Back in its day the American Underslung Type 54 “Traveler” was one of the most distinctive and attractive automobiles on the market. It was constructed by the American Motors Company based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and sold for $4,250. It was the shorter and more visually pleasing 124-inch w.b. four-passenger demi-tonneau version of the 140-inch w.b. Type 56 “Traveler Special.”
Both of the large 50 h.p. four-cylinder models used a very unique chassis that features a frame underslung by 40-inch long front and 54-inch rear springs. The engine and transmission are placed on a subframe that locates the center of the driveline at the same height as the rear axle. The Type 54 rides on very large 40 x 4-inch front and 41 x 4.5-inch rear tires.
- From an American advertisement in “The Automobile” September 8, 1911.
The lead photo and the enlargeable version of it below are one of three images found via reader Erik Rapp picturing the circa 1912 American with a fleet of seven other vehicles which may be salesman’s cars. The lineup includes two Model “T” Fords, a White touring car and an early single-cylinder Cadillac converted into a truck.
The setting is located in or near Providence, Rhode Island, on a body of water next to a pair of automobile garages, with a factory building on the right and possibly the office building on the left behind one of the garages.
Tell us what you find of interest in this set of images. You can learn about and see many other photos of other Americans and other underslung cars here on The Old Motor. The photographs are courtesy of the Providence Public Library.