Another of the lessor-known autos in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Indiana Automobiles: Precision over Production exhibit is the 1917 Pathfinder.
The Motor Car Manufacturing Company introduced the Pathfinder in 1912 as a boattail speedster to succeed their New Parry. The Pathfinder was noted for several advanced body innovations, such as the disappearing top and a spare wheel cover. The car became widely regarded for its looks. Initially, Pathfinders had four cylinder engines, followed by sixes with V radiators. The Pathfinder slogan was “Known for Reliability.”
The company was reorganized as The Pathfinder Company in 1916. The year also saw the introduction of a model with a Weidley 12 cylinder engine called Pathfinder the Great, King of Twelves. In 1916, a Pathfinder 12 was driven cross-country by Walter Weidley (son of the engine designer George B. Weidley) with an average fuel consumption of 10.2 mpg for 4,921 miles.
A shortage of materials during World War I severely handicapped the company. In December 1917, the company was liquidated in receivership.
Thanks to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum for showing this Pathfinder. For more information on Indiana cars & companies, follow this link.
Auto advertising promoting a certain lifestyle came on the scene in the mid 1910’s. A lifestyle illustration portrays the message while the ad copy plays a lessor role.
In the early 1910’s, we see a transition to retouched photographs for illustration. Inter-State Automobile Company’s July 1912 Cosmopolitan Magazine ad shouted, “The Automobile for Women. Inter-State starts and obeys the will of the woman driver as readily, as simply as an electric coupe.” The copy regarding the self-contained tire pump proclaims, “Any woman can attach the valve to the tire, turn on the pump and in a few minutes have tires just as solid and as perfectly filled as if done by the greatest tire expert in the world.” The retouched photographs portray women using these new features.
An elegant line illustration promoted the ambiance of women going to the country club in a Pathfinder ad from 1916. The copy read, “A great deal more than money is involved in the purchase of a Pathfinder. Love of luxury and beauty, cultivated taste and keen appreciation of what is best in motor car construction are important factors in the equation.” Car description and pricing are downplayed with eight point type.
An August 1918 Haynes ad proclaimed, “Haynes Stability.” The copy talked about Haynes’ Silver Anniversary of motor car building. The illustration portrayed seven fashionably dressed women in a touring car at the beach.
The Apperson 8 is announced as, “The Eight with Eighty Less Parts” in 1919. “For the owner who considers his car something more than a mere conveyance, who demands that in color, line and appointments it reflects a patrician taste – the Apperson 8,” read the copy. The illustration showed a chauffeur waiting as the lady of the house is assisted with her coat before going out for the evening.
These early auto advertisements demonstrate the evolution of advertising in the early part of the twentieth century. They move on from a product emphasis to promoting a lifestyle.
For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.