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1912 American Scout

Perhaps the most frequent question about the city’s auto history is: “How many cars were made in Indianapolis?”  Before answering that question, a word of caution about automotive lists:

Compiling lists about the automotive genesis is an imprecise art.  There is no single source of information for the American automobiles’ progression.  Some reference works are fairly complete regarding makes, manufacturers, cities and dates.  These same works may miss some instances where a manufacturer’s model is built in a plant other than that company’s main places of business.  For example Ford Motor Company made cars in Indianapolis from 1914 – 1932.

The work is further compounded by list compilers who chose to include instances where only one car was made by an individual whether or not it was manufactured in quantity.  In Indiana’s case, for every one vehicle achieving production about two announcements of intent to manufacture or build a prototype were proclaimed.

1929 Duesenberg

1929 Duesenberg

Early Indiana lists started at 160 makes made in more than 30 cities and have progressed to over 520 vehicles manufactured or assembled in more than 80 cities.

Only those vehicles built with the intent of marketing to the public are included in this list.  In cases were no actual numbers are given, we counted the auto if a prototype was produced.  Defined thus, our list shows 97 autos produced inIndianapolis.  With this in mind, our list shows 22 better known manufacturers.  The list also shows 54 little known or obscure manufacturers who produced one or a limited number of autos.

1931 Marmon Sixteen

1931 Marmon Sixteen

Another interesting point is we are continually learning about additional cars made inIndiana.  That’s what makes automotive history continually interesting for me.

 Cars built  in Indianapolis sorted  by Name

 

Indianapolis Alena Steam Alena Steam Products Co. 1922
Indianapolis American American Motors Co. 1906-14
Indianapolis American Scout American Motors Co. 1912-13
Indianapolis American Tourist American Motors Co. 1907-12
Indianapolis American Traveler American Motors Co. 1909-13
Indianapolis American Underslung American Motors Co. 1906-14
Indianapolis Anahuac Frontenac Motor Co. 1922
Indianapolis Atlas Motor Buggy Atlas Engine Works 1909
Indianapolis Automotive Syndicate Automotive Syndicate 1928
Indianapolis Best Best Automobile Co. 1908-10
Indianapolis Barth-Keith Barth-Keith Motor Car Co. 1919
Indianapolis Black C.H. Black Mfg. Co. 1896-1900
Indianapolis Blackhawk Stutz Motor Car Co. 1929-30
Indianapolis Brook Spacke Machine & Tool Co. 1920-21
Indianapolis Capital Capital Auto Co. 1906
Indianapolis Central Central Motor Car Co. 1903
Indianapolis Co-Auto Co-Auto Motor Co. 1910
Indianapolis Coats Steamer Coats Steamers Inc. 1921-22
Indianapolis Cole Cole Motor Car Co. 1909-25
Indianapolis Cole Solid Tire Auto. Cole Carriage Co. 1908-09
Indianapolis Colonial Six Colonial Automobile Co. 1917
Indianapolis Comet Comet Cyclecar Co. 1914
Indianapolis Comet Racer Marion Motor Car Co. 1904
Indianapolis Craig-Hunt Craig-Hunt Motor Co. 1920
Indianapolis Cross Harry E. Cross 1924
Indianapolis Cyclop L. Porter Smith & Bros. 1910
Indianapolis Cyclops Cyclops Cyclecar Co. 1914
Indianapolis DaVinci James Scripps-Booth 1925
Indianapolis De Freet Thomas M. De Freet 1895
Indianapolis Duesenberg Duesenberg Motors Corp. 1920-37
Indianapolis Duesenberg II Duesenberg Corp. 1966
Indianapolis Electro Electro Lighting Co. 1911
Indianapolis Electrobile National Vehicle Co. 1901-06
Indianapolis Elgin Elgin Motors Inc. 1923-24
Indianapolis Empire Empire Motor Car Co. 1909-19
Indianapolis Fauber Cyclecar Engineering Co. 1914
Indianapolis Ford Ford Motor Co. 1914-32
Indianapolis Frontenac Frontenac Motor Co. 1921-25
Indianapolis Gale Four Garde Gale 1920
Indianapolis H.C.S. H.C.S. Motor Co. 1920-25
Indianapolis H.C.S. Cab H.C.S. Cab Mfg. Co. 1924-27
Indianapolis Hassler Hassler Motor Co. 1917
Indianapolis Hassler Motor Buggy Robert H. Hassler 1898
Indianapolis Henderson Henderson Motor Car Co. 1912-14
Indianapolis Herff-Brooks Herff-Brooks Corp. 1915-16
Indianapolis Hoosier Scout Warren Electric & Machine Co. 1914
Indianapolis Hunter Riley & Scott, Inc. 1994
Indianapolis Hunter-Hammond Hunter-Hammond Auto Co. 1912
Indianapolis Ideal Ideal Motor Co. 1911-12
Indianapolis Indiana Indiana Motor & Vehicle Co. 1901
Indianapolis Indianapolis C. H. Black Mfg. Co. 1897-00
Indianapolis Lafayette Lafayette Motors Co. 1921-22
Indianapolis Lindsay T.J. Lindsay Automobile Parts Co. 1902-03
Indianapolis Liquid Air Liquid Air Co. 1900
Indianapolis Lyons-Knight Lyons-Atlas Co. 1913-15
Indianapolis Marathon Herff-Brooks Corp. 1915-16
Indianapolis Marion Marion Motor Car Co. 1904-14
Indianapolis Marmon Nordyke & Marmon Co. 1902-33
Indianapolis McGill McGee Mfg. Co. 1917-28
Indianapolis McLellen McLellen Auto Shop 1912
Indianapolis Merz Merz Cyclecar Co. 1914
Indianapolis Mohawk Mohawk Cycle & Automobile Co. 1903-05
Indianapolis Monroe William Small Co. 1918-23
Indianapolis National National Motor Vehicle Co. 1904-24
Indianapolis National Electric National Automobile & Electric Co. 1900-04
Indianapolis Nesom Nesom Motors Co. 1912
Indianapolis New Parry Parry Auto Co. 1911-12
Indianapolis Overland Standard Wheel Works 1905-06
Indianapolis Overland Overland Auto Co. 1906-08
Indianapolis Overland Willys-Overland Co. 1908-11
Indianapolis Pak-Age-Car Stutz Motor Co. 1930-38
Indianapolis Pan Pan Motor Co. 1919-21
Indianapolis Parry Parry Auto Co. 1910
Indianapolis Pathfinder Motor Car Mfg. Co. 1912-17
Indianapolis Peters Spacke Machine & Tool Co. 1921
Indianapolis Pope-Waverley Pope Motor Car Co. 1904-08
Indianapolis Premier Premier Motor Mfg. Co. 1903-26
Indianapolis Premier Taxicab Premier Motor Car Co. 1923-26
Indianapolis Prowler Prototype Riley & Scott, Inc. 1994
Indianapolis Rex Rex Motor Car Co. 1908
Indianapolis Roosevelt Marmon Motor Car Co. 1929-30
Indianapolis Schebler Wheeler & Schebler Carburetor Co. 1908-09
Indianapolis Sears Steam Sears Bros. 1901
Indianapolis Smart Smart Auto & Mfg. Co. 1912
Indianapolis Spacke Spacke Machine & Tool Co. 1919
Indianapolis Star Star Motor Car Co. 1909-11
Indianapolis Strattan Strattan Motors Corp. 1923
Indianapolis Streamline Streamline Motor Car Co. 1923
Indianapolis Stutz Stutz Motor Car Co. 1912-35
Indianapolis Tone Tone Car Corp. 1913
Indianapolis Tricolet H. Pokorney & Richards Auto. & Gas 1904-06
Indianapolis Turner George Turner 1910
Indianapolis Vaughn Marion  E. Vaughn 1912
Indianapolis Vixen Vixen Motor Co. 1912
Indianapolis Waverley Waverley Co. 1909-16
Indianapolis WaverleyElectric Indiana Bicycle Co. 1898-1903
Indianapolis Wizard Wizard Motor Co. 1914

This list is courtesy of Indiana Cars: A History of the Automobile in Indiana, Dennis E. Horvath and Terri Horvath, Indianapolis, IN, Hoosier Auto Show & Swap Meet, Inc., © 2002, ISBN 0-9644364-5-0

Indianapolis was commercial producer of automobiles and taxicabs from 1896 to 1994.  The circle city with 97 different vehicles manufactured here ranked second to Detroit as chief rival for the title of the nation’s auto capital.  We can be proud of our place in automotive history.

14 responses to “Made in Indianapolis”

  1. Scott Smith says:

    Dennis, thanks again for a wonderful post. I look forward to every other Monday to read these. I have your book that you reference. I’m wondering if there is some type of listing for Indiana (or preferably Indianapolis)-based motorcycle producers, especially ones that also produced automobiles.

  2. basil berchekas je says:

    Appreciate the accuracy of this historic count! Indianapolis temporarily had a lead in regard to auto manufacturing, and now we have the “actual” statistics!

  3. Terry Shumker says:

    Do you know the make of auto in a cartouche on the Lacy building on the circle during Skiles Test era.?

    Terry Shumaker

  4. Dennis E. Horvath says:

    HI Scoot & Basil:

    I also enjoy your comments. I am not aware of any listing of motorcycle manufactureers by state. I have developed my auto listings over the years by referencing numerous lists that list some cars and might omit others. It has been an interesting porcess of development.

    Thanks again.

    Dennis

  5. GUY MAGER says:

    I WANT TO SAVE THE FORD BUILDING ON EAST WASHINGTON ST AMD MAKE IT A HISTORY CAR TRUCK SHOW PLACE. IN 2014 THIS WILL BE 100 YEARS FOR FORD MOTOR COMPANY IN INDIANAPOLIS AND WE HAVE FORD DEALERS ALL AROUND. I THINK THIS IS GREAT HISTORY….I NEED HELP ON THIS DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS.I AM A FORD RETIREE

  6. Dennis E. Horvath says:

    Hi Guy & Basil:

    I’ll have to stop by the back of the building for a tour. I would also like to celebrate the centennial somehow. Let’s think about it and possibly contact some Ford dealers for sponsorship.

    Dennis

  7. GUY MAGER says:

    Dennis –this sound good at least we have a year to work on it BUT time will pass by fast.
    Thank You for your comment and i will do every thing I can to make it happen with you.
    WORKING TOGETHER

  8. Dennis E. Horvath says:

    Thanks Guy. I look forward to working with you on the Ford Centennial in 2014.

  9. basil berchekas jr says:

    When Indianapolis had a REAL economy…

  10. Edward Dominy says:

    I have a 1928 Model A Ford assembled in Canada and has Hassler Shocks with the Hardwood inserts in them. I am looking too make the wooden parts for them do you know where I could find the prints for them

  11. JAY T WALLS says:

    Hi,
    My father knew L. Porter Smith who made the Cyclop motor car in 1910. My Dad was a young boy and very interested in what Porter Smith had to say about making his cars and before he died he gave my Dad the only part he had left of the Cyclop car which was a radiator. He also gave my Dad the official Cyclop Stamp he used on all his mailings. I’d love to find a photo of a car of patent drawings and make a car. Can you give me any help?

  12. JAY T WALLS says:

    Hello everyone interested in preserving the old cars in our great state. I’m still trying to find anyone who might know a way to find an ad for L. Porter Smith’s Cyclop car he made in 1910. I’d like to find drawings or photos or any information.

  13. Paul Zeising says:

    Hi Jay:

    My name is Paul Zeising and I am a big car enthusiast. I am currently researching the 1910 Cyclop car by L. Porter Smith. I am amazed that I actually found someone like you with a close relationship to the Cyclop car. I would be more than happy to share any information that I find. Do you still live around the Indianapolis, Indiana area?

  14. JAY T WALLS says:

    I live in Danville, walking distance from Porter Smith’s old property. I feel that Porter still has relation in the area who might have old advertisement material or drawings. I have a neighbor who is a namesake of Porters.

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