As you enjoy your Fourth of July holiday weekend I thought I’d do something really wild… salute the ole red, white and blue with American cars. Believe it or not there are American cars I do take photos of. While many of the following American car companies are no longer in existence, their cars are still a joy to behold. Enjoy our short stroll through automotive history.
Let’s start with a classic 1928 Auburn 8-115 McFarlan Speedster, a precursor to the popular Auburn Speedster (1935-37). Unfortunately the Depression and E.L. Cord’s stock manipulations put the brakes on Auburn production in 1937 and the company, founded in 1900, ceased to exist.
Du Pont as a car company didn’t fare much better than Auburn, it was only around from 1919 to 1931, producing just 537 cars. But they were quite unique and very stylish. While there are much more recognizable Packards, such as the one in the foreground, this 1942 Packard One Eighty Darrin is one of 15 produced in 1942 before WWII halted production. This is the only Convertible Victoria to feature a three-position convertible top – meaning the top can be either closed, completely open, or partially open.This 1960 Di Dia 150, is the American dream, it is one of one. Designed by a clothing designer and hand built by four workers for singer Bobby Darrin, it was at the time listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive custom car built.
Winning 3rd in its class at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance the 1935 V-8 Miller Special is a two seat Indianapolis race car. It ran as number 35 in the 1935 Indy 500, driven by George Bailey, qualified 29th at 113.432 mph and finished 26th. With different engines it also ran in 1940, 1941, and 1946 Indy 500. Created by Harry Stutz and designer Fred Tone, the American Underslung, though important, was only manufactured by The American Motor Car Company in a short span of 1905 to 1914. On this new underslung chassis the rails were below the axles making the car sportier and noticeably lower than other cars. A conventional chassis was very high on the wheels, the side rails above the axles, the new underslung was also billed as safer. This major design change was a major deal in the early development of automobiles. This 1912 Moon 30 Raceabout represents one of many cars produced by St. Louis based Moon Motor Car Company. Moon produced trucks cars from 1905 until 1930 with its highest production being over 10,000 cars in 1925. The iconic white and blue 1965 Shelby Mustang is a fixture in every young boy’s imaginary dream garage. This race ready GT-350 Mustang was Carroll Shelby’s first Mustang and the first race ready car offered by an American automaker. While we are on white, blue and Shelby, we can’t ignore the fabulous Shelby Cobras. Though the car is based on the AC Bristol, I think its safe to say we consider this an American car. Imagined by Carrol Shelby, powered by a Ford V8 and finished in Los Angeles and Pennsylvania – the world considers the famous blue shark nose body with white stripes an iconic American automobile.
Duesenberg Motors Company (1913 – 37) is the pinnacle of the American luxury car. What began as engine and race car builders in Minnesota shifted gears drastically after WWI and their move to Indianapolis, home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 1926 when E.L. Cord purchased Duesenberg he wanted the biggest, fastest and most expensive car built and to compete with the big European car makers, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benze and Hispano-Suiza. The Model J was introduced at the New York Car Show of 1928 and in 1929 at “Salon de l’automobile de Paris” of 1929. Notable American and European coachbuilders were quick to build atop of this new American luxury car. As grand and fabulous as the Duesenberg luxury cars were, they couldn’t outlast the economic impact of the Depression. Duesenberg unfortunately ceased production in 1937.
American minds have designed and created some fantastic pieces of automotive history. We’ve been automotive pioneers who’ve tried, failed and succeeded. We’ve innovated and won both races and consumers. Economics are always in play. Today we can still celebrate the creations of our Automotive pioneers and appreciate the rich automotive history we have in America.
Have a fantastic horsepower filled Fourth of July!