Charles Duryea was a successful bicycle manufacturer living in the United States. In 1892 he commissioned his brother, J. Frank Dureya to design and build a motor vehicle. The result was successful, becoming the first motor car in the United States. In 1895 a version of the vehicle was entered in the first race held in the United States. The race was sponsored by the Chicago Times. The Duryea built motor vehicle captured first place.
In 1896 the series production began for the Duryea Company, located in Springfield Massachusetts. The president of the company was Frank Dureya, having terminated the business relationship with his brother a year prior. Production continued slowly but steady. Additional capital was raised to expand business development and production. In 1901 Duryea teamed with the Stevens Arms and Tool Company to help expand the evolving business. The union resulted in the production of Stevens-Duryea automobiles, the first vehicle being show in November of 1901 and on sale in March of 1902. The vehicles were powered by 2 cylinder engines capable of producing 5 horsepower. During the 1902 model year, 50 examples were produced. In 1903, the company increased the horsepower to 7 and dubbed the vehicle the Model L. This series continued until 1905 when it was replaced by the Model R. In its introductory year, 300 examples were sold. The Model R was produced from 1905 through 1908. It featured a 20 horsepower engine and sat atop a 90 inch wheelbase.
In 1927, production of the Stevens-Duryea automobiles ceased.
At the age of 97, Frank Duryea passed away in 1967.
With claims of being the first automobile produced in the United States and winning the first automobile race ever transpiring in the United States, the Stevens-Duryea's place in history is forever certain. The company was innovative and its history progressive. It focused its resources on building reliable, beautiful, and economical automobiles. Today, their legacy can be seen at many car shows, Concourse's, and museums.
This 1910 Duryea Electa two-door Phaeton had an original factory price of $625. It was powered by a two-cylinder 82.8 cubic-inch engine that produced about 12 horsepower. This model was designed to resemble an electric vehicle, thus the name 'Electa'.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2006