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A Matheson Masterpiece

This is a masterpiece of engineering and construction that was designed by Charles G. Greuter for the Matheson Company, which was located at the time in Wilkes-Barre, PA, (1906-1912). In these original factory photos we see the makings of the 1908 50 hp sohc four-cylinder engine, along with a fine double chain-drive chassis, a recipe for going very fast at that time. The firm built one of the fastest, highest quality, production cars avail-able, which was capable of many wins in hill-climbs and also on the one-mile dirt ovals used then in competition. Two very well know drivers at the time, Louis Chevrolet and Ralph DePalma, amongst others, both chose to drive the marque in events. The captains of industry that could afford to, bought one, because quite frankly, there was nothing that could match one in terms of quality or bragging rights at the time (William Randolph Hearst owned two).

Unfortunately quality and speed does not ensure success in the market place. The firm like many was in financial trouble by 1910 and limped on until 1912 when they went into their first of three receiverships and stopped the production of automobiles.

Follow this link to other posts here on this fine maker. Photos from the Robert C. Laurens Collection.

11 responses to “A Matheson Masterpiece

  1. How many are left? I think there are at least two. Don Boulton in OK has one, and the Nethercutt collection also has one. Any others?

  2. The Silent Six in the Nethercutt collection originally belonged to Percy Colket of Strafford, Pa. until 1949 when acquired by Bob Laurens of Wayne, Pa. In August, 1953 Bob drove it to Sarasota, Florida, and placed it in the Horn Museum. after which it ended up iwith Nethercutt.

    Bob Laurens did extensive research on the Matheson car including the family, factory drivers, and factory workers. In June, 1966 Bob had correspondencw with Red Ladner of Pasadena, Ca, who had the remains of a Matheson found in the desert. This car is I think the one now owned by Don Bolton. In this correspondence Bob states that “For four years, Mr. Matheson [Frank F.] and I tried to locate a BIG FOUR car, engine or any parts and we never had a bit of luck. These engines were very heavy, very complicated and after years of use, invariably ended up as sawmills, pumps and the like.” Also,”…the make and break ignition was never easily repaired.”

    I’m not sure about the status of the Matheson chassis that was in the Ford Museum, perhaps some one else does.

  3. Any idea what happened to Charles G. Greuter ? A shaft drive OHC with roller rockers in 1908, then nothing else ?
    Shades of AR Welsh and George Weidely…………….

      • David,

        Thanks. AQ 20#3 says Greuter joined Stutz in 1925 and designed the earlier SOHC Vertical Eight, based on an OHC Excelsior he designed in 1923. What is really interesting is his Eight used a 2-4-2 crank at a time when Dusenberg, Miller and Bugatti were using 4-4 cranks. Do you know if this was the first American 2-4-2 ? The DOHC DV-32 came around 1931.

        My list of unknown (to me) American innovators keeps growing.

  4. David,

    Yes, I’m sure that is the reason. Alfa and Bugatti didn’t changed from 4-4 to 2-4-2 until the early 30’s . I am curious about how this change came about. Isotta may be a clue but I haven’t seen the crankshaft.

  5. David,

    It looks like Packard first used the 2-4-2 crankshaft in its 1923 straight eight, one or two years before Greuter’s design. Do you know of any photo’s of Louis Chevrolet’s Matheson in the 1908 Vanderbuilt Cup Race ?

  6. I know this is an old thread, but does anyone have any additional information on the Matheson that was in the Ford Museum and the history on it?

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