The American – An Impressive and Stylish Automobile

  • Am5 Prize-winning Americans at the recent Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The underslung car was featured at the recent Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which makes for a perfect time for all of us to learn a little more about this unique form of car. The two most widely known vehicles of this type are the American, built in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Regal that was built in Detroit, Michigan. The two companies offered  conventional and underslung models at different times while they were in production.


The subject of today’s post is the 1910 American that was covered in a feature article in the April 21, 1910 issue, of The Automobile, which has been reproduced here. The American Motors Company (1906-1914) that built the cars, claimed two advantages for its Underslung model: they stated the average car would “turn turtle”on a 43 degree angle, while their model would not overturn until 55 degrees; with its large forty-inch tires, on average it had one-inch more ground clearance than conventional cars.

  •                AM2                             Am3
  •                   Full details in “The Automobile” covering both models

The Underslung chassis was designed by Fred I. Tone, and the standard chassis by Harry C. Stutz, who left the company by 1907. The first cars used 35-40 HP four cylinder engines, but by 1910 and 1911, 50 and 60 HP models with up to a 124-inch WB were available. The engines were produced by Teeter-Hartley and other builders.

In 1912 and 1913 a smaller 20-30 HP model named the “Scout” was built on a 102 and 105-inch WB chassis’. In 1914, fifty Scouts were left unsold, and that model was dropped from the lineup. Only the larger cars were to be built in 1914, the last year of production that was cut short by bankruptcy and the end on the company.


All photos below were taken at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance courtesy of Richard Michael Owen of

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Ap4      Ap5      Ap6

Ap7      Ap8      Ap10

Ap11      Ap12      AP13

Posted in Auto photos 1885 - 1920, Pre-War Contemporary Photos | Tagged , , , , , |

Modern Equipment at Pacific Auto Spring, Los Angeles, California


Our photos from 1930 show some up-to-date equipment in a very new looking shop at 1058 South Flower Street in Los Angeles, California The Johns-Manville Brake-O-Meter seen above is virtually unheard of today, but was very useful back then for equalizing braking power. This device took power from a car’s rear wheels to drive the rollers beneath the fronts. When the brakes were applied, differences in force would be recorded on four gauges, one for each wheel, giving the mechanic data to do his adjustments. Bendix-Cowdrey also manufactured a similar machine.

The Price Hollister Wheel-O-Meter seen below was an early alignment rack. In contrast to today’s computerized systems, measurements were made with simple precision scales. Tapered shims were used to set caster but cold bending was required for major adjustments. In the hands of a skilled technician, accurate settings could be achieved. That is a 1929 Hudson Landau Sedan above and on the right, below, but we haven’t been able to identify the other car. You can see more repair shops and dealerships on The Old Motor. Dick Whittington Studio photos courtesy of USC Libraries.


Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Garages and Dealerships | Tagged , , , , , , , |

The 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance – It’s All in the Details


For one of our last posts of images of the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, we have presented a number of detail images taken by Alan Gosley. After the field opens for general admission at ten in the morning, it becomes quite difficult to photograph a complete car, so Alan’s talented eye for seeking out interesting facets of automotive design and execution comes into play in his work.

Follow along and view some of the outstanding pre-war cars and details that were seen on the field this year. You can also look back on our earlier coverage of the Concours here, and see many more photos at showing many of the activities that went on during the event. You can also learn more at

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A11      A13      A12

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A20      A21      A22

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Posted in Pre-War Contemporary Photos | Tagged , , , , , , , , |