Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Back at the A-C-D Museum – Other ‘Off Brand’ Vehicles

…continuing with our late summer road trip to Michigan and beyond, as well as our exploration of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn Indiana.  In this segment, I’ll explore some of the other vehicles that comprise an important portion of this first class museum’s total collection.

Charles H. Black was the owner of a carriage works and blacksmith shop in Indianapolis Indiana.  After driving a neighbor’s Benz in 1891, Black felt the urge to build his own ‘horseless carriage’.  He is thought to have completed his car in 1893.  He used a buggy for the coachwork and its drive was supplied by two different belts, one providing low gear and the other high gear.  This vehicle was powered by a single cylinder motor producing 8 HP.

Mr. Black drove this automobile around Indianapolis for more than 20 years.  His daughter donated the car to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum in 1927.  In the late 1890s and into 1900, Black built a more refined version of his gasoline ‘buggy’.  Most carried his name but a few were named “Indianapolis”.  In 1900 he sold his patents to investors for $20,000 and they produced the “Black” under 

Continuing with the lesser known or unusual early automobiles, this is a 1908 2-passenger Zimmerman Model G.  It came with a 2-cylinder engine that produced 14 HP.  The Zimmerman was more elegant than many of the early ‘motor buggies, with its engine in place under that lovely curved hood.  This Zimmerman was the first automobile to be donated to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum. 

‘Highwheelers’ like this one were very popular in the early years of the automobile industry.  Rural customers needed vehicles that could withstand the rough and rutted roads that existed in those days.  Basically, a ‘highwheeler’ was a buggy with an engine.  Many if not most of the companies building ‘highwheelers’ had initially been in the carriage industry.  FYI, the Zimmerman Manufacturing Company was based in Auburn Indiana and they produced automobiles from 1907 to 1915.

Now for another automobile made in Auburn Indiana… The W.H. McIntyre Company, with its predecessor, the W. H. Kiblinger Company, built cars in Auburn from 1907 to 1915.  The first photo above is a 1908 McIntyre Model M ‘Autobuggy’.  This vehicle is a combination passenger auto and commercial car.  The Autobuggy’s rear seat is removable and the rear section of the car has a tailgate on it.  Once that second seat was removed and the gate was put in use, the Autobuggy became a commercial truck that could carry 1,200 pounds of product.  The Autobuggy was powered by a 2-cylinder motor producing 18 HP.

The second photo is a 1909 McIntyre Model 251.  It is a light duty truck that was equipped with a 2-cylinder engine that produced 20 HP.  This is the only surviving example of this type of McIntyre vehicle.  It was badly damaged in a fire in 1993.  The Museum’s volunteer maintenance team, working in conjunction with a carriage restorer and museum staff members, completely restored this truck.  In 1995, it was actually driven into the museum.  FYI, this light truck cost $800 new.

This unusual automobile is considered a premier early sports car from Belgium.  The 4-cylinder 14 HP Metallurgique was delivered new in 1911 to Ballindallach Castle in Scotland.  This early boattail speedster was restored in 1964 and it received a first place award from the Antique Automobile Club of America. 

This is believed to be the only Metallurgique in the U.S.A.  This car is a movie star…as it was in the movie “The Great Race” in 1965.  The chief engineer for the Metallurgique left Belgium in 1923 and he took over as the assistant chief engineer for Stutz in Indianapolis… Metallurgique autos were built from 1898 until 1927.

This is a 1911 Izzer.  It was named “Izzer” because the man who ordered it wanted an up-to-date, custom-built car with all the modern improvements…not just the ‘was-ers’ or ‘has-beens’ that filled America’s roads back in this period.  He took his auto-building ideas to the Model Gas Engine Works in Peru Indiana…and he commissioned the “Izzer”.

The owner of the Model Gas Engine Works was so happy with the vehicle that he built that he built 2 more Izzers.  One was for himself and the other was for his office manager.  The Izzer Runabout has a 4 cylinder engine that produces 20 HP.  This is the only Izzer to survive and it is the one that was specially built for the original owner.  The original cost was $1,995.

If you though that “Izzer” was an unusual name for an automobile, how about this 1913 “Imp” 2-seater Cyclecar!  Between 1913 and 1915, there was a cyclecar craze in the U.S.A.  A large number of manufacturers offered light-weight, belt-driven vehicles with motorcycle-like engines.  The Imp’s engine was a 2-cylinder version that produced 15 HP. 

Cyclecars were relatively inexpensive and they were a fun way to own an automobile.  William B. Stout, who later designed and built the Ford Tri-Motor airplane and his own line of autos, designed the Imp.  He sold the idea to the McIntyre Company and they set up a new division, the Imp Cyclecar Company.  The Imp was only produced in 1913 and 1914

The 1923 sporty looking Stutz Speedway Four Roadster has a 4-cylinder engine that produces 88 HP.  With the available horsepower, (more than Cadillac and Packard Autos of this period), the Stutz could reach speeds of up to 80 miles-per-hour.

The Stutz Motor Car Company of Indianapolis Indiana was an American manufacturer of high-end sports and luxury cars.  Production began in 1911 and ended in 1935.

With improved profits in the years after WWI, Stutz was in a good position to push for increased sales… But by 1921, the auto industry was in a period of decline and Stutz needed to find a way to increase the demand for their autos.  This 4-cylinder motor with its horsepower was their answer.  However, low demand killed off the demand for this model and production ceased.  Only a handful of this model of the Stutz Roadster still survive.

Yes, this is a Studebaker and we had just visited that museum…and I just featured plenty of vehicles made by Studebaker.  But, just in the interest of showing the variety of automobiles featured at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum, here is just one more Studebaker.

This is the very elegant 1932 Studebaker President Eight Four Seasons Roadster.  The President Eight (8 cylinder engine producing 122 HP), was in production from 1927 until 1942.  This model represents one of the most desirable and beautiful Studebakers ever built.  Only 9 known examples of this automobile exist.

Yes, I know.  This is ‘just a 1933 Ford’.  However it was part of a Special Exhibit at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum that featured John Dillinger memorabilia.  It was entitled “John Dillinger, Hoosier Hoodlum”.

On October 14, 1933, part of Dillinger’s gang actually robbed the Auburn Indiana Police Department.  They stole bullet-proof vests, ammunition and a number of weapons, including a Thompson submachine gun.  Although the prized piece on display was that very same submachine gun as shown above, it also included a 1933 Ford V-8 that once belonged to Sheriff Lillian Holley, who was stationed at Indiana’s Crown Point jail during Dillinger’s short stay there in 1934.  That was where Dillinger used a wooden gun to famously escape.  He then stole the Sheriff’s Ford and headed north to Chicago.  Yes, that item at the lower right of the display that features the submachine gun is indeed Dillinger’s death mask.

The variety of automotive displays continues.  This is a 1933 Chrysler Imperial Roadster.  Love that maroon trim!  This auto was powered by an in-line 8 cylinder engine that produced 132 HP.  Only 155 Imperials were produced in 1933 and of those, only 9 roadsters were built…of which only 6 exist.  When new, this automobile cost $3,295.

The Great Depression hit all of the major automobile companies hard.  High-end models suffered the most.  Of course this was the year that Chrysler built 2 new series of Imperials with the “Custom Line” designation.  These were the most expensive series of Chrysler automobiles that year.  It featured a silent 3-speed transmission and that long cowl-less hood as well as a coincidental starter and accelerator…both being accomplished with the same pedal

In an earlier post, this airplane was visible in a photo of a Cord Automobile.  So why is the airplane in the Museum? 

The airplane was built by the Stinson Aircraft Company of Dayton Ohio.  The company was founded by Eddie Stinson in 1920.  Automotive mogul E.L. Cord acquired 60% of Stinson Aircraft’s stock in 1929…and that cash infusion allowed Eddie Stenson to offer 6 different models of his airplanes in 1930.  Among them was the Stinson 600 Trimotor, a 10 passenger aircraft used by many early airlines.

The airplane on display is a 1946 Stinson V-77 Gullwing.  Actually, these airplanes were built for military use during WWII as utility aircraft and especially by the Army Air Corp for training.  After the war, they were sold as surplus as the V-77 Gullwing.

Incidentally, Eddie Stinson was killed when the plane he was flying crashed on a golf course in Chicago.  At that time, he was the world’s most experienced pilot with more than 16,000 flight hour logged.

We both love Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg automobiles.  However, we also love Packard automobiles!  This is a 1938-39 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria with V-12 engine developing 175 HP.  It has 4-wheel hydraulic brakes.  These cars set the standard for refinement, class and distinction.  This particular car is a 59,000 mile original that has only been repainted once in 1995, and it is still sporting its original Chinese red paint color.  It has only had 4 owners.

The donors of this classic maintained it for over 35 years.  Among the unusual features are dash, bumper supports and hubcap trim stripes painted in body color.  The Packard Twelve was available in two different wheelbases and 14 body styles.  This particular style was the most expensive of this series at $5,320.  Given the fact that the Great Depression was still hanging on, it is a bit surprising to me that 566 Packard Twelves were produced in 1938

I know that this automobile is unusual.  It is a prototype 1948 Tasco.  It is powered by a V-8 engine that produces 150 HP.  The front fenders are made of fiberglass and the roof panels are plexi-glass.  The name Tasco stands for The American Sports Car Company.

A group of investors who wanted to build a sports car that would be suitable for a European type race to be held at Watkins Glen New York.  One member of this investor group was Gordon Buehrig, one of America’s most well-known and prolific automotive designers.  Among his designs there was the Stutz Black Hawk, the Model J Duesenberg, the Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster and the Cord 810/812.  He also designed automobiles for Studebaker and the Ford Motor Company.

Buehrig performed the design work on the Tasco and he oversaw the production of this single prototype vehicle.  It has an aluminum body and it was the first car in the world with a T-top roof, an idea Buehrig patented.  He later sued General Motors when the 1968 Corvette came out with a T-top roof.  The original development and production cost for this prototype was $57,000.  They had hoped that the production version would sell for somewhere in the $7,500 range.  The numbers didn’t work and the car was never put into production

This is the last automobile from our visit to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn Indiana.  It is a 1951 Jaguar XK 120.  The XK series of Jaguars was born during the dark days of WWII by two designers during the few minutes they had between their war related efforts.  This series of sports cars was introduced in 1948 and its sleek design was a media sensation.  It was a new standard of sports car luxury while still providing sports car performance.  Relatively lightweight, it is powered by an in-line 6 cylinder engine with twin overhead cams.  The engine produced 160 HP and this Jaguar could reach speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.  If you had purchased this car new, it would have set you back $4,039.

Looking for any automotive brands in particular?  There are many more Auburns, Cords and Duesenberg’s on exhibit in the museum.  Beyond those…and in addition to the automobiles I’ve listed above, there are many more vehicles in the collection.  In no particular order, here are some of the brand names: Locomobile, Haynes, Crosley, Westcott, LaSalle, Cadillac, Pierce-Arrow, Checker, Rolls-Royce, Cole, Thunderbird, Sunbeam, Lincoln, International Harvester, Ruxton, Premier, Graham, Cunningham, Eckhart, Mitchell, Kiblinger, Cisitalia, Marmon, Lexington, Corvette, Chevrolet, Apperson, Waverley Electric and, Stearns-Knight. 

Well, that’s about it for the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum… In addition to all the autos, there are special and focused exhibits.  One that was underway during our visit involved 150 or so auto hood ornaments and emblems.  It was very artistic and spectacular all by itself.

We would highly recommend a visit to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum.  You don’t have to love cars to appreciate the design…the art behind these spectacular automobiles.  The Museum is located at 1600 Wayne Street in Auburn Indiana.  Phone: 260-925-1444.  They are open from 9 AM to 5 PM daily.  Website: https://automobilemuseum.org/.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. omg...they are absolutely gorgeous. Why are modern cars so plain and boring?

  2. Hard to believe current riding mowers have as much or more power than the early cars.

  3. Simply a big wow! I'm going to use this post as a link when I cover "Sepia Saturday for cars."

  4. All the vehicles included in this post are such beautiful cutos, Dave, and it would be hard to select a favorite. It is always amazing to me as to just how many auto companies there were that only produced a couple of models.

  5. Dear Dave, Love traveling along through your writing. That is the only way I will get to these places. It is so interesting and the craftmanship is so beautiful. Hope all is well with you and Laurie.

  6. I just can’t believe the wealth of automobiles in this museum. It looks to me that a week might not be enough to look at everything. I remember my mother always said she loved Packard cars and I did not know what they looked like, well you showed a nice specimen. This series of posts was so very interesting, thank you.