Posts Tagged automobile journal

Ace 1920-1922

The Apex Motor Corporation was formed in October of 1919 and produced the Ace Automobile in Ypsilanti Michigan from 1920 to 1922. O.W. Heinz was President and Fred M. Guy was chief engineer and Vice President. The new car company was started to meet the need of a car shortage in the western U.S. according to the Michigan manufacturer & financial record of 1920. The Ace featured an innovative motor with overhead valves driven by a gear instead of a camshaft. The following is a quote from August 1920 Automobile Journal.

“The new Ace car, manufactured by the Apex Motor Corporation, Ypsilanti, Mich., equipped with the new Guy disc valve engine, is creating much interest among motorists as the engine in this cars is equipped with a rotary type valve for which the manufacturer makes many claims. It is stated that this engine is the result of 10 years experimental work on the part of Fred M. Guy, vice president and chief engineer of the company. Eighteen months ago the first engine, a four, had been brought to a state of perfection which proved quite conclusively that this type of engine might mark a revolutionary advancement in valve construction. Since that time the entire engineering force has been concentrating on the development of a new six which at the present lime is stated to be ready for production on a large scale. The Ace engine valves are a series of discs, one in the combustion chamber of each cylinder. These discs are geared together in chain from a master gear driven from the crankshaft by worm. Each disc operates at one-eighth engine crankshaft speed and contains four slots cut in the form of a V from the periphery to the hub of the disc. These V shaped slots, in the process of the rotation of the disc, pass over ports which enter into the intake and exhaust manifolds of the engine. On the intake stroke of the engine four slots in the discs register with four ports in the cylinder, allowing the gas to enter the intake manifold. Several advantages are claimed for this method, chief among which is that scavenging of the cylinder is accomplished perfectly at any speed. Also, due to the perfect manner of handling the gases coming into and leaving the cylinders, a very high torque is obtained at low speeds which gives the engine unusual pulling power.”

The 1921 ad shown below touted the Ace’s advanced style and mechanical refinements. Four models were available, touring, roadster, brougham and sedan. At the top is the 1921 Ace coupe sedan and in the photos above you can see the Ace touring model along with the roadster. Early illustrations of a modern 12,000 to 15,000 square foot factory were used in advertising brochures, although the only real factory was the single building located on South River Street in Ypsilanti. Engineers Fred M. Guy and O. W. Heinz left the company to start the Heinz Motor Company project in April of 1921. The new President at Apex Motor Corporation, HT Hanover, could not make a go of the already financially troubled company. Creditors were asked for an additional year for repayment after re-organization and overhead cuts, but the company was sold to the American Motor Truck Company, maker of Ace passenger buses. The following quote was published in the 1922 edition of Bus Transportation.

“American Motor Truck Company. Newark. Ohio, reports that these vehicles are selling so rapidly that the company’s production facilities for the next ninety days have been doubled. The company is planning to exhibit at the botlv show to be held in New York in Janurarv and believes that afterward it will be necessary again to increase its production schedule.”

I have found no official report as to what they did with the factory; perhaps the new 25-passenger bus was built there? Feel free to post any reliable official references to this subject. Opinions or theories are welcome also, but state them for what they are.

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