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Scripps-Booth History

The Booth family had come into wealth through the ownership of the Detroit News. By the early 1900's, James Scripps-Booth became one of the many to enter the automotive business. To offer something new and different, Scripps-Booth created a vehicle that was part automobile and part motorcycle. He called this creation the 'Bi-Autogo.' Under the hood was an eight-cylinder engine that was one of the first of its kind to ever be used. Four wheels would be used at lower speeds but at high speeds the driver could shift to two wheels. Only one prototype was ever produced before Scripps-Booth switched to making a cycle car called the Rocket.

Cycle cars were not uncommon at this time. They were low cost and lightweight alternatives to the motorcar. With the Ford Model T continuing to drop in price, the cycle cars had a difficult time selling. After around 400 cycle cars, Scripps-Booth again changed the direction of the company to the luxury car segment. This proved to be a success and by 1915 the vehicles were selling well, partly due to their reputation for their quality and durability, though the price was rather high. Royalty from nations such as Spain and Holland purchased a Scripps-Booth vehicle.

From 1915 through 1919 Scripps-Booth produced an eight-cylinder roadster that was intended to compete with other roadsters of its time, such as the legendary Stutz.

During the mid 1910's, the company stock was sold publicly. Control of the firm shifted from James Scripps-Booth to its shareholders and the direction of the company continued to change. By 1917 Chevrolet purchased the company and within a year was producing vehicles for GM. 1919 was the companies best year for automobile production, with an estimated 8100 vehicles produced. By 1921, the creator of General Motors, Will Durant, was no longer in control. Albert Sloan was no head of the company and within a few years the Scripps-Booth Company was no longer producing vehicles.

It is estimated that over 34,000 vehicles were produced by the Scripps-Booth Company during its existence, lasting from 1913 through 1923.