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Have You Heard of These Classic Cars?

Published: March 17, 2011

Have you driven a Dort lately? Gone “zoom, zoom” in a Stearns? Seen the U.S.A in your Jeffery? These pre-1920 car ads are a treat – and I’ll bet there are some you never heard of.

Stearns Car Ad – August 27, 1910


Stearns Car Ad August 27, 1910

Stearns Car Ad
August 27, 1910

Just how many people can you fit in a Stearns? This beautiful ad from 1910 declared “The Stearns is a Car for Every Purpose”. Priced at $3,200 to $4,600 it was suitable for every purpose the wealthy had. The F. B. Stearns Company was out of Cleveland, Ohio.

Rauch & Lang Car Ad – 1910


Rauch & Lang Car Ad 1910

Rauch & Lang Car Ad
1910

It is encouraging that this car is “safe for women and children” (we hate losing those along the way). This is an electric car from 1910 and, don’t worry, the ad assures us “it will go as far on one charge as you will ever care to ride in a day”. And please note: “Any woman can run the car safely.” The Rauch & Long Carriage Company was also out of Cleveland.

Cole 8 Car Ad – June 5, 1915


Cole 8 June 5, 1915

Cole 8
June 5, 1915

This eight-cylinder beauty retailed at $1,785 according to this 1915 ad. How they got all eight charming young ladies in the vehicle is not clear, but there they all are, setting up a lovely picnic. Advertisers were targeting the female audience already. Cole Motor Car Company was out of Indianapolis.

National Car Ad – January 1, 1918


National Car Ad January 1, 1918

National Car Ad
January 1, 1918

Also out of Indianapolis was National Motor Car & Vehicle Corp. I love the wording of the first paragraph of this ad: “There is in the new twelve-cylinder National Touring Sedan (convertible) a multiplicity of virtues which may well excite admiration”. They don’t write ad copy like that anymore. Touting the “staunchness” of an “airplane type motor” and showing a woman pointing to the sky tells us that planes were quite the rage in 1918.

Jeffery Car Ad – March 4, 1916


Jeffery Car Ad March 4, 1916

Jeffery Car Ad
March 4, 1916

Admit it, you’ve never heard of a Jeffery Sedan and here it was “the car which popularized year-round motoring”. Who knew? The ad notes, “Just as in 1915 few bought a car that was not self-starting, so in 1916 few will buy a car without an enclosed body of the Sedan type. Both are matters of motoring convenience and luxury which become indispensable as soon as they have become known.” I must indeed admit that I am completely spoiled for an enclosed car with no crank to start it up. The Thomas B. Jeffery Company was out of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Hupmobile Car Ad – August 24, 1918


Hupmobile Car Ad August 24, 1918

Hupmobile Car Ad
August 24, 1918

This is an ad that really shows you what was going on in the world. It is 1918 and soldiers are driving this Hupmobile onto an airstrip. Biplanes are everywhere. Although Hupmobile is obviously trying to sell automobiles, the line at the top loyally states: “By far the most patriotic thing you can do with your earnings now is to invest the in War Savings Stamps.” Hupmobiles were manufactured in Detroit.

Dort Car Ad – January 5, 1918


Dort Car Ad Jauary 5, 1918

Dort Car Ad
January 5, 1918

1918 was wartime and car dealers were patriotic. “Thou shalt not waste! It is the modern commandment born of the great worldwide struggle to preserve liberty and perpetuate democracy!” Professional men and the ever-present soldier are checking out this Dort, “built for service without waste”. Dort Motor Car Company was out of Flint, Michigan.

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  • E. A. Stearns

    I love the old cars! When I was young I use to ride around in a Stearns car. One of My ancestor was the one who designed and built them, Frank B. Stearns.

  • Diana Denny

    We’re glad you’re enjoying both the magazine and the website. “Traffic Jam” from 4/28/56 was painted by Earl Mayan, an artist who did a number of Post covers in the 50’s.

  • Bill Simpklins

    I love the current issue on cars and Norman’s covers. I cant seem to find in any archives the “cars crowded in the intersection”, dated April 28 1956 painted by Mr Rockwell.

    Is it really his or another look alike artist?

    Thanks for the great mag!