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1904 Stevens-Duryea

Stevens-Duryea was an American manufacturer of automobiles in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts between 1901 and 1915 and from 1919 to 1927.

The company was founded after a falling out between J. Frank Duryea and his brother Charles in 1898. In 1900, Frank went on to form Hampden Automobile and Launch Company (Springfield), while Charles joined J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company, who were about to enter the developing car business; they took over the factory of steam car and bicycle maker Overman (car company) (sharing the premises for several months).[1]

Stevens-Duryea's first product was a two-cylinder, 5 hp Runabout that sold for $1,200.00 in 1901. No production numbers are known for 1901 but the firm produced 61 cars in 1902 and 483 in 1903. (A 1903 example can be seen at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI) By 1904 the runabout, a tube chassis 6hp (4.5kW) flat twin buggy runabout victoria, was called the Model L. It had a flat-mounted water-cooled straight twin, situated amidships of the car, four speed gearbox (three forward, one reverse), wire wheels, full-elliptic springs, and tiller steering. Weighing 1300 lb (590 kg), it sold at US$1300. This would be imported to Britain by Joseph Baker, but would not succeed there; in the U.S., it would survive several years. It was joined in 1905 by the US$2500 Model R, an aluminum-bodied, five-seat, 20hp four with three-speed gearbox and live axle.[2]

The model line grew in 1906, adding a US$2400 runabout and a US$3300 limousine. There was also the new Big Six, with a 9.6 liter six cylinder motor, seven-seater tulipwood body, weighing 2900pd (1315kg), at US$5000.[3]

In 1907, both the L and R were dropped, and Stevens-Duryea focused on sixes. Yet the company was hampered by the shortage of skilled labor; only some fifty units were sold in 1904, and maximum production did not exceed 100 a year.[3]

The 1915 Model D was the company's last new design, an 80hp (60kW) 472ci (7740cc) six. It was this year Frank Duryea sold out; production stopped in 1915 because of financial problems and the plant was sold to Westinghouse. Several former employees bought the name and goodwill and in 1919 restarted production of the D as the Model E, at a stratosphereic US$9500 (at a time when a physician might earn US$3000 a year).

This did not improve the company's prospects, and it was purchased by Ray Owen (of Owen Magnetic) in 1923 to produce gas and electric cars under the Rauch and Lang brand. After this venture failed in 1924 (though inventory continued to be sold into 1927),[3] coachbuilding continued there, supplying the likes of Stanley and Ruxton.[3]

Notes

  1. ^ Wise, David Burgess. "Stevens-Duryea: A Very Limited Company", in Ward, Ian, executive editor. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis Publising), Volume 19, p.2188.
  2. ^ Wise, p.2189
  3. ^ a b c d Wise, p.2189.

References

  • Wise, David Burgess. "Stevens-Duryea: A Very Limited Company", in Ward, Ian, executive editor. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis Publishing), Volume 19, p.2188-9.
  • Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (January, 1904)
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