1910 American Traveler Underslung

1910 American Traveler Underslung 1910 American Traveler Underslung 1910 American Traveler Underslung American Traveler
The American Motor Car Company debuted its first car in 1905. Designed by Harry Stutz, who later formed the famous company bearing his name. Mr. Stutz left the company in 1906 and Fred L. Tone took over as chief engineer. Mr. Tone re-designed the chassis/suspension system by reversing the arrangement. The upside-down or underslung was an industry first and gave the vehicle a racy stance.

This particular 1910 Traveler is one of 300 units produced in 1910 and is 1 of 2 still in existence. It is equipped with a 50 horsepower engine with 5 3/8 inch x 5 5/8 inch 4-cylinder Teetor-Hartley engine, it carried a sales price of $5,000.

Mr. E. C. Deemer purchased the car new, and also owned 3 other Americans of earlier vintage. The car has remained in the family until the 1990's except this example. This car under-went a 17 year restoration to original factory standards.

When Mr. Deemer passed away in 1959 at the age of 89, all four cars were still in his possession. His two sons inherited the cars and had them stored. When they wanted to have the cars restored, it was decided that this car would satisfy charges for restoration of the other three Americans. Walter Seeley of Jamestown, NY, began the restoration and the first car took six years to restore. His payment, this 1910 American Underslung Traveler took 17 years to finish for himself. After one other owner, this car joined the current owner's collection.

The current owner purchased the car in 2005 from the Harris family in Ohio, which had previously purchased and owned 3 of the original Deemer cars.

1910 American Traveler Underslung 1910 American Traveler Underslung 1910 American Traveler Underslung American Traveler
The American Underslung was built by the American Motors Company of Indianapolis, Indiana from 1906 to 1914. One of the first engineers of the company was Harry C. Stutz who would leave American Motors in 1907 and join the Marion Company before starting his famous Stutz Company in 1912.

The American Underslung got its name from its innovative chassis design which placed the springs and front axle above the frame. This design allowed for a lower center of gravity without sacrificing ground clearance. With its underslung chassis and tall wheels, the fenders were almost the same height as the body panels.

Initially offered as a 35 horsepower four-cylinder automobile in 1906, the company expanded its offerings and by 1912 offered the vehicle with three different wheelbase lengths and three different engines. (In order to appease a skeptical buying public, a standard version was offered in 1910 and 1911 and was simply called the American.)

When production ended in 1914, over 45,000 vehicles had been built and sold.

1910 American Traveler Underslung 1910 American Traveler Underslung 1910 American Traveler Underslung American Traveler
Chassis #: 1811
Engine # 1809
Sold for $1,815,000 at 2015 RM Sotheby's : Monterey.
Harry Stutz, who went on to form his own eponymous car company, designed the first car for the American Motors Company, which debuted in 1905. When Stutz left the following year, he was replaced by Fred L. Tone, who redesigned the chassis and suspension system. The underslung design, with the chassis below the suspension, gave the car a low and intriguing appearance. This rare 1910 American Underslung Traveler, one of very few still in existence, was one of 300 produced in 1910. It is equipped with a 50-hp, 7.8-liter, 4-cylidner Teetor-Hartley engine. A high-ticket item, these cars cost about $4,500 when new.
1910 American Traveler Underslung 1910 American Traveler Underslung 1910 American Traveler Underslung American Traveler
Chassis #: 1811
Engine # 1809
Sold for $1,815,000 at 2015 RM Sotheby's : Monterey.
The American Underslug, built in Indianapolis, was designed by Fred Tone and featured an advanced chassis design that ran under and dipped between the axles, lowering the car's body closer to the ground. This lower center of gravity resulted in superb handling and performance from the brutal T-head four-cylinder engine. The Underslung models were built from 1907 until 1914, with various engines and in various sizes.

This example was once owned by the late Walter Seeley, of Russell, Pennsylvania. Ownership later passed to Joel Finn who eventually passed the American on to East Coast collector, Richard King. The current caretaker acquired it from Mr. King. The car was then taken to Brian Joseph's restoration facility, Classic & Exotic Service, of Troy, Michigan, to undergo a full Pebble Beach-quality restoration. The body was removed from the chassis, and every piece of the running gear, including the engine, transmission, rear axle, springs, and shackles, was taken apart and rebuilt to original condition. The items that were beyond repair were remanufactured using original factory blueprints and samples. The restored car was brought to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2014. It completed the Tour d'Elegance where it had no issues and went on to win Best in Class.


By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2015
The American Motor Car Company was founded in 1906 and based in Indianapolis, Indiana. It produced its first car in 1906 and the first 'Underslung' in 1907. However, the name 'Underslung' was not derived until 1912.

The underslung design was an attempt to make the car as low as possible. Harry C. Stutz, an engineer who would later produce cars under his own name, is credited with creating the design. Although Stutz created the chassis design, it was American's chief engineer, Fred I. Tone, who turned the chassis upside down. Tone decided to place the frame below the axles, instead of the tradition design of placing them above. The semi-elliptic leaf springs were mounted above the frame. Due to achieving such a low ground clearance, 40-inch wheels were needed to give the vehicle ample space between the frame and the ground.

The Underslung models provided safety that many other early manufacturers could not guarantee. The Underslungs were virtually impervious to roll-overs. Sales documentation stated that the vehicles could be tilted up to 55 degrees without rolling over.

The Underslung featured a four-cylinder, 6.4 litre engine capable of producing 40 horsepower. In 1908, the engine was enlarged to 7.8 liters and now produced 50 horsepower.

Even with the ground clearance advantage, the Underslung was not as competitive as other vehicles that featured larger engines. This was proven in 1908 when American Motor Car entered an Underslung Roadster in the Savannah Challenge Cup Race. The four-cylinder engine was not enough to keep pace and as a result it finished last. Also, due to large wheels, and high center of gravity created partly by the raised engine sub frame, the car suffered from poor handling and frequent tire changes.

Around 1909, American introduced a four-passenger Underslung dubbed the Traveler.

In 1910, the horsepower rating for the engine was increased to 60 by enlarging the cylinder bore and adding pressurized lubrication.

In 1911, the company faced financial difficulties. It's named was changed to American Motors Co.

In 1912, the entire model line now used the underslung chassis. As a marketing ploy, the vehicles were named the American Underslungs. Due to the size of the Traveler, a larger engine was required to make it more competitive in the market place. A six cylinder engine was used.

In 1913, electric starters and lights became available on the Underslungs. The company still was suffering from financial problems. The company was having trouble competing with other manufacturers that were more efficient and produced bigger, faster vehicles at lower prices. Fred Tone departed from the company for other automotive opportunities.

In November of 1913, the company went into receivership. Over an eight year period, the American Motor Company had produced over 45,000 vehicles. They had introduced creative designs, effective marketing, and brilliant automobiles. Like many other manufacturers during this era, they were plagued by ineffective assembly processes, a tough economy, the onset of World War I, and an evolving market place.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2013

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