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“My Baby Thinks She’s a Train”: The MGM-Kelly Tire Dagmar Sedan Auto Loco

Almost seven years ago this photo of Hollywood Actress Mary Carlisle powdering her face on an MGM (Metro Golden Meyer Studios Inc.) Auto-Loco was posted here on The Old Motor. It wasn’t until looking through the photo archives recently that the image below was re-discovered that led to this car being positively identified.

The bottom image in the post, also from previous coverage contains a Dagmar sedan with slightly longer coachwork than the close-coupled “Petite Sedan” used for this conversion. The Dagmar was constructed using the components of the Crawford, an assembled car built by the Crawford Automobile Co. of Hagerstown, Maryland. The 135-inch w.b. chassis was powered by a Continental six-cylinder L-head engine backed up by a Brown and Lipe three-speed transmission with an overdriven fourth gear; Timken axles were used.

According to information provided by Coachbuilt.com in M.P Moller Motor Car Company Part I (Moller built the Crawford and Dagmar) published in “The Autocar,” June 14, 1929, issue titled “Fire Engine or Locomotive?” – “This strange vehicle is actually a car built to resemble a locomotive and used for U.S.A. road inspection.” Apparently after being used for that purpose MGM purchased and used the vehicle for a prop. The picture above taken in front of the Hussmann Hotel above shows the specialty vehicle being used to promote Kelly tires. It has survived and can occasionally be seen at major Concours d’Elegances.

Tell us what you find of interest in these photographs. “My Baby Thinks She’s A Train” was written by Leroy Preston and recorded by Asleep at the Wheel.

13 responses to ““My Baby Thinks She’s a Train”: The MGM-Kelly Tire Dagmar Sedan Auto Loco

  1. One thing I find interesting is the spare wheel. It looks to be slightly lower on the conversion (the top of the tire is lower than the window, while on the Dag at the bottom the top of the tire looks to be very slightly higher than the bottom of the window). The combination of that and the switch from a curved fender/running board to an angular one cause the spare tire to need a cut-out. In the picture at the Hussmann, the bottom of the spare appears to be rather muddy since it’s now directly in the splash area for the front tire.

  2. In the second picture, there is what appears to be a luggage platform that is folded up vertical. This gives the impression of an observation deck at the rear, which used to be common on passenger trains.

  3. Looking at the Dagmar specification, I wonder why anyone with $3,500-$4,500 to spend on a new car then would buy one rather than various Packard, Pierce-Arrow or Cadillac models in the same price range. Other than its ‘unique’ appearance, there wasn’t much to recommend the Dagmar.

    • The Dagmar was a custom built car that came on a 138 inch wheelbase chassis. They were built 1922-1926. Their big
      year they built 135 cars. They stood out from massed produced luxury cars by their brass metal trim, fender treatment,
      and fancy disk wheels (unlike any others). So, you had a chance to drive up with your exclusive Dagmar with 70 horsepower, or you could settle for a wood wheel Packard with 54 horsepower, 126 (a few 133) wheelbase and pleasant but plain design that’s even hard to sell in today’s collector market. A Cadillac had 132 inches and 60 horses and wood wheels. In 1923, a Pierce-Arrow Sedan cost almost twice what a Dagmar Sport Victoria would sell for, so
      no comparison. Besides, If you had any Danish blood in your veins, a Dagmar was a patriotic acquisition.

  4. This looks to be a 1922 or 1923 with the flat fenders; I believe the rounded fenders came out in 1924. I’m surprised to read that this car may still be around as I have always believed that only two remained and both are currently in the same museum. Very interesting cars; but they drive like a tank with very heavy steering and enough torque to pull anything.

  5. Well, my consuming interest is old motorcycles, though I have always loved automobiles. The motorcycles in the middle photo are Harley-Davidson JDs. I guess the date as either 1926, or ’27 because of no front brake, and 1928 being the first year for a front brake; also, both bikes have the new wide fenders introduced in 1926. Harley-Davidson JD models for ’26, and ’27 were virtually identical.

  6. The only thing I recognized in the text , – was : The Lipe Clutch , Typically connected to some form of Brown – Lipe combination (“Brownie”) transmission , found mostly in larger cubic inch engine cars & trucks . Built like a fine watch and durable —this combination — is World Famous for both: Main & Auxiliary gearboxes, of which there are a variety. Edwin W.

  7. Mathias P. Moller, was a Danish emigree, a builder of pipe organs, who settled in Hagerstown, Maryland, and bacame essentially the “Henry Ford” of the pipe organ, applying as much as possible standardized components and production techniques to the building of pipe-organs, and helping to bring-down their cost to the customer.

    At one point, M.P. Moller was the largest builder of pipe organs in the world.

    Among their most famous instruments are the 1929 “Mighty Mo'” theatre organ at the fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA, and two organs at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington D.C.

    In 1911, Moller built a hotel in Hagerstown, naming it the Dagmar Hotel, after his daughter, who in turn was named for a Medieval queen of Denmark.

    There is a fine article about the Moller Motorcar Co, and the Moller family at the coachbuilt.com website.

  8. The Hussman Hotel, in El Paso, Texas was only named such from 1933-1936, which dates this photo. It was originally the Hotel Orndorff (1926-1933), before being bought by St. Louis refrigerator magnate Harry Hussman. Now known as the Cortez Building, it stands at 300 North Mesa Avenue at NE corner of Mills Street, El Paso, El Paso County , Texas.

  9. Mary Carlisle is still here and had a very successful film career into the mid 40’s, mostly in B movies. She was happily married to her husband for 65 years, until his death in 2007. They had one child. In her later years she managed a successful business. She turned 103 this year.

  10. To The best of my knowledge, there were two of these locomotive Dagmar‘s made. Neither of them have survived .The only qtwo existing Dagmar‘s are on display at the Washington County Transportation Museum at the Ag Center, Hagerstown, MD. One is a 1922 petite sedan while the other is a 1925 four-door sedan.
    It is believed that there were fewer than 50 Dagmar’s made between the years of 1922 through 1926.
    I am always looking for Dagmar items or anything to do with Hagerstown, Maryland Automotive manufacturing history.
    I am the owner of the 1922 Dagmar.

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