Author Archives: David Greenlees
Lost to the passage of time for many, other than to pre-war car enthusiasts, is the fact that up until the early-1930s as much as twenty-five percent of the content of many automobiles was comprised of wood. The interesting pair of videos presented here, show three of a series of four films that were produced in 1929. In them, the construction of the wooden-frame Packard-made body was covered from start to finish.
Part I above, covers the harvesting and transport of logs in the woods of Northern Michigan, and includes a 1929 Packard Sedan and a Model AA Ford Truck. You can find Part II here filmed at a sawmill, covering the processing of log-length timber into kiln-dried dimensional lumber. Below in Part III, the entire operation of turning the lumber into a complete wooden-framework can be seen at the Packard factory in Detroit. Part IV covering the forming and installation of the sheet metal appears to have been lost to time.
If you enjoy these videos, be sure to take a look back at; How Packard Proves a Packard, where the manufacturer demonstrates its Proving Grounds, and the testing of the Packard in 1929 and 1930. Videos courtesy of King Rose Archives.
The American Austin Bantam was a hit from the moment the first one left the assembly line. The body design for the little car was by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky for the Hayes Body Corporation, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. As Robert D. Cunningham has stated in our earlier history of the car: “The Hayes designs captured the hearts and emotions of people who loved puppies, kittens and babies.
The cute little car should have been a runaway success, but it was the victim of bad timing. The company’s stock went public just nineteen days before “Black Tuesday” the day stock market crashed in 1929. You can learn the complete and interesting story behind the development and production of the little car in the four-part American Austin Bantam Story here on The Old Motor. Photo courtesy of the Benjamin Ames Photo Collection.
George N. Pierce formed his own metalworking company in 1878 and began by manufacturing birdcages, iceboxes, and bathtubs before starting to produce automobiles at the turn of the century. The first production car built in 1901, a small Pierce-Motorette, used a single-cylinder De Dion-Bouton engine. In 1904 after several years of production of the first small car, a larger and more modern Pierce Great-Arrow featuring a front-mounted four-cylinder engine was introduced.
Perry Pierce won the first Glidden Tour held during 1905 in one of the new four-cylinder cars. Following that fine showing, the company’s cars then went on to win the event for the next four years in a row, putting them in the enviable position of being one of the leading American automakers.
The first Great-Arrow six-cylinder came along in 1907; a 40-HP six was added in 1908, it was then followed in 1909 with a name change to Pierce-Arrow, and a lineup of three sixes that included 38, 48 and 60-HP models. Featured in the top photo is a circa 1909 to 1911 48 or 60-HP model. The image is courtesy of the New-York Historical Society.
The Automobile, September 2, 1909 issue, contains a complete accounting of the 1910 models titled: Six Cylinder Form and Three Horsepowers. Shown above from the article are three views of the big Six-Sixty Six engine, Pierce rated it at 66-HP and it is listed as having a 5.25-inch X 5.50-inch bore and stroke. This “practically redesigned” big six now featured cylinders cast in pairs. Take note of the pump-supplied oil tank at the top of the engine that stored the lubricant for gravity-feed to the lower end bearings.
Above L to R: The engine-driven air pump for inflating tires, the rear-mounted acetylene tank for the headlamps and the cowl mounted sidelamps. Below L to R: The four-speed transmission, the three six cylinder models offered in 1910 and the braking equipment. Many more Pierce-Arrow photos and information about the car can be found here on The Old Motor.