Archive for 1929 Vehicles

The Automobiles of 1929

Between 1896 and the Great Depression, there were over 1800 Automobile manufacturers in the United States. In the old car hobby, these car companies that have gone out of business are referred to as orphans. In 1929, the used car buyer would have had a large selection of used cars to choose from, considering all the orphans. General Motors started buying up some of the used cars and destroying them, or shipping them to Canada to keep the new car market open in major cities. When the Canadian auto market was flooded by U.S. built cars, they outlawed shipping cars into Canada. GM purchased factories and founded GM of Canada to get cars into the country. A lot of French printed literature for 1929 GM cars is available for that reason. That is also one reason you cannot ship cars out of the U.S. very easy today. The photo above is a load of new 1929 Chevrolet models coming into the Chevy dealership.

In 1929 when my Pontiac was new, there were still over 60 Automobile makes built in the United States. I wanted to share with you a list and photos of the vehicles that were available for the new car buyer to choose from in 1929. Most of the cars on this list also became orphans. I have used real vintage photographs when I had them in my collection because I think they are more fun.

Life expectancy of an automobile in 1929 was 50,000 miles, but also due partially to the bodies built with an armored wood frame construction, few examples survived this early era of closed body production. GM used this method of construction until 1935.  The photo on the bottom is of the Chevrolet assembly plant. I will post examples of the wood frame of the 1929 Pontiac from my fisher Body manual and photos of the Fisher Body plant.

You will also note in my descriptions, many of the manufactures purchased parts from other companies and assembled them. Fisher Body built bodies for many automobile companies, including Ford, until GM purchased Fisher to assure they would have all the bodies supplied to them they would need. The Continental Motors Company produced engines for various independent manufacturers of automobiles from 1905 through the 1960s. Ford purchased his early engines from Dodge Brothers. Henry Ford was a master at cutting cost to keep the price of his car down. He designed the shipping crates and required them not to be damaged in shipping because he would use the shipping crates for the wood parts to build his cars.

I will continue to post The Automobiles of 1929 (and a few trucks) until I get them all posted. This is a hobby, not my job, so thanks for being patient.

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1929 American Steam Car

American Steam car 1924-1931 Thomas S. Derr built the American Steam Car in West Newton, MA. The company catered mostly to former Stanley Steamer (1899-1927) customers. The cars Derr built were conversions, using his own engines and boilers, but using mostly Hudson chassis and bodies. The hood emblem and hubcaps bore the American Steam Car name. There were at least 124 makes of steam cars once manufactured in the United States. Notice in the photo, there are no louvers on the hood, giving it away as an electric or a steam engine. I like the louvers, even if they were not functional, they ad style.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

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1929 Auburn

Auburn 1900-1936
The Auburn Automobile Company was established in 1900 when Frank and Morris Eckhart of the Eckhart Carriage Company of Auburn, Indiana (est. 1874) began experimenting with hand built cars. By 1903, Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal reported that a single-cylinder, Auburn gasoline engine car for 1903 could be bought for $1,400, including side lamps and a tool kit.

In 1919 Auburn introduced a new 26 hp six, built by continental Engine Company, but it failed to boost sales. Errett Cord became the first General Manager when he was only 30 years old in 1924. Cord’s leadership brought the company new designs and delivered Auburn out of the sales slump.

In 1928 the first boat-tailed speedster was introduced. This car was capable of speeds of over 108 mph at a time when many manufactures were bragging about 60 or 70mph. The design of this car has had long lasting inspiration. There were a couple of companies in the 70’s to build a kit car replica of the Auburn boat-tail.

In 1966, Auburn USA (not related) started building a complete replica Auburn built on a Corvette chassis and drive train. Buick tried that boat-tail inspiration on the design of the 1971-1973 Riviera.

In 1929 the Auburn models were available from $995.00 to $2,095.00. Over 22,000 new Auburns were sold in 1929.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

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1929 Blackhawk

Blackhawk 1929-1931
Stutz originally introduced the Blackhawk in 1928 as the Stuz Model B-B. In 1929 it was launched as a new marquee on it’s own, but despite efforts to start a new marquee, the confusion from introducing it as a 1928 Stutz caused people to continue to regard it as just another Stutz model. Even my Rapid Repair Manual from the era, list this vehicle as a Stutz Model B-B.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

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1929 Buick

Buick 1903-Present
Buick is rich in General Motors and automobile history in general. It is one of my favorite makes because I have fond memories of growing up with Buick being the family car of choice. My first two cars were Buicks, and my dad was disappointed when I brought my first Chevy home.

By 1889 David Buick had invented several items such as valves, lawn sprinklers, and a process for making the porcelain kitchen sink and bathroom fixtures. David Buick developed the overhead valve engine for the American automobile market and offered it for sale by The Buick Motor Co. The Buick engine was efficient and developed more horsepower than other engines it size. The entire industry would eventually follow the lead of Buick.

The first Buick automobile was built in Detroit between 1898 and 1901. Unfortunately, Buick had no financial sense and was constantly strapped for money. In 1903 James M. Whiting, a carriage and wagon manufacturer located in Flint, MI acquired the company. Only six Buicks were sold in 1903 and only 16 in 1904. Whiting recruited William C. Durant to lead the Buick Motor Company into a profitable venture. Durant built the most successful horse drawn empire in America, the Dort, which had 15 factories. In 1908 Durant started General Motors, and Buick became the first brand brought into the GM family of cars. For the 1929 model year, Buick produced 196,104 cars, ranking the company at number 6 in production.

The first Buick automobile was built in Detroit between 1898 and 1901. Unfortunately, Buick had no financial sense and was constantly strapped for money. In 1903 James M. Whiting, a carriage and wagon manufacturer located in Flint, MI acquired the company. Only six Buicks were sold in 1903 and only 16 in 1904. Whiting recruited William C. Durant to lead the Buick Motor Company into a profitable venture. Durant built the most successful horse drawn empire in America, the Dort, which had 15 factories. In 1908 Durant started General Motors, and Buick became the first brand brought into the GM family of cars. For the 1929 model year, Buick produced 196,104 cars, ranking the company at number 6 in production.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

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1929 Cadillac

Cadillac 1902-Present
Henry Leland named Cadillac Automobile Company after the French explorer who discovered Detroit in the early Eighteenth Century. The first Cadillac was completed on Oct. 17, 1902. In January the Cadillac was taken to the New York Automobile Show where company sales manager William E. Metzger (formerly of Olds Motor Works) took orders for 2286 cars before declaring the Cadillac was “sold out.” The price was just $750 for the standard model or $850 for the four-passenger model. 1902 Publicity shots show Cadillacs pulling heavily loaded wagons up slopes and climbing the steps of public buildings. Cadillac became a division of General Motors in 1909. In 1912 Cadillac won a trophy for the first practical and complete electrical system, with self-starting and self-lighting features. Above is the 1929 Cadillac Town Sedan. Your mouse over will give you the model names of the 1929 Cadillac photos below.

Prices for the 1929 Cadillac started at $3295.00. 81,103 Cadillacs were built and sold for the 1929 model year, making Cadillac number 11 in annual sales figures. In January of 1930, Cadillac introduced the world’s first production V-16 and Fleetwood coachwork became standard.

Rick Robinson

http://www.mychurchgrowth.com/blog/category/1929-pontiac/

http://www.mychurchgrowth.com/blog/category/1929-pontiac/1929-vehicles/

http://www.mychurchgrowth.com/blog/category/1929-pontiac/1929-orphan-vehicles/

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1929 Chandler

Chandler 1913-1929
The Chandler Motor Company began production in July 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio by Frederick C. Chandler. The company built 550 cars that sold for $1,785.  While some companies purchased parts and assembled them, Chandler produced their own engines, chassis, and bodies. According to my copy of the sales brochure, Chandler used lighting and starting by Delco-Remy. Chandler bodies were built with an armored wood frame, like most cars built before all-steel bodies became the industry standard in the mid-1930s. (GM went to all steel in 1935.) Armored wood frame vehicles like the Chandler have survived in smaller numbers, since the fabric roofs incorporated tended to let the wood rot.

Chandler earned a reputation for being a very reliable vehicle. The success of the Chandler Motor Car encouraged Chandler to organize the Cleveland Automobile Co. in 1919. Sales, production, and profits declined for both companies in 1921. In 1926 the two auto companies consolidated as Chandler-Cleveland Motors Corp. Sales continued to drop and 1928 was the last year of production for the lower priced Cleveland. In December 1928 Chandler was sold to the Hupp Motor Car Corp. of Detroit. 1929 was the last production year for Chandler, since Hupp only wanted the factory to expand production of the Huppmobile.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

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1929 Checker

Checker 1923-1982
In 1922, Commonwealth Motors was on the verge of bankruptcy but had a large order from Checker Taxi, a cab company in Chicago. Checker Motors Corporation was established in Kalamazoo, Michigan after Morris markin, merged Commonwealth Motors with Markin Automobile Body in order to honor the contractual commitment. Markin was later to buy the Checker Taxi Company. Checker made the iconic American taxi cab which taxicab companies valued for its durability in heavy use. In the 1920’s and 30’s taxicabs were competing to be the most luxurious and comfortable ride. The 1929 Checker had a landau roof and would have been a very upscale ride. Most early Checker production vehicles were built almost exclusively for the taxi business, but cars for personal use could be ordered.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

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1929 Chevrolet

Chevrolet 1911-Present
Chevrolet has a very rich heritage, I could write a book about this make by itself. William Durant was forced out of GM in 1910 because the board of directors thought his expansion plans were too reckless. Durant had hired Louis Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races for GM. but in 1911 Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant would co-found Chevrolet.  The Chevrolet was very successful, and within two years it was being sold in other countries, and very profitable. Chevrolet was profitable enough to allow Durant to trade one share of Chevrolet stock for two shares of GM stock. He did this until he was able to take control of General Motors again. In 1917 Durant was president of General Motors again and Chevrolet was merged into GM, becoming a separate division.

By 1920 Ford and Dodge were the only sales leaders above Chevrolet.  In 1925 the Chevrolet Superior, with disc wheels and “Duco cellulose finish” sold for only $650. This allowed for Chevrolet to outsell Ford for the first time. In 1929 1,328,605 1929 Chevrolets were produced and sold for $595.

When it comes to antique automobiles, I am a GM fanatic, but Chevrolet is my preferred brand for my family car. Back in the seventies when I was dating my wife Victoria, we would go to Daytona Beach in my 1972 Chevy. I wish that teen would have been smart enough to take pictures. (Me not my wife.) That car is worth more now than it was when I owned it. The car in the photo at the top is a 1929 Chevrolet taken with William Knudsen, President of Chevrolet.

The photo below is  the Detroit police department with the new fleet of 1933 Chevrolet police cars.

 

The photo on the bottom is a 1927 Chevrolet with President of General Motors, Alfred P. Sloan.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

1929 Pontiac Restoration Project

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1929 Chrysler

Chrysler 1924-Present
Walter P. Chrysler re-organized the Maxwell Motor Company that began producing automobiles in 1904, into the Chrysler Corporation in 1924. The Maxwell magazine ads from 1925 in my literature collection claim a top speed of 58 miles per hour, 5 to 25 miles in 8 seconds, and 25 miles to the gallon.   The Maxwell marquee was dropped after the 1925 model year following the introduction of the Chrysler.

The original 1924 Chrysler included a carburetor air filter, high compression engine, full pressure lubrication, and an oil filter, at a time when most vehicles came without these features. Among the innovations in its early years, Chrysler would be the first practical mass-producer of four-wheel hydraulic brakes, and rubber engine mounts to reduce engine vibration. By 1929 Chrysler was following GM in the successful “step up” price structure of vehicles offered.

Rick Robinson

The Automobiles of 1929

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