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Stoddard Dayton Roadster: William E. Scripps Detroit News President

William Edmond Scripps was born in 1882, and his father was James E. Scripps who founded the “Detroit News.” The Scripps family operated the E. W. Scripps Company a newspaper and radio conglomerate, and William was the president of the “Detroit News.” Scripps was an early automobile and aviation enthusiast and helped promote early flying activities, and later the National Air Races in the newspaper.

Scripps was the original purchaser of this 1910 Stoddard Dayton Speedster (dated by the “Detroit News,”) and he was photographed in 1934 with it and Frank Schmidt the owner at the time. This two-seater appears to share the same general appearance as this 1912 Stoddard Dayton Speedster instead of that of a pair of 1910 to ’11 Roadsters visible in our earlier coverage.

Tell us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the Wayne State University Libraries.



30 responses to “Stoddard Dayton Roadster: William E. Scripps Detroit News President

  1. Interesting pictures.

    In the 2nd photograph, in the parking lot on the right, is either a 1933 or ’34 FORD three-window coupé.

  2. Wow, those are some goodly sized valve springs! What size was that engine? I see oil cups on the pushrod end of the rockers, was there any constant lubrication at the valve end? There also seem to be some dogs around the rim of that valve/seat assembly that might allow it to be unscrewed from the head? It’s always intriguing to get a glimpse of unfamiliar ancient engineering.

    • In the days before Henry Ford introduce a removable head for the Model T, the valves were accessed by unscrewing a plug. The cylinders are cast in pairs and bolted to the crankcase. This car is unusual for having overhead valves and rocker arms. Looks like the valves are slanted as in a modern hemispherical valve design. I wonder why they had the rocker arms cross over each other.

    • I’m not sure which engine that is, but Stoddard-Dayton had both a 4.5 liter and a 5.8 liter straight 4 in their 1910 models.

  3. In the first photograph, what is the round thing on the inside of the left front wheel above the end of the tie rod? Is that some sort of wheel lock?

  4. I wonder if the car is still in existence? It would seem that if it lasted as long as 1934 in registration, it probably is. Also, it is a good example of how quickly cars became obsolete. It was only 24 years old in 1934 but looks like a dinosaur compared to everything around it. My everyday car is 18 years old and I doubt I would even notice a 1994 car in a parking lot today.

    • You wouldn’t notice a 1994 car for two reasons: 1) Cars simply last way, way longer than they used to. Used to be a 10-year old car was shot, done for. Cars seldom lasted over 100,000 miles. For example, the next time you see a Chrysler PT Cruiser consider they were made from 2000 to 2010. The car you see will be anywhere from 8 to 18 years old. 2) For the last several decades aerodynamics have been a major driver of car design, hence the steeply-raked windshield and semi-fastback design of modern sedans. Most sedans have looked somewhat similar for some time now. A 1994 car wouldn’t necessarily stand out. Very recently I saw a 1993 Chrysler Concorde in very good condition and it didn’t “leap off the page”. It was and still is a very good-looking car.

    • Yes this car still exists. Located in a museum.( which one currently eludes me. For unknown reasons They had stretched the frame on this car before they toured Europe with it. Since then the car has been restored to factory specs.

      • Hi Nathan,
        If you can think of the museum I would love to know where it is. William Scripps was my great grandfather. While I doubt I could ever afford a Stoddard, you never know with these things. I feel inferior with my ‘11 Chalmers pony tonneau. Lol.

    • Is that his hand reaching in at the top of the steering wheel hub? Perhaps he is adjusting the spark or something? He does appear to be the one waiting in the car in the first picture so maybe he’s the car’s caretaker and the only one who knows how to operate it anymore.

      What seems odd is that what you would expect to see thru the open areas of the steering wheel (the building in the background, for instance) is not what you do see. Possibly that second man alongside the car is wearing a light colored suit and has his arm resting on the side of the car, but it still appears strange. Also, along the outer edge of the steering wheel, just below the driver’s hand is a light outline, but again, of what?

      You shouldn’t have gotten me started looking at that. 🙂

    • In the second photo, I believe that is Mr. Scripps in the driver’s seat.

      His nephew, George Scripps-Both was the founder of the Scripps Booth automobile. And William Scripps sister and brother in law (George’s parents) established Cranbrook school north of Detroit (were Mit Romney attended school ).

  5. I notice the “No Parking” sign on the metal post near the car and have to assume that in this instance it simply does not apply.

  6. The only open sided roadster with this type of rear fenders was produced in 1911: the Dayton-30 H-11 model. In 1910 the rear fender ended horizontally, in 1912 the sides of all models were closed. The only difference with the 1911 model is the extended torpedo dash, possibly a later modification giving some more leg protection against the elements.

  7. Sorry, correction, the 1909 model had the horizontally ending rear fenders. The 1910 10-H model had the same type of sloping rear fenders. So 1910 could still be correct.

  8. I hope they righted the P-O-L tank as it appears to have flopped over. They should also tidy the gas line hoses looped loose under the running board.

    Thank you, David, for sharing these wonderful photographs.

  9. Neil, I don’t think Henry Ford introduced the removable head on gasoline engines.
    There were many power plants before the Model T that had this feature.

  10. The Last car being “ferried back” to Tom Barret’s (1970) 100+ car collection —( at 10 PM) from the Phoenix Ball-Park Charity Concur’s d’ Elgance , 20 miles away, in Paradise Valley , — via: 2 lane desert “back road ” , was a Stoddard Dayton Monocle windshield (for Driver only! ) Speedster , same , or similar OHV ‘T” -head engine, (with 5″ bore & 6″ stroke) as you described above . After “Pumping up” the gas tank’s fuel pressure , turning on the fuel, One pull on the crank, Mag Off, choke pulled, start (impulse) buzzer on, another pull — Running ! Switch to “regular” Mag output , adjust idle mixture , light up the Acetylene lamps — advance the spark, open the cut-out , and away we went! Thunder! My job was to maintain tank pressure at 2 PSI, as I was in the Mechanic’s seat ! He would scream out / announce: Each “MPH decade “: ( Ya hear that? — that’s 60!) the last one being 80 MPH! Across the desert , — at 70 to 80 MPH (whenever possible ) The ride of a lifetime!!! All I had – was my sunglasses to protect my eyes. A pre -WW-1 racing vehicle. The same company made Fire Engines. Amazing early-on technology ! Edwin W.

  11. The two different tread patterns was probably because tires of that size were pretty scarce by 1934. Could be used ones.

  12. My understanding is William Scripps was quite the engineer. He had a full machine shop in his house in Lake Orion. His house is something to see, Massive 67 room Tudor revival originally on 3000 acres. On of the beautiful houses in Detroit that wasn’t torn down. Not far from the Dodge estate.
    I wonder what happened to that Stoddard? If it survived that long, perhaps someone still has it? As an early aviator with his own plane, my guess is that since money was probably not an issue, he sprang for the big Stoddard engine.

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