Monthly Archives: November 2016

Indianapolis Auto Manufacturing News November 18, 1909

Here is some interesting Indianapolis auto manufacturing news reported in The Automobile, dated November 18, 1909.

George Schebler of the Wheeler Schebler Carburetor Company, recently completed a 12-cylinder motor, and having placed it in a chassis suitable design, started on a jaunt overland. The motor, which is of the water-cooled V type, performs extremely well, and the compactness of the power plant is one of the wonders of Indianapolis.

Wheeler Schebler, makers of the Schebler carburetor, are now melting down two car loads of ingot copper per month, not counting other ingredients as lead, tin, and spelter, in the production of carburetors, and not a few shipments are being made in carload lots (approximating 5,000) to individual companies. The plant is in full swing, and ground will soon be broken for a new addition, which will add 59,750 square feet of floor space, of which 8,000 square feet will be in the new foundry. The power plant, using producer gas and gas engines, will have a 250 h.p. engine in the new acquisition.

The Diamond Chain Company, besides the regular line of sprocket chains as used in automobile work, if handling a wide line of chains, and, contrary to the usual expectation, chain work is increasing with such rapid strides that the company is hard pressed in the matter of handling all the trade it is offered. New additions of machinery are being made as rapidly as possible, and many improvements are being added. The electrical equipment of the plant includes complete charging equipment of the latest and best design to handle electric vehicles.

1909 Parry

David M. Parry, of the Parry Auto Company, is banking on the permanence of the automobile, and among other interests is making every preparation to manufacture cars on a large basis. The Parry cars, of which there are two models (roadster and touring car), are being pushed out with the idea that the serial number 5,000 will show up on the production dial before the end of the 1909-1910 period. Besides the large plant now available, the company is adding more floor space by way of new buildings.

Nordyke & Marmon, in their well equipped plant, are making their own cylinders, aluminum castings, brass, bronze and in fine everything of moment. The new models are well in hand; cars are being put our at a rapid rate, and the quality of the work being done is up to the well-known standard of the company. The engineering office is practically through with 1910 designing, and the able “staff” is now in a position to carefully check up on every detail of the work as it comes through.

Fred W. Spacke Machine Company, parts maker, is doing a vast amount of work for automobile makers throughout the country, and the representative of The Automobile called he was entertained in a most interesting way, having had the pleasure of seeing more kinds of grinders doing accurate work than is usually found under one roof. F.W. Spacke, himself a tool designer of wide reputation, recently perfected a grinder which will grind (all over) such irregular shapes as cams for integral camshafts, thus saving much time doing the work far more accurately than seems to be possible in any other way.

Joseph J. Cole and Nellie Cole with the first Cole
Joseph J. Cole and Nellie Cole with the first Cole

For twelve auto makers in Indianapolis, apparently, the only limit to building automobiles in this city next season will be the ability to get sufficient parts. Present estimates base next year’s production of local factories at 25,000 cars. Another new company has just been added to the list, making 12 concerns in the city now making automobiles. A new company is the Star Motor Car Company, which has an authorized capitalization of $100,000, of which $75,000 is paid in. A plant will be built at once and a line of runabouts and touring cars to at about $1,000 will be made, together with delivery wagons and trucks. In addition to this, there will be two other practically new local companies in the field during the 1910 season. These are the Cole Motor Car Company, and the Empire Motor Car Company.

For more information on Indiana cars & companies, follow this link.

The Care and Feeding of Our Cars

Next, let’s look at the care and feeding or our cars. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” These bits of wisdom have survived many generations because they help. I’d like to use these parables as they apply to automobiles.


What does it cost when your car gets regular maintenance? Chances are the cost is lower when regular maintenance precautions are taken and symptoms are treated early. A Consumer Reports survey supports this thesis. The survey reported on about 8,000 automobile owners who had driven their cars over 100,000 miles and one-fourth of those surveyed had exceeded 140,000 miles. Seventy-eight percent of the cars were over 10 years old. Regarding the car’s longevity, the survey showed that regular maintenance was the key factor.

Thus, your can last a long, long time if you take care of it. By following a regular maintenance schedule, your car will take care of you by delivering you safely to your destination and help avoid costly repairs.

Your monthly maintenance check should include the following fluid levels: engine oil, coolant, automatic transmission, power steering, brake master cylinder, and battery. Check tire pressure. Check under your car for abnormal leaks or non-standard conditions.

Consult your car’s maintenance manual for recommended preventative maintenance of items such as oil changes, inspecting belts, replacing engine air filter and cabin air filter, replacing coolant, checking coolant protection, hoses and clamps, inspecting brake pads and rotors, linings and drums, inspecting and repacking wheel bearings, and replacing spark plugs.

Many car shops and dealerships will recommend this maintenance at half these intervals to generate revenue. In fact, some make more money with their service operation than they do with their sales operation. Go with the manufacturer recommendation, and you will be within the warrantee requirements. Keep all service records in one place where you can refer to them, if the shop calls to prescribe service. If the records are in your car at the shop you’re at a disadvantage. This way you are in control of the process.

How long do certain parts last?

Fuel filter 30-40,000 miles
Air filters 30-40,000 miles
Brake pads or linings 30-40,000 miles
Engine belts 40-60,000 miles
Struts 40-60,000 miles
CV joints 70-90,000 miles
Battery and cables 3-5 years

By following these regular maintenance and preventative procedures, you’ll take of the care and feeding of your car, and it will serve you better.

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From my bookshelf Holidays 2016 Edition

If you’re like me, you’re cogitating on unique auto related books for gifts. Here are some picks from my bookshelf for the 2016 Holidays.


How about a book written in August 1916 about a road trip from New York City to Indiana? In A Hoosier Holiday Theodore Dreiser colorfully documents his journey in a new Indianapolis-built sixty-horsepower Pathfinder to his old Indiana haunts in Warsaw, Terre Haute, Sullivan, Evansville, and Bloomington.

One of the stories is of meeting Indiana auto pioneer Elwood Haynes at the Haynes Automobile Company plant in Kokomo. He begins by describing the workers and sights during his plant tour. “After inspecting the factory we came into presence of the man who built up all this enterprise. He was relatively undersized, quite stocky, with a round, dumpling-like body, and a big, round head which looked as though it might contain a very solid mass of useful brains. He had the air of one who has met thousands, a diplomatic, cordial, experienced man of wealth. I sensed his body and his mind to be in no very healthy condition, however, and he looked quite sickly and preoccupied. He had a habit, I observed, contracted no doubt through years of meditation and introspection, of folding both arms over his stout chest, and then lifting one or the other forearm and supporting his head with it, as though it might fall over too far if he did not. He had grey-blue eyes, the eyes of a thinker and organizer, and like all strong men, a certain poise and ease very reassuring, I should think, to anyone compelled or desiring to converse with him.” Haynes told Dreiser of building his first automobile in 1894 and his recent development of Stellite, a new metallurgical alloy patented in 1912 and still in use today.

Dreiser’s travelogue describes their 2,000 mile, two-week pilgrimage to his boyhood home. He paints you into the story of the people, the journey, and the destinations.

Peruse A Hoosier Holiday at


I am interested in stories about hunting for automobiles. The next two selections fit that genre. The Cobra in the Barn: Great Stories of Automotive Archaeology is the first book in the series of tales of the elusive search for the ultimate “barn find” automobile that started in 2005.

This book in the series explores a gathering of over 50 cars, including seven different Cobras. Passionate sleuth Lynn Park of Pasadena, CA, has owned nine Cobras, and he’s still on the lookout for more. Park’s obsession started one day when an acquaintance showed him a copy of Road & Track magazine with a Cobra on the cover. The next day he visited Carroll Shelby’s shops in Venice, CA, to see one for himself. He was immediately hooked. Being just out of high school, the $5,000 price tag was beyond his budget. So, he purchased an A.C. Aceca coupe and converted it to 289 Cobra specifications himself. His main emphasis is non-restored original automobiles. One of these is the 289 Cobra found under a canvas cover in Temple City, CA, with 33,000 miles on the odometer. Park has respectfully conserved the car, which he drives more than any of his other Cobras.

Author Tom Cotter shares how some of these dream searches might start out as part of an urban legend, but through what he calls automotive archaeology, the details of the actual “barn find” come to reality.

Peruse The Cobra in the Barn at


It has been said “You never forget your first car.” I know that the saying is true for me. I still remember my Canyon Coral with India Ivory top 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop. That’s why I wanted to read My First Car: Recollections of First Cars from Jay Leno, Tony Stewart, Carroll Shelby, Dan Ackroyd, Tom Wolfe and Many More.
Motor Trend executive editor and motoring author Matt Stone compiled 60 stories of these “firsts” from titans of the auto industry and other celebrities. The interviewees share what drew them to, how they enjoyed, and other remembrances of their first car.

The first thing I wanted to checkout was how many claimed 1957 Chevrolets Bel Air “firsts” like me. I’m in good company with motorsports legend Mario Andretti and well-known auto care product manufacturer Barry Meguiar.
I enjoyed how Stone presents each of these stories. First he offers a short background on the individual. Then he weaves the tale of acquisition, use, misuse, and separation from the revered vehicle. There are many stories of how these vehicles helped to build a life-time bond with someone close.

Stone’s motor journalist experience yields a thorough look at the topic. His love of automobiles adds interest and draws you into the story.

Peruse My First Car at

So, if you’re looking for some different books this holiday season, I invite you peruse these. See you the next time over by my bookshelf.

For more information on our bookstore follow this link.

Clessie L. Cummins an Indiana automotive pioneer

Courtesy The Diesel Odyssey of Clessie Cummins
Courtesy The Diesel Odyssey of Clessie Cummins

Clessie L. Cummins’ automotive adventures started before finishing the eighth grade when he stated, “I want to be a machinist and make things.” He started his journey of achievements when he served on the pit crew of the first winner of the Indianapolis 500 mile race in 1911, Ray Harroun. Ten years later, he had incorporated the Cummins Engine Company in Columbus and received two patents for fuel injection on diesel engines.

Cummins introduced the automotive diesel to the United States in January 1930 in a 792-mile trip from Indianapolis to the New York Automobile Show. The trip required 30 gallons of fuel at a total cost of $1.38. In August 1930, a Cummins diesel-powered truck set a coast-to-coast record of 97 hours and 20 minutes on $11.22 in fuel. In 1931, the Cummins truck set a non-stop record around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 13,535 miles. The number 8 Cummins Diesel also started the 1931 Indianapolis 500 in the sixth row and finished the race nonstop. The diesel-powered car finished 13th with an average speed of 86.17 m.p.h.

In 1955, he launched Cummins Enterprises Company to develop his new ideas. He immediately patented the diesel engine brake. He also introduced new fuel injection metering pumps in the late 50’s.

Clessie Cummins worked on his mechanical dreams throughout his life. In a career spanning more than 56 years, his inventive genius garnered 33 U. S. patents and numerous honors for his pioneering achievements.

For more information on Indiana auto pioneers follow this link.

Car Care Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Car

Aren’t we all interested in getting the most out of our car? How many of us have wondered after leaving a car shop or dealership “Was I just scammed on that repair?” Well, I’d guess that’s the majority of us. We’ve all had those concerns once in our life.

Dennis E. Horvath  Copyright ©2012 Dennis E. Horvath
Dennis E. Horvath
Copyright ©2012 Dennis E. Horvath

Fellow motorists, that’s why I’d like to share some car care tips on how to be an astute car owner, get the appropriate work done, not more, and how to extend the life of the investment in your car.

The research on this topic started some time ago after having some car work done at a place where I believe I was scammed. That led to doing some research and reading The Savvy Women’s Guide to Cars by Lisa Murr Chapman. With some basic knowledge, information, and record keeping you can achieve our two goals of getting the right work done and extending the life of your car.

First, let’s look at some facts. The Department of Transportation reports that 53 percent of all auto repair costs are unnecessary. Consumer rights activist Ralph Nader estimated this costs at least $40 billion annually. Independent studies concluded that correct diagnosis and repair of an automotive problem occurred less than 30 percent of the time.

Here’s a little known fact that auto shops and dealerships don’t want you to know. Many service technicians earn a commission on every condition diagnosed and repaired, whether it’s needed or not. How do I know this? In one case, I experienced a head service technician who recommended “Cleaning and adjusting of our rear drum brakes for $26.” I had been driving over 30 years, and I never had this service diagnosed. I was skeptical, but I approved it. When I showed up to pay the bill, that work was not listed, but the total bill included it. Why wasn’t the service listed? After researching some car repair manuals, I noted that our drum brakes were self adjusting. Thus, I paid for something that was not required, if it was done at all. Guess if I ever returned to that facility.

That’s just one small instance I will cite for now. Being savvy about your car care concerns is what my series of tips will be about. Check back for more “Car Care Tips.” I’ll see you around the virtual water cooler.

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