Richard-Brasier race car was shown at the 1905 Paris Salon | Courtesy of the author
The Richard-Brasier race car was shown at the 1905 Paris Salon | Courtesy of the author

I came across this postcard in Monterey last year and couldn’t resist. As it states, the card illustrates the Richard-Basier stand at the Paris Salon in 1905. The star-car of the French show, the 1905 Gordon-Bennett winning racer is seen front and center.

The French firm of Richard-Brasier has a confusing history with many name changes, but the story starts with brothers Georges and Maxine Richards. They entered the bicycle business in 1893 and a few years later started manufacturing vehicles resembling the Benz Velo. In 1901, they enticed Henri Brasier, the chief designer for Mors, to join the team. His impact was immediate and by 1902, Brasier’s name was added to the marque. Continue reading

Classic Profile: Maserati wins 1939 Indianapolis 500

Wilbur Shaw in the Maserati 8CTF at Indy | Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Wilbur Shaw in the Maserati 8CTF at Indy | Indianapolis Motor Speedway

In 1938, Ernesto Maserati developed the Maserati 8CTF to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Auto Union on the European GP circuit. Although not particularly successful on the Continent, the car gained fame stateside with a historic victory at the Indianapolis 500. Continue reading