Indiana Cars Reviews

Indiana Cars jacket

Reviews of Indiana Cars by independent sources


Hemmings Classic Car

October 2004

Reviewed by Jim Donnelly

Literally from the opening sentence, the authors make it clear that, at one point, Indiana was home to more auto manufacturers than Detroit. In the industry’s history, more than 400 brands of cars, trucks and cyclecars were assembled in Indiana, and the list of them includes names still spoken with great respect, and we’re not just talking Duesenberg and Stutz here, either. We mean Studebaker, Marmon, Cole, National and International. And most recently, Humvee.

The content is arrayed in a fashion that merges American history with the development of Indiana cars. It’s an intelligent, very useful combination of marque histories, travelogue and biographies, encompassing the great sweep of the car’s impact on Indiana business, engineering and culture.

The hardbound, 197-page book, with more than 150 illustrations, is positively chock-a-block with cool trivia. How many remember that the Wright-Cyclone engines that powered the B-17 Flying Fortress were assembled by Studebaker?

Appendices include a timeline, marque listings and, of all things, an inflation calculator. This is a very entertaining book that begs the question: When is somebody going to write a corresponding volume about Michigan?


SAH Journal

May-June 2003

Reviewed by Sinclair Powell

The state of Indiana has played an extraordinary role in the history of the American automobile. However, in the past, interested persons have had to peruse various single-marque books to obtain a picture of the Hoosier State’s contribution. Now, the full scope of this state’s involvement with motor vehicles can be obtained by reading an interesting and informative new book, Indiana Cars: A History of the Automobile in Indiana, by Dennis E. Horvath and Terri Horvath.

The authors approach their subject in a logical manner. The first section of the book provides an overview by decades of Indiana automobile history. Beginning with the contributions of Elwood Haynes in the 1890s, the book chronicles the ups-and-downs of auto manufacturing in the state through the early 1900s, the first World War, the Roaring ’20s, the Depression-plagued 1930s, World War II and on to the year 2000.

Across a period of well over a century an amazing number of Indiana-based companies produced motor vehicles. Some of these firms were of fair size, others of little or no consequence. The histories of a number of prestigious marques-including Cole, Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, McFarlan and Stutz-are nicely covered. The story of Studebaker, the longest-lived Indiana motor vehicle manufacturer, is set forth in considerable detail. Long a prosperous concern, with numerous engineering and other achievements to its credit, this company finally found itself unable to compete with the “Big Three” and was forced to close its doors in the 1960s. The book also describes various minor makes, including Crosley, LaFayette, Inter-State, Lexington, Premier (with its early-day “automatic” transmission) and ReVere.

The Indiana motor vehicle story then shifts to the motor truck. Such makes as Marmon-Herrington, Graham Brothers and International Harvester are chronicled. Several builders of military vehicles also are noted. Then a surprising number of body and coachbuilding firms are described, including Central Manufacturing, Weymann American and Union City Body (still in active operation today).

The book continues with brief biographies of an impressive list of Indiana automotive pioneers. Carl Fisher (of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lincoln Highway fame), Howard Marmon, Clessie Cummins, Fred Duesenberg, Harry Stutz and Ralph Teetor are among the numerous persons whose lives are covered.

Finally several useful appendices are included. Appendix #2 outlines milestones in Indiana automotive history, while Appendix #3 lists by name the astonishing total of 414 cars produced in 76 cities of the Hoosier State. A bibliography and glossary of automotive terms conclude the written material.

Indiana Cars should be of decided interest to a wide range of readers. This reviewer gives the book a solid recommendation.


Old Cars Weekly review

April 24, 2003

Reviewed by Chad Elmore

Indiana Cars: A History of the Automobile in Indiana – Only a handful of states have made more of an impact on the automobile industry than Indiana. Some of the most desirable vintage cars have come from Indiana, and at one time there were more automobile manufacturers in Indianapolis than there were in Detroit. Names ranging from Duesenberg to Hummer have called the Hoosier state home. This excellent book by Dennis E Horvath and Terri Horvath presents the facts, figures, and personalities of Indiana’s automobile industry. The histories of dozens of individual makes are presented, along with body firms, military vehicles, and pioneers. A comprehensive list of other Indiana car builders rounds out the book. Well-illustrated with 150 black-and-white photos, Indiana Cars is hardbound with 197 pages. It is available from Hoosier Auto (Show and Swap Meet), P.O. Box 33489, Indianapolis, IN 46209-0329, for $39.75, S&H included, or call 877-769-3228. Or, select the “Buy Now” button below.


Indianapolis Star review

April 13, 2003

Reviewed by Rich Gotshall

Indiana Cars, by Dennis E. Horvath and Terri Horvath (197 pages, $29.95, Hoosier Auto Book, Box 33489, Indianapolis, IN 46209-0329) is a coffee-table book on the history of the automobile in Indiana. In words, pictures, magazine ads and charts, the authors chronicle such well-known cars as the Duesenberg, Stutz and Studebaker and lesser-known ones, like Inter-State, Lafayette and Waverley.

The book explores a fascinating chapter of Indiana history.

Back to: Indiana Cars: A History of the Automobile in Indiana

Leave a Reply