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Furrier John Kallauner’s Mystery Machine

* Updated * It has been a while since we have had a great mystery car, but reader George Tilton sent us quite a remarkable one. The car was owned by John Kallauner of St. Joseph, Missouri, who is the passenger in the front seat; he was a well-to-do Furrier in St. Joseph. George’s grandmother is in the middle of the rear seat in this photo he believes dates to sometime in the early summer of 1913.

  • Stuyvesant 1911 (MoToR Car Directory 1911 p.108)
  •                                1911 Stuyvesant Six built in Sandusky, Ohio.

It appears that the date of the photo is correct, because based on the car’s appearance and equipment it is likely to be a 1912 or 1913 model. Having already compared it with examples of both the manufacturers of cars that it was likely to be made by has proven futile. What we do know by closely observing the photo is this: it appears to be a big six-cylinder and it is shaft-driven; it is riding on a wheelbase we would estimate at 140-plus inches.

* Update *  We have received a number of answers about this mystery car but only one from Ariejan Bos that appears to have possibly identified the maker, Ariejan writes:

“After a thorough search of books and archives I have only come to a possibile conclusion, though in my eyes a very feasible one. The car could very well be a 1913 Stuyvesant that was built in Sandusky, Ohio. The only available picture of a Stuyvesant appeared in the MoToR Car Directory of 1911 (see above) and in a list of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal in the March issue of that year (identical picture)”.

“According to the Standard Catalog the 1911 car was a monobloc Six. In 1912 there was no production of Sixes, but in 1913 a return to a six was scheduled. However, there seems to have been only one car and a promotional campaign. You may notice the similarities of the 1911 model with the mystery photo, but there are also some differences (10 instead of 12 spokes in the front wheel, a slight differences in the body, the downward curve in the rear part of the frame, and the electrical lighting). These may of course be attributed to improvements in the car. Unfortunately proof can only be provided by the photographs of the 1913 promotional campaign, but I really wouldn’t know where to look for them.”



23 responses to “Furrier John Kallauner’s Mystery Machine

    • Tom, You are right on that count, but it is fairly common to see cars in old photos with tires that were low on air pressure. If the young man behind the wheel is Kallauner’s chauffeur or driver and not his son, he was clearly not doing his job very well and was neglecting the tires. Note the chunk of the right front tire sidewall missing at 11 o’clock.

  1. Is there a particular deadline to enter our comment to participate? I’m planning to be in on this, but if there’s a specific time and day cutoff on this then I could be sure to not be too late.

  2. This is John Kallauner, his wife and four children. So the young man driving is not a chauffer. (The original submitter is my cousin; we shared this photo a number of years back, and I have the original.) The year on the license plate is 1913. This won’t help, but the only other thing I can see is the molded lettering on the front tire. It begins “GOODRICH QUICK…”, with the rest unreadable.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have any other shots of the car. We appreciate your putting your heads together on this one!

    • Very interesting to try to figure out what this auto is.

      Somehow this picture of your family members has ended up posted identified as a Cadillac -see comment and link below. Do you know if your picture circulated or was published in any way before being posted here at TOM? One possibility is that your picture circulated and ending up being reposted as a Cadillac- the other possibility is that there is another image in circulation to try and track down.

      Is there any other information or photographer’s identification on the picture?

  3. I love these mystery photos !

    Not trying to be a buzz-kill on the Stuyvesant possibility, but I observed some differences between the ad illustration and the photo car:

    1) “Hood-former” / “dashboard” – appears to be a flat-wooden panel on the photo car, while the ad image shows a tapering-metal cowl / hood-former ?

    2) Wheels & Fenders – MUCH larger on the car in the ad illustration than those of photo car: compare the height of the fender crowns to the body belt-line and the top of the hood… looks more like the relationship seen on an Olds “Limited” or an American Underslung. ( Not suggestion the mystery car is either of those vehicles though 😉 )

    3) Frame “kink” under front seat: Photo car- Looks pretty obvious that the frame / lower body sill have a contour line that occurs under the driver’s seat. I am curious if it takes a vertical dip, or an outward bulge, or both ?
    I can’t find a similar detail on the ad illustration.

    Other observations / questions:

    1) Ad illustration car appears to have demountable rims. Photo car is wearing clinchers ?

    2) Lighting – Photo car has electric lights and horn, but also seems to have a Presto-Lite tank on the runningboard ? Gas-car that got an electric light upgrade ?

    3) Body design details: the Ad illustrsation car, a “1911” model seems to have a more modern, tapering cowl section, but older design cues on the body itself, with heavy “mouldings” on the doors…

    The photo car has a sleeker body ( 1912-14 ish), but an “older” ( 1906-1910-ish ) flat, wooden dashboard / hood-former, with an abrupt perpendicular “transition” to the hood.

    I think the chap at the wheel is a family-member – older son / nephew / etc. – he seems to have the same nose as the lady in the passenger-side back seat. If he were a hired-chauffeur (domestic service), I would expect him to have a coat and hat on.

    I’m sorry I can’t offer any new suggestions as to the photo-car’s ID, but generally agree that it seems to be a big, premium six-cylinder car.

    Happy Holidays !

    Francis McMullen

    • Francis, As Ariejan stated, the illustration is from 1911 and the car is likely to be a 1913 and there are differences that he pointed out.

      If you compare the general look of both they do appear to possibly share the same DNA.

  4. Noticed the photo car has nondemountable wheels and the ad has demountable which is more modern, the nondemountable will give faster acceleration due to less weight at the circumference of the wheel. The tank on the running board looks like an MC size and using photoshop you can open the hood and see the Presto-starter on the engine, an acetylene starting device. None of this will help but is interesting

  5. This one STUMPED me! The Stuyvesant seems most closely related to the picture . I first thought Locomobile, but the exposed “kickup of the rear frame-side portion ” seems unique to this vehicle. One feature that is also “different” is the height of the headlights. The Stuyvesant car submitted, shows a squeeze bulb horn, indicating the possiblity of being a magneto car with crank and acetylene lamps, while the “MYSTERY CAR” shows a (Kettering) Electric KLAXON Horn, a very expensive quality accessory, also indicating an Electric Self-Starting system. On the running board, (near the outside mounted gear-shift quadrant /lever & emrgency brake lever), on the “mystery” car, is a “mystery” cylinder: It appears to have TWO fill-port caps: My GUESS is that its is a “combo” Upper Cylinder Lube & Water Injection Setup with separate chambers??? It is not an “M/C” (Motorcyle) nor the (larger) “A” (Automobile)Acetylene (Prestolite) cylinder, so the headlights & tail light would be electric. The last of the right hand drives and the first of the 6 (or 12) Volt (?) electrical systems . (Authentic early Klaxons were offered in 6 or 12 Volt windings). Thank you for submitting THIS car!!! EMW/WTS.

  6. Seems to me to be the Stuyvesant, Illustrations of cars in ads sometimes differed from production vehicles due to sources since many car companies did not build their own bodies or parts. Lived in northern Ohio for many years and so I am familiar with the car.

  7. Not seeing the Stuyvesant connection as just too many differences (not to quelch the fire). I am still leaning to a Dayton, Ohio product as I believe I have seen the picture before in a Dayton Ohio Museum archive of Dayton built products. By the way, if the original photo exists a good scanner should be able to better detect details – period photos have incrdible detail often lost in poor scans.

    P.S. The best ID person on the globe is Cornelious Hauck.

      • I checked the Dayton archive and checked separately on the Dayton makes, but nothing really comparable turns up. There is a very slight similarity with the 1912 Speedwell 6 cyl. Knight, but that’s all. If this Mr. Cornelious Hauck (whose name I must admit is not really known to me) has a better suggestion, I’m open-minded to this. Though maybe deep inside myself I have the ambition to be the best ID-er of the world, first of all I just want to find the truth!

        • Ariejan, I do think that you may have found the ID of this car. Sure there are differences as you have pointed out, but there are unmistakeable similarities there if one takes the time to study both. Discounting the earlier body moldings, the two share the same body and cowl shapes and the hood, louvers and fenders are also quite the same. As I mentioned earlier I think the two share the same DNA???

        • I too wondered about the Speedwell Six. Found nothing other than the images of Speedwells of interest to this search at the Dayton Archive.

          Considering that more than one source credits coachbuilders Biddle and Smart of Amesbury Massachussets with building for not only Speedwell but many other premium brands of the day.

          ” Biddle and Smart Carriage Company1902-1931
          Biddle and Smart commenced automobile body production in 1902 and by late 1903, they had a contract to produce limousine bodies for Peerless. By 1907, proper metal sheeting over a hardwood frame was developed as the standard construction technique. The company embarked on limited series production for a growing list of satisfied customers: touring cars for Mercer and Alco, Abbott coupes, National roadsters, Packard and Winton sedans and assorted models for Lincoln, White, Chalmers, Marmon, Peerless, Haynes, Speedwell and Club. “

          However, the best explanation I come up with for the very obvious drop in the frame is pre 1913 Chalmers. That appears in a previous image here at the Old Motor from the Wheaton Collection. That drop seems very distinctive.

          • There were more makes applying this lowering of the chassis like Abbott-Detroit, Kissel Kar and Paterson. Paterson used it in 1911 (and maybe more makes did). If I look closely at the 1911 Stuyvesant picture, I even have the impression that also here the chassis bends down just before the spring cover/step for the rear seats.

          • I do agree that the visible frame drop is not unique to the Chalmers.

            Does anyone now what is visible on the frame in the above pictures? What I refer to is the visible ‘raised panel effect’ (that’s what it would called be if it was wood) on the web of the fame rail. Is it paint or forged into the web? It doesn’t look deep enough to have a substantial effect on the frame strength. I have seen this somewhere else.

  8. I thought the same of the running board tank until noticing what looks like a regulator on front of the tank. Also the brake drums are a little small for a car of that size

  9. Yes, the electric lamps and horn mean a 1913 model, (or a costly upgrade, including possibly an electric starter-generator) to an earlier car. The small brake drum and clincher wheels suggest an earlier car updated. An expensive, quality chassis may have been re-bodied with a more modern, torpedo-style, fore-door coachwork. (I might have suggested a c10 Matheson, possibly).

    The windscreen could be an after-market accessory, since it was bolted to the flat dashboard, or could have been mounted over the cowl with some extra care. Again, suggesting a re-bodied, earlier car.

    The tank may be an engine oil tank, a reserve supply of the type used by Rolls-Royce and others.

    I feel that the kink in the chassis rail is the best key to unlocking this puzzle.

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