Tag Archives: The Pathfinder Company

David M. Parry transportation visionary

Prior to starting the Indianapolis-based Parry Auto Company in summer 1909, David M. Parry was president of the Parry Manufacturing Company for 27 years. The company was among the largest carriage factories in the word in the 1890’s. Parry was also a principal stockholder in the Overland Automobile Company, which he relinquished to John N. Willys in 1907.

Some of the early Parry auto production took place in seven Standard Wheel Works facilities at 1140-60 Division Street, before Parry buildings were completed. He offered the Parry as a two-passenger roadster and five passenger touring car with four-cylinder overhead valve engines, priced from $1,285 to $1,485. A December 9, 1909 Motor Age article stated that Parry planned to build 5,000 autos in 1910. Parry production did not meet this benchmark, thus forcing the company into receivership due to heavy equipment outlays.

1911 New Parry
1911 New Parry ad

In 1911, after reorganizing the firm as the Motor Car Manufacturing Company, the car name was changed to New Parry. The only thing new in this offering was the name. The two-passenger roadster and five passenger touring car were essentially duplicates of the previous offerings. Additional models were a four-passenger touring car and a four-passenger demi-tonneau. These four cylinder models were priced from $1,350 to $1,750.

The Pathfinder introduced in 1912 succeeded the New Parry as a boattail speedster. It was noted for several advanced body innovations, such as the disappearing top and a spare wheel cover. Initially, Pathfinders had four cylinder engines, followed by sixes with V radiators. The Pathfinder was issued a certificate of performance by the Royal Automobile Club following its participation in a trial in 1912.

1916 Pathfinder ad
1916 Pathfinder ad

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. These models ranged from $2,750 for a seven-passenger touring car to $4,800 for a special enclosed body car. Shortage of materials during World War I severely handicapped Pathfinder operations. In December 1917, the company was liquidated in receivership.

David M. Parry’s 1906 estate, called Golden Hill, gave its name to the historic Indianapolis neighborhood that arose when his family divided the property into residential building lots. The original Parry mansion and its 4.5-acre site has been restored and is on the market. Follow this link for more information.

For more information on Indiana auto pioneers follow this link.